Making Websites Mobile Friendly

Making Websites Mobile Friendly

Making website more mobile friendly – Google article on how to make your website more friendly for those people browsing using a mobile phone. This article from Google looks at both SmartPhones and traditional mobile phones (using WAP, etc.). It then talks about how Googlebot-Mobile trawls your website and the user-agent strings that help it ascertain the information required for mobile phones. The format used being:

[Phone name(s)] (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1;
+http://www.google.com/bot.html)

The article then goes on to talk about:

*/ Websites with only Desktop Experience Content

*/ Websites with Dedicated Mobile Content

List of top things to do to secure your Joomla website

Top things to do to secure your Joomla website

Updated: 3/2/2011 (you can now download and view this as a checklist document for your reference and guidance)

Here’s my list of the top things to do to make sure that your not leaving security vulnerabilities in your Joomla website and that it runs smoothly each and every day…

  • FIRSTLY MAKE SURE YOU ARE RUNNING THE LATEST RELEASED VERSION OF JOOMLA. Login to your Joomla site and look at the version number. If you are not running the latest version, download it and update your site straight away! At the time of writing this (Feb 2011) there are two major versions of Joomla. 1.6 is the latest brand new release and version 1.5.xx. If your site is using a 1.5.xx version make sure you upgrade to the latest version in that range e.g. 1.5.xx to 1.5.xx – do not jump to version 1.6 without a lot of testing and looking at the implications of doing so!
  • If your database tables in MQSQL for Joomla have ‘jos_’ as the prefix, read this first tip:
    Download EasySQL (http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/hosting-a-servers/database-management/2867) and rename the database prefix of our databases within MySQL from the jos_ prefix (if everyone wants more feedback on how to do this leave me a comment and I’ll create a blog entry :) )
  • Create a spreadsheet grid showing all your Joomla websites against modules / version installed in each site with dates and links to latest versions (this should be reviewed and signed off every month)
  • Delete the Administrator account and create an account within each site with Super Administrator rights – use a different user account for each site in case one site gets hacked. Create the Super Administrator account before you logout (having deleted the original Administrator account) – for obvious reasons – you don’t want to lock yourself out!
  • Verify that your DATABASE password is not the same as your ADMINISTRATOR password. The database password is the password you chose when you first installed Joomla and went through the wizard to install the MYSQL database. It’s important that the Joomla Administrator password is not the same. Use an FTP client to login to your website, navigate to your ROOT directory on your site, and view the CONFIGURATION.PHP file. Look for the line that says “var $password = ‘. Check this password is NOT the same as the password you have just used to login as administrator. If it is the same CHANGE YOUR ADMINISTRATOR PASSWORD NOW!You can also check your “var $dbprefix = ” line  is NOT SET TO ‘jos_’ (see my first tip here about renaming this prefix with the EASYSQL product.
  • Change the default editor to NONE and manually add the Tiny Editor to all those named users you want to use the full editor. This way the default users will not be able to use the full editor.
  • Enable SEF from the control panel. This will create nice URL’s that are search engine friendly AND it will stop hackers from searching GOOGLE for index.php?com_<modulename> and getting a list of all websites that use a certain module that has a security issue. After you switch on the SEF under the control panel, make sure you check the links on your site and they are now using proper SEO friendly links rather than then older links.
  • Disable ALL Non used Joomla core modules/components and extensions in each site that are not being used
  • Uninstall all 3rd party modules that are not being used on each site
  • Use an exploit and vulnerability site like inj3ct0r (http://inj3ct0r.com) to  check to see if there have been any security issues with all your third party modules. Go to that website and type in the name of the component to see if there are any issues. Then check the version number returned and that your site is above that version. Also check with the third party component site to check if there are updates that fix the reported issues.
  • Make sure that the admin database MySQL account password is not the same as the Joomla site login
  • Use Akeeba Backup (http://www.akeebabackup.com/software/akeeba-backup.html) in order to completely automate the backup and download of all Joomla websites on a daily basis. Keep a monthly backup that stays static and is not overwritten.
  • Download the full web logs monthly from each Joomla site and use the weblog expert software (http://www.weblogexpert.com/lite.htm) and review the reports for potential attacks and phishing attempts.
  • Install free web monitoring software to alert non availability for each Joomla website and ensure the alerts are SMS’d to make them immediate.
  • Subscribe to the Joomla Security forum (http://feeds.joomla.org/JoomlaSecurityNews) on joomla.org to receive regular updates of critical level fixes and updates.
  • Check the version of PHP your site is currently running. You need to have version 5.x installed. Login to your site and select HELP -> SYSTEM INFO. Look for PHP Version.. it should say something like 5.2.xx. If you are still using PHP version 4.x on your site you need to upgrade the PHP for your site. This can usually be done via CPANEL or by contacting your ISP via their support system.
  • Make sure that each sites configuration.php is set to READ ONLY once we have it set
  • Ensure that the Joomla installation folder is deleted for each site
  • Make sure that every third party modules and components have the correct  php coding structure at the top of the file:// no direct access
    defined(‘_JEXEC’) or die(‘Restricted access’); 

    This will check and use the built in Joomla security which is the official method for security with Joomla websites. To do this you will have to login to your site using an FTP client and look at each third party component.

  • Make sure the .htaccess file in the root of each site is set correctly – this means renaming ‘htaccess.txt’ to ‘.htaccess’ on Apache servers and uncommenting code within the file that stops XML access issues. Please note that .htaccess is usually marked as a hidden file, so you may need to set an option in your FTP to view hidden files on your site.You should also add ‘IndexIgnore *‘ (without the speechmarks and capitalised as this) to the bottom of the .htaccess file.
  • Put the following into each sites php.ini to stop SQL Injections:
allow_url_fopen = OFF
disable_functions = show_source, system, shell_exec, passthru, exec, phpinfo, popen, proc_open
  • Finally make sure you delete all accounts that are not required, and you regularly review all users allowed into the system for security permissions.

All the above information has been gleaned from various videos and websites and considered ESSENTIAL within the Joomla community as the MINIMUM required to keep Joomla websites protected.

View this article here

New Google search options

More Compact Google Search Options

Google used to group the options from the search sidebar so you can quickly find the filters related to location, visited pages and the different ways to present search results. All these groups have been merged and Google only kept the group that lets you restrict the results to recent web pages. Google also removed the “related searches” view which showed a list of related searches at the top of the page and allowed you to compare the results for different searches.

The more interesting options now available include:

Wonder Wheel

A kind of mindmap of your search with links that you can follow easily with related information on the right hand side of the search window. Good option for drilling down into information or looking at the search in a different way.

Google WonderWheel Search Results

Timeline

The Timeline search view shows a graph of your search term over time with key dates and events over time. You can see from this view the popularity of the search over a period of time. You can also click into the various date segments and drill down further into the information.

As you drilldown into each segment – it expands to show a more detailed timeline of the search term. Again you can drilldown even further. Good for finding date related search information.

Google Timeline Search

ScreenCasting Video information

Some of my general notes about producing screencasting videos for YouTube, etc. using CamStudio and other products. There are settings at the bottom that describe the best settings for CamStudio and sending screencasts to YouTube.

CamStudio

ScreenCasting and VIDEO Production
==========================

Good forums for discussions
———————————–
http://www.tinkernut.com/forum/video-recording-software/what-screen-recording-software-do-you-use

Groups
———
http://groups.google.com/group/thescreencastinghandbook

Editors
———
http://www.bobyte.com/AviTricks/index.asp
Download: http://www.bobyte.com/AviTricks/GetAviTricks.asp

WinMorph – WinMorph is a high performance morphing and warping software
http://www.debugmode.com/winmorph/

Wink – Video tutorial creator and screen capture software
http://www.debugmode.com/wink/

Fraps is a universal Windows application that can be used with games using DirectX or OpenGL graphic technology.
http://www.fraps.com/

Windows Movie Maker v2.1
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/updates/moviemaker2.mspx

http://screenr.com/ (up to 5 mins with sound and connection to Twitter)

I really like Screenr.  If you haven’t tried it out yet, you should give it a whirl.  Here’s what I like best:

* Screenr is super easy to use and there’s nothing to download. You just click the record button on the website and you’re recording your screen activity and your narration.

* The image quality is pretty darn good.  You can even watch the screencasts back at HD-quality and they look great.

* Screenr gives you multiple ways to use your screencasts.  It works with Twitter and the screencasts play as Flash on the web.  You can also upload the screencasts to YouTube.  And you can even download the videos as MP4 files.  They also look nice on the iPhone.  All these options give you a number of ways to reach your learners.

* My favorite…there’s no branding on the downloaded MP4 files.  Since you can download the videos, you’re free to use them as you wish.  That means you can use it in your elearning courses without looking like one of those MLS soccer players.  Go Sounders!

* And of course, Screenr is free.  Free is always good.

TipCam – Record and share your screen in a video, it also has a zoom facility
http://www.utipu.com/app/

tipcam

Jing – record straight from the Web
http://www.jingproject.com/

jing screencasting

ScreenToaster – free online screen recorder
http://www.screentoaster.com/

BBFlashBack (and Express) – Record a window, region or full screen. BB FlashBack Express free screen recorder has an easy to use interface that makes it a breeze.
http://www.bbsoftware.co.uk/bbflashbackexpress/home.aspx?cc=true

http://photobucket.com/ (mixing video)
http://animoto.com/
http://jaycut.com/ (create videos)
http://www.onetruemedia.com/ (photos and videos into awesome slideshows)
http://editorone.ideum.com/ (timeline based video editor)

For Ubuntu – RecordMyDesktop
http://recordmydesktop.sourceforge.net/downloads.php

Video Captioning
———————
http://captiontube.appspot.com/ (YouTube adding captions free – login with Google user)

Converters
————–
Format Factory is a multifunctional media converter
http://www.formatoz.com/

AviSplit is an application for cutting and rejoining AVI/DivX files
http://www.bobyte.com/AviSplit/GetAviSplit.asp

AviScreen is an application for capturing screen activity (ScreenCast) in the form of AVI video or images
http://www.bobyte.com/AviScreen/InstAviScreenPro.zip

AUDIO
———
http://remixer.clubcreate.com/v1/scion/launch.html?scion
http://aviary.com/tools/myna
http://www.looplabs.com/

http://www.jamglue.com/

http://madringtones.org/
http://www.chirbit.com/
http://www.soundation.com/

Publisize
———–
http://showmedo.com/

VIDEO Intro makers
————————-
Animoto.com – create FREE videos from images and videos
monstertemplate.com – templates for Flash intros
Adobe AfterEffects – add effects for your intros
http://www.videocopilot.net/products/opticalflares/features/plug-in_overview/

Settings
———-

CamStudio settings (http://camstudio.org/)
——————————————————
640 x 360
856 x 480 = mid resolution
1080 x 720 (is roughly HD)
1280 x 720 = high def

Set watermark…
Options: hide flashing rectangle during recording

Autopanning = true (speed about 40 or 200)

Video options:
Techsmith capture codec or divx (256 bit rate on config)
Or can use Camstudio Lossless Codec v1.4 and use LZO compression
best compression under config
100 quality
key frames = 200
cap frames every 40ms (or 33 and 30fps)
playback rate = 25 fps

Or can use:
Key frames 30 frames
Capture frame every 50ms
Playback rate 20 fps

Audio
22.05Khz Stereo 16bit
PCM compression (or LAME MP3 needs to be downloaded)
22050 Hz 16 bit stereo

To convert to smaller size use MediaCoder: http://www.mediacoderhq.com/dlfull.htm

Tips for Google Wave

The Google Wave logo

Google Wave

If you want to see what’s happening on Google Wave type:

with:public

in the Search area.

If you want to see what’s happening on Google Wave specific to a topic type:

with:public cameras

in the Search area (that’s wave’s about cameras in the this instance).

Plus the following may help:

  1. Read Gina Trapanis online book / help “The complete guide to Google Wave
  2. Double click and go into EDIT mode and format your replies to stand out
  3. Add an attachment to the WAVE – click the paperclick when in EDIT mode (If you have GEARS installed you can even add a file from your local drive)
  4. Select the text and add a LINK to the entry
  5. Add an IMAGE or VIDEO by clicking the G+ Icon and Search
  6. Add some built in GADGETS to to your Wave (Yes/no/maybe or the MAP gadget)
  7. COPY a blip to a NEW Wave to create a NEW Wave (Click the timestamp – select Copy to New Wave)
  8. Make a WAVE public by adding public@a.gwave.com to the contacts (Big + on the Wave)
  9. Search for WAVES using: “with:public:<search term>” (<search term> is what you’re looking for!)

The Prince II exam is changing…

Prince II the project management standard prevalent in the UK is changing. The new exam will not focus on the tedious three hour exam that you have to sit through (I had to do it and it was not enjoyable). Even though this exam is an open book exam, it’s still fraught as the answers can be subjective and generally you do not have enough time to prepare your answer.

Read my PrinceII tiddlywiki information with all matters relating to PrinceII. This is a downloadable and editable wiki that can run on your own PC for PrinceII information at your fingertips! I have also created a PrinceII product process matrix that helps to understand what documents are required and which process in PrinceII creates and maintains them.

This video helps to explain both the current weaknesses in the exam system for PrinceII plus the reasoning behind the new exam structure.