A very serious Internet security vulnerability was announced two days ago called Heartbleed. I haven’t seen this on the national news. Maybe I’ve had my head down too low these past two days. Anyway, you can Google that codename to bring yourself up to speed, but here is a summary for my non-technical readers here at WordPress. I hope I can count on my technical readers to make comments to improve this advice. I’m happy to answer more detailed questions, too.

I strongly recommend that you immediately suspend your Internet activity related to any secrets you want to protect (banking, investments, shopping, etc.) and look for an official response from each website with which you do business. For example, I looked into Evernote because I use it so much. I’m glad now that I never use it to write down secrets, but I did buy a premium subscription last week and gave them my credit card. They claim they are not affected [1], so that’s one off my list.

There is no other way to know if you have been personally affected until it is too late and your accounts are compromised, your money is stolen electronically, identity is stolen, etc. As reported, Heartbleed was an innocent coding mistake that propagated onto the Internet March 14th, 2012. It is not known if it has been exploited and it is not known if any secrets have been stolen.

Therefore, the safest (reasonable) course of action is to share your secrets only with websites that confirm they are not (or are no longer) affected by this vulnerability. If you quit the Internet over this I wouldn’t blame you, but I’m not ready to go to that extreme.

I can’t find anything with Google that convinces me WordPress is NOT vulnerable. If your WordPress account password is the same as any other website you care about, I would take the day off from work to change that password if I were you. It’s that serious. Now I’m going back to work.




How I Blog

Wow. What a difference eight years makes on the Web! That’s how long it’s been since I last wrote about how I blog [1]. I’m still a happy (though less frequent) user of StumbleUpon [2], but I’ve abandoned Kuro5hin and MetaFilter. Enough about the past. This, of course, is my WordPress blog. I’ve been writing here for a year, and my first impression [3] was spot on. Granted, I’ve only written two “real” posts so far, but I’m a proponent of quality over quantity.

The biggest change in my blogging habits in the past eight years has been my use of the microblogging site Twitter [4]. My first tweet went out April 13, 2008. In the intervening years I’ve developed an enjoyment for the challenge of expressing a thought in 140 characters or less. I like to share links, which challenges me to promote them in 118 or less. I like to create twooshes (a tweet of exactly 140 characters). If my tweet is 131 characters, I add a space and #htwoosh. I like Twitter’s archiving feature, which allows me to preserve my own copy of all my tweets [5]. I’ve posted, on average, 3 or 4 times a day, including re-tweets.

When I want to write less formally I use Google+ [6].

I have been on Facebook since it was It’s a walled garden, so I don’t recommend it. I wouldn’t use it if all my friends were on Google+, but they’re not. But I hate Facebook. I remain engaged to be a subversive from within. I am riding the wave of its popularity so I have, not the full experience (I don’t play games and I am reluctant to click that oppressive thumbs-up button or engage with commercial pages), but at least some experience. This is what I hate most about Facebook: It has co-opted the words “friend” and “like.” It’s an inferior blog, but a blog nonetheless because, although a walled garden that requires one to log in before discovering content, I can link to “public” posts, e.g. [7]. That is no great consolation. I hate Facebook.

I write a little on Quora [8] (even a couple brief blog posts [9]) but it’s a quirky quommunity.

Many more social media sites have popped up in the past eight years. I try to maintain the list of the ones I’m most active on at [10]. I was maintaining a social media index, but a few links are broken [11].

I maintain a few QuickTopics — the “instant discussion space.” I’m still a fan. It’s preposterously easy to use.

Finally, after all these years it’s still worth pointing out that I maintain my account at Wikipedia. I joined the community the year it came online. It’s not much of a blogging tool anymore, but it’s still an ideal tool for following developments to things that can be defined as encyclopedia entries. Blogging wasn’t popular the day the Twin Towers were hit. I followed the 9/11 story at Wikipedia as it developed minute by minute (and created the first draft of the Osama bin Laden article). I have made many contributions there. I occasionally use it for that. Note that you can comment on articles (where opinion is not discouraged) — just click on the “discussion” link at the top of every Wikipedia article.


Edited to talk a little more about WordPress and to add hyperlinks.