State of Play 2019/wk14

So Monday, start of the week. Have two possible projects in the pipeline, one drafting civil works, the other structural design of a shelter.

It is becoming seemingly apparent farmers don’t seem to need council approval for farm land (they probably do, just seems they don’t). that is people in the towns seem to have the development regulations imposed on them more strictly than imposed on the farmers.

Tends to make you question this kind of stuff: Renewed call by SA-BEST for wind farm moratorium. Farmers do one thing, but impose hindrances on everyone else, and expect them to follow different rules: once again it seems that way. All I know at the moment is that need to investigate if local council has some standard designs it uses for comparison, to grant approval for owner-builder (farmer) constructions. If not then there is a problem. A problem because it seems people in the rural towns are subject to more constraints than those out side the towns: and they shouldn’t be the development act applies equally.

So been working on the website, linking common articles together and creating some table of contents pages for various subjects. Also expanding some product descriptions. Modified styles for headers. Discovered that woocommerce besides tabs, also adds a header: the result is I am getting the title: “description” three times. I only want the one I manually include, but at the moment cannot identify how to remove from the woocommerce templates. Once guide I read suggested using CSS to not display them, another required hooks and functions. But approaches seem inefficient. Something I need to test on local install, before implementing.

Starting writing some articles in areas of future potential, initially based on the little I do know in these areas. However, I have decided to opt for a series of articles around the idea of “stuff I know, I don’t know. Will create a new category for this.

Written and expanded articles on pricing concepts used, and provided some example calculations: still more to write.

Written various articles on my personal blog regarding education of people working in design, technology and engineering.

A few weeks back listed the business on various online directories. About the only resulting increase in enquiries is now get SEO and advertisers phoning up, rather than just sending email spam.

I trialled using fiverr. I connected product in store to my fiverr gig. However, fiverr paused the gig due to lack of activity. It seems I need to log into fiverr frequently. If I get email notifications I don’t see why. But that is the way it seems to be, so need alternative approach. Thus far decided to adopt checkvault as preferred escrow service. Haven’t yet trialled them, but my preference at the moment. Businesses remote from Yorke Peninsula (with no prior history), and especially those in NSW, wanting our services, will have to pay via checkvault: unless willing to pay up front.

Been writing more code for getting data in and out of my spreadsheets. Also attempting to automate converting spreadsheets to vba. Also own tools for exporting spreadsheet to html file. Approach at the moment has been to copy blocks to images and assemble the images into an html page. Its the simplest approach at the moment as I use cells to annotate images. I’ve adopted the use of styles to highlight blocks to be exported in a specific way.

I believe Roy has finished converting the vernadah/carport structural design engine into VBA classes. The last debugging and coding assistance I provided, he was working on MS Forms to provide data input and show results, rather than using MS Excel worksheets. I suggested given many suppliers moved to 2 part cold-formed box sections, it would be useful to initially set up using SHS and RHS.

So plenty of product development in the pipeline, but consulting work still precarious.


For second time this year website store compromised. So far not certain of its nature. In first instance possibly password was too short. But second time password should be plenty long enough. Though passwords I have no control over are possibly too short: I can only automatically change them and I cannot make them longer. Any case for the second time I’ve changed the passwords for the database and my login.

I looked at some websites indicating changes to make. As I suspected much of it is of no value, and found articles on security software sites indicating such. Sure the information maybe biased. However I can program, and I don’t need to know directory structures to identify folders and files. And when I gain access to a database, I can identify tables and fields. So making changes which potentially break the site, and require significant effort, doesn’t seem much value: if an hacker with more programming skill than I have can seek common patterns and find the needed data.

My impression so far is that no one has gained direct access to the website. Rather some input field in some form, probably during payment, allows SQL injection or similar, and that has modified my paypal email details, so that payments are redirected elsewhere. Since I don’t know which plug-in or form is the cause of the problem, I have temporarily shut the store down.

As a transition I will probably bring the store back with all the add-to-cart buttons replaced by enquiry buttons. Effectively turning it back into a catalogue. Problem is making the changes before reactivating the store.

Also this week:

  1. Queensland universities still the major user of my spreadsheets especially those for AS4600.
  2. Had enquiry about shed design software.
  3. Explaining certification and nature of calculations
  4. Got the go ahead for design of the shelter.
  5. More preliminary work on the civil works project.
  6. Roy certifying water tank designs

Also back tracked to using MS Edge browser, as chrome started declaring it was being managed by my organisation. Since that should not be the case and was unable to remove such status by uninstalling and reinstalling, decided to limit use of Chrome. Today (12/04/2019) found this article: Chrome Saying It’s Managed by Your Organization May Indicate Malware. At present, I simply deleted the whole google collection under policies and checked main Windows account and other test accounts I have, then rebooted. So far so good.

My first observation of this issue was when clearing browser history. After doing so would get all these orange symbols appearing where the browser menu is. Each was a plug-in which wanted to be reactivated. I removed them all, but on restart of the browser they were there again: though there may have been a delay of a minute or so after starting the browser that the notifications arrived.

Also internet security and virus software hasn’t detected anything.


  1. [01/04/2019] : Original
  2. [12/04/2019] : Minor Edits