On the taking of notes, part two

IMG_5386Back at the beginning of the year I wrote a little blurb about taking notes, where I mentioned a pen and pad was my medium of choice.

Since that post, I’ve been doing some thinking about how there are huge scalability issues unless I adopt the The Dewey Decimal Classification here at the house. It’s difficult to lug dozens of notebooks around, or remember which notebook contained which thought. While writing on paper feels more personal than the digital alternative, it does indeed seem to have a downside.

Location overload

In addition to notebooks, I also use quite a few digital substitutions for keeping track of things. So many, in fact, that I’m really no better off than with paper. No more organized. Way more spread out. Found out just how bad it was a few weeks back while searching for a bit of code that still hasn’t surfaced which is pretty much disorganization at its finest.

The list

It’s alarming how many places I have notes hiding. Embarrassing as well, I’m a digital hoarder- no doubt about it. So without further ado, here they are (at least those that I can remember!):

Wow, that’s a bunch

After seeing this list written out, it seems a bit excessive. Time for a little consolidation. Since the revelation that I’m trusting too much data with too many providers, a consolidation project has been in the works. There’s a problem though, not one of these services can replace all of them. At least not in the manner that I’m accustomed to take notes, track tasks or projects. This just means an adjustment on my end is needed.

As an experiment, I’ll be moving all my notes into one central location and trying a better method of organization. I’ve chosen Evernote for the first stab, I’ve used it longer than any other platform (save emails and text files, which isn’t very efficient). This is going to be quite the process, I’m not really sure how much data I have stored elsewhere. In Evernote I have over a hundred notebooks and somewhere in the neighborhood of five thousand notes, so lots of work to be done.

Will post the results in a few months, I have a feeling the whole process will be quite liberating.

Akismette has arrived – (cc/ @nickhamze, @danhauk)

Peyton fancies herself a designer. She’s told me on more than one occasion that I need to bring her to an Automattic meetup so that she can share the infinite wealth of knowledge and skills that she’s developed over the last twelve years with our design teams. And she’s very adamant about it. Seriously.

Around July of last year, she decided that the Akisbot (the mascot for the Akismet team) looked lonely and needed a companion. So, she came up with this concept:


Our amazing Akismet ED&STT (emergency design and swag triage team), which consists of Dan Hauk and Nick Hamze, were able to immediately crank out this into a top-notch graphic worthy of being turned into shirts and stickers:


Today, the “original designer” and “Nick’s boss” as she proclaims (and mind you, only twelve) received a pretty awesome package in the mail. Needless to say, she was pretty excited!

Got to admit, I am too, well done everyone!  And now I have a new sticker for the laptop! :)


As an aside, Peyton also mentioned that Akismette was taller than Akisbot; expressed some concerns about that relationship. Mind blown.

Cloud Instance + No Services != No Worries — Secure your servers

Spun up a new server on Linode last night. Didn’t do anything with it except power it up, no webserver or external services. Shouldn’t be surprised about this, but in the course of less than 12 hours, this new server instance had 9,445 failed root login attempts. All by IP – this server has no associated forward or reverse DNS entries published.

    Authentication Failures:
       root ( 3739 Time(s) - China
       root ( 2698 Time(s) - China
       root ( 494 Time(s) - China
       root ( 474 Time(s) - China
       root ( 453 Time(s) - China
       root ( 435 Time(s) - China
       root ( 426 Time(s) - China
       root ( 423 Time(s) - China
       root ( 90 Time(s) - China
       root ( 89 Time(s) - China
       root ( 50 Time(s) - China
       root ( 27 Time(s) - China
       root ( 13 Time(s) - Germany
       root ( 12 Time(s) - China
       unknown ( 11 Time(s) - China
       unknown ( 9 Time(s) - Germany
       unknown ( 2 Time(s) - Germany

Big props to China for weighing in at #1 with 9,421 failed login attempts. Germany needs to step their game up, only 24 times?

It’s game over now, thanks to tcpwrappers, fail2ban and CSF. Just a friendly reminder to secure your servers. Had there been production data and a weak password on this instance, things would have been bad. Throw in a database, and who knows.

Since the IP address space can be easily queried for on-demand providers like Linode, Amazon, LiquidWeb, etc, it’s very probable that there are constant scans being run there; hoping to find a weak password or vulnerability to exploit.

Thinking of spinning up another instance as a honeypot to run for a while, might have some interesting results.

@danhauk, the piano bar star

While the Akismet team was in Florida on our meetup, we had the good fortune to stumble on a pretty good piano bar in the resort, Rum Runners. On our last team outing there, Dan (our Design Czar and karaoke enthusiast) impressed us all and wooed the crowd with a live performance:

And of course the obligatory photo of the two stars after the performance:



Olive Garden. The box wouldn’t reseal after adding breadsticks. You can’t leave those behind, you’re throwing away a second dinner or midnight snacks if you do.. Sometimes you have to work with what you have on hand, in this case it was several straw wrappers. Despite what the rest of the group had to say about my technique, I truly believe this to be an ingenuitive approach to keeping the box shut.

(and then I forgot to take the leftovers)



Sunset .. finally

As our meetup comes to a close, the fog has finally lifted, the rain stopped, and we were able to watch a sunset. For the first time in maybe a week.  Photos don’t do this justice, it was really quite impressive.

I spoke with a couple earlier today who go out and watch the sunset every night; their daily tradition. It’s the little things in life, right? We don’t appreciate them as much as we should.

Akismet team descends on the firing range

This morning, the Akismet team headed out for a some time on the range. The firing range that is. We spent several hours shooting different types of weapons: handguns, revolvers, long guns, and even a World War II Era sniper rifle. Among my favorites were the .45, the PS90 (which was amazing) and the AK-47. My hands down favorite was the Scar MK 17 which was just badass. When you fire a round from that thing, people take notice. All in all, we had such a good time, and as it turns out, most of the Akismet team is a pretty damn good shot.