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Topics - Graham

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1
Dear Members,

It is with great sadness that I let you know that my father, Graham Boyd, passed away on Thursday 16th June at 4.40pm Indian time. He had reported back in January on the forum about his cancer diagnosis and that he was taking treatment. He underwent 3 months of Chemotherapy which did not help with the tumour and then had started Radiotherapy. This proved too painful for him and would also have been of no real benefit. Due to the complexity of the tumour in his shoulder it was impossible to operate on without my father losing function of his dominant left arm. He finally underwent minor surgery to cut the nerves that were trapped within the tumour in May, to try and reduce the pain he was feeling. Sadly, this did not work and it also meant he lost use of his arm which was what he was trying to avoid.

I came out to be with him in Tiruvannamalai on the 8th June and have had the privilege of taking care of my father in his last days of life. Even through this period, he remained as happy as was possible and in his last few days, he was no longer in any pain.
He died peacefully at his home, looking at Arunachala and is now in the safe arms of Bhagavan.

He will be greatly missed and was loved by many in Tiruvannamalai and all around the world.

As my father made you aware in January, I will continue to take care of his website and forum for at least the next 10 years (hopefully longer). Please bear with me though as I have very little experience in wesite matters, but will do my best to maintain the integrity and beauty of the website that my father has spent the last 20 years developing.

Best Wishes
Candice Faqir x

2
Health issues / Health issues
« on: January 23, 2016, 02:19:35 AM »
dear all,

everything in this post has been written in lowercase wherever possible, to make life a little bit easier for me at this time.

two months ago i began to lose the use of my left hand and arm [i am left handed] and to experience severe pain in my entire arm. at first the doctors thought it was related to cervical spondylosis [i am 66 years old] and ordered cervical and full-spine MRI scans. the scans revealed a healthy spine, but a mass over the left brachial plexus. this was scanned in more detail.

it appears that there is tumour surrounding and crushing the nerves of the brachial plexus, plus other nerves and blood vessels in that area, hence the pain and paralysis of my left arm.

its origin is bone cancer, but is currently limited to my top rib and the outgrowing mass. this has made life somewhat more difficult for me, especially typing and other two-hand related tasks.


i am receiving treatment to shrink the tumour away from the nerves, in order to relieve the pain and hopefully restore the use of my arm [if only for a few months, so that i can finish everything].


whilst i am still clear and capable of it, i am currently engaged in tidying up my worldly affairs in the event that nothing works.

this will include the future of all of my domains ... ownership will transfer to my daughter and an account will be set up to pay for them for the next ten years. she will find someone skilled at these things to maintain the sites, with perhaps some help from members with regard to the forum.

my love and best wishes to you all

graham

3
Dear All,

Mookupodi siddhar was banned today from the ashram for three things - two days ago he walked into the kitchen and spat heavily into the chutney that was to be served to devotees, and yesterday he urinated in Bhagavan's shrine.

He came to the ashram to collect money and that is also not allowed.

I have repeatedly requested that members do not elevate such people nor even mention them on this site.

Please desist.

Graham

4
Dear All,

Today I added a new theme called SMF4Mobile which should automatically load when using a mobile device. The normal theme that you have chosen for your desktop should not be affected by this.

SMF4Mobile is a stripped down version of the entire site but contains all the functionality that members actually use.

This has been added to correct Google's 'Fix mobile usability issues' that would otherwise have caused the site to be marked as mobile unfriendly.

As I do not use mobiles of any kind I would appreciate any comments - i.e. if it works well for you.

Graham

5
Security Issues / Warning about myZamana
« on: February 28, 2015, 05:44:56 AM »
A few days ago I started getting unsolicited mail from a site called 'myzamana', telling me that there was a message from someone called Surya, followed by other mails offering to share Surya's photos, etc.

At first I ignored and deleted the mails, but they just kept coming. In the end I visited the site using a secure browser to try and have my mail ID removed and found that there is no way to do this.

I did not register or even interact with site apart from trying to find the unsubscribe link, but left the site not finding anything.

Within a few minutes I received mail from the site thanking me for registering - which I certainly did not do, followed by a whole host of invitation mails from other apparent users, who were no doubt sucked in the same way.

After searching google, I discovered that this site hacks gmail accounts to gain full access to the address lists of those who use gmail in their mailing address - see this link:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/if-you-get-an-email-from-myzamana-trash-it/

Using the unsubscribe links in the emails also does not work, as it clearly does not remove your email ID from their server.

I have forwarded some of the unsolicited mails to the FTC in the USA - the USA is where myzamana is registered and it therefore falls under USA laws.

Hopefully they will act against this site if sufficient complaints are forwarded to the FTC.

In the meantime, spam filtering at ISP level does not work as they use a different reply to address like the one below with every mail

noreply+d-162854ed24408182e461266663_4b6c3263a2b3d1179b69e6ab13c13f51@m3.myzamanamail.com

I can only recommend that users forward unsolicited mails from myzamana to the FTC at this address - spam@uce.gov - then delete any mails from this company and do not even attempt to unsubscribe.

Also check your browser and mail clients for any cookies from this company and delete them.

Graham

6
There has been a problem accessing arunachala-ramana.org and my other sites from within India since early this morning.

The server (IP address 82.165.103.34) on which my sites and 146 other unrelated Domains are hosted has been inaccessible to BSNL customers.

I am actively looking into this and have contacted both BSNL and the server host to get to the root of the problem.

In the meantime visitors and members can gain access via any proxy outside of India - I am using one now as I am also affected by the block.

One such service is http://newipnow.com/ - I do not know much about this service but it seems to work. There are many others.

I hope it is resolved soon.

Graham

7
Arunachala / High quality photo of Arunachala
« on: September 25, 2014, 05:29:30 PM »
Dear All,

I have uploaded a small version of a photo of Arunachala taken from my roof. It is a highly detailed panorama composed from 130 separate photos taken with a zoom lens.

The download size is 12.10Mb and is 65Mb when open. If you want to print it out then it measures roughly 39 inches across (100cm).

You can zoom into any part of the image and see every feature clearly (within the scope of the smaller file).

This is the link and it will be available for one month: https://app.box.com/s/ctecuxn1d6jo69cmzr36

The original is almost 7Gb in size and measures roughly 24 feet across (7m). This version will not be available for download.

I hope to be taking more like this over the coming months/years from different points around the mountain.

Graham

8
Forum Updates / Transfer complete
« on: March 08, 2014, 05:21:57 AM »
Dear All,

The forum changeover is now complete.

This forum is a clean install of the software, with the backup database from 9th February 2014 installed and should work properly now at its regular address.

It took longer than it should have done, but hopefully everything will be fine.

You can see the previous version at http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/forum_2/index.php if you want to move anything you posted after 9th February 2014 - you can no longer post to the old version.

If anything on THIS forum doesn't work properly then please let me know.

Graham

9
Dear Friends,

Today (4th January 2014) I uploaded a new version of this website.

It has been completely redesigned and re-coded with a 'fluid' layout.

This will permit you to visit the site using any device with a screen resolution of 420 pixels or greater, and see it with exactly the same content as someone browsing from a desktop computer.

If you come across any broken links or problems, then please let me know.

Mobile themes for the forum

There are a few mobile themes available for this forum and I will add them as options in the next week. You will be able to access them through the 'Themes' link on your personal profile page.

Graham

10
Security Issues / Ransomeware - Cryptolocker
« on: December 25, 2013, 06:20:50 AM »
There is a new advanced form of malware called Cryptolocker that has so far infected approximately 250,000 computers (according to researchers) since September 2013.

This malware encrypts your hard drive/s and demands a ransom to decrypt them. It is very successful.

The malware arrives usually via email as an attachment.

You can read the full details of this malware and how it infects your machine at this link - this is a long article but is well worth the effort of reading it, and it is fairly simple to understand:

http://www.secureworks.com/cyber-threat-intelligence/threats/cryptolocker-ransomware/


The best way to protect your computer is to back up everything on a regular/daily basis on an external drive that is kept only for that purpose, and is disconnected immediately after backups are complete.

There are a number of recognised utilities that will do this for you and they usually cost up to a few thousand rupees after the trial period. In my opinion they are well worth the cost, when it is compared to the problems of reinstalling everything from scratch and recreating all the lost work.

Graham

11
Security Issues / Rootkits
« on: August 25, 2013, 07:52:50 AM »
Rootkits

Introduction & Background (from Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit readme)

Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit (MBAR) is a tool designed by Malwarebytes Corporation to detect and remove sophisticated, stealthy forms of malware called “Rootkits”. Rootkits are hidden forms of malware which most normal malware scanning tools cannot detect or remove.

Background:

Rootkits have the ability to infect the very core or ‘root’ of an operating system and hide the existence of certain processes and malicious programs from normal methods of detection. Rootkits can also enable continued privileged access to a computer to make system level modifications, leaving the system heavily compromised.

Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit (MBAR) is designed to counteract malicious attempts to subvert base core subsystems of an OS which usually make it impossible to detect rootkits using conventional methods. Besides the general functionality of allowing a user to detect and remove rootkits automatically, MBAR contains a set of tools allowing to an experienced user to perform some actions to locate unknown rootkits and remove them manually. To protect itself from being terminated by a rootkit or other malware, MBAR uses Malwarebytes Chameleon technologies which prevent modification or removal or MBAR by malware which may reside on the system.

This allows MBAR to complete the detection and removal process regardless of such attacks. MBAR uses an active internet connection to keep its database up to date to ensure that the most current definitions are used in order to detect and remove the latest 0-day rootkits.

End --


Rootkits install all sorts of payloads buried deep inside the operating system which include keyloggers, back-door access and making your computer part of a botnet.

Apart from spying on everything you do, they also steal all passwords and login data, especially to banks and commercial sites. This information is then sold on to others who specialise in stealing money via the internet.

Some of this malware can turn your video camera on and watch/record you as you go about your daily business.

Rootkits are not only the tools of choice for criminals, but commercial enterprises and governments also, because they remain hidden from view and can even be sent to sleep until such time as they are required.

There is no way that you can fully protect yourself from this malware on any computer that has access to any network or the internet, but there are steps that you can take to mitigate the problem.


There are programmes available that will create a VM (Virtual Machine or Sandbox) on your computer, from which you can safely browse the internet and even install programmes. The VM will not block malware or viruses but offers a safe environment within which you can check things out. After the session you will be asked if you want to keep anything that was downloaded or installed via the VM and if the answer is 'no', then upon closing the session everything that was opened, run, downloaded or installed will be completely wiped from your machine.

This is possible because the VM is a sandboxed temporary copy of your operating environment - nothing gets out into the real environment unless you specifically give it permission. The real environment is invisible to the malware as it can only see the VM.

Also installing good quality anti-virus and anti-malware programmes with firewall on your computer and keeping them up-to-date is very important. Do not rely on one programme for everything.

I have Zonealarm Extreme, Malwarebytes anti-malware (MBAM), Malwarebytes anti-rootkit (MBAR) and Microsoft Windows Defender. My system is scanned twice per day and all files are checked upon opening or downloading.

My system has still been infected on rare occasions by visiting booby-trapped sites or copying a file from some external media, but so far infections have never reached the point of installing themselves or doing any damage.


You can download MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware (MBAM) from here http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php

You can download MalwareBytes Anti-rootkit (MBAR) from here: http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/other_tools/

You should also download the software called Chameleon which will force Malwarebytes software to run even if malware tries to prevent it - and most of the worst kinds of malware prevent all antivirus and malware removal tools from working or updating.

This software is free for personal use - professional versions are available at low cost.

Graham

13
Security Issues / Interesting sites and malware related information
« on: July 12, 2013, 07:19:07 AM »
Dear friends,

This is a link to an excellent site that deals with many computer-related and security issues, including how to ensure your passwords are secure.

http://arstechnica.com/security/

Malware and Rootkits

Malware is malicious computer software that interferes with normal computer functions or sends personal data about the user to unauthorized parties over the Internet. Most malware operates secretly, providing few clues to its presence and is generally not noticeable because unlike viruses it is not designed to harm your computer - it wants to stay on your system, so avoids detection. One of the major uses of malware is to recruit computers for botnets.

Rootkits are extremely dangerous and truly malevolent types of malware. They are composed of many parts and bury themselves so deep into your operating system that they become part of it and are 'almost' undetectable by normal anti-virus and malware scanning software.

These rootkits can be acquired by clicking on links in email, downloading items from unknown sites, or even just visiting the wrong web page.

Microsoft's Windows Defender scans for known rootkits on a scheduled basis, but does not scan for all of them.

There is some serious suspicion that a number of rootkits are used by governments to spy on people, read their emails, track their computer usage and even download their files.

For the past few years I have been using Malwarebytes Anti-malware, a free to use malware scanner, in addition to my regular anti-virus programme, and recently have also downloaded Malwarebytes MBar and Malwarebytes Chameleon to deal with rootkits - Chameleon is used to force Malwarebytes to launch in the event that a system is compromised and the protection programmes become disabled by the malware.

I can recommend all three as safe, but the malware 'definitions' require updating regularly, daily is best if connections permit.

Graham

14
Several years ago I created some large prints for those who like the 'Ten (Eleven) Verses to Arunachala'. Each one contains a nice photo of Arunachala with the verses.

They are approximately 60cm x 43cm with embedded colour profile and at optimum resolution for printing at your local print shop.

They are available for download from:

http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/arunachala/download/index.htm

This page contains preview images linked to the larger images for download - to download the full size image without opening it inside your browser, right-click on the link concerned and choose 'Save link as ...' from the menu. This will save the image to your hard drive.

Graham

15
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