How dirty is your keyboard? Time to give it some TLC for the new year!

Micro Men pulling apart a black Computer Keyboard
©Depositphotos/KirillM

I want everyone to stop, pick up their keyboard right now and shake it… go on… you KNOW you are dying to. Something that many people do is clean around their desks, making sure that all is squeaky clean and tidy, but especially in offices the common keyboard is far to often neglected.

Now that it is the new year it is time to give your computer a spring clean and your keyboard is the best place to start.

It might be time consuming, it might be icky but it is definitely a necessity. So lets find out how many of you have now shaken just SOME of the collection of KeyChow (Keyboard Chow) from your keyboards? Cleaning a keyboard is simple but time consuming and consists of one by one pulling each and every key off the keyboard, giving them a good wipe, vacuuming out all the crud underneath the keys and replacing everything back to normal.

There are some great articles on how to do this on the internet already such as HowToGeek’s – HowTo Thoroughly Clean your Keyboard (take a look about half way down for the good stuff).

The only additional piece of advice I really do STRONGLY emphasise is to take a photo of your keyboard before you start, that way you already have a solved version of the puzzle for when you need to put it back together.

So if you haven’t done so in a while, wipe off your desk and give your keyboard a good clean. The germs of the world will hate you for it! 😀

Happy New Year everyone!

Stuart

P.S. Apologies for being so quiet lately, been pumping all of my energy into a new open source project I am working on for the Atlassian Suite. I will try to blog more soon!

cPanel Bug causing fixrndc to never complete on CentOS 6

If you are having problems on a recent cPanel installation on CentOS linux where /scripts/fixrndc starts and never completes this may fix your issue. I have noted that this is currently an issue on (at least) cPanel/WHM Release 11.32.3 but may also affect other versions.

After chatting with Michael from cPanel Support he has stated: “The basic issue is that on Centos 6 the /etc/init.d/named script needs to use the “portrelease” command before it can bind port 953. Such a line isn’t present in the default /etc/init.d/named script provided by the cPanel installer. Reinstalling bind installs a working /etc/init.d/named.”

This can manifest in the following ways (I have found so far):

  • EasyApache pauses on /scripts/fixrndc and never completes
  • Initial server GetStarted Wizard does not complete setting up bind and gets stuck
  • /scripts/upcp –force freezes and does not complete

These are the cases I have seen thus far. If you run /scripts/rndc manually you will likely get the following output:

warn [fixrndc] /usr/sbin/rndc status failed: WARNING: key file (/etc/rndc.key) exists, but using default configuration file (/etc/rndc.conf)rndc: connect failed: 127.0.0.1#953: connection refused
warn [fixrndc] /usr/sbin/rndc status failed: WARNING: key file (/etc/rndc.key) exists, but using default configuration file (/etc/rndc.conf)rndc: connect failed: 127.0.0.1#953: connection refused
Restarting named
warn [fixrndc] /usr/sbin/rndc status failed: WARNING: key file (/etc/rndc.key) exists, but using default configuration file (/etc/rndc.conf)rndc: connect failed: 127.0.0.1#953: connection refused

The simple fix for this is to reinstall BIND using yum. All you need to do is execute:

yum reinstall bind

And the problem will be fixed. Michael has informed me that this will be fixed in a future update to cPanel. Kudos to him and the cPanel support team for getting me back up and running in RECORD fast time.

Stuart 😀

 

Insurance for your data, why is it so often overlooked?

A hard drive surrounded by flames ©Depositphotos/Klanneke
©Depositphotos/Klanneke

Data is in our lives, our smartphones, our computers, our internet services and just about anywhere and everywhere you can imagine. Yet something a lot of people do not consider is an “insurance policy” for their data. Before I continue, take a moment to note down your current thoughts on computer backups. After you have read this article, have a look back and see if your views have changed. If they have (or haven’t), leave comment and let us know.

People buy insurance for their car to cover if someone crashes into them, they buy insurance for their house in case they are burgled or something else untoward happens. Yet one thing that so many people neglect to do is invest in insurance for their data.

Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What data might you lose if your laptop or computer at home was stolen or your computer suddenly failed irrecoverably? Think photos, financial records, emails, contact information, work, data from your studies, the list really does go on.
  2. How would you feel if you accidentally deleted the folder with the photos of your children since their birth, or from your overseas holiday?
  3. What would you stand to lose if GMail, Yahoo mail or Windows Live mail service suddenly shut down or suffered irrecoverable data loss?

 

I ask these three questions because they cover three common scenarios of how someone might lose data including loss and corruption, human error, or cloud service disruption. I have always said, data loss isn’t a matter of IF, it is a matter of when.

Data loss can happen because of any one of a number of reasons including (but not limited to):

  • Hard drive failure
  • Loss of computer due to malicious causes (such as computer being stolen)
  • Human error (accidentally deleting files)
  • Virus or other malicious software
  • Power failure causing data corruption
  • Natural disasters such as lightening (power spikes), flooding, extreme heat and so on

 

So with all these factors in consideration, why are data insurance and home backups still overlooked and seen as an optional extra rather than a critical necessity. Businesses put backups in place often due to legal requirements as strict minimum, as Well as the fact that is just good practice, however no such legal requirements exist for the home user.

With services such as Backupify.com who can backup an increasing number of cloud data services, and Crashplan.com which covers the data on your local computer, insuring your data has never been easier or cheaper (you can check out my review of Crashpan Family Unlimited for the full rundown there). For those that wish to look for a one off payment solution even something as simple as an external hard drive at home is still better than nothing to ensure you have at least some of the bases covered. For the cost of a couple of coffees a month you can backup your online and offline life and start protecting all the data you have ever put together.

I can say that in my life I have suffered four major data loss events at home, three were due to hardware failure and one due to human error. It wasn’t until the last event of human error that I had a huge hole in my data backup regimes. Covering against myself deleting a file and then not realising until six months later. Having a backup strategy and testing the backup strategy is one of the best things you can do and at some point you will be thanking yourself for taking the time and and a small amount of effort to invest in insurance for YOUR data.

So, now to discuss… Do you back up your data? If you don’t backup, what is it that stops you, is it because it is too hard, lack of knowledge about how to back up, or is it that it is too expensive? I ask in the hope that I can write up some articles on how to overcome these obstacles. If I can convince one person that reads this article to put in a backup strategy, I know I have helped that one person immensely, and that I have saved at least one person future pain and frustration.
Stuart

P.S. For the record even as little as a week ago I experienced data loss on a personal server I house in the United States… as I said, not a matter of IF just a matter of WHEN… you will be happy to know that yes, I had backups so we are all good 😀