October 12, 2014

Sad Face

I don't know if any of you noticed this when you visited my blog a couple of days ago but apparently my blog coding was hacked. I had no idea until three nights ago Master went to read my blog and a pop up ad opened in a completely new tab. Weird. I obviously don't code in any ads for my blog, let alone pop up ads. I thought that maybe it was a fluke but nope. The next day we tried it multiple times and it happened each and every time.

I double checked my layout as well as the actual HTML and none of it had changed. What the hell? I thought that maybe Blogger itself had been hacked by someone putting pop up ads on everyone's blogs. I went to their official discussion boards and while other people were experiencing it as well, it wasn't everyone.

I created my own discussion and went from there. I included my URL and explained what was going on. Well, there were three gadget codes I had on my blog that I didn't create myself and were not created by Blogger. You can search the internet for all sorts of little things to add to your blog to make it look nice. I obviously don't know how to do some of it myself so I would take them from tutorials on the web.

I have had these for over a year, so I thought nothing of it. But one of the Blogger reps told me that those three things had to be removed. They were causing the pop up ads. I didn't really believe it at first because like I said I had them for quite some time. I requested further information.

Apparently the gadget codes I used from those three tutorials were written by a hacker or hackers. Once these type of people think that they have enough people using the codes they just go through and alter one small thing and before you know it they cause pop up ads or worse. Thankfully this was only pop up ads. Some of them carry viruses or malware.

I was upset about it which may sound incredibly stupid. There was no harm done and all I had to do was remove those three things. However, the reason why I was upset is because I have worked really hard on this blog to get it just the way I want it. That includes literally hours of searching for the right kind of gadget codes I want that looked on the up and up and that I thought were awesome and then putting them in place.

The three things I had to remove were my blogger counter, my recent posts, and my recent comments.

As you may notice the recent posts widget is back but I used the Blogger approved one rather than the original that I had. It is very similar but not quite how I would like it. 

I really loved the look of my recent comments gadget but of course that had to go. I searched and Blogger doesn't have an approved one available. I also loved my counter. Blogger doesn't have a nice looking one.

I really, really want to find a way to replace those but I don't want to risk something like that happening again. I realize it doesn't effect the blog really. It just effects the aesthetic. I think it bothers me more simply because I have worked so hard and gone through so many changes on this blog to get it exactly how I want it.


  1. Have you ever thought about actually fully learning how to code so that you can write your own gadgets? There are loads of free online tutorials and classes for pretty much every programming language out there. It's also one of those things that would eventually (probably sooner than you'd think now) open up more job possibilities. If you figure out the language(s) you might be interested, I'm happy to either let you know where I've used a good tutorial or class or ask my friends. Once you've learned the basics to any language, it's really about practice and doing the sort of playing around you've been doing with this blog. I'd suggest setting up a separate blog to test things before using them here. If you ever decided to look for more programming-oriented jobs, the test blog could be used as a portfolio. And even if you don't, having a separate test blog would mean you didn't have to worry so much about "breaking" something here with your playing.

    If you were to decide to do any of this to resume build, I'm also happy to point you towards other ways to get experience. Some of those could actually result in directly leading to a job. Most of the ways can be done as a side thing while you worked at a job that only needs your current skills. It's worth considering because tech jobs tend to pay well and many are flexible about where/when you work. Tech companies will often take experience in place of a degree (I know quite a few people who've gotten good jobs even though they had no formal schooling after high school).

    Any way, feel free to ignore all/some of the above. I do think it would be worth learning how to make gadgets even if only to be able to get your blog the way you really want it without having to worry about someone else's junk.

    1. I know some coding already. I know HTML and CSS. And even then I know that I'm somewhat limited in my knowledge there. I don't know any JavaScript though.

      I do have a test blog that I was using before I totally transferred it to here, in regards to the looks of the blog. However, in regards to learning it completely I don't really want to put that much time and effort into learning a lot of it since this is technically a hobby. I mean, it's required in so far as my actual posts, but messing around with the looks of it is just a hobby.

      In regards to learning such things to add to my resume or skill set for a job I really wouldn't be able to use it unless I have a degree to back it up. I've applied to jobs that I know I can do with the knowledge that I do have but have been consistently told that if I don't have a degree for it, it is not something they are interested in. At least that is how it is around here. It may not be the same every where else.

      I have thought about getting Microsoft certified in Excel or Word though. Still looking into it though.

      I probably, eventually, will look into it just for the aesthetic of my blog but right now with so many family things going on my head is spinning and I just don't have the patience to do it.

      I appreciate the advice though!

  2. This is going to sound odd, but if you are seriously considering getting even Excel or Word certifications, you might want to consider signing up to get emails from Groupon. They sometimes have incredibly good deals on certification courses (we're talking 75% off level of good deals) for everything from Excel & Word classes/certs to the incredible technical ones (I'm blanking on the names at the moment). It's somewhat luck of the draw on what's available at a single moment, but it doesn't hurt to keep an eye on either.

    I really do have several friends who have tech jobs who don't have anything above a high school degree (and one isn't in the US so in many ways his high school equivalent counts "less" for employers in developed countries). Most of them do all their work from home so it isn't really a location thing. Some companies do require occasional travel (company paid), but plenty do all their hiring over phone and/or using things like Skype. What my friends did, and this is the part that takes time, is get involved with open source software projects. The time they spent volunteering with those (usually while working a full-time paying job) counted directly as work experience. As well, the projects gave my friends specific things they could put on their resume to show employers what they can do (not just listing skills, but giving links to a portfolio or work they've actually done), people who were willing to be references, and networking opportunities. For several of my friends, the paid full time job they have now is actually working on the project/for the company that runs the project that they volunteered with.

    The thing is, though, that it's more of a long term solution than a quick one for getting a job right now. Most of my friends who have tech jobs with nothing above high school were volunteering at least a year before they started actually getting jobs. For less technical jobs (things like tech writing or support) a degree or certification means more, but the more technical you can show you are with examples of your work, the less important a degree becomes.

    Sorry, I don't mean to sound pushy. It just strikes me that it's something you'd be good at and would give you more options in the future. It's definitely something that takes time, but it shouldn't take any more money than you'd already be paying for computer & internet.