Category Archives: News

Plugging Twitter into WordPress

Shak’s Twitter use has been reluctant and moderate.  However, it’s convenient to connect it to Facebook and automate the updating of a status & tweet, simultaneously with a single effort.  Today seemed ripe for integration with Daniel.Shakhmundes.Net / Shak.Be / Shak.WS / Shak.TV / Shak.Biz (in order of acquisition), now that some time is being spent on Shak’s own web-presence.

From some brief Googling of WordPress Twitter Widget, we opted to read a couple best/top lists:

  1. 10 Best Twitter Tools, Plugins, Widgets for WordPress Blogs
  2. Top Twitter WordPress Widgets

From there and some further research of compatibility and rating on the WordPress Plugin Directory the following two plugins have been selected and implemented into the right sidebar:

  1. Twitter Widget Pro
  2. TwitterCounter by TwitterCounter[.com]

Sign into my TwitterRemote on http://twittercounter.com/DaShak?t=t so I know when you check my stats!

Shak.TV Website Updates

In all the commotion, we put up a rather default WordPress website for Shak.TV, but little customization was done. Practically the only work put into this website has been content and functionality through plug-ins. It was a good demonstration of what you can get out-of-the-box with WordPress, while showcasing implementation of some key functionality that every website should have.

This year it’s time to move forward! Daniel Shakhmundes actually wants to hear from you now, and this fact is exemplified in the return of a contact page! While we’ve routinely implemented such things on clients’ websites, it’s been years since one was available here. We used the cformsII plug-in by delicious:days, which provides anti-spam verification, robust field checking, and many more features that no form (contact or otherwise) should be without.

We’ve also fixed & improved the Photos page, which bears content from Daniel Shakhmundes’ Facebook profile.  Like the web in general, the Facebook system is changing & updating periodically.  A new Fotobook plug-in for WordPress was finally released, accounting for the functional/API changes while also providing new functionality itself.

In keeping up with WordPress updates, we also upgraded to the latest stable version (2.9.1), which was a breeze as always.  It’s a great feeling to know you have the cutting-edge functionality expected in a website, while having no known security vulnerabilities, and a world-wide community keeping things that way!

Cheers,
D.Shak & associates

WordPress 2.8.5: Hardening Release

One of our clients raised concern with their WordPress version recently, so we are recommending to everyone (especially my clients) that they upgrade their WordPress websites, because there are some vulnerabilities that are becoming well known.

We have upgraded clients’ sites without issues. Now is a good time to do so, because the WordPress hardening release is for securing and stabilizing their version 2.8 branch. We strongly recommend doing so ASAP – it should be a smooth experience – contact us and we can take care of it if you wish.

More information on the latest stable version and why you should upgrade were posted on October 20, 2009 on WordPress’ own website under WordPress 2.8.5: Hardening Release.

Regards,
Daniel Shakhmundes, B.Sc.
Technology & Business Consultant
+ Phone: 1-905-321-9898
+ Email: d@shak.tv
+ HTTP://Shak.TV

D.Shak’s First AdSense Player

In celebration of our new domain, Shak.TV, we bring you our latest demonstration of Google product/service implementation – Google’s AdSense Player:

Google‘s YouTube integrated with Google’s AdSense are together called [Google/YouTube] AdSense Player. Non-intrusive advertising should be displayed. The content (videos and advertising) are automatically selected by Google’s system, but there are some means of influencing the process in your own custom/tailored implementation.

Track Locations of People!

Google Latitude in Google Chrome

Alongside some upgrades to Daniel Shakhmundes’ website (i.e. now running the latest stable versions of WordPress, Akismet, and Google Analytics for WordPress), we’re most excited to write about what we consider to be an upgrade to life.

Google now has a new product named Latitude.  Straight from their introductory page, it states:

See where your friends are in real time!

Enjoy Google Latitude on your phone, computer, or both.

Check out the official Google Latitude page for more information, including a video.

There can be a lot of benefits and convenience in having the ability to know where your friends/contacts/associates/whoever are, especially considering that many of us already use Google Maps on our computers & smart-phones.  Apparently integration for Facebook and Twitter is already available.  We’ll be looking into those before too long.  For now, D.Shak is going to enable Google Latitude and see who’s willing to experiment with him…  Now is a good time to figure out the privacy settings for Google Latitude, before many other people are using it.

Common misspellings for SEO: lattitude, latittude, lattittude, latutid, latatude

Researching rdiff-backup Remote Backup

Daniel Shakhmundes‘ Remote Backup service uses one of two methods for backup system implementations:

  1. Typical/Stock/Default/Traditional software applications for Microsoft Windows platforms coupled with open source networking and data storage solutions.  The latter generally offers higher-performance, better security, and greater reliability over the the former, which is actually the weakest link in the scenario, but many businesses and clients are programmed to think Microsoft-centric.  Using the most easily-available, common, and therefore popular backup software (i.e. ntbackup.exe) delivers the best results with plenty of support to get the data out for backup, followed by superior solutions for transportation and storage once the data is liberated from the clutches of a Microsoft environment.
  2. Outside of the Microsoft Windows world, business users rarely encounter any computer operating systems beyond than Apple’s Mac OS X, which is based on open source technology.  Even though Mac OS is Apple’s proprietary operating system, it is based on BSD (i.e. FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, etc.) as of version “X”, which happens to their best one yet.  Of course, open source backup solutions rule in their own realm.  Where the plethora of Linux & BSD distributions are concerned, D.Shak chooses to use the open source software that strives to combine the best features of a mirror and an incremental backup; rdiff-backup.

The thing is, we want to provide the benefits of incremental mirroring/backup to the first scenario without the restrictive licensing and extortive costs of proprietary software.  The good news is that rdiff-backup is almost ready for doing so, and some already say it is.  Here’s a pseudo-log of D.Shak’s research & experiment this weekend:

Now available on rdiff-backup’s home page is a native Windows executable/binary as of version 1.2.2, released October 19th 2008 (currently the new stable version).  So, we now have Windows support for rdiff-backup by the developers!  All of the required libraries and modules are built-in, so there is no longer a need for Cygwin or other 3rd party software on Windows – these issues prevented D.Shak from providing clients a stable and well-supported solution using rdiff-backup.

Reading further, the rdiff-backup wiki (RdiffBackupWiki) seems up-to-date and is loaded with valuable information, including a BackupFromWindowsToLinux page that D.Shak reviewed and followed for experimentation.  We backuped up a Windows XP Professional workstation named Used on the home-office network.  Having already used PuTTY abundantly, the advice & directions provided in a How-To style were well suited to our usual ways.  Using Simon Tatham‘s putty.exe, puttygen.exe, and plink.exe, a secure/encrypted network connection/tunnel for rdiff-backup was established to a Linux-based server in the home-office named Sonic.

While the experiment was successful for the most-part, there were errors/warnings that we feel are not acceptable in the level of quality we deliver to our clients.  While some of the issues may be relatively easily or quickly resolvable, we don’t want to bleed on cutting-edge technology unless there is a lot of support available, either through a vibrant community of developers & users or funding (by client or stakeholder) to spend time and/or engage specialists.  The Daniel Shakhmundes business balances these considerations based on customers’ desires, delivering the best possible solutions according to each clients’ circumstances.

For the rdiff-backup developers, one of D.Shak’s concerns is the issues relating to hard-links and inodes.  Contemporary Microsoft Windows systems normally use the NTFS file-system, which is significantly different on a technical-level from the the open source ones that rdiff-backup is most attuned to.  rdiff-backup version 1.2.2 was supposed to automatically detect when it was backing up from a Windows file-system, which does not use inodes, but we found that symptoms/issues manifested when we did not use the –no-hard-links option.  This circumstance did not inspire confidence.

Another considerable deficiency is the inability to read files in certain circumstances, particularly
1)  open or “locked” in-use files, and/or
2)  those with permissions restricting read-access.
These are old and typical challenges for backup systems, and in the Windows/NTFS world they have Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Service (VSS) to surmount them.  However, rdiff-backup is not programmed to use VSS, and provides no alternative methods or means of its own.

D.Shak assembled a trail of web-pages that offer a solution to making use of the Volume Shadowing service at your own discretion, which reportedly works:

  1. A bit of black magic: How to assign drive letters to VSS shadow copies… on Windows XP !
    http://blogs.msdn.com/adioltean/archive/2006/09/18/761515.aspx
  2. DOSDEV.EXE – a misterious tool
    http://blogs.msdn.com/adioltean/archive/2005/10/04/477164.aspx
  3. A TechArena message forum post by Sean Cai, MCSE2000, Microsoft Online Partner Support
    http://forums.techarena.in/windows-server-help/834524.htm#post3235029
  4. Overview of the Microsoft Configuration Capture Utility (MPS_REPORTS)
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/818742
  5. Download details: Microsoft Product Support’s Reporting Tools
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=CEBF3C7C-7CA5-408F-88B7-F9C79B7306C0

There is a lot of other work to do before D.Shak has the time to further experiment.  Hopefully the rdiff-backup developers and the open source community appreciate this blog/post in the meanwhile.  Some people will inevitably polish the functionality & usability of rdiff-backup on Windows, and we will be there to help and benefit too!

Experimentations in Social Media

D.Shak observes the term social media a lot these days…

It is a new buzzword, but not a new concept, considering that an environment where people may interact/socialize is the general implication – the web and new systems of communications technology allow people to browse & exchange text, images/photos, video, audio/sound/music, and other sorts of information – there is nothing new about “social media” aside from the fact that the popular adoption of the term indicates the increasing societal permeation of more evolved, refined, and sophisticated methods for people to interact.

In riding the waves of new technological trends, D.Shak pursues those that have the most benefit & relevance to making a living! With that in mind, two of the internet’s most popular & professional social networking/utility/media websites – LinkedIn & Facebook – have been integrated with the Shak.WebSite. Regardless of anyones membership or familiarity with these things, all can enjoy the additional content now made available (photos in particular), including Daniel Shakhmundes for whom sharing/syndication of content is now easier than ever!

Better Than Microsoft Office, and Free!

OpenOffice.org version 3.0 is now available

It includes indispensable new features, most notably:

Considering the price difference, the reasons for using Microsoft Office are becoming extinct, especially when OpenOffice can do useful things that Microsoft Office cannot.

So, if you’re not already convinced to download OpenOffice and try it, then consider reading “Review of final OpenOffice 3: Why buy Microsoft Office?” on Computerworld.

Shak’s Videos Portfolio Now Available

Thousands have seen Daniel Shakhmundes in videos on the web and cinema, but he is just as comfortable performing roles behind the scene.  A portfolio showcasing the various responsibilities is now available on the Video page.  Sometimes Shak is on-screen, but you can also find him doing one or more of the following:

  • Shooting video,
  • Editing video, and
  • Formatting & publishing video digitally.

Local Competitors Want To Entrap You!

Daniel Shakhmundes just upgraded to the latest version of WordPress smoothly and easily, thanks to the WordPress Automatic Upgrade 1.2 Release.

Keeping up with technology is easier and more cost-effective when you use open source software with large communities. Avoid entrapment by “Vendor Lock-In” exercised by local competitors’ use of proprietary software for Content Management System (CMS) applications, we recommend that you contact us for further information on how D.Shak can improve your bottom-line and manage your internet presence more effectively.

Newsletter – August 2008 – 2nd Edition

This month, Daniel Shakhmundes would like to highlight the following services: Website Development, including the new “Live Real-Time Website Editing Service”.

Daniel Shakhmundes has been creating new websites and improving existing ones for twelve years now. In that time, he has successfully participated in all the roles entailed, from production of virtually all types of media/content to managerial responsibilities. His broad specialization and diverse business experience enables him to deliver a vast variety of website-related services, while sustainably opening new opportunities that are business-worthy.

Our website design goals:

  • Standards-compliant programming & media formatting that consistently delivers user-friendly experiences across all the most popular computer environments;
  • Efficiently-implemented and fast-loading programming and media encoding that keeps visitors’ attention;
  • Expert selection of the best 3rd party partners & software to leverage the best of what’s out there when streamlining development.

While many clients are already familiar with Daniel Shakhmundes’ dynamic methods of website development – custom-tailored to each client’s circumstances – some have also experienced and specifically requested what will now be officially dubbed “Live Real-Time Website Editing Service”. In most circumstances, we are able to carry out website edits/revisions immediately after they are requested, whether communicated in-person or over a telephone.

Please contact Daniel Shakhmundes by phone or email to request further information and/or a quote.

Phone: 1-905-321-9898

Email: d@shak.ws

Other D.Shak News

Niagara College will have Daniel Shakhmundes as “professor” again; this time for three courses in the Information and Media Studies (IMS) division‘s New Media Web Design program.

While Daniel Shakhmundes himself is accessible every business day, he will continue to provide prompt and excellent service in leveraging the best available contractors and partnerships.

This August D.Shak had the pleasure of travelling to Quebec City and Kiev/Ukraine. Those who called or wrote know that he kept tabs on business and was in-touch as expected. Stay tuned to HTTP://Shak.WS for photos in the month to come, along with the usual blend of interesting news, experiences, and advice.


Looking Forward

In the months to come, Daniel Shakhmundes will highlight the various offered services that are most popular with his clients, all of which are maturing and evolving with the pace of technology and business:

  • Easy Off-Site Backup to preserve your business data on any computer and server;
  • Teaching, Training, Tutoring;
  • Computer, Server, and Network Management.
  • Internet-Hosting, the tried, tested, and true service, serving websites and email for over five years now;
  • and more!

Tweaking the Shak.WS Design

Tonight, Shak removed Akismet’s WordPress sidebar widget that displayed a count how many spam comments it has automatically filtered from this website. Unfortunately, its output was not compliant with the loosest of XHTML standards, transitional. He gave up on his search for a solution when Google’s first, most relevant, and only search result was a thread on the WordPress.com forums from 2006/2007 titled “Akismet widget not xhtml valid”. Even on the WordPress.org Plugins/Plugin Compatibility/2.6 page, Akismet is listed as a “Working plugin, no issues”, but “with XHTML validation errors”. Shak will contact Akismet and see what they have to say…

WordPress is built on a fantastic programming language named PHP. It’s free, it works on virtually all computing platforms, and it’s definitely one of the reasons WordPress rules. A small token of our appreciation is now near the bottom right corner of every page – proud to be powered by PHP!

Microage defauded by executive/partner

Would you spend about one month in jail for a million dollars? Well, a man named Joe Vos is doing so about thirty times over!

This news item is note-worthy for the Niagara Region, since we have a Microage office in St. Catharines that many Niagara businesses deal with. Check out a report of Joe Vos defrauding Microage [and others] on itbusiness.ca for more details. In case the original article becomes unavailable, we printed/cached this article for our own records…

Joe Vos’ incredulously lenient punishment is yet another example of why it is very important to deal with people and businesses of the highest integrity possible – despite the fact that many lives are affected by such a multi-million dollar white-collar crime, we feel that the Canadian government has treated it incredibly trivially. Daniel Shakhmundes has terminated client relationships when encountering unethical behaviour on their parts, and strives to protect his own business and the clients involved with great discipline. Current and prospective clients can rest assured that when it comes to technology and business, Daniel Shakhmundes and his associates do their best to mitigate involvement with people like Joe Vos, while still planning for the potential disasters that may occur.

Newsletter – July 2008 – 1st Edition

Daniel Shakhmundes is pleased to announce the signing of the Clickback Partner Program with Netstart eBusiness. Netstart is a Canadian Email Service Provider (ESP) that exclusively provides services to professional design firms across North America.

Daniel Shakhmundes now offers email marketing software and related services such as email template design to our customers. The software, Clickback MAIL has been on the market since 1999, providing companies with communication and retention solutions for their customers. Your customers are the most vital part of your business, and often it is hard to find the time to stay in touch, inform them or let them know about your business.

Clickback MAIL is simple to use and is self-managed. There is a LITE version for companies new to email marketing and a PRO version for marketers that want more powerful targeting features.

Click to learn more about Email Marketing.

Click to learn more about the Features of Clickback MAIL.

Call Daniel Shakhmundes at 905-321-9898 today to learn more and get started communicating with your customers cost effectively with email marketing.

Internet-Hosting News
In the Fall of 2007, continuous business growth made the acquisition of a dedicated server feasible. Clients using the Internet-Hosting services of Daniel Shakhmundes now benefit from a full 100 MegaBit link to the internet. With full access to an entire server dedicated entirely to us, performance for all applications is maximized, and security is tailored optimally.
Looking Forward
In the months to come, Daniel Shakhmundes will highlight the various offered services that are most popular with his clients, all of which are maturing and evolving with the pace of technology and business:

  • Website Development, including the new “Live Real-Time Website Editing Service”;
  • Easy Off-Site Backup to preserve your business data on any computer and server;
  • Teaching, Training, Tutoring;
  • Computer, Server, and Network Management.
  • and more!