Blog

SNS & CloudWatch Notifications to Pushover (Android / iPhone)

Richard Benson14 October 2013IT Pros, Administrationcomments

We use Amazon Web Services extensively here and rely on CloudWatch notifications to keep us abrest of how our infrastructure is performing.  CloudWatch has great integration with SNS topics and alerts are a doddle to configure.  However, by default SNS topics cannot be pushed to your smartphone without creating your own fully fledged app.  When you work in a small team, this is not really an option.  SNS can push to URLs, however, and Pushover has a simple API.

The following script allows simple notifications from SNS topics to be pushed to your smartphone via Pushover.

Continue reading SNS & CloudWatch Notifications to Pushover (Android / iPhone)

Pingdom Status Screen v2

Richard Benson23 August 2013Administrationcomments

When Pingdom interviewed us about the Desktop Notifier, we mentioned that our office has a screen up showing our check statuses at a glance, today one part of that system has been pushed to our Github account.

This first part is a simple PHP site that gives an overview of all checks, highlighting their status in an attention grabbing way.

Installation just requires copying to your webserver and mofication of includes/settings.inc.php with your pingdom username and password.  Once started you can elect to hide paused or up checks using the buttons at the bottom.

View Pingdom Notifier Screen on Github

Simple archiving to S3 for log files

Richard Benson02 April 2013IT Pros, Administrationcomments

When operating a large number of cloud servers, many of which will have small amounts of local storage, growing log files can become a problem and most countries have laws in place that service providers need to retain logs for specified amounts of time.  Manually fetching these logs from each server is a time-consuming task and becomes even more difficult when you may not even know how many servers you have at any one time.

To solve this problem in our case, it seemed obvious to upload these logs to a cloud based storage and then delete them from the local machine when done.  There didn't seem to be a simple solution out there to manage this, so we decided to create our own simple application that will fulfill this task.

Continue reading Simple archiving to S3 for log files

SBIT featured on Pingdom blog

Richard Benson21 March 2013Company Newscomments

Monitoring and uptime reporting service Pingdom has published an interview about the work we have done with their API and how we use their products to enhance the service that we provide to our customers.

In the interview we discuss the existing Desktop Notifier for Pingdom, which is available for free and the code is open source, and we also discuss some of the other internal projects we have created to use with their service, which will be made available on our GitHub account as soon as they have been tidied up.

The full interview is available on the Pingdom blog.

Pingdom Desktop Notifier is dead; long live Desktop Notifier for Pingdom

Richard Benson01 October 2012IT Pros, Administrationcomments

desktop-notifier-example.png We use Pingdom a lot here; we have 65 checks running at the moment, we publish our uptime reports for the most important ones, and we have our own-made Pingdom status screen up in the main office but we all miss the old Desktop Notifier. This died when Pingdom deprecated their v1 API and it seemed that neither they, nor the community, were going to provide a replacement any time soon, so here is ours; "Desktop Notifier for Pingdom".

Continue reading Pingdom Desktop Notifier is dead; long live Desktop Notifier for Pingdom

Upgrading Lenny to Squeeze on Rackspace Cloud

Richard Benson27 April 2012IT Pros, Administrationcomments

Debian 5 (Lenny) is now out of support it will not be receiving any more security or bug fix updates, meaning an upgrade to 6 (Squeeze) is required.  The procedure is reasonably simple, however if you are using Lenny on a Rackspace Cloud server, you will get an error relating to "dependency based startup".  Furthermore, if you are using MySQL 5, you will need to upgrade that to 5.1 and this itself has a pitfall if you have based your config on the stock my.cnf.  Below is the procedure for upgrading Debian Lenny to Squeeze on Rackspace Cloud with MySQL installed.

Continue reading Upgrading Lenny to Squeeze on Rackspace Cloud

The EU cookie law and why you need to know about it

Richard Benson20 April 2012IT Pros, Web, Consumerscomments

The EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications initially caused quite a stir 12 months ago, but the UK's Information Commissioner's Office stepped in and said that UK firms would have a year to comply with the regulations. That year is up on 26th May and people are starting to talk about the EU Cookie Law again, however no-one seems to be exactly sure what the implications will be and the ICO is not offering answers to the questions people are asking.

 

What is the directive about?

The intention of the directive was to combat "tracking cookies" and other similar techniques used by advertising networks to analyse your online behaviour and offer targeted ads to you. Cookies are small text files, stored on your computer by a website, that contain short pieces of information. These can range from the contents of your shopping basket to a unique (ish) identifier used by large ad networks to track your browsing history. Whilst the files themselves are harmless, many privacy groups object to the non-consensual tracking of an internet user's browsing habits. The "unique" identifiers used do not contain any real personal information and cannot track you across different computers or even different browsers on the same machine, however they allow ad networks to build up a profile on the person using that computer based on their browsing habits. By analysing what sites you visit that contain their adverts, they can make an educated guess of your age and gender and get an insight into what you read about, therefore allowing them to show you adverts that have more relevance to you, in turn allowing them to charge more for the placement of those adverts.

Continue reading The EU cookie law and why you need to know about it

Reducing data bills when roaming - 2012 Edition

Richard Benson28 March 2012Consumerscomments

Following on from the 2 year old Reducing data bills when roamingarticle which focused mainly on Windows Mobile devices (how things change in such a short time..), it's about time there was a more recent update focusing on iPhone and Android devices.

 
Once again, the EU are stepping in to reduce the cost of roaming, and as of July, using roaming data in the EU will cost a maximum of £0.70 per MB.  This doesn't help you outside of the EU and even those costs could add up if you're not careful.

Continue reading Reducing data bills when roaming - 2012 Edition

Say goodbye to keyword tracking

Richard Benson08 March 2012IT Pros, Webcomments

Google recently announced that they are expanding their use of SSL encryption to more local domains around the globe in an effort to "increase the privacy and security of your web searches".  Whilst this seems a noble intention, it will affect every site owner that uses a stats package such as Google Analytics or Piwik and those sites that use keyword data to enhance the user experience for their visitors.

google-analytics-output.png

Continue reading Say goodbye to keyword tracking

Travel Butlers, African Safari Holiday Specialists - Google Maps development

Richard Benson10 January 2011Company News, Portfoliocomments

Travel Butlers provide tailored holiday packages in South Africa and the neighbouring countries.  Traditionally their website development had been done in-house but they needed some advanced Google Maps API programming to push their site forward and make the experience for their customers that little bit better.

 
Working together with Travel Butler's director Paul Campbell, Surrey Business IT produced a module they could bolt-on to their existing website and infrastructure that would automatically generate a number of different types of Google Map; from details of attractions in specific regions to itineraries for individual bespoke holiday packages.

Example Travel Butlers Map 3Example Travel Butlers Map 4
 
Built from the ground up, the solution allows them to customise anything in the map and replace all of their existing static image maps with interactive versions all from the same code-base and an XML file.  Working this way meant that Travel Butler's in-house developer only had to produce simple XML from their own back-end to be able to create any number of different map varieties.
 
Example Travel Butlers Map 1Example Travel Butlers Map 2
 

Continue reading Travel Butlers, African Safari Holiday Specialists - Google Maps development
Page 1 of 4Next
Support Ticket
Remote Support
Support
clever girl