site news

For anyone who thinks to check here… yes, the ZBB is having problems, I know, and I’ve submitted a ticket with Dreamhost.

(Basically you can look at most threads, but not all, and you can’t post at all.  I can’t log in as admin so I can’t even put an alert over there.)

More bulletins when I know more (also on Twitter).

Edit: Looks like it’s fixed.  Dreamhost, with moderate usefulness, told me I should optimize the database and maybe repair tables.  They suggested phpMyAdmin, which didn’t work. But their page also suggested using SSH, and that worked.

The problem may have been intermittent, I can’t tell, but I can say that I couldn’t post yesterday and now I can. So in good IT tradition I’m going to close this up as resolved.

Edit: Fixed for now.  (Downgraded to a php version that worked.  Everything will have to be upgraded again at a later date.)

Dreamhost ‘upgraded’ the phpbb on my domains today, which broke the Almeopedia and, even more annoyingly, the ZBB.

The symptom: logins don’t work.  They give some cryptic messages, and you get a success message, but when you return to the main page you are not actually logged in.

If you’re already logged in, it seems to work OK, so don’t log out. If you’re logged out, you’re out of luck, for now.

I’ve complained to Dreamhost, so hopefully they will fix things tomorrow.

Good question!  It sure looks like it’s been hacked.  Trying to contact DreamHost to see if it can be fixed.

Edit: It was just me, thanks to a bug from AT&T.  We lost phone and internet connection, and AT&T puts in a cookie that attempts to do a redirect, and fails.

The ZBB is back.

This is probably not a permanent solution— it’s a trick!  I’m pointing from a new clean phpBB to the old database.  Somewhat to my surprise, this works.

Well, the good news is that the new domain works and phpBB has been installed.

The bad news is that the database update failed.  I started from phpBB’s backup feature, which produces a database dump of an impressive 42M.  phpBB itself barfs on the file.  And so does phpMyAdmin, which says it’s too big.  And BigDump doesn’t run.

If anyone knows how to do this, I’d appreciate some advice.  (I mean, someone who’s actually done this; I know how to Google too.)  This is on Dreamhost by the way.

(The backup plan is to start with an empty board, but it’d be nice to do better than that.)

Update: setting up a new domain now.  Haven’t installed board software yet nor looked at the morass of database wrangling.
Update update: in case anyone relies on old postings for new news, the ZBB is back up and lives at
Back in September, spinnwebe got hacked. Another attack came up in November, though apparently limited to the ZBB, and this was repeated this month.
(Edit: it just occurred to me that people may not know that this is why people are getting big “malware” alerts when using some browsers.  The hackers added code to redirect search engine visitors to a spam site.  Google detected this and classified the site as infected.)

spinn addressed the first two problems, and I removed the immediate source of the latest attack (in .htaccess). However, the infection must go deeper– the .htacess file isn’t going to hack itself. I’m no security expert and have no experience in fixing such things, nor am I the webmaster of the board.  I can’t force spinn to deal with something that is, after all, an annoying interruption to him.

This situation, as well as the problems at Almeopedia (also due to hacking), lead me to think that the board can only be satisfactorily run from a website under my own control. Then at least I can start from a hack-free state and have the tools to deal with problems as they come up.

It will take some time to set things up. When there’s news, I’ll post it.

The site seems to work on some browsers, but again this is not a sign that the site is OK; something keeps infecting it.  It’s probably not going to actually harm anyone, but I can’t say for sure since I don’t know what the real problem is.  Given that, it seems better to keep the board closed.

(It doesn’t help that some people chose to whine about things not being done fast enough for them.  Sometimes I don’t know why I bother to have a board.  But then I remember– it’s to keep my e-mail down.)
(Edit edit: didn’t realize that the board wasn’t visible at all to non-mods, so I put up a pointer back here.)