Monday, June 27, 2011

Bypassing DNS Block of TM Streamyx

Recently I noticed there was lag whenever I tried to access internet. I guess the recent government directive to Streamyx and other ISP providers in Malaysia in an attempt to use DNS block has resulted in a slower internet access. Such DNS blocking is futile as it was very easy to bypass DNS block.

The Malaysian government went against their promise (perhaps even illegal since it went against the MSC Malaysia Bill of Guarantee) of giving its citizen unrestricted access to the internet and instructed Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to block off certain sites. So much for freedom of information. The reasoning behind it was to fight against piracy and against illegal file sharing sites. That’s the overt reasoning, I should think there is also a covert conspiracy to also shut off opposition website as well too since they did get a hammering during the 2008 general election as the opposition used the internet media to voice out their opinion thus making the current coalition losing so many Parliament seats that they are now so desperate to get back their 2/3 majority.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Firefox 5 breaks Google Toolbar

The latest Firefox 5 update inadvertently broke the Google Toolbar. Frankly the version 5 came too fast in the wake of Firefox 4 which broke the Delicious bookmarking plugin.

Since I have several PC's, looks like i'm not going to update the rest of my PC's to Firefox 5 until Google comes up with an updated plugin.

--- [update 27/6/2011]

Found this thread in Mozilla support. By using this compatibility reporter extension, you could make Google Toolbar to work with Firefox 5. I gave it a try and it works! It also made my Trend Micro toolbar working in Firefox 5 too! Nice fix!

And finally I gave the Delicious toolbar a go too, and voila! It works! No need to wait for update from Delicious. Anyway, with the breaking of Delicious I found a better bookmarking service from Xmarks.com. Since I still got many bookmarks in Delicious, I guess I will be keeping both service for now.

The Google Toolbar 7.1.20110512W version works in Firefox 5.0 by using the Compatibility Reporter extension.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/add-on-compatibility-reporter/

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reinstalling my Windows

I guess my office PC Windows was getting way to cranky and it was time to blast it to smithereens and reinstall Windows again. It had a good run of 3 years but now it is like a wheel that is no longer round giving a very rough ride whenever I was using it.


The reinstallation was a tedious process. Although reinstalling windows was quick taking only a couple of hours. Putting back the necessary software like Microsoft Office, the various browsers, anti-virus, and various tweaking, configuration, updating… while still doing sales work at the same time is really complicated!


This time round I figure I won't be using the POP3 for my email and use the alternate IMAP instead so that wherever I may be whether at home, at work or on the road I will see the same email logging in either with Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Linux Evolution, Android phone or just logging in via Webmail.


However my current office web hosting company do not have IMAP but I did set up an alternate email storage in Google App using a sub domain. So I will try this for awhile. The only problem with this method is that all my outgoing email will have the "…send on behalf of…" which makes the email headers looked kinda ugly. Tried several options but still ended up with the ugly headers. Well no choice, google wanted to make sure spammers won't spoof their email address when using the gmail email system. Only way to avoid it is to send via the original account, but I won't be able to keep the outgoing email in the Google App account. Will just have to see which way to go about it.


Meanwhile it has taken about two days of installing back the necessary software. There may be some other less often used software that were not installed. Well if I need to use them I will install them, so in the meanwhile, my Windows reinstallation is breezier and faster when all the gunk has been cleared out from the PC with a clean install. So no more blue screen of death and warning messages of not shutting down my PC properly. Yes!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Bluehost giving me the blues, looking for new web hosting

Eversince Bluehost gave me the heartbreak of telling me if my script cause a spike to their CPU for the third time, I will have to find a new web hosting company. I think that is rather stern and unfair, rather than chasing the customer away, they should try to help resolve what was wrong with my script installation. After looking around online, I found many negative reviews about Bluehost. And some place the power failure incident as a major negative point against Bluehost. Believe me, when all my web sites went down that day, I too had to wait it out for their servers to reboot. And they talked about world class backup generators and they weren't working that day with the excuse the power companies didn't allow them to use it.

Another down point is that Bluehost is one of the few web hosting companies that throttle your bandwidth, that means if a certain increase load to their servers due to higher website traffic, it would mean your web site will start to slow. Searching online, I found a review where a user who was a teacher, complained that her Wordpress website slowed to a crawl when many of her students were accessing her web site simultaneously. And I bet that the number isn't very high considering that a classroom full of student accessing her website requires throttling?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

My Wordpress website in Bluehost is down and out!

Oh, blow me down! It seems I got two script: Wordpress installation and Statusnet is causing Bluehost server to overload and they had to shut down my account which was a big blow since I have several website domains hosted on it. Whenever a script installation takes up too much server webserver resources it will impact on other users and thus the prudent thing to do is to suspend the culprit which this time looks like me!

For Statusnet, I was experimenting with it. Didn't know it was using up so much resources. This one was very easy for me to let go. I just deleted the Statusnet folder where it was installed and that was it. But that was not the end of it. My Wordpress too was also causing server overload, and this installation is very important to me as I am using it regularly to blog. It has 500 posts and does earn me some Adsense income though small it still something. Unfortunately I'm just as in the dark as to what is wrong with my Wordpress installation. And the only way to avoid getting shut down and getting my account terminated was to chuck out my Wordpress installation in Bluehost. Boo-hoo!

Bluehost was very strict with their TOS, and if I cause their server to overload the 3rd time, I will have to find myself a new webhosting company! Well, maybe there is a silver lining in this predicament. Because now I have decided to look for a new webhosting company, perhaps one which is nearer to my locality rather than half a world away.

This time round I decided not to host so many website in one hosting account. Hey it may be cost effective to host unlimited multiple domains but if any one of your website caused an issue then all your other website will be affected. And if the webhosting company decided to terminate your contract, you will be in a big lurch to find a new webhosting company plus shifting all the data and reconfiguring your SQL database etc etc. Now that would be indeed a big disaster!

Since I still got an whole year's worth of hosting with Bluehost (I signed up a 3 year hosting plan with Bluehost as I felt their hosting plan and services was rather good despite being not the cheapest one around) and decided to continue with it till it expires next year. However with the above experience I have decided to split up my websites to several webhosting companies. Actually I'm already using another one, it is a good one, but I would like to try other web hosting companies too.

Locally we have Exabytes which is offering the same unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, but having have several websites, I think it is not necessary to have this kind of requirement. In fact you pay more when you can save with less. After all, how many of us average webmaster will ever achieve resounding super heavy website traffic? If you do and  you are earning good income from it most likely you will invest in an expensive dedicated web hosting in order to cope with the server load.

Since it is unlikely I will have such overly popular website, a shared webhosting will do just fine. Before shifting over to a new webhosting company, I checked the server logs and see just what amount of bandwidth and storage required. Then looked around for a suitable cost effective hosting.

For now, I will just be shifting my JanLeow.com website. When my hosting with Bluehost will be due next year I guess I will be moving out from Bluehost. Well it has been a good many years of usage with them, but in the end I have decided there are better offerings elsewhere and decided to give other webhosting companies a go.

 

MyBlogLog is gone!

Looks like Yahoo! pulled the plug on MyBlogLog.com on the 24/May/2011. Strangely I didn't receive the notice, but found out when my MyBlogLog RSS feed kept giving me error. I had some inkling and forewarnings some six months back when their new CEO announce major revamp to the Yahoo! web business shutting down services or selling them away. Several of their services that I was using like Geocities.com was closed and quite fortunately, Delicious.com was sold to another party.

Since I wasn't sure whether they were closing or selling Delicious I did try to back up all my bookmarks. Now that it was passed on to another company I can rest a little easy. Unfortunately the staff changeover has resulted in reorganization and the new Firefox 4 could not support their extension so I hoping that they will do soon before I'm completely comfy with Xmarks and say sayonara to Delicious for good!

As for MyBlogLog.com, I did have several of my website RSS feeds that went into it get chopped! And now I need to sort out my websites to remove their widget which is now no longer functioning.

Ah! The way dot com companies get shuffled around in the cyberworld you can never be sure who will be handling those services and thus your data and activities will change over time and you have to make adjustment for it. Just don't rely too much on each services I suppose and have contingency where possible (but sometimes it is hard to find an alternative)!