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Website Hacking Attack

Hacking Attempt from IP

An unsuccessful attempt to hack my website was made Friday 21 October 2011 shortly before 15h00 SAST  (13h00 GMT).

Satellite image of hacker in dubai location

Click image for larger view (image from Google Earth)

The attempt was first identified by repeated 404 ‘page not found’ and 403 ‘access forbidden’ messages resulting from the hacker using URLS while trying to get access to the server and website setup files, and to log-in to unauthorised and prohibited areas of the website and server. The server is set to send notifications to me of 404, 403 and similar errors.

The attack originated from a business on the corner of Jumeirah Road and Sheikh Rashid Road, Juneirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The business is located in a warehouse or freight depot. Identified from the IP addresses used during the attack – IP and It appears two hackers were working simultaneously.

I should thank these ill intended persons for testing the security of the website and server. Each incident is an opportunity to examine security, to improve the strength of the server environment.

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Panda Help for SA Bloggers

Panda 2.5 – Free Help for South African Bloggers

Beating up the Panda

Beating the Panda

If you are a South African based Small business entrepreneur, and your blog site has taking a severe traffic drop as a result of Google Panda 2.5, I can possibly help.

To help these SME’s I am making the resources of my company available with a PRO BONO offer to help move your blog to a self hosted domain.

The only way you have a realistic chance of recovering is to move your blog site to your own domain. I fully realise many of you do not have the technical skills to do this without help. The process of setting up a WordPress CMS is simple to us web people, but complicated for the uninitiated.

Transferring an existing site poses additional challenges. happines engineers will do this for you for a fee, to one of their partner hosting services. For South Africans, a domain is cheaper than a dot-com or other international domain, and not necessary for those of us conducting business in South Africa – When a visitor sees they know straight away this is a South African web site, a dot-com could be anywhere in the world.

Having a self hosted WordPress site gives the advantage of total control over the site structure, with the long-term benefits of making your site (blog) as Google friendly as possible.

Pro-Bono to Beat Google Discrimination

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Voice Dictation for Web Content

Creating Web Content by Dictation

Using ones voice to create content for websites and blogs opens doors for business executives to provide a ready stream of new and fresh content for their company website and blogs.

Content can be recorded using one of the many dictation devices available, or even a smart Voice recorder for web contentphone, pda, or many ordinary cell phones. Business people who don’t have time to add written content to websites can simply give their voice recordings to a transcriptionist, who will convert the spoken words to text. The text is then provided to the website content manager or even the company’s in house web operator. Result – new content on the site.

Consider the web site content that can be prepared; product reviews, descriptive articles, news releases and more.

Voice Dictation for Web Content Service:

Graphicline today launched the pilot of a new service turning voice dictation into web site Dictation transcription Servicecontent with a product overview outlining the benefits of using a comprehensive voice dictation for web site content creation A collaborative effort with Intelligent Verbatim’s transcription service offers a full spectrum web content management system for business clients. Customers can send their recording in any of the standard audio formats (e.g. mp3, wma, aiff, wav) to Graphicline (Johannesburg) or Intelligent Verbatim (Cape Town).

The supplied audio will be transcribed, optimised for keyword useage and edited if required, then returned to the customer for approval. Once the final text copy is accepted, Graphicline will add it the clients website or blog along with any required graphics.

This product is the first of an upcoming range from Graphicline’s Holistic Web Management Service.

Basic Installation Succesful

Default image used for Zone logoBasic Installation Successful;

Site now live as a Drupal site

The subsite which we are calling ‘the zone’ can be previewd at Readers who have been following planned installation on this blog will know we prepared in advance for problems during the process, with no interruptions of our main website. First off the install proceeded smoothly;

Then while installing and activating modules,

WSOD (those familiar with Drupal will smile knowingly at this) or ‘White Screen of Death’ – and error messages. Caused by a shortage of memory allocation in the php.ini file. Unable to configure this setting ourselves, a help request was sent to the server owner Afrihost at 01h12 and shut down for the night.

First thing the following morning, I received an e-mail (sent at 01h26) to say the php setting had been changed…. What can I say… very nice service. It’s great to know that just because we are a smaller enterprise, we aren’t at the end of the list for service response. Thanks Cazlin at Afrihost

Configure item by item:

Of course, the full set up is nowhere near completion; Every item along the way has to be configured. There’s no content at this time, just a first article used as a holding page….

Impressions of Drupal Set-up Process:

For a first installation, I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it went (the previous weeks reading up paid off).  Not a system to configure for anyone without at least a fair level of knowledge… But a thoroughly enjoyable process. A review  of the process will be posted in a few weeks time


Stage One in Progress

Graphicline Frontpage Image

Graphicline Frontpage

Today I began the first stage of the upgrade

The past 5 days have been great fun… assembling Drupal on a local Apache installation, going through the thousands of modules, and finding the ones needed.

Then getting the app assembled, and testing it… and still a lot to do… It has been several days of learning new things all the time (Oh YES!!!) and very absorbing. Great fun.

Today, on schedule, I decided it was time to do the domain hosting upgrade to allow deployment of this app… and can happily say that has been accomplished… with MySQL and MyPHP installed. Now just waiting for Afrihost (the domain is on a shared server) to enable SSL and one or 2 other things…

Over the following few days I will finish the Drupal configuration, and upload to the server. Hopefully that will be problem free too.

Then I can start one or 2 small projects before moving on to installing the next required app – WordPress. And I’m really looking forward to that process as well.

Thanks top all the readers who have left comments. I will get to them!.. But right now it’s back to the task in hand.



Support for Corel Draw to end

Graphicline DTP will cease all support for Corel Draw.

Since our inception in 2007 (see article; Graphiline turns 2), Graphicline has provided support for Corel end of the road image“.CDR” format files.

9 months ago we undertook to begin a rationalisation programme, and have been examining our operation to identify unprofitable areas of service. Providing finished work in CDR format was quickly noted as a loss making service. In brief, after 2 version upgrades from 12 to X3 to X4, it was apparent the purchase of  X3 had not yet paid for itself.

In total the amount of work output in CDR format was less than 0.1% of all production. Also of note are the following; typically a job for cdr output was found to be taking longer to prepare than one undertaken using our standard all Adobe workflow. Continual problems with PDFs (especially from work containing vector graphics) created from these applications were also of concern, and required additional time to bring up to our high standard.

In January this year, as an interim measure aimed at continuing to offer this file format to the very few clients requiring this, we introduced a substantial premium on our rates (of 50%).

However, this was strictly a short-term measure, and with version X5 now being required to stay current, we took the decision to end all work created in Corel Draw, and to dispose of the software while it still had a residual market value.

At least for now, and until our customers have made provision to locate an alternative service provider, we will continue to accept material in CDR format (version 12 or earlier only), provided it can be readily and successfully converted to Adobe Illustrator.

We have also placed a limit on accepting PDF files created in Corel. Any PDF containing OPI information will no longer be accepted under any circumstances. We will only accept PDFs created in this application that fully meet the X1a or X3a standard as pre-flighted in Adobe Acrobat Pro CS2 or later, or a similar printing industry standard pre-flight application e.g. Flight Pro.

Mike Otgaar

Graphicline Celebrates 2 Years


Graphicline celebrates our 2nd year of business this month.Graphicline turns 2 banner

On the 1st of June 2009 Graphicline went mainstream. Although trading on a part-time basis since July 2007, after I left Sentient Publishing at the end of May ’09, I decided it was time to launch Graphicline as a full-time business.

To celebrate our 2nd year of business, we are making a special website design offer to Small and Medium Businesses (Some T’s & C’s do apply). Graphicline will provide a FREE web site design package for 5 qualifying applicants. Have a look at the special Our Gift imageoffer (Click on the Star on our website home page, or click the gift box here) read the details, and fill in the form. It’s as easy as that. There are no obligations.

Mike Otgaar