The Lofoten Islands, Norway

I will never forget my first siting of Lofoten. Tall craggy peaks fringed with snow jut out of the Arctic Ocean like some kind of ancient monster. They appear so inhospitable from the sky (and the land for that matter) that you wonder how humans have managed to survive here for 6000 years.

Source: The Lofoten Islands, Norway

Tom Archer has captured some amazing pictures in Norway, they seem almost otherworldly and I absolutely LOVE them!

Fun with fail2ban and WordPress

We run some webservers at work as a part of the services we offer our customers, we’re not a large host by a long shot, but we still get a large amount of brute force attacks against the WordPress installs we run.

I’ve been monitoring the servers and just manually dealing with them using a quick firewall block whenever I’ve seen these in the past, but unfortunately we’ve passed the point of this being a viable solution.

Enter fail2ban.

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I love joined subqueries in MySQL

So I was looking into ways of improving the load times of a project, and knowing SQL is one of my biggest weaknesses (in my own humble opinion), I figured there might be a fair bit to gain by researching a bit around it, which lead to a friend linking me to

Judging by his benchmarks on a low amount of data points, he discovered a massive leap between a subquery and a joined subquery. I’ve been using join statements all along (and in some cases multiple queries like the schmuck I am) so I figured it was worth giving this a shot on the data I was working with. I mention the data points as it was put up in the comments that the amount of data he queried against was very low, I hit mine against ~50 000 rows of data

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What got me into development

I had the weirdest memory hit me this morning, and it made me chuckle a little (people at bus stops give you odd looks if you laugh randomly); What got me into development in the first place.

Many moons ago (actually ~15 years ago I believe) I was playing a text based strategy game, that featured a chat, which led to me discovering IRC. Back then full scale IRC “bundles” were all the rage, and I remember looking long and hard to find a cool one.

I’d like to point out that I was an awkward teen with a horrible sense of humor…much like now, except substitute teen with “pretend adult”.

This was how I met my first friend online, Chris, as we both discovered the same bundled script (named MurderScript, because it was a friendly one) which auto-joined all users to their own IRC channel, and this was where we met.

One day as I got home from school I connected, and as soon as I joined, the cheesiest line ever came faster than I could blink:

Oh no! It’s Clorith, run for cover and don’t bend over!

It seems somewhat juvenile now, but this was the most fascinating thing to me, HOW did he do this magical thing, at first I actually believed he had been sitting there waiting for me to join just to write that.

My IRC poison of choice is mIRC, now as then, and it comes with its own scripting language (aptly acronymified down to mSL), which lets you customize your experience to the tiniest detail.

I took this, I wrote scripts, MANY scripts. I like to think I became very good at them. But in the long run, I wanted more!

I wanted to do something cool that others could make use of as well. I started with some flash (actionscript anyone?), but quickly moved away form this as it relied on coldfusion and I didn’t much care for it.

So I discovered PHP instead, it let me do anything I set my mind to, and I loved it!

So now I have a job where I get to do development, and I have a hobby which lets me develop, all thanks to that one juvenile joke so many years back… and I still chuckle thinking of my excitement that day.