Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Security resource for UK businesses and individuals - Guide to online and downloadable security tools

Hidemyid.co.uk have a nice guide to online and downloadable security tools. Everything from single use messaging, voice encryption, secure networks, data and disc encryption software, is there.
Most are opensource and free but the paid offerings have good reputations in the security industry.
In this day and age security of data is a hot topic. Most businesses, naturally sceptical of governments are rightly suspicious of the fact that the security of their hoovered up data will be safe in the hands of policemen and politicians.
The only safe thing to do is to use encryption on your sensitive data and communications and as we now know there are still a few tools available to evade this surveillance.

Friday, June 07, 2013

NJDesign Launches New Graphic and Media Services

NJDesign forms alliance with Node-Net.com to provide added enhancements to the Web Design services.

NJDesign is a full services Graphic Design and Web Services provider with over 20 years experience in Print, Design and the WEB.

NJDesign builds you a custom website with your own content and media for desktop and mobile devices, video, HTML-5 all custom designed and tailored for your business or personal requirements.


Thursday, June 06, 2013

Bitcoin - the sooner the better

Today I went into my daughters bank and tried to put some cash into her account as she needed the money instantly. However I was told I would have to use an envelope and use one of the deposit machines in the branch. These take forever to get the money into the account. (HSBC deposit machines detect and count the cash instantly into ones account.)

 I have advised her to close down her Natwest account and open one with a different bank, ie one that allows instant cash deposits from anybody.

The sooner that sending money to someone is as easy and cheap as sending a text or an email the better.
It really is about time we had some serious competition in the banking services field.

Unfortunately the government seems determined to maintain the massive undeserved margins of the banks.

It is a disgrace that in order to apply for a banking licence one must employ one of the old guard banking fraternity. I think full banking licences should be given to all the major supermarkets, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, McDonalds, Ford, etc.
This would definitely be in the interest of the public but it wont be done because the existing banks would empty overnight. Banking Law is in the interest of the banks and not the public.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Windows 8 To upgrade or not?

My most recent dealings with Windows 8 revolve mostly around helping new users migrate and downgrading to Windows 7.
Mostly these users were older users resistant to any change and they found the mobile style Metro interface difficult to use. Younger users liked the new interface especially those that already had smartphones.

However I personally have been very impressed with the speed of the operating system and its smoothness.
I haven't yet got around to rolling it out on the corporate networks I manage yet.

One of my clients has already installed touch screens throughout their offices so Windows 8 might be a nice addition to their set-up.
There might be some issues as all the machines have double touch-screens on them.

I am thinking seriously about doing it, and if I do I hope to make use of Microsoft's Upgrade offer for Windows 7 users.
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/upgrade-offer This offer closes by Feb 28th 2013 so if you got a Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 you are eligible for this upgrade for £14.99.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Wordpress Themes

As you know we have been using Wordpress for a number of years now and it continues to improve as there is a great reservoir of users and developers.
Everyday there are new plugins and themes available.
If your Wordpress site is correctly set up then installing one is usually a case of 1 click and Hey Presto!

I am always looking for new themes I can use or modify and although there are lots of great themes available it is sometimes worth looking at premium themes, especially ones aimed at particular industry end users.

These tend to bring an extra level of usability for the client. for example property listings for an estate agent.

One of the best suppliers of premium themes is Elegant Themes, their collection is bound to spice up both your and your clients sites.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Back up SQL Server to the cloud

This week I had a problem with a restored SQL server database which 'lost' its users on being restored. Even though Windows Server Backup is supposed to be able to back up and restore running SQL servers it was not so successful at re-attaching the users.

What I really wanted to do was make a backup with the intention of uploading it to an Amazon S3 bucket. I looked at the three methods Microsoft recommend SQL Server Management Studio , Transact-SQL , PowerShell and all of these will allow backup to a tape drive or disc.

You still need to upload to  Amazon.

In the end I plumped for using Cloudberry S3 Server Backup edition although I cant wait to try their SQL Server edition. This allowed me to schedule backups from a shared network drive directly to my S3 storage..

You can download a trial of S3 Server Backup here.
Late News:For a complete SQL server Backup solution the SQL Server edition is available here

What and When to Backup

Ask yourself the following questions about your SQL database.
  • From when til when is the database in use?
    If there is a predictable off-peak time, do full database backups fthen.
  • How often are changes likely to occur?
    If changes are frequent, consider the following:
    • Under the simple recovery model, consider scheduling differential backups between full database backups. A differential backup captures only the changes since the last full database backup.
    • Under the full recovery model, you should schedule frequent log backups. Scheduling differential backups between full backups can reduce restore time by reducing the number of log backups you have to restore after restoring the data. - Microsoft

  • Are changes likely to occur in only a small part of the database or in a large part of the database?
    For a large database in which changes are concentrated in a part of the files or filegroups, partial backups and or file backups can be useful.
  • What size will a full database backup be?
    1Gb, 10GB or what?

Find out the Size of the Full Database Backup

 You can estimate the size of a full database backup by using the sp_spaceused system stored procedure. For more information, see sp_spaceused (Transact-SQL).

Schedule Backups

SQL Backup will easily run whilst in use. The backup process has a minimal footprint.
You should do regular backups and schedule them as part of your regular maintenance.

Test Your Backups

You do not have a restore strategy until you have tested your backups. It is very important to thoroughly test your backup strategy for each of your databases by restoring a copy of the database onto a test system. You must test restoring every type of backup that you intend to use.
We recommend that you maintain an operations manual for each database. This operations manual should document the location of the backups, backup device names (if any), and the amount of time that is required to restore the test backups.-More from Microsoft

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BT and Sky using DNS for user tracking?

Both the new Sky ADSL modem and the BT Homehub 3 do not allow the user to choose DNS servers.
Why is this?
BT says it is a security issue.
 I would suggest that this is how the government web use surveillance will work. By forcing users to use a particular DNS server then all web requests can be monitored fairly easily, probably on an expandable Amazon cloud server.
 If you are worried about government surveillance I would also suggest changing your router to one that allows you to set the DNS servers. You could use Google's public DNS servers or other publicly available DNS servers.
 So it seems that BT and Sky are being very compliant to government surveillance "needs", and not to the privacy of their customers.
 What is BT's code of practice with regard to use of the DNS servers?

 To people who say 'If you are not doing something wrong, you have nothing to fear?'
 I say "Where would you draw the line on surveillance, your front door, your kitchen, your phone, your bedroom?"
 Ask yourself why does the government need to surveillance me? And the bloke next door? And my Mum?
And you'll find the answer is they don't