data portals will be rolling out next week for T4 clients

FRIDAY UPDATE FROM THE CEO

To the T4 (Microsoft legacy sites) clients who are still running on limited functionality or no functionality for a few sites still. There is frustration and anger and I hear you loud and clear. We continue to work around the clock and reach out to trusted resources to help us in the rebuild. It just isn’t easy to take a web site up from Windows 2003 to Windows 2012 and reconfigure everything by hand to try to be sure the code it clean. Still, we have learned a lot so that we will be more prepared in the future and I’m extra committed to the migration to the open source Linux version. But what about RIGHT NOW?!

First – data portals are being configured with the sites that have been fully offline going up first.

https://github.com/epantry/django-sql-explorer
Django-SQL-Explorer attached to Replicated Databases

 

You will be notified through the helpdesk via tickets as soon as we have yours up. We may get a few up as soon as this weekend, and then the speed will pick up as we can clone it and modify the authentication information for each client. Thank you for using https://helpdesk.tendenci.com as it has been the only way I personally could jump in and help with tickets and track progress. I know the phone is more personal, but when the bullets are flying overhead it is efficiency we need, and I think we can all agree that it wasn’t efficient enough and things are still going too slow despite automation simply because of the volume.

There are a few other obvious items that we are still working through.

  1. Email notifications. With the changed IP addresses we are seeing some clients delivery rates drop significantly and need to update your DNS to send from an email address at your organization. This requires a site setting update on your site and your DNS provider to make DKIM and SPF record entries for email delivery. It’s tedious but has to be done. Spammers have made things complicated.
    Workaround – the system does record most notices as they are sent for administrators at /en/emails/search.asp on your site.
  2. File uploads – the new web application firewall is much tighter than before, and I know we have had numerous requests to re-enable things like Word Docs and Excel files, but both of those document types support macros in vbscript and are executables. Until we can put them in a read-only bucket for now the only solution is to convert documents to eliminate all spaces and use lowercase and make them PDFs. Why? Because URL encoding can be used to trick people and spaces aren’t as secure.
  3. Creating new pages and image edits. – Again this requires writing to the file system and we need to isolate every site further before this can be turned back on.
  4. Broken images and missing files – not all, but most of those, had embedded code in the images. Unfortunately this also strongly suggests that for the clients experiencing this the most, there is probably a virus on your home or work network and we strongly encourage you scan and analyze your computers. You can use Trend Micro’s HouseCall for a free virus scan.
  5. SITES THAT ARE STILL DOWN – we have NOT forgotten about you. This remains my top priority for the team and is being done either by a different group of people (I’m leading the charge on the few sites still offline personally) or it takes precedence over the items listed above.

To our Tendenci 5 clients, and the sales contact forms, and clients used to a higher level of service who are feeling, and sometimes are, being ignored by our team. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s simply the result of clients who are victims of the hack attack and they have to be our priority.

And lastly, as difficult as this time has been for all of us, because it was a crime and crimes are not victimless, I appreciate the patience of some, I understand the anger and frustration of others, but please know that we will get through this. Even the clients who left, we’re still going to restore your data so you can get it.

I’m hugely grateful to our team for handling the front lines so the technical people like me could focus on solutions instead of discussing them, which ultimately is what everyone wants. This whole thing saddens me and I can’t apologize enough, while at the same time it infuriates me that it happened in the first place.

 

Your SXSW 2012 Interactive Top 10 Tips for Survival

SXSW Interactive is one of, if not THE biggest, interactive marketing and web conference, and is a valuable resource for our team here at Schipul.  SXSW Interactive offers education and the latest and greatest for all things related to web marketing and digital advertising.

I’m excited to be able to give back to my profession this year as a presenter on a panel: Spacepoints – Space Outreach at Ludicrous Speed! If you’re going to be in Austin in March for SXSW 2012, come check out my panel or just hang out with the team from Schipul attending.  {shameless plug!}

SXSW has a Guide for First Timers that can give you some tips on navigating the conference.  Their guide can get you to the sessions, but when I attend SXSW, I am also looking to connect with other Interactive Agencies to build relationships and identify the latest technology innovations and software tools to help our clients improve their online marketing results.  This results in a 24/7 week-long agenda of AM networking breakfast, blogger’s lounge, panels, afternoon networking, party, party, party, 4 hours of sleep, repeat.  Over the past few years, I’ve developed my own tips for surviving the extended-version of SXSW Interactive.

Here are my Top 10 Tips for Doing SXSW Interactive Hardcore:

1) Say Yes to the Free Caffeine; Say No to the Free Booze.

You’ll find that every party will have plenty of free sugar free red bull, monster energy drinks, vodka or some other kind of alcohol to mix.  Then my Caffeine Hero: Starbucks always comes to the rescue the next morning with plenty of free coffee.  Skip the booze if you want to make it through the entire week, and stock your hotel with fresh fruit and healthy snacks because you’ll be hard pressed to find any food, let alone free food at SXSW.

2) Keep Your Smartphone Charger on You at All Times.

You will be on the go running from panel to panel during the day, and then party to party each night. Carry your phone charger with you, take a spare that you keep in your hotel room (in case you lose your first one), and if you have the option – get a spare battery too. If you see an outlet near you – don’t be ashamed to plugin and juice up your phone. Tweeting, foursquaring, and texting is power-intensive and you don’t want to have a dead battery at 2am when you are trying to find directions back to your hotel.

3) Bookmark http://austin2012.sched.org/ and use it to create your personalized SXSW schedule before you get to Austin.

SXSW’s event schedule on their website is pretty good – however I’ve been using sched.org’s unofficial SXSW guide to find EVERY party, panel, and must attend event possible.  The best places to connect with people at SXSW aren’t always “official” parties.

Sched also offers a new feature this year that enables you to sync your Eventbrite RSVPs and the platform is available for all the major mobile platforms: iphone, Droid and Blackberry. When you get to Austin, you’ll love how easy sched makes it to find your next session on the go.

4) Pack a Swimsuit.

Austin weather is fickle, and it may be 60 degrees in early March or 90. Regardless – all the hotels have swimming pools and hot tubs and if you are doing it right, you’ll be invited to at least one pool party.  I don’t recommend skinny dipping at SXSW – everyone has a camera in their smartphone and you what happens at SXSW definitely does NOT stay at SXSW.  So take your favorite swim trunks or bikini when you pack for Austin.

5) Pack a Cowboy Hat and Cowboy Boots.

There will be at least 2 parties with a Texas country theme. If you don’t have western attire – no worries, Austin has some great shops where you can purchase what you need.  I’ve gotten great Cowgirl boots at Allen’s Boots and the HatBox has Cowboy hats in every style plus tons of other fun and funky headwear.

6) Pack a Backpack and Leave Your Briefcase at Home.

Have I already mentioned you’ll be on the move for a week? Take a compact backpack with a laptop-padded section for your trip and spare your back and shoulders the strain of running around all day carrying your briefcase. You don’t have to take your laptop or tablet PC – but you’ll definitely want to have something with you for taking notes in the sessions, even if you prefer traditional pen and paper.  If you are going to any of the developer or design sessions then your laptop will be heavily used. Bloggers will find the Bloggers lounge a great resource for power and snacks while updating your audience with all the latest happenings online too.

7) Talk to Strangers.

The panels are great for professional development but it’s the people at the conference that are the core of the experience so don’t be shy – say Hi to everyone you meet. SXSW Interactive hosts the largest single gathering of “Connectors” you’ll ever find so strike up a conversation and get connected with new people who will help you grow your business, launch your start-up, or make an introduction to that big prospect or thought leader.

8) Take More Business Cards Than You Think You’ll Need – and Stickers Too!

I probably go through 200-300 mini-moos each SXSW. I order cards JUST for SXSW that have my contact information while at the conference. I include a headshot so people recognize me throughout the week, my mobile so people can text me about any “pop-up” parties, my email address for following up later, and this year my panel information so people will know when and where I’ll be presenting. I recommend moo.com’s mini-moos if you are going to order cards just for the event. Here’s my cards for this year:

9)  Make Time to Visit the Exhibitions, Showcases, and Lounges.

One of the best places to find out about innovations in online technology is SXSW’s Interactive.  The only place I personally can imagine being cooler for a tech-geek like me is the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.  SXSW has several different Trade Shows and Showcase Lounges featuring an array of products and services that your business may want to utilize for growing online and offline next year.  You definitely want to make your rounds to the SXSW Start-up Village Showcase featuring new technology start-ups, plus you can snag some really fun Swag!

10) Don’t Try to Do Everything.

You can’t.  I tried one year and came back with no voice left and a dazed and confused fog that took 2 more weeks to dissipate.  Until cloning techniques advance, I’ll have to settle with missing about 2/3rds of everything because so much is going on all at once.

Schedule at least 4 to 6 hours of sleep each night.  Make time in your schedule to get away from the convention center to walk around the lake one morning or take a couple of hours one afternoon and take a nap in your hotel.  SXSW, when done right, is both grueling and an amazing experience.  Definitely dive right into the throng of digital tech madness, but be sure to turn off your phone every so often…

And remember: Don’t Drink the Free Booze!

Hurricane Season supply checklist – be prepared!

Basic Hurricane and Safety Preparedness Kits

June 1, marked the beginning of  National Safety Month, so we’ve put together a short video on what you can do to be prepared in case of an emergency, as well as a few helpful tips.  If you live near the coast, you are well aware that hurricane season is here!!  Stock up and stay safe:

Hurricane Preparedness Kit from Schipul – The Web Marketing Co. on Vimeo.

  • Water – at least 3 days of drinking water for everyone in your family including pets (about 1 gallon per person per day). Have a week on hand if possible. Backup sterilization devices (Steripen or Katadyn Extream) and water  enhancers like powdered mixes that replenish electrolytes are handy to have as well.
    • Food – at least 3 days of food per person and pet. We recommend foods that are easy to prepare and don’t require a lot of clean-up like peanut butter, Freeze dried/ dehydrated foods (available at camping stores0, and sweet treats and comfort foods. Don’t forget a can opener for shelf stable canned goods.
    • Lighting– a standard flashlight with extra batteries is a good start. Since lighting is as much a need as a sense of comfort, fun lighting ideas include Glowsticks and Glow-In-the-Dark Stickers.
    • First Aid Kit – extra allergy or  prescription medication is a good idea.  You may want to add  old prescription glasses, sunscreen, and mosquito spray to your basic first-aid kit.
    • Communication – weather and battery operated radio, power inverter that plugs into you car, cell phone backup battery, and online wireless system (in case your phone is damaged), a wireless air card (for laptop) and a USB to back up documents and keep them safe.
    • Atlas – It’s important to follow the secure hurricane routes recommended by officials. An atlas will help you navigate in case you need to go off the beaten path.
    • Storage – keep everything in one safe place and don’t cheat and use it in the meantime. A nice backpack or storage bin is easy to grab and go and make sure items (like batteries or canned goods) are rotated out for freshness.

    How can we help you stay safe during hurricane season?

    Feel free to contact us (info@tendenci.com or  281-497-6567) for additional information or for help putting together your Hurricane Preparedness Kit.

    Helpful Emergency and Hurricane Preparedness Sites

    USB Flash- Don’t leave home without it, and leave one at a friends

    Pink Tokidoki Flash  DriveFlash drives – cheap and easy backup can save on Vacation Stress

    They fit in your pocket, on your key chain and just look cool. With all the phones and portable devices we carry these days, we forget about these flash drives at the bottom of our desk drawers. The USB drive still has a couple of great features for traveling. Even if you are settled in for a nice staycation, add this little packing and preparedness tip to your travel plans or todo list. Snag a USB drive on sale in a multi-pack as the prices continue to fall on these little jewels. Or, pick up one of Happy Katies favorite designer Flash drives by MimoBot. Now, get ready for some scanning.

    Files, documents and every important document you would ever need, all in your pocket. Scan personal documents and records in case you lose your wallet or passport and you will have a digital image of all your registrations. But, but… WAIT! What if the wrong person finds it when it drops out of the pocket of your shorts? No worries, you should encrypt the contents with TrueCrypt or your favorite security feature.

    These little tech toys have some crazy cool options besides just a backup. Don’t want to carry a laptop or computer with you? Portable Apps Platform ScreenshotCan’t spring for the iPad yet? You can save all your bookmarks, favorite email settings, and doc settings on a FlashDrive and launch your profile from any public computer without fear of leaving your crumbs all over the desktop. Portable Apps is an open source software platform you install on your flashdrive or other backup device, adjust your settings, then plug it into a computer and run your programs from your own drive. You have access to all your software and personal data just like on your own PC.

    What to save on your USB Drive

    Losing important documents can ruin what should be a happy vacation. A little safety and planning can eliminate much of the stress. Before you pack up and leave, take the time to scan copies of important documents and save the files on to a secure area of the flash drive. Here are some examples of important documents:

    • Vacation Plans: Itinerary, Maps and receipts of deposits for reservations.
    • Personal documents: Drivers license, passport, birth certificate, Insurance cards (health and auto), Credit Cards and CC phone numbers for lost cards.
    • Home Documents: Home Insurance, Auto Titles, Registrations, photos of big purchase items for insurance documentation, and documents that would be hard to replace if you came back home and they weren’t there. Yikes! My next plan is to scan old family photos for safekeeping before they detoriate or get wet in the next hurricane.
    • Medical Records: List of medications for each family member, immunizations, List of family doctor and dentist contacts.
    • School and Work Records: Nice to have everything in one place while you are at it. Include copies of your transcripts, diplomas, Resume, licenses, permits, Wills, and any other items you may want to keep all organized.

    Now, your life is basically in one place if you ever have to recreate your history or need to hide it Bourne style. This is a cheap and easy way to travel light, backup photos off the camera while on vacation for processing later, and use software programs securely when on public machines. In fact, buy a couple of the drives, make copies of the drive and give one to a friend to put in their safe deposit box or mail one to a family member in another part of the country in case of emergency.

    Enjoy your trip, be safe, and tell us how you use your Flash Drive for your vacation!

    Houston Humane Society’s 1st Annual Suds-n-Safety: Are you and Chauncy prepared?

    BathtimeWhether you have been tuning in to KPRC’s beloved Frank Billingsly…or the hairs on your arm are suddenly pointing due east, you are well aware that hurricane season is vastly approaching. Not only that, but you are beginning to realize that the wretched smell radiating off of your furry friend Chauncy can no longer be succumbed with five squirts of Febreeze.

    Come on people…cleaning the dog with air freshener? That’s so pedestrian.

    But alas! You no longer need to fret my little angora rabbits…the wonderful folks at the Houston Humane Society are at it again! This Saturday from 10-2, bring your rats nest…that’s you Chauncy, down to the 1st Annual Pet Paradise Suds-n-Safety, a dog wash benefiting the Houston Humane Society.

    Suds-n-Safety will offer information on how to get you and your tail-wagger ready for hurricane season. The event is also featuring $20 microchips for those pups who yearn for the taste of adventure and a vaccination clinic for those pups who…I guess you can say also yearn for the taste of adventure.

    So come on out to Suds-n-Safety this Saturday…Chauncys’ all over the world will thank you.

    Location:
    Pet Paradise
    7511 Monroe Rd.
    Houston, TX 77061

    For more information:
    Lisa Pogue at 713-341-3311 or e-mail lpogue@houstonhumane.org

    If you would like even more information about disaster preparedness, check out Schipul’s recent blog post, “Preparing for disaster at home and in the office – are you ready?”

    Thanks Jenah Crump Photography for the adorable  photo!

    Ready for Hurricane Season? We’ve got a Free Webinar for you!!

    HurricanIkeHurricane Season is here and with Ike fresh on our minds, we want to make sure all of our Schipul friends are storm ready with a FREE Webinar on Hurrican Preparedness this Monday, July 13th from 2 -3 PM CST.

    You’ll walk away with some great, actionable information to get you in the know and ready to go:

    • Basic disaster preparedness knowledge
    • How to create an emergency plan for your family
    • What supplies to be stockpiling before any storms strike
    • What you need to build a ‘go-bag’ for your family

    Featured Webinar speakers are:

    Gen. Honorè has dedicated his life post-military to creating a “Culture of Preparedness” here in America and he will be offering personal insights and stories during the Webinar. He cites a lack of a awareness to our personal responsibilty to prepare as one of the leading issues during a crises. He’ll remnd us the the besr first responder is YOU.

    Sign up soon as space is limited and you don’t want to miss out on all the rockin’ brain candy these preparedness pros have to offer so register for this free webinar soon!!

    Safety Month: Hurricane and weather Blogs to know

    accuweather_hurricanetracking

    Ah hurricanes, they’re not just for sipping on in New Orleans .  If you’re in a hurricane-effected area like we are (in Gulf Coast neighboring Houston!), you’ve probably already been talking about the possible rains, winds and candle lit evenings ahead with neighbors, family and co-workers.

    With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite hurricane and weather blogs – that’s right, we geek out on weather too:

    The WeatherMatrix (one of many Accuweather.com Blogs)
    You can really tell when a Blogger is passionate about his subject matter and Jesse is SERIOUS about weather.  One big bonus on The WeatherMatrix’s Blog is that it’s not only packed with tips, national weather updates galore – it’s always full of gorgeous weather-related visuals, photos and projections.   If the WeatherMatrix Blog isn’t enough for you, there is also an entire WeatherMatrix community for weather enthusiasts.

    WunderBlog
    Weather Underground’s co-founder Jeff Masters writes up the world’s weather as he sees it.  Twisters, climate change and more.  Perhaps what’s even more interesting than Jeff’s posts are the incredible number of comments and intensely focused contributions from www.wunderground.com members.

    WeatherBlog for ABC13
    While this is technically a local Houston weather Blog, you’ll find all sorts of great weather-focused posts on topics like the Saffir-Simpson Scale re-vamping, hurricane workshops and NASA-TV.  Great weather brain candy.

    Cloudy and Cool
    Meteorologist Paul Yeager unleashes his weather brain power on this great Blog, featuring everything from 2009 hurricane season predictions to commentary on global warming to reminiscing on impactful weather events from his career.

    Where do you get your weather fix?  Be sure to comment on our Schipul Book Club post this week for a chance to win an emergency kit and a copy of The Survivor’s Club.

    Image above thanks to Jesse – every single hurricane worldwide from 1851 to 2007, colored by intensity when known.  Visualization at its finest!

    Schipul Book Club: Win a copy of The Survivors Club – The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life

    the-survivors-club-book1Highlighting Safety Month, we wanted to focus on three things we love. Preparedness, Data and Stories.  Author Ben Sherwood delivers on all in The Survivors Club!

    Ben Sherwood studied data from survivors of all kinds of events to find the commonality. Who survived and why? The range of things life throws at each of us includes everything from losing a job in a recession, being diagnosed with cancer, surviving a plane wreck or a even a burning building. The science of studying the people who survived catastrophic events revealed amazing similarities.

    The Survivors Club book leads us through the answers to two questions, “(1) What does it really take to survive? and (2) What kind of survivor are you?”

    • Part 1 tells the extraordinary stories of survivors and their traits that gave them the advantage to overcome improbable odds. Their data helps unlock the mystery of survival and teaches you about the 5 personality types and twelve tools of survival.  These stories were amazing in detail and inspiring in their hope and faith.
    • Part 2 builds on the same traits, but focuses on you, the reader, and helps you determine your Survival IQ. Ben Sherwood, includes an internet based test to determine your survivor personality type. Don’t worry… you can’t fail the test, but it helps you realize your strengths in an everyday situation or a major catastrophe.  Ahem… some people have been known to skip to the test first. Just sayin’. Oh yeah, if you don’t win, there is a shorter version online.

    We took the test and found… well, once you take the Survival Profile, you also get to read about other survivors of your same type and match your traits with theirs! Do you know which survivor you are most like?

    And, a big hint before reading the book or taking the profile test. Everyone is a Survivor… everyone has inherent tools available to help them. The first step is identifying your tools and then learning to use them as your talents, your strengths. After reading stories of people who survived lion mauling, extraordinary combat situations and overcoming cancer, you will believe anything is possible. You will also learn how simple things can make the biggest difference in your safety and the best advice of all, “Do not waste a breath.”

    We hope you never need it, but we enjoyed reading how instincts, perspective and preparation can all make a difference in life threatening moments.

    In honor of this month’s Safety Month, we’re giving away a copy of this book AND an emergency supply kit to keep in your trunk to help you take your emergency preparation to the max!

    Join our Schipul Facebook fanpage and leave a comment here on this post about your favorite preparedness tip.  What are you doing to keep your family, friends and business ready for anything?  Do you have any survival stories you’d like to share?

    Leave your comments here and we’ll be selecting a random commenter (after double checking they’re a member of our Facebook fanpage of course – it’s also Schipul Fan Mania month!!) on Friday, June 26th at 2pm CST.