Monday, March 10, 2008

So what is it I do??

Quite often during conversations I get asked what I do for a living.

It's not surprising I get blank looks when I reply "I'm a Senior Information Architect for an Internet Design and Development Studio".

I used to say "I'm a computer programmer" - but thats only the tip of what I do... programming is much more than sitting at a computer coding for hours on end.

So what do I do? well, as a business *we* do a lot - but they can be broken down into something very simple....

We (OCVision) Save Clients Money by providing them IT/Internet Solutions.

Personally, I'm part of a motor than runs at OC: Design/Inspiration, Development, Architectural Interfacing (or UI), Data Schematics, Content Management and Indexing are all things that we do collectively to provide the end result....

so, now you know (?!?) what I do for a living.... :-)

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Windows Routing on VPN Connectivity

Having installed a serious amount of VPN systems (Virtual Private Networks) over the last 6 years, I still get asked about the fact that when some users are connected to the VPN - normal Internet access goes extremely slow to non-existent.

The reason for this is because the default routing tables in Windows sends 'all' traffic down the VPN link and to the remote Internet Gateway. Essentially you are surfing the Internet through the VPN link and via the Internet connection at your office/work!

However, this is simply fixed in Windows by going to the properties of the VPN connection (right click, select Properties).

Now select the Networking Tab from the Top and then double click 'Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)'.

From this next window, select 'Advanced' and simply remove the tick from the box which says 'Use default gateway on remote network'.

Now click on OK to everything until you get back to your desktop and then run your VPN connection again - hey presto, all traffic destined for the remote network will go down the VPN, but everything else will use your normal internet gateway connection.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Browser Sizes != Screen Resolution

It is a common misconception that to build a website in 1024px x 768px, thats the size to set your workspace in Photoshop or Fireworks.

However, there are a number of misconceptions that this has - including:

Browsers maximised on a screen of 1024px x 768px aren't actually that size.

  • Screen sizes take into account the size from 'edge' to 'edge' of the screen. That includes your taskbar and any other bars you may have running. When you maximise a browser window at 1024px x 768px - the 'viewable area' maybe be considerably less depending on how many toolbars you have (address bar, google bar, yahoo! bar, links etc), whether you have any scrollbars and also how large your taskbar is.

Users don't always view websites maximised

  • Just because your web-stats tell you that 80% of your visitors are running 1024px x 768px or above, how many of them are running their browsers in a fully maximised state? It's virtually impossible to tell and therefore, building a site which is fixed to work for these settings may significantly impact on the message you are trying to put across.

Then of course, we have mac users who's screen dimensions may also differ and doesn't include as many toolbars etc as Windows users.

So, when designing a website - work to 'browser' sizes and not 'desktop' sizes. To reach out to the maximum number of visitors possible (95%+) - you should design at 765px x 420px

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

How to deal with spam

In this second article regarding spam, phishing and Joe-Jobbing, I am going to look into ways of handling spam prevention by employing some simple techniques.

Do not respond to Chain Letters.
Do not forward the various chain letters you receive since they simply contribute to a list of forwarded users for future harvesting.

Do not reply/bounce spam messages
It is rare, if ever, that a spammer will use his own email address to spam you with - therefore, never reply to the email or use one of the various auto-bouncing programs to send the spammer a 'go away' email. You are simply then spamming some poor Internet user who happens to have been used as the sender email address.

Report spamming IP addresses
It is a fairly simple process to report a spammer's IP address to the appropriate ISP. Firstly, you need to view the 'headers' of the email. Within each email there is hidden information which identifies where the email really came from, these are the headers, and look something like this:

Received: from ( []) by (8.8.5/8.7.2) with ESMTP id LAA20869 for ; Tue, 18 Mar 1997 14:39:24 -0800 (PST)Received: from ( []) by (8.8.5) id 004A21; Tue, Mar 18 1997 14:36:17 -0800 (PST)From: (R.T. Hood)To: Date Date: Tue, Mar 18 1997 14:36:14 PSTMessage-Id: X-Mailer: Loris v2.32Subject: Lunch today?

The lines all mean something:

  • Received: from ( []) by (8.8.5/8.7.2) with ESMTP id LAA20869 for ; Tue, 18 Mar 1997 14:39:24 -0800 (PST)

This identifies that an email is sent from at IP address and was received by with and internal id of LAA20869 for user on Tuesday 18th March 1997 at 14:39:24 -0800.

  • Received: from ( []) by (8.8.5) id 004A21; Tue, Mar 18 1997 14:36:17 -0800 (PST)

This identifies that the mail was sent by at IP to which gave it an ID of 004A21 on Tuesday March 18th 1997 at 14:36:17

The mail was sent by whose real name is R. T. Hood

The mail is addressed to

  • Date: Tue, Mar 18 1997 14:36:14 PST

The mail was sent at 14:36:14 on March 18th 1997

This is the global Message ID that is assigned to the message as it travels around the Internet. Local ID's, such as the ones above, are specific to the mail servers that it travels through prior to getting to it's destination.

  • X-Mailer: Loris v2.32

This identifies that the mail was sent using program Loris version 2.32

  • Subject: Lunch today?

The subject of the email is 'Lunch today?'

You can view email headers yourself by right clicking on an email message in Outlook and selecting 'Options'.

From Outlook Express, open the email, select File > Properties. When the Properties option opens up, select 'Details' and then the 'Message Source' button.

In the above sample, the lowest entry in the header information (i.e. the first) is the originating IP address and with this information, you will be able to report the spammer.

The next step is to simply copy all of the email header information into a new email and send it to your ISP (for example Be warned however, ISP's that I have had dealings with in the past, generally ignore these emails unless you are persistent.

If that's the case and spam starts to become a serious problem for your business, there are other prevention systems that can be employed to dramatically reduce it. Simply get in touch with me for further information.

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