Graham Holland learning technology and more Mon, 09 Jan 2017 15:11:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 96400857 Twitter hacking warning, again! Thu, 03 Jan 2013 11:28:33 +0000 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.


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 is close enough to 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. 


Backup NOW for tomorrow may be too late Wed, 15 Aug 2012 12:21:48 +0000 backup

As  you probably know, I run the Liverpool Acoustic website at 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.


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

VaultPress Superhero






Take care of your Apples Wed, 09 May 2012 19:50:17 +0000 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!

Dave Thackeray (The Podcast Guy) Sun, 06 May 2012 15:09:37 +0000 Graham Holland – what a legend this guy is. If you love music and love Liverpool, try the It’s A Frog’s Life podcast.

Dave Thackeray – The Podcast Guy –

My Podcasting Journey #smcliv Sun, 06 May 2012 14:24:13 +0000 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.

Liverpool Acoustic Live Fri, 04 May 2012 22:29:35 +0000 Liverpool Acoustic Live is a monthly live acoustic music event that takes place in thee independent View Two Gallery on Mathew Street at the heart of Liverpool’s famous Cavern Quarter. It normally takes place on the fourth Friday of each mont, and is run with help on the night from local musician Stuart Todd. The event has a deserved reputation for featuring a mix of local, national and international musicians playing top class folk, roots, blues, singer-songwriter, Americana – in fact, any genre so long as it’s acoustic!


Made in the UK Show Fri, 04 May 2012 17:53:45 +0000
  • Started: December 2007
  • Involved from: February 2008
  • Type of show: UK music
  • Frequency: fortnightly

The Made in the UK Show is fortnightly podcast hosted by a collection of UK music podcasters. Each show has a different host who plays two tracks from musicians or bands based in the UK, and introduces pre-recorded submissions from two other podcasters who also introduce and play two UK-based tracks.

I’ve been a host and contributor to the Made in the UK Show since February 2008, and have contributed and hosted on a rota basis ever since.

AMPed New Music Weekly Fri, 04 May 2012 17:41:57 +0000
  • Started: August 2005
  • Involved from: October 2006
  • Type of show: new music
  • Frequency: weekly

AMPed new music weeklyAMPed New Music Weekly is a collaborative show from the Association of Music Podcasting (AMP).

Every week the members of AMP submit one track from each of their shows and a different member each week hosts the show by introducing and playing the songs.

I’ve been submitting songs to AMPed on a regular basis since joining AMP in October 2006, and only three other members have submitted more tracks than me.

I have hosted AMPed on a semi-regular basis over the years and have always enjoyed the selection of music I’ve been given to play.

Instrumental Rewind Fri, 04 May 2012 16:29:39 +0000
  • Started: May 2007
  • Type of show: instrumental acoustic music
  • Frequency: occasional

instrumental rewind logo

The Instrumental Rewind is an occasional show that features full versions of the instrumental acoustic tracks previously played as bedding music on the It’s A Frog’s Life Acoustic Podcast.

There is some fantastic instrumental music out there which doesn’t often get heard on podcasts, and very rarely (if ever) on the radio, so this show is my way of showcasing it to a wider audience.

Each show it put together once I’ve collected eight bedding tracks from the main show. It is published as a normal episode of the It’s A Frog’s Life Acoustic Podcast but is also available in its own feed via the website and iTunes.

Mike Hegarty Fri, 04 May 2012 16:14:19 +0000 Just found your website due to the article in last night’s Echo. Brilliant. Love all things acoustic. Been away for a long time so will now be able to sample the acoustic delights of the Pool of Life at my leisure.  Boss man. Keep this going.

Mike Hegarty –