• Migrating IMAP mailboxes to a cPanel server

  • A customer got in touch with us and explained their situation.

    They need to setup their email on the go and configure some forwarders. Their issue was that they were never given access to the control panel by the account holder and have since lost touch.

    This unfortunately left them in a situation where they had no control over their hosting, they asked me to help them out.

    My task was to migrate their existing IMAP mailboxes to their hosting account on one of our cPanel servers…

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  • Change or remove programs is blank

  • Windows 2000 is a pain, especially these days when something goes wrong because none of the information or tools that we used to use are around any more.


    Who remembers that issue when you open “Add/Remove Programs” from an oddly positioned control panel only to be greeted by an odd jumble of strings:

    “Change or Remove ProgramsAdd New ProgramsAdd/Remove Windows ComponentsSet Program Access and Defaults”

    This message is followed by a blank change or remove programs window.

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  • Microsoft Office 2007 Downloads

  • One of my customers has specialist database software built on the FileMaker Pro database engine. The unfortunate downside to this is that certain legacy plugins they are using for FileMaker only support Microsoft Office 2003 or 2007 and not the latest Office 2010. This means that any new systems need to purchase legacy versions of Microsoft Office, which seems to be almost impossible apart from purchasing old stock. I managed to find that a reputable retailer (eBuyer) had some suitable licenses in stock:

    • Microsoft Office Small Business 2007 – W/ MS Office Professional 2007 (Trial) – licence – 1 PC – OEM, MLK – Win

    As you can see, this is for Microsoft Office Small Business 2007, this include Outlook (unlike the Home and Student version) and Publisher (Unlike the Standard version or below). This license is suitable for their needs. One major downside to this is that “MLK” means “Medialess License Kit”, which means they do not supply a CD or DVD with this purchase, just the license key. Perfect, well almost: Where the heck do you get the media from? Read More »

  • Is Google PageRank dead?

  • PageRank is dead, long live PageRank.

    As we said recently, there’s been lots of speculation as to whether PageRank is dead or not. It isn’t, just Google are moving the goals a bit. Basically, they don’t want you to focus on PageRank but it’s still massively important to them.

    All this talk of dead, reminds me of the Monty Python dead parrot sketch, only in this case, it isn’t dead. An anti-dead-parrot if you will.

    So what’s with all the news about PageRank being dead? Google just changed their code, that’s all…

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  • How We Built: 3 Shires Property Network

  • Back in 2006, Mandi approached me to create her a website for her real estate and property rental business: 3 Shires Property Network.

    There was already a website online with the basic contact details, but no properties listed.

    Now with over 60 properties listed on her website things are going well, which tells you that we did something right.

    Time for the close up:


    1. Banner: The logo was provided by the client to remain consistent with their existing stationary. The farmhouse image was added at the top to give a rural look and feel, giving the visitor the right impression of the business. Rounded to make it easy on the eyes.
    2. Navigation: A simple, basic navigation bar below the banner, but above the contents makes it easier for the user to find what they want.
    3. Photos: The client really wanted to get across to the visitor the range of properties they dealt with. The “from flats to farmhouses” phrase came up and the ideas stemmed from that.
    4. Details: All the details the visitor needs are right there on the front page.

    The technical part

    The website engine is actually based on the PHPbase powered open source “Property Management Software” which I heavily modified to fix errors and security issues as well as adapt to the UK market.

    Migrating to a new server

    The website was moved by Phurix from an ageing server to a new server.

    This did however introduce a few problems, where you could no longer edit the properties from the admin area.

    This is because it was originally developed for PHP4 and I’ve never updated the code since. The previous server ran both PHP4 and PHP5, however the new server only runs PHP5.3 (or above) as PHP4 was discontinued in 2008.

    After a few hours looking at old code and scratching my head, I discovered an “at sign” (@) which was suppressing all the usual errors and warnings that you would see when there is a problem.

    The solution was to update the code by dealing with the compatibility errors and warnings.

    What I would do differently next time

    The first thing to go would be the website engine.

    It’s unlikely that I would recommend the software above because it is no longer in development by me or the original authors.

    Things have moved on a lot since this website was written, social media was just getting started and Google Chrome didn’t even exist!

    Some alternative options for real estate listings are:

    • Open-Realty: Commercial license, partially encrypted, poor looking demo (cira 2005). No thanks.
    • Drupal: Good solid base to start with but there’s no actively developed home/real estate/realty modules. This solution would be too complex for a small business.
    • Placester: A new player making it very easy to create real estate ads online and feed them into many other websites. The issue is that it’s not yet in the UK and I’ve yet to work out what’s in it for them.

    So, to keep it as simple, yet modern I would opt for

    • WordPress with the Estate theme by woothemes, which may seem like an odd choice, but it’s worth it for all the for all the included advanced features.

    As for the design, I still quite like the style, but I would probably modernise it, making the navigation clearer and adding a nice chunky footer, while using WordPress and the Estate theme as a base would clean up how the contents is displayed and managed.

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