James and I toss ideas back and forth about images and designs to use with blog posts, promotions, newsletters etc.,
Today's little invention is one of my favourites this year (ok the year is young, but hey !)
There's probably a reason he's called "Bert", but even if there wasn't a good reason it's still a cute name for such a cute dragon..
Trying to market hosting and domains is always a bit of a challenge, though I guess that's part of the reason I like doing it. It's far too easy to fall into the trap of just shoving photos or images of servers and rather mundane stock images on a site. Of course we still end up having to do it from time to time, but having a bit of fun with things and abusing cats, horses and sheep is much more fun. (Please check our blog before passing judgement on the last sentence!)
So whether "Bert" will make more appearances or not remains to be seen, but I'd like to think that he will..
UPDATE 2135: The Fine Gael site is now completely offline with this default holder up instead:
UPDATE 00:20 There is now a more official looking holder page up:
Wait for the wonderfully vague (and inaccurate) excuses and explanation from Fine Gael spokespeople in the coming days ...
Update 0930 The Fine Gael website is back up and running with no evidence of the defacement in sight. It's also not clear whether they have taken any measures to improve the coding of the site to stop the kind of attack that that happened last night. It seems that they had another message on the site during the night which tried to spin the hack (via Kieran Lane) :
I have a few problems with this message and the total lack of any message on the site at present. To start with trying to spin the defacement in this manner is really not that bright. Either they think we're all dumb or their spin doctors are more naive than I thought. Secondly it's not clear if the defacement's attack vector has been patched properly or not. Under normal circumstances I would assume that it had, but considering how simple the "hack" was I wouldn't be overly confident of them having fixed it.
UPDATE 1038: It now transpires that the defacement was a lot more serious and several thousand people's contact details may have been compromised. No mention of any of this that I can see on the Fine Gael site.. And their WHOIS data doesn't exactly instil any confidence in them ..
UPDATE 1135 the spin continues. Fine Gael are now claiming that the site was "professionally hacked". Even though several people have pointed out how the site was easily compromised they seem to be ignoring this completely. They sent the following email to their "supporters" with the subject line: FG Website Professionally Hacked / Authorities Notified
Update 20:05 At some point today, probably after they sent out the email above (?) the Fine Gael website was taken offline and the following message put up:
It's basically the same text as they used in their email. Some sources are stating that the FBI has now been contacted. This is quite normal and has nothing to do with the site's profile.
Update Tuesday 11 January 19:25
At present Fine Gael does not have a functioning website. The .ie (finegael.ie) which they had been using for years is still redirected to the .com, which has been offline since yesterday. FineGael.com is currently pointing to a default IIS7 page. So the main opposition party in Ireland is basically "offline"
UPDATE Wednesday 12 January 17:45
While searching for an article related to this incident I got the following (click to enlarge) :
ice a couple of things:
Fine Gael are paying for Google Adwords to drive traffic to a holding page. I've no idea how much they're paying per click, but it's a waste of money at present due to the site being completely offline.
The link to Enda Kenny's page on the Fine Gael website no longer works, as they've redirected ALL traffic for *.finegael.ie to the new site, which is still offline. Oddly enough Fine Gael sub-sections in the format www.politicianname.finegael.ie are still working.
According to an article on Forbes the Anonymous group are denying responsibility for the hack and have also given some very plausible explanations as to why they could not have been involved. Worth reading.
UPDATE Friday 14 January 19:00
The Fine Gael website is back online. It's now carrying a message from Enda Kenny about the hacking incident:
A couple of weeks ago I said that I wanted to hear from you and despite the recent interruption to the website, I still do.
You may be aware this website was hacked on January 9, 2011 and Fine Gael is now assisting the relevant authorities in their ongoing investigations. We very much regret that contact data that the public supplied as part of an open and genuine conversation about the future of our country was accessed in the course of this hacking incident. For now we have removed the email and mobile phone sections of the Comment forms but we still want to hear your views, opinions and concerns about the issues facing our country.
This video I recorded at the end of last week was a response to the overwhelming participation on the site, since going live. The message in the video remains the same, even if we have been delayed in posting it to this site.
I am looking forward to hearing your comments on what's needed to change our country once more.
I'm a little confused by the removal of the email and phone sections of the comment forms. Does this mean that they still haven't secured the site completely, or is this some kind of attempt to make people feel that they're being more careful about personal data?
Speaking of Enda Kenny .. ...
Googling for him at the moment gets some rather "interesting" results.
His page on the Fine Gael site is not reachable, as mentioned before. However it is quite easy to get to endakenny.com. You'd think this was either his site or that of the folk singer based in Australia. It's not. It's a Bebo page which is obviously a "spoof site" setup by someone who doesn't particularly like Enda Kenny or Fine Gael ..
A "lifestream" basically acts as an aggregator of all your online activities, as many of the online services that people use, such as Twitter, Flickr etc., publish your activity via RSS.
I'd already been experimenting with Movable Type's Motion, which is a pretty cool addition to an existing MT powered site, however having a separate, standalone, solution was not without its attractions. I registered michele.ie a few months ago, but apart from using it to test our Exchange mail hosting I hadn't really done anything with it.
So last night (and very early this morning) I decided to setup Sweetcron on one of our shared hosting plans. Our hosting system allows you to split your domain up across multiple hosting plans and platforms, so while the main site is now on a Linux web server the email is still on Microsoft Exchange.
I chose to setup the webspace to use PHP5, since PHP4 is defunct. In terms of the database I opted for MySQL5, since it's also the more recent version.
I'll have to admit that I hadn't used FTP for a long time. I have a habit of just doing things from the command line, but once I'd got over that it was easy enough to setup.
The documentation for Sweetcron is a bit sparse, but the basic install is easy enough. On our system you just need to remember that the MySQL database server is NOT "localhost", as the basic configuration file assumes that you're running everything on a single server.
The one step that isn't documented clearly is how to setup a simple cronjob to automate it for you. Fortunately someone else had done that already, so adding the cronjob via the hosting control panel was fine. You just need to execute the following command every few minutes (or hours):
You can find the actual URL in the Sweetcron admin panel. So just set that command to run via the cronjob manager and off you go.
The basic install ships with two themes, but there are several other themes available which range from the very simple to the incredibly complex. I still haven't settled on which one I actually want to use, as they all handle parts of your "stream" differently. In order to avoid duplication issues I think I'll stick with a theme that doesn't pull in the full content from blog posts and just provides a link to the original source.
When I got my Nokia E71 back before Christmas I immediately fell in love with the device. One of the options that we setup was MFE (Mail for Exchange) which was pretty functional, although a bit limited.
However while we were working on our Hosted Exchange service launch Paul came across a really nice bit of software that takes the E71 and Microsoft Exchange 2007 to a whole new level.
The software - RoadSync - is really cool and makes full use of ActiveSync on Exchange server 2007. Basically it means that you can get "email push" without having to spend a fortune on expensive addons for your Exchange server.
Configuring RoadSync is pretty easy. You just enter your login details on the device you're using and off you go.
If you're connecting into an Exchange Server 2007 setup, like we are, then you can turn the synchronisation to use ActiveSync, which means that you'll get your email on your phone almost instantly.
The other features that give RoadSync that extra "edge" are its support for HTML emails (MFE simply can't handle them) and sub-folder support. Since I get so much email every day I have a rather complex set of rules to filter emails off to different folders depending on subject lines, senders and addressees. MFE simply cannot deal with the subfolders, whereas RoadSync does a reasonable job of it.
All in all moving my business email onto my phone has made things a lot easier. I don't feel as "tied" to my desktop / laptop as before and can receive emails easily while on the move. While admittedly a lot of this would have been possible on my N95 the full keyboard on the E71 takes "possible" to "comfortable", which in my mind is a pretty important difference.
The only problem with any of the mobile email software seems to be an inability to handle multiple Exchange accounts, which is understandable. Unfortunately it means that I can't move my personal email onto our Hosted Exchange cluster, which I wouldn't mind doing ...
Do you think they live down the bottom of your garden?
If you do, then you might believe the "unlimited hosting" offer in this month's PC Live! magazine
Until someone gets round to inventing an unlimited hard drive it is pretty much impossible to offer unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth and of course anyone who tries to "take advantage" of an unlimited plan is bound to be "in breach"...