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40 entries from September 2009

Offline last week

Two weeks ago our main website,, was hacked. Within an hour or so Brendan had fixed the site and we were back in business. 

A few days later or webhost, BlueHost, cancelled our account and gave us 15 days to pack up our site and get out of town. A sort of electronic eviction because we'd been hacked.

The same thing happened earlier this year to our Australian Institute of Magic site. A quick google will reveal a lot of sites get hacked on BlueHost then asked to leave. It's not unreasonable to assume that perhaps the weak link making them vulnerable to attack is actually the host... but that's another story.

Anyway, we signed up with another host, Astang, who advertised 24/7 support, live chat support, all seemed good and the transfer began. Unfortunately, there were some hiccups and we contacted the 24/7 support - repeatedly. We all tried the live chat support, which seemed to be offline... a lot! So, Friday through Monday was a constant stream of one way communication with me emailing them and getting no reply. 

On Monday morning I'd had enough and signed with InteractiveOnline, who not only answered all of my tech support questions, but offered to migrate our entire site for us. A few hours later it was all done.

Meanwhile Astang emailed me wanting to let me know that they'd sorted out our problems by deleting and re-establishing our account and all we had to do was to reupload our site on their server. I explained that because of their lack of communication I'd signed with another server, our site was already up with them, and I'd like a refund. He apologised for the lack of response to my emails saying he was sorry for the delay but it was the weekend and they normally have few support people on weekends...

To Astang's credit, a refund was promptly issued.

And then today, Wednesday, I got this reply to one of the emails I sent on Friday.


Are you still encountering this issue?  We are unable to duplicate this issue on our end.

Please do get back to us if we can be of further assistance.

Missy R.

Astang IT Solutions

Quality & Affordable Web Hosting

Just what every magician has been waiting for...

For far too long magicians have been living in their worlds of fantasy.

"Sponge Balls", "Silk Handkerchieves", "Feather Flowers"...

Get real, with this new DVD release:


Law enforcement consultant and magician James Coats, is joined by commercial and residential contractor and designer, Dan Hamann, in HIDDEN SPACES. Together, James and Dan, bring you the first of its kind step-by-step instructional DVD that will show you how to create unique secret and hidden spaces in your home and vehicle. 

HIDDEN SPACES doesn't focus on the ordinary secret hidden locations that have been common knowledge for more than 50 years. HIDDEN SPACES focuses on new cutting edge, yet simple, construction techniques that have been combined with closely guarded illusionary secrets to bring you new and impressive ways to hide weapons, supplies, cash and valuables. 

On This DVD You Will Learn How To:

  • Hide items in plain sight without any special containers
  • Convert ordinary furniture into secret storage for weapons and supplies
  • Walk through your home and find locations for a secret spaces
  • Use illusion technology to hide items such as handguns and rifles
  • Find realistic secret spaces in your vehicle
  • Construct a secret space in your home or office in a matter of hours
  • And much more!
Running Time: 83 minutes

Time for zero tolerance


Less than two weeks ago the government gave the AFL $132,000 for a campaign to discourage fans from irresponsible drinking.

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has thanked the Australian Football League (AFL) for launching its Just Think advertising campaign during the September footy finals.

The campaign, solidly backed by the Southern Courier and the AFL Players’ Association, was designed to encourage young people to act responsibly while drinking alcohol, Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd gave the AFL $132,000 to support its work in taking a zero-tolerance approach to booze-related violence, particularly among young Australians. “It’s fantastic that you as professional footballers are out there getting behind this,” Mr Rudd said. “So many people look up to you - you know that - therefore establishing in Australia a view that . . . it’s fine to go out and have a drink so long as you know where to draw the line.”

At the Brownlow Medal Awards on Monday night, two high profile AFL players gave great examples of irresponsible drinking. Was it all part of the campaign?

Jason Akermanis got so drunk before the awards night, he simply couldn't attend. His wife said:

"I picked him up and we were on our way to (Brad) Johnson’s – I had his suit with me – and he was just not in a state to be seen in public at all," she said.

"He was a little sleepy. We were in the car and he said ‘I can’t go’ and I said ‘you shouldn’t go’. So we turned the car around and went home."

Brendan Fevola, already drunk when he arrived, made national headlines for his behaviour and was fined $10,000 (his annual salary is $750,000) by his club.

But the part of the story that fascinates me is Crown Casino's take on the responsible serving of alcohol. Everyone could see Fevola was off his face, but Crown kept the drinks coming.

"He's not the smallest bloke in the room and you don't want to necessarily confront him," Mr O'Neill said.

"We did what we are required to do and we tried to contain the situation. Finally, with the help of his mates from the football club, we were able to convince him that the better course of action was to leave.

"I can understand people are concerned about people like Brendan Fevola turning up drunk. We've been in business for a long time, we treat this very seriously, we meet our requirements as we are required to do.""He didn't scuffle (with security guards). He was clearly not going to co-operate with the security people alone. He wasn't being the nicest person you'd ever want to meet in your whole life."

So one reason Crown security didn't confront him was "he's not the smallest bloke in the room"? Were they afraid of him? Or do you get a free pass if you're a big, intimidating drunk?

Not surprising really when you look at past responses by Crown Security... like this one where a gang randonly attacked a tourist in the casino.

According to Ms Loorham, a security guard said: "What do you want us to do about it? There's too many of them."

Now they face a probe over the irresponsible serving of alcohol but, just like bullies intimidate Crown security, Crown itself is probably very intimidating to the Liquor Licensing Authority.

Meanwhile Melbourne continues it's descent as alcohol-fueled violence becomes the recreational choice of a generation.  


While Sue-Anne has been off in Turkey for the last two weeks, I thought I might get a little break. Relax. Catch a movie or two. Bust out the Wii. Learn to use my iPhone...

But things don't always go as planned:

  • Our main website was hacked, but thankfully Brendan was able to get it back up and running.
  • A few days later our server, BlueHost, killed the site and refused to host it because it considered the site not secure. (Same thing happened to our AIM site. Strangely enough, since we moved it to a new server it hasn't been hacked.) So our main Magic Unlimited site has now been down for two days and most likely won't be up again until Friday...
  • With no website, I've had to hold off writing our monthly email newsletter.
  • I've attended the funeral of a friend's mother and visited my newborn niece in hospital.
  • I've spent several days catching up on accounting (finally got that done!)
  • I've been chasing up a dozen overdue clients (finally got that done too!)
  • I've been arranging the purchase and finance of a new van and the selling of our old one.
  • I've been trying to organise our 2010 USA trip/lecture tour.
  • I've been dubbing and editing our Magic Festival shows onto DVD.
  • I've been searching for a new venue for the Catchpenny Club and working with Ben Whimpey to organise the budget and filming of the next 6 shows for a series on Channel 31 due to air in March next year.
  • I've purchased a new illusion and had it shipped from Singapore.
  • I've redesigned my new business cards because they came out too dark the first time they were printed.
  • I've been chasing up potential grants for next year's Melbourne Magic Festival.
  • I've had to deal with more "politics" from the local magic club President.
  • I've sent over twenty emails to Skype trying to reset my password (in the end I had to set up a new account).
  • I've been updating Sue-Anne's FISM Report blog (as well as our blog, FaceBook, and the AIM site).
  • I've been working on the artwork for the 2010 Melbourne Magic Festival logo.
  • I've finally completed the insurance claim for the burst pipe from a few months ago.
  • I've had a meeting and redesigned an Illusion Show for a big gala event next month.
  • And I've been dealing with the daily calls and emails we get from people booking magicians through us.

Come home soon Sue-Anne!!! I've had enough of this "holiday"!!!