Joomla Security

I found some good tips on Joomla security at

  • Keep your Joomla core up-to-date.
  • Keep all your Joomla extensions (components, modules, plugins, templates) up-to-date as well. Follow extensions’ websites and upgrade each extension as soon as new version is realized.
  • Uninstall all extensions that you don’t need.
  • Delete superadministrator’s account with ID=62, if it exists in your Joomla user manager.
  • Change default username of your superadministrator’s account from “admin” to something else.
  • Use passwords that are combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Don’t CHMOD files on your server to 777. Use 644 instead. When your need to change some files, CHMOD them to 775 and, once you’re done, back them to 644. Use FTP software to CHMOD files.
  • When installing Joomla, use DB prefix different from default (jos_). If your current website uses this prefix, you still can change it using phpMyAdmin in your hosting control panel.
  • Even if you follow all above instructions, your website still can be hacked. Chances are less, but certainly not 0%. Check with your hosting provider if they make regular server backups. Check if site restoration is included in price. Check how many times you are allowed to make site restorations per month/year. Check how much time you should wait for site restoration.

Adding Website Workshops Forum

I’m looking into selection of a forum (bulletin board) for use with Build a Website Workshops as well as for my WordPress plugin. For Workshops I want something that integrates nicely with Joomla! but I may choose something different for my WordPress plugins since it needs to integrate nicely with WordPress 🙂
At first glance, Joo!BB looks attractive. However, uses phpBB. I’m guessing that this might be because they selected phpBB long ago, and it doesn’t make sense to switch even if there are better options now.
I’m going to try installing joo!BB on my site and see how it works.

Website Workshops

We’re heading off in a new direction regarding my job. God has been tugging at me to do something “different” but it wasn’t until this week that He’s told me what that is.

I’ve been thinking that I need to help small churches, and maybe small, struggling businesses to setup their website. I’ve also felt that God would show me how I can do this without sacrificing making a living and supporting my family. These two things appear to work against each other though.

I had thought at first that I could help others as a website consultant. But doing the math, I think I would need to charge $80 to $120 per hour. This is pretty much on the lower side of the pay scale for website consulting. Medium to large businesses can afford this, but I can’t see how I can help poor struggling churches and businesses this way.

I woke up the other night worrying about this, and prayed to God asking Him to show me how this was going to work. The answer came almost immediately. I’m going to start running “Website Workshops”. I’m already planning on doing something similar for the folks at my church. I’ll be teaching them how to edit the church’s web pages. Each team leader will need to maintain their own team pages.

I’m going to start offering workshops to individuals and small businesses that want to create and manage their own websites. Attendees will need to bring their laptop computer with them, and I’ll walk them through each step in creating and maintaining it. When the attendees leave my workshop, they will have a working, simple website and the knowledge on how to maintain it.

I expect to be able to do this in a half day session, but might extend it to a full day if I am underestimating things. I’m not settled on a price yet, but I’m thinking either $99 or $199 for a half day session. Every time I tell folks about this I get a very positive response, and a comments like “Ok! I’m your first customer.” I have a lot of first customers 🙂

So I’m not really job hunting anymore. I’m trying to get “Ron Lisle d/b/a Website Workshops” going. I’ll be having some free, trial workshops at the church over the next month, and hope to have real, paying workshops running by the end of March. This approach is going to allow me to work from home, eventually running workshops 2 days a month.

God is amazing. I knew that He had something really great planned for me, and I have been hanging in there waiting for Him to show me. I am so excited about this new venture. My head is still spinning. There are still those nagging doubts in the back of my head, but I’m trying to just pray those away.

God is awesome!

Web Design Consulting

After much prayer and discussions with friends and family I have decided to hang up the web design shingle. I’ll be looking at specializing on websites for small churches with limited budgets. It isn’t at all clear at this point how I will support my family, but this is the direction that I think God is leading me.

I created a website awhile back to try to help other churches with this, so I will be focusing even more on this effort. It occurred to me last night that I should include a section on open source tools also: Gimp and KompoZer for starters.

Installing Win 7 in Boot Camp

This morning I replaced my Macbook Pro’s internal optical drive. Back when it went out, I opted to be cheap and use an external drive at about half the cost of replacing the internal drive. Since then I had tried to install Windows 7 into Boot Camp using the external drive, and kept running into problems. I had attributed the problems to the optical drive being external. Now with the fixed internal drive I gave it another try.

I’ve been running Windows 7 under Parallels for awhile now. Parallels allows installation using the raw .iso file, so this was easy.

I’ve also upgraded my Macbook Pro’s internal hard disk to 500G, so I thought I’d recreate my boot camp partition since I have plenty of space now.

It turns out that the problems that I’ve been having were not caused by the external drive, but by the .iso format used by MS (this is an MSDN image). So after searching around a bit, I came across various instructions for fixing it. All of the instructions I found however required a Windows system, which I currently do not have.

I have a Parallels Windows simulator on my Mac, so I considered running the instructions in Parallels. I also found some blogs commenting that this approach had worked. However, while searching this it occurred to me that if running things within Parallels worked ok, then why did I need to bother installing boot camp, which is really quite inconvenient anyways.

The only real reason that I have for wanting to run boot camp is to get better performance for running my C&C style games. So I decided to reinstall them into an XP Parallels session and see how the performance compared to running the Mac version of the games (which isn’t very good). The results were quite good. I can run the PC version of C&C3 KR full screen at 1680 x 1050 with medium rendering settings without audio hiccups or obvious video glitches.

So I deleted my boot camp partition and will simply use Parallels 5 for running Windows XP and Windows 7. I also have a Ubuntu session. I’m a happy camper.

Back from the Holidays

The past few weeks I’ve been studying and working with WordPress and Joomla!

I’ve brought up our church and band websites on the latest WordPress, and am somewhat unhappy with the user experience that is presented to other authors (eg. my wife). This prompted me to take a look at Joomla! provides a tutorial on it, so I went through it. There is a steeper learning curve on Joomla! but it appears to be much better suited to supporting multiple, less skilled authors. There doesn’t appear to be as much information available (yet) on how to create and modify templates and plugins, but I’m diving in anyways.

I going to convert my BuildAChurchWebsite website to Joomla! and see how that works.

Chords and Lyrics WP plugin Public Release v1.3

I’ve submitted the form to requesting access to their svn to release the Chords and Lyrics publicly.

I’ve removed the old widget, and replaced it with an options page in the Users admin menu. Since this is per-user configurable, I thought that the Users menu was the correct place. But upon rethinking this, I think the correct place is under Appearance. I can easily move it if someone explains to me why another menu would be better 🙂

I’ll post an update when it goes live.

Next To You, Next To Me

By Shenendoah, this is Shelley and my song.

Verse 1

Ridin’ down the road in my pick-up  
better get ready ’cause I’m pickin’ you  
with a  
full moon a shinin? and a little bit a  
run out outta gas and maybe  
we could get lost baby  
I don’t care
I ain’t worried as  
long as you?re there
there ain’t no place that I’d rather  
next to sittin’  
next to  
there ain’t no place that I’d rather  
next to you,  
next to me  

Verse 2

Barbecue chicken in aluminum foil

just enough money for my gas and oil
who needs your shrimp and your caviar?
I’d sooner have you just the way you are
Rich people got their money to hold
mansion on the hill ‘n diamonds and gold
well, it can’t compare as far as I can see
next to sittin’ next to me
there ain’t no place that I’d rather be
next to you, next to me

Verse 3

Radio playin’ our favorite song

I’ll change the station if the news comes on
when the signal ain’t comin’ in too strong
we’ll make our music honey all night long
if the Good Lord’s willin’ when we’re old and gray
the kids are grown up and moved away
well, it can’t compare as far as I can see
next to sittin’ next to me
there ain’t no place that I’d rather be
next to you, next to me

WordPress Development

I’ve been working on revamping the church’s website. I’ve been doing a lot of searching and reading.
I must say that I’m pretty shocked at how expensive a lot of the church solutions are. Understand that my church is operating on a shoe string budget, so any recurring expenses need to be small.
On the other hand, I’m also very pleased to see the work that some folks have done in this regard. There are several pretty good sites that are advocate using WordPress to create maintainable church websites. It’s been awhile since I’ve dug under the covers of WordPress, but I’ve got the itch to do so again. I’m going to launch a new site targetting the use of WordPress for church websites. Since I’m in the midst of updating my own church’s website using WordPress, this will be a good place to post my own themes and plugins, provide suggestions, and link to other good church related sites.

iPhone Development

I’m going to use this time between jobs to learn how to program the iPhone. Since I’m already familiar with Cocoa development, I believe it is going to be fairly easy.

On Tuesday I picked up a copy of the “iPhone Application Development for Dummies” book by Neal Goldstein. I’m already on chapter 11. This book is great, especially for someone like me that already has some Cocoa experience. The coding information is minimal which would probably bother me if I wasn’t already familiar with Cocoa. But it is perfect in my case. It gets me right to what I need to know.

There are a couple example applications which are real applications that the author has submitted to the App Store. I’m going to customize the first for use on my own iPhone by including my picture in it, and making some other cosmetic changes.

The iPhone development environment is amazing. This reminds me of how things were when Microsoft first released Visual Basic. A big difference is that although simple applications can be very easily and quickly created and deployed (like VB) there is a professional strength language beneath it (Objective-C vs. Basic) which will allow full blown application development.

I am really loving this! Thank you God for giving me the time off to go learn this.