Category: Website

Jul 05, 2006 : new measures to filter my blog spam

I added a simple text-based CAPTCHA / turing test for this my blog. I also disabled trackbacks since there's no effective way to filter those.

I had been keeping up to date with a centralized blacklist and adding my own keywords as needed. It worked well enough until I started getting spam of entirely unique entirely random characters. For example www.dsfjelsdf.com Absolutely no way to block them en masse. Extremely annoying.

The CAPTCHA is working well, and the beauty of it (over an image-based on) is that as soon as a spammer modifies their bot for my current question/answer, I simply change it. No way for them to beat that long term :-)

Non-nerdy version: You now have to answer silly easy questions like "Type 'alberta'." when you post a comment. Don't listen to the movies... there is no computer AI that can answer challenges like that

Jun 12, 2006 : It's a small world

One of the spam comments on this blog had this as the url: http://csx.calvin.edu/dw/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=http://------.com/-.html The URL 404s, I have no idea how they got it. The media parameter is a real spam site. The funny thing is that csx.calvin.edu is the student organization I led for two years at Calvin.

For the non-nerdy: spammers automatically add spam comments to weblogs, to increase the number of links to their site. This gives them higher search result rankings. I regularly filter and delete these. Above, I ---ed out the real spam website they were targetting. "404" is the error code for "page not found". The reason the spam site is in the same website address as csx.calvin.edu is because spammers often exploit bugs in websites to sort of "hide" their site by using somebody else's site. In this case, csx.calvin.edu had no such bugs and so I don't know what the spammer was thinking.

Feb 20, 2006 : "planet" sites are bad

First, they're not all bad. I love using planetapache.org as a way to read a wide variety of (growing) blogs on interesting topics. And I get to use it to widen my blog exposure too.

But planet sites are closed. There's no way to join the community or post a single message to the group. The best you get is a contact link to the maintainer, sometimes nothing at all.

For planetapache.org and like-planets, that's probably okay. It's one face of an existing community. After you join the community through published methods, you can communicate on the planet site's forum. However, many planets to a large degree are communities unto themselves, like http://planetrdf.com/. They have their own unique nature and in that blogosphere only a select few may participate.

Jun 21, 2005 : gallery

Installed gallery2, liked it, configured it. (Re-)organized all my photos. Published to http://www.brondsema.net/gallery/. 2339 images and videos. They weighed in at 1.1 gigs, before I applied my awesome recursive resizer & reducer script.

May 29, 2005 : website redesign

Website redesign! It doesn't look like crap any more!

The look & feel are a wonderful medley (ie. hack job) of a template from OSWD and the TicTac template from b2evo (this blogging software).

I converted all the html to php so I can easily adjust the header & footer (it was a javascrite writeMenu(); !). But I don't have to use .php extensions: .htaccess has Options +MultiViews to do content negotiation. Pretty urls now.

Content-wise I updated and renamed college and highschool. Various updates all over the place, including the resume. And since my blog is updated somewhat frequently and I stopped updating my index page, there is no index! It just redirects to my blog.

All I have to do now is make the blog page margin between the left menu & content be appropriate for all browser widths. And configure the photo gallery (currently broken for unknown reason, probably time to upgrade to Gallery2 anyway) to use the them.

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