Site was down for a while

JISHOU, HUNAN — Spammers or hackers were attacking all the WordPress sites hosted at Planet Earth Hosting over the weekend, at least on the server this sites shares, so our hosts shut us all down until they could resolve the issue. So, if you tried to access Wheat-Dogg’s World recently, you probably got nothing at all. Even the DNS entries were coming up blank. But all seems OK now. We are back in operation. The hackers or spammers were apparently hitting the login page for WordPress, trying to gain access to the WP sites on the server. Earlier versions of WP may have had a vulnerability they were trying to exploit, but this site is up to date. The shutdown was frustrating, because there was nothing I could do about it, and I had blogs in mind to post over the weekend, which was when I had time to write. Now classes have started, so you’ll just have to wait a few more days.

A new writing gig

JISHOU, HUNAN — A feller approached me the other day about writing for his blog, Better Off Bitcoin. Unpaid, but it’s exposure, so I took Justin Hawley up on the offer. So far, I’ve written only two blogs there. One is cribbed from a post I wrote here, Moving Money the Modern Way, and another I just penned today, Why I Bitcoin. I got more than 330 hits on the first one, not bad for my first run. One reader noticed that I’ve been posting pages at Little Green Footballs. I started that a few months ago, whenever I caught something interesting I wanted to share there. It’s not exactly blogging — more like clipping and commenting — but I find some items don’t suit this blog very well. LGF gives me another venue to share my thoughts. I’ve written diairies at The Daily Kos in the past, but so much this past year. It seems I can only keep up with one political blog at a time, and Daily Kos has too much stuff going on for me to keep up with. Maybe I’ll write there again soon, if the muse visits me. The feeds from here to Twitter ...

Runaway plugins re-send my blogs to Twitter, Facebook

JISHOU, HUNAN — Today’s website weirdness is the simultaneous flooding of my Twitter and Facebook feeds with “edits” of previous posts from this blog, some from as far back as 2006! I was sleeping at the time, so I know it wasn’t me! I have two WordPress plugins that link to my Twitter feed and Facebook timeline. If they are behaving themselves, as I post something in this blog, WP-to-Twitter sends out a tweet with a shortlink, and Wordbooker puts a snippet in my Facebook timeline. Some weeks ago, I added another plugin from AtContent, a blog sharing service. Last night (China time), I decided to re-post an interesting article from another AtContent user, and activated the plugin. Then I went to bed. In the morning, I found an urgent email from my friend, PK, telling me my blog had run amuck. And sure enough, my Twitter feed had tweet after tweet of blogs, in somewhat random order, and my Facebook timeline contained blogs from years ago. So, I pulled deactivated all three plugins, and went about cleaning up my Twitter and Facebook feeds. Right now, only the Twitter plugin is turned on. I’m going to turn on Wordbooker just ...

Eight years and 1,000 posts!

JISHOU, HUNAN — Two milestones for Wheat-dogg’s World at almost the same time! I started this blog Jan. 18, 2006. As usual, I failed to remember this date until just now — a week after the anniversary date. In like fashion, I failed to notice that my rant about stories headlined “x things about y that something something z” was my 1,000th post. There’s more to come. Please stand by.

Now accepting Bitcoin, Litecoin donations

JISHOU, HUNAN — A growing number of merchants, including most recently TigerDirect, are now taking Bitcoin payments. So, now so am I. If you look in the right hand sidebar, you’ll see two little widgets: one for Bitcoin (the gold-colored one) and one for Litecoin (the silver-colored one). Clicking on either one will reveal my public wallet address and QR code, which you can use to send donations to help support this site. Any donation, no matter how small, will be gratefully accepted. The widget comes courtesy of Coinwidget. You can visit their site to get your own widget. I’ve still got a wait-and-see attitude toward Bitcoin and the many crypto-currencies it has inspired. Its value against the dollar and euro has settled down around $800/€600 these last few weeks, so it seems to heading toward some kind of stability. In addition, several online merchants, including TigerDirect and, are now accepting Bitcoins as a payment option. ATMs in Hong Kong and elsewhere are doing a brisk business, and the Chinese continue to buy Bitcoins at a phenomenal rate. You visit to see a realtime graphic showing the flow of Bitcoins into major national markets. Most of the flow ...

Fixing Windows 7: DVD-ROM drives and USB keys

JISHOU, HUNAN — Windows 7 upgraders, are you having trouble with Win7 not recognizing the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive after the install? China Construction Bank users, is Win7 refusing to see your USB key? If so, read on! Last week, I successfully upgraded my Lenovo laptop from Vista Home to Windows 7 Ultimate. Everything went well, except for the DVD-ROM drive not working. This made it somewhat more difficult to re-install Office, but I got around that by creating a Virtual CD-ROM folder on my hard drive and fooling Windows into installing from that folder. I used PowerISO, by the way. This drive has been giving me problems since I got this computer almost five years ago. I don’t use the DVD-ROM drive much anyway, so I put dealing with the malfunction off for another day. That day came today. Happy New Year! Win7 also did not recognize the USB key from my Chinese bank, which I need to access online banking. That’s a bigger problem than an erratic DVD-ROM drive, so I dove into trying to fix it. China Construction Bank’s USB key imitates a CD-ROM drive, to install the necessary security certificate on first use. When I used ...

Happy New Year!

JISHOU, HUNAN — Maybe the ball in Times Square hasn’t dropped yet, but here in China it is now 2014. My New Year’s Eve was spent giving final exams all day, except for the usual 2.5 hour midday break. I spent my evening catching up on Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and am looking forward to the next several days of relative peace and quiet — aside from reading exams and calculating grades. Classes are over, my exams are done, and all the holiday parties have been put to bed. More about those later. May your every day be happy and bright! 新年快乐! Xin nian kuai le!

The new Wheat-dogg’s World 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — Same old stuff in a bright, new package! While rebuilding the site this afternoon was a pain in the butt, considering all the other things on my To-Do list, the result is quite pleasing, if I do say so myself. The most noticeable change is the new theme, called Montezuma, created by the same shop that made the last theme, Atahualpa. I’ve moved from a three-column format to a two-column design, but may return to three-columns in the future. A few plugins have changed. The weather plugin I had before was eight years old, and I’ve switched to a new one developed by Weather Underground. For social networking, I’ve switched to the AddThis plugin, which offers the usual social media, as well two of the most popular social networks in China, Sina Weibo and Qzone. WPTouch should be offering a mobile-ready site to mobile users, as before. Wordbooker, which links my Facebook status and the blog, may or may not be working. The webserver seems to be blocking some curl_exec functions. Given the situation I was left in this week, with a demolished site and no decent backups, I’ve added a new plugin, UpDraft, which will automatically ...

Back in business again

JISHOU, HUNAN — I took about 10 days off from blogging, focusing on school work and planning for a short junket to Guangzhou on the 15th to 17th. When I got around to blogging about the trip, I discovered my site was G-O-N-E. Vanished. Desaparecido. Nearly all the files in my public_html directory were missing. I was hacked big time! Not only that, my webhosts backup server had also had problems, so they had no backups of the files. On the bright side, the databases were untouched, so rebuilding the site is not a big deal. Just a nuisance. Thanks so fucking much, Mr Hacker Dude. It’s not like I have anything else to do this afternoon. So, depending on when you visit this site, it may look different than before. I am considering changing to another theme, but for right now it’s the same look as before. I need to re-enable the plugins I had running, and take care of a few other cosmetic items first. Other than that, I’m fine. How’s your day going?

Guest blog — Carla Wu: Is everything all right?

Guest blog -- Carla Wu: Is everything all right?
YUEYANG, HUNAN — Carla Wu (吴双 Wu Shuang) is a former student of mine, graduating in 2011. In August she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, had surgery to remove a tumor on her femur, and has had two rounds of chemotherapy so far. Today I am publishing a poem she put in her Qzone. We hope you like it. Is everything all right? It’s already been more than two months. As for today, in a word, it’s nice to be alive. I went home, so, that’s ok. I can sleep and be lazy every day, so, that’s ok. I eat a meal, have a drink, or on a nice day, can sit quietly in the sunshine in the courtyard, so, that’s ok. I have a lot of time to think about things every day, so, that’s ok. I can read and write every day, so, that’s ok. If I am bored, I can watch TV, so, that’s ok. On sunny afternoons, I can go out for a walk, so that’s also good. Sometimes, a lot of childhood friends come over to play cards, or to chat with me, so, that’s ok. At night I can see the limitless night sky, so, ...

Only once has it happened to me

    I’m one of those early adopters of Gmail — no digits after my name. Last week, I got a polite email from a property maintenance company regarding some apartment units in Florida that they believed I owned. They were sending me an estimate of repairs needed by some of the units. Needless to say, I don’t any property in Florida, and the sender apologized for the confusion when I pointed out the error. But, now I know how much it costs to fix up apartment units in Florida.

(Almost) every SF spaceship in one giant image

JISHOU, HUNAN — Here’s a project every science fiction fan should appreciate. An artist has created a digital poster depicting hundreds of space ships from TV, movies and games — to scale! The creator of this mammoth project is DeviantARTist Dirk Loechel, who did a lot of research to scale the ships as accurately as possible. Since these are all fictional spacecraft, here are some real-life craft to give you an idea of the size of these things. The International Space Station is about 109 m wide, about 13 m shorter than the USS Defiant from the Star Trek universe. (Find the Defiant-class near the right edge of the poster, about halfway down.) Star Trek’s USS Enterprise is about three times longer, roughly the size of the US Navy supercarrier, the USS Nimitz. The Saturn V rocket used to launch the Apollo spacecraft in the 1960s and ’70s is about as tall as the ISS is wide. As an aside, the Enterprise is pretty puny compared to an Imperial Destroyer of the Star Wars universe.
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