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Orange Monthly Contract Users Read This Price Rise Coming

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What is Orange doing?
Orange is raising the cost of its pay monthly plans by 4.34% for existing customers. Orange states it has raised prices in line with its terms and conditions and therefore customers will have an increase to their monthly payments from January 2012. They are not increasing the cost of texts, calls or data.

Why is Orange doing this?
Orange blames high inflation and states that the retail prices index index (RPI) is at 5.4% and their increase is a mere 4.34%.

Can I cancel my contract?
Orange’s terms and conditions state that you cannot cancel your contract and they have a term specifically allowing them to make this increase.

So there is nothing I can do?
Hold on! According to Ofcom customers are only allowed to cancel their contract if a change causes “material detriment”. It is not clear if this fits however this is the first time Orange has invoked this term in the time it has been in contracts.

The term in their contract MAY also be unfair. The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 says a clause is likely to be unfair if it allows a seller to increase their price without giving the consumer the corresponding right to cancel the contract if the final price is too high in relation to the price agreed when the contract was concluded! This however will need to be tested.

So what should I do?

  1. First complain directly to Orange. You can write to them at Orange Customer Services, PO Box 10, Patchway, Bristol, BS32 4BQ. Alternatively their customer services are available on customer.services@orange.co.uk you can also call them on 150 from your mobile phone. You will need to state that you believe this is an unfair term in your contract and you will be at material detriment (you will have less money than when you took out the contract)
  2. If that fails complain to Ofcom. Although Ofcom will not deal with individual complaints if enough people complain they are likely to to look at Oranges actions.
  3. Make sure other Orange friends and family read this and complain to Orange and Ofcom. Things will only change if enough people take action!
  4. Share this on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday Sun created before the end of the world!

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So the replacement for the news of the world is already on its way!

Lightroom – moving files and folders by manipulating the database file

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I use Lightroom for my photo collection. The photos reside on a network drive which is getting a little full so I need to move my photos to a new location.

I know Lightroom can move the photo collection but for various reasons the files and folders had already been moved to a new location outside of Lightroom so I needed a way to tell Lightroom that the files and structure had moved.

I knew that Lightroom keeps all the file information in an sqllite database and using Firefox I could access it.

The instructions here were completed on a Lightroom 2.5 data file. I have not checked this with any other version.

Before we start. If you follow this advice I recommend you backup your Lightroom data file in case this goes wrong.

I downloaded SQLite Manager for Firefox available from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5817

Once installed run SQLite Manager (Tools menu then SQLite Manager)

You should see a screen like this:

SQlite manager running

SQlite manager running

The SQLite manager will open a screen like the one to the left.

This is a superb graphical display to help you manipulate a database file.

Use the Open Folder icon to navigate to the Lightroom data file. The tooltip will show you that this icon is called “Connect Database” as you can see from the screen shot.

We now need to open the data file.

The find file dialog will appear and you need to navigate to the folder containing your Lightroom file.

Remember to change the file type from SQLite DB Files to All Files otherwise the correct datafile cannot be found.

Open lightroom database

Open lightroom database

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selecting a lightroom data file

Selecting a lightroom data file

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lightroom data files have the extension .lrcat

Select the data file.

After you have opened the file SQLite should now look like this:

 

 

Lightroom database view

Lightroom database view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The name and location of the open file will be shown at the top of the screen.

The left hand panel lists the tables within the database.

The right hand panel is where we can look at the structure of the data file and execute SQL against the database.

The tables we are interested in are AgLibraryFile, AgLibraryFolder and AgLibraryRootFolder

In this example the photos are stored on Drive “S:\Photo Libraries” but have been moved to “D:\Documents”.

To update the database file follow these steps:

  1. Click on the “Execute SQL” tab
  2. Type the following SQL statement: UPDATE AgLibraryFile SET robustRepresentation=replace(robustRepresentation, ‘S:\’, ‘D:\Documents\’) WHERE AgLibraryFile.robustRepresentation like “%S:\Photo Libraries\%”
  3. Click Run SQL
  4. Replace the previous statement with: UPDATE AgLibraryFolder SET robustRepresentation=replace(robustRepresentation, ‘S:\’, ‘D:\Documents\’) WHERE AgLibraryFolder.robustRepresentation like “%S:\Photo Libraries\%”
  5. Again click the run button
  6. Replace the statement again with: UPDATE AgLibraryRootFolder SET absolutePath=replace(absolutePath, ‘S:\’, ‘D:\Documents\’) WHERE AgLibraryRootFolder.absolutePath like “%S:/Photo Libraries/%”
  7. Finally click the run SQL button

The Lightroom database should now have been updated to reflect the correct location of the photo files and none of them should be orphaned.

Creating a new email account in Outlook 2007

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Creating an email address in outlook 2007 is simpler than you think!

Step 1. Goto the Tools menu and select “Account Settings”:

Showing Outlook Tools menu

Outlook Tools Menu

Step 2. On the screen that appears make sure the “email” tab is selected and then click the “New” button.

Outlook new email button

Step 3. Enter the basic details such as your name, the email address and your password.

Outlook basic account details

Basic Account Details

Step 4. Outlook will now attempt to detect the settings required from the server. If this does not work you will have to enter the settings manually (see the option at the bottom of the screen in step 3).

Outlook detecting settings

Outlook detecting settings

Step 5. next select the option for Internet Email

Selecting Internet Email

Selecting Internet Email

Step 6. next enter the settings for your server

Entering server settings

Entering server settings

You will need the account type (normally pop3), your incoming server address such as pop3.mydomain.com or mail.mydomain.com, your smtp address for outgoing email such as smtp.mydomain.com and your password.

These should have been given you by your email provider. If you have our email system and require these details please contact us.

Step 7. Once entered click finish to retrieve your email!

Finished

Finished!

CCVHQ5BTVJZZ

Best Practice for Passwords

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Best practices for passwords

1. Use a strong password.
What is a strong password?

A strong password is a minimum of 10 characters and is much stronger if you use 20 or more. The best passwords use completely meaningless random lower case, upper case, numeric and punctuation characters and never contain a real, meaningful word in any language.

2. Make your password memorable.
This seems to be in conflict with point 1! How can a password be memorable if it is completely random characters? One trick is to think of a phrase or sentence that is unique to you and then take the first letter of each word.

For example “My first child is called Jane she was born in January it was a short labour”. Taking the first letter of each word gives us “mfcicjswbijiwasl”. We should try and mix upper and lower case so let’s have every other letter upper case: “mFcIcJsWbIjIwAsL”.

We need some numbers in there so lets put the day of the month either side of the letters. She was born on the 15th of the month so our password now becomes: “1mFcIcJsWbIjIwAsL5″. All that is left is some special characters. These are ones such as !”£$%^&*()_{}:?><., you could always swap certain letters for a special character so instead of having any letter “s” in the word we could swap this with “$”.

Another trick is to surround the password with certain characters such as “{” and “}”. If we do this, our password now becomes:
“{1mFcIcJ$WbIjIwA$L5}” – a 20 character password including upper case, lower case, numerical and special characters in it. This is a very string password, cannot be determined from a dictionary (a popular way of attempting to break passwords) is difficult to remember unless you know the phrase (which only you do) and all from: “My first child is called Jane she was born in January we had awful weather”!

3. Do not use the same password.
Using the same password on multiple sites, for banking, your website and your email is potentially asking for trouble. If you password is compromised hackers will attempt to try you password on other systems just to see if you use the same one. They know many people do so it is worth a shot to them.

4. Do not store passwords.
Although tempting, never store passwords in a software system. Well know hacks have involved gaining access to the passwords stored in FTP programs users use to upload their websites. Some web browsers are not known for storing passwords very securely and if your machine is compromised or worse lost or stolen the next user could have all your details waiting to go with no guessing or hacking required!

5. Keep your user id safe.
This is very similar to your password. Many sites require you to create a user id for using their services. Keep changing your user id from site to site then it is something else needed to get into you account.

6. Never share your password.
Never ever share your password. Are the person’s intentions honest? Even if you trust the person has THEIR machine been compromised allowing hackers to obtain the password to your system? If you can keep to a password that is derived from a phrase known to you there should be no need to write the password down. Doing so weakens the strength of the password. The number of times I have seen a password written down on a post it note and fixed to the computer monitor!

7. Never respond with your password in an email or any request for it i.e. over the telephone.
Email “phishing” scams use fraudulent messages to entice you to reveal your user name and password. They can also be used in order to steal your identity and more. Reputable companies will never ask you to reveal your password over the phone and will normally have a secure procedure for resetting your password.

8. Do not enter your passwords on computers you cannot trust.

Computers open to the general public have to be considered unsafe. Do you know there is no key logging device attached to the system? Is there virus and internet security up to scratch? Computer terminals in internet cafes, computer labs, conference centres, airport lounges and hotels may be convenient but could compromise your security.

Has your website been hacked?

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Website Hack?

Many web hosting companies have had to battle with compromised websites. More and more customers are seeing their site hacked and many of these are suffering from the iframe hack. This is a worldwide phenomenon with many ISPs and web hosting companies reporting these attacks.

The iframe redirects the unwary users to malware sites where more nasties await.

This has affected some big names on the web not just small sites.

What happens?

The hacker injects some malicious code into your site in the form of a hidden IFRAME, which then attempts to infect vistors to your website with various trojans and viruses.  Many people have no idea that their site has been infected until Google detects the problem and displays a warning message to people searching, the “this site may harm your computer”. This is a disaster for your site as anyone seeing this message is unlikely to click and visit!

How can I check my site and how can I stop this happening?

The malware is installed on a website owners machine normally due to bad security. The malware then obtains your websites FTP password stored in the FTP client software you use to upload content. Once this is obtained the hackers upload the iframe directly to your site without your knowledge.

One service to test your site for an infection is www.unmaskparasites.com This is not a perfect check of your site but may give you an indication of problems.

The best measure is to ensure it doesn’t happen in the first place.

  • Never store your website FTP passwords in the FTP client always type them in each time (yes its a hassle but do you really want to put your customers / visitors off?)
  • Regularly change your FTP passwords
  • Make sure your password are at least 20 characters long and use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and at least 3 special characters
  • Backup your site and any data (you have done that right?)
  • Do a test restore of your backup regularly (when you have to you don’t want to find out there is a problem!)
  • Install a firewall and virus program on the machine uploading to your site and keep them updated. Here is a list of possibilities (in no particular order)
  1. Kaspersky Internet Security
  2. F-Secure Internet Security
  3. Symantec Norton Internet Security
  4. BitDefender Internet Security
  5. McAfee Internet Security Suite
  6. Trend Micro Internet Security Pro
  7. Panda Internet Security
  8. Avira Premium Security Suite
  9. Webroot Internet Security Essentials
  • What ever you do use a recognised name (like the ones above) and not an “online service” which may be malware itself
  • Also consider Malwarebytes Antimalware for scanning your computer

If you believe your site has been hacked feel free to contact us.

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