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Messages - norman

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Operational Status / Site swap
« on: April 01, 2024, 06:01:22 pm »
Over the weekend we have swapped the Lincoln and Northampton computers over to test our resilience in the event of a site failure.

We have also moved our main code server from Windows to Ubuntu Linux to stop the annoyance of unscheduled updating which left the computer needing a reboot to install remaining packages.


Loadmaster / Loadmaster - released 25/01/2024
« on: January 25, 2024, 08:37:38 pm »
New version. Among other things it allows the alteration of the RHA conditions on your invoices.


Loadmaster / Loadmaster released 20/06/2023
« on: June 23, 2023, 07:54:10 pm »
A full list of changes can be found by going into the HELP menu and choosing the Whats New option.

Added a Sales Ledger type option on this release.


Loadmaster / Loadmaster released - 26/12/2020
« on: January 02, 2023, 06:08:58 pm »
While containing some customer specific modifications this release allows very large backups of your data.

Previously the ZIP format only allowed individual compressed data files of up to 4GB. The Jobs and Archive files sometimes reached this.

This update works around this.


Miscellaneous / Code Signing Certificates
« on: December 08, 2022, 03:54:49 pm »
Recently had fun getting a code signing certificate from Sertigo. You can only download it using either Internet Explorer 8+ on a PC or Firefox ESR on a Mac. Nothing else works at the moment.

I used a Mac with Firefox ESR which went as far as stage 5 where it downloaded a file called CollectCCC onto the Mac but it didn't seem to do anything else. I expected it to load it in the Keystore but no such luck.

In case anyone else has a problem, what I had to do was as follows :-

The downloaded file CollectCCC contained the public certificate signed by the certificate provider.

You have to rename the collected certificate to name.p7s (any name but with a .p7s extension)

I then copied this onto a Windows machine for ease of use.

I pulled the public p7s into the Personal certificate store using the Windows certificate manager.

I right-clicked on the certificate and exported it to the base64 format, saving it as name.cer

I downloaded and installed openssl

I then issued the following command to combine the signed name.cer certificate with my previously saved private key name.key

openssl pkcs12 -export -out NAME.pfx -inkey NAME.key -in NAME.cer

This creates a name.pfx file, which you can install directly in the Personal certificate store on the computer to sign executables and you can use the Windows certificate manager to add a friendly name to the certificate.


Miscellaneous / Some Microsoft web pages won't load
« on: September 04, 2022, 09:52:00 pm »
An unusual effect. You go to most sites and they are OK. You go to log into Hotmail or other Microsoft sites and they just seem to hang.

We use System Mechanic and the Fingerprinting Check was set to ON in Chrome and Edge. Turning this OFF resolved the issue.


Other software / ParcelTrak
« on: September 04, 2022, 09:34:31 pm »
Yes. We still support ParcelTrak!

It is DOS based but very advanced for its age. The program will continue to function if you run it under VDOS (free). It even supports Windows printers.

ParcelTrak was written in Retrieve 4GL, a 4GL database system sold by Sage. We were a Sage Sovereign Development Centre for many years.


Operational Status / Zeus down - and up
« on: August 31, 2022, 09:06:23 am »
The SD card which boots Zeus decided to give up on Monday 29th August (Bank Holiday).

The unfortunate effect being that a new OS had to be loaded then Apache, MYSQL, PHP, Lets Encrypt and the SMF software completely reinstalled. The bulletin board was then restored from the last backup.

This all takes time but it's back now. Wednesday 31st August.

Note: The problem with Zeus was the corruption of the Micro SD card. Being a Pi 2 1.1 it wouldn't boot from USB or hard disk. Although there was nothing wrong with the Pi 2, Zeus was replaced with a Snunmu Micro PC running Lubuntu.   


Miscellaneous / Google Mail & SMTP password issue
« on: June 14, 2022, 11:35:12 am »
If using Google for SMTP mail and all of a sudden it says your username or password is wrong then this is down to new enhanced security by Google.

Go into Settings and Enable two-factor authentication. Now find the App Password entry underneath and ask it to create a password.

Use this password in your SMTP settings.


This just shows a message on the map telling you to turn off internet explorer compatability mode. It is annoying but not harmful.

The only way to resolve this is to add registry keys in Windows using Regedit.

At two locations add a DWORD called iexplore.exe with a decimal content of 11000

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\FeatureControl\FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MAIN\FeatureControl\FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION

Right-click the key and select New > DWORD.

Give that DWORD the decimal value of 11000. This will make all sites render without compatibility view.

To prevent the notice coming up in a particular program add a DWORD in the same location as follows -

Zipsys - add ZIPSYS.exe with a decimal content of 11000
Loadmaster - add Loadmaster.exe with a decimal content of 11000
Sameday Express - add Same Day Express.exe with a decimal content of 11000


General discussions / Office moving 01/07/2022
« on: May 11, 2022, 11:35:58 am »
Please note that on the 1st July, 2022 we will be changing our Registered Office address to :-

310 Wellingborough Road, Northampton NN1 4EP

Our contact emails and phone numbers will remain the same as now.

Our banking details will remain the same as well.


Operational Status / Broadband down 11/05/2022 - and up
« on: May 11, 2022, 11:33:19 am »
The broadband went down this morning for a couple of hours (BT connection). It did not affect websites or emails as these are hosted elsewhere, just the Bulletin Board.

It just goes to show how we rely on an internet connection - probably too much.

We do have mobile broadband so nothing else was affected.

All back to normal at 11.15am.


Operational Status / Email and Website down 11/01/2022
« on: January 11, 2022, 11:50:23 am »
Our servers at Freeola are currently down due to a fault at the data centre main site. This affects our web sites and emails. It actually started with drop-outs at 7.45pm on 10/01/2022.

Was expected to be fixed by 12 mid-day 11/01/2022

3.45pm Still down

7.45pm Everything operational.

We were able to continue to receive and send emails all the time because we had set up 'relaying' using Outlook in a resilience exercise we performed some time ago.

Our main office systems are based on Windows and Linux servers that we maintain ourselves. We also use two distinct duplicated sites on different IP addresses, rather than rely on one.


Miscellaneous / Let's Encrypt web site cert will not renew
« on: January 09, 2022, 08:00:04 pm »
On Linux to see certificates type -

sudo certbot certificates

To renew manually -

sudo certbot renew --force-renewal

If you just have one site try -

sudo certbot certonly --force-renew --cert-name

Or more than one site -

sudo certbot --force-renew -d -d

And check .htaccess redirects http to https

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]


Sameday Express / Outlook - problem 'bounced' emails using SMTP
« on: December 21, 2021, 01:39:04 pm »
It seems that it is Microsoft is deliberately causing the 'bouncing' of a percentage of emails if using Microsoft Outlook under SMTP - all other email clients are currently unaffected. It is a security restriction that they have created to get Windows TLS email security pushed to a later version (TLS 1.2). Note that this ONLY affects the use of SMTP button and not the Outlook one.

"Exchange Online will begin rejecting a small (unspecified) percentage of attempts to make SMTP connections using TLS 1.0 or 1.1 and issue this error message -

421 4.7.66 TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are not supported. Please upgrade/update your client to support TLS 1.2. Visit

This is a temporary error and clients can retry the connection. Exchange Online will block only a small percentage of connections it?s likely that the next attempt to connect will succeed. However, that small percentage of declined connections will increase over time to gradually make it more painful for clients using the older protocols to connect to Exchange Online. As Exchange Online declines more connections, clients will experience delays in transmitting email. In some cases, depending on the client?s error handling, email might not get through until someone updates the client to handle frequent retries (or upgrade the client to TLS 1.2."

The source code of the sent emails from Sameday Express indicate that they have ALL been sent under TLS 1.2

Until this annoying situation is resolved we suggest using ?relaying? to get around the issue.

We opened up a Google gmail account then linked our email address to it. We then used the gmail SMTP server settings instead of Outlook and not a single email ?bounced?.

Other relaying systems should work as well, such as smtp2go.

See our PDF on how to use gmail in Downloads on our web site - Outlook_SMTP_TLS_1_2.pdf


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