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PayPal Security changes September 2016

March 25, 2016 // Posted in General, Main, Tips and Tricks (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

Important PayPal changes you need to be aware of if you are using PayPal on your site:

 

PayPal are updating their Merchant security in September 2016, and it means that when sending transaction data to an IPN etc it will only communicate with secure connections (https://).

This means that you will need to update any scripts that currently use a non-encrypted connection such as IPN’s and will need to install an SSL on your server, if you do not already have one.

You need to also check that your php server supports HTTP1.1 and OpenSSL1.0.1 or higher:

You can check this using phpinfo:

I hope you find this useful,

regards

Steve

Slow Internet and Jerky Flash Videos in 7?

May 21, 2014 // Posted in Computer Tips, Main, Tips and Tricks (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

Slow PC?

Slow Internet?

Do you have a DSL or Fiber connection advertised as fast but still getting slow responses in 7 and particularly jerky flash videos?

If the answer is yes, then here is something to try. It worked for me.

First of all check the state of your TCP/IP. To do this open a command prompt at Administrator Level.

To check the current state,

Type at the command prompt:

netsh int tcp show global

and Press Enter

and you will see something like (Save a copy of your details so you can revert to the original settings if required):

origtcp

We need to get that so it reads :

getto

 

So let’s enforce any user-set TCP Window auto-tunning level by typing netsh int tcp set heuristics disabled at the command prompt and press Enter. You should get an OK message.

Next let’s disable the auto-tuning level by typing

netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

at the command prompt and again press Enter. You should once again get an OK message.

Now we will improve the throughput setting by enabling CTCP, type

netsh int tcp set global congestionprovider=ctcp

at the command prompt and press Enter. Check you get an OK message again.

Now we will change the ECN (Explicit Congestion Notification) by typing

netsh int tcp set global ecncapability=default

at the command prompt and press Enter. You should get an OK message again.

Next we will change the receive-side scaling setting by typing

netsh int tcp set global rss=enabled

at the command prompt and press Enter.

Then we set the TCP Chimney Offload: by typing

netsh int tcp set global chimney=enabled

at the command prompt and press Enter.

Finally we set the Direct Cache Access (DCA) by typing

netsh int tcp set global dca=enabled

at the command prompt and press Enter.

Check the new settings by again typing

netsh int tcp show global

and press Enter  and you should now see:

getto

Close the command prompt by typing Exit and press Enter.

It may take a little while for the changes to take effect if you do not re-start your computer.

Here are a few notes on each section should you wish to revert ti your original settings.

Windows Scaling heuristics

Windows 7 has the ability to automatically change its own TCP Window auto-tuning behavior to a more conservative state regardless of any user settings. It is possible for Windows to override the autotuninlevel even after an user sets their custom TCP auto-tuning level.

possible settings are: disabled,enabled,default (sets to the Windows default state)
recommended: disabled (to retain user-set auto-tuning level)

TCP Auto-Tuning

The default auto-tuning level is “normal”, and the possible settings for the above command are:

disabled: uses a fixed value for the tcp receive window. Limits it to 64KB (limited at 65535).
highlyrestricted: allows the receive window to grow beyond its default value, very conservatively
restricted: somewhat restricted growth of the tcp receive window beyond its default value
normal: default value, allows the receive window to grow to accommodate most conditions
experimental: allows the receive window to grow to accommodate extreme scenarios (not recommended, it can degrade performance in common scenarios, only intended for research purposes. It enables RWIN values of over 16 MB)

Compound TCP – Improve throughput
Add-On Congestion Control Provider

The traditional slow-start and congestion avoidance algorithms in TCP help avoid network congestion by gradually increasing the TCP window at the beginning of transfers until the TCP Receive Window boundary is reached, or packet loss occurs. For broadband internet connections that combine high TCP Window with higher latency (high BDP), these algorithms do not increase the TCP windows fast enough to fully utilize the bandwidth of the connection.

Compound TCP (CTCP) is a newer method, available in 7. CTCP increases the TCP send window more aggressively for broadband connections (with large RWIN and BDP). CTCP attempts to maximize throughput by monitoring delay variations and >packet loss. It also ensures that its behavior does not impact other TCP connections negatively.

By default, Windows 7 has CTCP turned off, it is only on by default under Server 2008. Turning this option on can significantly increase throughput and packet loss recovery.

Possible options are:  ctcp, none, default (restores the system default value).

ECN Capability

ECN (Explicit Congestion Notification, RFC 3168) is a mechanism that provides routers with an alternate method of communicating network congestion. It is aimed to decrease retransmissions. In essence, ECN assumes that the cause of any packet loss is router congestion. It allows routers experiencing congestion to mark packets and allow clients to automatically lower their transfer rate to prevent further packet loss. Traditionally, TCP/IP networks signal congestion by dropping packets. When ECN is successfully negotiated, an ECN-aware router may set a bit in the IP header (in the DiffServ field) instead of dropping a packet in order to signal congestion. The receiver echoes the congestion indication to the sender, which must react as though a packet drop were detected.

ECN is disabled by default in 7 and other modern TCP/IP implementations, as it is possible that it may cause problems with some outdated routers that drop packets with the ECN bit set, rather than ignoring the bit. To check whether your router supports ECN, you can use the Microsoft Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool. The results will be displayed under “Traffic Congestion Test”.
Possible settings are: enabled, disabled, default (restores the state to the system default).
The default state is: disabled
Recommendation: enabled (only for short-lived, interactive connections and HTTP requests with routers that support it, in the presense of congestion/packet loss), disabled otherwise (for pure bulk throughput with large TCP Window, no regular congestion/packet loss, or outdated routers without ECN support).

 

RSS – Receive-side Scaling

The receive-side scaling setting enables parallelized processing of received packets on multiple processors, while avoiding packet reordering. It avoids packet reordering separating packets into “flows”, and using a single processor for processing all the packets for a given flow. Packets are separated into flows by computing a hash value based on specific fields in each packet, and the resulting hash values are used to select a processor for processing the flow. This approach ensures that all packets belonging to a given TCP connection will be queued to the same processor, in the same order that they were received by the network adapter.

Possible rss settings are: disabled, enabled, default (restores rss state to the system default).
Default state is: enabled
Recommended: enabled (if you have 2 or more processor cores and a NIC that can handle RSS)

TCP Chimney Offload

TCP chimney offload enables Windows to offload all TCP processing for a connection to a network adapter. Offloads are initiated on a per-connection basis. Compared to task offload, TCP chimney offload further reduces networking-related CPU overhead, enabling better overall system performance by freeing up CPU time for other tasks.

The possible states are disabled, enabled,  automatic (only Windows 7 and 2008 Server) as follows:
automatic – This default setting is only available under Windows 7 and 2008 Server. It offloads if the connection is 10 GbE, has a RTT < 20ms, and the connection has exchanged at least 130KB of data. The device driver must also have TCP Chimney enabled.
default – this setting restores chimney offload to the system default. Setting this “default” state under Windows 7 and 2008 Server is possible, but it sets the system to the “automatic” mode described above.
disabled – this setting is maually configured as disabled.
enabled – this setting is manually configured as enabled.

I hope you find this useful.

Steve

 

Cloud Computing – A Stupid Question?

January 3, 2014 // Posted in General, Main (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

incloudsYou will probably think this is a stupid question, but what is the difference between cloud computing and what we already had?

 

I have been trying to get my head around this for some time now. Cloud computing is described as storing your data on a cloud (third party) server on the internet.

But if that is what cloud computing is then isn’t it the same as having your web space on a third party server and storing your data on a database server linked to your web space etc. You can also save all your files etc on that same server.

Obviously a cloud server is not really storing your data in a cloud, it would be very clever if it was. What happens when it rains, does your data come down with it?

Seriously though, if you have a shared hosting package on someone elses servers, or even have your own dedicated server in someone elses building, then your data is stored on a physical device not directly controlled by you but remotely accessed. Isn’t that the same as a Cloud Service? Your data is stored on a physical device in someone elses premises that you manage remotely.

How does one differ from the other? Are they both not the same?

DSCF0141DSCF0138My idea of cloud computing is more like my current method of connecting to the internet. Due to cabling issues my service provider connected me to their data centre some 2-3 miles away via a radio link and in order to be able to see the receiver/transmitter the other end, had to put up a 30ft plus pole, so my modem is ‘in the clouds’, now that’s what I call cloud computing.

 

Comments and answers welcomed

Steve

Santa has been and gone and you have a new device.

January 2, 2014 // Posted in Computer Tips, General, Main (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

santagiftsYes Santa has been and gone and the festivities are now over.

 

You may have gotten a new device from Santa, but he forgot to include some very important items.

So if you did get a new device, a laptop, home PC, tablet, phone or other mobile device don’t forget to add the following important items:

  • Set up a master pin code or password so that if your device gets stolen or lost, the person that currently has it in their possession cannot use it easily.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spam software to protect your device. I have tried many different AV programs over the years and I have found the best to be AVG Total Internet Security, it doesn’t add too much overhead to your system, always appears to install correctly first time, is updated automatically very regularly to keep you protected, and gives full protection. On Mobile devices the AVG solution is also very effective and adds additional feature which I will cover a little later.
  • If your new device is a mobile one with GPS, install location software, AVG’s mobile solution has this facility and will allow you to find out where your device is if it is lost or stolen.
  • Again if your device is mobile install remote wiping and locking software, so if your device goes missing you can set it to sound alarms if  someone attempts to use it, you can lock the device and even delete everything on it by issuing a command over the internet. These features are also available in AVG’s mobile solutions.
  • Many mobile devices allow purchase within Apps, make sure you turn these off so that you do not accidentally make purchases.
  • Check your privacy settings in all devices, laptops,PC’s and mobile devices, and make sure you are not sharing something you do not want to.

Protect yourself, as your device will not do it for you without the right additions.

Happy New Year and enjoy your new device safely.

Steve

 

 

Is the Internet doomed as we know it?

December 31, 2013 // Posted in General, Main (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

Computer Crash

Is the Internet breaking apart?

 

The reason I ask this question is based on four important facts.

  • China’s Great Firewall segments the Chinese Internet so that the chinese have great difficulty accessing anything outside China.
  • Russia has now planned legislation so that Russian Internet users cannot access foreign services.
  • In November Germany  said that all communications between the German authorities would be fully enforced to stay within the country.
  • Brazil have also announced plans to create an alternative Internet channel so as not to go through the United States.

The Internet appears to be breaking up into national sectors. In addition, probably driven by the US’s interception and recording of personal transmissions over the Internet (spying in effect), more countries are considering restrictions within their national boundaries.

Countries appear not to want their information and citizens comments to be available outside their own countries any more, and with countries and continents now making restrictions to how the Internet can be used within their countries seems to be adding to the velocity of these actions. So this could be a killer for some businesses that get a lot of their income from sales outside their home country, if they are not allowed access to those customers any more their businesses will surely suffer.

You will be aware of the EU legislation, which initially insisted on explicit acceptance of cookies on EU targeted web sites, later watered down to implied acceptance. This created considerable confusion and concern from countries outside the EU, who wanted to reach the EU customers, but were not sure if they had to comply with the cookie legislation, hell, there was even more confusion within the EU as no one was clear on exactly what was required or expected. There are still many sites that do not comply with the legislation that should, but I have not yet heard of one warning or prosecution by the authorities. So what was that cookie stuff all about?

So over the coming year or years, I think we will see more of the Internet breaking up into national segments.

Then there is some other issues that will affect the Internet going forward.

The number of Cyber Attacks on big financial organisations are increasing and that’s likely to continue, with additional attacks on government organisations rising too.

Hacker’s lives are being made easier too, with more and more sensitive data being committed to the ‘Cloud’ it is without doubt more accessible to the devout hacker. In addition there are  hundreds of staff that are managing this ‘Cloud’ data in individual organisations. How do we know whether one or more of them that has access to this data, is not extracting it any selling it on or using it themselves for personal gain?

IMO it is best to keep data such as this securely in-house where it can be monitored and controlled effectively rather than store it on third party servers, where you really have no control at all, just their word that it is safe.

Phishing is also on the increase and no-one seems to be able to stop it or spamming.

So what is the future of the Internet for 2014?

Will it be anything like it is now in 2015?

 

 

 

Top 10 FREE Traction Building Ideas for a New Web Site

November 12, 2013 // Posted in Tips and Tricks (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

The dot com era proved that just building it isn’t enough. The chicken and the egg issue exists you need customers to get customers… and attempting to launch a web site, is that issue on steroids. So, how to get traction?

Here are Ten FREE Traction building Ideas we are trying:

1) Email Your Friends:
Find everyone you know that relates to your target market and introduce them to your website via email… as you know them, leverage every piece of emotional capital you have with them to encourage them to take a look at your new site and join.

2) Ask Your Friends to Refer Others:
If you send an email to people who are your target market, clearly articulate why it is valuable to ‘THEM’ (not just you) to join your site… and then ask and make it easy for them to refer people they know. Here’s an example of an email I wrote that asks for a referral –

“Please forward to anyone that may be interested… entrepreneurs, advisors, people with Blogs, press contacts etc! Even forwarding to four or five contacts will make a big difference for us!

Happy New Year and thanks!

++

I’ve just discovered a new web service bringing potential business advisors together with entrepreneurs and early stage businesses. For Advisors – It’s a great way to discover new deal flow and get involved in a hot new company. For Entrepreneurs – a great way to take your business to the next level in 2007!

The site is called Advisor Garage – http://www.AdvisorGarage.com and was recently featured in Business Week!

Please sign up and forward this email to great advisors and entrepreneurs.
++

After three or four weeks of steps 1 & 2 we found that we had begun to get a few people onboard… So now what?

3) Write a Press Release and get it OUT there…
I can almost hear a few folks swallowing and already considering looking for the next blog… it really isn’t that tough and it isn’t expensive. In fact, its FREE! Don’t believe me? Consider signing up to PR Leap (http://www.prleap.com/learn_more). Not only do they have some good articles which explain for dummies (like me!) how to write a press release but they also offer a free submission service to multiple channels such as Google News, Google Search, Yahoo! Search, Topix.net, Technorati, MSN, Ask News, Moreover, NewsNow and others. According to their website – PR Leap is the best way to send your news release(s) to all major search engines, newswires, and websites. And basic accounts are free!

So what happened with us? Well we signed up, created a one page press release (took about 30 minutes), submitted it and it was approved earlier today. It will appear tomorrow. If you are interested, the link to the press release is: http://www.prleap.com/pr/61185/

The basic plan (read… Free) comes with stats, so I’ll let you know in a few days if the press release was actually read by anyone and if it was picked up by any sites, bloggers, press etc. Let’s see how good PR Leap and our press release writing skills are!

4) A Personalized Toolbar:
A great startup called Conduit (http://www.Conduit.com) offers people the opportunity to create their own, personalized toolbar for FREE. Conduit has a wizard embedded within their website which takes you through the setup process step-by-step. It took about twenty minutes and once you’re done, they create a link to your toolbar download site which you can then share through an email signature or through a click through download on your new networking site. There are a number of cool ways to tailor the toolbar… your branded search, create links to particular pages on your own site, add weather, a radio and so on to make sure its a value download for your customers.

5) Design Your Site with the Customer In Mind and Make Inviting Others Easy
If, like us, your marketing budget is measured by the quarters rattling around in your pocket, then do your site a favor and design it so the ‘Invite Others’ button is never far away. No matter what page the users happen to be on. Bold it, make it big, underline it if you have to but referrals from happy customers are always easier to get than attracting new customers.

6) Friends & Contacts revisited:
Do any of your friends know anyone in the press or people who have blogs ? Well you won’t know until you ask… ASK!

7) Join Linked In (http://www.linkedin.com)
If you haven’t already, consider joining linked in. Yes, its another networking site, and you could consider them the competition (In your dreams!)… but after joining you can search through the directory and find people that may either a) be interested in joining your site or b) encouraging others to do so. If you aren’t a member already, take a look

8) Groups & Forums:
Are there Yahoo (http://groups.yahoo.com) or Google Groups (http://groups.google.com) or other online forums that include the types of people you want to attract to your new networking site? If so, join them but beware… most groups want members to contribute to the discussions and no groups appreciate spam. So find the best forums for your target customers, join and spend some time getting to know what subjects are being discussed. Give it a week or two then jump in and add some value… and make sure that your post includes your email and perhaps the web address. If it is valuable, then members may check out your new site…

One last thing, if there aren’t any good groups with your target customers… consider creating your own… and make it it feeds your new networking site. Here’s one I started and yes… I know it only has a few members… but its more links in the internet for your website which appears in your google or Alexa results: http://groups.google.com/group/Harvard_Entrepreneurs_Startups?lnk=oa&hl=en

9) Write to your Existing Members:
Do you have a few members? If so, email them occasionally (Not every day!) and remind them of the value of your site… perhaps highlight a particularly useful tool or feature of your website. Maybe reach out to some of the individual members and ask them if you can write about them joining the site, a person feature if you will. At the bottom of each of these emails… give them a few sentences (above for example) to send on to others they know. Stress how much you would appreciate their help and how important they are to you and your young business.

10) Drum roll… .badda badda badda… .Create a Blog!
Here’s hoping that a blog is the tenth and most valuable means of getting the message out there about a new networking site. (WordPress.com is FREE)

Originally posted by : Andrew D. Ive

facebook to Introduce Hashtags

June 13, 2013 // Posted in Computer Tips (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

#facebook

#facebook

 

facebook are to  introduce hashtags, so what are hashtags?

 

 

 

 

 

A hashtag is a word or a phrase prefixed with the symbol #  It is a sort of meta tag.  You can #tag words in short message systems such as Twitter,  identi.ca, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, Google+ and now Facebook like:

#facebook is a #social #network that anyone can post comments.

Hashtags provide a means of grouping such messages, since you can search for the hashtag and get a list of messages that contain it.

Some sites offer the option of collecting all hashtags from a range of different messaging services and grouping them all together, making it easier to see who is talking about a particular subject.

Hashtags can also be used to identify ‘trending’ topics.

Here’s a little more about hashtags beginnings:

The first high-profile application of the hashtag was by San Diego, California resident Nate Ritter,who included #sandiegofire in his frequent posts on the October 2007 California wildfires hitting San Diego County. Internationally, the hashtag became a practice of writing style for Twitter posts during the 2009–2010 Iranian election protests, as both English and Persian-language hashtags became useful for Twitter users inside and outside of Iran.

Beginning July 1, 2009, Twitter began to hyperlink all hashtags in tweets to Twitter search results for the hashtagged word (and for the standard spelling of commonly misspelled words). In 2010, Twitter introduced “Trending Topics” on the Twitter front page, displaying hashtags that are rapidly becoming popular.

 

 

Keeping your Computer Secure

May 24, 2013 // Posted in Computer Tips (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

Nowadays more and more people are using their computers for all kinds of communication, Internet, Social Networks, Banking, Shopping, Chatting and live video and phone calls.  But the more we do, the more risk becomes from hackers, and attackers.

Whilst some of these are simply trying to inconvenience you by maliciously infecting your PC, others are trying to get your personal information and to access your bank accounts. These are doing what is called ‘phishing’.

Computer Security

Computer Security

So what can you do to minimise the risk?

Install a complete Internet  Online Security Package, one that contains a firewall, anti-virus, anti-fishing, anti-spam and ID protection, such as McAfee Internet Security Suite. It’s a good idea to get one that also checks web pages as you go them for suspicious activity. Make sure you have automatic updates switched on to keep the virus patterns etc. Up to date.

Always make backups of your important files, pictures and documents on DVD or external hard drive, and store it safely away from your PC.

Make sure you are running genuine Windows Software (If this is your OS), and switch on automatic updates to keep your PC up to date with the latest security patches.

Check your Browser’s settings, and select the maximum level of security.

Do NOT open email attachments without checking them for viruses, and if they are not from someone you trust, delete them!

Do NOT follow any links in emails asking you to reset, reconfirm or update you bank account details. Banks do not send this kind of email, so it is surely phishing, delete them!

Create a Boot and recovery disk for your PC, in case it becomes infected viruses and will no longer start up, some Security Software will create this for you automatically.

Turn off your computer and/or disconnect from your network, when it is not in use.

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