Blog
Browsing all articles in Blog
Comments Off on Twitter hacking warning, again!

Twitter hacking warning, again!

It was back in August 2011 when I first posted about having my twitter account hacked. In the last week both my personal and Liverpool Acoustic twitter accounts have been inundated with personal messages from accounts that have been hacked.

Most of the time the account owner isn’t aware that they’ve been hacked, and most of the time they’re totally baffled as to how they got hacked in the first place.

Strictly speaking their twitter accounts were not ‘hacked’ because nobody was forced to guess their password. The real term is ‘phishing’ which involves the twitter account owner being tricked into giving their username and password to someone else.

Here’s a re-post of my original blog entry. The twitter messages might have changed slightly, but it’s still as relevant today as it was a year and a half ago.

bar

There’s a first time for everything, I suppose.

I’ve had one of my social media accounts hacked for the first time ever, and I’m a little annoyed that I got caught out. But with this phishing scam using twitter, it just shows how easy it is for the scammers to set it up and how easy it is for us mugs to fall for it.

This is how the current scam works.

You receive a Direct Message (DM) or a status update along the lines of this one.

You’re curious, so you click on the link and it takes you to this website.

You think it’s just twitter playing up again so you add your user name and password and try to sign in.

What you didn’t notice, however, is that the website you’ve just given your username and password to IS NOT TWITTER!

Have a look at the web address to see.

Did you spot that it wasn’t twitter when you first went to this site? No, neither did I. The website looks exactly like the twitter sign-in page, and the address ltwltter.com is close enough to twitter.com for most people not to notice.

And the first thing you’ll know about it is when you start receiving lots of messages from other people to tell you that your account has been hacked!

So, the lesson is…

If you click on a link and it takes you to a website (any website) that asks you for your user name and password, ALWAYS check the URL web address. 

 

Comments Off on Backup NOW for tomorrow may be too late

Backup NOW for tomorrow may be too late

backup

As  you probably know, I run the Liverpool Acoustic website at liverpoolacoustic.co.uk. Earlier this year I moved it from a static HTML/CSS-based website to a lovely new WordPress version using a theme called Caulk. I really don’t know why I put the move off for so long (lethargy is a real bind…) but am really pleased that I eventually took the time to find the right theme for my needs, and to make the move to a more useable, interactive, and fun system. I love WordPress!

Another thing I’d been putting off for ages has been setting up a regular backup of the Liverpool Acoustic website. I was spurred into action following the recent failure of my home external drive which Time Machine uses to back up my iMac. That period of time between the old drive dying and the new drive arriving in the post was strangely worrying. If anything had happened to my iMac I wouldn’t have had a backup, and I would have lost everything. Fortunately everything was OK and I’m now fully backed up again, although I am investigating the options for creating online backups of my content to cover me in the unlikely (but not impossible) event that both my iMac and backup drive get stolen or lost in a fire/flood/hurricane/alien invasion (delete as appropriate).

So yesterday I eventually got round to signing up to VaultPress – this is an online service that makes real-time backups of self-hosted WordPress sites. It backs up the whole site: database, files, images, posts, comments, drafts, plugins, themes. Everything. It costs $15 per month for one site which equates to just less than £10.

For me that £10 per month isn’t just a backup, it’s peace of mind. How do I know this? Because the day after I signed up to VaultPress I updated one of the plugins and the admin side of the site crashed. I couldn’t even log in to uninstall the plugin. Yes, I could have accessed the site using FTP and manually deleted the plugin, but there’s no knowing what changes it might have made to other coding elsewhere on the site. So, less than 12 hours after signing up to VaultPress I used it’s simple interface to restore the previous rogue plugin-free version of the site and hey presto everything was back to normal. Woo hoo!

The moral of the story is to backup your local data and backup your websites. And do it NOW because tomorrow may be too late.

VaultPress
vaultpress.com

(DISCLOSURE: I’ve not been paid to write this, and there are no affiliate links to the site!)

VaultPress Superhero

 

 

 

 

 

Comments Off on Take care of your Apples

Take care of your Apples

I love my iMac.

I have a Late 2009 model, and it’s really nice!

27-inch glass screen display with 2560 by 1440 pixels, four USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, two internal 17-wall high-efficiency amplifiers, an ATI Radeon HD graphics processor with 256MB of GDDR3 memory, 2.66GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM memory (actually, it’s 12GB, but I’ll get on to that)…

…and a 1TB Serial ATA 7200 rpm hard drive, which is the reason I’m writing this post.

For the past few months or so I’d been finding my iMac getting slower and slower. I’d click to open a file in Photoshop and would be waiting ten seconds or longer for it to open. Other basic functions were slowing down too and it was getting really frustrating. I thought that maybe it was the processor and memory struggling to cope with a hard drive slowly reaching capacity (only 10% free) so I bought some more memory thinking that would do the trick. I increased the RAM from 4GB to 12GB (don’tcha just love eBay?) but that didn’t seem to help at all. It wasn’t until I used Disk Utility to repair disk permissions that I saw the name of my main hard drive was showing in red letters.

Whatever system you might have at home, red letters are never good.

The message was that my SMART Status was failing (whatever that is) and that the drive couldn’t be repaired. I phoned Apple customer support and they confirmed this to be the case. I needed a new hard drive. Fortunately, I’d paid for the three year Apple Care protection when I bought the iMac so I was fully covered. Unfortunately I forgot the register the Apple Care at the time, and no longer had the box it came in.

Apple were really good about it. I emailed them a copy of my invoice with the Apple Care showing, and they were able to post-date the registration for me. Once the Apple Care had been registered I phoned MCC Digital in Warrington and asked them if they could fix it for me. They said yes, so I took it in on 30th April. I picked MCC because I thought (foolishly, as it turns out) that they’d be quicker. Also, I could drop it off on the way to Manchester, wouldn’t have to pay for parking, and I could pull up right outside. I was told it would take up to a week, so I waited until Tuesday 8th May to follow it up following the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.

I spoke to a nice man in the MCC Service Department who said that they couldn’t fix the iMac because they were still waiting for Apple to send the spare parts. Apple weren’t being forthcoming with the reason for the delay or an expected date for delivery. When I phoned again today (Wednesday 9th) I was told the same thing, that they hadn’t been able to get a reply from Apple.

I phoned Apple customer services and was told that I might be better taking the machine to an Apple store. If I contact them in advance they should be able to tell me if they have the required part. So I phoned the Apple Store in Liverpool ONE and got through to the Genius Bar where I was told I’d have to make an appointment and bring the iMac in for them to diagnose the problem. I told the member of staff that it had already been diagnosed, but he said that they’d still have to diagnose it themselves before they could move forward with a repair. I said I wasn’t prepared to drive to MCC to collect the iMac and bring it in to Liverpool without knowing that they had the part, and he said that he wasn’t able to tell me until I’d brought it in!

I asked to speak to to the manager. I explained the situation to her, and she phoned the repair room and came back to say that they had one hard drive in stock but that they couldn’t reserve it – I had to hope that nobody else brought in an iMac that needed a new hard drive before I’d managed to get in. So I made my Genius Bar appointment, went and collected from MCC, and took it in to the Apple Store in Liverpool ONE. MCC’s diagnostic program was already running when Mark fired up the power, so the diagnosing was done for him! He took the machine from me and said that it could take anything up to seven working days, but will probably be shorter. Apparently they say seven days to cover themselves in case they have to send for a part, or another complication arises along the way.

I left the Apple Store at 12.30pm and got a call at 5.45pm to say it was fixed and ready to collect! I wasn’t expecting it to be that quick!

As I’m typing now, my iMac is back on my desk in my study upstairs being restored using the magic that is Time Machine. When it’s finished I’ll have my old machine back again exactly as it was when I last used it. And now that it’s got 12GB of memory it should be faster than ever before.

At the end of the story it’s good marks and bad marks for Apple.

Bad mark – the hard drive shouldn’t be failing after only two and a half years (2 out of 10)
Good mark – Apple registered my Apple Care protection from 2009 without any fuss (10 out of 10)
Bad mark – Apple weren’t able to send the necessary part to MCC after more than a week of waiting (1 out of 10)
Good mark – Mark from the Apple Store in Liverpool ONE was able to fix my iMac in just over five hours  (10 out of 10, plus a bonus of 5)

And the moral of the story? Always buy the three-year Apple Care protection when you buy your new iMac or MacBook!

Comments Off on My Podcasting Journey #smcliv

My Podcasting Journey #smcliv

Last month I was invited to speak at Liverpool’s Social Media Cafe, organised by Neil Morrin from Defnetmedia. The focus of the evening was audio and podcasting (it was tagged ‘the sound one’ – very Scouse!) and I gave a talk which I called ‘My Podcasting Journey’. I was originally going to call it ‘Confessions of a podcaster’ until I realised I had nothing to confess…

Also presenting on the night were fellow AMP member Dan Lynch from Rathole Radio and Linux Outlaws, and David ‘The Podcast Guy‘ Thackery, who I had the pleasure of being interviewed by last year (check it out here).

The event was filmed (in fact it was streamed live) and the individual talks are now available online. You can see mine on the SMCLiv website here, and I’ve also embedded it below.

1

Barcamp Liverpool 2011

I went to Bar Camp Liverpool on Friday 18th November, and for a couple of hours on Saturday morning 19th November. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, a Bar Camp is an un-conference – that is, a conference without a pre-set schedule. The talks are given by the people who turn up. They add the name of their talk to a post-it and stick it in a free space on the schedule on the wall.

How To Podcast For Free

I was determined to get to this Bar Camp having missed the first one back in 2008(?). I was also determined to do a talk, so (hastily) prepared How To Podcast For Free. The number attending the event where low on Friday and there were only three people in for my talk. I did the same talk on Saturday morning and had a lot more there, which was encouraging.

I was asked by a number of people if I could make the slide available, so here they are. Just click on the image below to download it. I’ve added a few extra lines just so the slides without words actually make sense.

 

1

Has it really been 10 years since O Brother, Where Art Thou? was released?

Based loosely on Homer’s Odyssey, the Coen Brothers’ film, set in rural Mississippi during the Great Depression and starring George Clooney, became something of a cult hit.

The soundtrack, however, took on a life of its own and became a multi-platinum selling album, itself spawning a stage concert Down from the Mountain, which was subsequently turned into a movie and GRAMMY-winning album before taking to the road for a sell-out US tour. I bet Joel and Ethan didn’t expect all that when they came up with the original idea for the movie! This album was responsible for introducing millions of people around the world to old-time bluegrass and country music, and its effects are still being felt to this day.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary the surprise smash hit soundtrack album has been re-released with a second disc containing 14 extra tracks, 12 of which were recorded at the time but never made it into the movie or onto the soundtrack. Award-winning producer T-Bone Burnett was responsible for picking the tracks for the extra disc, choosing from the wealth of songs recorded in the original sessions for the movie and soundtrack.

It’s clear from the track listing that some songs were recorded by a number of different artists, leaving the producers to decide which to use in the film and which to ditch. This second disc is an opportunity to hear some of those tracks that didn’t make the cut. So we have Alan O’Bryant’s version of You Are My Sunshine, Van Dyke Park’s piano-only Big Rock Candy Mountain, I’ll Fly Away by The Kossoy Sisters with Erik Darling, The Cox Family singing Keep On The Sunny Side, In The Highways by The Cox Family, Norman Blake’s version of Big Rock Candy Mountain, and In The Jailhouse Now by Harley Allen, a song famously performed in the movie by The Soggy Bottom Boys.

Mixed between these alternate versions of tracks from the original soundtrack are songs that didn’t appear on the soundtrack or in the movie. Tishamingo Blues, an instrumental track by John Hartford featuring just fiddle and banjo, the wonderful unaccompanied chain gang-style Tom Devil, by Ed Lewis & prisoners (!), Norman Blake with a song Little Sadie, and the a-capella four-part harmony of The Fairfield Four singing the gospel song The Lord Will Make A Way.

The quality of performances on the new disc quickly dispels any thoughts that it might just be full of rejects, and none of them would have been out of place in the movie. The fact that some were picked over others can only be down to artistic reasons – with the producers choosing those they felt fitted better. Given those tough decisions were made over 10 years ago, I’m glad that we finally get to hear the fine alternatives.

The 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is available to buy from Amazon as a physical CD and and a digital download.

(c) Graham Hollland 2011

2

There’s a first time for everything, I suppose.

I’ve had one of my social media accounts hacked for the first time ever, and I’m a little annoyed that I got caught out. But with this phishing scam using twitter, it just shows how easy it is for the scammers to set it up and how easy it is for us mugs to fall for it.

This is how the current scam works.

You receive a Direct Message (DM) or a status update along the lines of this one.

 

 

 

You’re curious, so you click on the link and it takes you to this website.

You think it’s just twitter playing up again so you add your user name and password and try to sign in.

 

 

 

What you didn’t notice, however, is that the website you’ve just given your username and password to IS NOT TWITTER!

Have a look at the web address to see.

 

 

Did you spot that it wasn’t twitter when you first went to this site? No, neither did I. The website looks exactly like the twitter sign-in page, and the address ltwltter.com is close enough to twitter.com for most people not to notice.

And the first thing you’ll know about it is when you start receiving lots of messages from other people to tell you that your account has been hacked!

So, the lesson is…

If you click on a link and it takes you to a website (any website) that asks you for your user name and password, ALWAYS check the URL web address. 

 

Comments Off on Blowing my own trumpet

Blowing my own trumpet

I bought the grahamholland.co.uk domain name as soon as it became available back in 1998. Previously it had been owned by a Ferguson Tractor enthusiast in Norfolk who ended up moving his website to something more appropriate (I think it has the words ‘ferguson’ and ‘tractor’ in the name).

After getting my hands on the domain I set it up as a rather static site based around my podcasting, with links to my itsafrogslife.net homepage, and a list of other Graham Holland’s around the world. It wasn’t very interesting…

However, now that I have to make my own way in the world (redundancy does that to you) I’ve decided to use it as my main website, with information about all the things I’m really good at and enjoy doing, and links to my various outposts online. The hope is that someone might see it and decide to pay me to (a) do some e-learning stuff in their school, (b) build and run their website, (c) run their music event or handle the PR, or (d) produce podcasts for them.

I’ve started using LinkedIn a lot more of late, and have taken some of the recommendations that people have left for me and added them to this site. In this I take Captain Edmund Blackadder (from Blackadder Goes Forth) as my inspiration.

Lieutenant George: I don’t like blowing my own trumpet.

Captain Blackadder: You might have at least told us you had a trumpet.

I’m using WordPress as the platform and Wise Business as the theme. I’ve just about got it up and running, although I need to do a bit of php editing (yawn) to get the home page looking right, and have to work out how some of the other features work. I have to work out how to change things like “Clients that love us” to “Clients that love me” (or something a little less pretentious) [done], and how to add a LinkedIn logo and link next to the twitter and facebook logos at the bottom [done, with facebook link removed].

I’m also going to try to blog on a regular basis. I used to have a regular blog during the time when I was living and working in Taiwan back in 2004/5, with some of the content making its way onto the It’s A Frog’s Life In Taiwan site. I blogged about the culture, the food, our trips, and enjoyed writing reviews of the many books I read. I had every intention of continuing it when I came back to the UK by changing it first into a blog about Liverpool, then into an extra shownotes page for my new podcast. Neither worked out in the end.

So that’s where I’m up to at the moment. The website is a work in progress, but at least I’ve got one that looks (or will look) pretty good and is easy for me to update.

Menu

Random Testimonial

  • ~ Neil Campbell (Creative Campus Venue Manager)

    "“Graham has an excellent reputation as an event organiser and the series of acoustic evenings he is involved in managing and promoting have been extremely successful. He has developed an excellent network of music-lovers with which he maintains regular and high quality communication. He is also extremely supportive in promoting musical events (mainly acoustic in nature) within the North West, whether they are his events or not, with an underlying remit of supporting great music from whatever direction it is being organised.” Neil Campbell, Creative Campus Venue Manager, Liverpool Hope"

  • Read more testimonials »