One of my oldest WP blogs got hacked – yeah – I know – why do they do that?
I had kept everything nicely up-to-date, but as it was such an old blog, the password I had chosen when I set up the MySQL database for it initially, was – admittedly – cute, but not particularly secure.
So, I went to Ms. Google to find out how to change the password of my WP Database – but without luck. There were plenty of tutorials on how the change the password of a WP user – but that is easy, no need for a tutorial there.
Learned quite a bit when I ran into some instructions on how to do this with the command line mysql command (you have to start the mysql service first), but still ran into a problem updating the password. But with the information from that post I finally managed to do it from phpMyAdmin.
Here we go:
Log into phyMyAdmin as the root user
Go to the mysql database (yes, the database is a user of mysql)
Find the table user (I first could not find it but had to open views – and then it appeared)
Find the user with the name of your database user you chose when you set up it up. That’s the DB_USER parameter in your wp-config.php.
Click on that user and a new screen opens Edit privileges: User account ‘yourdb_wp’@’localhost’
And there you finally find the button ‘Change password’ at the top of the screen.
Blogs sometimes die, or are so far abandoned that they are dead for all intents and purposes.
But there are still visitors as long as it shows up in Google, and some of those will enjoy the content immensely, so much as to write a comment. I don’t subscribe to the idea of nay sayers who assume that those visitors only leave these comments because they hope for a back link to their spammy sight – or worse, that they are evil AI bots!
I just believe that they really like my content – even if that content might be simply “coming soon…”
Here are a few of those cherished comments (unedited, only removed the link to their own website):
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(A little gem I found in the couch cushions of my hard drive)…
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’98:
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.
Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts, and recycling it for more than it’s worth.
The following story was written by Francie Baltazar-Schwartz and I re-discovered it in my ‘nice-stuff’ folder. I thought it might be better out here on the web than in the crevices of my computer. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do…
Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”
He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, ‘Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining, or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.”
“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.
“Yes, it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”
I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?”
I declined to see his wounds but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”
“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.
Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, ‘He’s a dead man.’ “I knew I needed to take action.”
“What did you do?” I asked.
“Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breathe and yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them. ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.
There were internet providers – the first one for me was, if I remember correctly, Primenet – from which you could get a few MB of space for your own website. That was at a time when you often saw the notice “This site best viewed with Netscape Navigator” on these very web pages. Even though Al Gore had invented the internet he had not yet given us good guidelines on how to consistently access it with predictable results. It was sweet anarchy.
Newciv.org broke into this climate. This was a simple Intel (probably) 386 computer with a modem as a connection to that World Wide Web. Hardly any private person could afford a permanent internet connection, so a dial-up line had to do. With an automatic re-dial when the connection was lost and a repeated access to some page at the provider in order to avoid being hung up due to non-activity.
Flemming had written a whole suite of software that ran the New Civilization Network but I encountered that server initially in Max’s office. It was exciting, there you had this computer to which all of the outside worlds had access, could create accounts, and could communicate.
Part of the software suite was blogging software, and did we blog!
Flemming – obviously – had the very first post. And believe it or not, it is still there:
Article _a000010-000001.htm – there sure was room for expansion. The reason this blog is still working perfectly is that Flemming kept the domain ming.tv pointing to his blog on the NewCiv server. Some of us had our own domains pointing to our blogs. Max Sandor’s was the Sandorian Grove – sandorian.us. Mine was zensory.com – for whatever reason – I guess it was a cool domain name. Max’s domain was later repurposed and eventually went away when Max went on to greener pastures.
My zensory.com first turned into a WordPress blog – on my own server in a data center, obviously connected to some faster backbone. It needs to be said, that at that time, the NewCiv server was co-located in a data center as well, not requiring a dial-up connection to the internet any longer.
Flooded with sweet nostalgia, I looked over that old blog and noticed the blog roll (blogs that I followed) in the sidebar. The one that caught my attention was Don To Earth – at that time he was touted as the oldest blogger. His blog was hosted on Blogspot, a free-for-all open blog. The nice thing about those free platforms is that they don’t go away. Not like a privately hosted blog that goes away when the person paying for it every month finds better things to do and leaves this realm (as, inevitably, this blog will go away when I do).
Not only are original ink cartridges expensive, but HP LaserJet toners can also cost about the same as the printer itself. You still would buy the toner cartridges because the ones that come with a new printer have reduced capacity.
So the obvious choice is to use third-party cartridges at often less than half the price. That worked well for my all-in-one HP LaserJet Pro M281 with cartridges from LDProducts.com – until it did not, anymore.
HP had installed a firmware update on my printer that disabled the after-market cartridges, and I now got an error message that there was a “Supply Problem”. I had not immediately noticed that something wasn’t working anymore because I don’t print much and there had been days between the update and the first time I saw the “Supply Problem.”
A bit of googling gave me the hint that this problem might be caused by the latest update which was dated 20201021. The obvious course of action was to go back to the last version of the firmware – but this became a few-day quest.
The printer was out of warranty, so getting direct support from HP was not an option, so I resorted to the community support forum. Answers to my post confirmed that this was not only my problem but that others were hit by this “update bug.”
A bit further googling got me the info that the firmware version 20200612 was a good version and that I just had to find that version for my printer model.
But that was not an easy task, and it nearly appears to be intention of HP to suppress that version. One user who answered my post mentioned that two years ago HP had reached a settlement in a class-action suit when it had disabled its inkjet printers that were using 3rd party ink cartridges, and wondered if it’s time for another class action suit – – and he got banned from the forum for that for a day.
But before he got banned I had seen the post and looked up that lawsuit, and – just for the fun of it – left the firm a message that there might be some more HP shenanigans going on. – I have not heard back from them.
That same user had managed to find the right firmware file for his printer model, HP_Color_LaserJet_Pro_M254_dw_Printer_series_20200612.exe, on HP’s website and had been successful in downgrading his printer software and had his machine working again.
I wasn’t quite as lucky, as that file had been removed from the HP website the very day, but with parts of the file name and good old Google I found the file somewhere in the far reaches of the internet. I tried to run it several times, with cartridges in, without, after unplugging the printer for a few minutes to reset, to no avail, until it dawned on me that his model was not exactly the same as mine and that I probably needed different firmware, specific for my M281 printer.
After more extensive googling I found that the name of the right file should be HP_LaserJet_Pro_M280_M281_Printer_series_20200612 but no executable with that, or similar, name was to be found. The only thing that came close was exactly that file name but with a .rfu extension which probably stands for ‘remote file updated.’ I actually found that info on an HP page.
I had no idea how to use that file. Windows does not know what to do with a file with that extension and I had no idea how to run it or with what application.
Again Google to the rescue.
I finally found it – and it was simpler than I thought. The reason I write this post, just in case somebody runs into the same problem, is that you might not need to spend so many hours with friendly Google.
First of all, I will leave this update file here so you can download it. I had to obfuscate and zip it so that I can upload it here and possibly hide it from HP. Once you have downloaded the zip file, just extract the file inside it and rename it to M280_M281_firmware_20200612.rfu and follow the following steps:
The printer needs to be accessible as a share. My printer was not shared so I just created a share for it as \\MYCOMPUTER\M281 – in case you need help to do this – Google is your friend “How to share a printer.” Replace MYCOMPTER with the real name of the machine you are sitting at.
Then open a command line window and type copy /b M280_M281_firmware_20200612.rfu \\MYCOMPUTER\M281
This command finishes surprisingly fast, but the printer then started a lengthy install of that firmware. It took a while – maybe five minutes, while the printer display showed progress and messages ‘programming’.
When it was all done, the printer restarted and the “Supply Problem” was gone.
That’s it – following this my printer is deserving its name again – it prints!
I am happy – but shame on HP!
PS: I wonder if I ever hear back from that law firm regarding a class action…
PPS: I got a message from Jonathan who followed the instructions and was happy to report that he did not have to discard his HP printer. He suggested that you also disable the update feature in the printer to avoid the problem as much as possible in the future.
For this you
go to Setup on your printer’s LCD display (the last one)
Scroll down to Service and select it
Scroll down to LaserJet Update and select it
Select Manage Updates
Select Allow Updates
Go Back to Home
I don’t know how safe that is because I seem to remember that I set that when I installed my first set of 3rd party cartridges, but I think I was prompted to update by HP maintenance software installed and running on my computer. It was years since I had installed the cartridges and forgotten about the warning and so allowed the update.
Somehow I am more and more tending to follow the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when computer updates are concerned, especially firmware.