PC Problems, Virus Attack and Backups

PC Problems, Virus Attack and Backups

In this video, I talk about the recent problems I have had with my computer, initially started by a virus/malware issue that caused hardware damage to an 8GB stick of RAM & a 2TB Hard Drive.

I then go on to discuss anti-virus/malware and backups, both local & cloud-based.

At about the 06:15 point in the video, I mention a link for Copy.com .

With Copy.com, you get 15GB to start plus an extra 5GB if you get it through my link.

20GB is not bad for a free account!

Of course, you don’t have to go through my link, but if do, just Click Here

I also talk about a continuous on-line backup solution I use called Backblaze. Click Here to go there and check it out.

 

PC Problems, Virus, Firewalls and Backups?

https://miketflanagan.com/

The dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death)

You may well ask what all of this has got to do with Internet Marketing or running an On-line Home Business.

Surely this topic belongs in a blog focused on IT or computer related stuff!

Well, yes,  it is ” IT or computer related stuff”, but without a computer of some description it would be impossible to access the Internet – let alone run a business on it. Admittedly, there are tablets and smartphones, but it is generally easier and more efficient to use a desktop or laptop computer for this task.

However, if a tablet or smartphone is your preferred device, then please forgive my impertinence. But bear in mind that any device that accesses the Internet is potentially vulnerable and requires protection.

Also, this post concerns a PC, because that is what I use and what was attacked. But don’t get too smug if your ‘tech’ of choice is made by Apple Computers.

So, welcome to my latest post that unashamedly focuses on the computer or other devices  we all use every day and maybe even take for granted.

The Computer “Thingy” That Gets Me To My Website

Taken for granted and mostly overlooked, except when needed, that box of electronics that sits on your desk or lap is under constant threat when connected to the Internet. Unscrupulous people all over the world are always on the lookout for a vulnerable computer that can be exploited to gain access to your personal and financial information. They can also use it to launch attacks on other vulnerable machines, or even relay spam and phishing emails through it so it looks as if the messages are coming from you.

There’s no need for paranoia, just an awareness of the fact that threats  are always out there.

The crowd of sniveling under-rock-dwellers that spend their miserable little lives writing malicious code for the purpose of causing maximum disruption or stealing sensitive information, have been busy expanding their repertoire of coding mayhem into the realms of Apple’s OSX & IOS as well as Linux and Android Operating Systems.

During the course of my career, I have met a lot of very intelligent and talented individuals, who live and breath hardware and sof tware design. Most of them are still working very happily writing software and/or designing electronic products. Unfortunately, some have been led down a darker path, donning a “black hat” and wasting their considerable talents, by focusing on malicious software creation, cracking  and hacking. I don’t know why – maybe some kind of traumatic incident in their personal or business life acted as a catalyst and triggered a vengeful mindset.

But who really knows the reasons why? Except, maybe,  the individuals themselves.

The takeaway here is Vigilance .

Don’t become a sitting duck by thinking that it’s only Windows based PC’s that are vulnerable. There are always people, somewhere, actively working on exploits and thinking up different methods to gain access and take control of all popular operating systems, including OSX, IOS, Android and the more popular distributions of Linux.

Always ensure that the computer or device you work with, has known and respected Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware programs running, that receive at least daily updates to their definitions databases, so they are always prepared for the most current piece of nasty coding lurking out there. Also, always try to work behind a firewall, whether it’s the one built into your broadband router, as most are these days, or a software version installed on your computer/device.

Remember that everything is secure and robust before someone decides to launch an attack.

It’s only after the event when weaknesses are exposed. But, by that time, it is much too late.

My PC suffered a virus attack, although it didn’t look like that was the problem at first.

But, after a lot of investigation, research and diagnostics, I tracked all the problems down to a file with the magnificent name of zlibwapi.dll.wwbak that was sitting very nonchalantly in the system32 directory.

Now, there is a file called zlibwapi.dll which is associated with the zlib data compression library (zlib.dll). As ‘wapi’ is contained in the name, it would suggest that this file is a Windows Application Programming Interface (WAPI) that would act as an interface to an application requiring access to the library of functions contained within zlib.dll (dll = Dynamic Link Library).

So it’s quite normal to find both zlib.dll & zlibwapi.dll files on a PC, as there are many applications that use the compression functions in the library. Those that immediately spring to mind are any that manipulate photo, video or other graphics files. A quick search on my PC shows the files used extensively within Adobe applications as well as Camtasia and various video conversion programs.

I’ll be writing more on this in future posts, so stay tuned!

Curious Case Of The Missing Visual Editor

Curious Case Of The Missing Visual Editor

Where Oh Where Can My Missing Visual Editor Be?

Vanished WP Visual Editor

Vanished WP Visual Editor

 It actually happened some time before Christmas.

I was going to make an entry wishing everyone a great time and a happy new year. But as the WordPress Post Editor opened, an unfamiliar sight confronted me, which is revealed in the picture above. The Visual tab is selected, but there are no icons displayed – and no text appeared when I tried to type something.Even more strange was that HTML coding did appear as expected when I selected the Text tab. “What is going on?” – is the question I muttered to myself, with perhaps a couple of expletives thrown in for good measure!

Wondering if it only occurred with new entries, I opened an old post, but found that to also be similarly affected.

You may be wondering why I only appear to be addressing the problem now, especially as the end of February is fast approaching.

Just what the heck have I been doing all this time!

Well, these past couple of months have been quite hectic, to say the least. My daughter Hayley was expecting her baby to be born in middle to late January. There were a few false alarms, with midnight dashes to the hospital. Mix that in with the usual excitement and chaos around that time of year and it’s easy to see that I couldn’t be very focused on much else.

On the 17th January, a baby girl was born weighing in at 5lb 10oz. My very first grandchild, Amelie Thea. February 3rd was also Hayley’s 30th birthday – as if there wasn’t enough going on already! I also attended the iPro Partners Training Event in Nottingham on the weekend of the 7th & 8th, so now is really the only time my mind has finally settled down enough for me to re-focus on addressing the issue of the missing visual editor and of course, my on-line business and finally start to act on the business plan we all drew up for our respective businesses on that weekend.

I have searched the web for possible causes to the missing visual editor and it seems that a lot of people have experienced this problem. However, when I clicked on several of the results I found a lot of different fixes, with replies from others reporting whether a particular fix worked for them – or not. There were 176,000 results for my Google query “wordpress visual editor blank”, which appear to be connected with WP Updates over the past few years. As my site is now running WP 4.1.1, which is the latest version, I only tried the suggestions from the most up-to-date results.

The last post from this site:   http://stackoverflow.com/questions/25506490/wordpress-update-cause-visual-editor-blank  is from someone upgrading to version 4.1 in January 2015, who suggests that the problem is with the WP upgrade process itself and replacing the entire wp-includes/js/tinymce folder fixed it for them. Here is their post http://www.maxmito.it/2015/01/12/visual-editor-not-working-after-wordpress-update/

Some also found that the font color had changed to white. (white text on a white background is definitely not recommended!)

Here is a list of the most common fixes, taken from some of the results I read:
  • Clear browser cache
  • Try a different browser
  • Deactivate all plugins
  • If you have the plugin “Styles with Shortcodes for WordPress” deactivate & reactivate it
  • Change to default theme & then back to the operational one
  • Install “Use Google Libraries” plugin
  • Add this to the wp-config.php file: define( ‘CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS’, false );
  • Download a zipped version of WordPress from WordPress.org and via ftp replace /wp-includes/js/tinymce folder
  • Download a zipped version of WordPress from WordPress.org and via ftp replace /wp-includes folder
  • Look in General Settings to see if the site & WP url’s have a colon “:” at the end of them. If so, remove them
  • “Disable Visual Editing” in your Profile & then “Enable Visual Editing”
  • In the CSS file “wp-includes/css/editor.min.css”  the rule is .js .tmce-active .wp-editor-area{color:#ffffff}
    • which is white. But when I checked this on my site and compared it with a freshly downloaded zipped version of 4.1.1, I found this in both of them: .js .tmce-active .wp-editor-area {color:#fff}

 

Some people also suggested that the issue is caused by combining all of the individual scripts into one large file. There are plugins that can do this and it is also recommended as a way to optimize or speed-up WordPress. This is also something I have done with my site.

As for browsers, I use both Chrome and the 64 bit version of Firefox known as Waterfox and found that the problem was consistent on both browsers. Most of the fixes listed above did not work for me and I do not have the “Styles with Shortcodes for WordPress” plugin. I’ve included it in case someone has and it works for them.

The fix regarding the css editor file is a strange one and it’s pretty weird that even fresh versions of the file show “{color:#fff}”  (Yes, it has three “f’s”) Although this fix seems to have worked for some people, I thinks it’s something of a red-herring.

I also have not tried uncombining all the script files, or counting the number or placement of “;” in the large combined (concatenated) file to see if any are missing, causing the script processing to prematurely abort or cause execution errors by miss-reading.

Other posts I read indicated that the problem is actually at the server end and suggest interrogating the ISP to find out if they have changed anything.

I haven’t found a definitive answer to the problem, as there may be many causes, or maybe just one that no-one has yet discovered and is somehow affected by all the other “fixes”. What I did was to install a completely different browser, one that I have never used before, to ensure there are no remnants of old installations. I am of the opinion that the fault lies somewhere on the user’s computer and each “fix” is related to what a particular user has installed; other external web programs they access; version of their particular operating system… or maybe if they use a Windows PC or an Apple (Mac, iMac, iPad …)

I would be interested to know if fixes that work have anything to do with the operating system, whether it’s Windows, OSX, IOS.

Anyway, back to the different browser I installed. It’s Opera. When I logged back into my site, the visual editor had indeed returned. The next thing I am going to try is to completely remove both Chrome and Firefox (Waterfox) by using an uninstall tool I have as part of an application called “Advanced SystemCare 8.1 Pro”. It scans for leftover files and folders and also through the Windows registry. I’ve used it many times to completely remove stubborn programs I’ve installed in the past.

Although I said that I haven’t posted anything since before Christmas, it’s not exactly true, as you will notice that I actually did post this  Really Proud Of My Hero Nephew  on February 3rd. The problem with the visual editor was there, but the Text editor still worked OK. So rather than manually mess about with HTML, I fired up KomPozer which is a free WYSIWYG web page editing program. It has a Normal tab for visual editing and a Source tab for HTML. I created the post as normal and then simply copied and pasted the HTML into the WP Text editor. But, I still had to mess around a bit to get the post looking alright in WordPress and because I suspected a little fine-tuning may be necessary, it’s also the reason why that post is fairly short.
I’ll report back as to whether a completely clean re-install of Chrome & Waterfox re-enable the visual editor.

 

FusionHQ Freebie & Solo Ad

FusionHQ Freebie & Solo Ad

Here’s a Freebie I Came Across

fusionhq list ninjaJust a short note to let you know about this FREEBIE I just came across this , but only if you use this coupon code fq-CDt44m
Click Here and enter the code.

Seems that FusionHQ want to help people get started growing a business on-line with their high converting squeeze pages (inc 2 step ones) and to help grow an email list.

They’re obviously collecting email addresses and ‘high converting’ are their words – but it’s free with the code (usually $47/month) ….. so why not?
And if it helps build an email list, that’s all the better!

A New 200 Click Solo Ad Starting Today

I’m expecting a new 200 click solo ad to start today (Sept 10) using my iPro links. Lack of funds means that I haven’t run one for a while, in fact, I’ve not done very much with iPro for a while as I have been concentrating on a software project that I hope to release as my first product.

It’s taking me some time to do it, but that’s a legacy of the breakdown I had in 2010. Whether I’ll ever get back to the way I used to be when I was working full-time as a solutions architect remains to be seen.

Projects such as this would have been done in no time – but that was another time, another place and I was a completely different person back then.

Of course, when it’s finally done I’ll reveal everything about it, but at the moment I want to keep things under wraps. At least that part of my once 100% corporate mind is still functioning OK!

Anyway, I’ll post how the solo ad went and – hopefully – achieve my first income from the iPro high converting squeeze pages.

 

 

Are Solo Ads like Sucking Lemons?

Are Solo Ads like Sucking Lemons?

solo ads and sour lemonSolo Ads and Lemons

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like sucking lemons.

It’s the sour taste, which can sometimes causes my mouth to smart.

There are, however, a lot of people in the world who do actually like the sour taste – if you are one of those people then good-on-ya! Because if we were all the same, then the world would be a pretty boring place.

A place where everyone wears the same clothes, agrees with the same things, thinks the same thoughts.

On the other hand, a place like that would be predictable and if everyone in that place sucked lemons, then I would just have to learn to like them.

So, in a place that is controlled and predictable, there would only be one solo ad vendor, approved and vetted by those in power.

I’m very glad that I don’t live in a place like that, democracy gives us lots of freedoms, including the freedom to choose lousy vendors. And that’s where my analogy of learning how to suck lemons comes back into play.

I have never placed a solo ad before – that is, not before Friday the 9th of May 2014.

I’ve done my research, scanned forums and social media for opinions and feedback on different solo ad vendors until I chose a couple to try out for myself.

Advice found from various sources all suggest taking the minimum package on offer from two, three or more vendors. It appears to be common practice for vendors to over-deliver and postings I have read on-line confirm that this is indeed the case.

Packages on offer take the form of number-of-clicks. Some vendors may offer a minimum of 50 clicks, others may have 100 as their minimum.

There also doesn’t appear to be any kind of fixed rule for over-delivery. Comments I have read from satisfied customers indicate over-delivery rates between 10 and 20 percent. But as I have said, there is no fixed rule and these percentages are just rough figures from my own estimations.

Spreading your budget amongst different vendors is also sound advice, which minimizes your risk and avoids having all your eggs-in-one-basket, as it were. Not forgetting, of course, that the whole point of doing this is to measure the quality of the traffic and the amount of opt-ins gained from it.

Tracking therefore, is essential to gather meaningful metrics from vendors, which will help you decide which one will be chosen for a larger campaign, by purchasing a greater number of clicks from them.

On the subject of tracking, I’ve come across three FREE ad trackers:

  • Prosper202  –   http://prosper.tracking202.com/apps/
  • CPV Lab      –   http://www.cpvlab.com/
  • ClixTrac       –   http://www.clixtrac.com/

Prosper202 and CPV Lab are both self-hosted, which means that you will need to install them on a website you own. With ClixTrac, just create a free account. I haven’t tried any of them out myself yet.

Anyway, back to the subject of this post – solo ads.

Another very important metric is something known as Tier 1 traffic. Simply put, it is the amount of traffic – or clicks – originating from the USA, UK, Australia, Canada…. They all have strong economies and are predominantly English speaking countries. I don’t wish to insult citizens of other countries and apologies if I’ve left out other Tier 1 countries from my short list. I’m only reporting the information that I have found.

So, the best way to learn how to suck lemons – and maybe even gain a taste for them – is one segment at a time. Just like Solo Ad vendors, take small portions of what each has to offer to begin with, because spending a large bite of your budget on the first one you come across could leave a very sour taste in your mouth.

 

Huh…How Many Visitors To My Blog?

Huh…How Many Visitors To My Blog?

Flora, my Cocker Spaniel

Flora in my office

Huh…How Many Visitors To My Blog?

Slight embarrassment when Dean asked on the Week 3 Quick Start Challenge call how many visitors we had seen to our blogs since installing Google Analytics, which was one of the challenge actions of Week 2.

I had everything listed that needed to be done and checked them off one-by-one. I was pleased with my achievements, especially since it was also over the Easter period that week and for most of that weekend I didn’t go near my computer.

When Dean asked about visitors, I realized that I had not checked my own stats.

Logging into Google Analytics, my blog was nowhere to be seen. The only ones there were old test and training sites, no longer online, that I had set up some time ago.

Checking my site, I could certainly see the Google Analytics Plugin. So, I had loaded the plugin and probably got distracted by something.

Hmm…..Maybe it was my 4 month old cocker spaniel (Flora)?……..Maybe it was time for dinner?……

…Who knows?….But I think I’ll go with taking Flora for a walk…..dogs can’t argue back!

Anyway, I’ve setup Google Analytics now and looking into Flora’s soulful eyes – as she is sat on the floor next to my desk as I am writing this – I have to take full responsibility for not completing the task. Just annoying that I have missed out on a week’s worth of stats!

I want to go back to the point I made above regarding minimizing my computer time over Easter.

It’s important to keep in mind the reasons why we are all doing the QSC. Our lives and wellbeing are intertwined with our families. Spending more time with them certainly comes top of the reasons for me, without having the financial worries that usually accompanies what is known as “free- time”.

 

Free-Time?

As if our own time is not really our own and we are selfishly taking it away from someone or something else that is the true owner.

This sense of guilt is something that has been “bred” into us in Western society. 19th century Victorian era values of a “work-ethic” and how it is “sinful” to be idle. But their view of “idle” was someone who was not an aristocrat or not from an old established and wealthy family (old money).

Our lives are the single most important asset each of us possess and yet it is something that we most readily squander.

When our final day on this earth comes, none of us want to regret how we placed greater priority and importance on our careers and a faceless multi-conglomerate corporation rather than our partners and/or children.

There’s no going back; no refunds; no credit given for precious lost moments of time. The corporate machine places no value on that time, there is no profit to be made, it is a wasteful and inefficient use of an expensive company resource.

Indeed, I was once a company “resource”, but I am now grabbing back the life and “free-time” that truly belongs to me and no-one else. And I am no longer a “resource”, an employee number in a company’s database. Marked up with a set of marketable skills available for the company’s financial exploitation.

I am a man and my name is Michael Flanagan – call me Mike – I have a loving family. A wife, 3 grown up children and a Cocker Spaniel puppy called Flora. I have a daughter and 2 sons. My daughter will be getting married next year, my older son is currently living with his girlfriend in Sydney Australia.

I have knowledge and skills that are beneficial to my new venture into Internet Marketing. And I am willing to help and support anyone on the same journey to our mutual success.

This is who I am.

 

 

 

 

Previous attempts with Internet Marketing

My previous attempts with Internet Marketing (IM) to date have been the creation of a small number of websites, with added affiliate links (mainly Clickbank). I have hosting with Hostgator, email auto-responder with Aweber and membership of PLR site Resell Rights Weekly. I have written articles and reworked some PLR.

But, it was all really a minimal attempt and was mainly done as part of a training course I picked up as a WSO (Warrior Special Offer) on the Warrior Forum. Focused on the Wealth – Make Money On-Line – niche, it was a good introduction for me, as at that point I did not have any IM experience at all and through it I learned some basic stuff about setting up websites, building lists, creating sales funnels etc.

Although I am technically adept, with my previous role as a Senior Solutions Architect in the heady world of corporate enterprise IT, it occurred to me that I had never really built a website from scratch or paid much attention to the “nuts-and-bolts” of it all. And why should I? After all, I studied to become an electronics engineer and started my career in the electronics industry in the mid 70’s. Having attained  senior technical level, executive type roles, I had access to engineers and technicians to do that type of thing for me.

Doing it sort-of took me back to my roots, so to speak, and was somewhat refreshing to “get my hands dirty” once more. My initial reasons were to learn about how businesses operate on-line and how they handle the financial side of the operation.

Learning about IM was an activity done mainly out of professional curiosity more than anything else. The sites I created were html based, designed specifically to capture email addresses in return for a free report of some kind. I never pushed them as much as I really ought to have done and they have long since been taken down.

I didn’t sell anything at all or make any commission through affiliate links. I tried to become an Amazon affiliate, but was rejected. I think it was probably because the site I had submitted to Amazon was one that I had created during the course and it was, quite frankly, rather amatuarish.

Becoming an Amazon affiliate is something I still want to do, but submitting an opt-in, sales funnel type site is definately not the way to do it!