Tag Archive: FAIL

(Karmic) Retribution on Pacific Webworks?

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on Internet “Business”, Pacific Webworks.

Tangled Web

Tangled Web

Following several knock-downs by disgruntled, ripped-off individuals and hefty wallops from Google, it appears that running legal is difficult for Utah based business Pacific Webworks (PWW) ….  They’ve just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Announcement here.

This allows them to stay in business and re-organise their debts… gives them a “fresh” start, it says.

Sow and Ye Shall Reap.

Karmic retribution is a bit like Jesus’ saying about reaping what you sow.

If you examine this web search on this website you will see that I have written several articles on PWW and their previously dodgy web practices.  Many times I warned them that their behaviour would lead to no-good.  I stated that I did not have to do anything – that karma would see them fail – and so they have.

The Future

PWW, formerly a tarmac company, now has time to figure out what to do.  If they stay legal I wish them well and hope they prosper.  If not, there’s always karmic retribution.  Reducing this makes us and the world, better.

 

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Tories Reveal Authoritarian Roots While Liberals Check Their Shoelaces

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Yet again I’m forced to side with the grinning David Davis.  This doesn’t happen often and is embarrassing to admit!.

ConDem Coalition Pledges Broken!

ConDem Coalition Pledges Broken!

It’s all about the government plans to allow full-scale unauthorised real-time monitoring of every person in the UK’s internet activity!  It’s so 1984.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” – (George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four
.

Orwell must be turning in his grave in despair that what he predicted as a warning about what not to do, now looks like coming to fruition.

Remarkably, since wangling themselves into government, the conservative-libdem coalition government is now actually dropping a key part of their manifesto which they laboriously agreed two years ago.  This can still be found on the government website, page 11 to be exact (pdf) .  Here’s what they said:

  • The Government believes that the British state has become too authoritarian…. We need to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power – FAIL
  • …reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion – FAIL
  • … introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation – FAIL
  • …end the storage of internet and email records without good reason – FAIL
  • …a British Bill of Rights that … protects and extends British liberties – FAIL

(Actually, the whole Con-Dem pledge list makes good reading to see just how far removed from it our evil diktat of quangos has become.)

So what to do – use TOR.

ID Cards

Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Johann Wolfgang Goethe (Photo credit: andreasmarx)

Not so long ago I was haranguing the former Labour government about their plans for ID Cards, their laws over CCTV and photographing in public places, the reduction  in privacy for individuals and the removal of our civil rights over detention without trial, due cause and 3rd party notification for first 90 days and them 42 days.

I left the Labour Party because of it and have not rejoined.

Huge Vocal Resentment Against UK Government Secret Citizen Monitoring Plans.

try the Tor browser bundle

The new news (I thought it was an April Fool joke initially!) is that Email and web use is ‘to be monitored’ under new laws proposed by this nasty, nasty government.  Happily, there is now a huge and vociferous resentment against this from the general public who can see this evil act for what it is.  Top among them is David Davis!  See this link and the thousands of comments for instance; Backlash over email and web monitoring plan.

Clueless

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14

Now, the tories and their liberal stooges have been shown to be both serially evil in their pronouncements and plans, and also serially incompetent of managing almost anything.

Their pathetic management of a minor industrial dispute (the fuel shortage) which did nothing except invoke almost universal resentment of the coalition and reawaken a general awareness of their ineffectiveness comes on top of stripping the very foundations away from one of UK society’s greatest inventions of the Industrial Age, our National Health Service (NHS).

United Kingdom

Top this behavioural abomination with that of the revolving door policy between banking and politics which they continue to promote with zero penalties for failure while the population-at-large have to prop up the whole system with their taxes means only two things to me.

  1. The government must do something desperate to have any hope of re-election in 3 years – this means either war (patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel) or economic boom-and-bust gambling.
  2. They will do something desperate to have any hope of re-election in 3 years – this means either war (patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel) or economic boom-and-bust gambling.

Astute folk will see this as my prediction for government actions over the next 3 years.

Tories: Keep Friends Happy

Meanwhile, hundreds of extra Tory donors will soon be available to bankroll the “all is good” story.  They will arrive as beneficiaries of the windfall provided as the “former NHS” contracts are handed out to friends, much like Michael Ashcroft benefited from the first round of NHS privatisation during the Thatcher era.  This article on Powerbase and this one (sourced from a now defunct article in The Scotsman) show quite clearly that 1/3 of cleaning contracts went to Ashcroft’s businesses during this time, saying;

MICHAEL Ashcroft, (…) bankrolled an “independent” publicity campaign that allowed his multi-million-pound contract cleaning empire to prosper and led to a change in the law. The campaign was run from the London office of the former Conservative Scottish secretary, Michael Forsyth. A spokesman for Mr Ashcroft confirmed last night that he had contributed to the Public and Local Service Efficiency Campaign (PULSE), which was set up in 1985 to persuade the public sector to contract out services such as cleaning and catering. The campaign had been disbanded by the end of the 1980s after the Conservative government passed the 1988 Local Government Act .  Mr Ashcroft’s Hawley Services Group, a contract cleaning firm later known as ADT, flourished under the new regime, with ADT, winning a third of NHS contracts between 1983 and 1988.

For further information into the depths that the Tories will go to enable all public money to be fed straight to their business friends, see this article which pulls apart the dealings of Ashcroft, discredited Dame Shirley Porter, NIMBY Nicholas Ridley, Chris Chope (the dog turd of Christchurch) and current (dodgy expenses, remember) minister Eric Pickles.

THE PICKLES PAPERS

By Tony Grogan
First published by 1 IN 12 PUBLICATIONS 1989
21 – 23 Albion St. Bradford 1.
Copyright 1 IN 12 Publications 1989
ISBN 0 948994 04 5

Once read, apply the same logic to our dear NHS, and weep again.  The same modus operandi is being used;

  1. discredit the current, imply alternatives are better;
  2. farm out internal monies to external Tory benefactors.

It’s just more sleaze just like under Thatcher before, backed up with warlike rhetoric.  Remember, only 10 days ago we had the news of billionaire Tory donors at Cameron’s dinner table, and Cameron trying to defend the cash-for-access news that made Labour’s cash-for-questions scandal appear like a sweetshop-ish wheeze in comparison.  See 

Tory Party chairman Lord Feldman was one of the key figures in the ‘cash for access’ scandal which erupted after Tory party treasurer Peter Cruddas was caught offering a private dinner with David Cameron to undercover reporters who posed as wealthy party donors.  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2123692/Tory-cash-access-row-David-Cameron-crony-pal-cash-questions.html

as well.

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WordPress Permalinks Generated But Not Redirected

Introduction

Appalled

Appalled

I’ve had a few site problems whereby my host Site 5, said I was using too many resources and crashing their systems.  Naturally, I was appalled.  I traced this to a variety of plugins plus some errors in php files which must have arrived either during the periodic updates or during editing.  These were errors whereby extra text (either blank space or a carriage return to be precise) were added to the end of the php file, which usually makes it fail.  This a is a Google search on the main error I received,

Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent …  (  This is then followed by error details; usually error on line xx, repeated several times for a variety of xx)

After battling for some time, I just gave up, exported my database key tables (things like posts, comments, etc but omitting plugin inserted tables and the very large options table which I deemed to be very bloated after over five years of continuous WordPress operation…!) and re-installed WordPress as a fresh installation on my server.

Weird Permalink Problem Following Clean Install of WordPress

This is where the weird problem arose….

SP Permalink Settings

SP Permalink Settings

When one installs WordPress for the first time, permalinks are set to the default – so this current post would be:

 http://strangelyperfect.tv/?p=11622

For SEO reasons and for many years I’ve used the format shown in the screenshot from my site shown left.  This current post will thus appear as:

http://strangelyperfect.tv/11622/wordpress-permalinks-generated-but-not-redirected

It’s a “Custom Structure” and the .htaccess file is updated automatically by WordPress when you set it.  You’ll see it’s set to:

/%post_id%/%postname%/

Now, on firing up a post, say this one,

http://strangelyperfect.tv/11428/victory-or-is-it-victory-jesse-willms-surrenders-all-to-ftc-onslaught/ ,

the actual web address I was taken to was:

http://strangelyperfect.tv/%post_id%/victory-or-is-it-victory-jesse-willms-surrenders-all-to-ftc-onslaught/  (error shown in bold)

…which redirected to the homepage of the site, http://strangelyperfect.tv/   This was not what I was expecting!  So I played with the slashes, went back to original simple permalink structure, tried some of the suggested structures – and they all worked!

A custom structure of /%postname%/ worked as well, but not the one I wanted and have used for years.

Weird.   So naturally, I tried Google.

Permalink Redirection Problem Solved.

There’s a lot on the web about this.  Most is about getting .htaccess right with permissions and the code.  But mine was okay, as were all the other suggestions to try.

A real key to resolving my problem was here, Custom Permalinks Generated But Not Redirected in the WordPress forums.  Specifically, it comes from the user, James, a Happiness Engineer!

He suggested adding index.php between the domain name and permalink structure.  So my custom structure changed to:

index.php/%post_id%/%postname%/

WordPress added a leading slash on the save and the website worked!  WAHAY!

However, the best is yet to come….

I thought that the URL was now not pretty, in fact, it was pretty ugly.  The URLs were now being shown like:

http://strangelyperfect.tv/11428/victory-or-is-it-victory-jesse-willms-surrenders-all-to-ftc-onslaught/

So I removed the index.php and reset the custom structure to what I wanted – /%post_id%/%postname%/

It worked!  WAHAY!  All posts’ URLs redirecting  how I wanted!

Conclusion

I’ve no idea, actually.  I’m suspecting some caching, somewhere down the great inter-tubes in the sky, but apart from that…………..?

  • Was it my server?  Dunno.
  • Was it DNS caching?  Dunno.
  • Was it ISP caching? Dunno

All I know is that it’s working now, and the Happiness Engineer’s suggestion sent me on my way, happy.


Postscript – added 22/11/2015

My permalinks in 2015

My permalinks in 2015

Since this time, I have not had to use the index.php fix, and the permalinks are all working correctly.  The flip-flip of adding and removing the fix….just seemed to work!

NoIdeaDeer


 

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Testing Windows 8 Developer Preview Version

Windows 8 Developer Preview

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

I’ve finally decided to test the next Windows edition, probably to be called Windows 8, although things like that are never certain in Microsoft-land.

Virtual Box

Win8 Dev VirtualBox Installation

Win8 Dev VirtualBox Installation

I did a Virtual Box install, which is fairly straightforward.  There are many tutorials on-line now which show how to do this, so I won’t do a walk-through. I installed the 64-bit version which I downloaded from MSDN using my licence.  You can get the installs from the Microsoft Website here, which come in ISO format.  You can also find out more from the horse’s mouth here.

You can also set aside a partition on your hard-drive and install to that.  However, Virtual Box is the safe way to go should the partition install fail and corrupt your current installation somehow.

What I will say, is to use more memory allocation to the virtual installation than recommended elsewhere or as the default,  and to use as many virtual processors as your host machine has.….. My machine is an AMD 955BE, which is quad-core running at around 3GHz.  In other words, if you don’t want it to run like treacle, give it plenty processor and memory room;  at least the recommended values for Windows 7.  You can see all of this in the VirtualBox settings screenshot above.

Fast Install (added 24/11/11))

Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 time to upgrade

Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 time to upgrade

Microsoft, on their MSDN blog, have made a big thing about the rapid installation for Windows 8, particularly for the upgrade route.  See Improving the setup experience.  I can say now that the clean install into the VirtualBox environment was very fast….

Briefly:

  1. You make a virtual machine in Virtual Box
  2. You set it’s parameters – processors, memory size, footprint size, IDE/SATA storage etc
  3. You set the downloaded ISO image to boot from in the settings.
  4. You boot by “Starting” the virtual machine.
  5. You install Windows into the filespace that you’ve previously set aside for it – I gave it a dynamic sized 50Gb.
  6. After that, let windows do it’s thing.  It took 10 minutes or so.
  7. Let it reboot.
Win8 Dev Loggged On Screen

Win8 Dev Loggged On Screen

Following this, you get a green screen from which country specifics are added, a username and finally, you enter your Live.com identity, if you have one, and if you want to!

Appearance

It’s a big green screen.  I don’t have a touchscreen, but it’s obviously designed for one.  It has massive buttons to a host of online services like weather & stocks, plus a few to your computer’s functions.

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

If you log off, you get presented with an American Rockies vista of a lonely winding road.  Essentially, the entry into Windows 8 is like a smartphone.  But what’s it like beneath the surface?

Windows 7 Legacy, and Vista Too!

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Obviously, this is a development preview release, and we can expect more of the same to come.

Win8 Dev Double Click Explorer Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Explorer Screen

But most work has gone onto the main intro screen because beneath the surface, all the various apps and settings controls are the old (current) Windows 7 interface.

Bizarrely, some screens even have vestiges of the green Vista, notably the main screen itself.

Personally, I think it’s very, very dour.  I can’t believe that two years of effort has gone into doing something that Android does on a more than twice-annual cycle….

Win8 Dev Left Corner Hover Screen

Win8 Dev Left Corner Hover Screen

Accessing the menus is the most unintuitive thing I’ve seen for ages!  Following on from the impressive Windows 7, it’s truly not just a user let-down, but somewhat infuriating as well…….    Whereas previously I just typed into the run bar to do almost anything, now I can’t even find programs or files!   No doubt there’s a way – but after Win7, it’s not intuitive and not helpful either.

I hope that’s not the end of the run box, because that feature in Windows 7 is awesome.

Control Panel

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

I haven’t checked through many apps (except a few desktop ones like the weird child-like paint thing and the weather which won’t do anywhere except California) but this is the control panel.

Win8 Dev Control Panel More Settings Screen

Win8 Dev Control Panel More Settings Screen

You then drill-down to get the old Win7 control panel on “More Settings”.

Initial Investigation Ends

Well that’s it for now.   To say I’m un-impressed by the big green monstrous front doesn’t give my opinion justice.  There doesn’t appear to be an easy way out of the front-screen apps and to have an app made for a  3-inch screen sat on a 23 inch desktop monitor really demonstrates the infantile  apps for what they are.

Way back in the nineties Microsoft tried their in-house Microsoft Network (MSN) which was a disc install that gave you a black desktop that gave dial-up access to features giving almost the same as this big green toy-town monster.

Not happy.

Watch this space as I delve more….

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Turkish Hacker-Crackers, perhaps?

A Cracking Week Off?

I had a week’s holiday of sorts last week.  On returning I found that this website had been cracked. (I already had intimations that something was wrong because of site stat failures and an email from @Justin Asking, sometime commenter to this website and others).  Anyway, so it was.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have good web access so was unable to correct things properly.

The main screen, viewable on zone-h here, was replaced by this,

Site Hack Aug 2011

Site Hack Aug 2011

A neat little JavaScript mouse trailer was part of the package!

The cause was my own – a wide-open directory made so as part of an image upload plugin for my WordPress installation.  This plugin makes it easy and neat for any commenter to add material to the website……unfortunately for me, it allowed any file, with active content or not, to be uploaded.

Needless to say, the plugin is now disabled and the directory is locked down to the specific  file types that I’ll accept.  No more active content allowed there matey!

Unwanted Extras

Once the nasty files were uploaded, the internal site privileges allowed the install of a swathe of .htm files to the site root and uploads folder.  These had various names like f.htm, g.htm etc.  Index.htm was the file on show.

Alongside these, apart from files needed to run the previously mentioned JavaScript, were another swathe of .phtml files, such as joker.phtml, which are actually php code shining as html.  A couple of plain text files had also been uploaded.  These had lists of files, sites and persons.

All .htaccess files were okay as well as the WordPress installation files.  To be sure, I redid the WordPress install from scratch with fresh downloaded files..

Finale

All told, about fifty files were dumped on my website.  I’ve hopefully removed the lot and have them downloaded for analysis at a later date.  The screen content and internal code all points to Turkish or S.E. Asian (Vietnam or Indonesia) Muslim crackers (I refuse to use the hacker term except to clarify the cracking of security by it’s now-common usage).  Saying this, the culprits (the code points to several authors who used freely downloadable files from cracking websites and then proudly expected a pat on the back for their extreme skill at doing a download…like….der….), the culprits could have come from anywhere.

Fifth columnists and agent-provocateurs are nothing new.

Interestingly, being cracked puts me in the same company as at least 186 well-known multinational businesses, such as Acer, Vodaphone, BetFair, The Daily Telegraph, The Register, Spam.Org, Victoria Beckham and Destiny’s Child.

Even System of a Down dot com, was down!

Zone-h’s full list is here.  The Register reports it here, The Guardian here.

The Guardian interview with the crackers notes that the culprits had been planning the attack for some time which obviously includes the time when my site was compromised.  I don’t know if my website was actually used as part of the above DNS server attack but it’s usual for an attack like a DDOS to use several vectors and simultaneous attack points in order to force a server to fail and dump code.  This dump then reveals passwords and the like for later use.

Addendum

WordPress.Org’s forum has a posting about this crack from last week.  A Google search in the comment by RedNeckTexan shows the attack on this website to be far from unique….!   The links I’ve followed go right to the heart of the crack and the people doing the cracking.

This is the Google Search on the “Easy Comment Uploader” plugin.  Like me, RedNeckTexan has pulled the plugin for now, which can be found in the WordPress repository here.

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