Saturday, May 31, 2008


The hack attack by Turkish hacker "iSKORPiTX" extended to all the web sites hosted by Shawnee Net. In 2006, he hacked more than 21,000 sites in a single day, sez Security Pro News. I should feel honored, sez PtG.

What happened is the home pages of the attacked site is replaced by Skorpy's page with a Turkish virtual flag fluttering above, and messages in four languages.

On the heels of server problems, and the subsequent hack attack, Shawnee Net site has been down for a 3 - 4 weeks, and it's still not back to where it was. A local geek tried to help, but he got a case of the drupals, and phoned-in sick-of-trying, due to an over-the-head-ache. Getting the site fully functional again is now job one for me.

Persistence in a righteous course brings reward, the I Ching saying goes. Another way of saying "Organization brings success," and Drupal offers a taxonomy platform for "Community Plumbing" that is unmatched in open source. Many cool websites use Drupal: The Onion, the New York Observer, and Yucatan Today, to name a few.

But all the high-tech information software in the world won't get the job done, if the folks in charge of things don't get the(ir) message(s) out. That includes city government, community organizations and businesses that fail to use electronic media to "get the word out."

I won't name names to blame for this failure (yet, because I'm hopeful a renewed persuasive push from me may water seeds I planted months ago), but kudos to Monica Tichenor and Beth Spezia at SIU-Public Broadcasting, and the news services at SIUC and JALC.

The new Shawnee Net theme is called "Forest Floor" and it has three columns (one of which I'm having trouble with at the moment). Still haven't mastered the color scheme, either, but the site will fully blossom soon.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hack attack

Surprised to find the Turkish flag flying on the Shawnee Net web site, with a message from Iskorpitx (TURKISH HACKER) , who has set some kind of record for hacking into web sites, according to Security Pro News.

And while Iskorpitx may be a super hacker, I am not impressed. Security at ShawneeNet has been lax, as the site is undergoing reconstruction.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Work to Bus & Bike 2 Work

Negotiations for the new Greyhound Bus location (the BP gas station at 905 E. Main St.) have been complicated by the fact that Greyhound Lines Inc. recently cut the commission rate for small agencies like mine from a top rate of 12% to 9%, and the moving costs, plus the monthly rent will cost more than anticipated.

Been pondering how to complete a deal that will benefit all parties but me. . . . Try to work it so I don't lose money. One solution is to involve the crew at BP more than originally planned, and pay a percent of the 9%. How much is hard to say because it's only been 1 full month since the rate was cut.

If they can do the job, I can stay home in the morning and work on the blook, as well as the script for Hold the Sausage -- which can't be done, if I'm answering the questions of people who are "double checking" what the 800 number told them, or what they read online.

But until an agreement is settled with the BP folks, the move is stalled.

Meanwhile, Bike 2 Work Day came off nicely. Weather was permitting, and Global Gourmet box lunches were delicious. The trophy for the individual who rode the farthest went to a guy from SIU School of Microbiology, whose name I forgot to ask when handing him the trophy (but will). I only know he rode 12 miles. The prize for most members of a business or organization went to Morris Library who had 8 staffers ride their bikes to work, and to lunch at the Pavilion.

It would have been better (merrier) if members of the business community and the local bicycle club participated, but there are two big reasons why not. Some live too far away (they say), ore they are too fearful to bycycle on a busy street. Some don't want perspiration to spoil their day; and some, like Rotary Breakfast Club, and the Carbondale Bicycle Club don't participate (I believe) because they don't want to sanction anything sponsored by Mayor Brad Cole.

The antipathy to Cole goes back to the first year, when a baby shower was scheduled by the staff at City Hall for the same day (although City Mgr. Jeff Doherty rode . . . and now-retired assistant City Mgr. Don Monty was a year-round biker to worker, so the City was represented. Even Brad borrowed a bicycle an rode into the parking lot for the tv camera.)

Speaking of the tv camera, I tried to have a bit of fun while Cole was being interviewed by Channel 3, walking behind him during the interview with the guy who won the Year Round Rider trophy, but the station went with an extreme close-up of Cole's face, and only about 5 seconds of clip, so no comic hi-jinx were seen on the newscast.

Bye for now. It's almost time for me to bike to the bus station.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Beautiful day for a ride to work

As noted elsewhere, today is Bike 2 Work Day; I'm stoked, spoked, and fit for a toke! Not a cloud in the sky. . . . A beautiful day for a ride, and everything is set for lunch at the Pavilion. Global Gourmet will cater the event; my mainn mann Darby McGrann will play guitar & croon a tune or two; and the trophies and prizes are good to go. . . . I hope there's a good turnout. . . . There's been a drop-off in participation since the first year, when even the City Manager joined in and rode to work.

If less people are involved, I blame myself. . . . I don't do enough of the person-to-person thing and follow-up. Not that I haven't tried; I've spoken one-on-one to various community and business leaders. Informally, but directly. And people pay lip service, but rarely pay hip service.

There are good reasons for not riding your bicycle to work today or any day -- too long a distance being the reason most people cite. Or not having a bike.

But those of you who know the freedom and joy of breezing along the street on a sunny Springy day like this one should ride their bicycles to Town Square this afternoon and spend an hour with some fellow travelers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Caddy chic

Preparing for future move to greener pastures, it's time to sell the old Caddy that brought me (back) here in 1996, when gasoline cost $1.30 per gallon.

It's been warehoused for 2-3 years, but last weekend, we got it started and moved into the sunlight for photos on Ebay, which has a helpful "Sell your vehicle" checklist (pdf).

Asking $750, but readers of this blog can get the "Bloggee Special" - $500, with a small magnetic statue of Mary for the dashboard thrown in.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Peddling Bike 2 Work Day 6

Gotta get out and about today. Pick up gift certificates from local bicycle shops: The Bike Surgeon, Carbondale Cycles, and Phoenix Cycles, and ordering trophies from Carbondale Trophy for Friday's Bike 2 Work Day event at Town Square Pavilion.

I wonder if more businesses will participate this year? Perhaps an Arthur Agency vs. 1187 Creative bragging rights competition? I know that every single employee at Carbondale Greyhound will be riding a bicycle to work. If any luggage has to be picked up that day from Amtrak, I may have to tow the suitcase on my bicycle as I did a few weeks ago. (Quicktime). The video is tagged with promo for the local Bike 2 Work Day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fast friends

One of the hats I wear is driver for a local company that transports Amtrak crew from station to motel and back, morning and night. Four days a week I drive, for the past couple of years, and I have met some cool conductors and ingenious engineers. Shall I use their real names? Conductors Dave, Stan, Josh, Jason, TT (the trophy-winning bike to worker), and engineers Jeremy, Steve, Bryan, and George? . . . No, I better not. ;-)

Over the months, we've had many brief conversations. Depending on who's riding, the conversation will be politics (local and national), sports, music, television, and sometimes Amtrak shop talk, which I do not overhear.

Adding up the minutes spent each day. It's more than I've conversed of some of my grown children in the past year. Those lovable train jockeys have become like family: like second-cousins, once removed.

George the engineer occasionally brings me a CD he has burned of new music: Ever heard of Ryan (not Bryan) Adams? A brilliant and prolific singer-songwriter. You can see him perform on Letterman courtesy of YouTube.

Conductor Dave-47 brings me the latest issue of The Onion humor magazine, which this week reveals a papal plot against the U.S. and a story about an "Area man determined to get money's worth from pay toilet." Dave himself is funnier than Onion. His strength is mimicry, but he gets off one-liners faster than a speeding locomotive. I should sign him as a client. Book him at PK's to warm-up the Tawl Paul crowd some night when the train gets in early. There has never been a really successful conductor comedian. He could be billed as Boxcar Bill. The only problem might be some heckler shouting out "All Are Bored!"

Speaking of Paul, Jeremy the engineer is a hard-core Paultard! Still supporting Ron Paul for President, because he opposes the Income Tax. I'll try to swing him to Obama before November. Convince him that Barack can fix the effed-up Federal Income Tax system -- as well as everything else that ails America -- when he gets in office. ;-)

One of the guys (actually two if you count Jeremy's ministership in the Church of Mail Order Ministers) is an ordained Baptist minister, who preaches at his church on Sundays (but never in the car). Like many other Americans, Rev. Stan is no fan of Obama's former pastor. Looks like Rev. Wright is getting thrown under the bus by Barack and the media as well.

Speaking of bus, the move of Carbondale Greyhound to the BP station on East Main St. has stalled due to no signed lease agreement yet, due to one thing and another. June 1 now seems the likely date accompli.

Speaking of dates, my Match subscription expires at the same time. I better get hooked up soon, or my choices may be limited to Greyhound bus customers (or bustomers as they're known in the biz). Unfortunately, things aren't working out with the nice woman for whom I created the blog of love last week. Turns out, she doesn't read blogs, because she is too busy with real life! Can you imagine that? I still love her, though. Just not in a bloggy way. Wow. That was fast. ;-)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Imagine no technical difficulties

Our old friend Peter the Great notes the lack of frequent posts to this blog, suggesting that I might be out of town. Oh, I'm out of town alright -- at the Marberry Arboretum and Green Earth, enjoying the Spring sights and sounds.

The reason why I haven't been blogging much is the medium is 'old-hat' for me now. I need a new drug: Drupal could be it (sure sounds like a drug), but there have been technical difficulties with transferring files to a new server, causing the ShawneeNet aggregator to go completely down. It's always something, ain't it?

The new server is another story. I was hosting with a company in New Lennox, IL, but the service went south a few months ago, so when it came time to renew the contract I went with a spiffy-looking cheap hosting outfit called 3iX, which didn't work out (couldn't upload files for 4 days!) so I canceled the account, but they're dragging on refunding my payment. I should have investigated more before paying for a full year in advance.

So top priority is getting the Shawnee Net site up to speed again, with the aggregator and community blog components.

Another reason why I don't blog much about The Dale these days is . . . distractions of pop culture: the Presidential race (Obama all the way), the NBA Playoffs (Hornets all the way), American Idol (David Archuleta all the way. Watch David's amazing version of 'Stand by Me' on Tuesday's Idol. If you like it, his rendition of 'Imagine' ain't bad either.)

Speaking of standing and imagining . . . the manager of Longbranch, stood at the Greyhound ticket counter yesterday passing out a flyer for a meeting of the Historic Town Square Coalition. People in this town still don't get the virtue of virtual media. I could give you a list of names (and will, in my blook) of business and organizational leaders who fail to use electronic media to promote their things. If you find Longbranch's menu on the internet, it's because I scanned it and posted it, at no charge to the Branch, years ago.

Call me a dreamer, Bloggee, but I believe the people of Carbondale, Illinois want better information delivery.

Imagine no news paper, I wonder if you can,
Nothing to recycle, or throw in the trash can
Imagine all the people, linked by silicon . . .
Yahoo-oo-oo may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one.
I hope some day, Carbondale Community Arts, Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce, etcetera will join us
And the town will be more fun.

Monday, May 05, 2008

the blook of love

We know who wrote Book of Love, but who (I wonder) will write the blook of love? Months ago, I signed-up for (endorsed by Dr. Phil) to meet a bicycle-riding woman in Portland, Oregon, where I plan(ned) to relocate when my work in Southern Illinois was done.

But now, it's certain I'll be staying here in C'dale for at least another year, due to expanding opportunities with Greyhound, and local-focus projects, like the ShawneeNet web site (completely down at the moment, due to technical difficulties beyond my time to figure out), the Vegetable House film, and the (long-promised, now on back-burner) blook.

Oh, and I met a nice local woman, who's on the front burner.

Shall I write the Blook of Love? To start, I'll need a blog of love -- and her permission. ;-)