gimme my fix!

24 Feb, '06

First, welcome to the new Mahmood’s Den!

Although this might be a very temporary location until I get things sorted out with the Xaraya site. I’ve tried just about everything I know but have not been successful. If you can lend a hand, I would highly appreciate it.

Second, I missed you all terribly. Unfortunately work got in the way and I had been unable to do anything with the blog since the 21st. It’s Friday now, and as I’ve just had lunch and am sitting outside enjoying the glorious weather, why not install WordPress and give it a whirl for a bit? If it’s okay, I’ll even pay anyone who might be able to transfer all the data from the Xaraya here…

Third, I’ve had a wonderful 44th birthday yesterday, and for the first time in my life, it is easy for people to get me presents! My wife an kids got me a Tacomoria and I got a lovely Orchid from my sister in law (my brother Jamal’s wife) Hayfa who insidently shares the same birthday with me!

The best present I got however was a small fountain from my sister Maha. I installed in the pride of place in the garden, by the main front path and even painted a special plinth for it, carefully laid the electrical cables within conduits under the grass and even bought a timer for it so that it would come on to greet me every time I come home from work!

It’s been a very busy DIY time (as I can’t do much with the site) and am about to go out to drill some holes in the wall to hang some stuff I bought from A’ali pottery this morning.

Pictures and more details to follow…


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Comments (23)

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  1. Many happy returns! Glad you are back!! I celebrated your birthday all alone on the silly blog!

  2. Sorry to hear that spam bots have got at you Mahmood 🙁 I think the guys (all students n techies) at can help you out and they’re based in Bahrain 🙂 Try Wael [3292147] 🙂

    good luck!

  3. yousifnet says:

    Happy birthday Mahmood!

    >If you can lend a hand, I would highly appreciate it.

    in what way can we help? Maybe you could be more specific in describing the problem 🙂 ( is working fine)

  4. billT says:

    My morning fix is back. Happy Birthday Mahmood! It would be interesting to say the least to see someone manage to migrate your db from xaraya to wp.


  5. jared says:


    One of the error messages on your server indicated “too many connections”. These are likely half-open connections, so the specific type of attack you’re experiencing may be a distributed SYN flood.

    Specifically, when users try to reach your server, their PC resolves DNS, then starts the TCP handshake process by sending a TCP SYN packet with a semi random ISN (initial sequence number) and a destination service port, usually 80 for web service, and a source service port that’s dynamic – something greater than 1023.

    Your server responds with a TCP SYN ACK, which increments the ISN +1, using the users’ dynamic (>1023) source port as the destination port in its reply. The user responds with a TCP ACK, completing the three way handshake, and establishing a connection from the user to your server on, for instance 80-1024, and from your server to the user on 1024-80.

    What I think is happening is that your server is receiving a flood of TCP SYN packets, probably from multiple sources. These sources don’t need to respond to your servers TCP SYN ACK with a TCP ACK, because their goal is to force your server to allocate resources for each connection request in order to accomplish a Denial of Service attack.

    The OS or FW level defence is to limit the number of permitted half-open connections – that is, connection requests that do not respond with the third and last sequence of the handshake by replying to your TCP SYN ACK with a TCP ACK equal to your ISN+1 delivered in the second stage of the sequence by your server.

    The FW is the most appropriate place to do this, but most OS’s have this as a configuration option at the kernel level.

    Another problem, if I’m at all right about what’s happening, is that the SYN flood DoS attack may be using up all your bandwidth. The only way I can think of to deal with this is through your ISP. You can identify the sources of the attack by capturing the packets with a protocol analyzer (I recomend – it’s open source). to identify the sources and appeal to your ISP to filter them.

    I’d be happy to help you set up and use ethereal for this purpose.

    Good Luck!

    Jared in NYC

  6. Madsen says:

    Woohoo…happy birthday Mahmood! Greetings from Denmark 🙂

    Hope you’ll be able to work out things with the host etc…

  7. jared says:

    Oh, and happy birthday as well! 😉

  8. ES says:

    “why not install WordPress and give it a whirl for a bit? If it’s okay, I’ll even pay anyone who might be able to transfer all the data from the Xaraya here”

    No need to pay, I believe WordPress has a few plugins for transferring data securely. There’s an import script that I used which worked with WordPress 1.5.

    I don’t know if it works with your version, but I transferred all my old data to my WordPress blog and it worked perfectly fine.

    If it’s just content you want to transfer it really shouldn’t be a problem. Just make sure you have a full backup before you start the process, sometimes a few things may go wrong, but it’s not as complicated as it seems, so I highly doubt you’d want to pay someone to do it for you. Contact me if you want any specific help.

  9. chanad says:

    happy bday mahmood!

  10. Happy Birthday Mahmood. 27 again huh?

  11. Augurwell says:

    Dear Mahmood,

    Most happy birthday Mahmood, 44 is a good year.

    My grandfather built a small fountain pool to go with grandma’s rose garden and in it he got her some gold fish, they are Japanese gold fish and bring good luck, they will grow to the right size for the pond. You can get them at a pet store for very little money. The more space they have the larger they grow.

    That’s what I’d get you for your birthday as well as a maybe a floating flowering Lilly. Birdbaths are nice too.

    On an unrelated issue, I was thinking the other day that since Arabic is written from right to left could it be that the originators of your writing were left-handed?

    (I wish those who attacked your other site much aggravation.)


  12. skribe says:

    Happy birthday, mate. If you want to email me with the details regarding Xaraya perhaps I can help.


    Oh, btw 3-1 =). I was surpirsed by the small crowd for the game.

  13. mahmood says:

    With Luka we knew we would be whipped! He’s out now thank God. So don’t rub it in!

    As to Xaraya, how do I pull a full RSS feed? When I do I only get the frontpage articles. I must ask Drew how he managed his migration… but if you can let me know how to pull an article complete with its comments and enter that into WP I would appreciate it…

  14. mahmood says:

    thanks all for your good wishes and support…

  15. haithamys says:

    Happy birthday

    Hiatham Salman

  16. cryinginthewilderness says:

    Happy birthday,
    And thank you for the blog. I have a very small pond and I also recommend gold fish.
    They are very restfull to watch in the late afternoon and early morning when they come to the surface.

  17. Ethan says:

    Happy Birthday, Mahmood!

    I worried when the site disappeared, but I figured you were under a similar DoS attack to that which took down Denmark. Good to see not much was lost!

  18. mahmood says:

    Hey, I’m doing my bit for Denmark, I never used to coat my toast with butter before that incident. And I make sure that its Lurpak and the cheese is Puk! ;>

  19. mahmood says:

    thank you cryinginthewilderness I appreciate your suggestion and it is one that is fully taken on-board. Although the fountain is rather small, the sound of water pouring out of it is very relaxing… I can imagine how a pond (with a small fountain on the side) could be doubly relaxing!

  20. tooners says:

    Even tho it’s late… happy happy bday! Hope you had a wonderful day and may your year be filled with countless blessings.

  21. Chap says:

    It is wonderful to have you back on the net.

  22. mahmood says:

    oh, thanks Chap, and with the help of Yousif Al-Saif, I might be able to bring all the old data into WordPress as soon as today!

    Gotta give this up now and go to the office to give THAT a go!

  23. Meggie says:

    Happy belated birthday Mahmood.
    It is indeed lovely to have a nice little pond, with water lilies and even fishies and froglets. Just hope your electrical installation is running off a safe voltage.
    And if you have a pond with graduated water levels, you can grow some lovely marginal plants around the edge. The most amazing water insects will also grace your water garden.
    I can thoroughly recommend Tetrapond fish food. Well hang on, I mean to say, I don’t eat it myself, but my Japanese Koi love it.

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