Ubuntu 14.04 USB drive giveaway

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Ubuntu 14.04 is released 17.04.14

Ubuntu 14.04 USB Drive Giveaway

Ubuntu 14.04, Trusty Tahr, is released this Thursday, 17th April. To celebrate, we’d like to give five lucky users a 16GB bootable thumb drive pre-loaded with either Ubuntu Gnome or Linux Mint, whichever the winners prefer. This will enable them to run an entire open source environment without touching a hair on the head of their existing set-up.

Anyone with a machine dating from 2003 or later will be able to run these systems. Mint is a good solution for lower-powered machines, but if you’re looking for an operating system for a system with even less juice, you might want to consider Crunch Bang.

What’s the big giveaway?

Anyone can download Ubuntu – that’s not what this giveway is about. We’ve called it the Ubuntu 14.04 USB drive giveaway because we’re giving you a 16GB USB nano-drive completely free, together with email support.

This giveaway will appeal to open source-curious Windows users who are interested in seeing for themselves what open source has to offer, but without committing themselves or getting in a tangle.

If you’re a Windows XP user and you find yourself in the wilderness now that Microsoft has cut support for XP, this is the giveaway for you. However it is open to everyone. We’d like to carry out a wee bit of follow-up with the winners, and feature their experiences (anonymously if they prefer).

How do I enter?

From Monday a Twitter campaign will be running. Watch out for tweets from @OpenSure for further details. The competition will close on Good Friday and the winners announced on Tuesday 22nd April.

Important Security Announcement: OpenSSL bug

The recent OpenSSL issues (CVE-2014-0160) have required most of the world’s Internet service providers to patch their systems and we completed ours late on Monday this week.

Our perimeter systems should have detected some of the possible ways this exploit would have been used and we haven’t seen such alarms, but there are ways services may have been attacked that would not have been seen.

Despite the seriousness of this bug and the potential for loss of data, it is unlikely that our services were targeted using such methods. However, we suggest users should not be complacent so we offer the following advice.

As a precaution we recommend users change passwords on Zimbra email services which are the most likely to have been affected.

We are also reviewing all systems for other secondary signs of compromise or attempted compromise and will be renewing vulnerable certificates where keys may have been compromised.

Some aspects of certificate renewal have been delayed beyond our control due to the huge increase of validation and re-issue tasks at certificate authorities.

Firefox users may experience an error showing relating to the OCSP server. This is an added protection Firefox uses that checks a service that looks for revoked certificates. Again due to the increase in revoked certificates, lists are not getting updated as quickly as usual and so it cannot confirm that a new certificate is not listed.

To fix in the short term: If you check under Firefox preferences you will find Advanced – Certificates – Validation – and untick the OCSP server check. After 24hrs we recommend you return this setting to normal.

If you have any queries relating to this please do contact support and they will be happy to assist.

Choosing a domain name

Choosing a domain name – falling off a log, right?

Well yes in that debit card in hand it’s the work of moments to buy yourself a domain name, but care is required to make sure that you register a domain name that meets the needs you have for it. This is a very general and non-technical guide to choosing a domain name.

.co.uk or .com?

Let’s assume you’re a UK organisation choosing a domain name. If you make widgets then .co.uk is the most appropriate TLD (Top Level Domain). Many companies also buy the .com to protect the name. Whether your company name ends in .com or .co.uk isn’t a major consideration, but if you’re manufacturing in the UK or just like to be loud and proud about being British then .co.uk will give you mileage.

.net or .org?

However, what if you provide online services, as we do? Then .net may well be best to show your net-based focus, and is the one we chose. If you’re a charity or non-commercial enterprise then .org or .org.uk is the best choice. Consider also the recently released raft of specialist TLDs such as .photography, .london, .wales, .hotel, .pizza and .golf.

International TLDs

Another option is international domain names that complete a word or give a snappy finish, such as .ie (Ireland), .io (British Indian Ocean Territory), .tv (Tuvalu) and .ly (Libya). There may be restrictions imposed on non-native companies registering these names, so you would need to look into each instance carefully. Generally these are best left to the funky young companies choosing a domain name to convey bounce and creativity. The golden rule here is:

identify what you’re trying to convey with your domain name, and go from there.

What if your company name’s been taken?

If you’re very very lucky your company name may still be available, but most ordinary words and names have long since been snapped up. The new supply of TLDs will ease that situation, but you could also try choosing a domain name based on a variation of your preferred name. Eg Mackay Widgets might have wanted www.mackay.co.uk, but it could also weigh up mackaywidgets.co.uk, widgets.co.uk, ukwidgets.co.uk, mackaywidgetsuk.com etc.

Bear in mind where and how this domain name will be deployed. Underscores and hyphens don’t translate well to radio advertising and ideally a URL should be fairly snappy. mackaywidgetsuk.com gets across the company name, product and location, but it’s quite long.

SEO is a whole other area of expertise. Specialist advice should be sought on this from a company such as Ethical SEO, who are, interestingly, at http://www.ethical-seo.eu/.

Can we register a domain name for you?

Once you’ve chosen your domain name you must then negotiate the minefield of filling in each field correctly. Failure to do this can put your ownership of your domain name at risk. If you’d like advice on best practice, or would like us to see through a domain name purchase for you then please get in touch.