Use UUIDGEN For Passwords

An impenetrable system is only as good as its weakest password. Computers systems are often attacked using brute force. Most users tend to use really simple and easy to guess passwords. The use of complex passwords on the other hand, makes it almost impossible for them to remember. That’s why passwords typically fall in the 6-8 character range.

For systems and applications, that don’t need human intervention, when communicating to databases and other systems, a much more complex password can be assigned. These passwords typically do not need to be typed-in on forms, so they can be long, difficult and outrageous. There’s a Linux utility called UUIDGEN which randomly creates and generates unique universal identifiers.

A typical output would be:


These keys are perfect for systems and applications. For example, WordPress requires a username and password to talk to the MySQL database. The database credentials are typically stored in wp-config.php file. A key generated by UUIDGEN can be used in this scenario. This is just one example where long and difficult passwords can be deployed. They can be used for other purposes as well.

So, if you have access to a Linux system, to generate a unique key, all you have to do is type the command, “uuidgen” in the Terminal.

Linode Kicks Ass

Get a web server running within minutes. Choose a Linux distro, resources, and node location. That’s essentially Linode in a nutshell. I signed up with Linode about two weeks ago. I’ve been playing around with it since then. I can happily say that I’m very impressed with Linode. It has exceeded my expectations.

If you want total control of your web server, Linode VPS is really the way to go. You will be asked to choose server size when you sign up. They come in many configurations. I chose Linode 512. You also need to choose a data center location. There are six data centers worldwide. I choose the one in Fremont since I live in California.

So far, I’m loving the guaranteed server resources. My websites are running faster . I chose Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 32 bit because it’s a Linux distro I am very familiar with. Apparently, 57% Linode users have chosen Ubuntu as well. I already transferred a couple of domains over to Linode. The websites are screaming.

I plan to migrate more websites later. If you are curious about how Linode works, here is a short list of features to get you started:

  • Full ssh and root access
  • Guaranteed Resources
  • 4 processor Xen instances
  • Out of band console shell
  • Dedicated IP address, premium bw
  • Six datacenters in the US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific
  • HA and Clustering Support
  • Bandwidth pooling
  • Managed DNS with API

MySQL mysql_connect new_link

I want to share a database connection access problem I had last week, while working with a custom PHP script inside WordPress. I had created this WordPress Page Template containing some PHP code that needs access to the database. The problem was that the database connection for my custom script overwrote the WordPress database connection that was previously establish, causing certain parts of WordPress to not display properly.

It took me a while to figure out that it was the newer database connection of my custom PHP script that was causing the previously established WordPress database connection to disappear. Hence, certain parts of the WordPress page were not displayed. Little did I know, that the fix was quite simple. So, here’s a sample of my mysql_connect code. Prior to this line, I’ve already set the variables.



The Fix

Simply add a fourth parameter called new_link and set it to TRUE.


What this does is basically telling mysql_connect to establish a new connection, while keeping the older mysql_connect connection around, in case we need to access it at a later time. It’s amazing how one little switch in a command can make a huge difference to this seemingly simple code. Anyways, adding a fourth parameter and setting it to TRUE was the solution.

Set Your Timezone Correctly In WordPress

It’s a new year, and it’s a good time to make a new start. I did a little bit of housekeeping work within WordPress, to make sure that my blog is off to a good start. I just changed theme today. That’s going very well. While browsing around my blog, I noticed that the time on my posts are off by one hour.

It doesn’t make any sense, since my webhost is Hostgator, which is based in Houston, which is in the Central timezone. I’m in California which is Pacific timezone. My blog, for some reason, seems to be in the middle, in the Mountain timezone. I did some little investigative work and found that my WordPress timezone settings has changed.

This post is about making sure that your WordPress timezone is set correctly. So, login to your Admin Dashboard. Access Settings > General look for the Timezone settings. See snapshot below.

Select your timezone correctly. I set mine to UTC-8 for the West Coast of the United States. If you don’t know where you are, you can check several websites that offer timezone information. Once you made the change, go ahead and save. You can validate your WordPress timezone setting by looking at the internal clock next to the form. It should display the correct time in your timezone.

You should only get to do this once, but my time setting, for some reason has changed, and I just recently noticed it. So, make sure to check that your timezone is setup correctly.

A New Theme

A new year, a new theme, a new framework, a somewhat familiar layout, and the same old background. The new theme is based on the Genesis framework by StudioPress. I’m using a child theme called News.

The new theme should be more flexible when it comes to layout and functionality. The Genesis framework is quite robust. The framework has a plugin called Simple Hooks that makes it easier to make theme customizations.

A piece of code can be inserted using Simple Hooks. It will accept any HTML, Javascript and PHP code. The hooks can do wonders when inserted in key sections of the framework. Plugins shortcodes can be inserted as well.

Overall, I’m still learning how to work with this framework works. The concept is a little foreign to what I am used to, but I like what I have done to the theme so far.

I hope you like the new theme.