Me 4.0: Day 6. 20 years later.

16 years, 9 months, and 29 days ago I was first introduced to the technology that would dominate so much of the next 6148 days of my life. I worked for the company that made software for just shy of 8 years of that time.

6 days ago, it ended in an email.

As we announced earlier today, we’re reducing our workforce… Unfortunately, as part of this reduction your role is being eliminated.

Email all too common now

For the first time in many years, I’m facing professional uncertainty. I’m working through the emotions…including a craving to explore those feels in blogging again.

I’m not planning to talk about Salesforce, its products, or business decisions. I couldn’t do the topic justice compared to other sources. I won’t try.

Instead, I’ll likely focus on my obsessions with technology learning, personal knowledge management tools like Obsidian and the power of community. Maybe some knitting progress, too. Topics that feed my soul and feel too constrained in 500 characters on Mastodon.

I started this blog site (first using the domain of momathome.com) on a whim 20 years ago today on January 9, 2003 when my kids were young and I was dabbling in freelance graphic design work.

At first, I didn’t think about the content. It was all about the fun of setting it up. I love tinkering with and learning technology, and then sharing and building community around what I learned. Back then it was all about installing and configuring MovableType on my own and just talking about whatever was going on in my world. I had no idea if anyone was reading. Back then, it didn’t matter. It was for me. When I got feedback and picked up some followers, it was about us.

Thanks, Copernicus, for my very first comment – wherever you are.

screen shot from first comment I received on my blog. It said "I thought I would write a comment here so you do not feel no one listens to you."

I blogged here regularly until 2013 and fell off when my employment in the industry made talking about the technology challenging and it was too easy to post on Twitter.

I ended up sharing over 1900 posts here.

Blogging helped me through Me 1.0 as a stay-at-home mom and freelance graphic designer.

It helped me make sense of Me 2.0 as an anti-cancer advocate trying to figure out how to start and lead a nonprofit organization.

And it got me to the beginning of Me 3.0 as an open source community and production support leader for a Fortune 500 company.

Hello Me 4.0.

Whatever she turns out to be.

What’s going on here?

Hi there! This site is the content that I used to have at momathome.com for reference.

For many, many years that site was self-hosted, but recently it fell victim to some hacking spammer and I decided to shut it off and start fresh.

Feel free to search around, but note that some entries have funky formatting due to missing text plug-ins, and some images are missing on older posts. But all 1,915 posts are here.

I am now posting fresh content at JudiSohn.com and I urge you to visit me there.

Don't you hate it when your database goes poof?

Not a fun Friday.

At some point yesterday morning, my WordPress database disappeared and was replaced with a default WordPress install.

It looked like this in Safari:

That tiny print is the copy that’s on a default WordPress installation, but with the Thesis theme I use applied to it…kind of. I couldn’t log in to wp-admin.

More troubling, the title of the blog was changed to a funky spam link.

I am a pretty good problem solver…when it’s someone else’s problem. When it’s my problem, I tend to be like a scene from Airplane. All panic and I can’t think logically.

Luckily, Erik was the one who brought the problem to my attention, and he stuck with me until the site was restored. Also working in my favor was the WordPress Database Backup plugin that I’ve had installed for years. It emails me a backup of my database every night. We used iChat for screen sharing, which worked really well. When we looked in phpMyAdmin, 6 years of blog content was gone.

Erik restored my database to the most recent backup I had been emailed. After the content was restored, I had to reset my .htaccess file and some Thesis settings. And it appears some posts have formatting issues now they didn’t before. But all-in-all the site seems no worse for wear.

To be safe, I changed all my passwords. Was I hacked? Database corruption? Security hole on the theme or plugin?

Nope.

Turns out, it was something that went wrong at MediaTemple (my host). I opened a support ticket after the site was restored, and a few hours later got this response:

I consulted with our admin staff about this issue. The reason for why your database data was missing was due to an issue on our end that we are aware of. I sincerely apologize for this happening to you. I have credited your account for the trouble.

Yikes! They credited me $20, and assured me that what happened wouldn’t happen again.

This was caused by a temporary problem on our end. Unfortunately, this was a matter of bad timing. I understand that you’re concerned that it would happen again, but without going into detail on what the issue on our end was I assure you it’s being taken care of and was not a normal circumstance.

We figure the spam title was because the default WordPress install that replaced my database was an older version which immediately fell victim to known security exploits.

Moral of the story:

MAKE SURE YOUR DATABASE IS BACKED UP.

I can’t imagine what I’d be going through right now if I didn’t have that backup file at the ready. The plugin I use is easy. There are other ways to do it. The geeks are rolling their eyes at the obvious advice, but the average, every day blogger with a self-hosted install doesn’t think of these things. We should.

Just do it. Backup. Now.