Monthly Archives: October 2011

Joomla! as an intranet?: YES WE CAN!
Date Created: October 24, 2011  Date Modified: November 22, 2011

I was approached a few weeks ago by the Equal Opportunity Commission to build a Joomla powered Intranet–at first I had apprehensions: Joomla is not the greatest of CMS software for this application, and all government departments are running MOSS2010, so It would be simple logic to go with SharePoint for the intranet too?

Adding to the complexity of this project it was also suggested that the Joomla run on a WAMP stack–but with the server being SBS2003 I decided to put it together thru IIS instead of go and install Apache on a system that didnt require it.

The system installed without a hitch–its not the first time I have put together a J! on IIS, but its the first time I did so for an intranet. Hopefully this makes business run a bit smother down there at EOC.

Visualise Statistics With Google
Date Created: October 24, 2011  Date Modified: May 13, 2013

Google charts is an amazing piece of API, the data is there for you to use however you want. Supporting SVG and HTML5, this is a great tool to integrate within any site to display metrics visually.

The following example shows World top 10 Current Account balance:
Current Account Balance - Ranking

Computer Virus or Electronic Weapon
Date Created: October 7, 2011  Date Modified: October 7, 2011

The idea that remote control planes are attacking civilian targets worries me, the idea that they are attacking anything worries me. So you can only guess my reaction when I read this in wired:

A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.

The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system.

what really worries me on reading the article is that the USAF dont seem to be that concerned about it and that they are relying on instructions found on Kaspersky’s website. Surely one of the most hi-tech organisations would have better tech support than that?

So is it a harmless keylogger virus or is there something more sinister at play here? What groups would have an interest in this kind of information (well that list is a long one) and whould have the skillset to perform such an attack on a closed system? Given that Kaspersky was mentioned in the article; would it be Russian hackers working for…? one can only speculate.

but given this breach, it would also be wise if the USAF grounded their drone fleet. infact even without the breach they should ground those birds..

Drupal 7 Release
Date Created: October 6, 2011  Date Modified: October 26, 2011

Im going to be spending an all nighter in Drupal sandbox getting ready for the release. Hopefully I can get something cool together for opening night. But for now the sandbox is fairly inconspicuous.. Below is a promo vid from team drupal that will no doubt be tweeted a million trillion times between now and Saturday morning:

If you are interested in upgrading to the new version, then join the party!

EDIT: Changes for version 7 can be found on the following page at drupal.org

This rant was posted in CMS, Drupal, Media, Video, Web, Web Design, Web Development on by .

Horses for Courses
Date Created: October 5, 2011  Date Modified: October 5, 2011

How can I say to someone that I dont put my clients in Joomla baceause its no a suitable product for what they want from their web?? Joomla is a pig of a thing and its only by a cruel twist of fate that I had to develop with it.

Now Im not saying Joomla is a bad product, it has its uses, but Content Management Systems should suit the type of site they are deployed for. I have a Joomla sub-domain I use as a sandbox for testing and development, because Im still happy to work with the product in a suitable environment. But for a multi-user site that has a mid to high traffic flow–Joomla just does not cut it.

I put a university in a CMS–and it was an enterprise level product that could handle the volume of traffic such an institution, Squiz Matrix in this example, and there are other enterprise level CMS software that can perform in such an environment.

Content Management is Horses for Courses, the last thing you need is a pig in the race.

Social Media or Social Engineering?
Date Created: October 3, 2011  Date Modified: January 21, 2013

I have previously posted before, our democratic freedoms are being circumvented online by an organised campaign against progressive ideals. This is no surprise to anyone who has been trolled out of online debates by neo-conservative posters zealously upholding the status quo.

So it should also be no surprise that this kind of Social Engineering is being utilized by corporate interests to manipulate the clean energy debate. As this report from The Montreal Gazette states:

The marketing has involved professional bloggers working for M THIRTY, a Toronto-based communications firm, who actively use social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter to simulate or kick-start online conversations with a consistent message promoting the views of their clients.

In the above instance it was stated the client was the Ontario Power Workers’ Union, however this type of faux user-generated content is available to any corporation or NGO who is willing to fit the bill. A price for opinion, so to speak.

The problem with this kind of assault of our freedom of expression is that it is a divide and conquer method to exponentiate any internal disputes within the groups where misinformation like this is posted. A reader of such a debate who is trying to learn the issues surrounding the topic is bombarded with this type of disinfo in such a way that they are unable to discern the truth from the marketing.

So how can the general public be expected to know the difference between a PR campaign and actual User-generated content? here are some of my thoughts:

  • Language:

    Marketing professionals use marketing language–such as “weasol words”, pejorative words and phrases to cause an emotive response with the reader. Logic is reason, not emotion.

  • Location:

    What are antagonists doing in the forum in question?, if they have a negative view of the topic in general, then why are they even concerned to join in the debate.

  • Finger-pointing:

    Who are these people blaming for the problem?. if there is a clear target of blame then is it congruent with the views of the forum which it is posted?.

  • Ganging up:

    Often it is more than one profile attacking a thread, look into those that are quick to support the questionable postee, are their views in line with those of the forum?.

there are other ways to tell an agent provocateur however one must remember that no checklist is fool-proof. There are a over a billion people on the web, and some of those people are idiots, trolls or even just ill-informed. But its good to know that the “shills” (as they say on conspiracy websites) do exist, and will try to manipulate your ideas.

Be forever vigilant. The internet is serious business.

Me as an infographic
Date Created: October 3, 2011  Date Modified: October 3, 2011

Considering the data is so limited, being only a recent twitter adopter, the followig infographic from visual.ly is remarkably accurate.

I cant wait for them to open up the API

I dont think so
Date Created: October 2, 2011  Date Modified: January 7, 2013

Had an interview at a local design agency, one that actually does design. I dont think I will be the successful candidate, as I made two cardinal sins in the design field.

First off was calling Mac’s evil empire machines, yes I have a bias against Apple, but one must never let opinion override professionalism.

The second, wich ties in with the first a little was that I mentioned flash, the rule here is: dont bring up old technology. Sure flash is still used, but its no longer held in the same regard as it once was. I tnink if I can overcome my own perzonal bias I will have no trouble securing the next placement.