Blog

mostly posted by our principal designer

Core Updates
... 22nd June
As of 21st June 2017 both current & previous generation (8X & 7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software have been updated. These are security releases containing maintenance fixes for multiple vulnerabilities. All site owners are strongly recommended to upgrade iummediately after reading the security announcement from the vendor.
Security Announcement: Drupal Security Centre
8X details & download: v8.3.4 Release Notes
7X details & download: v7.56 Release Notes

Core Updates
... 7th June
As of 7th June 2017 both current & previous generation (8X & 7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software have been updated. These are maintenance/patch releases containing minor improvements and bug fixes, (no security content) all site owners are advised to upgrade.
8X details & download: v8.3.3 Release Notes
7X details & download: v7.55 Release Notes

Service Outage
... 5th May
At 1245 on 4th May our transit provider suffered a major outage which affected several London based datacentres including the one our Host hardware is located in. The outage affected all services the Host provide.
Unfortunately as the outage was outside of our network, it was out of our control. The outage was rectified by our provider at 1400 (2pm). At the time of writing our provider is still investigating the root cause of the outage, but we know it was an issue affecting the core routers of their network. When details are available we will circulate these.
Our provider will be performing emergency maintenance on the network tonight to add extra resiliency again. We don't have a time for this yet, but anticipate it to be in the early hours. Downtime (if any) will be kept to seconds or few minutes at worst.

Core Updates
... 10th Apr
As of 5th April 2017 the 8X generation of the Drupal Web Content Management system software has been updated with a version/feature release. This new version includes improvements to authoring experience, site administration, REST support, and a stable version of the BigPipe module as well as the updated CKEditor 4.6, which contains a host of improvements.
8X details & download: v8.3.0 Release Notes

Core Updates
... 2nd Feb
As of 1st January 2017 both current & previous generation (8X & 7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software have been updated. These are patch releases contains bug fixes, along with documentation and testing improvements, all site owners are advised to upgrade.
8X details & download: v8.2.6 Release Notes
7X details & download: v7.54 Release Notes

Faster Service
... 30th Jan
It is with no small pleasure and a sigh of relief I announce E132 has been migrated to satellite broadband. This upgrade brings an improvement of approximately 5000% over the trickle speeds that were apparently the best BT could manage in our rural location. It's good to be empowered once more.

Core Updates
... 6th Jan
As of 4th January 2017 the current generation (8X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software has been updated. This is a patch releases contains bug fixes, along with documentation and testing improvements, all 8X site owners are advised to upgrade.
8X details & download: v8.2.5 Release Notes

The Twelve Scams of Christmas
... 20th Dec

Twelve spammers spamming,
Eleven phishing email,
Ten Trojans lurking,
Nine du–bious links,

Eight bits of malware,
Seven stupid calls,
Six bad attachments,
Five bro–ken things,

Four dodgy scripts,
Three blacklisted sites,
Two lying salesmen,
And a Keystroke Logger for my PC.

You get the general idea – don't trust unsolicited email or phone calls, don't open attachments unless you specifically requested them, don't click links in email, always keep your computer security & your website software up to date. Stay safe & have a good time over the holiday period.

Core Updates
... 8th Dec
As of 7th December 2016 both current & previous generation (8X & 7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software have been updated. These are patch releases contains bug fixes, along with documentation and testing improvements, all site owners are advised to upgrade.
8X details & download: v8.2.4 Release Notes
7X details & download: v7.53 Release Notes

Core Security Updates
... 17th Nov
As of 16th November 2016 both current & previous generation (8X & 7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software have been updated. These contain no new features, but include bug fixes for multiple security vulnerabilities, so all site owners are strongly recommended to upgrade immediately.
Security Announcement: Drupal Security Centre
8X details & download: v8.2.3 Release Notes
7X details & download: v7.52 Release Notes

Relocation
... 16th Nov
As most of you are aware, we have relocated our home and offices. After some unexpected difficulties with internet connectivity I'm pleased to say we are finally back online with an acceptable level of broadband. So, back to business ...

Core Software Updates
... 6th October
As of 5th October 2016 both current & previous generation (7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software has been updated. The 7X maitenance release contains a variety of improvements & bug fixes, so all site owners are advised to upgrade.
7X details & download: v7.51 Release Notes

Abante eCommerce Upgrade
... 15th Aug
As of 15th August 2016 the Abante eCommerce system software have been updated. AbanteCart v1.2.8 includes number of UI improvements, NeoWize analytics, fixes & fine-tuning of SEO. Owners are advised to test on a clone build and run an offsite backup before applying to a live build.
This may seem overly cautious but occasionally vendors get it wrong and then the 'upgrade' becomes as much fun as a hand grenade in the hen house!

Dangerous Fiction
... 11th Aug
Republishing this as I recently heard an urban myth repeated, "Apple Mac machines don't get viruses." There is no doubt that Macs are affected by malware with hundreds of different samples of Mac OS threats in circulation. There are dozens of unique types known, specifically created for MAC OS including many Trojans targeting Mac users. While the figures are certainly small compared to the spread of Windows based threats, it is really not worth the risk and suggest that Kaspersky provide the best current protection.

Core Security Updates
... 8th July
As of 7th July 2016 both current & previous generation (8X & 7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software have been updated. The 7X contains a variety of new features, improvements & bug fixes, so all site owners are advised to upgrade.
8X details & download: v8.1.5 Release Notes
7X details & download: v7.50 Release Notes

Core Security Updates
... 15th Jun
Priority: CRITICAL

As of 15th June 2016 both current & previous generation (8X & 7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software have been updated. Both of these updates fix new security vulnerabilities discovered in the User and Views modules, so all site owners are strongly advised to UPGRADE IMMEDIATELY after reading the security announcement.
8X details & download: v8.1.3 Release Notes
7X details & download: v7.44 Release Notes
Security Announcement: Drupal Security Centre

Twitter accounts trouble
... 12th Jun
Yesterday it was reported that Twitter has locked millions of accounts after user's passwords were offered for sale by hackers. It believed that password and email combinations stolen in other recent attacks on LinkedIn and MySpace may have been used to compromise Twitter security. This shows that many people use the same passwords across multiple websites and services. Even if the password is highly secure, hacks still happen so, please folks - don't let a single key open EVERY aspect of your online life!

Core Version Updates
... 20th Apr
As of 20th April 2016 the eighth generation (8X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software have been updated. This minor version (feature release) providing new improvements & functionality without breaking backward compatibility for public APIs. All site owners should consider upgrading.
v8.1.0 details & download: source

Core Software Updates
... 6th Apr

As of 5th April 2016 the eighth generation (8X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software has been updated. This is the final scheduled patch release of the 8.0.x series containing bug fixes, testing improvement and does not address any security issues.
8X details & download: v8.0.6 Release Notes

Core Security Updates
... 24th Feb
Priority: CRITICAL

As of 24th February 2016 both current & previous generation (8X & 7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software have been updated. Both of these updates fix new security vulnerabilities discovered in access bypass & denial of service, so all site owners are urged to UPGRADE IMMEDIATELY after reading the security announcement.
8X details & download: v8.0.4 Release Notes
7X details & download: v7.41 Release Notes
Security Announcement: Drupal Security Centre

Farewell to Drupal 6X
... 24th Feb
The sixth generation (6X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software has come to the end of it's time and support has now been discontinued. The vendor has stated "Drupal 6 is no longer supported and the security team will no longer provide any further support or Security Advisories.". Obviously, continuing to use 6X on a production site now carries an element of risk.
More info here: Drupal 6 end-of-life

Core Maintenance Updates
... 4th Feb
As of 3rd February 2016 both current & previous generation (8X & 7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software have been updated. Both of these updates are maintenance releases including bug fixes and small API/feature improvements only (no major, non-backwards-compatible new functionality) all site owners are advised to upgrade.
v8.0.3 & v7.42 details & download: source

Nothing lasts forever
... 2nd Feb
Most mobile users will upgrade their phone every couple of years and accept that the core software driving their smart phone will be updated multiple times within that period. Curious then, that some folk seem to expect the software behind dynamic websites to last forever without maintenance and are indignant that a six year old product has become outmoded and vulnerable.
Internet technologies change faster than Paris fashions and old websites will probably fail current standards. It's all too easy to get left behind and there's no prize for second place in business. Let us rejuvenate your internet presence.

First patch for Drupal 8X
... 2nd Dec
As of 2nd December 2015 the eigth generation (8X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software has been updated. This release fixes multiple major & minor issues discovered since launch of 8X & all site owners are urged to upgrade.
8X details & download: v8.0.1

Drupal 6X announcement
... 18th Nov
With the release of Drupal's eighth generation (8X) product those running 6X should plan to upgrade their site as soon as possible. The vendor has stated "Drupal 6 will no longer be supported {and} the security team will no longer provide support or Security Advisories for Drupal 6".
More info here: Drupal 6 end-of-life

Water Damaged Mobile?
... 11th Nov
One of our clients recently had a mishap resulting in his smartphone being waterlogged. It still half worked but neither speakers or microphone functioned properly.
He sealed the mobile in a container with a generous quantity of rice and left it for 24 hours. The uncooked rice is highly absorbent and gradually drew all moisture from the device. He dug it out and dusted it off the following day, everything worked good as new!

Drupal migration
... 6th Nov
Drupal's eighth generation (8X) is due for release on 19 Nov and "The policy of the community is to support only the current and previous stable versions" (when Drupal 7X came out, 5X was immediately marked unsupported). However, I've found a statement from 2014 that suggests support for 6X will be extended for three months after launch of 8X to "ensure that sites that wish to move from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 have a supported window within which to do so".
Users should also consider the option of upgrading to 7X whose "releases undergo almost 40,000 automated tests and will be fully supported at least until Drupal 9 comes out". Given the past history, the release of 9X is very unlikely to occur before 2018.

Drupal 8X announcement
... 2nd Nov
Drupal - the eight generation (8X) of the web content management system is now at release candidate 2 and the creators have stated they "are confident to announce that Drupal 8.0.0 will be released on November 19th".
The important question is whether they will continue support for 6X once the new baby arrives. If they do than it's not likely to be indefinite, so folk running 6X would be wise to budget for an upgrade to either 7X or 8X in the near future.

Core Security Update
... 21st Oct
Priority: HIGH

As of 21st October 2015 the seventh generation (7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software has been updated. This release fixes new security vulnerabilities discovered in the Overlay module and all site owners are urged to UPGRADE IMMEDIATELY after reading the security announcement.
7X details & download: v7.41 Release Notes
Security Announcement: Drupal Security Centre

Core Maintenance Update
... 15th Oct
As of 14th October 2015 the seventh generation (7X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software has been updated. This maintenance release includes bug fixes & small API/feature improvements only (no major new functionality). No security fixes are included in this release, upgrading the settings.php files on existing sites is recommended.

E132 website makeover
... 12th Oct
We have finally gotten around to the rather overdue re-writing of our own website. I guess it's like the Cobbler’s Shoes, we've been too preoccupied with other folk's sites leaving this to be deferred for later an embarrassing number of times. However, finally now live in a new dark livery & we hope you enjoy it. Feedback would be welcome whether you love or loathe it.

Darkness & Doom
... 25th Sept
There is a ridiculous message circulating on social media which claims NASA has confirmed that Earth will experience 15 days of total darkness between 15th & 29th November. Allegedly this event, which the report claims has not happened for over a million years, will be caused by another astronomical alignment event.
This is a repeat of a hoax which first appeared & went viral in 2012. Obviously no such blackout is even astronomically possible & we are not doomed to be plunged into days of darkness. The source of this nonsense also gave us “Dinosaur Egg Hatches in Berlin Museum”, the “Cloud Monster” & my personal favourite, “Kepler Satellite Discovers Planet Covered in Marijuana”. Priceless!

Core Security Update
... 20th Aug
Priority: CRITICAL

As of 20th August 2015 both seventh generation (7X) and sixth generation (6X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software have been updated. These new releases fix multiple new security vulnerabilities including two found in cross-site scripting mechanics that allows a malicious user to upload code or files and all site owners are urged to UPGRADE IMMEDIATELY after reading the security announcement.
7X details & download: v7.39 Release Notes
6X details & download: v6.37 Release Notes
Security Announcement: Drupal Security Centre

Cortana #2
... 12th Aug
Cortana is an ‘intelligent personal assistant’ created by Microsoft for Windows 8, 10 and the Windows Phone (also likely to make her way to the Xbox One). While doubtless useful, the software does come with some habits that impact users choices. For example, Windows 10 does let you choose which browser you want to launch when you do web searches using Cortana. But if configured with the default ‘express setup’ settings those search requests will always point to Bing, even when you've chosen a different default in your browser.
Mozilla has expressed issues with Windows 10 and in an open letter to Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Chris Beard suggested Microsoft are using this part of the upgrade process to "throw away the choice your customers have made about the internet experience they want, and replace it with the internet experience Microsoft wants them to have."
However, it seems their personal assistant software is not equipped for the role of master villain just yet. A friend toying with his new install of Windows 10 asked Cortana the distance to Sirius, expecting the answer of 8.6 light years for the brightest star in our night sky. Cortana took a while to respond, then came back with ...
“I can’t tell if you can get there by car”

Hey, Cortana - what's that you've got there?
... 6th Aug
You may well be surprised by the volume of personal information Windows 10 collects from its users; information including phone numbers, GPS location, credit card numbers, even video and audio messages. Of course, Microsoft’s Privacy Statement outlines all the data that is collected and you agreed to this when you downloaded Windows 10 and checked the Terms of Service.
The new browsers software (Edge) sends your internet browsing history to Microsoft in order to “help Cortana personalize your experience”. Microsoft also collects data to understand why applications crash “in order to improve them”, which means tracking your usage of these applications. This means that if Microsoft Office crashes while you are using it, Microsoft will get a snapshot of the Excel or Word documents that were open during the crash.
Tracking and sharing can be disabled at any time by changing the settings (Advanced Settings, Privacy & Services) but you will lose functionality including Cortana. For more information on what is collected you should review the Microsoft Privacy Statement

Blocking Nuisance Telephone Calls
... 9th July
Various companies may call you offering services to block all unwanted calls and that they will ensure the call centres know “not to contact you”. They offer paid services, sometimes including new hardware) and may state they can even identify phone traffic where the caller ID is withheld or specifically target international numbers.
All most are doing is charging you for registration to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) which is FREELY available to all. As for the claim of identifying withheld numbers, while that is theoretically possible, it requires access to cabling infrastructure that only BT have. Also worth mentioning that many call centres located abroad now route their traffic through locations in the UK so as not to be immediately seen as international.
In short the offers have very little substance unless you like parting with money for a free service (TPS). The best way to deal with nuisance callers is to ensure you have a phone that can collect caller ID and has a blocking function. At least in that way the majority only get to irritate you once!

Core Security Update
... 18th June
As of 18th June 2015 both seventh generation (7X) and sixth generation (6X) of the Drupal Web Content Management system software has been updated. These new releases fix multiple new security vulnerabilities inclduing one found in the OpenID module that allows a malicious user to log in as other users and hijack their accounts and all site owners are urged to UPGRADE IMMEDIATELY after reading the security announcement.
7X details & download: v7.38 Release Notes
6X details & download: v6.36 Release Notes
Security Announcement: Drupal Security Centre

Dangerous Fiction
... 4th Apr
I recently heard an urban myth repeated, "Apple Mac machines don't get viruses." There is no doubt that Macs are affected by malware with over 600 different samples of Mac OS threats in circulation. There are now 67 unique Mac threats known, specifically created for MAC OS including 48 Trojans targeting Mac users. While these figures are certainly small compared to the spread of Windows based threats, I would not personally take the risk and suggest that Kaspersky provide the best current protection.

Netflix Scam
... 20th Mar
Scam: Netflix users are being targeted by the bad guys & receiving emails (falsely) telling them their account has been suspended & instructing them to call a toll-free number to regain access. The fake Netflix/Microsoft support person tricks them into giving the criminal access to their computer. Not only is their privacy compromised & personal information stolen, there are accounts of some victims being conned into paying the crooks to "fix" the problem.
Solution: Don't ever click a link in an e-mail message. Instead, open your browser and enter the URL in the address field manually. You cannot trust email links, not even ones you believe are from a trustworthy source. Also worth mentioning that neither Netflix or Microsoft are ever likely to instruct their customers to call a toll-free number for any reason, let alone for technical support.

All Older Items Archived
Items earlier than this point have been archived as no longer really relevant or of interest. There's quite a volume of these as we have been blogging since we started trading in 2007.