Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 11:59

Bandwidth Theft

This can be a problem here in SA, and having come across a few people lately who've been having a problem I typed up the following explanation to send to them. It's brief, but covers the main points; if you think I've left anything out or gotten anything wrong, feel free to say so in the comments!

There are basically 3 levels where bandwidth can be stolen:
1) On your PC - if you have a trojan, spyware, or a bot that's installed itself and is sending or receiving data
2) People tapping into your network - particularly if you have wi-fi enabled
3) People using your account name and password on their own network

If it's something on your PC, you should pick up the increased usage on netmeter. The best thing to do is install an anti-virus package, and something like Spybot or Ad-Aware, and run both to make sure your system is clean.

If it's someone tapping into your network, the best option is to disable wi-fi if you're not using it. If you do use it, make sure you have security enabled (use WPA rather than WEP).

If someone's using your details on their own network, the best steps to take are:
1) Change your router username and password (keep them somewhere safe!) so that no-one can access your router settings.
2) Change your account password. This will have to be done via your ISP; if they have a control panel you might be able to change it yourself. The biggest problem here is that many ISP's don't encrypt your password; they do this so that if you forget your password they can give it to you over the phone. The problem is that they then know your username and password, and can use it themselves if they're less than trustworthy.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - 09:08

Installing Oracle 10g

A couple of colleagues and I have had endless problems lately, trying to install Oracle 10g. It wasn't a problem with configuration, or any of those normal things - no, Oracle threw an exception in the middle of copying the files!

There were no useful error messages about the crash, nothing in the log files - VisualStudio's JIT Debugger just popped up with the message "An unhandled win32 exception occcurred in javaw.exe".

I googled and googled, and found some things about not having a space in the folder name that you're installing from; and potentially some problems about fonts; but nothing helped. After ages, I tried googling the stage it got to: "copying files for 'Oracle Universal Installer", and found the answer! We have archiving software called Zantaz on our machines, and that somehow interferes with the install. All you have to do is rename the easfa.dll to something like easfa.bak, then run the install. After it's installed succesfully (yay!) you can rename the dll back to its original name.

Since it took me a day of googling to find it, I thought I'd post about it with all the relevant keywords in the text, so as to help any others struggling with the same problem to find the solution :)


Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - 22:26

In Denial (Or More Accurately, On De Nile)

I realised after my last post that I hadn't blogged about my trip to egypt yet.

I went in April, trying to get the good weather but miss the worst of
the heat - which didn't actually work. Cairo was fairly hot, but
Luxor and Aswan were incredibly hot! It was close to unbearable, and
i'm only glad that I didn't go in June or July.

I went with a company called Egypt Today, who specialise in trips to
Egypt. They were really good, very well organised, and they look
after you every step of the way - you're never left wondering what
you're supposed to do or how to get to where you're going.

The local guides do try to sell you extra tours, but then that's
egypt. Everyone tries to sell you something, and as it says in the
guidebooks, you have to tip for everything. And unfortunately they're
used to rich american tourists who throw dollars around, so they're
often not happy being tipped in egyptian pounds.

It's an amazing country, though. I flew to cairo, saw the pyramds and
the egyptian museum, then caught the luxury sleeper train down to
aswan. Then I joined a cruise boat to cruise back up to aswan. Both
the train and boat were a great way to see some of the countryside.

All the temples do get a bit much - there are so many, and in the heat
they all start blurring together in your mind. But they really are
all amazing, and they're in amazing condition considering how old they
are! It's all really impressive and awe inspiring.

Here are a couple of photos from the trip. The Temple of Philae:

And Pyramids, Desert, Camels, and me:





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