Archive for the ‘problem’ Category

Yikes! “Removal from Google’s Index”

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

I hate it when people with vacuous business models try to sap my web reputation and waste my time.

Earlier this week, Google sent me a friendly note with the subject line: “Removal from Google’s Index.” My first thought was that it was a scam or a phishing attempt.  But no, after examining the links carefully and doing a couple web searches, it turned out to be legit.

A blog we host was running WordPress version 1.5.  It’s not an active blog. It’s up  for posterity, so we didn’t really care that it was several versions out of date.  Unfortunately, that version of WordPress, and everything prior to 2.5.1 (I think), is exploitable.

In our case, it had been hacked to have hidden text links for run-of-the-mill spam links such as porn, pharmaceuticals, etc. In fact, the links appear to have changed a few times over the week or more that it had been compromised. Google noticed, and told us to get rid of the spam links or else it would be booted out of it’s search results.

So, upgrade WordPress we did. Overall, cleaning up the mess wasn’t too bad.  It could have been worse.

The moral of this story?  Do backups. Check for upgrades of software every once in a while (yeah right). And make sure that one or more of these email addresses work:,,,  These are the addresses to which Google addressed the email.

My wish?  That WordPress and other common web applications had a single line in their FAQ that said in 100% unambiguous language what was the minimum version of software that was free of exploits.  I looked for several minutes to see if this blog, running WordPress 2.5.1 was ‘safe’.  In the end, I couldn’t tell, so I decided to upgrade to 2.7 while I had all the files handy.

Kodak Gallery Upload Problem – “Internet connection failed”

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

So, Future Shop and Best Buy in Canada have outsourced their digital photo processing to Kodak Gallery (which itself was formerly Ofoto).

It was time for me to develop some vacation photos.

I wasn’t about to upload 200 images one at a time, so I tried their “Kodak Gallery Upload Software”. I try to avoid installing custom software for menial jobs like this, but it’s unavoidable this time.  Some competing services have nice Java based bulk uploaders, I think Future Photo was one of them… but that’s not the point of this post.

After the quick install of “setup.exe” (why couldn’t they customize the name just a little?), I tried to login.  And I and got an error: “Internet connection failed”.

A few searches of the web, and a few retries, I was still out of luck. By fluke, I opened Internet Explorer, and noticed that it had been left in offline mode for some reason.  I use Firefox 95% of the time, except when testing web sites, and IE only websites.

Fixing IE to be “online” then trying the Kodak upload software again worked on the first try. My theory is that Kodak either reads some IE settings, or uses the IE engine in the background.  So, Kodak, kudos for trying, but you have some work to do on presenting useful error messages or documentation on the web.

Now all I have to do is be patient while the software spends the next few hours uploading my pictures…