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Preview: Treasure Coast Designs

Treasure Coast Designs

Treasure Coast Designs


Website secured with SSL/TLS
It's been a long time since the last announcement. I've long since stopped developing in PHP/MySQL but when it came time to play around with HTTPS SSL/TLS this was a good place to start. Because this site was coded so brilliantly to begin with more than a decade ago; the update process only took 15 minutes of actual code changes. Times are changing and this website is woefully outdated now by not relying on new and better techniques such as web sockets or AJAX. It's hard to argue with the speed of GET/POST vs more modern frameworks that rely heavily on memory hogging javascript. A small Apache rewrite rule is required and ensuring that no images (including in news content) are linked to the old http url. Unfortunately this will break a lot of images but your users will be much better off in the long run under a secure roof. SSL is nothing new but what is new is the concerted effort of browser developers to show all internet users the security of their website connection with a lock/unlock icon. There is currently a big push by many major websites and browsers to emphasize that a non-https website might not be somewhere you want to be. The SSL secure lock icon is one of the first things you see in a browser when you visit a website now. This means any website without HTTPS in the future will be frowned upon by users and more importantly, search engines. Google announced last month that fully compliant HTTPS websites will be given search result prioritization over ones that are not. That's a pretty big deal in shaping the future of the web. All aboard the SSL train. In order for a website to achieve a green locked icon (fully validated HTTPS) the admin of the site has a couple major changes to make. The most important task is to ensure the site is secured from externally loaded content (no more hotlinking images from another domain including the HTTP version of the same site, ouch). Effort must be put into changing all content links from HTTP to HTTPS. Lord help you if you have hardcoded URLs in your HTML/CSS, image galleries, links, scripts, etc.. as fixing them on your site could get quite tedious. It's not impossible to abuse SSL as many previous iterations are now considered insecure and can be broken in real-time with modern computers. As computing power increases so will how much more bit encryption is required to stay ahead of the curve. If you are a developer there are plenty of obvious ways to get around the rules for hosting mixed content and still have a green secure icon. I do not condone cheating, malicious scripting, selling user data, giving away user data, or running ad campaigns on your website from untrusted 3rd parties (Google and other well known advertisers excluded). Be wary of those who contact you to offer ad campaigns on your websites, 99% of the time they're up to no good and only want to use your website as a vector. Just because you see a green icon doesn't mean you're absolutely secure from prying eyes, viruses, or corrupt admins. The internet is definitely more secure than it was because of HTTPS but it's not a 100% guarantee of safe browsing on the internet. Stay safe out there. I'm still around the internet, playing with new frameworks, and trying to make the internet a better place.

Popular Online PayPal Fee Calculators Are Wrong
While developing our own in house PayPal module we came across an odd sort of mass miscalculation happening online. PayPal Fee Calculators using incorrect calculations: The correct PayPal fee as of this date is (* 2.9% + .30). The sites listed above use the calculation (+.30 * 2.9%) which of course yields a must different and ultimately incorrect result. Because those 2 sites are the most visited sites for search keywords "PayPal Fee Calculator" they are unwittingly affecting thousands of people (or more). There are a lot of people sending more money than required for their purchases. This of course nets PayPal more money. Unfortunately there isn't any information online currently which describes the mistake (other than here). This news is important to other web developers looking to make their own PayPal fee calculators and browsing for other general examples online. If one assumes the calculations on those sites are correct it makes PayPal look to be skimming money (more specifically each half or hundredth cent depending on decimal placement) from all customers. This is not the case and could potentially affect PayPal's reputation as a credible company. PayPal does indeed stick to the correct calculation they advertise. To all developers out there; your calculations are correct and the sites listed above are incorrect. Don't waste precious time trying to debug your fee calculation scripts because you'll never solve the fictitious issue of the missing half cents. PayPal Fee Calculators using correct calculations: The module we're building here will have a fee calculator built in and does use the correct calculation (as currently stipulated by PayPal). PayPal does change their rate from time to time so in the future developers will have to adjust their scripts accordingly.

Speed Test Module 2.0
Here is a speed test that will allow you to easily understand what level of service or disservice your ISP is providing you. TCD Speed Test Module Tired of seeing speed tests that always give you the results in megabits? Well if you use the TCD Speed Test module it will not only give you a breakdown of your score but it will also convert it to every file format for you to easily understand in a nice graphical layout. The reason I decided to output the scores in a variety of formats is because Megabits is very misleading and purposefully used by ISP's to make the general public think they are receiving more than they actually are. Everyone is familiar with Kilobytes and Megabytes so advertising speeds as 2Mb makes the public believe they are receiving very good speeds (as in 2 Megabytes) when in fact they are receiving 256KB. Megabits has no real world usage other than in advertising. If you want to know what your speeds are without having to do your own conversions (in your head, on a calculator, or through a website) then use the TCD Speed Test. TCD Speed Test is a free service.

Denying IP Ranges with htaccess
When it comes to preventing unwanted visitors such as email harvesters, forum spammers, and otherwise generally bad bots; admins have been using the .htaccess file with a ruleset of deny from ip. That's fine for a case by case basis but say you want to deny an entire ip range for whatever reason you want. That's where CIDR Notation comes into play. CIDR stands for Classless Inter-Domain Routing. It is a method of categorizing and allocating IP addresses for efficiently routing IP packets on the Internet. Basically it's an amendment tacked onto an ip address. After DNS was created they knew the standard IPv4 range was not scalable enough. CIDR is an attempt to provide additional efficiency of packet routing to IP addresses within the same geographic area. The whole system was designed to be a temporary measure until a better solution (IPv6) could be implemented. Because CIDR has proven it's usefulness as an additional method for packet routing it is being worked on for IPv6 as well. CIDR is not a perfect way to specify a range for IP deny but it can make the life of an admin much easier. Now we will go over some real world examples and how to save your htaccess file from getting bogged down with hundreds of IP Deny lines. Here is an example of an IP Deny within .htaccess which bans a range of IP's from DotBot. deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from As you can see there are quite a few IP's that DotBot has at it's disposal. Now go over to's CIDR IP Calculator and plug in the IP ranges. It will spit out a very nicely formatted CIDR range to deny. deny from By the way, if you use Whois on some domains such as (DotBot's home), sometimes the registration details will display a CIDR address for you. That can make your life easier if they become a nuisence but in most cases using Whois on every IP is more work than it's worth. Most admins just stick with using ARIN for quick and painless IPv4 probing of visitors indexing their site. That's it. All those deny lines are gone thanks to CIDR addressing. As mentioned earlier CIDR is not perfect. There are instances where you can't specify the exact range you want. The Mikero CIDR calculator will automatically show you the next largest range which includes the range you want. Sometimes, that can include a couple hundrend million more IP addresses than you want so it's definitely not a good idea to use it for that purpose. There is always a way around it though as I'll detail. Let's say you want to ban ranges to If you are looking for an IP deny solution then you are probably familiar with using deny from 85 deny from 86 deny from 87 deny from 88 deny from 89 In this instance CIDR is actually no good. What you have been doing is the easiest method. CIDR will output the following if you try to ban by that range. Resulting network range (in CIDR notation): I had to expand your range by 184549376 addresses, or 220%. As you can see, CIDR couldn't calculate the exact range and had to expand out to the next possible range. Doing so included an additional 184549376 addresses. Not good. In this instance it's best to use the simple deny from 85 method OR if you want to write that in CIDR notation it would be deny from deny from deny from deny from deny from Whenever you want an entire range from the first octect the CIDR notation is always /8: to = to = and so on. I don't pretend to understand [...]

Major Webhosts upgrade to PHP5 and MySQL5
Most web hosts have been slowly converting to PHP5 and MySQL5 over the course of the past 2 years. It seems as though most of the world is now running PHP5 and MySQL as the major hosts such as Site5 have completed the upgrades. For those still running DragonflyCMS 9.1.2 with a newly upgraded PHP and MySQL you'll find many modules and functions will break especially the forums. 9.1.2 sites will still function but with a lot of errors which seem to come from nowhere. The culprit is when a webhost upgrades PHP, MySQL, and Apache. For example, PHP functionality for dynamic signatures will break in PHP5 because ImgPNG compression is now 1-9 instead of 1-100. It's highly unlikely that anyone was using compession 9/100 with PHP4 because the image would be extremely degraded in quality. That's just one of many examples of code changes needed in PHP5. The above example does not affect DragonflyCMS directly but it's just an example of what can affect your code in making the PHP5/MySQL5 transition.

Vote for Ron Paul!
Dr. Ron Paul (R-Texas) for President Brief Overview of Congressman Paul’s Record: He has never voted to raise taxes. He has never voted for an unbalanced budget. He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership. He has never voted to raise congressional pay. He has never taken a government-paid junket. He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch. He voted against the Patriot Act. He voted against regulating the Internet. He voted against the Iraq war. Treasure Coast Designs fully supports this candidate for President of the United States of America and hope you will too. Here's an image that shows all of the meetup groups in Florida that support Ron Paul.

New Direction
Treasure Coast Designs will be moving in a new direction soon. That of strict commercial development. We will no longer be giving away free design templates, tutorials, or cms addons. Doing so in the past has only proved to be more time consuming to create and support. We will continue to provide the same excellent level of support for our many client sites powered by DragonflyCMS, PHP, and HTML. Those in need of support for future theme upgrades will be dropped. We will no longer be supporting DragonflyCMS further than version 9.1.2. It's highly recommended that everyone find another theme designer for your DragonflyCMS needs if you plan to continue with the C.M.S. past 9.1.2. For TCD clients with PHP and HTML powered sites this change of direction will not affect you.

Commercial Themes Price Drop
TCD currently offers 2 commercial themes for sale. TCD_AquaRadio and TCD_UniversalGame. Aqua Radio was priced at $500. After receiving a lot of complaints on the theme pricing; All theme prices have been reduced dramatically. TCD_AquaRadio has been re-priced at $100 USD. The newest theme creation TCD_UniversalGame was specifically created for clan/guild gaming sites. It's a dark fixed width (990px) theme with 1 large graphical header image. Most clan sites enjoy building their own header images but still lack the photoshop and coding knowledge to create complex slices for use with DragonflyCMS. This takes care of that need. 1 huge image is made available for your customization needs. As always customization services and pricing are available for purchase from the store. You can have TCD customize any theme on the planet for you. It doesn't specifically have to be a TCD created theme. We can work with any theme you bring us as long as you have permission to use that theme on your site (and we will check with designers of commercial themes given to us). All commercial themes available in our theme store will now have a lowered price tag of $100 USD. Themes come with full PSD files for graphics and some icons. Customization services not included with any commercial theme. Commercial licenses limit usage to 1 site. We will give discounts for multiple purchases by a single individual for use on multiple sites.

Server Move Complete
We are now on a new server and hosted by our subsidiary company T.C.W.H. There was only about 10 minutes of downtime as our database was being transferred after the domain propagated. Everything went smoothly. Proudly hosted by (coming soon...)

Important Notice: Site Going Offline
Most people new to the internet just want a website right? They don't want to deal with things such as domain registration, finding a web host, and lastly a designer. Soon we will be able to offer them everything they need to get started on the web. Our new company will continue to provide the same outstanding personal attention and professional service that our T.C.D. clients enjoy. Treasure Coast Designs will soon be offering hosting services and will be moving the T.C.D. site to our own hosting server. Hopefully the downtime will be minimal. A couple days to a week depending on how quickly things are setup on the new server. The hosting site will be a separate entity and site separate from T.C.D. T.C.D. will remain a design company only and will not offer hosting. To all clients: We apologize for slow response times lately. We've been extremely busy trying to setup our new web hosting site and business. Once things are up and running we will be able to provide our usual response times to support questions. In the mean time please accept our apologies for slower than normal response times as our priorities shift to this new venture. Expect the site to go down within the next day or so. If everything goes well the downtime will be minimal. If things go really well you won't even notice we were down at all. Devon C. Lead Developer