Category Archives: Technology

Text trapped in images no longer!

I got a link from @_adamhutch the other day, and it was a big deal.  Remember, how fundamental was the understanding to web/digital/marketing/SEO professionals that text-in-images can neither be indexed nor edited?  Well, there’s a new project in town, Project Naptha, which has solved that issue brilliantly.

Check out the website, which has a live demo right on the homepage:

I expect to see this development cascade its impact to search engines, copying & pasting, and even storage…

Other blog-posts about Project Naptha:

Google Solar

Holiday Updates – WordPress

We have an important custom WordPress website implementation to do for early January 2013, so what better time than the holidays to catch up on Shak’s own WordPress deployment!

Shak.Biz is now running the slightly significant new release of WordPress, which was published earlier this month – version 3.5, up from 3.4.x – read about it on WordPress News:

Along with the latest version of WordPress, the default Twenty Eleven theme had an update – version 1.5 –  It’s supposed to be more mobile-friendly…

The previously used Facebook plugins & widgets seem to be misbehaving if not broken, so they’re removed for now…  An overhaul of the social media is long overdue, but clients take priority 🙂

Did Lulzsec breach your account on Facebook, PayPal, Xbox Live, Twitter, or elsewhere?

The hacker Group Lulzsec Security hacked into 62,000 private Internet accounts including Facebook, PayPal, dating sites, Xbox Live and Twitter.

See the CBC article “Facebook, PayPal users urged to check logins after hacking“:

There is a link to a Dazzlepod page referenced in the above article, which lists email addresses of hacked accounts; check to see if your accounts are on the list!

Thanks to Jane E. for this news.

Updating Updates

We haven’t written any new Posts in almost five months. There have been too many updates, both personal and software. Today, Shak is beyond sick of seeing the “Facebook Is Down Today” Post, so here is some new content.

Even though we updated everything WordPress related a month or two ago, just signing into the WordPress Admin/Dashboard triggered update notices. WordPress version 3.0.5 is out. Of course, the WordPress anti-spam plug-in Akismet has been updated, now on version 2.5.3. Even the WordPress theme named Pixel, used here, has also been updated to version 2.0.2. Well, Shak upgraded everything using the automated facilities, and everything looks to be working well (as accustomed & expected).

Aside from all that website related stuff, we use the free virtualization software VirtualBox in daily business activity. It too has a new version released, 4.0.4, just four days ago. On top of an openSUSE 11.1 Linux host (KDE for Desktop/GUI), we run our accounting system (QuickBooks on Windows XP) in a virtual machine, and also an openSUSE 11.3 workstation environment (GNOME) communications (GNOME/Novell Evolution), web development (Quanta Plus), and other web-administrative activities (Firefox). Everything is up-to-date, of course 🙂

I hope everyone has had a great Family Day! Shak’s now going to go enjoy what’s left of his…

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 so I know when you check my stats!

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.

Daniel Shakhmundes, B.Sc.
Technology & Business Consultant
+ Phone: 1-905-321-9898
+ Email:
+ 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 !
  2. DOSDEV.EXE – a misterious tool
  3. A TechArena message forum post by Sean Cai, MCSE2000, Microsoft Online Partner Support
  4. Overview of the Microsoft Configuration Capture Utility (MPS_REPORTS)
  5. Download details: Microsoft Product Support’s Reporting Tools

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!