Camera bags for the Sony a7rII, Sony a7rIII or the Sony a9

I’m considering buying a Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens and I’m looking at a small bag to be used with my Sony a7rII and my hiking backpack i.e. I’ll have a little side bag.

I originally planned for the PCT and would be bringing a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2.0 lens or a Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens; therefore, my Lowepro Toploader 45 AW II would work perfectly. Unfortunately, judging from the measurements, the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens won’t quite fit! I’m probably going to get a Lowepro Toploader 50 AW II as it’s slightly bigger but not too big.

Anyway, after re-reading my camera bag photography reviews (12 and 3), I’ve decided I definitely need to re-write them. I’m awfully lazy when it comes to writing reviews but it makes me look a bit stupid / like a slob, haha. I can’t promise when I will get around to re-writing them as I have hurt my arm and it’s a bit painful to type. I will try sometime in the future.

I’ve also bought another bag since then as well, a Crumpler Muli 7500, which I also highly recommend. When I get the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens, I will see which bags it fits in and let you know if it works in this too.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Windows file share speed increase

One complaint I have of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (and all the Samsung Galaxy phones I know of) is that sharing files from a windows machine to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 phone via SMB is incredibly slow. I suspect it’s because this method doesn’t make the phone exit power save, but I can’t be sure. It’s something I’ve written about before and I’ve only just now thought of an obvious solution.

If you share a folder to a linux machine, you can then connect to that machine. If you don’t have a linux machine, you can either run virtualisation software and install CentOS or Debian (it’s completely free) or buy a Raspberry Pi 3 B (you could technically do it with a Raspberry Pi Zero W as well.)

I’m a bit tired now, but this idea suddenly came to me and I will write about this further tomorrow at the previous page I’ve made. The idea is you can then connect to the intermediary box using the phone, and then browse to the network file share–it’s sort of like accessing a share within a share.

It’s arguably convoluted but it’s also arguably more secure because you can use an SSH key and disable passwords altogether. On the windows machine, you can limit the network share to the IP address of the Raspberry Pi 3 B (or virtual computer) and then the only theoretical way of accessing the file is from an SFTP share.

WordPress XMLRPC Bruteforce & Spam

There’s an incredible amount of trolls/spammers/hackers on the internet and even if your site isn’t that popular, don’t underestimate the amount of bots and whatnot that’re about.

One of the most recent attempts has been from the IPs “185.188.204.2” and “185.188.204.5” (by the way; I would never disclose an IP address of someone whom I believed to be innocent, so if your computer has simply been hacked send me a message and I’ll remove this!) I’m quite often having trouble with IPs in the 185.*.*.* range, and it’s really amusing but also a bit worrisome you might think.

The quickest way I notice suspicious behaviour is when my website receives a lot of hits from a specific IP address.  If you’re not too tech savvy, I suggest installing the WP Statistics plugin. You’ll be faced with a list of IPs on the overview page and you’ll see the hits an IP has there:

Accessing the access log will typically give you a rough idea as to what’s happening, for example they might be using an xmlrpc.php exploit. You can view the log using nano:

Once in the log, search for the IP address and you’ll be faced with the user’s activity:

 

The lazy way to deal with them using CentOS (or any operating system, but this won’t work with all operating systems) is to firewall them:

Unfortunately, this can be problematic if your site is extremely popular as someone else can use that IP address (if it’s dynamic) and you’ve blocked them from your site. They can also change IP address, but there are benefits to simple IP firewall bans (I’ll speak more about that soon.)

Another method is to add these lines to virtualhost:

I did something slightly more crafty though. Rename the xmlrpc.php file or make a backup of it and delete the old:

Then in nano, add a redirect:

With the XMLRPC exploit, people are using your website to send spam information and it becomes a bit like what’s called a “botnet.” Using this method, when something malicious connects to the xmlrpc.php page, it gets redirected to the home IP.

I said there’s benefits to simple IP firewall banning, and there is. If a user is targeting you specifically (attacks like these are very rarely personal, but trolls are another matter), then an IP firewall demonstrates you’ve attempted to ban the perpetrator. The ban doesn’t have to be perfect for you to prove you’ve made ample effort to get the perpetrator to leave you alone. Actions you take might also have an equal and opposite reaction. For example, editing the xmlrpc.php file in such a way means that plugins which rely on it might not function at all. Jetpack is one of these plugins for example. You should never reveal your hand, and you should always appear weak. A simple IP firewall might be easy to circumvent, but you can show an access log to an ISP and it’s proof enough.

The benefits of running your own webserver

Obviously it might be considered a hassle to have to worry about trolls, spammers, hackers, people trying to bruteforce you, etc. but the benefits outweigh the cons, for me.

For example, facebook or any popular site could have something negative happen to it to cause information to get lost. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe they have a legal obligation to backup your data if you’re not paying and even if you do pay for a service e.g. squarespace, unless it’s specifically stated in the contract, I don’t believe they have to backup your data. Even if they do backup your data, it’s not necessarily easy to put that data into a usable format. With running your own MySQL server and whatnot, it’s relatively easy (it’s one command line) to save the database.

You also have access to log files and while this might be available for other services (I’m sure it is with some), it’s a lot easier to access if you own/manage everything. In the event you get targeted by a specific person, you have access to the logs–they give you more information than a simple IP address. Hosting is also a lot cheaper if you manage everything–as it should be, it’s costing you time. If you have a lot of time but not a lot of money, this method is better, in my opinion. If you’re experienced with computers, it might also cost you less time than if you signed up for a service like square space.

I don’t make much from this site after server costs and I’ve only received the one donation–thank you by the way–I put 100% of that towards a charity, but I like to keep costs down regardless :).

Amazon link update

Amazon website links should now take you to the relevant site depending on your location e.g. if you’re from Germany, it will take you to the German amazon site.

This won’t work for all locations but it should work for the USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy.

Places to hike in different parts of Canada

I’ve been researching different places to hike when I visit Canada next year, and a few great suggestions have been given to me which I’m really grateful for.

It seems the most popular provinces are BC, Alberta and Ontario.

  • The Great Divide Trail (700miles / 1125km)
  • West Coast trail on Vancouver island in BC (75km)
  • Bruce Trail in Ontario (900km long with additional 400km+ side trails)
  • The Trans Canada Trail aka The Great Trail is a long trail but many parts are not as scenic for hiking

The Great Divide Trail is the one I’m most interested in, and I should be able to hike additional trails either before or after it as 700 miles isn’t quite long enough for what I’d like to do (I’d like to travel for about 5-6 months.)

I’m going to do some calculations for travel costs, and I also need to send a letter to the US Embassy. If I can visit California for a couple of weeks without a Visa, I can consider the John Muir Trail. I’m going to try and limit my travel to as few countries as possible, but I’m tempted by a few places.

 

 

Email verification activation link for WordPress

Not many people leave comments on my website, and it’s a shame I have to enable anti-spam measures for such a small following, but bots and trolls are everywhere, haha!

I have now re-enabled the captcha, and I have enabled email verification for comments. Please do not use a site that supplies temporary email addresses as it likely won’t work. Gmail, outlook, ISP email addresses, etc. should all work fine.

Interestingly, wordpress doesn’t come with an activation link email setting by default–most forums include this. I was surprised.

People behind VPNs might also encounter troubles posting comments. My apologies to genuine users. Someone recently tried to use a VPN to circumvent a ban.

I realise this sounds awfully excessive but I’m too old to deal with  weirdos on the internet.