ZOIS Blog

September 6, 2014

WordPress Updated to 4.0

Filed under: Omphalokepsis — Central Administration @ 12:03 pm

WordPress, the blogging software that runs this part of the site, has just been upgraded to 4.0. The increase in the major release number (4) seems significant, but most of the changes have been apparently been made to the ‘posting’ side of the system, making things slicker. Nevertheless please do report any problems pronto so they can be fixed.

The crusty author is still using It’s All Text and Emacs, of course.

December 17, 2013

Updated to WordPress 3.8

Filed under: Omphalokepsis — Central Administration @ 1:28 pm

WordPress, the software that runs this Blog has just been updated to 3.8. The release seems to be rather concerned with the aesthetics of the Administration Interface, but, it is understood, some other stuff has changed too. If there are any problems please report them by e-mail. Thank you.

May 22, 2013

Sort-of DOS Attack Last Week

Filed under: Omphalokepsis — Martin Sullivan @ 9:20 am

Things are run on a shoe-string, these days, and it’s relatively easy to run a Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack against the ZOIS sites, even if looks accidental, as happened last week.

[Picture: Movie poster -- The Black Hole]

For a while, traffic went in but didn’t come out

In the middle of the week e-mails were received that indicated that some of the web-sites were no-longer responding in any meaningful way, particularly this Blog. After a brief hiatus, these things are all up and running again, including other zois.co.uk and zois.com web-sites that are served-up from the cellar. For reasons of economy they’re all run from a single IP, these days, and we were comprehensively DoSed by some machines in China on Wednesday last week.

The attack, if that’s what it truly was, involved looking for well known weaknesses in popular blogging and administrative tools that we don’t run. These sort of investigations occur almost routinely and usually only come from one IP address. The one on Wednesday seemed to involve a fairly large number of machines, all doing the probes, and doing them repetitively. The IP addresses came from two large, but otherwise anonymous, Unicom subnets, based in Beijing. They looked to be compromised PCs and I was forced to block web-access from the networks involved for a day. But only after I noticed things slowly grinding to an almost-halt.

Not only did network traffic get swamped but one of the Apache-based web servers did too, the one that provides the Examplar and the Blog. Some of this was down to poor error handling that I’d written, making things worse in an ever-so-slightly witty way. So mea-culpa too.

As the only traffic noted from this part of the world tends to be search engines and pointless weakness-probes, I’m sure that there wasn’t a great deal of inconvenience in firewalling Beijing for the day.

Anyhow, things back to normal now. The remedial stable-door bolting is in place. As are the crap metaphors.

Thanks once again to the readers for the feedback. I often write these posts thinking that the only things that read them are the odd passing, and now sometimes malicious, robot. It’s nice to know that there’s the odd human out there too.

February 5, 2013

Spam Blocking Too Fierce

Filed under: Omphalokepsis — Martin Sullivan @ 10:31 am

I’ve turned down some of the anti-spam measures, that try to stop ill-informed somewhat tangential commercial opinions being sent to this fine literary work. One of the systems was using a third-party Honey-pot mechanism and it seems to have started banning everybody, including yours truly; he knows he’s completely innocent.

I’ve now switched that off; please feel free to rant away. I’m still moderating the posts before they get to the site, though, so bear with me.

Thanks for feedback from a Twitter user @johnb_rox alerting me to this.

January 18, 2013

ZOIS is Twenty Five

Filed under: Omphalokepsis — Martin Sullivan @ 9:34 pm

[Picture: ZOIS Greek Movie]

ZOIS means something in Greek

I was doing some filing; rather more clearing the Augean Stables than anything else. As I punched holes and stuffed binders, I suddenly realised that ZOIS is now 25 years old, having been incorporated in November 1987. The company was bought off-the-shelf as “Forceroute” and re-named, for that was the most efficient way of starting a company back in the day. I needed a Limited Company, for government legislation that required that Computer Contractors, as I was in those days, work through Personal Service Companies, VAT registered and everything. It needed an Accountant and was quite an imposition after working as a sole-trader, and then as an Temporary Agency Employee.

Still, it indulged my vanity, for “ZOIS” was a name that I, at least, had associated with myself for some time. When I started in the business I’d written “ZOIS are letters and 2015 are numbers” on the top of Coding Sheets.

ZOIS Limited, these days still exists, but is dormant. As its Principle is on his medical inspired dotage, it’s not been required these past few years. Maybe one day. Soon. Anyhow, Happy Birthday.

December 15, 2012

WordPress Now 3.5

Filed under: Lab Book,Omphalokepsis — Central Administration @ 2:17 pm

We’re proud to have this little Blog hosted on our own kit, but using WordPress. This recently moved on to version 3.5, and it should be seamless to you the casual user, but we had a little wrinkle with the ‘Add Media’ system here as ZOIS central. In brief it stopped working, you got all the fancy-shmancy new buttons and so forth, but the “Insert into post” button didn’t. We found a cure by adding the following line to the wp-config.php file:

define('CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS', false );

A support topic was raised on this, and then closed before we could contribute our “it worked for us”.

If you see anything untoward in the display of our postings or comments or whatever, please let us know.

September 20, 2012

Change of Registered Office

Filed under: Omphalokepsis — Martin Sullivan @ 9:32 am

ZOIS is a Limited Company, and has to have a Registered Address. As with most one-man-band companies we keep this with our accountants. So, following a change of accountants we’ve a change of address. We’re now, officially, to be found at 14a, Main St, Cockermouth, CA13 9LQ. At least we won’t get baffling spam about business opportunities in Nottingham anymore; by accident of history our previous accountant was based in Stapleford.

This is only for the official stuff. The normal address for correspondence remains Stag House, 55 Kirkgate, Cockermouth CA13 9PH.

I think I’ve changed all occurrences, but if you find something that hasn’t then the usual feedback requests apply. In spite of all the spam, I do read your comments. Honest.

September 19, 2012

Connectivity Problems

Today, 19th September, we’ve had one or two network problems. We were off the air for a couple of periods, I’d estimate a hour or two at most in the afternoon. This seemed to be upstream from the ZOIS estate and appear fixed now. The scrapers are playing catch-up and for once it wasn’t down to me, my dodgy kit, or banana fingers.

June 17, 2012

Important and Noteful Styles

Filed under: Omphalokepsis — Martin Sullivan @ 11:51 am

There’s been a page with some Style notes on this blog for some time. I’ve just re-read it and it does seem both incomplete and a bit clunky. I’ve therefore more-or-less re-written it, and it now introduces the ‘Note’ and ‘Important’ style-types too.

As far as the Blog is concerned, the aim was to re-cast the Classic WordPress Theme so that it was consistent with the rest of the ZOIS sites/  The Style notes page then becomes something of a Sampler for the additional features.

June 14, 2012

Upgrade to 3.4 WordPress

Filed under: Omphalokepsis — Central Administration @ 11:56 am

The site has just been upgraded to WordPress 3.4. The home-brew theme remains the same, and there shouldn’t be any changes, less problems. If there are, however, please do contact me via comments.

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