Why Is This Man Smiling?

(While I’m in San Francisco without a secure connection to the Internet, I shall be posting sneakily via my flickr feed.)

Greetings from Macworld Expo in glorious San Francisco, Kansas, where the streets are all level.

Wednesday…and this is my first blog post? Yup…oh, well. See, I guess I sort of assumed that WordPress was so sophisticated that it handled authentication in a secure fashion.

“Dumb question, I know,” I posted to Twitter. “But WordPress secures the authentication when you post, so that you can safely post over an open WiFi…like in a hotel or a conference press room, right?”

Apparently nobody at WordPress had ever thought of this before because nope: server passwords are transmitted in cleartext.

So: no blogging. Had I known this before I left home, I would have set up blog-by-email. Today I had the brainwave that I could rig up Flickr to act as a secure blog front-end…and here we are.

Friends, things are not going well. On Monday, I dropped my MacBook a grand total of 1.5 centimeters while the thing was waking from sleep. It started making the sort of noises that only foretell good things when they’re being made by a coffee percolator. A 160 gig hard drive storing all of the files you needed for the week…decidedly no.

The good news was that I was obviously quite completely screwed and there was no point in either trying to rescue anything or throw a fit.

So! An hour later, I was in the office of The Powerbook Guy just a couple of blocks from Moscone. He confirmed the bleeding obvious (and it’s actually good to get a second brain on such things) and opened a drawer of drive mechanisms.

“I got a 120, a 160’s, some 250’s…oh, and some of those brand-new 320 gig Western Digital Scorpio drives.”

Both of my big feature presentations were on the drive. I had backups…but they were safely at home and I’d have to rebuild them from scratch. I needed an ice-cream cone.

“Give me the 320 gig one.”

Huge bummer, yes. But what can you do? The good news is that I’d also brought Lilith with me, so I had a whole second Mac to rely on as I begged and borrowed apps to install on the MacBook after the installation.

Actually, good luck: I happened to have left my iLife ’08 install DVD in the drive last week. So I was quickly back up and running with iPhoto and iMovie, to dump my photos and (theoretically) shoot some more videos.

(Next time: How the iPhone depicted in this photo got ruined today,)

5 thoughts on “Why Is This Man Smiling?

  1. WTL

    You need to add a after the beginning of your link to the power book guy’s site.

    You could, rather easily get a SSL cert for your site, and use *that* to post over an unencrypted WiFI connection without too much worry, or if you have access to an encrypted wifi connection, that would suffice.

  2. Randy

    I guess being the 42nd most beloved industry figure in the land also seems to make you about the 42nd unluckiest person in the land, eh?

    (You did have a backup, right? Emailed a copy of the presentation to yourself just in case? Threw it on a thumbdrive / iPod / shiny circular disc of some sort?)

  3. Dennis Wurster

    Hey Andy, read this when you get back to the east coast. All may not be lost… leverage your relationship with that Leo Laporte guy and get him to have Steve Gibson (from the “Security Now” podcast to get you an NFR copy of SpinRite. I’ve been waiting for some Mac guy to review that utility, and now fate has chosen you! You will likely have to mount the drive itself in a PC of some sort in order for SpinRite to see it, but that’s a small price to pay.

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