I made plans to hang out with my sister and my neighbor around 9 on Saturday night. At 8:30, I was finishing up some of the work on the site. My dinner was ready, but before heading downstairs, I wanted to check out something on the home page. I clicked the link in the menu, but instead of going there, I was re-directed to some stupid motionsharing.com Web site.
I thought I accidentally clicked on an ad. But just to make sure, I typed in "walterfootball.com" into my Firefox browser. Once again, I was knocked over to motionsharing.com.
This was bad. I was actually hoping my computer was infected with some virus. Sadly, that would have been better than the alternative - which was my site being hacked.
I knew my answer instantly when people on the forums were experiencing the same problem.
Son of a b***h.
I quickly called my Web host Kenny, who always does a great job clearing up any problems I have. Unfortunately, I got his voicemail: "Hello, you've reached the voice mailbox of Kenneth (last name). I am unavailable right now because I am in Haiti. But I will be back in the United States on Tuesday, February 16."
Haiti? What the hell's going on in Haiti? This is no time to go on vacation! I have a crisis here. My Web site has been hacked. The Haitians can wait. Earthquakes happen all the time, and the people in Los Angeles don't seem to mind. Hackers are obviously a much more serious threat!
(So, should I reserve a hotel room in hell now, or do you think I should wait a few years when rates might be cheaper?)
I logged into my site upload-download manager (FTP) and saw what was happening. The code on both the home page and the main page of the forums was changed. All of my code was erased, and instead there was a simple re-direct to that motionsharing.com site. I uploaded my code again, but it just changed back again in 15 minutes.
What really sucked about this whole ordeal is that I didn't have an original copy of the forum home page. So, I had to download everything again. I've been running version 3.6 of VBulletin (an Internet message board company), and they've been harassing me to upgrade to 4.0. Seriously, I received like five e-mails every day from them. They were like some clingy girl who wasn't getting the message. But I figured I might as well do the upgrade.
I downloaded the VBulletin 4.0 package and began uploading it to my site. Halfway through the upload (took 15 minutes), the thought occurred to me, "Wait a second, am I overwriting everything? Are all of my forum threads being erased? Are all my user accounts getting deleted?" I literally nearly s**t my pants at that moment.
The upload was finished and it asked me if I wanted to delete everything or simply upgrade. Phew. Upgrade me please!
Well, the whole upgrade took about another 10 minutes. Apparently, there was a lot of stuff to update because I hadn't upgraded since 2007. Whoops.
When it was done, it took me to my new forum home page - and it looked completely different. The old format wasn't pretty or anything, but it was familiar and had the same color scheme as the main site. This new format was too bright, too blue and too uninviting. Think of some hot girl inexplicably chopping off her beautiful hair and getting a lesbian hairdo (not that there's anything wrong with that).
Nine out of 10 people have complained about this new format. I've gotten some positive reviews for it, but almost everyone hates it. Some forum members think it's way too bright. Others have trouble logging in. And there are those who can't do anything once they log in. Meanwhile, I don't know how to how to adjust the color schemes. There are literally 500 options. I could play around with it - and I eventually will - but getting it right would take me hours upon hours.
So, why can't I just downgrade back to 3.6? They won't let me. That's right - I went on VBulletin's message boards and looked to see if anyone else had this problem. They did, and all of them were told that downgrading isn't possible. Seriously, why would a company do this? It's not good business to piss people off like this.
I wanted to call VBulletin, but their site said that phone service was only available Monday through Friday, 9-5 p.m. Eastern. Great. So, I waited until Monday and went on the site to get the number again. This time I noticed that the phone number was for "pre-sales questions." They didn't even have a number for service issues!
Pre-sales questions my a**. When I first set up VBulletin, I should have asked, "Hey, in two years when a hacker attacks my Web site and I have to re-install everything, will you completely dick me over?" I'm tempted to call them and ask that question.
Without a legitimate phone number to call, I sent them the following e-mail:
Hi, I'm customer (number) and run WalterFootball.com
I've been using VBulletin 3.x (I think 3.67) for a few years and I was
comfortable with the look and feel of my forums (as were my members).
Unfortunately, a hacker logged into my FTP on Saturday night and erased all
of my index.php files - including the one for the VBulletin.
I didn't have a backup on my computer, so I went to download a new
VBulletin. I figured I might as well take the opportunity to upgrade to 4.0.
Now, everything's different, and the styles I had are no longer compatible.
My questions are: Can someone please help me downgrade back to 3.x? And if
not, can someone assist me in making color adjustments to the forum so it
looks like my 3.x version? I had someone help me with the colors when I
first purchased VBulletin in the summer of 2007.
Thanks - any help would be appreciated.
I sent that in Monday morning. I finally received a response Tuesday afternoon:
There is no way to download short of restoring a backup. I am sorry.
Thanks for answering all of my questions, jacka**!
Seriously, how do you treat your customers like this? Imagine calling into Verizon and notifying them of errors on your phone bill, and all the customer service rep says is, "Your phone seems to be working." You'd cancel Verizon and switch over to AT&T, right?
Unfortunately, I'm stuck with VBulletin. Trying another forum option would jeopardize all of the user accounts and great threads we've compiled over the years, and I'm not willing to do that.
VBulletin has me by the balls, and there's nothing I can do about it. Our only option is spreading the word, and hoping that this communist company changes its ways and finally stops screwing over its customers in the future.
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 2: Hackers
VBulletin wasn't even my biggest problem this weekend. As mentioned before, someone was changing the home page of my Web site. I kept uploading my home page, but some hacker continuously replaced the code with a re-direct to motionsharing.com. I even changed my log-in password, but it still kept happening.
I tried to be civil. I did a "whois" search for motionsharing.com, and found out that the guy who owns it is named Sarit Nehemia. I e-mailed Sarit, and asked him politely to stop it. To his credit, he e-mailed me back instantly each time. However, he had no idea what was going on. His final e-mail to me:
hmm, im not sure what you talk about. but we are paying to a guy he doing advertising for us for our website: www.motionsharing.com
i will contact him to see what he did thank you for report it.
"Thank you for report it?" Was Emmitt Smith hacking my site? Or maybe it was one of the many people I've pissed off over the years. There are thousands, but here's a quick top five:
5. QB Dog Killer - I don't refer to him by his previous name. When you maliciously do something so inhumane, you lose the right to have a real name. Or at least that's what I've continuously written on this site.
Was it QB Dog Killer in the basement with the HP? Doubtful. If QB Dog Killer wanted revenge, he would have found me and either: A) Electrocuted me with jumper cables. B) Drowned me in a pool of water while taking bets on how long I'd last. C) Hanged me. D) Debacled me.
4. JaMarcus Russell - Russell has become my new whipping boy after the following two things happened:
First, after a loss in which he had a horrendous performance, he was asked by a reporter if he was responsible for the defeat. His response:
"I don't think it's me personally, I really don't. It's a bad combination of one guy doesn't so somethin right one time and he doesn't do... no, it all plays a... play... I personally don't think it's me... Do you tink so?"
Second, during a game in which he didn't play, Russell stashed a pouch of Skittles in his pants, prompting an e-mailer to nickname him "Captain Skittles."
Was it Captain Skittles in the kitchen with the Apple that is sticky because of his Skittles? Do I tink so? No, I don't tink so.
3. Al Davis - I've been making fun of Oakland's 5,000-year-old owner for as long as I can remember. But the man I call "Undead Al" brings it upon himself; calling JaMarcus Russell a "great player" and drafting athletes based solely on how fast they run a 40-yard dash has made him the laughing stock of the NFL.
Was it Al Davis in the crypt with the abacus? Undead Al probably doesn't even know what a computer is. The most hi-tech thing he uses is a stopwatch so he can time prospective players.
2. Bo-Bo - America's worst fantasy football owner. I enjoy watching Bo-Bo's horrific fantasy teams go down in flames every year.
Was it Bo-Bo in the office with the Dell? I don't think so. Bo-Bo is lazy. He didn't even bother taking Patrick Crayton and Jacoby Jones out of his lineup for weeks. I don't think he could possibly muster enough motivation to hack this Web site.
1. Emmitt Smith - This Web site has grown in popularity because of how much I've made fun of Emmitt Smith's English. Some of his quotes:
"You cannot change the stripes of a leopard."
"Don't worry about the game you just won or the team that we just blew out... uhhh... blown... blown out... Let's think about what we need to do going forward, and they had... blown out."
"Defensively, they're solid. They have solid defenses."
"This will get you completely blowed out."
"The strength of the Patriots, their offense, got... DEBACLED."
You can see the rest of the quotes in the Emmitt Smith Anthology: Part 1 and Part 2.
I've had some people e-mail me and ask if I think I'm responsible for ESPN's decision to fire Emmitt. I always say no. I didn't force Emmitt to debacle the English language. He did that himself. I was just there to point out all of the funny quotes.
Was it Emmitt at ESPN headquarters with the Debaclation Machine? To answer this, here's another quote from Emmitt: "You hear Andy Reid going online and say, Donovan McNabb is my starting quarterback." You hear Andy Reid going online, eh? It's safe to say Emmitt knows nothing about computers. He's innocent.
OK, so it wasn't any of these people (what do I mean, THESE PEOPLE!?) With the help of forum member LordOfPotato, I was able to trace the IP address to Israel (126.96.36.199), which was owned by some Bezeqint.net site (I wouldn't recommend going there). So, with LOP's advice, I blocked their IP address and I changed the password to my FTP on another computer just in case there was some sort of virus on my laptop. As of 1 a.m., the hacking stopped.
I woke up at 9 on Sunday morning just to see if my site was hacked. It was. At 8:45, the hacker changed the home page again. That was the bad news. The good news is that I knew I didn't have a virus or keylogger on my laptop.
My host still wasn't answering his e-mails - damn you, Haiti - so I just started sending out random e-mails to everyone. Fortunately, the guys at Fantasy Sports Ventures were able to help me out.
They noticed the hacker was logging in through an account on my site called "Test." I set that account up for my former college roommate two years ago because he wanted to try some stuff out. I completely forgot about it. The hacker managed to figure out the password, and that's how he was able to keep changing the home page to re-direct to that crappy motionsharing.com site. In a way I'm fortunate that the hacker didn't delete this entire Web site.
So, in closing, I want to say thank you, hacker. Thank you for not deleting this entire Web site. Thank you for being hired by some guy with a loser Web site simply looking for some promotion. And thank you for not being Emmitt Smith; for he would have completely debacled WalterFootball.com.
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 3: Heroes
I'm worn out from that whole hacker ordeal. So, I'll let e-mailer Matthew S. handle this last Jerk of the Week.
In my last entry, I wrote an entire thesis on Lost. Matthew S. agreed that the show kicks major a**, and also vented about Heroes.
Now, I used to be a big fan of Heroes. I used to have a write-up about it each week. I used to watch each episode twice. And I still watch the show - but I'm getting tired of it.
Matthew S. summed up all of my thoughts. Note that this contains spoilers, though it shouldn't matter to you because the show is very mediocre right now:
I, like you, love many different TV series. I invest myself in the ongoing plot and character development. They are so much better than movies. One of the many shows I have followed is Heroes . I remember you having your Heroes discussion threads on here, so I figured you may be one person who can relate to my recent disgust with the show.
I feel the writers of Heroes are prime candidates to be a Jerk of the Week. No - Jerk of the Year. Or maybe Jerk of the Past Three Years. Seriously, what the f*** has happened to that show?!? It has gotten progressively worse each season. There is no ongoing storyline. The characters seem like they are doing the same thing they were doing in Season 1. It seems like the writers are relying on a group of manatees and "idea balls" to determine what the next episode will be about. I can see it now:
Heroes Writer #1: OK. The manatees have pulled three new idea balls for the upcoming shows. They are "Claire", "School", and "Kiss".
Heroes Writer #2: Oh wow! That sounds interesting! How about this? Claire becomes tired of being a hero. She gives this big dramatic and original "I just want to be normal" speech then goes back to "school" and then...
HW #1: Wait, wait, wait. We already did that, didn't we? In Season 2, right?
HW #2: No, no, no, let me finish. While she is at school, she becomes romantically involved with one of her fellow students leading to them "kissing" and then...
HW #1: Wait! We absolutely did do this already in Season 2. Remember? When she fell in love with that Superman kid from her school who could fly...
HW #2: Please let me finish! The person she kisses this time....is a CHICK!!
HW#1: OMG I just got a little stiffy. But, that really doesn't fit into the overall premise of the show.
HW #2: Right... Ummm. And what was our overall premise again??
HW #1: You know, the whole superhero thing.
HW #2: Oh, right, right. Eh, that's the least of our worries. I'm sure we can fit that in somewhere. We can just have Claire get impaled by something and heal in front of some classmates.
HW #1: You are a genius.
HW #2: Hey don't praise me. The manatees are the real geniuses.
Here are some other random things that annoy me about the show.
1.) There are no shocking moments anymore. For instance, how many times have we seen someone die and come back to life on the show? Are you even surprised or shocked anymore when someone dies? You can almost assume they won't stay dead. The only people they ever permanently kill off are Nathan, who wanted off the show, and weak secondary characters that nobody cares about.
At the end of Season 1, Peter is the "exploding man" and explodes in mid-air... then immediately regenerates and comes back to life.
In the same episode, Sylar is stabbed and killed by Hiro. OMG.... then he is brought back to life by some chick in Season 2.
At the end of Season 2, Noah Bennet is shot in the head and killed.... And then he is back in the next episode because Claire revives him with her blood.
Some time during Season 2, Nikki Sanders is killed... And then her character is basically brought back in the form of Tracy Straus. Weak.
In recent episodes, Matt Parkman commits suicide by cop and they also show Mohinder dead at the end of the episode. Of course, both of them end up being fine. Shocker.
I guarantee that if Nathan wants back on the show, his "real body" will come back to life via Claire's blood or something. Speaking of that, why didn't they just do that (or find another healer) in the first place instead of relying on the whole Parkman mind switch/body switch thing?
Did you for even one second actually believe Mohinder would stay dead? Was it supposed to be shocking for us to see him laying there lifeless?? Was that supposed to be a huge cliffhanger, leaving us anxiously awaiting the next episode? Anyone with half a brain knew either Claire would inject her blood into him, or Hiro would go back in time and save him, or someone else with healing abilities would revive him. I would have bet on JaMarcus Russell becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer before I would have bet on Mohinder staying dead. I'm not even being sarcastic.
2.) They have totally debacled the entire concept of time travel. I love the idea of time travel. Movies and shows like Lost, Frequency, Back to the Future and the Butterfly Effect have always intrigued me. I understand it is silly to debate the rules of time travel, but each of those aforementioned shows had a certain set of "rules" they established and followed in regards to time travel. But, what Heroes has done with their concept of time travel is a joke.
What happened to Matt and Daphne getting married? What happened to Sylar living in suburbia with a kid? What happened to Ando turning on Hiro? What happened to Mohinder turning into a genetically mutated monster? What happened to Nathan becoming president? None of that happened! You can't show a future with all of this, and then just forget about it. It's ridiculous.
For example, imagine if you saw a future five years (2014) from now with you and Rebecca Grant married, Emmitt as President of the United States, and the Lions as Super Bowl winners. Then when 2014 rolls around, you find out that Rebecca Grant got a sex change and is now a dude, Emmitt is instead the new host of Jeopardy, and the Lions are still the worst team in the league and are about to relocate to England as the London Sillynannies. Wouldn't you be like "WTF that wasn't the future at all. That vision of the future was beyond pointless since it didn't even come close to happening?"
And don't get me started on the "future" with dark-haired Claire and scar-on-his face Peter. What was up with that? I understand that this was a "future" where people with powers are hunted because Nathan had that press conference revealing his powers. But, once Nathan was shot and prevented from making that announcement, wouldn't that "future" and Scar-on-face Peter cease to exist? Yes. And if scar-on-face Peter never exists, he can't travel back to shoot Nathan in the first place. And this creates a paradox, which is the one thing you must avoid at all costs when doing anything time travel related.
3.) Hiro has way too much power. I mean, after all that has gone on with Sylar, why didn't someone just tell Hiro to go back in time and stop Sylar's mom and dad from conceiving? Everything would have been solved! Just go back in time and chop his dad's wee-wee off or something. I mean, it would suck for him, but it is better than dozens of people dying because of Sylar. Didn't the writers and creators think of this stuff when the show was created?
I am a big, big fan of Lost. Our fan base holds the writers and producers to the highest of standards. It almost seems unfair that the Heroes writers can get away with this crap writing.
I feel "trapped" for lack of a better word. I have invested four years into this once-promising program. I can't just stop watching now. I feel like those Browns fans in the stands during the fourth quarter of a Ravens blowout. I know it's ugly. I know it's not going to get better. But I still can't leave.
I can go on and on and on about this disappointing show, but I'll stop there. Thanks for your time and letting me vent.
No problem! That was a great Heroes rant. I completely feel the same way. In Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2, I used to look forward to the show. But ever since, it has gotten progressively worse.
I love the actor who plays Samuel (was great as T-Bag on Prison Break), and I had hope for the show when he was introduced as the main bad guy this season, but every episode it starts off with him at the carnival saying, "This is my fam-il-ee. We need more people in our fam-il-ee."
That's how you know a show sucks. If an actor plays one of the best antagonistic roles in television history in one show, and suddenly becomes a completely boring Scottish carnival villain in another show, you know the writers of that second show suck.
Wait. My bad. The manatees of that second show suck. The writers don't even deserve the credit for sucking.