Archive for category announcement

John Adorney’s new CD Kickstarted!


Coming Soon! Paperless Document Organization Guide revised edition

Brooks Duncan will soon pubilsh his 2015 version of his popular Paperless Document Organization Guide, which I promote on this site (I’m an affiliate). I found his Guide enormously helpful when I was first thinking about going paperless, then once I had made the plunge (and discovered there was more to it than just throwing every bit of paper into the scanner).

As a customer of his, I’ve already downloaded the new Guide. The videos have been re-done and updated, e.g. for Windows 8. You can download the entire package as one giant zip file or as individual items (there are a lot of them, but if you prefer that method, it’s an option).

Check out his website and blog while you’re waiting.

If you’re thinking of going paperless but haven’t quite decided yet, I suggest signing up for Brooks’ free 7-step email course (you get one email a day for a week).

If you already have an earlier version of the Guide, here are a few highlights from the new Edition:

  • It goes much more in-depth on most topics. The PDF itself has been redone with 2.5x the material.
  • All the interviews have been re-done with a great selection of paperless enthusiasts, experts, professionals, and Professional Organizers.
  • All videos have been re-done, including my workflow where you can watch over my shoulder (so to speak) as I process my documents.
  • Each section provides Action Items to help you decide what exactly you need to do, so you can actually take action with confidence.
  • There are more examples.
  • The software section has been updated and expanded with my favorite applications for 2015.
  • The cloud section has been updated and expanded. The various cloud services are compared and contrasted.
  • The automation section is expanded.
  • There is a new section on mobile organization.
  • The paperless workflow section has been redone and integrated into the main Guide.
  • My Workflow has been completely redone.
  • There is an all new de-uglified design.

There is more, but those are the highlights.

Kickstart John Adorney’s new CD

I’m a fan of John Adorney’s music, and I highlighted one song in my Christmas blog post last year.

Even if you don’t join the kickstarter campaign, I hope you enjoy the video and the music.

Heartbleed Bug – what is it and how does it affect you

I just spent several hours changing my passwords. Why? Because of this:


The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging IM and some virtual private networks VPNs.

The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

via Heartbleed Bug.

For businesses and institutions that have their own websites and servers (think banks, financial institutions, merchants from the majors like Amazon to the smaller online businesses), this is an


OpenSSL versions 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f contain a flaw in its implementation of the TLS/DTLS heartbeat functionality (RFC6520). This flaw allows an attacker to retrieve private memory of an application that uses the vulnerable OpenSSL libssl library in chunks of up to 64k at a time. Note that an attacker can repeatedly leverage the vulnerability to increase the chances that a leaked chunk contains the intended secrets.

via Vulnerability Note VU##720951 OpenSSL heartbeat extension read overflow discloses sensitive information Companies affected are listed on the above website, and include Amazon, Google and IBM.  I was alerted to this by way of Karl Denninger at Market-Ticker who says

This is extremely serious folks.

If your systems are vulnerable to this and Internet-facing you must assume that the private keys involved in your SSL-enabled applications have been compromised and are no longer secret.  This means that your site can be trivially spoofed and will appear to be legitimate to a client connecting to it even though it is not.

This is very, very bad.  You cannot simply upgrade OpenSSL and be done.  You must also either revoke and have re-issued or revoke and re-issue yourself all keys that were formerly issued and potentially exposed.  In addition the public CAs may be impacted as well since they have internet-facing services, which means that their keys may not be secure either.

This is truly major. Merchants and banks, to name just the most obvious, use SSL to secure transactions and other private transfers of data. From what I can gather, there is no way to know if the company’s servers have been hacked or not. But most will have to assume that their keys have been compromised. From the website:

Exploitation of this bug leaves no traces of anything abnormal happening to the logs…

Am I affected by the bug?

You are likely to be affected either directly or indirectly. OpenSSL is the most popular open source cryptographic library and TLS (transport layer security) implementation used to encrypt traffic on the Internet. Your popular social site, your company’s site, commerce site, hobby site, site you install software from or even sites run by your government might be using vulnerable OpenSSL. Many of online services use TLS to both to identify themselves to you and to protect your privacy and transactions. You might have networked appliances with logins secured by this buggy implementation of the TLS. Furthermore you might have client side software on your computer that could expose the data from your computer if you connect to compromised services.

How widespread is this?

Most notable software using OpenSSL are the open source web servers like Apache and nginx. The combined market share of just those two out of the active sites on the Internet was over 66% according to Netcraft’s April 2014 Web Server Survey. Furthermore OpenSSL is used to protect for example email servers (SMTP, POP and IMAP protocols), chat servers (XMPP protocol), virtual private networks (SSL VPNs), network appliances and wide variety of client side software. Fortunately many large consumer sites are saved by their conservative choice of SSL/TLS termination equipment and software. Ironically smaller and more progressive services or those who have upgraded to latest and best encryption will be affected most. Furthermore OpenSSL is very popular in client software and somewhat popular in networked appliances which have most inertia in getting updates.

Time to change those passwords. (For my posts on one password management program, click here.)

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Word Stats for this blog

Science-fiction writer and Evernote Ambassador Jamie Rubin loves stats, keeps track of them and manages to pull them together into meaningful and interesting slices of information for others, as well as for himself. Quite an achievement.

After reading a recent blog post of his Blog Stats for Q1 of 2014, I got interested in the idea of keeping track of how much I write, on this blog and elsewhere. Rubin has created lines of code that automate this process, but not being a coder I’ve had to resort to more primitive methods: a plugin. I just installed Word Stats (another overview over here), and so here we go.

Because in Japan the school and fiscal years begin in April, and as I live and work in Japan, I’m going to follow suit, so these are for last “year”, April 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014.

  • 113 posts
  • 42,454 words
  • 376 words/post (average)
  • 75% of my blog posts are at an intermediate reading level, 24% are at a basic level, and just 1% at an advanced level (must have been drunk at the time).
  • just 2 of my posts were tagged “too long”, meaning they were over 1,500 words (this is the default standard for “too long”)
  • 37 posts were tagged “too short”, being fewer than 200 words (this is the default standard for “too short”).
  • My most prolific month was March 2014 (7,519 words) – not surprising as I almost no classes in that month, so had more time to spend on blogging.
  • I blogged the least in the previous month, February 2014. Not sure why. Most of my classes finished in the first week of February. After that I was focussed on calculating final grades. I did get sick in that month, but that only lasted a few days.

Visitor Stats

My visitor stats go back to 2008, when I started this blog in November. I had 88 visitors that month.

  • By 2010 I was getting 100-200 visitors/month.
  • That all changed in March 2011 when the earthquake/tsunami/Fukushima nuclear meltdown happened, and I started blogging about that. In March I got 2,004 visitors.
  • In April 2011 I got 3,203 visitors. Numbers dropped to below 2,000 after that until November (2,398) and then they went up gradually reaching a peak in February 2012 (5,195).
  • Numbers from then on dropped slightly, hovering around +/- 3,000 visitors/month until
  • May 2013 when they dropped below 2,500 and have continued to drop ever since, falling below 2,000 in August 2013  (for the first time since October 2011) and
  • below 1,000 since January 2014 (for the first time since Feb. 2011).

The low numbers since Jan. 2014 are perhaps due to the fact that I have been blogging less since Dec. 2013.

  • I wrote just 3 posts in February this year, compared to
  • 13 in March, and
  • 7 in February, 2013
  • 39 in February, 2012!

So there seems to be a correlation between frequency of blogging and numbers of visitors. Tho it can’t only be that, because visitor numbers have not picked up even though I’ve started blogging more ( high word count), and more frequently.?


Experience Curating Book Free Until Mar 8 • Tips To Learn How To Go Paperless | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog

Paperless master Brooks Duncan blogs:

In my post How I Manage My Life Without Paper, I mentioned that I am becoming more and more interested in the concept of personal tracking and simplifying in general.

I am taking baby steps in that regard, but the master of this has to be Joel Zaslofsky from Value Of Simple.

Apparently his [new] book Experience Curating: How to Gain Focus, Increase Influence, and Simplify Your Life is free on Amazon until March 8, so I picked it up (what can I say, I’m cheap).

via Experience Curating Book Free Until Mar 8 • Tips To Learn How To Go Paperless | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog.

It’s a Kindle version, and is also available for free on Amazon Japan. (Disclosure: that is my Amazon Japan affiliate link.) I just downloaded it.


Evernote Descriptive Search | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog

Evernote has added Descriptive Search, a new way to search using natural language instead of difficult-to-remember search syntax. So far, just for the Mac, but I’m sure the Windows version won’t be far behind.

From Brooks Dundan’s excellent blog:

For example, one of the biggest wins is how easy it is to find notes that contain a PDF. Previously you had to do some pretty wacky search syntax, but now it is as easy as typing “notes with pdf”.

via Evernote Descriptive Search | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog.


Normal service has been resumed as soon as possible

This site was attacked recently from Chinese IP addresses, and as a result, my site was shutdown due to “excessive program executions”.  I’ve blocked access from Chinese IP addresses.

(If you are not an afficionado of classic British comedy, and therefore do not recognize the quote in this post’s title…



I’ve added to my blogroll a couple of blogs that I visit frequently, and removed several that had not updated for a long time, or that I had not visited for a long time.

I want to change the theme of this blog, while keeping the present layout of 3 columns. However, that reduces the range. There’s not a lot of 3-column themes out there. Many of them have not been updated for 2 years or more, like the one I’m using at present.

Why change it? I just noticed the date on each blog post only gives the day and the month, not the year. And I’m not smart enough to figure out how to edit this.

I may go back to a simpler theme, the default setting for which is just 2 columns and then try and figure out a way to make it 3 columns. In the meantime, I may lose the middle column. Will anyone notice, tho?


Jetpack Lite (WP plugin) update warning

Update: The last version of Jetpack lite, a stripped down version of Jetpack, a stats-collecting plugin for WordPress, which did not require Jetpack to be installed was I had a copy of this version in my backup folder and have been using that. However, someone has kindly produced an alternative: SO Jetpack Stats Only. Click the link to see details. You can download it from within your WordPress plugins page.

So if you want simple stats for your WP blog and want to avoid the bloatware of Jetpack, either locate the version of Jetpack Lite or install SO Jetpack Stats Only. Or use Google Analytics.

Jetpack lite is a WordPress plugin that used to provide a leaner version of Jetpack, which provides a lot of data about your WordPress site, especially stats about visitors. I didn’t want all the bells and whistles of Jetpack, and Jetpack Lite worked smoothly, until…

the update to version 3.0. I saw an alert to this update when I opened my blog’s admin page, and, without thinking, clicked on the automatic update button.

Big mistake. It crashed my entire blog, the screen went white and the error message came up:

Fatal error: Call to undefined function is_plugin_active() in /home/****/public_html/blogs/[blog title]/wp-content/plugins/jetpack-lite/jetpack-lite.php on line 12

This has apparently been resolved with Jetpack Lite version 3.0.1. However,

MPORTANT: Starting from version 3.0 this plugin becomes a Jetpack addon and not a standalone plugin as in previous versions. Now you need to install Jetpack too.

I did not have Jetpack installed when I updated. Didn’t know I needed it. I’m not even sure this was the cause of the problem.

Moral: maybe better to not use WP’s “update now” without checking on the plugin’s homepage first for more information.