Monday, February 28, 2005

Very slow

I'm not able to do a lot on the Internet at night at the moment as I am currently waiting for the ADSL to be activated down at the house I'm staying at. Having a proper connection is one of the things that I certainly miss about being back at my proper house.

At the moment I'm only really using that connection at the weekend when I go back up there. As soon as I get this other connection enabled it'll make my life a lot easier as at the moment I only have a decent connection when at work during the day. It proves the point you certainly miss things when they are not available.

Post ID: 678, posted by jase at 10:29 PM
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Sunday, February 27, 2005

It's nearly March

This year is going really fast, although we are not that far through it, if it continues at the current rate that it seems to be progressing then it'll be the end of the year again in no time. I'm like most people in that I have a number of things to achieve this year that relate to various things. Thinking about it now, I should start planing some of them, such at holidays and such like. Some things are open at the moment so I've got to hurry up and decide upon the plan of action for them.

Like Jeremy was recently saying about calendars, I need to start using one so that I can enter dates and see what clashes and then make decisions. There is a lot I want to do this year and next and with a little bit of planning it should all be possible.

Even if time is going faster than normal.

Post ID: 677, posted by jase at 10:53 PM
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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Home sweet home

I'm back home again now, I came back last night after taking a slight diversion to a local pub and drinking a few drinks. Tonight I'll be off to Godskitchen for the Bedrock event to see John Digweed play some quality tunes. No doubt I'll be in bed most of tomorrow and then head back to London. It'll be a quick weekend or seem like it anyway.

Post ID: 676, posted by jase at 04:47 PM
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Friday, February 25, 2005

Furl & Filangy

I've been looking for something like these for quite a while. Well, not looking, but thinking I would like an easier way to manage my bookmarks that is web based and available from any location with Internet access. I use to manage my links on my blog which allows me to easily make the links available to others. I've not yet used Filangy as it is invite only so if anyone has a spare invite, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

I've had a little play with Furl and I like what that has to offer. I'll probably import all of my browser links over to Furl and Filangy and see which works the best for me. With Furl you can share links, keep them private and also search your links. Being able to access the links from any Internet connected computer is one of the major advantages over having only one copy of any saved links on a local computer.

It's looking like web based management of various types of data is becoming more and more popular as people want unrestricted access to their data. The question is, what will be the next big thing in online data managment and availability?

It's all about networking and having access to your information when you want it. Not so much about distributing the information itself, but more of a focus on providing a wider area of access to that information.

Post ID: 675, posted by jase at 10:51 AM
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Thursday, February 24, 2005

What day is it today?

I don't know about for you, but today is a great day for me because I got paid. It's unusual to be paid at this time during the month, but that is how it works and I don't mind at all!

Roll on the same time next month.

Post ID: 673, posted by jase at 11:08 PM
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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

4Mbps ADSL is coming shortly

We'll be getting a nice 4Mbps ADSL connection activated at this house I'm currently staying at during the week, which is good news. It may take around a month to be activated though as Bulldog will have to install their equipment in the exchange, as part of the LLU project.

It will be worth waiting for, at double the amount of bandwidth of my ADSL connection at my family house and at a fraction of the cost it is a really great deal. Bulldog is by Cable & Wireless and as I've spoken to someone at work who has Bulldog broadband and they like it, there will hopefully be nothing bad for me to say about the service.

It's going to be a long wait though, I'll keep chasing them to see if things can be moved along a little quicker.

Post ID: 674, posted by jase at 11:08 PM
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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Got the keys

The keys have arrived, so I'll be able to sleep in a bed once again tonight which I shall be looking forward to. I'm glad too as I'm going out in London tonight so although it would not be too much of an issue as I have everything I need in my bag that is not locked in the room, it would make things slightly harder.

But since I don't have to cross that bridge, I won't consider what the implications of not receiving the key would have been. I'm off to central London shortly, to drink some nice drinks.

Post ID: 672, posted by jase at 07:04 PM
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Monday, February 21, 2005

How could I do it

I have forgotten to bring my keys back down to London with me which means I can't get in my room. It's lucky that I have a load of stuff with me in my bag, else I'd be in trouble! Also not having a bed last night and tonight will not be nice, but I should get my keys tomorrow morning. I'm never going to forget them again, it causes too much trouble!

Post ID: 671, posted by jase at 10:56 AM
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Sunday, February 20, 2005

It's Sunday again, already!

It's Sunday again, I really don't know where this weekend has gone. I'll be heading off back down to London shortly, as I'm going earlier this week it should not take as long. On the train I'll be reading some of one of the books I recently purchased from Amazon, I'll post some details of those up later.

The one I am taking with me right now, relates to Solaris 9 which should help with learning more for the Solaris 9 certification exams. Taking them all down by train will make my bag too heavy, so I'll take some more of them with me next weekm when I come back.

Post ID: 670, posted by jase at 05:03 PM
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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Smile is rubbish

Smile is an Internet only bank. To be honest, they make me want to do anything but smile. I opened the account about 5 or 6 months ago, as at the time I was considering getting a loan. I've sorted all of that out now and I found better deals from my existing Internet based bank, Cahoot and also another online only one, Egg.

I didn't bother getting the loan from Smile, but I did open a current account. Now usually I don't bother reading the terms and conditions for current accounts as there is nothing that you really need to look out for. Or so I thought. I've just received a letter from them saying as agreed by accepting the terms and conditions, I need to be paying in over 1,000 a month.

At first I thought I had read it incorrectly so I read it again. I read it right the first time. I have never known this be a condition of opening an account and it seems very silly. It's basically to get people to use their Smile account and probably use it as their main account.

I'll be sending them a message saying I'll be closing the account, because I don't want to be paying in that much money a month when I have other accounts with other banks that have much better better online banking sites, quite frankly the Smile one is pretty rubbish.

Since when did any bank have such a childish condition as part of their current account terms?

So, if you're in the UK and get a new account, be sure to aviod Smile as they certainly won't be making you smile by sending you pointless letters. What about people that don't earn 1,000 a month after tax and national insurance has been paid? Those people won't be able to pay in that much and they would have to call Smile to make them aware of the fact.

The amount of accounts that are available these days, banks should be trying to keep customers not push them away with stupid conditions. It makes me wonder what else Smile have in their terms and conditions.

Maybe I should have read them, I usually would, but not when opening a current account. There is not normally anything this unreasonable in them. To say it for the last time - Smile is silly, avoid opening any sort of account with them, unless you want to and can afford to meet their demands.

I'll be shortly closing my account with them, but I've not got any reason to be sad about it.

Post ID: 669, posted by jase at 11:45 PM
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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Being let down

I hate being let down, so I try not to do it to other people too often. I was meant to be going out tonight but now because of someone else and them having my invite, I can't go. Not to worry, but it's annoying when you're looking forward to doing something and then someone changes their mind or something comes up, that really is something that could be avoided.

Looks like I'll be more awake at work tomorrow than I thought I would be, since I'll be getting to bed earlier than was planned!

Post ID: 667, posted by jase at 10:05 PM
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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

New server

I've recently got a new Dell PowerEdge 750 server online, its specification is as follows:

* 1 x P4 3.4Ghz CPU with HT.
* 2GB RAM.
* 2 x 250GB SATA drives, in RAID-1 configuration.
* 2000GB of bandwidth available per month.
* 40GB compressed disk based backup, backed up at a remote location.

The new backup system has a number of advantages over Veritas NetBackup, I think I'll be swapping the other system that currently uses NetBackup over to this new disk based system shortly. Now it's a case of updating things and getting services setup that are required, but doing in a standard way, which fits in with the configuration of the existing servers.

I'll post some updates relating to the progress of all of this in the next few days.

Post ID: 662, posted by jase at 05:14 PM
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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Cable or ADSL?

It seems that the house that I'm staying in is covered by Telewest which means that digital cable, telephone line and cable Internet is available. The BT line has already been ordered, as has Sky so those will be kept as they are for a year at least, which is the length of the contract.

The Internet decision is still open, the BT line can only get a 2 megabit feed at the moment, which is shame since Bulldog are offering 4Mbps for a very good price but only for a limited time.

We can get 4Mbps via Telewest cable, for slightly more a month than the Bulldog offer but it's better than paying nearly the same price for 2Mbps ADSL from BT or another provider. I think cable will be the one we go for, maybe not the 4Mbps though, I'm not paying so I'll just advise that 4Mbps would be nice but not required.

I'd try out the 4Mbps cable back at home, but some of the things that I have with my ADSL are not available, so right now I would make savings on the price and also get a faster connection but since BT have announced the planned upgrades to allow for higher ADSL speeds and more bandwidth on the upstream, I'd be best to wait!

Normally, I'd choose ADSL but for the house I'm currently staying at down here, I'll suggest the cable Internet.

Post ID: 666, posted by jase at 10:59 PM
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Monday, February 14, 2005

The phone line is active

BT have activated the phone line down here which means that the ADSL can now be ordered, so that is good news. I've ordered an optical mouse for use with my laptop, I've gone some I could use but with the wireless active as well, sometimes the mouse can be affected so I've ordered a new wired one. I find it much easier using a mouse rather than a pad on a laptop. Once the Internet pipe is active and I get the mouse it'll mean I can do some proper browsing at night.

I've got loads of things I need to do and loads of news to catch up on and blog about but it's either do it during the day at the moment or leave it until the mouse and Internet are sorted. I can do some of it during the day but it's easier when people are not around and bothering me, which is mostly during leisure time.

I'll have to get motivated and work on things during the day since I've got a lot of free time at the moment at work, for various reasons. I have been doing some web based courses, but they get a bit boring after a while, so having breaks is good. It's only possible to take in so much information at a time without forgetting a lot of it.

I've got access to over 4,000 books as well, on every I.T based topic, so I'll be reading a lot and printing some off as well probably to read away from a computer. Having access to that many books is great, especially since they are all provided to us free of charge due to being paid for by the company. It's good when companies invest in the learning and education of their staff, it is beneficial to the staff and the company.

Post ID: 665, posted by jase at 10:49 PM
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Sunday, February 13, 2005

I need to get in a routine

I need to make sure I leave earlier when going back down to London, as the later I leave it the longer it takes due to less trains running at later times, once I get down to London. It's going to be so much easier once I sort a car, I'm going to make that a priority in the next month or so. It'll be added expense initally, but it'll save me a lot of time, money and effort in the long run.

It'll mean I get more time to spend doing things I want to be doing, rather than wasting a lot of time on travel. Although, I'm spending less money and time on travel now, than I was recently so it's mostly good!

Post ID: 664, posted by jase at 09:01 PM
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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Back home

I'm back home up north, in comparison to London anyway. I've got some things to do this weekend, but no doubt I won't get them all done. Once the Internet pipe is activated in the house and I have a proper connection, I'll be able to catch up on a load of things. I've got time at work, but it's easier in your own totally free time.

Post ID: 663, posted by jase at 10:58 AM
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Friday, February 11, 2005

Very quiet

It's quite quiet at work here at the moment so I've not actually done that much since I started. Since there is so much work in the queue, it's strange that there are weeks of quiet time, but this is due to a number of factors, like customer cancellations and such. I've spent the week doing reading and I've ordered a number of books to read, some certification based and some PHP / MySQL.

More on that later though. I'm off back home this weekend, so might get some things done that I need to do. Then again, probably not!

Post ID: 661, posted by jase at 05:11 PM
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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Back to normal hours

I'm back to working normal hours now, but I'm finding that I am more tired than I was working later. Maybe it is because I've been sleeping a bit more. It's probably because I'm getting used to the new hours and having to get up earlier again, which is something I've not really done for over a year!

Apart from that, everything is good.

Post ID: 660, posted by jase at 11:51 PM
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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Good old BT

BT originally stated that it would take around four weeks to get the telephone line installed, which meant that we'd have to wait at least that long before being able to get an ADSL Internet pipe activated. The good news is that BT state they will be able to install the line next week, so we'll get the ADSL sorted out a lot sooner. At the moment I'm using my GPRS/3G connection to get online at the house, mostly GPRS though as the 3G signal is not very strong.

I'll be going home on Friday, so will be back to my usual 2Mbps ADSL. Not sure what connection will be installed at this house but anything will do, it may well be 4Mbps which would be nice. BT have announced the plans for faster ADSL speeds with the new technology, stating that 8Mbps will be national and 18Mbps possible which would mean more bandwidth would be available for upstream data too, although this might be limited due to the possibility of companies using it instead of SDSL.

Having the phone line put in will mean the Sky Digital can be activated, as a line is required initially to be able to use it, as part of the contract. I'm going to be cancelling my Sky Digital subscription at home since I am not there enough now and I don't watch much TV anyway so I've never really watched it. We've got digital cable there as well, so it makes no difference.

Post ID: 659, posted by jase at 07:05 PM
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Tuesday, February 8, 2005

phpBB site compromised

Due to the recent issue identified with AWStats, the phpBB site has been defaced. They were using the update from web option, like all of the other systems that had AWStats with this option enabled. I can't see why people use this option anyway, since I use a cron entry to run mine automatically.

Unless you really need to give people access to your stats, then using a .htaccess file to block access to the public, even if you had the update from web option enabled nobody would have been able to exploit the vulnerability.

Luckily most of the people that had problems had backups of their data, but it has still cost them a lot of time. In light of the recent issues with phpBB and the worms that were developed to exploit bugs within it, combined with the fact the actual phpBB site was defaced via a security issue with AWStats that was three weeks old - it makes one ask the question, does the phpBB team need to get their act together with regards to security?

See the story on Netcraft.

Post ID: 658, posted by jase at 11:43 PM
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Monday, February 7, 2005

Vodafone 3G & GPRS

I've picked up a Vodafone 3G/GPRS data card so that I can get online, as at the moment there is no Internet access where I am staying down in London, but that will be sorted out once BT install the phone line. Having the 3G/GPRS card will mean I can get on from most locations which will be good.

At the moment I am connected via GPRS as the 3G signal is not too strong around here. It's slower but it works. I've got the medium package which allows for 79MB of data included per month, which should be more than enough.

I find it quite funny that Vodafone put on the content block for which you have to pay 1 to have it removed. They have my birthday on my account so they know I am over 18, yet the block is still in place by default. Obviously it is another easy way to make money as most people will want it removed as you can't access a lot of legitmate sites with it on!

The data card software is rubbish, that really needs some work. It is far too slow and hangs quite a lot. Itg does have some handy features though, but the crashing is not one of them. I'll have to try some other locations in the house to see if I can get a better signal strength on the 3G side. GPRS will do for the short time in which I'll need to use it before the Internet pipe is activated.

After the laptop arriving on Saturday, I've got some software installed and obviously the wireless working at home plus the data card too. Having access to the Internet on the move and when away from home was something I had been meaning to sort out for a while as up until now I've always had to locate places to get online which is something that now can be avoided.

Having access, especially for business purposes is mandatory, now I've sorted it I doubt I'll be able to do without it in the future.

Post ID: 657, posted by jase at 10:02 PM
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Sunday, February 6, 2005

Trackback spam

They never stop do they. I've noticed some trackback spam has been left recently, as currently this is not blocked by MT. As soon as fix MT-BL this problem will also be resolved but I'vde not got around to that yet, I will get to it shortly along with a number of other things that I have been meaning to sort out.

Time to head back down south!

Post ID: 656, posted by jase at 09:18 PM
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Saturday, February 5, 2005

Bloglines has been acquired by Ask Jeeves

This could be interesting for both projects, Bloglines has a number of good features but with the financial backing and more people from Ask Jeeves it can not be developed further and integrated with the Ask Jeeves search engine. It can only be a good thing for both parties, we'll see how it goes.

Post ID: 655, posted by jase at 11:32 PM
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Friday, February 4, 2005

I've finally got the laptop ordered

I've been having problems ordering my new laptop but I am pleased to announce that payment has now been taken and I'll be getting the laptop tomorrow, next day delivery. I'm also probably going to get a Vodafone 3G data card and contract, which will allow me to get online via the Vodafone 3G network in most locations.

The speed will be quite fast and when in the range of a wireless access point, the speed will be 11Mbps or higher, between my laptop and the access point, but probably not that high to and from the Internet, but enough for what would be required.

Post ID: 654, posted by jase at 12:56 PM
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Want a Gmail invite?

I did have 4 Gmail invites left yesterday, but today Gmail has changed and you can now invite people more easily. I've also now got a total of 50 Gmail invites. So, if you would like one, leave a comment. At the moment, you'll have to be registered with TypeKey to leave comments so if you don't have a TypeKey account then go and create one.

I'll be sorting out the problem I've been having with MT-Blacklist shortly so that comments can still be left without having to authenticate via TypeKey. Since the blacklist is not working, the spam problem needed to be addressed as I was having to clear out loads of spam from the moderation queue.

Post ID: 653, posted by jase at 12:48 PM
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Thursday, February 3, 2005

Is Ebuyer really rubbish?

I've never had a bad thing to say about Ebuyer, until now. As you may know I have been trying to order a laptop from Ebuyer for over a week now and have had nothing but problems. Firstly, my card kept being declined so I tried another one and had the same problem. I contacted my bank who said there is no issue, not declined replies have been sent out at all which would indicate no attempt to charge the card was ever made.

I thought that it might be a problem with the Ebuyer system since the payments are taken automatically, that is unless they have someone sitting there processing orders all day and night. Once I started having problems on other sites, I thought it might be a problem with a core banking system, especially since a few other people I know were having problems.

The next step was to open a ticket with Ebuyer, to request that they take payment manually as I required the laptop as quickly as possible. I opened the ticket early on Wednesday 26th January and the ticket was not even looked at until I got a reply on the morning of Wednesday 2nd February. That is not acceptable. Why did it take this long to reply?

Ebuyer states that the delay is due to a queue that built up over the Christmas period. There is a simple solution to that problem, ensure some staff that would like to work, are working. The other problem is there there is no telephone support number in operation now, so everyone is having to use the ticket system regardless of query or issue.

I could of course call one of the numbers that have been published in various places, but at the moment I don't have an open order because it has been cancelled. I'll have to wait until tomorrow now to place a new order. I am really not happen about the amount of time I have had to wait for a reply to get a simple issue sorted out. I was told that my order would be processed manually but instead it has been cancelled. Not only is there a lack of communication, the information that is provided is misleading.

Ebuyer need to sort a few things out, else they will start loosing customers who until recently in some cases, have had no problems at all with the service provided by Ebuyer.

I could of course take my money to another supplier, but Ebuyer provide some of the best prices so I will attempt to order again tomorrow and see how it goes. I'd do it now but I forgot my cards today so will have to wait. I'll post an update tomorrow, when I know if the payment goes through or not.

Post ID: 652, posted by jase at 05:06 PM
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Wednesday, February 2, 2005

So far so good

I'm down in London now and after a mad morning of travel, I finally made it to work. It has been a rather chilled first day, as will the next few weeks as I learn how things are managed and such. I did not get much sleep last night as I was wide awake, but aI'm really tired now so will be getting an early night and catching up on some sleep.

Post ID: 651, posted by jase at 07:36 PM
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Tuesday, February 1, 2005

AWstats vulnerability

A number of people, including Jeremy Zawodny and Russell Beattie have been hit by this security issue, which affects version 5.0-6.2. If you have the option AllowToUpdateStatsFromBrowser to 0 then you are not affected. To be honest, there is no reason to use that feature. I don't, my stats update runs hourly from cron which is the most logical thing to do, since then there is no intervention required to obtain the latest stats information, all you need to do is view the URL.

Unless you want to allow people to view your stats, using a .htaccess would be wise, it would have elimited this issue for Russell and Jeremy even with the update from browser option on. The need to know basis is part of the foundation of security, computer and otherwise, don't ive information to people that they don't require.

Post ID: 650, posted by jase at 07:20 PM
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