Welcome to my new blog

Hi, I’m PROGRAMMER BEAR.  I like fishing, long walks in the forest, and computer programming.

I’m a web developer by day, so I’ll be talking about topics ranging from web technologies to more technical programming things, general work/life issues, and anything else that seems interesting to me.

Hopefully something I say here will someday prove useful to somebody.  That’s nice to think about anyway.


Programmer Bear announces Customer Blacklist Project with release of EDD Blacklist plugin

I sell premium WordPress plugins using the popular Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) plugin for WordPress. It’s a great business except for one aspect — fucking crazy customers, assholes, and scammers.

Don’t get me wrong, most customers are just fine. Some are even nice people! But the small % of crazies are simply draining, even demoralizing to deal with. I’m talking about customers who demand you implement some custom feature, and when you ever so politely say “no” they freak out and leave 1-star reviews every place they can find. Customers who abuse you and your staff in support tickets, treating you like fucking slaves at their every beck and call (and God help you if you take more than 24 hours to solve whatever they want!). Or scammers who chargeback their payment through their bank/credit card company, rather than spend the 30 seconds it would take to ask us for a refund!

If you sell WordPress plugins, or any other digital product using EDD, you know exactly who I’m talking about.

Continue reading Programmer Bear announces Customer Blacklist Project with release of EDD Blacklist plugin

Incorrect MIME type detection triggering “Sorry, This File Type Is Not Permitted For Security Reasons” error in WordPress

Previously I posted about how to make WordPress permit additional file types to be uploaded. (My approach still works as of this writing.) Recently however I discovered some files that *should* be allowed via this method were still triggering “Sorry, This File Type Is Not Permitted For Security Reasons” errors anyway. After 3 hours of digging through WP core code to find the problem, it turns out to be a deficiency in the way PHP itself detects MIME types. I present my solution to you here, in case you find yourself in the same situation.

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How to remove WordPress’ “PHP Update Required” nag box

WordPress recently introduced a scary “PHP Update Required” nag box on your WP dashboard. “Your site is running on an insecure version of PHP” they say. Isn’t that lovely? Well, no WordPress, just because my PHP version is “old” does not make it “insecure”. Fuck you.

Fortunately it’s easy to remove. Just add the following to your functions.php:

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Time Etc Virtual Assistants Review – It’s a Scam

My startup tech business has been growing, and I decided it was time to bring in some help to keep up with things like emails, customer service, and so on. I’m not successful enough yet to hire an employee outright, so I started looking into getting a Virtual Assistant.

I read reviews about a company called Time Etc, and decided to give them a try. Now looking back, 3 months later, I wish I hadn’t. I can sum up my experience with Time Etc in one sentence: It’s a Scam. Once they get your money — and you have to pay them up front — they do everything to avoid actually doing the work you’ve paid them for.

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[DEVELOPING] Possible Email DDOS attack exploiting MailPoet (WordPress plugin)

This is a developing issue happening right now, please check back on this page for any updates over the following days.

Last updated 2018-03-29

Starting around March 25, 2018, I started seeing an unusual amount of bounces from my email server. The emails bouncing were the double-opt-in “please confirm your subscription” messages automatically generated by the WordPress plugin MailPoet.  This happens from time to time if, for example, somebody accidentally mis-types their email address. But now, suddenly they were coming in repeatedly for the same handful of addresses, including ones like support@linode.com and abuse@linode.com. So out of curiosity I headed over the Linode Status page, and saw this:

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Fix “Sorry, This File Type Is Not Permitted For Security Reasons” Error in WordPress

So you’re trying to upload an otherwise harmless file into WordPress, and you keep getting a “Sorry, This File Type Is Not Permitted For Security Reasons” error.  Sure you could just upload the file via FTP, but it wouldn’t be attached to anything in the WP database.  Now what do you do?

There are probably many ways to solve this, but here is the approach that worked best for my particular use case.  I’ll share it here in case it helps someone else too.

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Review: Canadian Cloud Hosting (CACloud.com)

Programmer Bear is back online… no thanks to Canadian Cloud Hosting.

Trying new cloud providers has become something of a pastime for me, over the last couple years. In that spirit, last September I moved this very site (programmerbear.com) to a server hosted at Canadian Cloud Hosting (CA Cloud). In the end, I wasn’t very impressed. Now that I’ve finally gotten around to moving this site somewhere else, I feel free to write honestly about my experience at CA Cloud.

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Fuck you Yahoo Mail

I have an email address at Yahoo Mail that I’ve had for at least 10+ years, although nowadays I use it only very occasionally (maybe once every few months) as a “throwaway” address — you know, for those times you have to give out an email address and don’t want to get spammed later.

Well, I should say “had”, because Yahoo just randomly decided to fuck me over today.  Even though I know, without any doubt, my correct username and password, they just won’t let me login.  Isn’t that nice?

Continue reading Fuck you Yahoo Mail