East of the Sun, West of the Moon


Curiousity killed the cat

Filed under: Site,Software — Erwin @ 2:36 pm

Looking at the daily analysis of the HTTP logfiles, as I try to do on a regular basis to see if there is anything that looks broken or just unusual. The summary of the agent (browser version) field includes a few entries for the sites that fetch the RSS and/or Atom feeds and then present it to their users:

  • LiveJournal.com (webmaster@livejournal.com; for http://www.livejournal.com/users/ninoblog/; xx readers)
  • NewsGatorOnline/2.0 (http://www.newsgator.com; xx subscribers)
  • AttensaOnline/1.0 (http://www.attensa.com; xx subscribers)
  • Feedfetcher-Google; (+http://www.google.com/feedfetcher.html)

It would be nice (and not at all evil, I think, as it wouldn’t reveal any personal data) if Google would begin including an indication of how many subscribers there are on their side. Hey, I might even see if I can submit that suggestion somewhere!


!&$*#! comments (2)

Filed under: Site,Software — Erwin @ 12:17 pm

It looks like installing Spam Karma is paying off, given that in two weeks it has blocked over 150 spam comments and back-track attempts and I didn’t have to do anything for it, while regular commenters were, as far as I’m aware, not scared off by it in any way. 🙂



Filed under: Projects,Site,Software — Erwin @ 9:32 pm

Always fun, I redid the spam statistics page, almost entirely rewriting how I generate the actual graphs and just generally making it look a bit more appealing (I hope). It’s hard to believe I’ve been using this whitelist spam-blocking approach for nearly 3 years now. Just imagine how many spams I didn’t have to deal with that way, ouch!


!&$*#! comments

Filed under: Site,Software — Erwin @ 3:51 pm

Ok, that was the final straw!

There had occasionally been minor floods of spam-comments, like a dozen or so and then nothing or not much for days or weeks. Then in the past 24 hours there were over 150 of them! I’d like a game of poker as much as the next person but after all that comment-spam from these poker sites (I assume, given the keywords used) I’ll have a bad taste in my mouth next time I actually play.

So now I’ve gone and installed Spam Karma 2 and I get to sit back, cross my fingers, and find out how well that works for me and this site.

All the settings are pretty much default, which I assume are sufficiently sane, but I will of course keep an eye on the logs to make sure I’m not accidentally blocking legit comments when there are some, every few months. 😉


Comment spam

Filed under: Site — Erwin @ 4:40 pm

This would be why I have the blog set up to hold comments for moderation from email addresses that haven’t been approved before:

Pending Comments

I apologize for the inconvenience, but I assume you’ll understand I don’t want to be someone else’s spam-advertizing site. 🙂

(And to clarify, that was a burst of comment-spam that came in overnight. Some weeks there’s just one or two, then other times this is what happens. Ouch.)



Filed under: Site — Erwin @ 11:02 pm

Not entirely happy with the layout yet, so that may change in the days/weeks to come, but I’ve added support for Gravatars, a.k.a Globally Recognized Avatars.

The idea is that you can associate the email-address that you use to comment here with an image. Once it’s been approved (rated) it’ll show up on any (old and new) comments of yours.

This does not expose your email address to anyone reading along, the image is queried using an MD5 hash (checksum) of your address which is (in practical terms) impossible to reverse.


Threaded comments (2)

Filed under: Site — Erwin @ 6:36 pm

Now also enabled is a plugin that provides (optional, checkbox is selected by default) email-notifications of follow-up comments to your comments. If you end up not liking the results or decide you don’t want to hear about follow-ups after a while, there is a subscription-manager, the link to which is included in each notification tossed your way.


Threaded comments

Filed under: Site — Erwin @ 6:04 am

Test-driving a fancy plugin that enables threaded comments and possibly some other features which I have to check on first. Let me know if you notice anything breaking somehow (preferably with a comment but if that’s what broke, you can drop me an email at blog at spam dot is-here dot com).


Any Latvian speakers in the house?

Filed under: Humo(u)r,Site — Erwin @ 3:55 pm

On my original homepage at harte.is-here.com I had an image of a little music player, just to poke a little fun at technology. Apparently this also got indexed by search engines, as you can see using this search. Not sure what keywords it got indexed under, though.

Anyway… when I retired that homepage and started redirecting all traffic to this blog I occasionally checked the stats to see if there were any dead links that I might want to fix because there’s a webpage out there that points to a now obsolete location.

To my surprise I started to see a few (failed) hits per day to the original location of that image! Looks like someone found the link appropriate for their news or blog site and linked to the original location, instead of downloading it and serving it from their own site, using their own bandwidth.

Under normal circumstances I might’ve done something mean like put a Don’t Steal My Bandwidth sign in its place, just for that referrer (easy enough to do with mod_rewrite), but this one amused me so I uploaded the image to the site and put in a redirect from the original to the new location.

I still have absolutely no clue what it’s used for unfortunately as the referring domain is in Latvia and it looks like the webpage is in the local language, one that I do not speak or even remotely recognise. Any help will be appreciated! 😉


Giving in

Filed under: Site,Software — Erwin @ 6:14 pm

In case it wasn’t obvious already, I finally gave in and stopped running (90% of) my webpages at home on my internet connection and moved the content to DreamHost where I have a Sweet Dreams (a.k.a Level 2) account.

The one thing that stopped me from moving sooner is email. Thankfully DH provides the option to create custom DNS entries (A, CNAME, MX and TXT records) and also to select (one or more) MX servers other than their own, while keeping everything pointing their way.

This means that:

  • I no longer have to play redirect tricks to work around my ISP blocking port 80 (http).
  • I am no longer responsible for keeping the webpages up and running. If DH has a problem I can fuss at them, instead. 🙂
  • I can easily maintain the DNS and let them worry about redundancy of their nameservers. They seem to do a decent job at that.

Added bonuses:

  • They automatically provide Analog stats for all websites, something that I had never gotten around to.
  • I placed M‘s webcontent under a separate account (you can create multiple unix accounts that all share the same group) so she can upload content herself. At least, that’s the intention, it hasn’t been long enough that it has actually been an issue yet.
  • They have a fairly easy setup for adding/deleting MySQL databases, I may have some more fun with that.
  • If I would want to, I could set up endless number of email/webmail accounts. At the moment I still want to keep email under my own control, so I can use my whitelist filters that weed out most of the spam still, as far as I can figure.


  • I had to move the DNS to their servers, or risk having some hosts point in the wrong direction when DH move servers around (not that I expect that to happen very often) and basically avoid doing double the work keeping my data in sync with theirs after I’ve updated something via their webpages.
  • I noticed that even when I point the MX records elsewhere DH insists on adding mail.*, mailboxes.* and webmail.* entries for each (sub)domain in their DNS, creating needless clutter (call me a purist if you want). I may (after checking their KB) drop them an email about that, see if that can be cleaned up, or at the very least provide an opt-out checkbox of sorts.
  • If our internet connection is down I can’t submit new blog entries, I’ll have to write them and submit afterwards. Bummer.

Overall I’m happy with the move, here’s hoping it’ll stay that way.

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