It’s Not That Apple Forced an Album Into Your iTunes …

it’s that they chose U2. With the Beats staff on board, you’d think that someone would have pointed out that U2, while iconic, hasn’t been relevant for years.

I know there’s a long relationship between U2 and Apple, and making the U2 album a free album purchasable through iTunes would have been an amazing gesture. But, if you want to give people a “gift” (and, really, use it as a lever to get credit cards for Apple Pay), there are loads of other artists that would have had more resonance.

(My guess for artist with most cross-cultural appeal: Lorde.)

WordPress 4.0 is the Perfect Time for Some WordPress House Cleaning

WordPress 4.0 is out, and since it’s a major upgrade, you’ll need to manage the upgrade yourself. It’s easy (just click a button), but while you’re in there, there’s some house cleaning your probably should do.

WordPress themes and plugins are an awesome part of the WordPress ecosystem. Need a feature that WordPress doesn’t have out of the box? Someone has probably built a plugin. Want to give your site a fresh coat of paint? Go grab a theme.

The problem is, you’re now installing someone else’s potentially bad code into your site.

And, using someone else’s code on your site can be a big problem.

Not only can your site get hacked, but your site could end up being used to hack or attack others, which could lead to you getting your site shut down. You probably don’t want that.

While you’re in your WordPress admin area, after you clicked the upgrade to 4.0 button, take a little time to clean up your install.

  • Make a backup of your site. (You should always have a backup of your site.)
  • Go to the Updates section of the Dashboard and make sure your themes and plugins are up-to-date. [1]
  • Go through your plugins and identify any that you’re not using any more, deactivate them (if active), and delete them. You can always install them again. By deleting old, unused plugins, you’re reducing the surface area that can be used to compromise your site.
  • Do the same for your themes. Yeah, we all went through and installed 50 themes one day, thinking how great it would be to switch themes at will. How many did you really use? How many even look good any more? Delete them.
  • Now, if you’re using a caching plugin (which you should be to get great performance), clear your cache to ensure that you get any of that potentially bad code off of disk.

Set a reminder in your calendar to do this every couple of months (at a minimum). It’ll only take you a few minutes, and reduce the likelihood that your site becomes a victim.


  1. If you’ve got a theme or a plugin that you can’t update because you’ve hacked modifications into it, you should see if you can download the newest version and port your modifications into that version of the code. Yeah, it’s a pain, but less painful than having to go through looking to see how badly compromised it is.

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Every Simpsons Ever

Every Simpsons Ever is such a brilliant ploy by FXX. I mean, I’m sure in some board room somewhere, some guy jokingly said “I know, we’ll just show every Simpsons in a row, from start to finish.” Then he laughed.

Then someone else said “Oh my, that’s brilliant.”

And it is.

It made me think about my favorite Simpsons episodes. I’m not sure I can really pin down a list. Chances are as soon as I picked five, I’d think of five more. Then five more. Then five more.

So, right now, here are some of my favorite Simpsons episodes, particularly since many of them have been on over the last day or two.

“Cape Feare” – The Simpsons go into the witness protection program. Most notable for the amazing never ending Sideshow Bob rake gag.

Ssbobrake

“Lemon of Troy” – The Simpsons vs. Shelbyville. “Shake harder boy” is something I quote with regularity.

YVwP1UF

“Itchy & Scratchy Land” – Not only does it have the great Bort license plate, but I quote “Where nothing can possibly go wrong (pronounced bligh). Possibly go wrong. That’s the first thing that’s ever gone wrong” all the time.

Bort

“Bart vs. Australia” – The boot. The device to make water go the correct direction down the toilet. “Hey Andy!”

“Deep Space Homer” – Homer goes into space. Amazing from the get go. Kent Brockman giving into our new alien overlords. The inanimate carbon rod. “Go, Dad, Go.”

Ruffled

Careful, they’re ruffled!

“A Fish Called Selma” – The entire Planet of the Apes musical. “I hate every ape I see, from chimpan-A to chimpan-Z.”

And those all come from before season 7. There’s at least four or five more good seasons of The Simpsons (where good means “somewhere between 3 and 5 classic episodes per season”). Then it drops down to maybe 1–3 classic episodes per season for the next few seasons. An unbelievable run.

I think if Fox just turned FXX into an all Simpsons, all the time network (which they are going to do online with the FXNOW app), it might do better ratings than FXX does normally.

Mac App Store Won’t Update Apps? This Might Help.

For the last couple of weeks, every time I got an update from the Mac App Store (for a non-system application), I’d go to update it, and the Mac App Store would ask for my password, think, and then fail with “There was an error in the App Store. Please try again later (20)”.

No amount of googling lead me to an answer, but it did lead me to some nifty debugging. For instance, apparently the App Store has a debug menu. I turned that on, turned up logging, and then watched my console log. It was complaining about the application receipt (the proof that you purchased the application).

So, back to the google to try to see if anyone ever found that error. I thought “maybe the App Store can’t read the place where I have receipts.” I tried to figure out where that is, which lead me to this post talking about how the App Store keeps receipts around in memory.

Well, I figured, I could give it a shot …

killall -KILL storeagent

and voilà, my App Store could update again.

(Which also means a reboot would have worked, but I go out of my way to not reboot my machine, if I can avoid it.)

Great Musical TV Scenes

Following up on the exercise of highlighting some great musical movie scenes, here are some great musical TV scenes. I’ll only give five, but I probably could have gone on for a billion.

Scrubs – How To Save a Life

Scrubs used music as well as any show on TV. I don’t think anything crushed me more than this montage. Dr. Cox, the strong, superhuman doctor loses it over The Fray’s “How to Save a Life”. Still causes me to choke up.

(Here’s another great “Scrubs” musical moment …)

(What the hell, here’s another … )

Coupling – Spiderman

Pre-“Doctor Who” Steven Moffat builds up to this scene over three seasons of TV, imbues it with such meaning, and then undercuts it with the “Spiderman” theme, a call back to a previous episode.

The first three season of “Coupling” are easily amongst the top five sitcoms of all time. Watch the two scenes in order.

Veronica Mars – It Never Rains in Southern California

You know the teen noir of “Veronica Mars” couldn’t end on a really happy note, but this might be the most fitting ending for a show that perfectly hit the greys of Neptune, California.

Chuck – I’m a Pilot

Like “Scrubs”, “Chuck” had a billion great musical moments. I love the way “I’m a Pilot” works perfectly with the landing of the parachuting soldiers and Chuck’s dash to save Sarah.

(For good measure, here’s another amazing scene from “Chuck” … JEFFSTER!)

Supernatural – Carry On My Wayward Son

Every season, “Supernatural” does a fantastic montage at the start of the season finale to “Carry On My Wayward Son”. They really do excel at the montage.

Here’s basically eight of them, back to back.

(For good measure, here’s Jensen Ackles lip syncing “Eye of the Tiger”.)

Great Musical Movie Scenes

Kim at Midnight Snark made a great post highlighting some of her favorite musical movie scenes. While driving home this weekend, it got me thinking about what would be on my list. This is probably too off-the-cuff, but they’re the scenes that stuck out in my head.

Magnolia – Wise Up

Paul Thomas Anderson has a ton of great musical scenes in his movies (damn near every scene in Boogie Nights), but I don’t think anything is more amazing than the “Wise Up” montage from Magnolia. It’s just thematically and tonally perfect. Touching and sad and perfect.

I need to go watch Magnolia again.

(I also could have included the “Sister Christian” scene from Boogie Nights, but I’ve decided to only include one scene per director.)

Almost Famous – Tiny Dancer

Speaking of directors with amazing musical scenes, Cameron Crowe pretty much always has at least one phenomenal musical scene per movie. This had every chance of being cheesy, but the movie and character completely earn this cathartic sing-along.

(And man, Kate Hudson kills it in this movie. She needs to find herself a new Cameron Crowe movie.)

(Oh, and yeah, could have included Say Anything here. Man, Cameron Crowe probably has two ridiculously iconic scenes on his own.)

Office Space – Still

PC Load Letter, what the fuck does that mean?

Step-Brothers – Sweet Child O’Mine

Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn just crush it. Still hard to pick between this and “Boats ’n Hoes”. Also, you’ve heard of my a cappella obsession, right?

The Blues Brothers – Rawhide

I love this movie so, so much. The music is amazing, and winning over the bar that loves both types of music—country and western— with “Rawhide” and then “Stand By Your Man” is perfect.

Bringing the whip into play, genius.

I could go on for another 30 clips. I think it might be more fun to do this with TV scenes. I can think of a million.

And This is Why Linux Will Never Win the Desktop …

I have a degree in Computer Engineering.

I work with computers all day for a living.

I am pretty well versed in Linux, networking, etc.

I just spent hours googling and trying different things before finally finding these steps, and now I have a working VPN on an Ubuntu desktop. I’m pretty sure your average user couldn’t follow those steps.

(Now, of course, the argument would be that if more folks used Linux, then software vendors would produce better software for it. That’s a chicken-or-the-egg problem that is going to continue to leave Linux a distant third in desktop use.)

Anyway, it works now. All so I can use a VPN inside a virtual machine without disrupting my normal network use.