Microsoft Windows: A Love Story

I still remember my first reaction to installing the Windows 8 beta when it was first released in early 2012. Upon seeing the lack of a Start Menu and no File Explorer shell I panicked and uninstalled the beta and installed Fedora Linux. After about two weeks of using Fedora I realized that too much of what I did on my computer relied on applications like the Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office (not to mention gaming on Steam) and Fedora was not compatible with any of it. It was at this time I decided I’d have a new rule when trying something out: use it for two weeks before forming an opinion.
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WordPress: Building Child Themes

Today I completed the WordPress: Building Child Themes course on This course, which I found to be very enlightening, was taught by Morten Rand-Hendriksen. One of the prerequisites for starting this course was to have a local WordPress installation running on your machine. To achieve this, I turned to the Bitnami WAMP stack to install a development web server on my PC. From there I was able to download the WordPress add-on Bitnami created for their WAMP stack and within minutes I was up-and-running.
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Up and Running with Git and GitHub

I started the day off by taking one of this learning path’s shorter classes called Up and Running with Git and GitHub. This course was taught by Ray Villalobos and, while only weighing in at 1hr 21min, it was definitely one of the courses I utilized almost immediately. I finished the course, had some breakfast, then clocked into work and started using Git to track the changes I made to the website I’m working on. After using it for a few hours I begin to wonder how on earth I got by without it for all these years!
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CrashPlan: Developing a Backup Strategy

I’m taking a quick break with my Front-End Web Developer learning path on to deal with a problem I’ve been putting off. Over the past two or so years, I’ve been paranoid about the possibility of my computer getting infected by a ransomware such as CryptoLocker. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been living on the edge over the past few years with no real backup solution in place. This places me in the most dangerous situation where the threat of CryptoLocker is at its greatest: without a backup of my data I would have to pay a ransom of $300 to regain access to it.
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Kali Linux: Cracking Passwords

Today’s videos were an overview of tools Kali provides for cracking passwords. This subject was broken into two videos, one each for offline and online attacks. So far as choosing an offline attack vs an online attack, the instructors suggested that an offline attack is better in that one has a lot more time to crack whatever password they’re trying to access. Online attacks in which one is actively engaging a target are risky in that you stand a chance at being detected or triggering a system policy which may halt your attack. They reiterated that these rules weren’t set in stone, however, and one should proceed as one judges best.
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Kali Linux: Checking for Live Systems

Today’s video was pretty straightforward and the thirty minutes went by faster than I realized. Given how little was covered in this video and how late it is in the day, this is going to be a very short post. The focus of today was on looking for systems that are live on a network. Scanning for these live hosts are a big part of the penetration process that helps one discover what ports are open and what lies beyond them. Kali has a variety of tools to help determine what is actually live, but one of the obstacles we’re bound to run into are systems that aren’t live all the time. When we perform our scans, these systems may be offline which is something we have to take into consideration. The instructors also mentioned scenarios where machines may be offline but have the Wake on LAN feature turned on. Apparently there are tools in Kali to help us in these situations as well.
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The Bricks Have Fallen Down but We Will Rebuild

I decided to take a quick break from my Kali courses in a spur of the moment decision to fix something that has been bothering me. Over the past few years, my website has taken on many functions and looks and over time I’ve been adding little bits of code here and there. A few months ago, I accidently let my hosing plan with GoDaddy lapse unintentionally and I had to cobble together my website from a series of backups I had lying around. Luckily, I always made sure to have a WordPress XML backup of my posts on hand and I’ve always made sure to keep the graphics I use on those posts.
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Kali Linux: Network Scanning

The video I watched today covered network scanning and, to my disappointment, there wasn’t any hands on use for these tools today. The instructors spent some time breaking down the meaning of scanning in this context as actually having two parts: scanning and enumeration. After the reconnaissance phase, after we’ve gathered all of our information, we start reaching out and actually touching the target. This scanning phase is broken into the two parts of actually touching the target followed by listing whatever was found during the scan. A pretty straightforward concept, I think.
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