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Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Why there are no ads on the The Batavian right now

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

For the past several days we've been battling against a hacker (or more likely "hackers") who managed to compromise our ad server. The attack is part of a sophisticated series of attacks that have compromised Web sites all over the world.

What we know about the attack on our server: The hacker inserts code that piggybacks on ads being delivered through the site that asks some users to install Java.

We've received several complaints from people who either avoided installing the virus or clicked the wrong button and had the virus installed on their system.

Nearly every day since last Thursday, we've been deleting malicious code from the ad server only to have it reappear overnight, until today, when it would reappear as soon as we removed it. It was at that point we shut down the ad server.

We expect to have a new ad server up and running by this time tomorrow (knock on wood).

The only computer systems at risk were those running Internet Explorer on Windows. Mac users have not been attacked. Windows users running Chrome or Firefox for their Web browser have not been affected. People using mobile devices -- iPhones, iPads, Droid phones and tablets -- were not at risk from this exploit.

And even then, not all Internet Explorer users on Windows have been attacked. I've been to one office where only one out of six machines have been seen the Java install pop-up. I've been to another office where more than half of the computer users saw the install popup and either clicked the "OK" or "Cancel" button and were infected (if you see any kind of pop-up while visiting any Web site, do not click any buttons. Click the little red X in the upper right corner). (NOTE:  The process I describe here is how I've closed the pop up on a Windows laptop I own. It has not been infected. A local IT person suggests this is bad advice and said it's better to use Task Manager to kill the process rather, as TP Hunt describes in comments.)

I spoke with one person today who hadn't visited The Batavian but still was infected by a malicious virus.

This is a very sophisticated attack on ad servers that has affected as many as 20,000 Web sites, including the Los Angeles Times, according to this article

The article above says experts have been unable to determine how servers are being compromised. We've patched at least four discovered vulnerabilities but none have proven to be the ultimate solution.

For a couple of months, we've been planning to change ad servers anyway. There's a company that offers great ad hosting service with additional functionality for advertisers and I've wanted to make the switch. The events of the past several days are forcing us to do it now rather than later and in a less orderly fashion than I would like, but hopefully by this time tomorrow, we will have the ads back on the site in a safe environment.

Some advice for your Web surfing:

  • Never click on a pop-up button on a Web site that you are not 100 percent sure is a legitimate pop-up from that Web site.
  • All browsers and operating systems are subject potential viruses, but if you must use Windows, download, install and regularly use Chrome or Firefox. These browsers are less likely to be targeted and are not as directly linked to your operating system as Internet Explorer.
  • On Windows especially, keep your anti-virus software up to date (some cynics believe it's the anti-virus companies who write viruses so that people will buy their software).
  • Keep your system software up to date with the latest patches.
  • If you believe your computer has been compromised, visit a local computer shop and have your system checked. 
  • Regarding e-mail: never click a link that looks suspicious. Often times people get e-mails from somebody they know that says something like, "check this out," but that person you're getting the e-mail from has been hacked and that link in that e-mail will deliver a virus to your computer.

Glossary:

Hacker: The common layperson's term for somebody who breaks into computers and Web servers. The more precise term is "cracker," because the correct definition of hacker is anybody who writes computer code.

Java: A computer programming language used on all computers to help some pieces of software run. If you run your regular system updates on Windows or Mac, you will receive these updates from Microsoft or Apple and any other request for updates should be viewed as malicious.

Web browser: What you used to look at a Web page. Common ones are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Opera. We recommend either Chrome or Firefox.

Server: A computer sitting at a remote location that contains all of the data and files that make up Web site.

Ad server: A server with the specific task of managing ad inventory and ensuring the correct ads are delivered to the proper location on a Web page.

Advertisers who have questions can contact me at (585) 250-4118.

UPDATE: Upon further examination by the IT department of the new ad server company, it appears we will be without ad serving capability until Friday morning.

Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Limited Edition T-shirt now available until May 1

post by Howard B. Owens in advertisement, Sponsored Post, thebatavian

As we announced previously, we have a special limited edition T-shirt coming out that was designed by Brian and Beth Kemp at T-Shirts Etc.

Existing members should have received an e-mail with a link where you can buy the shirt for $9 each. If you didn't get the e-mail, write to me at [email protected] and I'll forward the link to you.

Readers who aren't members can purchase the T-shirt for $16 each. Use the PayPal buttons below or to order by check or credit card, download this form.

 

Sizes

Join The Batavian Club before the end of the month and I'll send you the link to purchase shirts for just $9. The next three people to join will also receive a $20 gift card from Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew. Use the PayPal buttons below or click here to download the membership form.

Annual Single Membership - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual membership, one payment of $60

Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monday, April 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Join The Batavian Club before April 3 and receive a free T-shirt

There've always been two great reasons to join The Batavian Club:

  • You're helping to support local journalism that serves your local community;
  • You'll receive more than $300 in money-saving gift certificates to help you support local businesses.

For a limited time, there's another good reason: You will receive a free, limited edition T-shirt from your favorite local news site. The shirt was custom designed exclusively for The Batavian by Brian and Beth Kemp of T-Shirts Etc., 111 Main St., Batavia.

We're going to offer these shirts in two stages: a free T-shirt for new members who join before 5 p.m., April 3; and, later, at a discounted rate for existing members.

Why the delay for existing members? Because technically, we need a "certificate of authority" to collect sales tax on the shirts, and it will be at least 20 days before we receive that from NYS. When The Batavian has the certificate, members will be able to buy shirts (as many as they like) for $9 each (plus tax and $5 for shipping (or avoid the shipping cost and pick up your shirts at T-Shirts Etc.). Non-members will be able to buy the shirts at that time for $20 each (plus tax and shipping).

For new members, shirts will be available for pick up (pick up only, no shipping) on or about April 17.

Once all members have had a chance to buy shirts, the offer will be discontinued and this particular shirt will no longer be available for purchase.

Use the PayPal buttons below.

Or, you can phone in your credit card number and details to (585) 250-4118 during normal business hours, Monday thru Thursday.

Or, you can mail your name, address, phone and T-shirt(s) sizes to The Batavian, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.

To join the club and get a T-shirt and pay by check or credit card, download this form and mail it to us. Be sure to write your shirt-size information on the form.

To learn about the club, visit the club's new Web site.

Annual membership, no recurring payment, $60


Sizes:

Annual membership with automatic recurring payment of $50 per year

Sizes

 

Monday, March 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Announcing the new, custom-designed T-shirt for The Batavian

Brian and Beth Kemp, of T-Shirts Etc., 111 Main St., Batavia, have designed a brand-new, exclusive, limited edition T-shirt for The Batavian.

We're going to offer these shirts in two stages: a free T-shirt for new members who join before 5 p.m., April 3; and, later, at a discounted rate for existing members.

Why the delay for existing members? Because technically, I need a "certificate of authority" to collect sales tax on the shirts, and it will be at least 20 days before I receive that from NYS. When The Batavian has the certificate, members will be able to buy shirts (as many as they like) for $9 each (plus tax and $5 for shipping (or avoid the shipping cost and pick up your shirts at T-Shirts Etc.). Non-members will be able to buy the shirts at that time for $20 each (plus tax and shipping).

For new members, shirts will be available for pick up (pick up only, no shipping) on or about April 17.

Once all members have had a chance to buy shirts, the offer will be discontinued and this particular shirt will no longer be available for purchase.

Use the PayPal buttons below.

Or, you can phone in your credit card number and details to (585) 250-4118 during normal business hours, Monday thru Thursday.

Or, you can mail your name, address, phone and T-shirt(s) sizes to The Batavian, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.

To join the club and get a T-shirt and pay by check or credit card, download this form and mail it to us. Be sure to write your shirt-size information on the form.

To learn about the club, visit the club's new Web site.

Annual membership, no recurring payment, $60


Sizes:

Annual membership with automatic recurring payment of $50 per year

Sizes

 

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Become a member of The Batavian Club and help support our state championship basketball coverage

NOTE: This is the same offer I posted earlier in the week. We had a good response. We have two sponsors for our basketball coverage, two; but, it would be helpful if a couple of more new members joined. Thanks to those who have stepped forward to support The Batavian.

Part of the premise of The Batavian Club is your membership helps support what we do. Well, here's a chance to directly help what we do in a way that will have immediate benefit.

Both Batavia and Notre Dame are playing state championship games this coming weekend. I plan on trying to do the impossible and cover both teams (the games don't overlap, which helps).

I estimate the cost of coverage will be about $400. You can help us cover that expense by joining at an annual membership level.

Each new member who joins at an annual level while this post is on the home page will receive a free 13x19 inch print on matte paper of the basketball photo of their choice from the 2012-2013 season. The retail value of the unframed photo is $35 and you'll receive it for free along with more than $300 in gift certificates to local businesses.

After joining via PayPal, e-mail me, [email protected], and let me know what picture you would like me to print for you. Or if you use the downloadable form and send in a check or credit card number (or phone your membership in), write down (or tell us), which picture you would like.

This offer applies only to pictures that I've taken. We'll need to receive your request in one way or another in order to fulfill this offer.

TO JOIN: Use PayPal buttons below, or to pay by check (annual only) or credit card, click here to download form. Or call (585) 250-4118 to pay by credit card.

Monthly Single Membership - $5 per month
Includes membership card and bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monthly Household Membership - $10 per month
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Single Membership - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Household Membership - $100 per year
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual membership, one payment of $60
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Annual household membership, one payment of $120
Includes two membership cards, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 10:47 am

Join The Batavian Club and help support our state championship basketball coverage

Part of the premise of The Batavian Club is your membership helps support what we do. Well, here's a chance to directly help what we do in a way that will have immediate benefit.

Both Batavia and Notre Dame are playing state championship games this coming weekend. I plan on trying to do the impossible and cover both teams (the games don't overlap, which helps).

I estimate the cost of coverage will be about $400. You can help us cover that expense by joining at an annual membership level.

Each new member who joins at an annual level while this post is on the home page will receive a free 13x19 inch print on matte paper of the basketball photo of their choice from the 2012-2013 season. The retail value of the unframed photo is $35 and you'll receive it for free along with more than $300 in gift certificates to local businesses.

After joining via PayPal, e-mail me, [email protected], and let me know what picture you would like me to print for you. Or if you use the downloadable form and send in a check or credit card number (or phone your membership in), write down (or tell us), which picture you would like.

This offer applies only to pictures that I've taken. We'll need to receive your request in one way or another in order to fulfill this offer.

Any businesses interested in sponsoring our basketball coverage should call us at (585) 250-4118.

TO JOIN: Use PayPal buttons below, or to pay by check (annual only) or credit card, click here to download form. Or call (585) 250-4118 to pay by credit card.

Monthly Single Membership - $5 per month
Includes membership card and bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monthly Household Membership - $10 per month
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Single Membership - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Household Membership - $100 per year
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual membership, one payment of $60
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Annual household membership, one payment of $120
Includes two membership cards, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Members of The Batavia Club to start receiving membership cards and gift certificates

Over the next couple of days, we will start sending out membership cards and $323 in gift certificates from 34 local businesses to our first 125 members.

A few days ago Francis Collins (aka Jimi Jamm) and wife Margot Collins came in to pick up their membership cards and gift cards.

Jimi and Margot were excited to get their packages and Jimi said he joined to help support The Batavian.

The Collins' joined as household members, so they both got a membership card.

The Club is all about giving the readers who love the The Batavian a way to support local journalism directly. As a thanks for the support, we send out gift certificates to local businesses, so you're also helping to support the local business community.

The Batavian provides you with free local news, free classifieds and information about the top local businesses in the county. Your membership will help us improve what we do. Please join today.

TO JOIN: Use PayPal buttons below, or to pay by check (annual only) or credit card, click here to download form. Or call (585) 250-4118 to pay by credit card.

Monthly Single Membership - $5 per month
Includes membership card and bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monthly Household Membership - $10 per month
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Single Membership - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Household Membership - $100 per year
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual membership, one payment of $60
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Annual household membership, one payment of $120
Includes two membership cards, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Friday, February 1, 2013 at 11:04 am

Join The Batavian Club and support free news and free classifieds for Genesee County

Naturally, I loved this e-mail I got from Mark Lewis, of the Mark Lewis State Farm Agency:

You really could charge for these (help wanted ads). I don't know another medium that delivers results locally like help wanted ads in The Batavian.

Yes, our help wanted ads work, and so do our "buy, sell and trade" ads. I know because Billie and I post ads ourselves and Mark isn't the first person to tell us about how well the ads work.

And they're free.

And it's my intention to keep it that way.

Our news is free, and I intend to keep it that way, too.

But that doesn't mean we don't need your assistance in helping The Batavian grow and become more sustainable.

We can't do all we could to provide you with the best news coverage possible without more help. We've pretty much grown as much as possible just with advertising.

Newspapers get by on advertising revenue and subscription revenue, but people don't want to pay for online news. Up until now that's left online news sites trying to survive on advertising alone.

I also personally believe that for a news outlet to be most effective it should reach the widest possible audience, and requiring somebody to buy a subscription (either for print or online) limits an audience for important public service news.

Rather than charge for a subscription, we're asking you to join The Batavian Club. Yes, we're asking you to pay some money to support The Batavian, but we're also giving you something of value back: Gift Certificates.

If I walked up to you on the street and said, "Here's $303 dollars, please give me $50," would you turn me down?

That's essentially the bargain here. We're asking you to support The Batavian for $50 a year (in our most popular membership tier) and giving you $303 in gift certificates to local businesses.

So help us help you, become a member of The Batavian Club.

Join before 5 p.m. today as an annual member (paying either on a recurring payment of $50 per year, or pay $60 for this year and we'll bill you again next year), and you'll receive a bonus gift from The Batavian: one of our gift certificates to a local restaurant worth either $20 or $25.

If you want to sign up for a monthly recurring payment of $5 per month through PayPal, join before noon today, and you'll also get a gift certificate. (Reminder, when you sign up for $5 per month, you're signing up for a one-year membership.)

Monthly Single Membership - $5 per month
Includes membership card and bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monthly Household Membership - $10 per month
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Single Membership - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Household Membership - $100 per year
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual membership, one payment of $60
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Annual household membership, one payment of $120
Includes two membership cards, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Earn points and get a chance to win a FREE iPad Mini

Here's your chance to win an iPad Mini from Zebra Reach and The Batavian.

If you haven't done so already, download the Zebra Reach app for your smartphone (iPhone here / Droid here), then visit five of the participating merchants listed below and earn a point.

The first 500 Zebra Reach users who earn points at five local, participating businesses will be entered into a drawing to win a FREE iPad Mini.

The drawing will be held March 15.

Don't have a smartphone? No problem. Visit any participating merchant and obtain a Zebra Reach card. Become a registered user and then use the card to earn points in the stores of participating merchants. Earn points in five businesses and you're automatically entered to win.

Here's the "no purchase necessary" option: Download this form and follow the instructions on the form.

What is Zebra Reach?

We're all familiar with loyalty cards -- buy five lunches, get the sixth free, buy nine books get the 10th free. A lot of businesses run these sort of programs, but they usually come with flimsy paper punch cards that either get lost or crammed in your wallet with a dozen other cards.

Zebra Reach makes loyalty reward programs digital and easier to use -- one app stores all of your purchase points for multiple participating businesses.

Here are the participating businesses and initial offers (and of course, we're looking for more businesses to participate):

Adam Miller, 8 Center St., Batavia
Model Club Rewards -- $5 off your next purchase. For every dollar spent earn 1 point. Earn 50 points, receive $5 your next purchase.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia
1 Free sandwich.
Buy any 5 sandwiches, get 6th free.

Charles Men's Shop, Inc.,  200 E. Main St., Batavia
1 Free tie.
Buy 3 shirts, get 1 free tie.

Dog Crazy Daycare, 1 Mill St., Batavia
Earn points toward a free doggy overnight stay.
For $25 spent, earn 1 point toward the doggy overnight. New clients receive 2 bonus points.

Fastec Automotive, 7184 W. Main Road, Le Roy
Free NYS inspection with an oil change and tire rotation.

Fisher Sports, 412 Main St., Batavia
10% off hockey equipment, For each visit you'll earn 5 points.
Earn 25 points -- you'll receive 10% off your next purchase of any hockey equipment purchase.

Glass Roots, 12 Center St., Batavia
1/2 off glass. Buy 2 pieces of glass, get 1/2 off the 3rd.

Lambert's Design Jewelers, 375 W. Main St., Batavia. One point for every $10 spent on purchases.
Earn 25 points and receive $10 off your next purchase.

Main St Pizza, 206 E. Main St., Batavia
Free small pizza with 1 topping.
Earn 15 points and redeem your free small pizza with 1 topping. Earn points with any purchase.

RW Vapors, 224 Ellicott St., Batavia
Buy 5 bottles of E-Liquid, get the 6th free.

Salsa & Curry, 15 Jackson St., Batavia
Buy 1 lunch, get the 2nd for 1/2 off.

Sweet Ecstasy Bakery, 6173 Main Road, Stafford
Free cookie, cupcake or muffin.
Purchase any 10 bakery items and receive a free cookie, cupcake or muffin.

Sweet Pea's Cupcakery & Cafe, 23 Jackson St., Batavia
Free cupcake. Buy 11 cupcakes, get the 12th free.

Terry Hills, 5122 Clinton St. Road, Batavia
Free lunch. Buy 5 lunches, get the 6th free.

The Detail Shop, 3875 W. Main St. Road, Batavia
Free deluxe wash. Buy 5 deluxe washes, Get the 6th deluxe wash free.

Valle Jewelers, 21 Jackson St., Batavia
Free Chamilia bead. Buy 3 Chamilia beads, get 1 free.

Settler's Restaurant, 353 W. Main St., Batavia
Buy 5 dinners, Get one free.

Spirits, 78 Lake St., Le Roy
Buy 10 lunches, get the 11th free.

T.F. Brown's, 214 East Main St., Batavia
1 free lunch. Buy 5 lunches, get the 6th free.

The Cutting Edge, 15 Bank St., Le Roy
Visit us twice for any service and receive $10 off any service on your third visit.

West Main Mini Mart, 3845 W. Main St. Road, Batavia
Buy 7 pizzas, get one free.

Local business owners: To sign up for Zebra Reach, contact Lisa Ace ([email protected] or (585) 250-4118). 

SHOPPING LOCAL HAS NEVER BEEN SO REWARDING!

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