Look up in the sky!

You may never seen a halo around the sun or a sundog next to it, but they’re actually quite common. You just have to look up. (Just don’t stare at the sun!) I usually keep an eye out for sun halos whenever there’s a thin cloud layer, since there usually aren’t ice crystals near the ground in LA, but the upper atmosphere is a lot colder.

Sun Halo

I actually wasn’t looking for this halo. I just happened to look up toward the tree across the street and *wham* – there it was.

Sundog above palm trees.

A photo posted by Kelson Vibber (@kelsonv) on

Just one day later, I saw a fainter halo while walking to lunch…and noticed this rainbow-like sundog off to the right of the sun. I tried to take another shot with my sunglass lens in front of the phone, but fumbled it, and by the time I fixed the settings, it was gone.

You don’t even have to be outside — a few weeks ago I posted a view through an office window. But you do have to look up once in a while!

Lessons from a Spam Attack: Moderation, Alerts, and Beware Auto-Sharing

I had to clean up a spam flood last week. A reader sent me an email that Speed Force’s Facebook feed appeared to have been hacked. TL;DR: someone had posted a couple dozen spammy pictures to the site’s Flickr group, which were then auto-shared to Facebook and Twitter. Fortunately there was no unauthorized access, just misuse of an open forum, or cleanup could have been a lot worse.

So I removed all the posts from Facebook and Twitter, replied to all the reports, posted an “oops” on each network and the blog itself, banned the spammy account, and tightened moderation on the group.

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t auto-share anything that you don’t control.
  2. Moderate all the things!
  3. Maybe notification alerts aren’t such a bad idea after all.

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