I’m Back – And Happy Holidays

Hongkie Town was hacked last week.  It was subtle and odds are you didn’t see it – I certainly didn’t.  And then I received an email from Google, “Notice of Suspected Hacking,” and that “some of my pages” would be listed as “potentially compromised” in Google’s search results.

Fortunately I have someone to assist me when it comes to web mastering tasks and that someone is far more hands-on technical than I am.  Without going into all the nasty details, all of my stuff has been transferred to a new server, clean re-install of WordPress and plugins and so on.  It also gave me an opportunity to dump the previous theme, something I’d gotten sick of a long time ago but was too lazy to change until now.

Although I haven’t been out much the past few days, I was unable to write any new posts.  My series of notable albums of 2012 will continue in a day or two.

In the meantime, my best wishes to all of my readers for a happy Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Festivus or whatever else you take note of at this time of year.

Hong Kong 7’s 2013 Tickets

(Note that I’ve disabled my usual WordPress theme and put in this temporary very plain theme until I get some issues sorted out.)

If you’re looking for tickets for 2013’s Hong Kong Rugby 7’s, always an instant sell-out, there’s a new lottery system in place for HK Residents.  Go to the Hong Kong 7’s web site and you can register your details between December 13th 2012 and February 4 2013 for a “public ballot”, aka lottery, to be held on February 7th.  There are 4,000 seats available via this system.

Note that you can only register once and if you “win” you are only entitled to buy 2 tickets.  You’ll then have from February 8th to February 22nd to confirm and pay for your tickets.  A second drawing will be held on February 25th for any tickets unclaimed from the original drawing.

Perhaps this will be an improvement on previous years when the web site collapsed under the weight of all the people trying to buy tickets online the moment they went on sale.  Or perhaps not.

And I’m Back

Some of you may have noticed that Hongkie Town was down for around 24 hours.  If you’re reading this, it’s back. :-)

However, things may look a little bit off.  All of my plugins have been deactivated and need to be reinstalled/reconfigured.  I’m considering taking advantage of this opportunity to do an over-all site redesign, though at the moment redoing stuff on Spike’s Photos is a higher priority.

Anyway, if you notice anything out of the ordinary here, please drop me a line and let me know.

Sorry About the Site

I was unable to bring up either the blog or the admin page for more than 12 hours.  Obviously I’ve got it back now.  My admin tells me that things never crashed and that they got better after he bounced the server but that everything is still slower than it should be.  Investigations continue, hopefully this will be resolved shortly.  (Oh, the previous post, all in Chinese, cut and paste from Ming Pao, just ignore, it’s a test relevant to another project I’m working on.)

Yes, I Know the Site is Looking Odd

Since late last week, when you come here, it starts loading with the usual theme but then the background switches to a bright blue.   If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll see a couple of lines of text about “Account Suspended.”

As near as both my admin and I can figure it, the source of this is the theme.  The free theme came with a footer coded in hexadecimal and a warning not to edit it.  But said footer served up single line text ads for dubious sites, causing this site to get marked as spam by some companies that track that kind of thing.  The logical thing seemed to be to convert the hex to ASCII, remove the offending line of code, convert back to hex and run with that .  Which is what I did.  But that was more than a year ago so why something like this should kick in now is beyond me.  It could be something else but I can’t figure out who or what the culprit could be.

Which means I’m going to have to switch my theme.  That’s a damned time consuming task – finding a theme that I like and then adding back all the customization and widgets.   So I won’t get to it until this weekend at the earliest.

If anyone wants to recommend a theme or a site that offers free WordPress themes without serving up spam through the back door (in a manner of speaking), please do so.  Thanks for bearing with me.

In the meantime, here’s a photo of Michelle Bachmann enjoying a corn dog.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and take a guess that she swallowed.

Swallowed a piece of the corn dog.  What did you think I meant?



Am I Being Scammed?

Email received today:

(If you are NOT CEO,please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent.Thanks.)
Dear CEO,
We are the organization of Asian Brand and Domain registration dispute, have something need to confirm with you. we formally received an application on Marc30,2011.  one company which called “India Mansip Investment S.A” are applying to register “Hongkietown” as Brand Name and Domains.
hongkietown.asia (Asia)
hongkietown.cn (China)
hongkietown.com.cn (China)
hongkietown.com.hk (Hong Kong)
hongkietown.com.tw (Taiwan)
hongkietown.hk (Hong Kong)
hongkietown.in (India)
hongkietown.net.cn (China)
hongkietown.org.cn (China)
hongkietown.tw &nbsp ;  (Taiwan)

But we found that “India Mansip Investment S.A” is not the original owner of the brand and trademark in the checking period,which  belong to your company .I need confirm with you whether your company authorized that company to register these domain name.If you have done that ,We will finish the registration for them and link to their website.
If not ,please let me know ASAP.
In addition, we hereby affirm that our time limit for dissent application is 7 workdays. If your company files no dissent within the time limit, we will unconditionally approve the application.

Best Regards,

Are My Blog Stats For Real?

This is very weird.

I just upgraded to WordPress 3.1.   And then I took a look at my stats.

On a normal weekday, this site gets an average of 700 visitors.  My busiest day since switching over to this domain about 15 months ago received just under 1,000.

According to the stats yesterday there were 2,550.  1,476 of those came from Singapore.  Hi, Singapore!

And what did most of those people look at most?  This one, from August 2010.  1,300 searches for actress Vonnie Lui led to that post, which has one picture of her.

And I see that if one does a Google image search for Ms. Lui, I turn up in the first page of the result set.

Why is Vonnie Lui suddenly such a hot topic?   Did some genuinely popular blog link to that photo?

Is the message that I should stop writing and just be aggregating sexy shots of Hong Kong stars here?


Weird Blog Stats

If I could figure this out, I suppose my blog would be a lot more popular.   Over the course of the past 3 months, if I look at the most popular pages on the blog and exclude the home page, these are the top ten:

Machete – My review of the film includes two photos side-by-side of Jessica Alba showing how her nude scene was the product of CGI.  And also a picture of the very hot Avellan twins.  People are searching for both of those and seem to end up here.

HK Links – I’ve got a fairly large list of HK blogs here, not maintained as rigorously as I should.

Pay Duty to Bring Your Own iPad to China – Obvious why people would be interested in this.

Gay Marriages Will Save the Economy – From two years ago, this includes the video of the same name from Funny or Die, and when people search on that title I’m the number 3 result.  There’s also a very nice picture of Anne Hathaway and people searching for pictures of her seem to end up here.

Singapore Fail Whale – Showing how a tourism poster for Singapore seems to have copied Twitter’s famous fail whale.

Best Albums 2010 – This post ended up being in Largehearted Boy’s year end round-up of listings on this subject.

Chrissie Chau Grows a Cup Size – Everyone is always searching for more pictures of Chrissie. She’s a Facebook friend and she’s done at least one shoot at my photo studio but I’ve never met her IRL.

iPad and VPN – People outside the US want Hulu and others on their iPad.

iPhone 4 No Longer Available From Apple HK Web Site – Pretty much what it says.

Osteria Ristorante Italiano at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile – When the Holiday Inn offered me a free night in exchange for a possible review and then ended up comping me on meals as well, I wasn’t sure if it fell too far outside of what I normally cover here but gave it a shot.

So, there you have the top ten.  There is no common thread.  Sex figures in 3 of the 10 (with photos that I got from elsewhere.)  News about Apple products also make up 3 of the 10.  One post on music.  One restaurant review.  And the Singapore fail whale.

As near as I can figure it, if I want the blog to be more popular, I should be concentrating on posts that have news about Apple products combined with photos of relatively famous women showing a lot of cleavage.   Look for lots of future posts about iPhone 5 rumors combined with photos of Bar Rafaeli in a bikini.

(photo from here.)

Hongkie Town is 1 Today!

It was just over a year ago that I made the decision to move from Google’s Blogger to my own domain.  And it was one year ago today, November 19, 2009 (a date that will live in infamy?) that the old Hongkie Town went dark and HongkieTown.com came online.   Hong Kong itself took note of this momentous anniversary by having a small earthquake in my honor.

My life has changed a lot in the past year.  I made this “move” less than three weeks after leaving my previous job.  It was something to keep me busy and at least vaguely productive while I was trying to figure out my next move.

People ask me how and why I’ve managed to keep blogging for six years.  The answer is that it’s something that I really enjoy, being able to sit down and write about (almost) anything that’s on my mind and to get some feedback on it.  I’ve made a few enemies here and there (if I didn’t, then I would probably have been doing something wrong) but even more friends.  Six years later, it’s still fun, and that’s what keeps me going.

One person deserves a special mention for helping me get this set up, keeping the site running and patiently answering all of my questions.  Peter Kaminski is a true internet pioneer – he’s the guy who came up with “Internet in a Box” for Netcom almost 20 years ago.  He was one of the founders of Kana and SocialText among others and he was my boss when he was co-founder and CTO of Yipes Communications 10 years ago. He’s one of those rare people who are incredibly smart and at the same time incredibly nice.  How did I get someone like this to be my webmaster?  I’d say “clean living” but I’d just be yanking you.

Big thanks also has to go to all the other bloggers and web sites out there that have linked back to here and even occasionally said a kind word or two about my little corner of the web.

And of course thanks to you, my readers, the faithful and the casual, and especially those of you who take time out to leave a comment every now and then.

And so, on to the second year ….