CloudFlare – Speedy goodness

A few days ago I decided to give CloudFlare a try on my blogs to help speed up the loading time and also act as another barrier of security for them (as we all know WordPress while being great software is often a target for security holes).

The system has a few experimental features (which at this stage unfortunately break certain WordPress plugins) however with all the stable features turned on the system works beautifully. So far the system has improved the loading times of my blogs significantly and was extremely painless to install. Essentially the system is a reverse proxy for your site and has various features inbuilt in that proxy to speed up the loading and also reduce the total load on your server.

If you have a blog they have a free and a paid service and it in some ways acts like a CDN (Content Delivery Network) by caching most commonly loaded parts of your site. So please let me know if you have any issues in the coming days loading anything on my blogs and I will look to debug them ASAP.


How to run two versions of Firefox on Mac OSX concurrently

Running two versions of a browser on one machine is something that should be easy… but not always. Recently I needed to assist with deploying a fix to a slightly larger userbase than normal and provide the ability for Mac OSX users to concurrently run two versions of Firefox.

Therefore after researching this in my own time this weekend I have thrown together these simple launchers to make the process far more easy for everyone. If you follow the steps below you should be up and running in no time. Before we begin though PLEASE back up your existing Firefox Profile.

Firstly download the two versions of Firefox you want, for the latest build see the Latest Downloads page, or for the previous build see the Older Downloads page. Following that get your hands on the launchers I have created: Firefox Workaround Zip File.

The Easy Way:

Assumptions: You already have one version of Firefox installed on your machine and that you would like to run Firefox 3 and Firefox 4.

  1. If you have the older version of Firefox installed on your machine open the applications folder, click the existing Firefox Application and rename it to “Firefox 3”. Then install the new version of Firefox in the applications folder.
  2. If you have the newer version installed and want to install the older version along side, rather than dragging and dropping the old version to your applications folder to install. Drag it to your desktop first, rename it to Firefox 3 and then move it to the applications folder after it is renamed.
  3. Open Terminal and run “/Applications/Firefox\ -profilemanager -no-remote” this will load the Firefox 3 Profile Manager.
  4. You will have one profile already showing. If you wish to keep this for the latest version rename it to “Firefox-4” then create a new profile along side this called “Firefox-3” the names and case are important as the scripts use these to auto run the different versions. It should now look like this:
  5. Extract the Firefox Workaround Zip File to a location of your choosing. The two launchers can then be dragged onto your dock to use them for Launching the two versions of Firefox concurrently.

The Hard Way: so the assumptions above don’t apply?

OK so I am a realist, the above will only work for the aforementioned versions of Firefox and we would like to give you the ability to make some changes, or you want to name the folders differently (or whatever issues you may have).

  1. After you have downloaded the Firefox Workaround Zip File extract it to the Desktop
  2. Run Applications –> Automator
  3. Choose to open an existing workflow
  4. Open the Firefox 3 file extracted from the above zip
  5. In the script there are two things you can edit the ‘-a “Firefox 3″‘ defines the application name so if you wish to change the application name you can do so there, the ‘-P “Firefox-3″‘ defines the profile to use.
  6. As an example if you wish to call the application Firefox Old with a profile name of Original Firefox you would write:
  7. Save the scripts and they can now be used.

Because I am nice – A generic version of the loaders:

I figured that it might be nice to have a version of the loaders that will load any version of Firefox, one old and one new. Therefore if you download the Firefox Workaround Generic you can use the following settings:

New Firefox:
Application Name: Firefox
Profile Name: Firefox Default

Old Firefox:
Application Name: Firefox Old
Profile Name: Firefox Old

This should allow you to not have to continuously overwrite the loaders if you wish to have this available as a permanent solution. Then when a new major version is released, before you upgrade just replace the application names.

Let me know if you have any feedback or ways of improving this.


Telstra’s new MyAccount portal, leaking customer data?

With privacy a large concern for consumers today, you can imagine my surprise when I logged into My Telstra account to see another person’s account information including account numbers, outstanding amounts, telephone numbers and associated information. Today I noticed the release of Telstra’s new MyAccount portal which I assume happened overnight. Curious I attempted to log in and after an hour and several tries later I managed to get into the new site and have a poke around. Although there does seem to be some general teething issues (which were mentioned to the @Telstra twitter account) it seemed rather shmick.

However upon logging in a bit later this morning to see if the issues were resolved I was concerned when seeing another customer’s account data presented to me rather than my own. In the two screenshots below you can see the first does not have a matching name or account number (and shows three separate services) belonging to Samantha and the second screenshot shows my actual account which has a matching name and account number.

As this only occurred once it is unknown if this issue is widespread. Telstra has been contacted for comment via Twitter (hey I am not a Journo so I don’t know the official channel) but has yet to respond. So have a look at the below images (click to enlarge) what are your thoughts, as a Telstra customer myself I am less than impressed and am curious to see how they will resolve my concerns.

12:45pm – Greg from the Telstra Customer Service Team is reviewing my account and reviewing the reported issues. Further details to follow as they arise.
2:40pm – Greg has phoned me and the team has been analysing my account over the past hour (and are continuing to do so). At this stage it looks as though it has only affected my account and not others.

[rokbox thumb=”” title=”Telstra MyAccount showing Different Account Details” album=”telstra”][/rokbox]


[rokbox thumb=”” title=”Correct Telstra MyAccount View” album=”telstra”][/rokbox]