Backup-issues

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Well, some of you might remember October 16th and the backup scheme I installed following that dreadful day. I set up cronjobs and mailed the zipfiles to a Gmail account. Pretty slick and I was quite happy with it.

That was right up until the day Gmail started bouncing my mails. After an investigation it seems Gmail flagged my zipfiles as a virus. The reason: a high compression rate and somehow that is considered to be related to a virus.

So last night it got me thinking. I had a fairly decent zip-class, perhaps I could throw in a mailer-class and a database backup class (written for my old CMS). That way I could build my own backup software and drop the other script that was sending unaccepted zip-files.

Well, today was the day of the initial tries and after some startup errors (paths are really different when started as a cronjob) all seems to be working well. The size is only 120KB while the other script was a mere 2000KB. So that is a drop of a whopping 94% in size.

Now I can clean some things up and install it on all my subdomains. :-D Now for a question to the readers of this blog: What would you consider to be a good backup scheme? Every 56 hours? (That would make it three times a week: 7 days times 24 hours equals 168 hours in a week. 168 hours divided by three would make it every 56 hours). Let me know alright? =)

Important security updates and system restore

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It has been a hectic week. The user ‘solar-flare’ over at the Pixelpost forum informed us that an exploit has been found for Pixelpost. Further investigation by the development team confirmed this exploit and the fact it has been around since at least version 1.5.

We have released an immediate security update in the form of version 1.7.1 at the Pixelpost homepage. Everybody running an older version is strongly advised to upgrade since the exploit actively tries to get both the admin username and the password (the latter still being in the encrypted format). We also strongly suggest changing the password or the username (or both) after upgrading just to make sure since we don’t know how many blogs have been targeted with this exploit.

The second part of the title, ‘system restore’ is more lighthearted. Normally I would disable system restore right after a new install. Two years ago, the date of my last clean install I did this for all the drives except the C:\ drive which hosts Windows XP. A decision I was quite happy with today. I finally setup my computer to use Activesync and connected my HTC Touch.

Windows detects a new device and starts making registry changes all of a sudden. This makes Kaspersky very nervous and several pop-ups come up asking me to confirm the change. They just kept on coming and then I clicked ‘Deny change’ instead of the wanted ‘Allow change’. So needless to say the mobile device wasn’t installed properly so I decided it was time for a reboot.

Once rebooted my system didn’t display the taskbar anymore and came to a grinding stop, pretty much showing only the wallpapers. x-( So, wanting to remove the new Activesync I loaded up the safe mode and guess what? I could do a system restore. =D

After going back one day and another reboot, the system was back up again. I never thought I might say this but today Microsoft has saved my ass. =D

HTC Touch

Christmas 2007 has past and it is time to at least try to get back in the normal rhythm. So today is the day I try to figure out how my new phone works. I upgraded my SPV C600 (Orange-branded) to a brand new HTC Touch. First impression of the Touch were absolutely fabulous. Slick design, light-weight and with a stylish black color.

However, there was this matter of importing my contacts from the old phone to the new one. The last time I had to manually re-enter all the contacts into my smartphone. I still have vivid memories of that gruesome day. I figured this time, moving from one smartphone to another, things should be easier. A quick Google search confirmed this and led me to the XDA-Developers forum were the user dotfred made a post about the PIM Backup v2.7 program.

Now transferring the contacts was just a matter of a few clicks: backup on storage card, transfer storage card to new phone, import and be happy. B-) It even managed to import appointments, old text-messages and caller history.

The XDA-Developers forum has tons of nice software for the HTC Touch so hopefully I can find more useful gems there. If you own a windows mobile based smartphone it is worth a visit.

For those of you who want to know what the fuss is about, check out this youtube video.

Cron jobs for backups

Since I’ve lost some of my work (read about it) I have been thinking about automatic backups. A quick look in my controlpanel showed me that I was able to make jobs for Cron, a time-based scheduling service in Unix-like computer operating systems.

Since I have one main domain and two subdomains I figured it would be nice to have one backup with all the files and one with all the databases. Unfortunately due to the nature of the PLESK controlpanel I was forced to use a file backup script and a database backup script for each domain. I’m still thinking about ways to combine all three sites, but I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to do so. :-/

Nevertheless I managed to setup the cron jobs and now a daily dump of each database is send to my Gmail account. The file structure for each site is send on a weekly basis. Some might wonder why I use a Gmail acount. Well, there are several reasons for this: 1) in the last issue I had my normal e-mail was also reset to a previous state; 2) lot’s of space (around 4.5 gigabyte of storage).

While I was updating stuff on the FTP I also updated to WordPress 2.3.1, as well as some new plugins. I love the notification of new plugin versions in WordPress. It makes keeping the blog up to date so much easier.

My blog is back!

After some furious hacking, uploading, database upgrading and some more stuff I rather forget I managed to get my blog up to date again.

There was this small matter of the missing postings but thanks to Google Cache this could be easily resolved. So one website is almost back online. There is this small matter of categories and tags that I have to resolve. Ow and I lost all my comments since Sept, 25 so that sucks.

I have to be honest: this is the easiest one to get online. I also have lost a complete subdomain with an extensive database and a lot of hacking. That is one website I won’t get back anytime soon. In the mean time the backup is downloading as we speak.

My hosting company has a hard time figuring out what has happened. They couldn’t assure me that it won’t happen again, so the new motto is: backup often! Now on to the next site…. x-(