WordPress XMLRPC exploit causing problems

For the past 48 hours or so, I’ve been dealing with extreme server load issues, causing drastic slowdowns and ultimately causing my VPS to crash multiple times. I found this was due to a DDoS attack on WordPress sites that exploits WP’s post/ping system, which is explained in more depth here. The interim fix is to disable/redirect XMLRCP via htaccess or, if you’re running CloudFlare, to increase the level of security. I presume (hopefully) that an upcoming WP release will…

Changing the NewsFrame Pro (Business Version) slider settings

Note:  this tutorial applies only to the NewsFrame Pro Business Version. Please contact me if you’ve purchased the base version but need to upgrade to the Business Version – I will be happy to issue you a credit so you only have to pay the difference. The NewsFrame Pro theme options panel includes two options for the home page slider: stacked and columnized. If you wish to to change other settings for the slider, such as the transition animation or…

How to use a child theme with NewsFrame Pro (Business Version)

In WordPress, child themes can be used to add functionality — new or overriding — to existing WordPress themes. The main benefit of using a child theme compared to modifying the theme directly, is that you’ll be able to take advantage of important theme updates without having your changes overwritten. Because the base version of NewsFrame Pro is a child theme, you cannot use a child theme with it (so-called “grandchild” themes don’t work in WordPress). However, the Business Version of…

Redirect all Gravity Forms submissions to a confirmation page

The Gravity Forms settings panel lets you set a custom confirmation message or redirection URL for each form. Unfortunately, if your site has a bunch of forms, it can be quite tedious to change the confirmation for each one. The gform_confirmation filter gives us a bulk method to override the confirmation for each form automatically, with just a few lines of code. Drop this code into your theme’s functions.php file to automatically configure a redirect URL for each form. Be…

Bdelloid rotifer digestion in action (video)

This Bdelloid rotifer (Philodina sp.) was found in water collected from Little Fishweir Creek in Boone Park (Jacksonville, FL). This class of rotifers is most interesting for three reasons: 1) It reproduces asexually 2) it’s capable of long-term dormancy as a cyst (following desiccation) 3) It may be capable of horizontal gene transfer when “waking” from cyst mode. This species’ mastax appears to consist of two-churning discs which help break down its food (primarily algae). The discs are in near-constant…

WordPress sites under attack again

Another large distributed attack on WordPress sites appears to be underway according to the good folks over at WordFence. The peak reached 40,000 attacks per minute earlier but now looks to be around 30,000. For comparison purposes, this more than a ten-fold increase over “usual” activity. I personally have been issues with brute-forcers lately as well, and it hasn’t really subsided between the last large-scale attack and this one. Site owners should not ignore this threat, but should take some…

Bacteria in Coagulated Coffee

Taken with my OMAX at 2000x using oil immersion.

Released: Chrome extension to work around the Florida Times-Union’s paywall

The Florida Times-Union’s paywall has been getting on my nerves all year, so I wrote a little extension for Google Chrome that lets users freely browse the member’s section of the website (members.jacksonville.com) by disabling the paywall pop-up. I’m sure the Times-Union will eventually patch it, so enjoy it while you can. Consider it my Christmas present to the city of Jacksonville, who, like myself, are probably tired of not being able to read the local news without a “premium”…

Solution: 404 – Page not found title on page located outside of WordPress

In some situations, one may need to use a page outside of WordPress for special features. In my specific situation, a client wanted to migrate a static site to WordPress while retaining the functions of a custom-coded calculator. I had trouble integrating the calculator into a custom page template, so I left the page outside of WordPress and called the blog header and theme to integrate with and match the theme’s styles: The problem: The page outside of WordPress worked…

Did the NFL’s anti-intellectual environment get the best of Jonathan Martin?

Dolphins’ offensive tackle Jonathan Martin has taken a leave of absence from the team, reportedly because of bullying by his teammates. Details are fairly sparse at this point, but it appears Martin has been subjected to “persistent bullying and teasing” since he was drafted by the Dolphins in 2012. Martin, who protected Andrew Luck’s blindside at Standford, majored in classics (ancient history). Both of his parents are Harvard grads, and a CBS scouting report from 2012 claims “there is still a…