Hosting Library

Website Safety, Cyberbullying, Data Theft, Malicious Software

By on August 30th, 2011 in Hosting Library with No Comments »

Website Safety: Protecting Children Online

The Internet is a wondrous world where the possibility to get a hold of new information is practically endless. As such, it is an ideal educational tool, but because of human predation, a lot of what is on the Internet is also dangerous and poisonous to children. For that reason, it is important that parents not only protect their kids (especially younger ones) online, but also educate them about the risks of surfing the Internet. Some hazards that kids can face when going on the Internet include sex predators, malicious software, cyberbullies, information theft and lewd content like porn websites. While laws have also been passed to shield kids from the slings and arrows of the Internet, the first line of defense should start at home with competent parenting.

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is defined simply as the misuse of both technology and information to promote intentional, repetitive, malignant conduct by a person or a group, with the intent being the hurting of other people. When a child is being cyberbullied, it is likely that the child will not volunteer this information because of shame, so it is important that parents know some of the signs of cyberbullying. Some signs include fears of going online, hiding or clearing of the computer screen when parents enter, and even more extreme signs like a loss of appetite or sleeping difficulties. As with many things in life, early detection is the key to stopping a problem, and some tips for parents on how to approach their kids about cyberbullying include reassuring a child to continue helping them and even making appointments on the child’s behalf with specialists like counselors.

Data Theft

Data theft is another problem for kids using the Internet. It is characterized by the stealing of personal information such as addresses, passwords, Social Security information, credit card numbers and other personal information. Children, in contrast with adults who may know more about the need to protect personal information online, are particularly vulnerable to data theft because of their inferior knowledge when it comes to identifying what forms of malicious, data-theft programs are. Children also are more trusting than adults due to the naivety of childhood. Parents can do their fair share to teach children about data theft by telling them about antivirus software and how to strengthen the complexity of online passwords.

Malicious Software

Malicious software consists of things like phishing frauds, viruses, adware, malware and spyware. A child’s computer can be at risk from the various kinds of malicious software by breaches of security and by unauthorized access of said computer’s files. Children are known to be at increased risk because of their tendency to engage in downloading and link-sharing. Parents should therefore teach their children about being exceptionally careful when opening e-mail and never opening e-mail from a sender they do not recognize. Parents should also tell their children never to click on a link they do not recognize.

Inappropriate Content

Inappropriate content is basically content like porn, hate-propaganda sites (like Black Panthers, Louis Farrakhan, etc.) and violent sites. Still, the definition of sites that promote inappropriate content can be seen as varying based on the age of a child and even the respective opinion of the child’s parents. Unfortunately, children may be innocently surfing along, just minding their own business when they may just happen to stumble onto inappropriate sites. If parents are serious about shielding their children’s young and innocent eyes from content they deem inappropriate, they can always install filtering and blocking software that simply does not allow a browser to visit choice sites. Simultaneously, parents may also want to tell their children not to visit sites that show porn or feature hate speech, and demand for children to simply obey.

Predators

Predators can be sexual predators or other kinds of predators, and they are mainly lurking in chat rooms or online social networks. Online predators are a severe risk to children because of the very real danger that initial contact with them may well lead to physical harm and even death; for this reason, online predators are possibly the most baneful of all the threats to children on the Internet. A technique that predators use to get close to children is to simply befriend them on places like chat rooms, but this initial contact can quickly turn lewd and highly sexualized. Children are vulnerable to this because they are too open, too trusting and likely curious about getting in touch with people over the Internet. Parents should simply tell their children that online, there are pedophiles who want to sexually assault them, and they should be on guard whenever a conversation with someone turns sexual.

To learn more about online dangers, hit these links.

Discussion on Online Predators (PDF): This document features information on many aspects of online predators.
Sex Predators: This website talks about how easy it is for pedophiles to connive these days.
Techniques of Predators: This website features a look at the techniques predators use against defenseless and innocent children.
Frustrating Online Predators: This website provides advice to parents on how they can thwart sexual predators online.
Predator Myths Debunked (PDF): This document debunks myths about online sex predators to present a better understanding of how to foil them.
Tips (PDF): This website offers actionable tips for parents against the dangers of the Internet.
What is Cyberbullying?: This website identifies what cyberbullying is, precisely.
Warning Signs Information (PDF): This document identifies the various warning signs of cyberbullying that parents can look for.
Laws against Cyberbullying: This website features a news article that looks at cyberbullying legislation.
Signs of Cyberbullying: This website features information on signs to look for if your child is being cyberbullied.
Telltale Signs of Cyberbullying: This website features details on what signs to look for in kids being cyberbullied.
News on Cyberbulling Legislation: This brief news article talks about more cyberbullying legislation.
Decoding Cyberbullying: This website features information on how parents can decode cyberbullying in kids.
Picking up on Cyberbullying (PDF): This document features all the signs parents should look out for with regards to cyberbullying.
Protecting Kids from Adult Content: This website offers tips and resources to monitor and filter content online.
Protecting Kids: This website has tons of information on online dangers and how to protect children.
Eluding Identity Theft: This website provides tips on eluding online identity theft.
Tips on Cyber Security (PDF): This document provides information on how cyber security can be improved.

Ultimate Guide to Website Domain Names

By on July 26th, 2011 in Hosting Library with No Comments »

A domain refers to local sub-networks or descriptors for websites, such as www.irs.gov. A local area network (LAN) consists of a group of clients and servers under control of a central security database. Users authenticate their identification through a domain controller or centralized server, instead of authenticating to individual servers and services on a continual basis. Individual servers and services automatically accept the user based on the domain controller’s approval.

An Internet domain filters through every network address, including website addresses, e-mail addresses, and various Internet protocols, such as FTP, IRC, and SSH. All electronic devices sharing a URL will also share the same domain. In the website address www.irs.gov, “irs” is the domain name. All website owners must obtain a domain by purchasing it from an accredited domain registrar. Internet domains are assigned an organization level. For instance, www.irs.gov has a domain ending of “.gov.” This domain ending falls into a category known as the Top Level Domains (TLDs). Top Level Domain endings are the most general and basic segment of a URL and may include familiar endings, such as “.com,” “.gov,” “.edu,” “.org,” and “.net.”

Domain names function to enhance the Internets addressing scheme. Each computer has a unique Internet protocol (IP) address, or a varying string of four numbers separated by periods, such as 185.066.0.3. A domain name system assigns a unique name to each numeric IP address to help Internet users find each available website without memorizing IP addresses. Domain names help to redirect traffic to the right website without getting lost in cyberspace.

A domain name adds credibility for small businesses. Domain name owners will have their company presence look professional. Publishing a website through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or other free Web hosting site will create a generic URL, such as www.thecurrentisp./-thecompanyname. This kind of address may discourage buyers and promote suspicion for prospective clientele. The Internet can bring a treasure trove of business if the company can manage to prove trustworthy. Why would consumers trust a company that refuses to buy its own domain name?

Business can select a good domain name by following some general guidelines. For instance, selecting a good extension, such as a “.com” domain ending, will help direct traffic to the main website without memorizing less than common extensions. Keep the domain name less than 7 characters for easy memory. Make sure to select an easily spelled domain name. Describe the company’s function when possible, and use descriptive keywords to optimize search engine ranking. Avoid purchasing domain names from unaccredited domain registrars to promote the company’s credibility.

Domain name extensions ending in “.aero,” “.biz,” “.com,” “.coop,” “.info,” “.museum,” “.name,” “.net,” “.org,” or “.pro” are offered through different competing companies known as registrars. A registrar requires domain name consumers to provide contact and technical information in order to properly register on the domain name system. The registrar will track these records and submit technical information to a registry. A registry provides other computers connected to the Internet with the necessary information to send e-mail or direct to a specific website. Domain name consumers must enter into a registration contract with the registrar, which lays out the terms of service. The registrar will publicly display all contact information to the public for consumer protection, include trademark and other laws. Each registrar offers initial and renewal registrations in one-year increments and may include decade-long packages.

Registrars determine the price it charges for registering domain names, and these prices vary significantly from registrar to registrar. Some registrars offer discounted and free registration bundled with other offers, such as web hosting. Domain name sponsors can be changed every 60 days after the initial registration. Only accredited registrars by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) have the authorization to register domain names ending in “.aero,”

Only accredited registrars by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) are authorized to register “.aero,” “.biz,” “.com,” “.coop,” “.info,” “.museum,” “.name,” “.net,” “.org,” or “.pro.” Some of these accredited registrars offer services through various resellers to provide assistance in completing the registration process. Some of the popular domain name extensions include: “.com” for commercial-related websites, “.edu” for accredited educational institutions, “.gov” for government-sponsored agencies, and “.org” for organizations, associations, and federations.

 

The Visual History of Computers

By on July 26th, 2011 in Hosting Library with No Comments »

Resources Covering the History of Modern Computing in Photos

Columbia University Computing History

The first truly modern computing machines were invented decades ago and their predecessors date back centuries. It is therefore unlikely that current students of computing or modern computer users have ever even heard the names of early computing devices – let alone know what they actually looked like.

The following document provides a list of resources that offer photographs, videos, drawings and other renderings which create a rich visual history of the modern computer. Please feel free to contact 34SP.com with any additional resources that should be added to the list.

  • An Illustrated History of Computers Part I – An excellent visual computer resource with photos covering the period from the abacus to the Pascaline.
  • An Illustrated History of Computers Part II – Covers the period from the stepped reckoner to Tabulating Machine Company.
  • An Illustrated History of Computers Part III – Begins with the Harvard Mark I computer which was built as a partnership between Harvard and IBM in 1944 and continues through integrated circuits – also known as ”silicon chips”.
  • An Illustrated History of Computers Part IV – Starts with the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator also known as ENIAC and concludes with the personal computer.
  • Computer History Collection of the Smithsonian – The Smithsonian National Museum of American History information page on the Computer History Collection. Includes photos of the IAS Computer circa 1952, the Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8 circa 1965, and the Altair 8800 Computer circa 1975 among others.
  • Computer History Exhibits Photo Tour from Stanford University Computer Science including links to photos of the Apollo Program Guidance Computer and Logic Modules, the IBM PC Model 5150, and the IBM Card Programmed Calculator (CPC) circa 1960.
  • The Obsolete Technology Website – Has several highly informative and interesting sections on the site. You can view photos of over 100 old computers which can be accessed via a timeline. You can also view vintage computer ads to see how the computers were marketed back in the day.
  • Time Magazine Photo Gallery of Vintage Computers – An excellent series of 20 photos beginning with the NEAC 2203 circa 1960 which was manufactured by the Nippon Electric Company (NEC). You can also see a photo of a punch card created by IBM in 1937 for use by the Social Security Administration. Be sure to see the core memory photo which shows rings of ferrite suspended in a grid of wires which could retain information even when the electricity was turned off – a huge breakthrough at the time.
  • Photos from Core Memory: A Visual Survey of Vintage Computers – A series of 16 photos taken by photographer Mark Richards at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. The photos capture historically important computers which are excerpted from Mr. Richard’s book.
  • Vintage Home Computers – A cornucopia of home personal computers used for gaming from Retro Gaming Collector. Think: Atari, Commodore, and TRS-80 type machines. A good collection of photos and information. Also includes the specifications of each machine.
  • The Old Computer Museum Online – A collection of computers and photos grouped chronologically from the 1950′s to 1999. You can also view computers by country – which is a fairly rare feature.
  • Old-Computers.com – You can browse computers by name, manufacturer or year. Other interesting historical computer information such as online owner’s manuals for selected machines, vintage advertising and vintage television ads. A deep site with a wide variety of great photos and historical information.
  • Photo Gallery Page of the Vintage Computer Festival (VCF) – A series of photographs of modern day collectors who have brought their vintage computer equipment to various editions of the Vintage Computer Festival. Photos include such items as: a Sharp PC-5000 new in the box, a fully functioning Control Data Corporation Cyber 960, and a complete line up of vintage Apple products including an original Lisa.
  • Vintage Computing and Gaming – A wide ranging blog with an enormous amount of computer history and photographs. Recent articles include information and photographs of the DEC Rainbow 100, an original Apple I, an amazing early version of a touchpad computer named the Atari CX77 Touch Tablet, and information about vintage computer software and emulators.
  • The Vintage Computer – A well documented collection of vintage personal computers. Simply view the left hand navigation list and select the manufacturer and model you are interested in. Choose from among Apple II machines, Commodore hardware, Atari, Compac, Heathkit, IBM, MITS, and TRS-80′s to name just a few. Almost all computers have detailed specifications and photographs.
  • The Classic Computer Magazine Archives – Links to an array of magazines from the 1970′s to the 1990′s including: Antic Magazine, published 1982-1990; STart magazine, dedicated primarily to Atari ST computers, published 1986-1991; Creative Computing Magazine, published 1974-1985; and Compute! Magazine, published 1979-1994; the list also includes many others. A great historical resource.
  • The Antique Chip Collectors Page – Photos and information on collectible computer chips including: the Intel 4004, MOS 6502, Motorola 6800, the RCA 1802 and Rockwell PPS-4, also the NEC uPD751 and National Semiconductor IMP-00A. Most series of chips include the chip name, the chip package, the on-chip identification, a photograph and general comments.
  • Facts and Stories about Antique Computers – An amazing list of resources gathered together by Mr. Ed Thelen.
  • Digital 60 Manchester – The Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM), nicknamed Baby, was the world’s first stored-program computer. Developed by Frederic C. Williams and Tom Kilburn at the University of Manchester, it ran its first program on June 21, 1948. This is a website devoted to the preservation of this history.
  • IBM Turns 100 – A nice visual retrospective from CNN on the 100th anniversary of IBM. The company was founded on June 16, 1911, in New York City as the un memorably named Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. In 1924 the company was renamed International Business Machines – or for short just IBM. Includes photos of Harvard’s original Mark I computer from 1944, the IBM 701, and IBM’s first ever desktop computer – the IBM 1130.
  • Columbia University Timeline of Computing – Has a very nice photo of the world’s most powerful computer in 1954, the IBM Naval Ordnance Research Calculator (NORC). The NORC was considered the very first supercomputer. It was constructed at Columbia University’s Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory between 1950 and 1954. You can also view a number of interesting photos on the page entitled The Columbia University Computer Center in 1965. Contains photos of an IBM 7094, an IBM 7040, the keypunch room, and photos of the magnetic tape storage area.
  • The IBM Archives – Contains a wealth of information on the company and its products over the years with many accompanying photographs. A good starting point may be the section on IBM mainframes which contains photos of pristine installations (perhaps marketing photos) for many of the early IBM mainframe models.
  • Historic Computer Images – A great series of U.S. military computer photos compiled by Mike Muuss. Several early and large military mainframes and personnel.
  • Starring the Computer – Just for fun here is a long list of motion pictures and television programs that have used a computer as part of the story line. For example you can view the long list of films and television episodes which used the IBM AN/FSQ-7 computer to dramatize their story. The AN/FSQ-7 was the largest computer ever built and was used to track and intercept enemy bombers during the Cold War. You can see it in action in the futuristic ‘Westworld’, the classic war strategy thriller ‘War Games’, ‘Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me’ and numerous television episodes as well.

 

Vintage Computer Videos

U.S. Army Photo
  • The EDSAC Film (1951) – Simply unbelievable moving images capturing one of the very first computers at work. If you have never seen an old-school computer performing its calculations, this is the film to see. Using paper ribbons as input, the EDSAC is seen from start to finish and narrated by Professor M.V. Wilkes.
  • Videos about Computer Artifacts, Input from Experts, and Tours of Computer Installations – Links to a series of videos showing vintage computer equipment which has been restored. Included is video of the IBM 1401 and IBM 1403 machines, the IBM 650 and the IBM 305.

 

Greylisting

By on May 26th, 2011 in Hosting Library with No Comments »

So what is greylisting?

When an email server attempts to send email to your account we send back a specific error code, indicating that we are temporarily unable to accept the mail. This doesn’t mean your email is lost though.

Normal email servers know to retry again, almost immediately. On the second mailing attempt our system knows that this is probably genuine and accepts the email. We also record the IP address of the email server and ‘whitelist’ it. This means we then accept all future email with no further checks.

Most spam is sent through compromised PCs or mailing systems setup to send as much spam as possible, so they will not correctly handle the temporary error code. The server is simply trying to send as much spam out as possible and as a result doesn’t try to resend the spam email to you after receiving the temporary error code.

A slight delay is introduced with this system, but not much! When we reject the initial email connection it is then down to the sending mail server to retry sending the email. The actual period of delay between the first and second attempt is down to the sending server. As an example 34SP.com servers retry after 20 minutes. Other email servers may be faster or slower than this, but all genuine mail servers will retry.

This delay only happens once for each of your regular contacts. If the same email server sends mail to you again they will not be challenged. All successful mail server connections are logged (with the IP address of the mail server stored) and held for a 36 day period. This is a rolling 36 day period from the time of the last mailing, so if you have someone that regularly mails you it is unlikely that their email server will be challenged more than once.

For greater peace of mind our system is also capable of running whitelists on an IP address. If someone mailing you is having difficulties, we can easily whitelist their IP address. Their email will then no longer be challenged and will be automatically accepted.

It should be stressed that all genuine email comes from servers that are correctly configured and can handle this system.

The full details regarding the greylisting method can be found in the whitepaper by Evan Harris.

FTP Security Measures

By on April 26th, 2011 in Hosting Library with No Comments »

It is likely our advanced FTP security lock is enabled on your account. This provides an additional layer of security to your account and blocks FTP, SCP and SFTP from any malicious activity. It takes only 60 seconds to reverse.
 

How Do I Reverse This Lock?

  1. Login to our site https://account.34sp.com/login.
  2. Select ‘Sites’ from the list of available options.
  3. Click on the hosting account you want to update.
  4. Then click on the ‘FTP Settings’ icon.

You can then set three options for the account:

Unlocked: Upload access to your account is permitted on a permanent basis. We only recommend this if your password is truly secure (random characters) and you have checked your local pc carefully for virus’s and trojans. At this time we must warn users that your account is vunerable to attack if the FTP lock is not enabled.

Unlocked Today: Upload access is temporarily enabled. Access is automatically disabled at midnight.

Locked: Upload access is not permitted to the account. This will affect all upload access to the account: FTP, SCP and SFTP. Changes to the setting take immediate effect.
 

I Am Still Having Issues Accessing FTP, I Am Getting A Login Error?

If we detected an attack against your account, we will have randomised your FTP password. This is another easy change to make.

  1. Login to our site https://account.34sp.com/login.
  2. Select ‘Sites’ from the list of available options.
  3. Click on the hosting account you want to update.
  4. Then click on the ‘FTP Settings’ icon.
  5. Enter a new secure password (random numbers and letters) and confirm.
  6. Press ‘Update’ to update your password.

 

Why Has 34SP.Com Enabled This Lock And Changed My Details?

In the recent past we have seen an increase in the number of attempted FTP attacks against 34SP.com hosted accounts. This also corresponded with attacks at other hosts. The attacks were uniquely over FTP, supplying valid username and password data. Moreover these attacks were made against the most up-to-date FTP server systems, ruling out an exploit of the FTP server. Additionally, only a small fraction of users on each server experienced an issue. The very small proportion of users targeted indicates that this was not a server exploit.

The attackers had gleaned FTP connection data from our users. 34SP.com does not store this internally, only the hosting server stores this, and is protected using the most secure methods (unix password file). Based on reports from users and externally to 34SP.com we are led to conclude at this time, that the login details were compromised externally. E.g. keyloggin by virus’ on user machines, exploited FTP programs etc. This is not to say the user machines themselves initiated the attack.
 

How should I proceed from here?

  1. Ensure your password is secure. Dictionary words are not secure. A random mix of numbers and letters, upto 13 characters, is the most secure. This prevents brute force attacks.
  2. Keep your passwords safe and secure. Do not hand them out to anyone else. Do not store them on any computer system.
  3. Run regular virus scans of your machines. If at all possible use multiple virus scanning tools, as occasionally some tools can miss certain exploits.
  4. Leave your 34SP.com FTP security lock enabled at all times. Most users should only need to make FTP changes from time to time. After making changes always re-enable your FTP security lock.
  5. When you do upload files, do so using SCP or SFTP, using a program like WinSCP

Atomic Secured Linux and Mod_Security

By on March 26th, 2011 in Hosting Library with No Comments »

Every single hour 34SP.com is subjected to hundreds and thousands of attempts to hack and exploit our shared hosting systems. These incursions are largely automated attacks based on known exploits and are not personally motivated against our users. 34SP.com is constantly looking to ensure the very highest levels of security on our managed hosting platforms. Without taking adequate preventative steps, these attacks would lead to compromised hosting accounts and servers. The results of successful attacks can cause significant damage to a website: spam attacks launched from exploited websites, stolen login data, broken websites, overloaded or failing servers, illegal phishing and fraud attacks, and much more.

To combat these ever increasing threats on our shared hosting systems, we use a tool called ASL: Atomic Secured Linux. This is also available to our VPS and dedicated server clients too as an optional extra. ASL provides a comprehensive suite of security features that guard against the most common and problematic attacks. Moreover the system is also connected to a central database for routine updates. The core system of ”Mod Security” (mod_sec) checks for updates on the hour, so that the very latest threats are added as soon as possible – this helps guard against what are known as zero day threats.

Since our introduction of ASL in 2009, we have been able to dramatically reduce the incidents of hacked and exploited websites for our shared hosting customers – including php hosting, WordPress hosting, and MySQL hosting. However, mod_sec can occasionally incorrectly block a genuine web action, this is known as a false positive. False positives occur when a number of factors combine to cause the security system to incorrectly believe a benign action is an attack. Generally these events are a rarity, and are most commonly associated with complex scripting applications.

Should the mod_sec system accidentally detect a user’s actions as an attack, it will block the user’s IP address from the server for exactly 10 minutes. This will prevent any access to the server at all: www, ftp and siteadmin too. Once 10 minutes pass, the block expires and the user may access the site again. The block only ever affects the user that triggered the alert. Other users of the website will be unaware of the event and be able to continue accessing the site.

If you believe your site is experiencing false positive errors, 34SP.com can investigate the matter for you. To investigate a possible false positive we need to know the IP address of the machine that accessed the site and the rough time and date of the event. With this data we can inspect the server’s log files and identify the security rules triggered. More often than not we can simply exclude the triggered security rule from your domain; or (rarely) we may suggest a change to your website setup if your coding is behaving in a manner incompatible with a secure hosting environment. Please submit any reports of false positives to: support@34sp.com.

For more technical information, refer to the www.atomicorp.com description of this tool and indeed their website:

Atomic Secured Linux(tm) is an easy to use out-of-the-box Unified Security Suite add-on for Linux(tm) systems designed to protect your servers against both known and unknown zero day threats. Unlike other security solutions, ASL is designed for beginners and experts alike. You just install ASL and it does the work for you.
ASL works by combining security at all layers, from the Kernel all the way up to the application layer to provide the most complete protection available for Linux servers and helps to ensure that your system is compliant with commercial and government security standards. ASL includes the most hardened kernel on the market, automated system hardening techniques, userspace and host Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), malware/rootkit detection and elimination, blacklisting technologies, an autolearning Role Based Access Control System and web application firewalling to protect multiuser and web application hosting environments like no other solution. ASL is uniquely effective at addressing emerging threats posed by vulnerabilities in today’s complex systems and applications, such as web hosting environments, multiuser systems, CRM’s, ERPs, forums, shopping carts, Content Management systems and custom applications.
The design of ASL approaches securing the server and its applications, by combining different layers of security technologies and application layer firewalls to filter out malicious content before it reaches your system and its applications. Our hardened kernel further enhances the overall security model by enforcing anti-rootkit, file, network and process level security policies on the system.

The ASL approach also includes our “Just In Time Patching” system, which allows you to address security threats posed by applications where either it is not possible to fix the application due to lack of source code, availability of resources, or the number of applications that make repairing all vulnerabilities economically infeasible. You can known that your systems are protected, even when you can’t patch them.

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What is Shared Hosting?

By on March 26th, 2011 in Hosting Library with No Comments »

Website hosting architecture broadly falls into two categories: shared and non shared. This article deals largely with shared hosting systems. At 34SP.com shared servers are used to host our Personal, Professional Web Hosting and Reseller Hosting accounts.

Shared hosting refers to the instance of one server system, being used to host the websites for multiple end users. In many standard configurations (including ones in use at 34SP.com), shared hosting systems can happily support hundreds of end users. This approach can offer very low hosting costs to the end customer, as hundreds of clients contribute to the costs of the server hardware, the related network infrastructure and maintenance. As a result shared hosting is perfectly suited for personal websites and small business web pages.

The shared nature of these systems though does come with some drawbacks. Should a fault occur with the web serving system, all users on the shared system are affected. Moreover, individual users themselves may be the cause of these faults, by their own actions, mistakes, or even rare events (such as dramatic unexpected traffic spikes). When such a fault occurs the web server can fail, and all hosted users sites will stop loading.

While 34SP.com doesn’t guarantee a particular uptime level on shared services we do strive for a gold standard. Most shared systems themselves (the actual server) run at 100% uptime over the month – hardware faults causing a total failure event are extremely rare. When faults do occur, they generally affect the web server element of the server. On our shared systems at 34SP.com we try to maintain a web server uptime in excess of 99.9%, as measured over a calendar month. That equates to roughly 43 minutes or so of allowable downtime per month, for www services. Quite often our shared hosting systems will easily exceed that 99.9% goal. 99.9% uptime generally suffices for the majority of sites. Sites with financial considerations should certainly investigate higher availability options though.

When 34SP.com identifies a server that is failing to reach our standards we take steps to monitor and correct any potential faults. Given the number of web sites, software installations, and user load though this can take time to diagnose. Indeed many faults need to be watched in real time by an attending engineer to correct in full. Thankfully such server wide, repeating failures are relatively rare. 34SP.com engineers have years of on the job experience, and the most common faults are well known and easily corrected.

Is shared hosting right for your site? This depends on the financial implications of your website being offline for extended periods. For the vast majority of users shared hosting makes perfect practical sense. The costs are low, and generally speaking, uptime is high.

34SP.com offers a range of non shared options for business sites, such as our Business Web Hosting account, VPS Hosting and Dedicated Servers – each one geared for increasingly higher levels of availability and performance. We are always happy to help suggest the most appropriate solution for your website. Simply email us at support@34sp.com for an honest, commitment free assessment and recommendation for your website.

Uptime Table

Uptime Percentile Maximum Downtime Per Year
99.9999% (six nines) 31.5 seconds
99.999% (five nines) 5 minutes 35 seconds
99.99% (four nines) 52 minutes 33 seconds
99.9% (three nines) 8 hours 46 minutes
99.0% (two nines) 87 hours 36 minutes

 

The Business of Art: Cultural Property in the Modern Age

By on February 26th, 2011 in Hosting Library with No Comments »

Cultural Property and Ownership

A cultural property is a representation of the past. An important part of history, it denotes the artistic and historical value which is associated with an object or property as a representation of culture or a country. Yet, there is no clear-cut and easy to comprehend definition for cultural property. The word “property” is often used as a commercial term to signify value and that of possession. In this sense, cultural property like paintings, artifacts, land, ceremonial burial items, and like items can be owned by individuals, organizations or countries. While objects of cultural value have economic value, their real worth cannot really be measured because they may represent a heritage, a significant part of the history of a country or even the hopes and aspirations of the people.

 

Need for Cultural Property law

Due to their significance in history, culture or national and international interests, there’s considerable value placed on such properties. The economic value of most cultural property is extremely high. How much will the Mona Lisa fetch in the black market? To protect and safeguard properties of intrinsic and non-intrinsic value, cultural property laws have been set up. Several US laws like the National Historic Prevention Act, Historic Sites Act, and The Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act protect the cultural properties and objects of cultural value. Several other international laws and the guidelines given by the UNESCO also dictates and lays down guidelines on the protection and maintenance of cultural properties.

Confiscation and Theft of Art

One of the most significant art thefts of modern times was the one perpetrated by the Nazi forces during Germany’s occupation of Europe and Russia. They not only plundered thousands of pieces of art from various private and public collections but also plundered art and objects of value from the homes of civilians, bringing them back to Germany.

Among the cultural properties targeted by the Nazis during their occupation of Europe were those from France and Holland. In their desire to acquire these art collections, they would often resort to tactics which would include fear, coercion, and torture.

Often, Hitler and his closest aides, specifically Hermann Göring, would collaborate with local art dealers and force the owners of these collections, often wealthy Jews, to sell off their prized possessions at dirt cheap prices. Fearful of their lives as much as the confiscation of their collections of art, the Jews would look to salvage whatever they could out of these sales.

Some of the Germanic countries like Belgium and Holland were occupied by the Germans and their art, like that of the Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, were particularly singled out by senior party leaders as they preferred that genre of art. The notable art confiscations by the Nazis of these times were the Czartoryski family of Krakow collection containing valuable works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Raphael, art from the occupation of Russia such as the gilded fountains of the Peterhof Palace, Amber panels from the Catherine Palace, the private art collection of the Rothschilds, and Jacques Goudstikker, a wealthy Jewish businessman and collector from Amsterdam.

France was a case in the point for how systematically the Nazis pillaged hapless Paris and the rest of France in order to fill their art collection. France was a most desirable Nazi target primarily for the volume of art in the country. Hitler had created a dedicated team called the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg or the ERR, whose primary role was to ensure the search and confiscation of any art worthy of taking in France. After confiscating most of the art in various museums and private collections of wealthy Frenchmen and Jews who were already conveniently declared non-citizens and rendered incapable of holding any property in France, the Nazis performed extensive house-to-house searches, taking away whatever possessions they found worthy of taking.

Repatriation of Confiscated and Stolen Arts

Postwar acts of the Allied army comprising of the Americans and the British to recover lost art were difficult as most of the art was obtained by plundering and coercion. Finding the rightful owner created more confusion. In addition, a predicament was the confiscation of art by the Russians. The Russians felt that the Germans plundered many of their art and prized possessions during the Seize at Leningrad and the occupation of Russia. In return, they took the opportunity to make up for their losses. Presently, several of the original collections belonging to wealthy Jewish families are being displayed at the Pushkin Museum and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.

 

The History of the Computer

By on February 26th, 2011 in Hosting Library with No Comments »

It’s a Website World: The History of the Computer

The computers development began with man wanting to calculate in an ever more efficient and timely manner. The first manner of calculating began with a bone device back in 35,000 B.C. known as a ‘tally stick’. That simple beginning started a process of invention that has not stopped even to this day.

The first known calculator was the abacus, which was the foundation for later invention. As the Chinese developed moving differential gears and mathematicians in ancient India started using a zero in calculations around 500 B.C., the stage was set for numbers and technology to come together. It was around 300 B.C. that Pjngala described the binary number system that would be used in the design of nearly all modern computing equipment.

In 125 BC, technology took another jump as the Antikythera mechanism was born. Built in Corinth, it could track the known stars and planets in the sky. Most consider it the first analog computer. Six hundred years later, a Chinese inventor named Liang Lingzan built the first mechanical water clock. This established a great technological jump considering that all future computers would be based on that of the clock. The year 820 began the use of algebra and Al-Jazari; an Arab engineer invented the earliest programmable computer, an astronomical clock.

Over the next years, the geared calendar was invented, as was a notional machine for calculating answers to philosophical questions and in 1588, Joost Buerghi’s discovery of natural logarithms. All were advances towards computer technology. Then in 1774, Philip Matthaus Hahn of Germany invented the first portable calculator, which could perform all four mathematical operations. It wasn’t however, until the 1800s, that computing technology really took a leap forward.

It was 1801 when Joseph-Marie Jacquard came up with a loom that could be controlled by punch cards. This and the previous decades advancements in calculators led to invention after invention, each expanding on the previous inventors discoveries. Charles Babbage was a major player in all of this as he conceived the analytical engine and designed many programs throughout the early 1800s and after his death; a committee felt that completing the Analytical Engine wouldn’t be possible. Thankfully, men like Howard Aiken did not believe so and went on with his work.

In 1884, Dorr Felt developed the first calculator that used keys rather than dials and in 1889, he also invented the first desk calculator that could print. This inspired others in the field and led to the establishing of the Tabulating Machine Company (later to become IBM) in 1890, founded by Herman Hollerith. His invention was that of recording data onto punched cards that a machine could read. Data had never been the focus of readable machines before this time. The machine was later used to tabulate in the 1890 census. William S. Burroughs of St. Louis, Missouri improved upon Felt’s original machine eight years later. His design became the platform for the mechanical calculator industry.

The 1900s was the real decade for the computer age. It began in 1924 with Walther Bothe’s Nobel Prize winning work in building an AND logic gate for physics experiments. Then the capability of solving differential equations in 1930, then there was the demonstration of a 1-bit binary adder using relays in 1937, and the ‘Z1′, the first mechanical binary programmable computer a year later. It was in 1939 that William Hewlett and David Packard started the company, now known, as HP and many other companies were to follow in those footsteps. April 1, 1940, Konrad Zuse of Berlin, Germany, founded the very first computer start-up company called Zuse Apparatebau. He also presented the Z2 and a year later the Z3 computer.

Not to be outdone by others, Dr. Thomas Flowers of London built the Colossus, all in order to crack the cipher of the German Lorenz, which contained 2400 vacuum tubes for logic and applied a logical function that was programmable to read 5,000 characters a second from a stream of input characters on punched tape. The second program-controlled machine was the Harvard Mark I created by Howard Aiken and his team from IBM. In 1945, Konrad Zuse was still hard at work, developed the first high level programming language, and launched the Z4 the following year. 1947 brought the Harvard Mark II to market and in 1948, IBM finishes the SSEC, which for the first time allows a stored program to be modified.

1948 began what could be called the computer age. For the first time, a computer could store its data and programs in RAM, just as modern computers today do. The computer was called “Baby” and was built at the University of Manchester. Within a year, “Baby” was equipped with a magnetic drum for more permanent storage and was renamed the Manchester Mark I. In May of that same year Maurice Wilkes and his team from Cambridge University used the first stored program. It was on the EDSAC computer, which had a tape input-output. This made May 6, 1949 the unofficial birthday of modern computing. It was also the year that Popular Mechanics stated, “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”

Vacuum tubes were used in the 1950s, as were transistors, but it wasn’t until March of 1951 that the first commercially and general-purpose computer was created by J. Presoper Eckert and John Mauchly, It was the UNIVAC, which was designed for both textual information, as well as numeric. In April of the same year, Mr. Jay Forrester and his team introduced the Whirlwind computer. It was created for the US Air Defense System and the first real-time computer. New small developments continued until 1957 when the dot matrix printer was introduced by IBM and also the Texas Instruments integrated circuit.

From 1959 through 1964, computers are considered second generation. This is based on their printed circuits and transistors, which resulted in much smaller computers that were more powerful. Newer computers could handle compilers for scientific and business language making them more flexible for use. Through these years, there was a global race to create the better and faster computer, although most only made small contributions, while others expounded on their ideas. This competition also led developers to think about individual users of computers and a personal computer prototype was created in 1961.

Advances continued with the mouse being conceived in 1963, but it was not really used much until Apple computer added it to their Macintosh in 1983. CDC then developed the first supercomputer in 1965 and the general-purpose computer business began with Hewlett-Packard’s HP-2115. The computer industry was growing by leaps and bounds at this stage and in 1973; alphanumeric information could be displayed on a television screen. This is also the year in which Silicon chips and Ethernet was developed. Ethernet allowed PCs and other computers to be connected together so as to share data. The progression of computers was now focusing on ease of use. Single board keyboards, better displays, mass storage, etc. 1975 introduced Microsoft and Apple computers, as well as new releases from IBM, Commodore and other companies.

It was still generally believed that business use was where the computer would stay, but as computer companies made advances, more and more individuals began to purchase them for personal use. This started another competition among computer companies, with newer and faster personal computers appearing every year or so in the 1980s, but with the introduction of the World Wide Web, (which was invented by Tim Berners-Lee) new advances came even faster by the 1990s, sometimes hitting the market before a year had passed.

Software, graphics, color and processing speeds increased regularly, as computers became smaller and smaller. The Internet was also expanding, what had started as a way to exchange simple information from place to place, had exploded into an international obsession after being combined with the World Wide Web and simple navigation abilities. People were now using computers to seek out information, play games; interact with others, advertise business and more.

While smaller portable computers like the Xerox NoteTaker, Sharp’s suitcase-sized computer, and Kyocera’s popular Kyotronic 85 suitcase sized computers would be considered the first portables. 1989 brought Apple Computer’s Macintosh Portable, which was even smaller. Apple’s made changes in 1991 with its PowerBook. Changes that would become standards on all future laptops like a palm rest and trackball. The following year IBM released the ThinkPad 700C with a similar design. As the laptop industry grew, there would be more options like color displays, touch pads, stereo audio and built-in Ethernet network adapters.

As with standard sized computers, the race continued to make it smaller, faster and more user friendly. Battery life was extended by adding power saving processors, liquid crystal screens, improved storage capacity, connectivity, internal modems and drop safe shells. There are now also options for peripherals like cameras, video, fingerprint sensors, musical options and the list grows. Smartbooks, which means a hybrid device that is between a laptop and smart phone, were introduced in the 2000s, as were Netbooks, which are lightweight computers that are half the size of regular units.

What started as a tool to help humans calculate has developed into a sophisticated electronic marvel that few in the world today are not familiar with. These high-speed and low-cost digital computers have connected the world and have made them a widespread commodity.

History of Computers

Computers: History and Development

The History of Computing

Computer History Collection

The History of Apple Computers

Compaq Computer Case

The IBM 407 Accounting Machine

IBM’s Early Computers

Linux System Administration for Researchers

The Making of Linux

Nature and History of Operating Systems for Computers

A Brief History of Word Processing (Through 1986)

IBM Punch Cards

UNIVAC I

Control Data Corporation (CDC) 6600

Intel Processors

 

The Web Glossary

By on February 17th, 2011 in Hosting Library with No Comments »

With new technologies being developed daily, the specialized vocabulary used to describe common web-related words are helpful to know. This glossary of web terminology provides definitions for common web and Internet words. Those who are relatively unfamiliar with the industry can use these basic terms and descriptions to make understanding web jargon a little easier.

Bandwidth – The difference between a high and low frequency used to transmit information over an electromagnetic “band” of energy.

Browser – Software application developed for retrieving, reading, and sending information and resources over the World Wide Web.

Client – System or application that utilizes remote service, known as a server, via network systems.

Cookie – Small form of stored text saved by the web browser that consists of one or more name-value pairs that hold bits of information.

Database – Collection of data that is stored electronically and arranged for speed of retrieval.

Directory – Database or repository of data that is optimized for reading, often in alphabetical order or in some type of classification.

Domain Name – Identification label in a string of letters and numbers that are used by computers as an Internet address.

Form – Method of entering information or details into a web page.

Forum – Online discussion site or “message board” used to share user-generated content or as a place for user discussion.

Frames – Application that divides a web users screen into two separate sections to be scrolled independently.

Framework – Used to accomplish tasks within a project by obtaining reusable components to avoid starting from scratch.

Ftp – File transfer protocol used to transfer files and information between two separate computers or networks.

Gif – Graphics interchange format or bitmap image format used for pictures that are transmitted over the web pixel by pixel.

Gigabyte – Unit of information that is equal to 1,000 megabytes used for measuring a computer’s memory capacity.

Html – Hypertext markup language used as the predominate language for creating websites, including “tags” to encode text, graphics, sound, and other types of files.

Http – Hypertext transfer protocol used to transfer hypertext information and requests between browsers and servers.

Hyperlinks – Reference to a website or document that a reader can follow by clicking and activating the reference point.

IP Address – Internet protocol address assigned to devices within a computer network for communication between nodes.

Java – Programming language designed to solve a variety of problems in programming practice.

JavaScript – Scripting programming language commonly used in web development to add interactive features to web pages.

Jpeg – Named after the Joint Photographic Experts Group and used as a simple method of photograph compression.

Kilobyte – Unit of information equal to 1,000 bytes and used as a form of computer storage.

Mail Server – Message transfer agent used to send mail messages electronically from one computer to another.

Megabyte – Unit of information equal to 1,000 kilobytes used for computer memory and storage.

Metatag – Elements used to provide metadata about a specific web page and identify its content.

Newsgroup – Group of individuals who post messages about a single subject on a computer network from different locations.

PHP – Hypertext preprocessor used a general scripting language to build complex applications.

Plugin – Type of software component which interacts with a host application, such as a web browser, to provide a specific function.

Ruby – General purpose programming language that consists of a simple syntax that is easy to read and write.

Search Engine – Information retrieval system developed for users to search and retrieve information from a database.

Social Media – Web services or user-created works of video, text, audio, or multi-media that is shared and published on a social environment, such as a blog.

Spam – Abuse of electronic messaging by sending unsolicited bulk messages to users.

Streaming – Method of technology that plays digital media in real time as it arrives to the recipients end.

URL – Uniform resource locator used as an address for any web page on the World Wide Web.

Web Server – Software program used to deliver content, usually web pages, using HTTP over the web.

XML – Set of rules used for encoding documents or creating documents electronically.