Browsing all articles in General Talk

Flattr this!

As one of the main contention points people have with mail service is either the amount of spam they receive, or the amount of legitimate email we block, we’ve decided to put the solution in your hands.

We’ve added user access to the blocking implementation we use at Computer Solutions.

For a quite rerun on this our incoming mail rules are as follows:

  • Sending Server has a valid Reverse DNS Entry
  • Sending Server conforms to mail RFC’s
  • Sending Server is not listed in any of the following Antispam Service Lists
  • Mail does not contain a virus, malware or similar content.
  • Mail is addressed to a valid sender.
  • Recipients mailbox is not full.

We’re giving you access to do what you want with regards to incoming spam blocks.
If you decide that our heinous blocking of senders who’s servers are _definitely_ listed in spam listings is not to your taste, then you can change that.

If you want to whitelist any incoming mail you can do the following:

1) Login as the postmaster account for your domain at (in the example below, I’m editing my own account, you’ll need to use YOUR / password!)

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 8.31.18 PM

2) Select Domain Wide Focus

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 8.31.47 PM

3) Click Add a domain specific rule (this will apply to all messages received for your domain – i.e. anything

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 8.31.56 PM

4) Setup appropriate rules (there are a number of options – in the example below I’m whitelisting all incoming mail).

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 8.32.13 PM

5) Note that the System rules below are now greyed out (assuming you whitelisted as per example above).
Thats because they no longer apply!

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 8.35.39 PM

In future we will be pushing clients to use this interface for their unblocking / blocking requirements, so that the needs of the few outvote the needs of the many, and your incoming email can go where no wo/man has gone before.


Flattr this!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been noticing an increase on hack attempts on wordpress installs and other CMS’s (eg joomla).

Most of these attack attempts are from Russian IP space (typically Ukraine), although there are also a lot of botnet attacks from hosed windows computers also (these come from a variety of countries).

To counter this, we have been pro-actively implementing a number of different mitigation solutions, ranging from upgrading clients CMS installs and adding captcha plugins where possible to prevent brute force password attacks, through to scanning for vulnerable files throughout all clients website, and updating them to non-vulnerable versions (timthumb.php being the major issue/problem child that we’ve found to be vulnerable/exploitable).

We have also implemented server-wide lockout systems for failed logins for wordpress using one of our existing protection mechanisms (fail2ban).

Some of you may already have noticed an additional question or captcha being asked during login to your systems.

(example below)

Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 10.42.02 PM

This is for your safety – if someone hacks into an install, they typically then attempt to run additional items within an install such as malware.

We also have live monitoring for malware running on all servers, and have been quite proactive in upgrading installs which are capable of being compromised.

In the case of a site being compromised and malware being dropped into the site, our live scanner sends us an automated email and we actively investigate.

If we cannot resolve the immediate issue, and find the security hole, we disable the clients site and inform them of an issue, and the need to take further action.
(To date, we haven’t had to go that far though).

We’re not the only people seeing this, although its not well known outside of the web hosting community at this present time.

We believe in proactive solutions for these kinds of attacks, and our multilayered approach appears to have spared us from most of the problems facing others at this time.



Flattr this!

Occasionally some of our suppliers send us presents.
Usually not often enough, but I have scored me some Haagen Daaz Moon Cakes in the past after hinting heavily that while I’m sure that red bean tastes really nice, I’d probably enjoy an ice cream one more.

This morning we had a small package come into the office addressed to Eugene.

The gift that wasn't :)

We opened it up, and saw a metal box inside (just like the one we use for our Fridge Magnets).
Ahah, I thought, and I affirmatively acquired it to my desk.

Inside was some advertising fluff, a plastic “metal” badge, and an ooh, gifty looking metal box.

The gift that wasn't :)

We opened the box to find a thank you for your business from (万网)

The gift that wasn't :)

Putting that aside, we took the top foam off, to find….

The gift that wasn't :)


The gift that wasn't :)

I didn’t get a USB key (or whatever usually goes into the box), but the gift of imagination.
Yay. Score.

I think next time I’ll let Eugene keep the box!


Train Safety

Flattr this!

The recent accident in Wenzhou has highlighted some of the issues that are present in train systems today.

The facts –

One high-speed rail train D301 from Beijing was headed for Fuzhou, this train was followed by train D3115 from Hangzhou to Fuzhou. At 20:34 or so, the train D3115 was hit by thunder, subsequently lost power and stopped.
Train D301 did not, and crashed into train D3115.
Two cars from train D3115 as well as four cars from D301 derailed, some falling off of a bridge.

The trains are from different manufacturers –
D301 – CRH1 (Bombardier Regina, Swedish)
D3115 – CRH2 (Shinkansen E2, Japanese)

Read more »

Flattr this!

Although I’m loathe to call ourselves a corporation – we’re not!, we do try to do the odd bit of good for the community, whether locally, or regionally.

Last year saw our first donation to the Library Project. The Library Project is a worthy cause, and donates books and libraries to under financed schools and orphanages in the developing world.

Computer Solutions donated funds for a Library, which ended up going to Chen Jia Gou Elementary school in Shaanxi province.

Link to our donated library here –

We also donate support to a more local cause – LifeLine Shanghai.

Computer Solutions has been providing complementary IT, and Web Services for a number of years now for Lifeline. Last year, after a few months of persuasion they finally agreed to let us redesign their existing volunteer created website too.

Our design team took note of LifeLine’s requirements, and came up with something more visually appealing, with a clearer layout and site structure. Visit their site here –

Lastly, we also support a cause which donates items and books for schools up in Qinghai. We’ve previously donated computers, funds, and other items to help out. More info about that here: Do your part too, and help out, donations of clothes and other items are very welcome!

Lastly, if you are a charity organization in Shanghai, or China, and would like us to assist you in some way, please contact us. We’re more than happy to donate our services to worthy causes.

Flattr this!

(This is a rough draft, so excuse the lack of editing and / or coherence at points)

The news this week is full of alleged government interference with a certain exiled government leaders computers.

While there is sufficient evidence of  targeting by state sponsored actors, I don’t necessarily agree with  everything they wrote in the report, or all their findings.  While there is merit to discussion about that, its probably safer to avoid the topic, and examine how the attacks worked, and what we can do to avoid or mitigate events like that.

The actual report can be read here in PDF format –

Read more »

Flattr this!

Computer Solutions participated in the yearly Chilli Cookoff at Bubba’s

We didn’t win, drat!, but we had a great time, and hope to participate next year also.

Lots of fun photo’s from the event over at

Chilli Cookoff

Chilli Cookoff

Flattr this!

I’ve just upgraded the webmail software on to a new version of Roundcube.

Testing revealed no issues for myself, so its now live.

A few new features – check settings for more options that can be configured.  Remember to click Save (at the bottom of the page) if you change anything!

Complaints, comments below please.


Badge Mania

Flattr this!

Computer Solutions is not all website design, and IT support.
We also do a bit of artsy stuff too (although not as much as I’d like!).
As part of an internal “just for fun” project we’re doing, I bought a badge machine for the office.

Today saw the first set of badges produced, with a theme of Old 70’s era China, based on a post I saw at BoingBoing -> LP Cover Lover.

Without further ado, our first badges are below:

1RMB Coins sure are big 😉




The staff also made a set, but I think we can be saved from an image of Snoopy in blue.

Unless you look below 😉

Note that we’re now selling these, and more badges over at

We’re also releasing another cool in-house designed product over there next week, so stay tuned!



Flattr this!

After making a blog for Jelly Mon, I finally decided it was high time that we had our own blog at Computer Solutions to let our clients know what we’re up to.

So… here it is.

First post and all that.

As you can see, we’re revamping the main CS website to be more inline with our Design Site color scheme.  Once thats completed, we’ll be going through the site to update content (never a fun job, but someone has to do it!).

Next after that is for us to put in a ticketing system, so we can free up the phone lines a little.

The plan is to have our clients sign up at the support page, and enter trouble tickets on the support page.  We can then allocate the appropriate staff to respond in a timely manner, and resolve whatever issues you may have.

If you look at the top of the page, you’ll also notice a couple of links to the main sites clients need to visit – the mail page, and the newsletter admin page (for our Newsletter clients).   This should help those of you that are always forgetting which page to visit!

Lastly,  any comments are appreciated – whether they are about design, or service or whatever.

Leave comments below.