Thoughts, rants and commentary of a simple man

First face to face

Posted on October 18th, 2008 in My Business | No Comments »

Today I had the fortune to meet with a client that I have been working for for quite some time. They are from San Diego but had business to do up in Sacramento so we made it a point to meet face to face and talk. So today I drove to Stockton to meet with them.

I am glad I did.

They are a great team to work with. They have such an amazing understanding of their business and their customers that any developer that ever gets a chance to work with someone like these folks would be blessed by it. They bring such a zest to building a business that just about anyone could learn a thing or two about business building from these two.

Plus the drive was nice. The weather was good. The coffee at Peet’s was good. All was good. Except the number of people at the Peet’s in Stockton. Now that was just insane. I didn’t know that many people could be interested in Peet’s coffee.

But back to the business at hand. I have to say that I am excited to be working for this client. I almost don’t to use the word client because I feel that our relationship is so much more than developer<->client. Regardless, I am getting more and more excited about the work I am doing for them.

I just hope I can take some of their knowledge of their customers with me because that is something you can’t pay for but certainly pays off for all involved.

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How did that happen?

Posted on November 8th, 2006 in General,My Business | No Comments »

I just read an email from iPower about how they were named by Deloitte & Touche as a ‘Rising Star’ on the D&T ‘Technology Fast 500’ list. How did that happen?

It has been my experience (and continues to be my experience) that iPower (or iPowerweb) is an absolute joke when it comes to technology. I used to host all of my sites and client sites with them, until a little over a year ago. That is when my sites kept getting hijacked and they couldn’t figure out how. It would take hours to get the servers cleaned up, and a lot of customers were getting upset. After three of my sites got hit three times in two weeks, and their tech support could only must an ‘I don’t know why or how this happened’, I knew it was time to leave.

Of course, things got horribly worse later on, as my clients, the ones that I recommended iPowerweb to, started getting hit also. After enough of this, I moved all my accounts to GoDaddy (because they are cheaper, nicer, more technologically savvy and they answer their phones… fast). Since then I have set some other things up, but one thing is for absolute certain…

I WILL NEVER USE IPOWERWEB AGAIN AS LONG AS I LIVE!

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Branching out

Posted on May 9th, 2006 in General,My Business | No Comments »

I was thinking of moving my personal blog off of my development company web site and on to its own server domain. I am not sure why I would do this, seeing as I write about as much as a one handed man with no fingers. But I also want to legitimize my business a little more, so I think this is a necessary move.

I am also working on a new template for the main Everah Media Services company web site. I am trying right now to get it fine tuned. Once it is ready, it will rock.

We’ll, I am so swamped right now, I may not ever get around to getting off of this server and on to another. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

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iPowerweb ineptitude good for search placement?

Posted on March 6th, 2006 in General,My Business,Personal Messages | No Comments »

After looking at some site specific statistics for my media website (Everah Media Services Company) I noticed that a lot of my site users are being referred to us by search engines. The most noticeable search query, the words that people are searching for, is ipowerweb iframe hack.

So I began to think
It appears that because iPowerweb cannot seem to secure a server properly that I am now getting traffic to my web site. This same web site was moved away from their servers a few months because of a series of bad mishaps on their part. Let me go into some detail to help those out that may have found their way here by those beloved search engines.

A little background information
Up until a few months ago every web site I built was hosted on an iPowerweb server. Whether it was mine or a client, I called up iPowerweb and set up an account. For a while I had even looked at becoming a reseller of their services.

Then, last fall, users of a client site I developed started to report to the client that they were getting infected with a virus. At first no one knew what was happening. Then, after some investigation, it was realized that the main home page, the index page, had been modified so that at the very end of the page, after the closing HTML tag, there was an iFrame tag that had it’s source on another server (7sir7.com, I believe). The code on the other server was set to link to another web site that tried to place a piece of software on the users machine that would continuously download pornography to the user’s computer.

After a long wait time on hold with iPowerweb Tech Support it was determined that iPowerweb “does not know” how this happened or how to prevent it from happening again. They corrected the problem about 24 hours later and I was back in business. For a few weeks.

A few weeks later the same exact thing happened to the same web site. Except this time, someone had appended all web files (.html, .php, .asp, .html, .txt, etc) with the iFrame tag. I contacted iPowerweb tech support, and after a long wait time on hold again, I received the same diagnosis as before. They did not know how it happened and they weren’t sure they could stop it from happening again.

More information on iPowerweb complete inability to secure their servers can be found on the phpBB forums. Apparently some board users and members had the same problems I had. Their challenges and problems are pretty clearly described on their forums.

Fixed but not fixed
I am of the mind that if you tweak me once, shame on you. Tweak me twice, shame on me. Having learned that iPowerweb is a totally inept web hosting company I switched every one of my sites away from them. I also began to move my client sites away from them. If you haven’t yet, I would suggest you take your site away from them also. They are one of the worst hosts I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with and each day I get happier that I am no longer hosting with them.

The benefits of iPowerweb ineptitude
Of course, without their complete lack of security and total inability to manage a host server I would not get the search engine placement I enjoy today. However, if I had to choose I think I would rather be on the low end of the search results with no server problems instead of vice versa.

On a side note, I have set Everah Media Services up as a host now, so if you are looking for a new host we can help out. In fact, you can email me at robert [at] everah [dot] com if you want more information on what we offer.

Signing off
Until then, may your servers be kept clean and may iPowerweb stop selling junky crud.

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phpBB loses a great one

Posted on November 17th, 2005 in General,My Business,Personal Messages | 3 Comments »

Paul S. Owen, Lead Developer and one of the most active contributors to the phpBB project has resigned his position with the project. More information can be found in the general discussion forum at phpBB.com.

I am not sure about you, but I believe this is major news in the PHP development community. Why? Because one of the lead developers of the best free community application and the best PHP learning tool has left the project, that’s why.

When I was learning PHP, after reading Kevin Yank’s “How to build a database driven website using PHP and MySQL”, the first thing I did was download phpBB. I tore it apart. I looked at the logic, the use of OOP, the coding standards, the heavy use of as many native PHP functions as possible, it’s RegEx function use, it’s simplicity… and I found out that just about everything you need to build a great application was housed within this application. In fact, many of the development principles I follow today stem from phpBB and Paul’s code.

This is indeed a loss to the PHP community and to phpBB users everywhere. However, a fellow’s gotta do what a fellow’s gotta do so I wish Paul the best of luck in whatever he chooses to do. And I thank him. Without his vision I would never have learned to code as I do today.

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iPowerweb no more

Posted on September 9th, 2005 in General,My Business,Personal Messages | 2 Comments »

THIS POST WAS ALSO POSTED AT, AND TAKEN FROM, THE COMPANY BLOG FOR EVERAH MEDIA COMPANY.

After several frustrating incidents with iPower (or iPowerweb) hosting I have decided that I am going to gradually take all of my accounts off their servers. They had been an excellent host up until a few months ago and then all hell began to break loose.

One of my accounts was on a server that got hacked. My site, along with several others hosted on that shared box, had several files rewritten that caused users to recieve virus warnings because my pages were using an iframe to go to infected site. The iFrame was added as part of the hack. This was about five months ago.

Then about a month ago it happened again. This time all files on my server that ended in .html, .htm, .phtml, .php, .php3, .txt and that had an ending “>” bracket were appended to include a javascript that reached out to another site and dragged in an infected file. This problem was fixed after about two days.

Then two week after this attack, it was done again. This was the straw that broke the camels back. This was the third time I had to answer client questions as to why they were getting virus warnings. This was the third time that I had to reload all of my clean files. And this was the first the time it happened to me after iPowerweb gave me their assurance that it would never happen again.

Needless to say, I left them that day. I will say that if you are an iPowerwen customer, check you files that are on your server. Check everything. And if you find something that is not supposed to be there contact their tech support immediately to have it corrected. Then call biling to have your account terminated and transfer to a better host.

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Just keep swimming — Bob Parsons: An inspiring man

Posted on July 11th, 2005 in General,My Business,Personal Messages | No Comments »

Every now and again something comes along that really kicks you in the butt and insistst that you shift your position. Whether it is changes to your family situation, your financial position, your business… whatever, if you are not moving you are stagnant. I heard someone say once that “if you are green you’re growing, if you are ripe you’re rotting”. I suppose that part of me believes that if you set a position to be at, then get there, you better move or you are going to stay there. This, most often, seems to be easier said than done (especially if you comfort zone issues like I do). But no matter the size of your desired comfort zone, sometimes someone says or does something that totally knocks your face in the dirt with a common sense slap of reality that you have no choice. You have to nuke your comfort zone.

Bob Parsons of GoDaddy.com is an inspiring person
Few people can say they have pushed themselves to the brink of complete failure, refuse to lose and make a complete reversal into success. Even fewer can say that they did this twice. I am hoping to become one of the folks that can say they did this just once. Bob Parsons, Founder and President of GoDaddy.com, can say that he did this twice. And aspiring entrepreneurs all over the world are a lot better off for his willingness to discuss it.

Bob just gets it. He is willing to lay it all on the line to reach the levels only he can see in his vision. He understands the success of failure and how to quickly adapt to his surroundings when failure comes upon him. He seems to know how to find the right people to support his vision and get them on board with it so together they achieve success. Man, if only that type of character could be put into a pill everyone in the world would be a successful business owner.

Amazing what change can do
Whether you invoke the change or the change is thrust upon you, change in and of itself seems to make people a lot less comfortable with their current surroundings. Of course this is a statement I make using my own personal experience and I cannot broadly make this assumption. But I do believe it is a fair estimate to say that if you do not react well to change than you are probably way to comfortable or miserable with your current lot in life. For me, I am feeling quite a little itch right now.

You see, my wife has just given birth to our fifth child (and first boy I might add). This is such an exciting time for us because our entire household is enjoying the change. Is it tough being tired and living in a dirty house trying to feed an army of children every day? Yeah. But the joy of having him home with us far outweighs the short term struggles brought on my the change. In fact, I am feeling an ever stronger pull to get my business moving along so I can spend more time with the family. Again, either move with the change or spend a long time wondering what could have been.

Read Bob Parsons’ blog
Make it a point to inspire yourself by reading Bob Parsons’ blog. Even if you are not looking to be in business for yourself, his tales of perseverance and weathering trials will motivate you and inspire you to excel in whatever you are doing. There are two blog posts in particular that I would highly recommend. The first post talks about Bob’s experience with forming, building and sustaining the GoDaddy.com vision amidst several setbacks. The second one sort of catalogs the steps he took in developing Parsons Technology (his first company). Both are excellent reading. You will not be disappointed.

I know it seems silly to use this as an anology, but in Disney’s “Finding Nemo” the seemingly dim-witted Dory used a little song to keep her sights fixed. The gist of the song was “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”. If you don’t believe me ask the nearest four year old. I love that song because it is inspiring and true. No matter what comes at you, just keep swimming.

I hope this helps someone. I know that hearing about how other people have made mistakes, were hit with failure, thought all was lost yet managed to succeed greatly helps me immeasureably. Take care… on second thought, take a risk.

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