Sphider status

It has been awhile since there have been any Sphider updates. Has it been abandoned?

HECK NO! There just haven’t been any complaints, so nothing to fix (that we are aware of). And we haven’t had any ideas for new features.

Basically, if it ain’t broke, we are going to “fix” it.! If there IS an issue, let us know. If you have an idea for enhancement, let us know that, too.

Boeing Starliner software issues

Boeing experienced some software issues on its unmanned test of the CST-100 Starliner. One of the flaws prevented the Starliner from docking with the International Space Station. A second identified flaw could have potentially had catastrophic effect on the return from orbit. Boeing has been criticized for taking shortcuts in its software testing.

The response:

The program manager in charge of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule program said Friday that additional checks would have uncovered problems with the spaceship’s software that plagued the craft’s first unpiloted orbital test flight in December, but he pushed back against suggestions that Boeing engineers took shortcuts during ground testing.

Continuing:

Mulholland said Boeing engineers performed testing of Starliner’s software in chunks, with each test focused on a specific segment of the mission. Boeing did not perform an end-to-end test of the entire software suite, and in some cases used stand-ins, or emulators, for flight computers.

Hmmm… It would seem to me that not performing an end-to-end test and using stand-ins or emulators in place of actual flight computers ARE SHORTCUTS!

I am calling BS on this one…

Forbes and ads – the bad apple in the basket

Do you have ad an blocker?  Do you want to read an article on forbes.com, but they insist you turn off your ad blocker?

Don’t do it! Forbes.com is littered with ads,  most merely annoying, but some downright malicious! So do you just forgo forbes, or risk getting infected with some malicious software?

Well, the solution is easy. Turn off JavaScript before you visit forbes.com. No ads, no prompts to disable your ad blocker! Just read away…

I acknowledge that some websites depend on ads for revenue, but sites like forbes.com is the real reason ad blockers exist. It only takes a couple bad apples (like forbes) to ruin it for the sites who depend on legitimate ads.

Should we blindly trust, or maybe be suspicious?

HEADLINE:
14 January 2020
NSA Finds Major Security Flaw in Windows 10, Free Fix Issued

Microsoft said it has not seen any evidence that hackers have used the technique.


That sure was nice of the NSA. I mean, when was the last time the NSA cared so much about individual security?  To the best of my recollection, the last time was — NEVER!

Microsoft promptly fixed the issue…. a WELL PUBLICIZED issue.

I have three questions, just for thought…
1) Do you trust the NSA?
2) Do you trust Microsoft?
3) Is it possible there was no flaw, but the NSA was having trouble clandestinely accessing certain parts of Windows 10 machines and needed a system modification from Microsoft to give them such access, thus the urgent “fix”?

I am making NO accusations here, just asking a question no one seems to be asking.

Remember the saying “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” It is very possible that there really was a flaw in Windows 10 (there are, after all, LOTS of flaws in Windows 10), and the NSA was indeed being nice and Microsoft indeed fixed an unused but potentially  serious security problem.

However, considering the reputations of both the NSA and Microsoft, there needs to be room for suspicion.

67 TLD’s generating predominately spam

Here are listed 67 TLD’s (top level domains) which have provided me pure spam.  I have never gotten a single legitimate email from any of them. This doesn’t mean there aren’t legitimate users of any of these, but it DOES indicate, to me at least, that those legitimate users are few and far between.  As a result, these are all blocked outright. This hasn’t eliminated spam, but sure as **** taken a HUGE bite out of the mess (80%+).

*@*.agency
*@*.asia
*@*.berlin
*@*.best
*@*.bid
*@*.biz
*@*.camera
*@*.casa
*@*.cc
*@*.click
*@*.club
*@*.computer
*@*.cricket
*@*.date
*@*.design
*@*.eu
*@*.faith
*@*.global
*@*.fun
*@*.gdn
*@*.guru
*@*.gt
*@*.help
*@*.host
*@*.icu
*@*.info
*@*.life
*@*.link
*@*.live
*@*.loan
*@*.me
*@*.media
*@*.men
*@*.monster
*@*.news
*@*.ninja
*@*.nyc
*@*.online
*@*.ooo
*@*.party
*@*.photography
*@*.press
*@*.pro
*@*.pt
*@*.pw
*@*.racing
*@*.review
*@*.rocks
*@*.science
*@*.site
*@*.solutions
*@*.space
*@*.stream
*@*.surf
*@*.tech
*@*.today
*@*.top
*@*.trade
*@*.uno
*@*.us
*@*.vn
*@*.webcam
*@*.website
*@*.win
*@*.work
*@*.world
*@*.xyz

SphiderLite

After several years of improvements and enhancements to Sphider, we have decided to do something different. We are going to produce a scaled back edition!

All security and indexing improvements will remain, but the indexing and search capabilities will be removed for images and RSS feeds, resulting in SphiderLite.

A good number of users don’t need image or RSS capability. SphiderLite will be smaller, simpler, more compact.

Look for SphiderLite later this year, perhaps early November.

Sphider 3.3.0-MB released

Version 3.3.0-MB of Sphider has been released. As far as indexing and searching functionality is concerned, this version is IDENTICAL to version 3.2.1.

What HAS changed is that the database has been altered to include the use of foreign key restraints. With the database thus being able to maintain key relationships on its own, some admin functions have been simplified as the code no longer needs to maintain the relationships.  Database maintenance functions are accelerated  and more reliable.

The BEST way to implement this newest version is either with a clean install, or to empty the database, upgrade, and re-index.  It IS possible to upgrade in place, but the larger the database, the larger the risk. The upgrade process will attempt to back up the data only, delete the tables, recreate the tables with the foreign key restraints, then restore the data. This has been tested numerous times, but as previously mentioned, the more data there is, the higher the risk of data loss.

There is a file, “README_FIRST.” You are definitely encouraged to do just that for the simple reason that not all MySQL installations are created equal.

Seguarzo Anti(??) Virus – AN UNWANTED INSTALL

I was trying to install a codec for Windows Media Player. (I know what you are thinking… WINDOWS? I usually work with Ubuntu, but confess I do sometimes use Windows…). Anyway, low and behold I happen to discover something called Segurazo Antivirus running on my machine!

Supposedly, it is a good, lightweight antivirus… But I have a question…

IF Seguarazo is SO good, why do they have to do a clandestine install, without asking for permission, or ANY notification? I have to suspect, that claims to the contrary, there is nothing ANTI about this Segurazo Virus!

And it wasn’t easy to get rid of, either!

So remember SEGURAZO, a product to shun, avoid, stay away from… and uninstall if you find yourself victim. After the uninstall, there was STILL a lot of Segurazo crap in my registry.

Segurazo is NOT an antivirus, it IS a virus, an unwanted program, possibly spyware or adware.  No reputable program needs to secretly install itself.

Segurazo… you need to be ashamed of yourselves!

PHP, Shared hosting, and MySQLnd

I have posted before about the problems Sphider may have on websites using a shared hosting plan. Sphider, in its normal form, uses both mysqli and mysqlnd extensions. Mysqli means “mysql improved”, and Mysqlnd stands for “mysql native driver”. In the past, mysqlnd was actually an optional extension, whereas beginning with PHP 7 it is integral to a MySQL installation.
With most PHP installations, nd (native driver) is the default. This is not the case with many installations used in shared hosting. The default may be mysqli, and not nd_mysqli. You can determine if nd is the default or not by running phpinfo() on your website and examining the results. Firstly, the results should contain a section with the title “mysqlnd”. Within that section, you will find a line “API Extensions”. If the value for “API Extensions is “no value”, nd is NOT your default. Below is a screenshot of a typical installation in which nd is NOT the default.

If nd is not the default, you may be able to change it. If your control panel gives you the option to view/change PHP extension settings, check that page. If you see “mysqli” is checked, and “nd_mysqli” isn’t, uncheck “mysqli” and check “nd_mysqli”. (“mysqlnd” should also be checked.) Save your changes. Now when you view the mysqlnd section of phpinfo(), the API Extensions should show mysqli. (You might need to do a browser refresh.) Note that having BOTH “mysqli” and “nd_mysqli” checked will give you a error when trying to save the settings.

In the event you do not have the ability to edit the PHP extension settings, contact your host administrator and ask if they will perform this change. Changing to the native driver as default should have zero impact on other parts of your website while making Sphider usable.

If you can’t change the extension settings, and your host admins can’t or won’t, your only Sphider option is to use the PDO edition. The PDO edition is currently at 2.4.2-PDO, which is stable, but there are no plans for further development. Meanwhile, the normal Sphider, which is currently at 3.2.0, continues to be developed and improved.

Sphider Backup Tips

Sphider comes with the ability to backup and restore your database. How well this works depends on not only the size of the database, but on your MySQL settings. The restore could restore a single record at a time, but this would be time consuming. It would be reliable, but for a larger database you could probably spend the weekend at the shore while it ran. So, to speed things up, the restore process works on blocks of records. However, this increase in speed comes with a cost. If a block or records is too big, the restore will fail. There is a way to prevent this.

First off, check to see if you might have an issue. From a command prompt:
mysqld –help –verbose –pid-file

In the results, look for “max_allowed_packet”. If the value is less than 33554432 (32M), you might have an issue. Values of 67108864 (64M) or greater and you should be good to go.  The 64M is recommended, although larger won’t harm a thing! The value can be up to a maximum of 1G (1073741824).

If you need to increase the value of “max_allowed_packet”, there are two ways of doing so. The first is a permanent fix. Edit my.cnf (my.ini in Windows). In the “[mysqld]” or “[client]” section,  put in “max_allowed_packet=64M”. If the line doesn’t exist, add it. Then restart the mysql service.

The second method is temporary, existing until the next time the service is restarted. Run this simple query:
SET GLOBAL max_allowed_packet=67108864

Of course, in either instance, entering larger numbers will do no harm. More importantly, you can have confidence that the backup and restore procedures will work properly.