G-SUITE email alias – However, this functionality is not available for your account

Dang. I set it up before but now it is unavailable for my account! Everytime I turn around there has been a security “enhancement.” OK I shouldn’t complain, but, in addition they keep changing the interface on the back end so when I search for answers, all the answers are old and the solutions have changed!

OK. I tried to add an alias to my gsuite gmail account and I got the dreaded:

“You must send through new-domain.org SMTP servers when you send as alias@new-domain.org. However, this functionality is not available for your account. Please contact your domain administrator for more information.”

All the answers were old enough so that the solutions had been moved and it took 4 or 5 differently phrased searches to find the correct answer.

Well, as of October 7, 2019 @ 1506 UTC here is the solution.

Log in to the G-Suite Administrative backend (if you don’t know how to do this then you obviously are not the account administrator).

Follow the menus to: Apps–>G Suite–>Settings for Gmail–>End User Access.

On that page you should find a setting for “Allow per-user outbound gateways.” Turn it on and then wait a day or so. Everyone in your organization should be able to add aliases going forward.

A document to help with installing Zoom

I started using Zoom with some groups this month and many were nervous about this new technology. I wrote up a quick and dirty document to help them. One caveat though. I don’t have an iPhone so that page is real short! I’ll fill it out more when I get my hands on one!

Add an audio file to A WordPress post

Wizard will tell you there are shortcuts to do this but I like to have a little more control so here goes. Please note I am using Ubuntu Linux for this demo so some of the pictures might look a little different. Please also note that I am using the new Gutenburg

First Upload the MP3 file to the Media Library by clicking Media–>Add New from the menu.
Either Drag and Drop the audio file from your file manager or click on select file. I am clicking on Select File for this demo.
Click on the file you want to upload and open/select.
The file will upload and appear in the media library. Now you can create your post, or if you have already created your post insert the block with the mp3 file.
In your post or page you add a new block. Normally you can hover your mouse below whatever text you have on your screen and the little plus-sign-in-a-circle will appear or you can click the plus-sign-in-a-circle on the top left side of the page. You can see on my picture above that I have the little musical note on the right side with is the symbol for an audio file. That shows up because I’ve used it frequently. If it is not there when you click the little plus-sign-in-a-circle you can open up the section called common blocks and you should be able to click on the musical note, or search for a block called audio. Click it and it will change the block to an audio block.
Now that you have an audio block, you can go to your media library where you have already uploaded the mp3 file.
You will probably have more files to choose from, however you want to click on the file you uploaded at the beginning of this demo and then click select on the bottom right side of the screen.
Voila! you will have an embedded mp3 file now on your page that a user can click to play or right-click to download.
Remember, like any regular post you will want to make sure the categories have been selected on the left side of the editor, if you use categories. Make sure you are clicked on the Document Block for the categories section. Select whatever category will place this post in the correct section of your blog.

WordPress Exploit

This weekend during ARRL Field Day I was posting to Twitter, Facebook and the club website. Toward the end of the day I was ready to upload some pictures to the gallery so I tried to log in to the site. I was told that because I had logged in too many times and failed that my account was locked. Apparently this is a function of the iThemes WordPress Security module.

This is a bit of an inconvenience so I asked one of the officers to see if he could get in and unlock my account. Surprise, surprise. he was locked out as well. This was going to be more inconvenient that we expected.

After viewing the activity against the site we found what appeared to be some script kiddie who had found our ids, probably from one or more posts that we created and then went about trying to guess our passwords. This only worked until the system locked out any further attempts, frustrating the script kiddie and us.

Our admin then tried to log in and got the same error. Now of course we can fix the issue by getting into the MySQL database and fiddling with the data. Kinda messy. However our admin had another trick up his sleeve. In a moment I watched him switch usernames and log in with no trouble at all. Whaaaa?

Apparently his strategy is to create administrative user names that he never uses to post or create content. It appears that if you only use it to administer the site and not create content there is no way to easily discover the user name from the front end.

So, that is what I am doing. For each of the wordpress sites I administer I am creating a user named, for example, “oV9T450RxgDt” with a password of “H9umpELvcJWl” (trust me, this won’t work on any of my sites). Of course this is only practical if you use a reliable password management program like LastPass or KeePass. I’ll let you know if I get hacked with this in place. I’m sure that security wizards will tell me that there are a ton of other things to do but I’m guessing this can’t hurt. I think the key is to NEVER post using this ID.

Can’t we all just get along: Reflections on 50/50 political returns

My Church and society professor in Seminary made an interesting observation about Jerusalem. Why would He have placed the most sacred places of three of the world’s major religions so close together if He didn’t want us to learn to live with one another?   

Of course, that is not the reaction we are most apt to hear these days. “Get them out of my neighborhood,” might be more typical. Whoever “them” happens to be at the moment. 

Reading all the scores this morning from Tuesday night’s “Big Game” I was struck on how evenly divided the results were. Yes, there were some outliers, with wide margins between the candidates, but overwhelmingly the differences between winning and losing candidates were pretty razor thin, needing decimal percentages to report the difference between winner and loser. Percentage-wise we are not separated by much. Percentage-wise we are living in the same neighborhood, next door to one another. There is no mandate on one side or the other. The mandate is to not exacerbate the razor thin gulf between us but to work at strengthening those things we hold in common. “The other side” is not an irrelevant minority. “Them” is fully half of the nation, the state, our neighborhood. The mandate from this election is to struggle with the difficult task of leadership in an evenly split electorate. The most appropriate question is, what can we accomplish together? This takes creativity. I repudiate any elected official who uses a razor thin margin, on either side of the aisle, as an opportunity to wield a sledgehammer in the public square, no matter how high or low the office. 

Reflections on Goodness in Genesis Chapter 1

Imagine, if you will, that you are an inquisitive youngster. Your family lives in relatively close proximity to the ocean and you are in love with the rhythm and power of the waves. Each day, or as often as you can pull yourself away from chores, carrying water, feeding the livestock or picking on your little sister, you wander down to the shore, sit at the edge of the sand and just watch. Observe. Study.

You marvel at the way the sand disappears beneath the surf, the way the blue of the ocean flows out further than the eye can see, the way the blue of the sea seems to end and then appear to then take a sharp turn up and up and up and overhead and behind, disappearing behind your village. You observe the jagged rocky places jutting out of the water, off shore, further than you are allowed to swim, surrounded by water.

Some evenings you are allowed to stay down by the sea while the great light of the day disappears beneath the edge of the sea and soon a tableaux of smaller lights bedecks the expanse above as the color of the sky changes to black. Across that array of smaller lights one larger one rides on its own speed across the heavens, along with a number of others travelling the same road, at their own speed sometimes backwards sometimes forwards as you watch them night after night.

It is not hard to imagine that the first chapter of Genesis was born of this kind of observation. Before humans understood orbits and the elliptic, the revolutions of our own planet, gravity, ionospheric refraction, stars and the like. It appeared that the waters of the sea extended out to the edge of a firmament and was then held back by this firmament creating a bubble below and above in which we lived. The stars the sun and the moon performed their dance against this backdrop every day, and we lived and worked on this little island home under that firmament.

What then is the role of faith as we read this story about the creation of the heavens and the earth, and of the creatures with which it is populated. Is it in the mental calisthenics required to stand against all scientific inquiry and observation and hold that this is an accurate description of the creation of the space in which we live?

I read this story and see it not as a repudiation of scientific inquiry but as an example, creating a hypothesis that explains the observed universe. Here we have an inquisitive soul seeking to understand his observations and describe a paradigm that fits what he observes. Later inquiry, exploration and technology would cause him to adjust his hypothesis but given the tools with which he had to work, it was a pretty good paradigm.

I would further suggest that using our mental and spiritual energy to present this story as an accurate description of our living space, to literally believe it, is expending our energy in the wrong place. Faith calls the believer to task in this story, but it is not in stubbornly accepting the mechanics, the how of this creation. Rather, faith is challenged, in every age, not by the how but the what and why. The call to faith resides in the word Good, “and God saw that it was good.”

I believe this is the particularly challenging question of faith for today. How do we treat a creation that God called good? How do we care for that with which we have been entrusted.

I was also reminded during this past week, while I sat in a in a jet travelling home from Europe, of how fragile this home of ours is. I can comfortably stroll 5 miles in a couple hours. If I were to “stroll” that distance straight up the air temperature would drop between 90 and 100 degrees and if that didn’t kill me, the lower air pressure, about one third of what I normally live in, would. And this, at the distance of a casual stroll.

Our habitable zone, what seems vast and robust, is rather thin and fragile on a global scale, less than the skin of an apple. Absolutely amazing that it supports such wonder and diversity. The challenge of faith asks us how we care for this. Do we litter plastic, spew carbon, pollute precious waters without concern. Or do we seek to live sustainably, to allow for the questions about our impact on the planet to be asked and then to find sustainable ways to respond. How should I practice my responsibility to care for that which God has called good, by stubbornly believing the scientific accuracy of at story with pre-historic roots, or by acting responsibly toward that creation today?

Submitted this morning to the Wisconsin State Journal Editorial Page

Kudos to the non-partisan League of Women Voters this week for providing their “Candidates’ Answers” insert in the Isthmus. It is available if you pick up the Isthmus this week or on their web site (www.lwvdanecounty.org). It is an indispensable resource for reviewing the requirements for voting and for learning about positions each candidate holds on a series of issues important to their roles. However, the walk of shame is in order for the overwhelming number of Republican candidates who chose not to respond. How is a voter supposed to get reasoned information about a candidates’ views? Television commercials?

I think not.

How do I remove the Category Title at the top of a category menu page

In Content Management systems I like to create my pages dynamically out of posts that are categorized.

In WordPress, I create a category and then I create a menu related to that category.

This way I can have dynamic content and add and remove articles whenever I want without wrestling with the whole page to get new content on that page.

The problem I keep having to remind myself, when I update a theme is how do I get rid of the Category: Category Name page title. Every time I click around and stumble and search for help on the internet to figure it out.  I want to have the tile of each post that I have created but not of the page itself, particularly not “Category: Category Name!”

Now this is no guarantee for the theme you are using, however it works for me. With the theme active, from the Dashboard menu click on Appearance –> Theme Options. On the row of tabs on that page click on the tab named General. About half way down the page you will see an option “Display Post Category” click on the toggle and set it to off. Voila! Those annoying page titles are gone. Remember to scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save Options or you will end up scratching your head. Again.

Storage in the Cloud – OneDrive

One of the services of Office365 I use the most is OneDrive (it is also available through live.com). Through it I have all my documents and pictures and data files available on the computer on my desk as well as anywhere else I happen to be, as long as I can use a computer, the library, campus, my laptop, or my Mom’s

OneDrive creates a folder on your computer that contains an up-to-date copy of all the files on your OneDrive in the cloud and vice versa. Once I have moved all my documents to that folder on my computer it syncs those files up to the cloud and keeps them synced up as I use and change them.

When I go to the library or anywhere else I sign on to my account through my browser (Chrome, Edge, IE, Safari, Firefox, Opera, etc) and I will see my folders and files and I can view and edit them even if I don’t have Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote installed on the computer I am using. Microsoft has created online versions of it’s flagship programs so you can view and edit anywhere you can access the internet.

Why do I want to do that?

First and foremost, I am tired of losing stuff. I have dropped a laptop before. I have had a hard drive go south on me. It doesn’t take long to get to the point where your files and photos are frankly more valuable than the computer they are stored on. What if I was to lose that report? How about those photos from my vacation? Lightning just struck, now my machine won’t boot. All these can be pretty devastating. Yes, I will have to buy a new computer (I probably needed one anyway). Yes, it is going to take some time to reinstall all my favorite programs and stuff. But, to get the important stuff back, the pictures, the projects I’ve been working on, the proposals, all that stuff, I just need to install OneDrive and log in. Like magic everything that I’ve been saving to my OneDrive will start reappearing on my new computer. Depending on how much stuff, in an hour, or by tomorrow morning, I can pick up where I left off.

And, if I have a subscription that includes desktop versions of Microsoft Office Apps, I can quickly download the newest version and install them on the new machine as well.

That’s good for now. I only want to give you bite size stuff to read. I’ll go into a little more detail in later posts. I plan to include more tips and features and competing products.

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