Friday, September 17, 2004

Domain Registration scams

Today I received this e-mail from my friend Dr. Eddie May ( who I hope will become a contributer to this newswire.)
Here is an excerpt:

Hi,
Today I rec’d a very plausible looking letter headed ‘DOMAIN EXPIRATION NOTICE’ from a company called Domain Registry Services, Cambridge, stating that my domain name freshwebservices.com was due to expire, and offering to renew for two years for £60.

This is a scam. Go here for details http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/27/nominet_invoice_warning/. If you have any queries regarding the status of your domain name, go here & check its details: http://www.nominet.org.uk
/. Otherwise, give me a call.

Yours truly,

(Dr) Eddie May
Director
Fresh Web Services Ltd : e-business solutions
www.freshwebservices.com


I received a copy of a letter today from one of my domain clients and and it was from Domain Registry of America asking them to renew their domain registration with them. It is a very thin line here between legitimate advertising and scamming domain name holders by telling them they need to renew their name in a years time but here is a handy way to - (if a trifle expensive) -renew it online, right now. And they give their website address. DROA is one of the biggest domain registrars in the world and it looks like they are resorting to spam tactics by snail mail.

The best advice is to go to Nominet, as Eddy says for .co.uk names. Go to whois.sc
for .com, .net,.info,.org and .biz.
Check out the whois details which will tell you what registry holds your name now. Don't let yourself get conned into transferring your domain register needlessly and expensively.

These letters can be compared to some body saying to you 'Pay your phone-line rental charges to me instead of your current provider and I will make sure you can keep your number!'
If your phone line currently costs £10 per month and I want to charge you £20 per month.
Even a baby can do this kind of maths.

I am writing an article to help you to manage your domain names and to ensure you have control of them. I will post it here in the next two weeks.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Use Blogs to promote company website

Blogs are an instant and cost effective way of increasing the involvement of the staff in a company in the use of the company website.
It can be done by making all employees have the company website or( yahoo.com with RSS feed coming from the companies blog or blogs.) as their homepage. A newsreel feed on the page can be linked to the blog. This encourages the staff to read the blogs.
It is a good idea to have more then one blog. One blog should contain latest company news and announcements. The staff should be encouraged to write about their area of expertise. The company PR and marketing divisions should put their output into the blog before they send it anywhere else. (brilliant for proofreading!)Aside from getting non-technical/IT staff interested in the company website it also gets up to the minute keywords and information on to your site, so increasing its visibility to the search engines.
The second blog could be latest vacancies. The third could be internal news and staff interests.
My biggest problem in designing websites is not the coding, but the copy writing.

This was done using preset templates from Blogger.
You have the option of hosting the blog on your own site, which is the recommended route to take, if you want more traffic.
This Yahoo Button adds this blog to your My Yahoo page.

Add to My Yahoo!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Jargon Buster for TV screens

Some terms relating to television screens explained. Brought to you by node-net large screen suppliers of the Nikia 42" Plasma Screen

100hz
These televisions refresh 100 times per second, making screen flicker undetectable to the naked eye.
16:9
The widescreen shape (16:9) provides a picture close to that of which you would see in the cinema. Larger Televisions are now adopting the Widescreen picture format (16:9).
4:3
Traditional television picture format.
Aspect ratio
The ratio of height to width for a TV screen. This ratio is 4:3 on standard screens, and 16:9 on widescreens.
Input sockets
Input sockets, in the form of SCART sockets and s-video sockets, in the TV allowing you to connect a VCR, DVD player, and camcorder or games console.

Audio Inputs
Allows you to connect the sound output of your TV to an external unit, such as a hi-fi.
Auto Picture Size Adjustment
TV automatically adjusts to the proportions of the broadcast image signal to fit your screen size. Auto Set-Up
A function available on some TVs and videos that automatically tunes in all TV channels in the correct order.
Auto Tracking
Automatically checks and adjusts the tracking on a video tape when it is played.
CDR
Recordable CD giving digital quality. There is no loss of sound or no sound deterioration when recording onto Recordable CDs. Recordable Compact Disc also allows up to 650Mb of data to be stored very cheaply on a Compact Disc.Data is written to the CDR using a special CD Writer, but once written, is permanently burned into the CD and cannot be erased or re-written.
CDRW
Recordable and Re-writeable Compact Disc - Allowing up to 650Mb of data to be stored on a compact disc using a special CD Writer. Unlike CDR, data can be written to the CDRW more than once.
CDR/RWPlayback
A CD or DVD Player that can play back audio compact discs recorded on a CDR or CDRW recorder.
DAC Digital to Analogue Converter
(DAC) is the circuitry that turns digital signals into analogue signals. DVD players have a video DAC and an audio DAC. DAC is measured in bits - the higher the number of bits the more the original picture information is transferred. A 24-bit audio DAC will provide better quality sound transfer than a 20-bit audio DAC.
Digital Output
Most DVD players have digital audio outputs in order to send a Dolby Digital soundtrack to a Dolby Digital decoder or Dolby Digital TV.
Digital 8
Digital high-resolution camcorder format found predominantly on Sony camcorders. It is backwards compatible with 8mm and Hi8 formats.
Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital is a six independent channel ultimate new generation home cinema system. Comprising of stereo front, left & right, centre, stereo rear left and right and a subwoofer channel for dedicated Bass effects.
Dolby Pro-Logic surround
Surround sound format, comprising four audio channels of sound: stereo front or centre, front left and right; centre; and rear channels.
Fastext
Coloured keys on the remote control provide fast access to key teletext.
Flatscreen
Improves picture definition and minimises screen reflection. The picture will not be distorted unlike ordinary screens.
Head4-Head
VCRs have separate playback and record heads ensuring clear playback in functions such as slow motion, freeze frame, long Play and pause.
Long play
The video player is able to doubles the length of the recording/ playing time.
MP3
Shorthand for MPEG Audio Layer 3, a set of standards for storing and compressing digital audio files. MP3 compresses the sound in a CD file.
MPEG'Moving Picture Experts Group'.
MPEG is a computer file format (usually digital video and audio files) which reduces the space needed to store the information.
MPEG2
An alternative digital surround sound system to Dolby Digital. Like Dolby Digital, MPEG2 also uses six independent channels of digital sound.
Micro Hi-Fi Systems
Micro Systems are amazingly compact in size, so are ideal for places where space is an issue. They often come as one single unit.
Multibrand Remote Control
VCR remote control that will also operate most brands of TV.
Nicam
CD quality broadcasting system for TV sound. The sound is broadcast in digital stereo. Nicam means Near Instantaneous Companded Audio Multiplex.
NTSC
The TV broadcast standard used in Japan and the USA. Any TV with this capability can receive NTSC signals from VCR or DVD.
OSD
On Screen Display. Graphics on the TV screen guiding through controls, settings and functions.
PALTV
broadcast system used in the UK and some other countries.
Parental Lock (DVD)
Allows discretionary 'locking' of software using a code so that undesirable or inappropriate sections are automatically skipped (software dependent).
SCART
A scart cable connects the video, audio and system control signals, to and from the VCR, TV, Games Console or other equipment.SCART SocketConsists of a 21-pin cable connector socket that provides connections between different AV equipment.
S-VHS
Super VHS-A higher quality video cassette format giving better picture resolution than a standard VHS tape.
S-VHSC
Super VHSC - A higher quality video camcorder cassette format giving better picture resolution than a standard VHSC tape.
S-Video
This is a high quality connection standard for products which utilise S-VHS,S-VHSC, Hi8 or other higher quality picture formats. It gives better results than standard composite video connection.
Sleep Timer
Allows the unit, a TV or HIFI to turn itself off after a set period of time.
Twin Tuners - Video Recorders
Twin tuners allow you to watch one channel and record another - e.g. you can watch one programme on BBC, while you record another on ITV.
Videoplus
This is a recording system on videos. By entering codes found in most TV guides, it simplifies the process of programming a video recorder to record a particular TV show, instead of entering start time,start date,end time and end date.
Widescreen
The widescreen shape (16:9) provides a picture close to that of which you would see in the cinema. Larger Televisions are now adopting the Widescreen picture format (16:9).

Monday, August 02, 2004

UK Government asks eBay to collect NI numbers?

While visiting eBay yesterday 2nd August 2004 I read an article about email spoofs. In the article it said "eBay would never request your username details, password, NI number..... in an e-mail."
NI number? was that a slip of the tongue (or keyboard). Are Ebay considering asking their clients for their NI number some other way.
Would Ebay do this of its own volition or is the heavy hand of government involved? Ebay has been getting some stick on ITV recently (Trevor MacDonald being weird and trying to superimpose people being ripped off and the income of Ebays owners and a little bit about people being addicted to Ebay)
You are probably less likely to get ripped off on Ebay then you are in your local shop. The mainstream 'news journalists' dont tend to do stories that the government hasn't been consulted on, so look out for breaking news concerning terrorist moneylaundering on Ebay soon.
It really is a basic right to be able to sell your stuff privately if you want to.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Handy Guide to Google

Here is a handy guide to Google.

Please feel free to link to it.
Official Google sites


Google sitemap

About Googlebot, the spider that indexes your Web pages
Google image search
Google newsgroup search
Google Open Directorysearch
Google advanced search
Google catalogsearch
Google product search (beta)
Google news search
Google answers(ask a question, an expert answers for a fee)
Select your preferred language for Google searches
Google language
tools

Google help (an extensive
help directory)


Google Technology (why use Google)
Google technology joke
Google technology for your own applications
Google search for your own site
Google developer kit(API, for software developers)
Special features (tips and tricks for Google searches)
Google Newsletter (every two months)
Work at Google
Holiday logos

Google labs (Google's ideas that aren't ready for "prime time" yet)
Report spam to Google

Google Zeitgeist (search trends and statistics)

Google Zeitgeist 2002 timeline

Google toolbar (surfing tool for MS Internet Explorer)

Google toolbar help

Google worldwide (countries and languages)

Google warns of shady seo practices

10 things Google has found to be true

Third party sites



Google Alert

SearchEngineWorld
Google FAQ


Google Village

Query Google from this special search page
Search Google by email
Touchgraph Google browser (creates a graphical result map)
Query Google and get an email when there are new results
Google upside down (Elgoog)
What Google thinks about you (Googlism)
Alternative Google logos
Who owns the alphabet? Google queries from a to z

Google Watch (a critical page about the darkside of Google) ( My favourite!)



Thursday, July 29, 2004

RFID chips in UK ID cards?

RFID chips currently cost 25 pence. In five years time they will be 10 a penny. They will be put on the ID cards initially to facilitate entry to government buildings, a move that will be welcomed by our overblown 'civil service' - a major misnomer if ever their was one. Building a tracking system would be incredibly cheap although if the government is buying it will be incredibly expensive. A real ID card would be welcome on price alone as it would mean we could fire all the benifits office staff, half the police force, 3/4 of the Home Office, all the security/receptionists/greeters asking for our name and address everytime we ask about a government service nevermind actually using it. The civil service should not be allowed to vote as they have a vested interest in the government staying the same. Current members of the civil service subsidised -with our money- Saddam Hussein (Export Credit Garantee) for years. They should be fired and their houses sold to recoup some of the money.This would act as a deterant to the currant lot dealing with the Iranians and the Isrealis. So before we the people have a government ID card to go along with our other IDs, it is worth remembering that it is a GOVERNMENT ID number,on their database which we will not have access to. The card only needs to carry one piece of information THAT GOVERNMENT ID number. This will be very easy to link to every other database the government has on us. And that is actually why the government wants it. When the government gives ID numbers to all the civil servants and a webpage to go with that number containing links to their job description, salary contract,contact details,budgets, annual reports,their files, etc.,etc., then and only then should we consider ID cards for the general population. Lets stop the dog's tail becoming really fat and weighing the poor dog down so much he can hardly move. Stop the tail wagging the dog. This fat tail can't wag the dog anyway.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Looking for a webhost?

The current count of web hosts yields just over a gazillion companies claiming to be number 1, offering the very best in what hosting can offer with prices that simply cannot be beat. Needless to say, it can take a trained eye this day and age to see through their gimmicks and get right down to whether this company has what you want. If you're confused about what to choose, read on.
Before even beginning your search, analyze what your needs are. What features would you like your site to have? What Internet programming languages do you anticipate using? Be sure to take under consideration any feedback form features, database connectivity or any other site virtue that is simply too advanced for pure HTML. Would you like e-mail addresses? Do you have a domain name? How much traffic do you expect to receive? All these questions and more help in the final decision for that one glorious hosting company.
In the midst of your search, you'll probably run across hosting services that offer 'unlimited bandwidth'. This is simply not true. The term 'bandwidth' refers to the amount of information that is past between the hosting servers and the end user. Most hosting companies are connected to high-speed Internet backbones (UUNET, Sprint, AT&T, etc) which charge the hosting company based on their monthly bandwidth from customers. Needless to say, if you rack up upwards of 25Gigs of bandwidth a month, that lacks financial prosperity for your hosting company. Be sure to read the terms of service very carefully with each hosting company that you are considering, especially if they advertise 'free' or 'unlimited' site features.
A hosting company's support services often goes untested, especially with beginners in the site design and hosting world. A skilled and prompt support staff should be one of the most important decision breakers in your mind. If you run into trouble getting a perl script to work, or perhaps your database permissions are not setup correctly on the hosting company's side. You want those problems corrected, and fast. One way to test a service's support staff is to simply send them an e-mail and see how long it takes for a response to be sent. Try to send an inquiry to support and sales and any other department you deem necessary. Ask support if they offer a web language that you like, or ask the sales department if they charge your credit card or hire another company to do it for them. If you receive a response the same day, you can probably rest assured you will receive timely help with any inquiries you have. They should not take more than one complete day to get back to you.
Perform research away from the company's web site. Ask questions through e-mail lists and other mediums to try and get some feedback. If the company lists a testimonials section, look into contacting the authors of the testimonials and start asking questions. The more comments you have, the better understanding you'll have on how that hosting service treats its customers.
Pay attention to how long they have been online. A well-established hosting company of many years will most likely yield the greatest chances of customer successes. Click on the about page if they have one and read it all; after all, you may very well be giving this company your credit card number.
Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty: Does the service offer what you want? Although you may expect your site to remain fairly small, allow yourself some room to grow, represented in megabytes (Mbs). If you're using 5Mbs, look for 10. If you're using 20Mbs, look for 30 or 40. If you are a photographer and want to use your site as a portfolio, you better opt for a more powerful account with more space and bandwidth, as images take more of both. Depending on how many images you have and how popular your site is, look for at least 50Mbs of space and 5Gigs of bandwidth. However, a regular, average size site with mostly html pages should be fine with 15 or 20Mbs and 1 or 2gigs of bandwidth and paying no more than $15 a month, depending on other features.
If you have purchased your own domain name, be sure the hosting company supports them (most do), and be sure they give you at least 1 e-mail address (you@yourdomain.com). A lot of companies offer 10 or more custom pop e-mail accounts with unlimited forwarding address at little or no additional cost, which is a nice feature.
Let's look at a few features and offerings you might find with a Windows and Linux based hosting services.
Linux
Cheaper than Windows in general
Should offer PHP and MySQL (at least and PHP)
May offer telnet accounts at little or no additional cost
Since the Linux operating system and all Linux based languages and databases are free to install and offer for the hosting company, prices are usually lower than Windows. Perl should be supported with sendmail support for any formmail scripts. SSI is nice, along with .htaccess. Linux is the choice of most budget web designers and is also much more secure than Windows. In general, more configuration options and advanced customizations are available with Linux based hosting services.
Windows
Usually more expensive than Linux
Should support ASP
Could support Cold Fusion, Access, SQL Server at an additional cost
Windows based servers are flat out expensive for the hosting company to purchase, so prices are usually a bit higher. Cold Fusion is fairly expensive and is purchased through Allaire, now merged with Macromedia. SQL Server is also purchased for a high price through Microsoft, while Access is almost free. Any important database work should be done through SQL Server. If you want the extra features through a Windows host, be prepared to pay extra. In case you are wondering, node-net.com rests on Linux based web servers, although no-de.net is on Windows.
The decision rests in your hands. If you are completely new to the design world and know next to nothing about hosting options and features, you may find a Linux based hosting service more to your liking, and for a lower price. If you are using Microsoft Access databases for the web, a Windows based hosting service with Access support would be required for you. Take your time when looking for a hosting company. Test their support services, gather comments from others and weigh your requirements to the company's features and offerings. Remember to leave yourself some room to grow and expand.
(thanks to Zongo.)

"Reprinted from Zongoo.com Daily Press & Consumer Information"




Sunday, July 18, 2004

hp pavillion zv5000

I have just got a new one. fantastic. what a great screen. shipped with a load of rubbish on the hard drive and has......

HP drivers and support are available from here
- the Pavilion zv5000 page. If you want to buy one then check out Misco.

RFID chipreaders in Nokia phone

Nokia has quietly launched last month the first RFID-enabled cell phone. The Mobile RFID Kit will be available later this year and only for the 5140 model. This accessory allows the user to easily launch services and conveniently access phone functions simply by touching the phone to an RFID tag. The phone accesses the RFID tag data when an RFID reader emits a short-range radio signal that powers a microchip on the tag, allowing the ID information and other stored data to be read. Nokia doesn't intend to sell this kit to ordinary consumers like you and me. Instead, the RFID kit is designed to extend the mobility of workforce already on the move, such as security guards or maintenance people.

What do you need for a webshop?

First you need a domain name www.yourshop.com. You need to have control of this domain - ie be able to change DNS servers when you want.
Then you need hosting that is a place where your domain name lives. There are different types of hosting so make sure that the hosting you are offered is able to do want you need it to.
Then you need a website written that allows your customers to browse your goods or services and also allows you to update your stock, details ,pictures, prices, etc.
You will need a way of taking money in. You could use something like Paypal - an online payment service, or you could get your own credit card Merchant account. If you go for the second option you will have to have a digital security certificate on a secure server.

Node-net offers a way through this minefield by looking after all aspects of setting up a webshop.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Spyware as big a problem as viruses

Spyware is as big a problem as viruses and needs similar scanning software to prevent it from slowing down your computer. I recommend SpyBot S&D from Kolla and Ad-Aware from Lavasoft. Both of these programs are equally good at clearing spyware from your machine.
Ad-aware can be downloaded from Lavasoft
SpyBot can be downloaded from Safer-Networking

AOL Broadband slower than they say

AOL has had its wrists slapped by the UK advertising watchdog for an advert it used to promote its 1Mb broadband service.

The advert featured a cheetah with running spikes on its feet and the text: "Live faster with AOL's new Broadband 1Mb service".

According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), a member of the public challenged the claim "1Mb Broadband" as a connection speed of 1Mb “was unlikely because the service was shared by many users.”

This complaint was upheld by the ASA, which concluded that the claim of “1Mb exaggerated the likelihood of achieving the maximum download speed". AOL has since changed its advertisements to include the vital words “up to” in front of any speed descriptions of its broadband services

This is probably true of all the 'home consumer' ADSL services offered in the UK at the moment. To get a decent service you need a business level limited contention style connection. Do not be taken in by the high speeds offered by BT,NTL,AOL,Tiscali,et al they can only be achieved when no one else on your street is downloading anything. These services are very prone to slowing down when your next door neighbour's spotty kid is downloading DVD's all day.
Check out a proper business level ADSL at Node-net