OMG was I hacked or is the hard disk just full

Think we were hacked on Tongfamily at 5AM this morning. Found that we were stuck at the home page going to the WP install page. There are many “notes”:http://wordpress.org/support/topic/180772/page/2 about this, but it can happen because of a weak password on your FTP or your WordPress admin accounts. I have both and have changed all of them. More sadly, if your hosting provider has a compromised password, then someone can get in and attack everything.

My hack looks like I just get to “Click here to install WordPress page”:http://www.jonlee.ca/follow-up-wordpress-blog-hacked/ but of course, no one is really sure if it was hacked or not, since at that point, you are really vulnerable. In looking at the mysql databases, I discovered that the wp_options table was corrupted and gone. Sad to say, I didn’t do a backup, even though bluehost.com makes it easy to do! I actually did it and then lost the hard disk of the MacBook. So I”m doubly stupid.

net, net for everyone else:

1. Make a backup of everything. On “bluehost”:http://bluehost.com, this is a just a click on backup wizard
2. Export all your wordpress entries so you have a text file you can pour back into a clean installation.

The scary thing of course is with megabytes and megabytes on the server, I don’t know what else is on here. Probably should do a clean install of WordPress just to make sure.

So how do you recover. Well, without a valid options, you have a big problem. I actually created a new wordpress installation and then copied out the wp_options directory. Actually, it was tougher than that. I had an install that had no default prefix, so it was just options. It turns out that for some bizarre reason, some of the options change, in fact there is a field called user_roles that actually changes depending on the prefix, so it was wp_user_roles in one install and just user_roles in another. Arggh.

I then made another mistake because when I logged on, I got a “unable to access page” when I tried to to to the wp_admin page. This was because of the wierd wp_options name change. So I copied in a new wp_user table, but since I copied from a random place, I also copied in the wp_metadata table. this table like the wp_options has something two fields that actually change names depending on the prefix (the default is wp_), so you have to change those too.

Final issue is that I noticed that my Bluehost hard drive is 98% full. You can actually see your disk status in cpanel which is cool. Maybe why the wp_options got wiped out, so maybe it wasn’t a hack?

Playing 5.1 audio from a MacBook

This Much I Know – » 5.1 surround sound playback on Mac (and maybe Apple TV)

QuickTime doesn’t come with an [tag]AC-3[/tag] codec by default. There is an open-source QuickTime component available, called A52Codec, which enables QuickTime to open, import and export AC-3 audio. (It does this using a free AC-3 library called liba52.) A52Codec provides some form of support for working with AC-3 under QuickTime, at least for file conversion and export. What the A52Codec can’t do, however, is to enable applications to stream encoded AC-3 data straight to the optical output on the Mac.

Apple’s DVD Player application – included for free on every Mac – can play the 5.1 AC-3 audio from a physical DVD directly through the optical output of your Mac. DVD Player does this by streaming the encoded AC-3 straight from the DVD to the optical out, bypassing QuickTime. Some other players – notably VLC (which also uses liba52) – will stream AC-3 straight to your optical output, too. But any application which uses QuickTime for its audio playback – and this includes Front Row, iTunes, and QuickTime Player – works by first decoding audio into its discrete channels, before outputting it to your system audio device. The AC-3 encoding is lost in the process. So if you want a Mac Mini and Front Row to run your home theatre, with 5.1 sound from third-party movie files, then it’s not so easy.

Next Generation Home Theater

If you were to build a Home Theater today, it would be much different from a few years ago. Here is what I’d get:

* Epson 1080p projector. We just got one for the office. Kind of a miracle of technology
* MacBook Blu Ray. Ok, this hasn’t shipped yet, but if you look at it a MacBook has digital optical output through a Toslink Mini, it has DVI output as well, so it is a really nice digital device. Also for control, you can have another Mac control it as the main controller, or control it through your iPhone or use the infrared thingy. Pretty cool and it saves you from getting a dedicated DVD player that you have to control. Plus you get Internet and gaming on the same box. The best thing will be if they ship it with a solid state drive, so you don’t have to worry about hard drive failures
* Time capsule galore. Digitize all your movies and stick them on a terabyte server in case you get tired of flipping. With Blu Ray, the disks at 30GB each, so you only get about 30 on a TB drive, but for DVD quality, ,you get more like 300.
* AVR. You still need something that has got big watts to drive the speakers. Last time I used Onkyo and then switched to an internet brand called Outlaw, so need to recheck this.
* Speakers. Of course you need 7.1 output as well.
* Home distribution. With wifi everywhere, you can use Airport Express to feed just about any existing stereo or more simply, stick an iPod Touch with Logitech Pure Fi everywhere. This has great speakers and is also an AM/FM clock radio.

The perfect home theater system using Macbook’s

Been experimenting with the Macbook’s as a way to drive a home theater. it is actually quite awesome what you can do assuming you really want something easy to use. Here is what I’ve found:

# MacBook Pro’s has DVI and can convert to VGA. With older televisions (like my 10 year old Mitsubishi 73903) that have only component input, you need a VGA to Component converter. With newer televisions that have HDMI, you just need a DVI to HDMI cable like “Amazon”:http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Unlimited-6-Feet-Dvi-d-PCM-2296-06/dp/B0007MWE1E/ref=pd_bxgy_e_text_b carries for $15.
# MacBook’s detect the new display and have a mirroring mode so that you can see your video on the screen. They only output two channel stereo, so you have to find something that take out the output as 5.1 channel. Still looking for that.
# Still it means that you can now have a box that shows the Internet, shows videos, plays DVDs and with Front Row, you have a very nice system. My Mitsubishi only like 1080i input so if the breakout box does 720x480p, you are done. In my case, my old box only does 640x480p, so I have to live with letterboxing or find a new VGA to Component converter.
# Now if you have a bluetooth mouse and keyboard, you can now work just fine along with the Front Row remote.
# But, the best mode is to have another MacBook by the user. That is great because Mac’s have this Share Screen feature. What is so cool about the Mac implementation is that when you have a machine with two displays, it shows *both* displays on the mac on your lap. So, n, net, you have the dream, show anything on the screen *and* you can surf the internet at your seat. I’m in heaven.
# More amazing is that the “MacBook Pro”:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2541 supports digital optical input (Toslink). It sasy that is accepts a standard Toslink cable with a Toslink mini-plug adapter for both input and output, so all you need is a Toslink mini-plug adapter. These aren’t expensive. “Amazon”:http://www.amazon.com/Toslink-To-Optical-Mini-Adapter/dp/B0002MQGRM has then for $2.50 each or for $11, get a “Toslink to miniplug cable”:
http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-THIN-TOSLINK-MINIPLUG-THINTOSMIN6/dp/B00016W6Y6/ref=pd_cp_e_2?pf_rd_p=413863501&pf_rd_s=center-41&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0002MQGRM&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0XEB8P4ETE6SC6M9AT6J ehivh id 2 meters long.

What’s needed to complete the picture:

# If you are using a MacBook Air, you need to find a box that speaks 5.1 audio digital or Toslink optical to an audio video receiver. If you are using a MacBook or MacBook Pro, you need to find a mini-plug adapter since these both allow optical input.
# If you wait for October, the rumor is that the new MacBooks will have Blu Ray, so at that point you are really set.
# If you are starting from the ground up, look at speakers that just need wireless audio to each. Then the system is just, the speakers whereever there is AC power, the MacBook for displaying and then the
# Need to find a good DVI to component output for my old RPTV. “HDFury”:http://www.hdfury.com/ might be the device, it is tiny, but is HDMI input that converts to RGB Component on the other side, so my old Mitsubishi gets a lease on life. It takes HDMI or DVI input and produces 1080p output into. the main issue here is that while computers don’t have copy protection through DVI, dedicated Blu Ray players do have HDCP copy protection, so they disallow showing them at high resolution through unprotected analog. Note to self, this is another reason to like a simple Mac as a player. Right now HDFury is on preorder for HDFury2. Both of these devices, take HDMI input and output through a VGA connector, so you need a VGA to component cable to make it work properly (they include it). The thing cost $250 though, so really have to want it. “AVS Forum”:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=858154 mentions the HDFury and also something called the VisionFC4 whcih does the same thing of HDMI to component. Most folks seem to the “like”:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=861296 the HDFury best.

MacBook Air update

Apple to Update MacBook Air to Penryn Soon? – Mac Rumors

The external design is to remain the same, but the new MacBook Air is said to incorporate a new Penryn-class processor “from 2.0GHz and potentially beyond”. To compensate, Apple will be including a higher capacity battery.

In fact, the new revision of the MacBook Air will draw it much more in-line with the current MacBook internals. Expect to see SSD prices in-line with the current revision, however the hard drive version of the MacBook Air will likely be upgraded to 120 GB, and optionally 160 GB, due to falling prices for 1.8-inch hard drives.
PhoneNews is not a typical source of Apple rumors, but appears to have a reasonably good reputation.

The timeframe for such an update is also reasonable with earlier reports indicating that Intel was planning on a Penryn update to the custom MacBook Air processor. Several readers, however, had hoped that Apple would simply choose to utilize the more power-efficient chips at the same processor speeds in order to extend battery life.

Surround Speaker Systems

Well after picking out the Epson 1080UB Pro Cinema projector as the projector of choice and great for movie afternoons, what do you do about the all important sound system? Well, normally, you normally buy a big honking box that’s called an AVR (audio/video receiver) and then speakers that need big old analog wires. But if everything is digital isn’t there a better way to get 7.1 surround sound without the wires.

Ideally we need a set of wireless speakers that connect via some sort of USB connector to a MacBook to produce great sound and are ideally just use traditional Wifi to get the digital inputs. Each would then have their own amplifier and all you need is the power. So what’s a person to do if you don’t want dedicated A/V components and want to use just a Mac? Well, its a little hard to search for google:”home theater sound system”, but here are some choices that don’t require a wiring closet:

* “Yamaha YSP-4000″:http://reviews.cnet.com/surround-speaker-systems/yamaha-ysp-4000-digital/4505-7868_7-32570630.html?tag=tpr. Well, one solution is a single speaker that uses signal procesing to get simulated surround sound. This is the top of the line $1800 all-in-one that is 40.5″x7.6″x575” and weighs 34 pounds. It mounts on the wall below your projection screen/flat screen TV. You then get a matching subwoofer YST-FSW150 for $280, run a calibration for your room and you are set! It processes all formats from Dolby Digital, DTS, DTS:Neo 6 and only misses Dolby TrueHD found on Blueray. The inputs are optical/coax digital and two HDMI inputs. So from a computer, you need a DVI/HDMI converter cable (cheap) and then you need some magic box and software that takes USB and makes it coax digital (need to find that one). The main issue is that even with a bigger subwoofer, it lacks punch (maybe a gigantic “SVS”:http://www.svsound.com/products-sub-cyl.cfmgarbage can 20-39 PC Plus subwoofer for $850 would help get you down to 20Hz!)
* “Thiel THIELnet”:http://www.engadget.com/tag/ip+speakers/ is brand new, but basically each speaker SCS4D has a 250-watt amplifier and the Subwoofer SSD1 area ll IP addressable. There is a magic box, the dB1 that takes traditional signals and convert them to internet protocol. There is just a “Thielnet.net”:http://thielnet.net website right now, but it is the rigth way to do things. There is a dB1 distributed processor that you put in your wiring closet. It knows where the IP speakers are and there is a Windows application that talks to it. You can have 8 zones for instance.

There are as an aside a host of really good internet only home theater folks I’ve used. You don’t need to buy in a store and the quality is amazingly good cutting out the middle man. Both “Axiom”:http://axiomaudio.com and “SVS”:http://svsound.com have been great vendors for me.

Apple ships 2.5M Macs and 11M iPods in 3Q2008

These are just stunning “numbers”:http://www.macrumors.com/2008/07/21/apple-announces-1-07-billion-in-profit-for-q3-2008/ and of course the stock traded down since they are explaining that there will be margin pressure. Most interesting:

* Mac YTY unit growth is 41%
* Looks like they will refresh MacBook and MacBook Pro and prices are coming down the entry level MacBook Pro drops to $1800 from $2000 and the MacBook to $1000. These are very aggressive prices for sure.
* iPod YTY is 11% (I’m sure iPhone are taking away)
* Appstore shows 25M downloads
* Of the 2.5M Macs, 500K were sold by Apple retail (amazing!)
* iPhone “flying”:http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/07/20/iphone_3g_now_all_but_sold_out_in_38_states.html off the shelf and are out of stock in 38 states.
* There are “rumors”:http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/07/21/apple_plans_mystery_product_transition_before_septembers_end.html of a MacBook Touch or maybe a Blackberry-sized iTouch. No one knows.