The Attack of Laura’s Blog
Posted on December 12th, 2017 @ 7:26 pm

Before there was Robert’); DROP TABLE Students;–, there was Laura’s blog.

A little background. Staying with me as a temporary roommate is my friend, Laura. We’ve known each other for 20 years. We met online. We were 2 girls in Georgia with similar likes and issues.

We were going down memory lane last night online. We found our old web pages we made from the early Aughts. We were just talking about the good times, when Laura mentioned her blog.

Oh Laura’s Blog, you still live on in the deep archives of the Internet. And, I still miss you.

What happened was, in the early Aughts, before Twitter, Facebook, and yes, MySpace, people had blogs like this one I have. There was this service, called It was a website people used to have a centralized list of other blogs they recommended.

November 17, 2003 was the date the entire world using was hit by a bug. A critical bug that I happened to be the poor person to find. However, Laura took the brunt of the abuse.

I was editing my Blogroll that morning. I was modifying a link. At the time, you could embed some HTML into a link on Blogrolling. I was modifying the HTML on a link and Blogrolling went nuts on me. All of my Blogroll was of this  one link. I went back to fix it, and I modified Laura’s link to her blog. It did the same thing. So, I sent in a request to Blogrolling help explaining what happened.

And then Laura left me a message saying she was getting a lot of e-mails and comments on her blog from other people for hacking Blogrolling. It was the main topic of the day. There was a MetaFilter discussion: Did Laura hack WordPress wrote an entry about it: Blogrolling Hack Illustrates Need for Decentralization.

Here are some samples of what people were saying on that day:

Either is having serious technical difficulties, or it’s been hacked. Either would explain not being able to get to its homepage, and, instead, getting endless entries for “Laura’s Blog” in the blogroll. Not surprisingly, Laura’s Blog is slow to respond …

Dave Does The Blog

It seems as tho Blogrolling got hacked. Everyone who has a blog roll using the service has had their roll(s) replaced with repetitive instances of “Laura’s Blog.” I am not even going to link to the site. This is pathetic. Now I have to recreate my blogroll. I know I won’t remember all of them. Maybe I should just forgo the service all together and go back to the old way of writing the HTML myself for my links list. After today it makes me think I should.

Breaking Windows

It looks like Blogrolling has been hacked. Every entry in my blogroll is for some site called Laura’s Blog. Update: If you go to that site it looks like Laura herself is an innocent victim here. She hardly seems like some super hacker.

Right-Thinking from the Left Coast

And our favorite one:

And then a funny thing happened; Blogrolling got hacked. All of their blogrolls pointed to Laura’s blog. Laura happens to be the sister of Dave, a friend of mine already listed in MY blogroll.

Mostly Muppet

If only I could look up just “Laura’s Blog Blogrolling” on the Internet Archive at the moment. I’m sure there are some doozies there.

Laura ended up the most hate person in the blogosphere that day. People kept calling it a hack and wanted to harm the hacker. They wanted to harm Laura!

I was mortified. I was doing everything I could to let people know this was an honest mistake.

Finally, Jason, the owner of the site, left a comment on my blog at the time exonerating me:

You folks wanna yell at someone yell at me. There was a 1 in a million bug that Shawn found and screwed up the system. It was my fault for not plugging the hole and I apologize.

-Jason D.

He had my e-mails, in the midst of 3,000 other angry e-mails, about the issue. I had explained to him what happened and the logs and back-end code backed my story. I had inadvertently found a defect in the Blogrolling system. Just happened to be a HUGE one. One all of the Internet saw that day.

In the 14 years since, I’ve gone on to get a degree in IT and work with SQL code all the time. Did so just today.  Now, I don’t know what the issue was in original back-end code, but I remember my issue dealt with forgetting a \ when coding that HTML. Looking back on it now, what I have must have done was akin to a SQL injection. Basically, I had Robert’); DROP TABLE Students;– This time, it just happened to change all links to Laura’s Blog. It was finally when I was in college learning about SQL did I realize what had happened.

So, all you SQL coders out there, sanitize your inputs in your system code before it’s put on the tables before you get another Laura’s Blog or Little Bobby Tables!

Geek · Life

The Shed People: A Tale of Savannah
Posted on February 13th, 2017 @ 8:37 pm

Thank you, Sydney, for the title of this post. May you go far in your endeavors!

#LoFi I hate when I can’t figure out a solution.

A photo posted by Shawn Latta (@peachy92) on

This past Saturday, I attended the RailsBridge Workshop. I am really glad I went. I reconnected with the Languages, Literature & Philosophy administrative assistant from my time at Armstrong. Leona did work for us at the Writing Center we didn’t or couldn’t do. She recognized me when having a déjà vu with the green shirt with white print I happened to be wearing. When she mentioned she worked at Armstrong and the over lap between her employment and my attendance, it hit me where the déjà vu was coming from. When I was attending AASU, the head of my department liked to have pictures of her students on the wall documentation what was being done. In the pictures of me, I had green shirts on; one even had white lettering. The IT, department and the LLP departments shared the same building.

Before the event began, we sat and discussed the Armstrong “merger.” Expressing our memories, fears, and concerns about what will happen to our school. We’re concerned for its legacy.  Its people. Its students.

This encounter is par for the course in Savannah. We’re a small city with a small town feel.  Six Degrees of Separation is usually under 5 degrees of connections in this town.  So it seems.  I was telling her how someone found out that her sister was friends with my sister once and referred to my family as the shed people, since the girls and their other mutual friends liked to hang out in my parents’ shed.

And at the end of the day, Leona, Sydney (a high school girl) and I got to talking. And this is when the Savannah factor came into play.  Leona was describing the hurricane damage of her neighborhood.  As she was describing her local park, the visions of the park across from my dad’s yard took root into my head.  Finally, I asked where this park of Leona’s was.  She literally lives just down the road from my father.

That’s not all.  She also has a cat she loves dearly. Mo is her name.  As she was telling me about her cat, I had a feeling I knew what her cat looked like. Mo is known in my family as Pumpkin the Betrayer. She was originally Jessica’s cat, but chose to abandoned our yard and moved over to Leona’s house.  Leona told me the cat came with the house. We could never figure out why the cat left us, but it does me good to know Leona’s been loving her.

The next day, I went to my dad’s house.  I later went down to say hi to Leona and her husband, Randal.  Add a drop more of the Savannah factor.  Randal went to the same school as Jessica and Matthew.  He was a few grades ahead of them. He remembered Jessica, but only recalled Matthew upon me stating that he wore a dress to school one day.  Seems the dress stunt he pulled at his high school was very memorable.

Just as well.  I can’t remember the name of the kid that wore a cow costume to school on Halloween, but I’ll never forget he wore a cow costume on Halloween and was sent home because of it. We can’t have fake, plastic, cow boobs preventing our kids from an education!

And while I was there visiting them, they caught me up with what they know of the neighborhood since they moved in and I gave them the history of the neighborhood between the time my parents bought the house and the time I moved to Atlanta. I was able to answer the question of the blue house on the alley.

It me, it was an awesome weekend to reconnect and make some more connections.

Oh, doesn’t hurt I got to learn some Ruby, too.  In fact, here’s a small program I wrote tonight for fun:

puts "Hello! Please input a number for me!"
usercount = gets.strip
count = 0
while count < usercount.to_f
puts "...This is the song that never ends.
Yes it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it not knowing what it was
And they'll continue singing it forever just because"
count = count + 1

I will have to try it out again when I have time between work and trivia night(s). I’m trying to become active again in life.

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Armstrong State · Geek · Life · Savannah

Returning to programming.
Posted on February 5th, 2017 @ 8:49 am

10 LET I = 0
20 PRINT "Are you depressed?"
30 PRINT "1 for yes and 2 for no."
50 IF N + I = 1 THEN GOTO 70
60 IF N + I = 2 THEN GOTO 90
70 PRINT "Go return to things you love."
80 GOTO 100
90 PRINT "Keep it up!"
100 END

Took me a while, some online references, and 1 Applesoft BASIC in Javascript emulator to write that code and get it working. But, now it works. It’s a real program.

However, it’s what the program does that’s the point of this post.

I know I have been depressed as of late. I can let it control me or I can control it. I let it control me for a bit, but now it’s time for me to take it back.

I learned Applesoft BASIC in 7th and 8th grades.  They were my favorite classes. There was just something about sitting in front of a screen doing some coding and seeing something come to life amazed me.

I had dabbled with a Commodore 64 prior to those classes, but I remember if you type in a line incorrectly, you were screwed.  And it took forever to record on a cassette tape.  After we inherited my uncle’s 64, my parents were turned offed by it all because of the time that happened to my dad.  It got to the point the only thing I could do on a 64 was this:


Oh what a time to be 8 in the 1980s!

And when I went into college thinking I’d be a programmer, well, I wasn’t so hot at it.  My HTML skills are from self-learning.  I have this domain as a way to play around with coding. I did you my senior project in PHP, which was a language I didn’t get any support with my professors. The advisor for Senior Project wanted me to code in I tried the PHP class, but it was too advanced for me.  I couldn’t keep up with the pace of the class.  I dropped the PHP class.

Once I graduated and got into the “real world,”  this blog took a back seat and in many ways, still does. I can’t recall the last time I coded anything other than tweaking this blog or writing the code used by my work. And every time I try to return, life gets in the way.

To return back to my life, this week, I’m inputting 2 for the code.

Actually, there was a Reddit post I came across and had me stop and think. It never hurts to learn some more.  I may not be the best at computers and the like, but I can at least learn more than what I know.

So, I looked up the RailsBridge Workshops they have in town. I always seem to think of it when it’s too late. I found this one just in time and decided to go. I’ll see what it’s like after I take it.

And it’s been forever since I did trivia. Well, my trivia people found a new place that isn’t downtown and has parking.  It’s on Thursday nights, which was my old trivia night.  They tried it and liked it.  So, now, I have a standing date again for trivia. I’ve got to see how that goes, too.

But for now, I need to get ready for Super Museum Sunday. A change to go some tour some museums for free.  It’s a nice day outside, in terms of sunshine, and it gives me a chance to take one of my toy cameras and shot a few shots with it.  I really wish I have a few extra bucks at the moment to get some of my film developed.

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Geek · Life

How did we live with VCRs?
Posted on June 30th, 2016 @ 8:43 pm

No really.  I’ve become so spoiled with DVRs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, HDTV, and Online Streaming.  My dad and I went out to get a VCR yesterday.  Being the family historian, I figured it was time to go find my sisters’ old dance tapes to transfer to DVD.

The video quality is so poor on these! They did not hold up well in the years since.

At the moment, I am setting up the recording of my sisters’ dancing school performing at the 1993 International Folk Festival in Fayetteville, NC.  I think it was a girls’ day out, with my dad at home with my brother and Grandmother.  My sisters are the dancers.  My mom was in the crowd, being the stage mother, making sure Beth remembered her cues.  As for me?  You can see my dumb butt in the background being the goofy gopher.  That was my job that day. I ran back and forth between my mother and my sisters with the stuff the needed. Other mothers used me as their gophers, too.

As I’m watching these tapes, I’m wondering what was I doing at that time.  I know I was in a giant bout of depression.  So, right then and there, it’s kind of noticeable with my hair.  You really can’t see my face. I was also doing goofy things, too.  At one point, I have Nicki’s fedora on.

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Family · Geek

“You haven’t missed it, it’s all ahead of you”
Posted on June 17th, 2016 @ 6:02 pm

Over the weekend, I had a really bad depression bout.  I had heard some news that had made me question my worth.  Ok, I admit, I felt worthless. I felt horrible.  I was out of town and called home to ask me dad to tell me he loves me.  Even Nicki was worried about me hearing me cry. My friends on Facebook were worried about me when I opened up. For the most part, when I get depressed and have an attack (panic or bi-polar, take your pick), I usually keep them hidden from everyone except for a select few.

The next day, however, I felt a freedom.  The sense to be free to be who I am.

I’m still lonely.  I still have days I think I will be forever alone. But, I have to live my life.  Do what I enjoy.

I decided to study for a Technician Class License for  amateur radio.  It’s something I’ve been puddling around to getting since 1996.  I took a couple of weeks studying up for in my junior year of high school. I never got it.  Tried again 10 years later and still never got it.  Maybe third time is a charm. I can always go dig out one of my old college books to help.

I also realized that I have been slacking off on my tech skills.  I ordered a new cheap computer to install a Linux distro on to refresh and learn more about the Linux side of things.  I took a PHP class in college, but dropped it due to time constraints. I did use LAMP, however, for my final project. Since then, nothing.  It might do me some good to brush up on these skills.

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Geek · Life

“Talk is Cheap on Satellite” – Calling Sweden
Posted on April 12th, 2016 @ 5:29 pm


If you are in the US, call that number and you get a random Swede! Just remember, that Sweden is 6 hours ahead of the East Coast.

As part of the celebration of the Freedom of the Press Act of 1766, the Swedish Tourist Association has set up The Swedish Number for the world to talk to a random Swede.

So, this morning, before work, I called the American Swedish Number, 1-301-276-0600. At 8:20 AM in Savannah, GA, it is 2:20 PM in Sweden. I was connected to a nice lady, Malin. In speaking with her, I found out I was her third call, but first American.

Malin was in Stockholm. We compared the weather in Stockholm and Savannah. She has the nice weather we had yesterday. She was happy it was spring and she didn’t need a jacket. I told her it was wet here.

I asked her are can she see the aurora borealis/northern lights there. She said you can’t see them in Stockholm, but if you do further north in Sweden, you can. From her talking, Sweden sounds like Bryan County down here. It’s not too wide, but’s it’s a long county. Going back to the weather, she said the northern part of the county is cold and she goes there for skiing. Sweden may be smaller than the US, but they have there regions like we do. Malin isn’t fond of the cold, which sounds like my grandfathers that were from the Buffalo, NY region, but both settled in Nashville, TN later in life.

We talked about bilingualism. She said they learn English very young. They are now teaching it before Kindergarten. She also learned it from watching a lot of American and British TV. I was lucky to take 7 weeks of French and Spanish each in 7th grade, the earliest I was taught. I have trouble speaking anything except “C’est la vie” and “Si ce n’est pas l’amour qu’est-ce que c’est?” in French. That there shows the difference in foreign language skills in our schools.

As the bilingualism conversation was ending, we moved over to IKEA. I told her I probably would learn a few more Swedish words since my sister is about to start working for their distribution center here. We don’t have an IKEA here in Savannah, and the one in Jacksonville isn’t open, yet, but a distribution center is in Savannah.

The call was only 7 minutes, but it was interesting.

I decided to call in the Swedish evening at my lunch time. Calling again, I was connected to Sharawan in Göteborg (Gothenburg). He’s about 6 hrs from Stockholm. 19 year old kid in the midst of studying. He had just finished at the gym. Mainly talked about how far his city is from Stockholm. Wished him luck in his studies. I asked him what his name meant, but he said he didn’t know. I explained that on paper, I look like a male, but as he could hear, I was a female. This call only lasted for 5 minutes.

The interesting thing when calling, is the start of the call goes “Calling Sweden,” complete with the accent. It reminds me of the old Eurovision reels I’ve seen on YouTube when they are calling the nations for their points. Interesting that the Eurovision contest this year will be in Stockholm.

Third person – a nice lady didn’t catch name due to reception. From the sounds of it, it also started with an S. She was traveling home to Stockholm from Oslo, Norway. We spoke about the trains. She’s said it’s cheaper to fly than to use the train. She also visited the USA in November to visit Key Largo and the rest of the Florida Keys. I told her it can be cost prohibited for me fly to the to West Coast, but I can afford to drive up and down the East Coast. She had spoken to many Americans and had signed up for this as soon as she heard about it. I’d do it if we had one for Georgia, USA.

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Geek · Life · Memes

Flickr Coders Anger Me
Posted on December 6th, 2015 @ 7:07 pm

Warning, angry post ahead.

Yesterday, I was going to look at my Flickr archives to look at some photos for a certain day. Flickr at least hadn’t fucked that up yet.

Well guess what, the coders did!

They decided to FORCE everyone to use the Camera Roll for looking at their archives. Personally, I think this is a dumb as fuck move.

First off, the Camera Roll is in Beta. It still has bugs. That’s cool. It’s in Beta. I didn’t have to use Camera Roll unless I want to. KEY WORDS THERE PEOPLE! IF I WANTED TO. If I didn’t want to use it, but use another interface instead, I could do it.

This is what the Camera Roll looks like:

My new archives
(Click to enlarge)

This is the interface I wanted to use:
Other People's Archives
(Click to enlarge)

Now don’t get me wrong, Camera Roll has is good points. I like I can take a batch of photos and see if they all have the tag I want them to have, and if not, add the tag.

However, I don’t want to use it to see my archives. I want it to look like the calendar above.

Seems I wasn’t the only one that wanted this look. There is a thread about it: Clicking Archives Takes Me To My Camera Roll.

However, one of their “genius” developers (or customer service reps) said of the old code that some of the users asked about:

Ahh, the Archive pages! A brilliant piece of code from the early dawn of civilization. First Prometheus gave fire to man and then shortly thereafter, he gave us the Archive pages. That being said, we are going to be deprecating them in favor of the Camera Roll for date-based photo navigation.

Lest we forget the Camera Roll is STILL IN BETA!

I get paid to customize and quality test software as a living. However, using beta software in my personal life should be a choice, not something forced onto me.  My using the Camera Roll to edit photos and look at archives should be my choice.  However, if I want to use the calendar, until that Camera Roll is out of beta, then let me use the calendar.

Also, most website applications are made of AJAX-like code and can be processed on-the-fly.   Why can’t Flickr do the same for the calendar? I rather use old code that functions as it should than new code that doesn’t work.

Oh year, and the Camera Roll didn’t work for me last night.  I went to open a photo using the icon for photo opening.  For EVERY photos posted that specific day, the opening the photo in a new page did not work.  Now, again, I can accept that in beta code.  However, all I wanted was an alternative view where I could open that photo properly.

I think that got me the most angry about this is how Flicrk staff responds to all the concerns and questions when people ask about their new and improved! code that doesn’t work. Instead of listening to feedback, finding out what works and what doesn’t, and try to find a compromise to improve the functionality of Flickr, without alienating users, these developers do  something else.  They blame the users for not being receptive to the changes.  It’s like we’re dumb for not having the ability to to envision that the crap they provide us is wonderful.  A shiny turd is still a turd. I feel they harbor contempt for the end user.

Oh, and just because I CAN and WILL revisit this entry: Remember this quote of a #FlickrFail

They were saying we didn’t need Flickr Pro anymore 2 years ago? Well, guess what’s back: FLICKR PRO! They raised the prices for new users, but it’s funny how the CEO of Yahoo! said they didn’t need it.  For being such a smart and savvy businesswoman, clearly Marissa Meyer didn’t understand what made Flickr Flickr.

I laughed my head off when they brought Pro back.  Clearly someone somewhere realized they needed to bring it back and the service they provided when they terminated Pro wasn’t getting people to bite.

Also, in looking back at that post and the screenshots I provided, I am laughing at the fact that they had to go back and redo the design.  That crap they offered in 2013 is not what it offered now.  Again, they had to go back and clean it up.  Back in 2013 they removed the maps.  In 2015, the maps are back.  Personally, I think the 2015 design is better.  Maybe someone back there does have a clue, after all.

I can only hope that the people that realized some features should have never been removed and brought them back in a cleaner, just as intuitive version, will read the complaints and bring back the calendar.  No need to reinvent the wheels here, Flickr. When you’ve tweaked the wheel enough that it’s become a square block, then you’ve gone wrong somewhere.

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Geek · Head Scratchers

Some people never leave your heart…
Posted on September 16th, 2015 @ 6:51 pm

And some times, you just wish you had your mother around to talk with.  I could use her right now.

I e-mailed an old college friend that has moved across county.  I asked has he ever felt like if since graduation, did he mess up his life.  We had a lengthy back and forth.

Overall, I feel like I have missed out on certain things in my life that I wanted.  However, Shannon, and in town friend has hope for me.  If only I could be so optimistic.  Instead, I’m a realist.

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Family · Geek · Life

In trying to move on from my past, I revisited my past.
Posted on September 6th, 2015 @ 2:45 pm

“Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try”

I’ve been having this song on repeat since Friday.

HVJ Homecoming button

This weekend, I’ve found some items from high school and shared them with my high school classmates.  It’s been cathartic in nature.  I’ve got picture one said button from school.  I like to think my classmates are enjoying the photos.

While finding these trinkets from school, I found a birthday card from an ex-friend.  At first, I thought it was a card from my father.  Then, I saw the return address from another card stored with it and realized who gave me the card.  I gave it an smirk, read it, and then placed the cards back in the box it was stored in.

The other night, I went out to meet up with a friend and sang at karaoke.   She talked me into singing.  I sang “Just Like a Pill” by Pink.  Can’t you tell I’m on a Pink kick?  I had fun singing it.  The DJs had a little fun at me singing the word “bitch.”  I guess I got some bottled up emotions out with that one.

I’ve also been working on trying to recover old files on old hard drives again.  Anything I can recover, photo wise, from 2003-2005, prior to my mother’s death, will mean the world to me. That’s my project for the rest of the day.

I did take a photo on my parents, places it in a cheap IKEA frame, and decorated with a photo mat and some cupid stickers and gave it to my dad.  Also, worked on a simple fake flower project to see if I could do it.  Figured the next time my sister drinks, I’d acquire the empty liquor bottle and use it.

Oh yes je t’aime encore.

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Geek · Life

Nikon Coolpix Battery Door Fix
Posted on December 22nd, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

This video post is so I don’t forget it. I need to fix this camera door.

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Geek · Life · Videos

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