[Sticky] Forum Updates December 25th 2019  

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DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 460
2019-12-24 4:38 pm  

Hopefully, most of you are already aware of this, especially as I have it printed in bold red text at the top of the screen, but in case you haven't heard this forum will be undergoing some maintenance tomorrow, December 25th. It might seem strange to do it on Christmas day, but according to the analytics for my main website that's the least trafficked day of the year. Plus I figure most of you will have other things to do anyway!

Here is what you can expect over the next 48 hours:

  • The forum will be available all day today, December 24th. I am making some additions in the background but you won't see them and they shouldn't affect anything.
  • Tomorrow you'll be unable to login to the forum, you'll just get a maintenance screen. I expect that will occur around 4 am Eastern time, 9:00 GMT. Up until then, you can post on the forum and all your data will be safe.
  • During the day on the 25th, you may occasionally see that the forum seems to be back online. Post at your own risk and be aware that your data may be lost, although I'll make every effort not to have that happen.
  • If all goes as planned the forum will spring back to life on December 26th.

 

A lot of the changes will be in the background, but a few will be notable. Two of them specifically:

  1. Private Messages. A lot of people have asked for that, a method of sending a private message to another forum member without revealing any personal information.  This feature will only be available to users with a sufficient post count, I haven't actually determined what that post count needs to be yet.
  2. A lot fewer members.  No, we haven't experienced a mass exodus of users. A huge number of our members aren't members at all, they are either spammers or bots who joined the forum for reasons unknown and have never posted. Currently, they are all Banned, but tomorrow they will disappear.

 

Another feature I'm adding is Polls. Right now I do a survey to see what video and article topics you'd like to see me create, I'm moving that feature to the forum instead. This way you can all vote, see the results and suggest content.  I'll do these periodically and will have the first one up in a few days.

I'm also creating some help screens and videos to assist you in using all of the features of the forum, but they won't be ready for a few days. When they are done you'll see a "Help" item added to the top menu.

If you have any questions please let me know. You'll probably see my avatar for most of the day, but be aware that's because I'm working in the background and am logged in as an administrator, so I may not respond immediately. 

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Holiday!

?

Bill

 

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 1590
2019-12-24 9:35 pm  

While you are slaving away on Christmas day I'll be playing with my Jetson Nanos. ? 

I've been working on A.I. perceptron code here all day.    My eyes are giving out and I need to take a break, but I'm making so much progress I hate to take a break.   I'm learning tons about Numpy, and other Python math functions.  It's all so exciting.

See you after Christmas.  Don't work too hard.  And if it takes longer than expected don't sweat it.  We'll be here when you get back however long you need.

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 460
2019-12-24 10:36 pm  
Posted by: @robo-pi

While you are slaving away on Christmas day I'll be playing with my Jetson Nanos

That sounds like the perfect way to spend the day, I envy you.  And I've been reading your Jetson Nano posts, sounds like you're becoming quite the expert.

Posted by: @robo-pi

See you after Christmas.  Don't work too hard.  And if it takes longer than expected don't sweat it.  We'll be here when you get back however long you need.

Thanks. Most of it is pretty straightforward, the change from MySQL to MariaDB is a bit of a cause for concern but from what I've read it's painless.

One thing I need to do is additional security hardening, especially on the forum.  Someone is spending their Christmas Eve attempting to attack the main site, I usually get about 1000 attacks per day but I'm almost at 10,000 and it's only 5:30 pm!  The forum only gets a couple a day, but as it gets more popular that is sure to grow. And I can't use the same security settings on the forum as the main site, otherwise, I'd lock out the legitimate users.

The silly thing about today's attacker is that he/she/it just keeps trying the same thing, changing their IP address every time as they are immediately locked out.  It's an annoyance but not a concern. Personally I think its a bot that is "stuck".

Posted by: @robo-pi

My eyes are giving out and I need to take a break, but I'm making so much progress I hate to take a break.

I can relate, I've been at this all day myself. And a few hours ago I nearly did something really stupid!  I was getting rid of the Banned users (thank you @codecage for doing all the hard work in finding them!) and I almost accidentally deleted 100 legitimate users. And not just any users, the oldest one.  That would have included you Robo-Pi, and it also would have included myself (although I'm not sure it would allow me to delete my own account)!  Fortunately, I caught my error. And yes, I do have backups, so I would have been able to bring everyone back!

Enjoy your Jetson, perhaps eat some turkey and I'll see you on Boxing Day (which is what we call the day after Christmas up here)!

?

Bill

 

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 1590
2019-12-24 11:20 pm  
Posted by: @dronebot-workshop

And I've been reading your Jetson Nano posts, sounds like you're becoming quite the expert.

Hardly.  I'm just using them as desktop computers so far.    Most of my focus has been on learning various types of software.  As you probably already read, I've got KiCAD, and Blender somewhat under control.  I'm learning OpenCV for A.I. thanks to the super great lessons by Paul McWhorter.  I'm supporting his channel too because his efforts deserve to be rewarded.   It would be extremely difficult for me to try to learn OpenCV on my own.   Plus I'm also taking his course on 9-axis IMU, and I'm not sure, but  I think he covers quarterions in that course too so that will be rewarding as well.

Right now I'm getting my knowledge of pecerptrons backi in order.   Was getting extremely lost and confused concerning how bias is used.  But just today I realized that it really has a lot to do with the Sigmoid function they use.  So I've been studying how to get the Sigmoid  function under control mathematically. ? 

I also want to start making videos!!!  I have Kdenlive up and running on the Jetson Nano but I have too many pokers in the fire right now to be able to spend any time learning how to use it.

I'm  hoping to grow up and be like you and have my own  YouTube channel. ? 

I too used to be a professor.   Just at a small-town college.   Nothing to write home about.  I taught computer technology classes mainly.  But I also taught some classes on math and physics.    Those were the good old days.   I really loved teaching.

Posted by: @dronebot-workshop

Enjoy your Jetson, perhaps eat some turkey and I'll see you on Boxing Day (which is what we call the day after Christmas up here)!

What do they mean by "boxing"?   Do they beat each other up after the holiday?  ? 

Or  is this referring to putting everything back away in boxes again after the holidays.

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 460
2019-12-24 11:38 pm  
Posted by: @robo-pi

I'm learning OpenCV for A.I. thanks to the super great lessons by Paul McWhorter.  I'm supporting his channel too because his efforts deserve to be rewarded.

I agree, his stuff is superb. I'm also watching his NVIDIA Jetson series, usually in the morning while I do my daily 40 minutes of exercise to try and coax some life out of this tired old body!  I think I'll add to the channels I support as well.

Posted by: @robo-pi

I also want to start making videos!!!  I have Kdenlive up and running on the Jetson Nano but I have too many pokers in the fire right now to be able to spend any time learning how to use it.

I'm  hoping to grow up and be like you and have my own  YouTube channel

I've been anxiously waiting to see it, and if I can help in any way don't hesitate to ask. You'll probably get the Gold Play Button before I do!

Posted by: @robo-pi

I too used to be a professor.   Just at a small-town college.   Nothing to write home about.  I taught computer technology classes mainly.  But I also taught some classes on math and physics.    Those were the good old days.   I really loved teaching.

I've always wanted to be a teacher, I've never done it formally but I have taught at seminars in the mid-'90s (my ex-wife was the president of the Canadian Authors Association and I taught authors to use the Internet when it was new to everyone). And when I moved to Montreal I taught SEO courses.  YouTube kind of lets me live out that dream.

Posted by: @robo-pi

What do they mean by "boxing"?   Do they beat each other up after the holiday?  ? 

Or  is this referring to putting everything back away in boxes again after the holidays.

A little bit of both actually!

The original tradition started in England, the day after Christmas the rich people would box up the stuff they didn't want and distribute it to the poor.

Now it's a huge sale, like Black Friday. And people go to stores and beat each other up to get their hands on TVs and microwaves!

?

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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codecage
(@codecage)
Member Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 507
2019-12-25 12:07 am  

@dronebot-workshop & @robo-pi

I too am watching the Paul McWhorter Jetson Nano series.  Anxiously wait for 10:00 AM to arrive each Saturday.

 

SteveG


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Spyder
(@spyder)
Honorable Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 659
2019-12-28 11:48 pm  

@dronebot-workshop

I thought boxing day was when the bosses trade places with the underlings


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DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 460
2019-12-28 11:54 pm  

@spyder

No, you must be thinking of some other day.

"This custom is linked to an older British tradition where the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families since they would have to serve their masters on Christmas Day. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses, and sometimes leftover food. Until the late 20th century there continued to be a tradition among many in the UK to give a Christmas gift, usually cash, to vendors although not on Boxing Day as many would not work on that day."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_Day

?

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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Spyder
(@spyder)
Honorable Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 659
2019-12-29 3:54 pm  

@dronebot-workshop

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0638236/

Obviously I should no longer trust MASH for my education on foreign traditions.

I've believed this for 40 years


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 1590
2019-12-29 8:26 pm  
Posted by: @spyder

I've believed this for 40 years

It's still true.  The tradition has simply morphed as it exuded its way out into the world.    In different places it means different things.  In Gondwanaland it means that men are not allowed to wear briefs on boxer day.  Only boxer shorts.  Any man caught wearing briefs on boxer day will be debriefed. ?

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Spyder
(@spyder)
Honorable Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 659
2019-12-29 10:50 pm  
Posted by: @robo-pi

Any man caught wearing briefs on boxer day...

I would have thought that only an American government would involve itself in such investigations


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 1590
2019-12-29 11:22 pm  

Gondwanaland was the old America.  That's why it fell into extinction.

After the brief age was over and the boxing days fell out of fashion the Long John age became popular but it warmed up the globe and the old America sank beneath the sea becoming the source of the legends of the lost city of Atlantis.  In Gondwana "Atlantis" means "Land of the briefs".   Or "A brief clan"

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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egers
(@egers)
Eminent Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 37
2019-12-30 5:00 am  
Posted by: @dronebot-workshop

One thing I need to do is additional security hardening, especially on the forum.  Someone is spending their Christmas Eve attempting to attack the main site, I usually get about 1000 attacks per day but I'm almost at 10,000 and it's only 5:30 pm!  The forum only gets a couple a day, but as it gets more popular that is sure to grow. And I can't use the same security settings on the forum as the main site, otherwise, I'd lock out the legitimate users.

I don't know much about hacking, but why would someone care to hack into the website or the forum? What are they attempting to get? Also, what are they doing and how are you blocking them? I know nothing about cybersecurity, and I am trying to learn.


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 1590
2019-12-30 2:29 pm  
Posted by: @egers

I don't know much about hacking, but why would someone care to hack into the website or the forum? What are they attempting to get? Also, what are they doing and how are you blocking them? I know nothing about cybersecurity, and I am trying to learn.

I also wonder how to tell that they are fake accounts?  I noticed that before Bill cleaned up the system there were almost 2000 members.  Now it's closer to 1000.   That means that Bill had to delete 1000 accounts without kicking off any valid members?   How in the world do you tell the difference between a valid account and a faked account so easily?  Bill surely didn't go through these one-be-one deciding which are real and which are fake?

It's all a mystery to me.  

My guess is that faked accounts are created by bots, and they probably create multiple accounts.  So they leave a tell-tale signature of some sort that shows up on these multiple accounts.  Valid accounts would be unique and one of a kind.  So just delete all the accounts that have multiple similar signatures of some sort?

That's just a guess.  I really have no clue how the magic cyber security investigations are done. I imagine there some sort of security software that recognizes and deletes these duplicated accounts?  And hopefully it doesn't kick any valid members off?

As to the purpose of these fake accounts, I also have no clue.

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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ZeFerby
(@zeferby)
Reputable Member
Joined: 6 months ago
Posts: 348
2019-12-30 6:15 pm  

A lot of hackers test their teeth on any new/moved Wordpress site they can find, since there is a better chance for these sites to not yet be protected (and some of these guys are scanning every known IP from known WP-hosting companies).

If they can hack one, then they have a chnace to potentially target a very large share of all the web sites (WP = more than 50% if i remember well ?)

Eric


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