Tuesday, 16 December 2014

How-to: Order Featured Articles in Joomla 2.5

Joomla Featured article ordering
We have a slide carousel displaying three Featured Articles on the homepage; the site is built in Joomla 2.5. Assigning an article as a Featured Article is easy enough, but by default, Joomla seems to want to display them in alphabetical order by slide title.

Changing the article order is also simple enough, except Joomla seems to ignore it... there's another step required.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

How-to: ‘Tis the season for on-line safety

TalkTalk -  Tis the season for online safety
Our esteemed colleagues over at TalkTalk issued a cunningly un-disguised sales pitch for one of their products recently; it’s on a protected link, so feel free to ignore that! What was more useful was the advice in the sidebar for staying safe on-line over the coming holiday season.

Six things you can do:
  • Avoid buying things from unfamiliar websites
  • Be wary of clicking on competitions on Facebook and Twitter
  • Make sure you recognise who’s sent your e-cards before you open them
  • Don’t give out your personal information unless you trust the site
  • Don’t let the kids download games, films or music from illegal sites
  • Remember that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How-to: Understand DNS Commands

Fellow dinosaurs and web gurus can skip over this one; for anyone else on the sharp end of web-mastering, a quick refresher on DNS commands may be in order.

DNS commands are a way to interrogate the vital backbone of the Internet, the Domain Name System. DNS commands can be entered from a command-line interface, the dreaded command prompt, or if you're old-school; terminal. While there are websites and utilities that can front-end these for you, it helps if you know which thing you need to run to answer a particular question when:
  • troubleshooting DNS issues
  • troubleshooting web server issues

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

News: Full Circle Magazine no91 has arrived

Full circle, the independent magazine for the Ubuntu Linux community, is proud to announce the arrival of Issue 91.
This month:
  • Command & Conquer
  • How-To : Python, LibreOffice, and Managing Multiple Passwords With A Script
  • Graphics : Inkscape.
  • Linux Labs: Compiling a Kernel Pt 4 and Kodi Pt 2
  • Review: Elementary OS
  • Book Review: Web Development with MongoDB and Node.js
  • Ubuntu Games: Borderlands 2

Monday, 1 December 2014

How to: Understand DNS Black-listing

One of our associate workers (Claire) go in touch this morning saying email from her regular address for consulting work was getting bounced back for being on a black-list:

SMTP error from remote server after RCPT command:
host: remote.dartington.org
5.7.1 Your message was rejected because the IP address of the server sending your message is in the block list of the SORBS service."

SORBS is an acronym for "Spam and Open Relay Blocking System", one of many anti-spam services in the real-time block-list (RBL) business to which you can subscribe. SORBS also lists Open Proxy servers and machines that appear to be hacked sources of spam.

Monday, 10 November 2014

How-to: Install Ubuntu 14.10 in VirtualBox

It's that time; Ubuntu 14.10, the Uptopic Unicorn, was released at the end of last month and I've just got around to testing it out in Oracle VirtualBox and....

Oh. Here we go again. It's the graphics. It doesn't appear to set the right graphics mode when the 14.10 ISO image fires into the installer.

But we can fix that. Again.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Full Circle issue 90 has broken out!

Full Circle - the independent magazine for the Ubuntu Linux community is proud to announce the release of our ninetieth issue.

This month:
  • Command & Conquer
  • How-To : OpenConnect to Cisco, LibreOffice, and Broadcasting With WebcamStudio
  • Graphics : Inkscape.
  • Linux Labs: Compiling a Kernel Pt.3
  • Review: MEGAsync
  • Ubuntu Games: Prison Architect, and X-Plane Plugins

Thursday, 30 October 2014

How-to: Adjust Security for Mixed Content and Frames

Firefox insecure site blocking
Adjusting your web-browser security settings
If at any stage browsing the web you are presented with a blank page, you may need to refresh your  browser's cache by pressing the Control and F5 keys.

Failing that, different web browser software may require additional steps to adjust the security settings. Please consider carefully your need to apply this on any other websites.

'Mixed content' and frames

If you can rule out any firewall or site blocking issues, you may find the problem comes from embedded content from third-party sites -in particular the dreaded iframes. Your web-browser software may be overcautious in it's treatment of 'mixed content'.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Know the facts. Stop the fraud. [Re-post]

A worthwhile post care of the British Banking Association at bba.org.uk.

Keeping your money safe is your bank’s number one priority. That’s why they’ve set up secure procedures to protect you from fraudsters. But these criminals are often sophisticated and their techniques are constantly changing. One such ploy is to pretend they work for the police or your bank.

Dangerous though this is, there are tell-tale requests a fraudster may make that your bank NEVER will. Knowing what these are can ensure you don’t fall victim to such as an attack.

Eight things your bank will never ask you to do…

Sunday, 21 September 2014

How-to: Insert iframes in Joomla

Having to resurrect an inherited Joomla site, some of Joomla's quirks are once again getting in the way.

For instance, it may be ugly, but embed codes are still necessary to add media content, such as a Vimeo player, to pages. However, if you try to add an iframe to an article, you can't simply use the HTML editor and paste in your iframe code because Joomla will, by default, strip it out as a security breach.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

News: Dyre Banking Trojan gathers pace [Guest Post]

Image: safe6 from keyservice.kiev.ua
The malware, also called Dyreza, designed to bypass SSL and steal login credentials, is prompting sofware vendors to email clients a "not us, guv" denial.

The Dyre banking trojan which was reported at the start of the Summer (source article: Security Researchers Warn of New Dyre Banking Trojan (eSecurityplanet) by Jeff Goldman, June 20, 2014) appears to be gathering pace such companies such as Salesforce this week felt compelled to mass-mail customers to tell them there is no specific vulnerability in their software.

Rather the Dyre or Dyreza trojan is designed to bypass SSL protection and steal banking credentials. Delivered via phishing emails with the subject lines "Your FED TAX payment was Rejected" and "RE: Invoice" the attack emails links to zip files on LogMeIn's Cubby.com file storage service.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Full Circle Magazine 88 is out now

Full Circle Magazine issue 88

The independent magazine for the Ubuntu Linux community

This month:
  • Command & Conquer
  • How-To : Minimal Ubuntu Install, LibreOffice, and GRUB2.
  • Graphics : Blender and Inkscape.
  • Linux Labs: Ripping DVDs with Handdrake, and Compiling a Kernel
  • Arduino
plus: Q&A, Security, Ubuntu Games, and soooo much more.

ALSO: Don’t forget to search for ‘full circle magazine’ on Google Play/Books.

Download issue 88: http://fullcirclemagazine.org/issue-88/

Thursday, 28 August 2014

How-to: Remove UbuntuOne

Canonical's valiant cloud storage service has now gone to that great silicon graveyard in the sky: but on my Ubuntu 14.04, the UbuntuOne application still waits forlornly for the sync' message that will never come...

Time to remove the UbuntuOne application from my desktop.

The most important step, right click on the icon and turn it off first!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

How-to: Use 1 and 1 Website Analysis

How-to: Use 1and1 Website AnalysisIf you host your website with UK outfit 1and1, you'll find some tools in the back-end, one of which is a little Mickey Mouse Website Analysis tool. In theory you can point it at anything, but I suspect it's geared toward sites hosted by 1and1.

The initial scan of the site's meta-data prompted some interesting questions, particularly if you're thinking of search engine optimisation.  

'Title (If you've added a title for your website, how many words and characters did you use?)
Your website has a title with 18 characters and 2 words. You should use between 30-66 characters and 5-10 words.'

So that's where Google, Microsoft and IBM have been going wrong all these years... Seriously, though, Microsoft now has a pithy title 'Microsoft - Devices and Services.' Done and out. Amazon, on the other hand, goes the whole hog 'Amazon - Low prices in electronics, books, sports equipment and more.'

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Opinion: The Dark Side of Social Media Settings Part II [Guest Post]

The Dark Side of Social Media Settings by Paul LevyArticle originally  appeared as; The Dark Side of Social Media Settings on Digital Inferno by Paul Levy, founder of CATS3000 and Rational Madness.

No one claims to understand the majority of settings available to them on the social media platforms they use.

What’s the solution? In platform induction, start with the settings. Training in becoming familiar with the role, risks and language of settings should be taught in interesting ways. Cyber security and social media “gardening” can be engaging. Settings is a key social media skill and should be recognised in appraisal and reward systems. We should value the role and importance of setting our social media garden mindfully and skilfully. Often the senior managers are the worst exemplars. Lead from the top, blah, blah.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Opinion: The Dark Side of Social Media Settings Part I [Guest Post]

The Dark Side of Social Media Settings by Paul LevyArticle originally appeared as The Dark Side of Social Media Settings on Digital Inferno by Paul Levy, founder of CATS3000 and Rational Madness.

I’ve just carried out a non-scientific poll of a dozen friends and professional colleagues. Not one claims to understand the majority of settings available to them on the social media platforms they use.

 Big deal? Well, let’s see if there is a deal to worry about…

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Humour: iPad fitting experience

iPad fitting experience - Clarks
iPad fitting experience - signage at Clarks Village, Street, Somerset

The cyborgs are here, and they're powered by Apple. Question is where are they having the iPAD fitted?!?! RC

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

How-to: Design for Dyslexia Part II

Dyslexia is a medical condition affecting the perception and decoding of symbols including text and digits, making reading, writing and spelling difficult. In Part I, we looked at some of the issues around web use by dyslexics and other reading-impaired conditions, and some means to circumvent them.

In this instalment, we'll go on to looking at reading-impaired design and what we can do to make the on-line lives of those with difficulties easier.

Research from the British Dyslexia association suggests that pastel backgrounds, increased line-spacing, font choice and paragraph justification all have an effect. Their guidelines suggest:

Sunday, 3 August 2014

How-to: Delivering a New Blended Learning Programme [Guest Post]

KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Original uploader was Cmh via Wikimedia CommonsOriginally posted as Delivering a New Blended Learning Programme’ at Speaking Well In Public‬’s Facebook page.

A corporate learning and development consultant’s approach, from first thoughts to first pass.

The client gives their initial vision for the learning and development needed, detailing what they want to achieve, their budget and timescales.

I deliver an initial response with my educational approach, covering what I propose to do, costs and how long it’s likely to take.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

News: Full Circle Magazine Issue 87 has arrived

Ladies and gentlemen, Full Circle Magazine Issue 87 has arrived!

This month:
  • Command & Conquer
  • How-To : Python, LibreOffice, and GRUB2.
  • Graphics : Inkscape.
  • Book Review: Puppet
  • Security – TrueCrypt Alternatives
  • CryptoCurrency: Dualminer and dual-cgminer
  • Arduino
plus: Q&A, Linux Labs, Ubuntu Games, and Ubuntu Women.

Download Full Circle issue 87: English edition as .PDF file or EPUB

Thursday, 31 July 2014

How-to: Configure and use Sender Policy Framework

We had a curious phenomena until recently in which email generated by the client's newly launched website was being rejected as spam by some members of its partner network.

After a diagnosis of the mail formatting, the suggestion was that SPF needed to be configured. You may realise that SPF is not a quality measure for sunscreen...

SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework. It is an email validation system designed to prevent email spam by detecting email spoofing, a common vulnerability, by verifying sender IP addresses. SPF allows administrators to specify which hosts are allowed to send mail under a given domain by creating a specific SPF record. So far, so technical...

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

How-to: Design for Dyslexia Part I

Dyslexia is a medical condition affecting the perception and decoding of symbols including text and digits, making reading, writing and spelling difficult. It is a learning disability unconnected with intelligence  - in fact most of the dyslexics I know are of above-average intelligence.

It is a common learning difficulty in a range of conditions which could affect as many as 15-20% of the population, could we but diagnose, measure and classify these conditions better.

Which, meantime, leaves us web-designers - and so many of use are web-designers now - with the challenge of designing for those with reading difficulties.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

How-to: Add users to administer a Facebook business page

It's been possible to create a Facebook page for a business or organisation for a while. It just wasn't easy to administer a page; hard to find controls, settings scattered about, not intuitive, not easy to find... you get the idea.

Want to add other Facebook users as admins or editors to a page? Take a deep breath...

Until the most recent make-over of Facebook pages actually produced an improvement! All the page settings have been pulled together in one place, where you can find them - and they're almost self-eivdent. How's that for a Facebook usability good news story?

Monday, 21 July 2014

How-to Create a Facebook business page

There's more than one type of Facebook page. Aside form a personal profile, complete with timeline and messages, you probably already know you can create pages for organisations, businesses and groups. They used to be called fan pages, but since Facebook went commercial, pages have gone beyond that.

These other types of pages still have to be attached to a personal profile, but from there you can create any number of pages.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

How-to: WordPress Sitemap Page Without Plugins

Having inherited development of a client's site, I looked at the amount of clutter my illustrious predecessor had built up and decided it was time for a spring clean. It ddin't help that some of the old plugins proved imcompatible by the time we upgraded Wordpress through six or seven versions.

I've come across recommendations for WordPress sites to function with a maximum of 10 plugins, for reasons of speed, flexibility, security and compatibility. Since we already had a site that was slow-loading, throwing errors and bulked up with plugins I hadn't a clue how to work, it seemed like a good idea.

Then I realised the site needed a site map...

Friday, 11 July 2014

How-to: Copy a site with Plesk Panel

In any systems or website development, there are a couple of golden rules. Always test your code before you promote to Live. Always have a development copy to work on; don't develop on Live. Make your mistakes in the development copy - where you can correct them in private.

In disciplined software development, you could have a number of site copies; local development, Integration site, UAT, Staging, Live; possibly more, possibly fewer, but always with Live separated from the messy business of development and testing. You can quality control your site and promote changes into Live when ready.

But you need to create a copy of the site to work in; whichever way around you do that is up to you, but the process will be commonly like this...

Monday, 7 July 2014

How-to: View and clear untrusted certificates on Firefox

Firefox is pretty good on security, such that when a site presents an SSL certificate that doesn't cross-match to the owner of a number of other properties, it throws a message:
This Connection is Untrusted: You have asked Firefox to connect securely to www.somessl.com, but we can't confirm that your connection is secure. Normally, when you try to connect securely, sites will present trusted identification to prove that you are going to the right place. However, this site's identity can't be verified.
For untrusted certificates, you may choose to accept the connection by confirming it as an exception which Firefox then stores. Which is fine until you need to clear the exception and start over. Although Firefox isn't that intuitive about where to view those certificate exceptions and how to clear them...

Saturday, 5 July 2014

How-to: Understand Take-down Requests - Part 1

I had to submit my first DMCA Take-down request this week. I was quite sad. Not only did I have to resort to one of the worst pieces of legislation to come out of the US since the Second Amendment, but it also made me one of the establishment.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 1998: a poorly drafted, draconian piece of legislation foisted on the world by the music and movie corporates, proving that America really does have the best government money can buy.

DCMA is a standard process for US-based services and Internet Service Providers. United Kingdom-based ISP's have a different "DMCA Takedown" process (Cease and Desist) than those in the USA; see the Electronic Commerce Directive 2000 (if you have nothing better to do with your life).

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

How-to: Exclude items from Joomla search results

Joomla is a decent Content Management System for building websites. Among it's strengths, the very flexible use of modules, plug-ins and extensions. That is also a weakness when you have to go troubleshooting amidst a layered architecture of interlocking components.

Over on a client site (built by a third party), the discussion forum was supposed to be hidden behind the members' login wall.

So where to go to amend the search parameters?

Saturday, 28 June 2014

News: Full Circle Issue 86 is unleashed upon an unsuspecting world

Full Circle Magazine is proud to present Issue 85.

This month:
  • Security and Q&A
  • CryptoCurrency: Compiling an Alt-Coin Wallet
  • NEW! - Arduino
plus: Q&A, Linux Labs, Ubuntu Games, and another competition to win Humble Bundles!

Get it while it’s hot!


Monday, 23 June 2014

Opinion: Web Design Trends 2014

Yes, I know 2014 is half over - but it's also half remaining. So rather than spot the trends during Christmas party season, let's take a look at the trends that have emerged so far and look set to continue.

1. Interesting Typography with external fonts
Time was, if you wanted a site to render properly in all browsers, you had to stick to a small, standardised set of fonts with the fallback of an even smaller set of standby font families, then hope for the best. Now that we have extensive font librries hosted online by Google fonts, Adobe and others, you can now decorate sites with any number of personality fonts and guarantee your page will look the same in any browser. Almost.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

How-to: Prevent Drive Failures with Gsmart [Guest Post]

Article originally appeared as SMART Tools: Preventing Drive Failures (Linux Lab by Charles McColm, Full Circle Magazine issue 82, Feb 2014)

GSmart ControlAt our local computer refurbishing project, the top sources of hardware failure that we see are power supplies, CMOS batteries, RAM, and hard drives. The first three failures can cause systems not to POST (Power On Self-Test) correctly.

Hard drive failures are a bit more tricky. A really bad hard drive can cause a system to hang while displaying POST messages, or cause a system to randomly reboot (we see more of this on Windows systems), or slow a system down to a crawl, or it might not appear to do anything at all. Knowing a drive has issues before the drive fails can save a lot of work.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

How-to: Identify the Troj/Urausy Ransom-ware infection [Guest Post]

Identify the Troj/Urausy Ransom-ware family
Acknowledging the risk of turning this into 'Security Theatre Monthly', the latest malware How-to concerns a particularly duplicitous item of malware; what we now call 'ransom-ware'.

This is a malicious trojan which purports to be from a law enforcement agency; variations include the FBI, Interpol and in this case, the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency.

All variants lock your Windows machine under the bogus claim that you have been traced pirating material on the Internet and all demand on-line payment of a 'fine' to 'unlock' your machine. DO NOT PAY ANYTHING. It is a SCAM.

No law enforcement agencies do this. There are no criminal charges, no court proceedings, so why would you pay a fine?

Friday, 13 June 2014

How-to: Understand WordPress’ Goshdarnit

Goshdarnit - Wordpress throws an error 

Perhaps you've been using the Wordpress.com platform for your website or blog and after a long wait for the screen to refresh after an edit, you get the message:

Goshdarnit! Something has gone wrong with our servers. It’s probably Matt’s fault. We’ve just been notified of the problem. Hopefully this should be fixed ASAP, so kindly reload in a minute and things should be back to normal.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

How-to: Remove Ransom-ware with Kaspersky Rescue Disk [Guest Post]

Kaspersky Rescue Disk utility

Following our last security How-to, Identify the Troj/Urausy Ransom-ware infection, this describes using an anti-virus removal tool from Kaspersky to deal with the malware from my esteemed colleague's laptop.

To create a bootable Kaspersky Rescue Disk, you will need a clean, non-infected, computer with Internet access and a DVD or CD burner, OR, if the infected machine lacks an optical drive, a USB flash drive you can wipe and install Kaspersky Rescue Disk onto.

You will also need to be able to call up a one-time boot menu (usually the f12 key at power-on) and make sure you can change the boot order in the infected machine's BIOS so that you can boot into the Kaspersky Rescue Disk in place of your Windows install.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

News: Full Circle Issue 85 Hits the Streets

Full Circle Magazine is proud to present Issue 85. Including an article by some hack called Robin Catling!

This month:
  • Command & Conquer
  • How-To : Python, LibreOffice, and GRUB2 Pt.1.
  • Graphics : Blender and Inkscape.
  • Review: Ubuntu 14.04
  • Security Q&A
  • What Is: CryptoCurrency
  • Open Source Design
  • NEW! - Arduino

Thursday, 29 May 2014

How-to: Choose FAT, exFAT or NTFS file systems

No, it's not the latest diet fad. The story goes like this; I started to migrate a Windows Vista machine to Windows 7 (not for myself, I should add). When I plugged in an external drive for 'Easy Transfer'  (this is Vista, so 'easy' is a relative term), the program decided it couldn't cope with a FAT32 format drive.

I know; how long has that FAT32 drive sat around? Never mind. My choices to reformat are: exFAT or NTFS. What do I use? I'm no digital storage expert, but here goes...

Saturday, 17 May 2014

How-To: Remove Rvzr-A.Akamaihd Pop-Up& Virus [Guest Post]

Rvzr-A.Akamaihd.Net Pop-Up ad-ware A colleague just got hit by another one of these insidious little blighters. We know how it got in - Internet Explorer 11 - but not the source. I suspect my colleague clicked on a close or cancel button in a pop-up which actually ran some malicious code.

We know what and when it was installed - a program in this case masquerading as Rich Media Viewer, on May 16th. We got the full range of initial symptoms. We also got rid of it inside ten minutes, before it could do any further damage.

Rvzr-a.akamaihd.net is another unauthorised adware client; using a full range of false pages and pop-ups, it highlights web page text for adware popups, opens tabs onto Trojan pages when you open your browser, and initiates more popups when you open a new tab.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Opinion: Windows 8 Divides - Part One [Guest Post]

Windows 8.1 start screen
Microsoft has turned its face away from the enterprise and the stalwart 'home' user in an all-out bid for the hearts and minds of a new generation. And it's not working. Did someone say 'convergence?'

The battle lines are firmly drawn over Windows 8. On one side is the (dying) breed of PC professional who manages and maintains PCs. For them, the operating system is only a tool for getting the job done and the Not-Metro-Modern-UI interface gets in their way.

On the other side, casual user who uses their commodity PC to surf the Internet, send email, self-obsess on social media and play a few games. These folks don't give a hoot about operating systems as long as the interface serves up some colourful, fat icons to click to get to an app. Everything these days is an 'app.'

These folks don't know the difference between Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer; to them Internet Explorer IS the Internet. Microsoft Office is Microsoft Windows and file management is a pain.

Humour: Types of Apps

Original Inkscape artwork under the Creative Commons license from Eric Burke, creator of the apparently defunct It's Just a Bunch of Stuff That Happens Original Inkscape artwork under the Creative Commons license from Eric Burke, creator of the apparently defunct It's Just a Bunch of Stuff That Happens

Friday, 9 May 2014

How-to: Blend Images using GIMP

How-to: Blend Images using the GIMP - finished image GIMP (which is the GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open source alternative to Photoshop for image and photo editing. Available for almost all operating systems (Linux, Microsoft Windows, OS X), it is a powerful alternative to Adobe. Did I mention is it also free?

Image blending is a common task, compositing one image onto another with a soft fade effect. For example, I want to place the BBC's Musketeers logo over a photo of the cast.

The GIMP is a very flexible tool. My way of doing things goes something like this:

Saturday, 3 May 2014

How-to: the Need for Digital Asset Management

A topic I touched on when I first arrived at Dartington came around again, prompted by an attempt to round up banner images for this week's bulletin... Digital Asset Management (DAM).

Now we are spawning websites and expanding content, we are reaching a point where we need to be smarter with image and video management. And graphics, logos, charts, diagrams, icons that we have created.

My team is getting more requests for posts and pages and our New World websites have more slots for visual interest, banners, sliders, mood shots and specific content... and I don't know how to find half of it!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

News: Full Circle Issue 84 Out Now

Full Circle Issue 84
Full Circle Magazine is proud to present Issue 84, available to download now from the Full Circle website. This month:
  • Command & Conquer
  • How-To : Python, Establish An OpenVPN Connection, and Put Ubuntu On A Mac.
  • Graphics : Blender and Inkscape.
  • Review: Arduino Starter Kit
  • Security Q&A
  • What Is: CryptoCurrency
  • NEW! - Open Source Design
plus: Q&A, Linux Labs, Ask The New Guy, Ubuntu Games, and another competition!

Download Full Circle Issue 84 English (PDF) or (EPUB)  

Related: Full Circle Magazine Issue 83

Saturday, 26 April 2014

How-to: Something Wiki this way comes [Guest Post]

Originally posted as Something Wiki this way comes by Geoff Owen, Research and Development Officer: Network, at Research in Practice

In his last blog, Geoff gave us an insight into our current Change Project on team-based learning and assessing parental capacity to change. This time he takes a closer look at the learning technology being used in the project.

Some of the key challenges of running a Research in Practice Change Project stem from the management of the project group. Our group of almost twenty individuals is made up of colleagues from as far apart as Cornwall and Hull. We are meeting six times during the first stage of the project in Sheffield, London and Stockport and in between each meeting we all have tasks to complete to advance the project.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

How-to: Add Twitter to Your WordPress Site

Twitter timeline widget
Somehow they did it: the folks at Twitter made micro-blogging ubiquitous. The Twitter logo is everywhere. You can't be respectable in business or on the web without a Twitter feed, pushing traffic to your site and inviting engagement.

Which, for those multitudes using Wordpress for their website or macro-blog (funny how that term never caught on) means you need to integrate Twitter with your WordPress site.

So how do you integrate Twitter with your WordPress site?

How-to: Survive Heartbleed [Guest Post]

Bleeding Hearts: Street Art on Maybachufer – Artist Unknown
For those who have never seen the term Heartbleed before, it is not the latest medical scare to follow SARS, Ebola and Bird-flu. In fact, its nothing medical at all. For those with an eye on the technology news, you may have seen all kinds of mis-reporting and scare stories.

So what is Heartbleed and what can you do to survive it?

First of all, the Heartbleed SSL vulnerability is a computer security crack - and NOT a virus.

Heartbleed is a vulnerability in web-servers running the authentication software OpenSSL. This is the non-proprietary version of Secure Sockets Layer, the open source implementation of SSL and TLS, the protocols used for secure connections - look for web addresses beginning https://, not http://.

Monday, 21 April 2014

How-to: Protect PDF Content

At work, we have been discussing protection of Intellectual Property this week... How to keep valuable content within a small network of supposedly 'trusted' users. Much of it is in publications we sell as PDF's.

The utility value of PDF's is that you can read them anywhere on anything; but while there are measures you can take to protect content, anyone determined enough will find a way to grab and re-distribute that content.  There is no such thing as totally protected content... So how much effort do you put in and how difficult can you make it for the determined 'PDF magpie'?

If you want to go through the issues with PDF's, read on, but the short answer is passworded PDF's are only partly secure and inconvenient, restricted PDF's can be circumvented and there's nothing you can do about someone screen-shotting the pages and saving the graphics.

So what are the vulnerabilities?

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Review: Lightbeam Addon for Mozilla Firefox

Lightbeam: See who’s tracking you online

"Lightbeam is a Firefox add-on that uses interactive visualizations to show you the first and third party sites you interact with on the Web. As you browse, Lightbeam reveals the full depth of the Web today, including parts that are not transparent to the average user."

Mozilla’s free Lightbeam addon for the Firefox broswer shows who's tracking your online movements.

On the one hand, Mozilla says the browser add-on will be 'a step forward in the fight for greater openness across the internet'; on the other, Mozilla is itself tracking you with low level information, under a disturbingly broad Terms of Service.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Review: Guess Who's Back? Ubuntu 14.04

It seems like a good day to revisit the hallowed halls of Ubuntu; the latest Long Term Support (LTS) release of Canonical's still-popular Linux distribution, Ubuntu 14.04, "Trusty Tahr" is released today, April 17.

And having played with the sole beta build of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, it turns out that Trusty (a Tahr being an African goat) is a much stronger release than recent lacklustre versions.

14.04 is anything but the bland, risk-averse LTS release. But search in the Unity Dash is still full of c**p.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

News: XP eXPires [Guest Post]

Windows XP desktop
While Microsoft has extended the end-of-life deadline Windows XP several times under consumer pressure, not least from Enterprise customers, we have reached that line in the sand. The party’s over.

Officially, Windows XP is now dead, but it’s not gone. Choose your stats carefuly; conservatively, between 20 and 27% of computers connected to the Internet still run Windows XP. Yet as of April 8th, we’re at the”end of support” – so what will happen to all those Windows XP systems now?

It will continue to run and activate, using the same activation process that checks with Microsoft to ensure you’re using “genuine” software and not a pirated version of Windows.