Tag Archives: Lenscraft

Another Step Forward

Steel Step. Sony RX10, f/5.0, ISO 80, 1/125"
Steel Step. Sony RX10, f/5.0, ISO 80, 1/125″

It’s a little over a week since I experienced the catastrophic failure of the Lenscraft website. At the time I was feeling quite desperate and thought that I had lost everything. Since then I have been able to restore the site and many of the problems that plagued me have been reduced or corrected by the installs.

There are still a few people having difficulty logging in with the “cookies issue” but this has been reduced dramatically.

I have been able to get the site security confirmed by S2 and you will now see their banner at the bottom of each page.

I managed to identify many broken links that were leaving people wondering what had happened to some content. I’m now in the process of fixing these.

There are though still issues to fix. One of these is that a lot of the tutorials I had on the original site have been lost, or at least I thought they had. Today I managed to locate some old copies of PDF tutorials but on reading these I realised that much of the information is now outdated. I’m therefore making it my mission over the next 12 months to develop and publish many more tutorials.

As for the picture, this is a steel step I spotted whilst in France a few weeks back. It’s quite surprising how simple everyday subjects can make for interesting photography.

Running the Lenscraft Website

Win Hill, The Peak District
Win Hill in the Peak District, Sony RX10, f/5.0, 1/100″

Firstly an apology for not posting a Friday image yesterday but there is a very good reason. Over this past week I have been hit by all sorts of broadband problems. I don’t know if it’s related to the snow and cold weather but I lost my connection on Thursday and have only just recovered it. During this time I have been reduced to trying to run things with my mobile phone but this has also been frustrated by the adverse weather.

Then today I received a spam email which appeared to come from my email account “robin@lenscraft.co.uk”. With a little investigation I could see this was a spoof email but it looked like it was me sending it.

This as you can imagine made me nervous. In fact it made me very nervous as earlier in the week I was receiving an increasing number of new subscribers coming from Hungary and Russia which were clear automated attacks from robots. To counter this I introduced a CAPTCHA code to the registration screen so that any registration would need to come from a person who is able to read and enter the CAPTCHA code. This reduced the number of fake registrations but a few are still coming in.

So, I have tightened up all the security on the Lenscraft website. I’m not going to list the steps here in case someone with malicious intent can use them but I will say that the entire site now uses SSL with 256bit encryption. If you now browse over to the Lenscraft site you will see in the address window of your browser that you are being served by https:// rather than the standard http:// server. There may be a few gremlins over the next 24 hours whilst the DNS changes propagate around the internet but then everything should be stable and secure.

If you haven’t understood all the technical mumbo jumbo I have spouted above a rough translation is that the Lenscraft site is now as secure as I can make it. Oh yes, I also made a few performance enhancements so everything should be even faster than before.

As for the image, this is another RX10 image which I captured on my walk last weekend. Everything somehow seemed much easier back then.

You Lucky People!

Wales - see Friday Image 41. Nikon D800.
Wales – see Friday Image 41. Nikon D800.

Yesterday I loaded a number of Lightroom Presets I had been building, to the Lenscraft website. I then sent out an email broadcast to the membership list saying the presets were now available and free to download.

From the stats, I can see a lot of people have been able to access the site and download the presets. A few people however have complained about the site being slow and some are having problems signing in; the site is reporting they need to have cookies enabled when in fact they have.

Part of the problem is that Lenscraft is becoming a victim of its own success and the traffic volumes are increasing quite rapidly. To give you some idea, in November there has been 10,000 visitors and the site server up some 70,000 pages. This is around 20% up on the previous month which is about 20% up on the month before.

I realise this is not a lot in comparison to some of the commercial sites, but I run Lenscraft as a free resource for Photographers and need to keep costs down. Now the cracks in the hosting are starting to appear. I have therefore decided to invest in a major hosting upgrade (my wallet is still hurting) and we are now running on something that has about 5 times the processing capacity of the previous host. Checking a short time ago I can see a substantial improvement in the sites performance and I hope you will also.

If following this anyone has any problems with cookies do let me know as I may need to recreate your account.

As for the image today, this was taken at the same time as the image in the previous post. It was captured using a Nikon D800, tripod mounted, 18-35mm Nikkor lens, 0.9 ND grad filter. Shutter speed 1.3″ at f/14.0. It took an age to get the camera into a workable position.