Tag: websites

Oh, hello there.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  What’s new?  Lots, I guess.

My eyes have settled in quite nicely. I can see things like I never thought I’d be able to see things.  Night time vision is still a bit blurry when it’s really dark, but that’s getting better as time progresses.  They say that I’ll be completely clear and healed in another 8-10 weeks.  I look forward to that.

The holiday season was good. Lots of time with family. Lots of good times in general.

I’ve been working on a redesign for MJJ Designs’ website. Should be done in a couple of weeks.

Finished up some sites for clients recently, they’re in the portfolio on MJJ Designs, if you’re interested.

My contract with BU was up, then wasn’t, then was, then wasn’t. I still don’t know if they’re going to continue the contract or not. We’ll find out in a few weeks.

Christine and I have been working hard on the Kindle site (here), and made quite a bit of money over Christmastime.  That was nice.  We’re looking for a house, and hopefully can get one when our lease is up in June.  So we’ll see what happens there.

Other than that, it’s just life as usual. Nothing else noteworthy to report.  But yes, I’m still alive, and for those of you who stumble upon my site here, thanks for coming back.

Dedicated Servers Rock

I was downloading a backup this morning from the fairly new dedicated server:

Dedicated download speed

Dedicated download speed

Note the 1.5 MB/s downspeed, from a server! Get that with a shared host. I dare you!

Looking back on life

I feel I’ve come a long way in life, and I’m pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished in it.   I’m not sure many people on the cusp of turning 30 (next year), can say the same.

I’ve taught myself how to build websites, fix electronics, work with computers, and countless other things that I’m proud of.   I sometimes feel like I’m too hard on myself, always striving to be better at things, and I get angry when I fail.

I’ve started thinking about these things lately, not sure why. I just look back on all the years that have come and gone, and wonder where they went.   Time really does fly.   Christine and I are about to celebrate our 5th anniversary.   It’s been an amazing five years, and I can’t even imagine how it went by so fast.

Time really does go by faster when you’re an adult.   I’m not complaining, having time go by faster has helped me make it to Thursday of this week already.   Though, now that I’m looking at the clock, the time’s ticking by, minute by minute by minute.

The Importance of Backing Up Your Site

Working for a fairly large webhost, I often see people who got “hacked”, and their websites destroyed.   I often laugh, because people don’t often get “hacked”, but often simply have their password guessed, which gives the “hacker” full access to your site, account, and files.

98% of the time, that’s the case.   Given, there’s always the chance that someone got root access to your server, and really did “hack” you, but that’s very rare in today’s day and age.

So, I often laugh, until it happened to me back mid-June.   I noticed I couldn’t load the stats pages for any of the sites in my hosting account (of which there are quite a few), so I contacted my host.

Their response was “The page won’t load because it’s 0kb”, a file size of zero? That stats package has worked for years on some of my domains, I thought that was odd.

So I uploaded a new version, and went on about my business.

Hours later, I realized I should go through FTP, and look for other files that had been modified recently.   Sure enough, every index.html and index.php file, in every domain, in every subdirectory had been modified.

The “hacker” (read: bored kid in some random European country) added some code to all my pages that was supposed to redirect a visitor to a spam site.   Luckily, he did it wrong, and none of my visitors were affected.

Needless to say, I was bullshit.   I spent a few hours going through, and removing all of the code, by hand.   I got annoyed, and finally asked one of the guys who works for me, for help.   He wrote me a nifty little bash script that I could run.   Luckily, my host gives me SSH access, and I managed to run it against my entire account, and clean out the rest of the modified files, without issue.

The reason I got hacked? Simple. I had a stupid, easily guessable password.   Exactly what I laugh at our customers for.

So, I panicked.   I went in, and first changed my hosting and FTP passwords.   I then thought about how to change my MySQL password.

The problem with that is complex, but follow me.   If I change the password on the MySQL server, my sites will go down, until I update them one at a time.

If I change my password in the sites, they’ll go down until I change it on the server.   Follow?

So I opted to create a new MySQL user, with a new password all together.   I then (using the same find and replace code from earlier) updated my username in all my scripts, then my password, and voila, back up and running.

I then began thinking about how to protect myself, should this (or something worse) happen again.   I looked for scripts that I could run on the web server, to backup my sites and databases, but couldn’t find anything that would work.   I then stumbled upon HandyBackup, which runs on my computer at home.

It simply connects to your account via FTP, and downloads all of your files to your computer.   This is great, assuming you’ve got storage space to keep all those backups around.   If you upgrade, you can also have it burn to DVD automatically, but that’s costly, and not very effective.

So, each night of the week, I have the application connect, and download all of my changed files.   On Saturday night at midnight, it connects and downloads all of the files (changed, or not).   So, at worst, I’m a week out from a complete restore of files.   And any file that’s changed, I’m only 24 hours (at most) out from a clean working version.

It takes up quite a bit of space, because I host a lot of sites, however I think it’s worth it.   It’s also helpful for when you accidentally break some code on a page, and didn’t think to save a copy right then.   You just jump to your backup, and voila.

If you run any website that you “make money” from, or that “is my business!!”, you should take it upon yourself to do the backups, and not rely on your host to do it.   While most hosts do it anyway, some charge you to do the restore. (My company doesn’t, but the company I host with, does.)   You know what they say, if you want something done right, do it yourself.

Second update this month? You don’t say!

I feel compelled to post something. Mainly because I’m bored silly.

Let’s see, what’s going on…   I finished the website for Christine’s aunt (http://www.kathydiamant.com). I’ve also been fine tuning some applications that I’ve written for personal use.

I’ve got a “Task tracking” system that I put together, and have been fine tuning. As well as an invoicing system that I use to bill my clients.   Both of which I’ve done some pretty major overhauling to recently, to bring them up to speed with some of the newer stuff I’ve learned since writing them.

Did some work for a new client in Florida, helping her write some conditional statements to display different CSS styles, based on the browser.   I’m hoping she’s got more work to farm out to me in the future. The more the merrier.

In the “boring life of…” part of my life:   our lease is up in 2 months. We’re debating whether or not we can afford to buy a house yet, with Christine out of work, or if we should move to another apartment.   Our apartment’s sucked since the people who live upstairs moved in. I swear the hell they’re dinosaurs (only in weight, not in age), or they were just never taught how to walk like human beings.   Oh, and they’re opening a road 10 feet outside our window in the next few weeks.   And our rent is ridiculous, too.

I want to buy a house, but we may not be financially ready for that yet. Who knows, we’ll see.

I decided what my next project’s going to be, which will be a lot of work.   I’m going to re-record the entire audio track from The Prestige, which is one of my favorite movies.   My re-recording will be the “spoiler filled” version, and contain dialogue that will pinpoint the spoilers throughout, making it blatently obvious what the ending holds.   I have no idea if these is even possible to do, with the technology I’ve currently got, but who knows.   I’m sure someone’d file a lawsuit and tell me to knock it off, as soon as it was put online.   Who knows.   I think it’d be interesting to do.   I’ll probably never do it, because it’s a lot of work.

That’s about it, just pluggin’ away at life, on a daily basis.   Commute, work, lunch, work, commute, dinner, bed.   Rinse, and repeat.   Somedays it seems like are never gonna end.