WordPress Blackbelt

I’m bestowing upon myself the rank of WordPress Blackbelt.  A couple years ago, I wrote a post about how to copy your WordPress installation from your internet server to your localhost server.  I was new to WordPress and had trouble with the simplest things.  A lot of people have posts and help on the internet, but when you’re new web development and you’re stuck on something – and I mean really stuck, and there’s no one to turn to, you have two choices: you can give up or you can persevere.  I keep choosing to persevere and I’m glad.  It has made me so much stronger and has given me so much confidence.

Two years later, I still have a lot to learn.   But, I have the basics down and I can survive in this jungle they call the internet.  I fear no hacker.  Two years ago, when someone said HTML, I said gesundheit.  Today I can tell you how to launch a WordPress site with secure table prefixing, protect your wp-config file with htaccess, firewall your site from malicious hackers, sniff out base64 injection hacks and find the IP address of the motherfucker who tried to jack you and block his ass.  I can tell you how to block proxy access from malbots that come to steal my shit and put them on the blacklist until they come back on their knees with an apology.  I feel like finally I can survive in this jungle of web development.

Even if you can get through my black belt defenses, I can re-spawn in under a half hour like a I didn’t miss a beat.  I can’t tell you what confidence that gives me.  It makes me feel so good to be writing this post [that no one will ever probably read].  It makes me feel like I can put some teeth behind my testament to a future client that your code is safe with me.

I got into this web development thing with one site in mind: respectmyplanet.org.  For two years, I’ve struggled to learn the most basic foundations of knowledge in PHP, MySQL, HTML, CSS, Apache Server / htaccess, Javascript, and WordPress.  I’ve been hacked via my ftp connection because someone hacked Comcast and sniffed out my ftp username and password.  I’ve been PHP injected into my own weak PHP code because of my weak SQL $_POST sanitzation skills.  I’ve had my WordPress installation compromised because I didn’t know how to lock down my wp-config and wp-admin/installation.php pages.  Each time I was proverbially knocked to the ground with no hand reaching down to me to help me back up.  But, I got back up.  I got back up a little stronger than I was before.

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The Post Tag Named: Khan Echo Syndrome

Khan-Academy-LogoThe post tag named: Khan Echo Syndrome is named to give thanks to Salmon Khan and his educational website Khan Academy.  This tag is appropriate for this website because a significant portion of the posts to come on this site are just rehashes of what you can see on Khan’s website.  Let me back up a little and explain how I heard of the site and the profound effect it has had on me and so many millions of others.

My friend Prathiba and I were talking about our kids’ education.  Her kids are little bit older than mine and she was talking about how well they’re doing in math.  She asked “have you heard of khanacademy.org?” to which I replied “no”.  “Oh” she said, “you should check it out.” and she preceded to explain a little bit about it and how her kids were using the site and really enjoyed the math exercises.

I checked it out and was astonished to see how many courses there were.  Every type of math you could imagine, but that wasn’t all.  There are courses on:  biology, chemistry, astronomy, economics, the housing crisis, US Treasury plans, history, &c.  I couldn’t believe how busy Sal had been making these videos.  My first thought was “what should I check out first?”

Having just read Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, I was into learning more about economics.  Wealth of Nations was a real eye opener with regard to economics and it led me to check Khan’s videos on banking first.   I was amazed.  All this talk about mortgage backed securities and collateralized debt obligations on the radio and I just didn’t quite understand how all this stuff really worked.   Needless to say, now I do.  Which is why I’m writing this post right now.  Because that’s what the site does, it gives anyone with internet access a chance to get educated on a wide array of topics.

One of the things I really look forward to learning is calculus.  I never qualified for it in highschool and only rated high enough for pre-calculus at University.  And, even if I did qualify by then, I couldn’t afford to take a class I wanted to because I only had enough money to take classes that I “needed” for my degree.  That’s the real blessing about the site for someone like me, I can learn calculus now on my own terms at 39 years old!   I don’t need permission, or money, or to have someone tell me I’m not smart enough to study that, I can study it and learn it in spite of all those roadblocks from my youth.  I’m truly thankful to Sal for that.

After watching the videos on Collateralized Debt Obligations, I watched the housing crisis videos, the economics videos, the currency exchange videos, the astronomy videos, the trigonometry videos, and now I’m rewatching the housing crisis videos.  Wow!  What spectacular work and what an amazing mind.  It’s pretty obvious that I’m hooked.  I can’t tell you how many hours in aggregate I’ve spent watching those videos.

So many of the topics that I want to cover on this website have already been covered by Khan.  So my goal with this post is to give credit to Sal Khan and include this post tag everytime I’m rehashing something I learned from Sal.

Maybe by teaching something back that I learned from Khan I’ll be able to learn it a little better myself.  Maybe I’ll add a little angle or color to something that helps someone else along the way.  Maybe I’ll point someone toward Khan’s website and they’ll be better off it.

They say that practice makes perfect.  They say that repitition sinks things into your memory.  They say that immitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  If anything here with the post tag: Khan Echo Syndrome can help even one person further educate themselves, it will be worth it.

So, thank you very much Sal Khan, my hat is off to you.  Any post on this site with the post tag Khan Echo Syndrome is a tribute to your hard work and philanthropy.

Media Bias

My dad watches Fox News.  He hates MSNBC.  Therefore, you have enough information to know how he votes.  Why?  Because the media is biased and you know it.  This post is not against Fox News exclusively, it’s against the news media in general.  They’re feeding the American people information with an agenda and the American people are eating it up.  This is because people like to hear what makes them feel good.  If you’re a Republican, you like the way Fox gives you the news because it makes you feel good about your view points.  If you’re a democrat, you like to watch MSNBC news because it makes you feel good about your viewpoints.

What if the owners of the media groups and the executives in charge wanted to cull certain thoughts you use to form your opinion?  What if they wanted you to think a certain way in order to get you to act in a certain way?  Is that just hogwash conspiracy theory?  Am I a lunatic out on the conspiracy fringe?  I don’t think so.  I think  you can ask yourself logical questions and realize that the news channels are feeding you slanted views.  Just like no one has time to make a good meal anymore, no one has time to get to the bottom of the story anymore.  If you decide to turn off your brain and take whatever they’re giving you, you deserve what you’ll get.

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