Services available from
Please contact me from my
I am currently not accepting any new work. In response to inquiries, you might only get a
form letter saying that I'm not taking new work. I cannot guarantee a prompt reply.
Over 30 years of working with computers, I've acquired a wide range of knowledge about how to do many different things. The items on this
page are only a very partial list. Being able to offer a variety of services keeps my involvement in the field interesting and new.
Please feel free to inquire about types of projects that aren't listed.
I have natural troubleshooting, investigational, organizational, and planning abilities, combined with good communication
skills. I especially enjoy teaching and explaining. If you are looking not only to accomplish a task but learn along the way how
it's done, I am a good choice.
Because I don't concentrate on a narrow market niche, it can happen that a project requires specialized knowledge that I don't
have. I have a good record of learning new material quickly enough to be useful (the research time is not billed), but if I
believe that a project or aspects of it are beyond my abilities, I'll say so.
1) Investigate "This site may harm your computer" Google warnings
Discovering that your site is badware-flagged is an experience that often brings with it a sense of panic, especially when
traffic drops as a result. My knowledge, judgment, troubleshooting experience, and methodical
approach can often find the problem quickly.
The first steps are done by web and email, and do not require password access to your website:
- Check for outdated versions of web applications like forum or blog software.
- Examine .htaccess or other configuration files (that you email to me) for malicious redirects.
- Provide advice about preventing recurrence.
FTP and control panel access are required for these:
- Examine files on your server, including ones not accessible by web, for
difficult to find problems.
- Extend the examination to include a hack investigation, if necesssary.
2) Website hack investigation, repair (when possible), and re-secure
Investigating how your site was compromised and improving security to prevent it happening again can be complicated,
especially if you aren't already familiar with the methods required.
In summary, the goals of the tasks involved are:
- Determine which part of the site was vulnerable and why the attack
- Close the vulnerability to prevent recurrence.
- Eliminate backdoor scripts and other avenues of re-access that may have been installed.
- Restore the site to its previous good state.
- Change all passwords.
- Correct additional vulnerabilities, and put into place every possible improved security measure to prevent recurrence.
For a hack investigation, I need FTP
and control panel access to the site (cPanel/Plesk/other) plus your cooperation and involvement.
I usually cannot investigate rootkit infections. If a website checks out
clean by every measure and a rootkit is suspected, only the server administrator
(usually your webhost) has the tools and physical access to the server required to deal with
How much does a website hack investigation cost?
3) Website security consulting - improve your site's security
It's much less expensive to put good security measures into place before something bad happens.
- I can create custom Apache .htaccess and php.ini configurations
the highest level of
protection possible without disabling
features that your site needs to function properly. Well designed .htaccess and PHP
configurations provide two good layers of protection even if web applications such as
your blog or forum have unpatched security vulnerabilities, and they can even provide
protection against vulnerabilities that are not yet known.
- I can check versions
and configuration settings of your blog or forum, research vulnerabilities, and provide advice.
- I can inspect your
access logs and report whether your website is being attacked, and in what ways.
- I can nag
effectively about the importance of good password practices.
4) Website construction, editing, conversion, validation
This site is a showcase for my lack of graphic design talent, judgment, and interest, but I do well at coding and structural
tasks. If you want a plain site that is ergonomic
for users and conforms to basic good standards of usability, navigability, and
crawlability, maybe I'm the right designer for you. My hourly rate is about
half that of more artistic and capable designers. After I create the site skeleton, you can turn it over to someone creative who
will charge you a lot more.
- Create a
template page you can copy and reuse to make other pages in your site.
- Rewrite pages to
eliminate your need for
the FrontPage Extensions.
- Revise your
pages to make them valid HTML, or advise how to do it and guide you as you go.
a page, or entire website, to the design specifications you provide.
HTML/PHP, no CMS.
- Put AdSense or
Google Analytics code on pages, including SMF Forum pages.
appropriate meta tags (title, keywords, descriptions) and headings.
- Rewrite website
statements like document.write() for everything, even plain
5) Website proofreading and editing
- Correct errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage.
- Use my service if you
are creating a website for English-speaking visitors, but English is not your primary
- Microsoft Visual C++, Linux g++.
- Outsourced, freelance, temporary assistance with your projects in
- Documentation, user instructions.
- Convert Borland OWL/BIDS programs to more recent C++ implementations.
- No project too
small (for example, single-purpose command line utilities). Some projects too big.
- Customize or
convert C++, C, GWBASIC, BASICA
this site to meet your needs.
7) Microsoft Office document creation or customization
- Create an Access database, Excel spreadsheet, or Word template to your specifications.
- Customize an
Office document from this site to better meet your needs.
Fees and terms of payment
My time is billed at US$25/hour plus costs.
- Work is performed, especially at first, on a prepaid (retainer) basis. You pay in advance. I bill against the prepayment
and refund the unused
portion. There is no minimum amount charged for a job. If you prepay $100 and the job only takes half an hour, the fee for 0.5
hour is charged, and the remainder is
There are reasons for the initial prepayment requirement in addition to the obvious one that I expect to be paid for the work
I do: it makes it certain that one of the available payment methods will work for you, that you have completed any registration
required, and that you know how to use it.
- The first prepayment amount can be negotiated if you want to test the quality of my service with a small amount of
initial work, but the absolute minimum is $100. Keep in mind that if the initial prepayment is low, it may seem like work has
hardly begun before another payment is due, but it may still be due before work continues.
- Although in some situations I may be able to give a ballpark figure about what a project might be expected to cost, I do
not provide estimates. There are too many variables: a) client goals and specifications almost always change; b) the degree of client cooperation
affects the amount of time a project requires; c) clients usually want explanations of the work being done; I am happy to provide that,
but I do charge for it and the amount of explanation required varies greatly depending on the client's needs; d) investigations take unexpected turns. Each job is different and takes however long it
takes. My work on your website or project is done at the same speed and with the same
care as work on my own.
- You can, however, specify the maximum amount you are willing to spend on a job,
and I will attempt to efficiently achieve as much as I can within
your time and budget constraints, doing the parts that I think I am most needed for, and leaving for you the tasks I believe
you can do yourself.
- I describe in detail the work performed, on email invoices issued to
- Invoices are generated whenever a) your balance falls to zero and
additional payment is required, or b) weekly, or c) at another time interval or a time interval you
request. You should feel free to inquire about
your billing status at any time.
- I consider good communication and cooperation to be important, in both directions. If you respond promptly to
requests I make for needed information, it is not only helpful, but it can reduce your
- When a job is finished or terminated, you will receive promptly all the work product that you have paid for and a refund
of the unused portion of your prepayment.
Payment methods accepted
The standard payment method I accept is PayPal because it's fast,
easy, secure, and safe for both buyer and seller. Even if you
don't have a PayPal account, you can charge the amount to a credit or
debit card or issue an eCheck from your bank account. The entire transaction takes place on the PayPal website. They handle all the details and send
confirmation emails to buyer and seller. I never see your card or bank account
numbers, and they are never stored in or pass through my website.
I provide a link to PayPal on my
Payments page, but you can also go to PayPal however you normally do it, and use their Send Money tab.
Although I accept any PayPal funding source, I recommend against using
eCheck. It can take 5 business days to clear your bank, and work does not start
until I receive notice that it has cleared.
If you are within the United States
- USPS Money Order (available at any U.S. Post Office)
- Cash (but please
use a USPS Money Order instead)
- Cash transfer services (MoneyGram, eMoneyGram, Western Union. See the links
- Business or
personal check, only from the following banks: Bank of America,
Wells Fargo, Washington Trust Bank. These have nearby branches where I can
cash your check in person, no clearance required.
Because of the excessively long time required for clearance and forgery detection, I
DO NOT accept: cashier's check, certified check, any non-USPS money order,
business or personal check
from any bank other than those listed above.
Refunds of prepayments not fully billed:
- If you paid by PayPal, refund is by PayPal.
- If you paid by any other method, refund is normally by USPS Money Order
mailed to you.
If you are outside the United States
I DO NOT accept:
- No bank-to-bank transfers.
- No money orders.
- No checks.
- Nothing that requires clearance or forgery detection.
Refunds of prepayments not fully billed:
- If you paid by PayPal, refund is by PayPal
if PayPal allows you to receive money.
- If you paid by
any other method, or if you paid by PayPal but cannot receive money that
way, refund is by one of the money transfer services listed above. Make sure
one of them has an agent near you. You can suggest an alternative transfer
service if you know one that will work better.