January 21st, 2013

The return of the A2Central Downunder Chat

Andrew Roughan has announced the return of A2Central.com’s weekly Downunder Chat:

After a hiatus… it is time for a come back.

Calling all Apple II enthusiasts who are awake between 9pm and 11pm Australian Eastern Summer Time on Friday nights to visit the #a2c.chat channel on the A2Central IRC server.
That’s probably likely to be Aussies, Kiwis, people in Asia who aren’t working late, people in Europe who don’t have a day job, and insomniacs from the USA… but everyone is welcome.

I would like to discuss another gathering of like-minded individuals. Prior discussions on this seemed to indicate that the Sydney area was a central point. Validation of this from those who would attend is important before taking the next step to confirm a venue.

Other discussion topics will include where participants are located, local introductions, interests, projects, etc.

There is an informal Australian Apple II enthusiast email list that I maintain, so if you can’t make the chat but would like to be included in this then let me know.

The chat will be hosted on irc.a2central.com, channel #a2c.chat – use your favorite IRC client.

Connection on the bare metal is possible with an Apple IIgs using the Samurai IRC CDA
http://www.ninjaforce.com/html/products.html

If you’d like a web interface to avoid the trouble of installing an IRC client, try this:
https://chat.mibbit.com
or
http://www.reactivemicro.com/chatroom.php

Every Friday 9pm-11pm AEST
Server: irc.A2Central.com
Channel: #a2c.chat

If necessary, check how the time in your location corresponds with Sydney on this site:
http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html
We are ahead of most of the world.

I won’t be able to make every week, so the facilitation will be done by regular chat attendee Jonnyboy – Jon Co.

Hope to see you there!

February 21st, 2012

A2Central Google Currents edition republished

At some point over the weekend, the Google Currents edition of A2Central disappeared.  No warning, no follow-up explanation from Google – just gone.  I republished the edition this morning, but you’ll need to delete the old version in your Currents client (if it’s still there) and re-subscribe by visiting this new link in your device’s browser:

http://www.google.com/producer/editions/CAow0_Ja/a2centralcom

December 9th, 2011

A2Central now on Google Currents

 

As of this morning, A2Central is now being published to Google’s new Currents platform.  Designed as a personalized digital news magazine in the style of Flipboard, Currents lets you access your favorite news sources in a single app that features an attractive and easy to use interface.

 

A2Central on Currents

 

To subscribe to A2Central, download and install the free Currents app from the App Store for your iPhone or iPad, or the Market for your Android device.  Open the app, tap "add more" and search for A2Central.  Once you are subscribed you’ll get all the latest Apple II news and views right at your fingertips, right as they’re published!

March 24th, 2009

A2Central maintenance this weekend (March 28/29)

Coming up this weekend (March 28/29), the server that hosts our e-mail, FTP, BBS and IRC will be down for maintenance and relocation. One of the server’s hot spare drives is failing, and I must take it out of service before it completely conks out. We’re also rearranging tech equipment and office furniture in the area where the server is, and need to physically move it to another location.

The main A2Central site that you are reading right now will remain online and available throughout the event. There will be an update to this post advising when all maintenance/relocation tasks have been completed and that services have been restored.

If you’re a regular in our IRC, meet us on our temporary backup channel on EFNet, channel #apple2 (irc://irc.prison.net:6667/#apple2).

October 16th, 2008

Site news (10-16-08)

After a great deal of consideration and advice from friends in the community (thanks everyone), I’ve decided not to add commercial advertising to the A2Central site. I’ve added a PayPal “Donate” link instead. The recent poll on the matter showed there is support (tolerance?) for advertising from the community but I just didn’t want my hobby turning into a business (even on such a minute level). Thank you for your support.

The Contact Us form has had link submission turned off. The amount of link spam coming in was getting way out of hand. If you need to submit a link, e-mail it to me at a2fan@hotmail.com or try the “www dot a2central dot com” method. Damn spammers!

June 16th, 2008

A2Central.com now offering RSS, Twitter and e-mail delivery of news

As part of the expanded services of the upgraded A2Central.com, breaking news stories are now available via a variety of means:

  • Our RSS feed provides headlines and content using any RSS reader, whether from another Web site, your Web browser, or a standalone RSS client.
  • You can follow our updates on the microblogging service Twitter, with headlines and links back to the original story.
  • An email subscription delivers the news right to your inbox, no more than once a day.
  • And, of course, you can continue coming right to A2Central.com and reading the news directly.

All the above are provided completely free to the Apple II Community and are ad-free. To partake of any of these options, visit our subscription page.

June 10th, 2008

Welcome to A2Calamity.com

It started with a phone call from Tony Diaz to inform me that the server was down. “Great” I thought, “…another DSL outage, or program crash. My server has been up for months, so it probably just needs a reset”. That’s what I was telling myself as I headed downstairs to my home office. My rusty but trusty server had been rock-solid reliable for over a year.

I could hear the beeping sound before I opened the door. “That doesn’t sound good”, I said to myself. I was wondering if it was the UPS or the server? As it turned out, the beeping was coming from the RAID subsystem; it had failed! More than that, it failed because someone or something had exploited an unknown security hole and trashed most of the contents of the site. The damage to the data on the server was pretty extensive.

How did they get in? It might have been a security flaw in the host operating system, or an exploit in the blog software I was running (a few versions out of date, I’ll admit). It could have been one of the plug-ins or a vulnerability in the PHP code. Maybe my security just sucked. I couldn’t tell exactly what had happened, but in the end, the box was seriously pooched; in Monty Python terms it was dead, deceased… it was an ex-parrot.

Fortunately I was able to recover quite a bit of the deleted data and I did have most of the site backed up. What wasn’t backed up recently, Tony Diaz was quickly able to salvage. A2Central wasn’t going to be a total loss as I had initially feared. Tony offered to help me get back online and I gratefully accepted.

We divided up tasks; Tony took the web site, I took the BBS software/server and we got busy rebuilding and restoring. We decided to move the main web site to a hosting service (something I was already in the process of doing anyway) but the BBS would stay where it was. It became Project: A2-deCentralized.

Within days, people became concerned with the sudden disappearance of the A2Central web site. I received a few inquiries, and upon relating my site woes, I received many generous offers of help and sympathy from the Apple II Community. Bill Martens of Call-A.P.P.L.E. offered to host us temporarily (thanks Bill!) and others offered to help to rebuild our data. Tony and I were already well into our restoration effort by then and could see our efforts paying off, but it was reassuring to know I had so many friends willing to lend a hand. Thanks everyone!

My RAID problems were all soft errors, so the server was functionally intact and thus I began the process of starting over… wipe, install and patch (repeat) for the operating system and BBS applications. Tony, among his many other talents, is a machine when it comes to (re)building web sites. Before I knew it, he had the database and presentation of the site almost back to normal. A little testing, a lot of tweaking (some still ongoing) and presto, A2Central is back.

This post wasn’t intended to be a lecture, or to remind readers of the importance in taking security precautions, keeping software current or maintaining good backups. Everyone already knows all about that stuff (right? good!). I just wanted to let everyone know what happened to A2Central.

I’m not posting to whine about getting hacked either. When I realized the site had been compromised, I didn’t get mad… I just felt a little frustrated. All along, I’ve assumed it was only a matter of time before something like this might happen. Keeping up with security is difficult, and this wasn’t the first time the site had been attacked; splogbots, spambots, link-spam… it’s happening all the time. The scriptkiddies, bots and scammers are probing away at A2Central (and all the other web sites the world over), looking for an opening to vandalize, add sites to their zombie nets, pimp dubious snake oil or compromise privacy. I say screw ‘em. We’re moving forward despite their shenanigans.

And so that brings us to the nickel tour on the changes we’ve made around here. Most services are restored and we’ve made a few DNS changes to make things easier (for us, hopefully for you too). Please make note of of the following:

http://a2central.com, http://www.a2central.com

Both of these resolve to the site you’re reading now. The old /portal kludge is being phased out but a permanent redirect is in place to minimize disruptions and keep broken links to a minimum. So, while changing any old links would be nice, it’s not necessary. New link references should be made directly, as they appear now.

http://bbs.a2central.com

This resolves to the BBS web interface of A2Central. Previously that site was running on a secondary web server answering on port 8000. That secondary server has been sacked.

ftp://files.a2central.com, ftp://bbs.a2central.com

The file library is online BUT be advised that I plan to overhaul and expand it. I’ve never liked how I had it organized. Anonymous logins are still allowed, so don’t have feel like you have to join the BBS to download anything. What’s ours is yours etc.

irc.a2central.com

IRC is open for chat, as usual on port 6667.

mail.a2central.com

If you used A2Central for e-mail, your current settings are broken. You need to use mail.a2central.com for pop3 and smtp access.

nntp.a2central.com, news.a2central.com

If you used A2Central for usenet, again, your current settings are broken. Use nntp.a2central.com or news.a2central.com instead.

There you have it. We’re still busy fixing a few things but all the major kinks have pretty much smoothed out by now. I want to thank everyone for their patience while we got back on our feet. I also want to extend my personal gratitude to Tony Diaz for jumping in without a second thought to help me get A2Central online.

May 16th, 2007

A2Central to donate all Cafepress sales to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Back when the original A2Central site was operated by Eric “Sheppy” Shepherd, and somewhat affiliated with Syndicomm, A2Central had a Cafepress store to sell A2Central branded merchandise. Since the changeover to me (Sean Fahey), nothing has been done with it… until now.

Effective today and for as long as I operate A2Central, I’m pledging ALL net income collected through our Cafepress store to charity. For now, that charity will be St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis TN, USA. All patients accepted for treatment at St. Jude are treated without regard to the family’s ability to pay, and is frequently the last hope for children fighting cancer and other catastrophic diseases.

We hope you’ll consider purchasing our fashionable Apple II geek-wares, and help support this worthy cause.

We’re also looking for interesting new graphics and slogans worthy of the Apple II and A2Central to broaden our Cafepress offerings. Do you have original artwork or a slogan that you’d like to donate to A2Central’s charity projects? Send your material to sfahey@a2central.com. Thank you very much.

January 17th, 2007

Downunder Chat – Apple II IRC for Australians, other “downunder” regions

Beginning February 2nd, Andrew Roughan will be hosting Downunder Chat for our fellow Apple II users in Australia, New Zealand and other regions “downunder” on Fridays, 9pm-11pm Australian Eastern Summer Time. That’s 4am-6am A2Central time (or 2am-4am Pacific, 10am-12pm UTC). Discussion topics will include where participants are located, interests, projects, sale and trade of gear, etc.

The chat will be hosted on irc.a2central.com, channel #a2c.chat – use your favorite IRC client or a web-based resource like IRC@Work.

September 9th, 2006

A2Central.com to offer expanded features, services to Apple II community

Sean Fahey, operator of the popular A2Central.com Apple II portal, announced today that development efforts are underway to make significant additions to the services offered.”In order to make A2Central.com the ultimate resource for Apple II users it was always meant to be, we’ll be expanding our free services by implementing a bulletin board system that will offer chat, messaging, and file sections,” Fahey said. “These services will be available for access both via telnet and on the web, so we’ll be keeping one foot squarely in the past for our Apple II users, and our other foot forward for today’s modern platforms.”

The new system is expected to be in testing during October and launch by November of 2006. Access to the new bulletin board features will be free of charge.

Fahey added, “We have plans for a few extra features that we think will be a lot of fun.”

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