Posts Tagged ‘Blog’

Additional spam filter and comment subscriptions installed

December 6th, 2008

I’ve been dealing with an increasing amount of comment spam since mid last week and I decided to do something proactive about it.  I’ve installed a new spam filter plugin called Simple Spam Filter for WordPress by tan tan noodles.  It leverages both Akismet and reCAPTCHA technologies but in a slightly non-traditional way which I prefer.

When a user submits a blog post comment, they are not automatically required to decode a reCAPTCHA banner image.

If their comment passes the Akismet filter and it passes filters integrated in the Simple Spam Filter, the comment will be posted as is.

If the comment fails either of the previously mentioned filter checks, then the comment submission will be challenged by a reCAPTCHA banner image.  If the reCAPTCHA banner image is decoded successfully, the comment will post.  If the reCAPTHA banner image is not decoded successfully, the comment is immediately rejected and discarded (it won’t wait for me in a spam queue for approval).

Since I haven’t used it before, I can’t guarantee this plugin is 100% bug free. If you are having any issues submitting comments, please let me know via email so I can look into it.  The last thing I want to do is hinder meaningful discussions or the functionality of this blog.

I also installed the Subscribe To Comments and WP-Mail-SMTP plugins earlier this evening which allow readers to subscribe to new comments as well as manage their existing comment subscriptions.  Notification is delivered via Email (hence the need for the Mail plugin).  I’d like to thank and recognize Rich Brambley over at vmetc.com for leading me to the comment subscription plugin.

VMPeople.net

November 29th, 2008

The blog picked up its first sponsor, VMPeople.net – The Global Virtualization and Cloud Computing Job Board. VMPeople.net is a leading source of virtualization networking for job seekers, contractors, consultants, hiring managers, and recruiters.  Their banner can be seen on the right side of the page.  Please visit them when you have a moment and see what they have to offer.  I’d like to to thank VMPeople.net for helping out with the cost of running the site.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27th, 2008

For those that celebrate, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Travel safely. For the first time in ten or more years, I’m not working the Friday after Thanksgiving. I’ll be relaxing at home on Friday, probably rebuilding my gaming PC. Saturday I’ll be network gaming all day at a buddy’s house (the Team Fortress 2 dedicated server naturally runs inside a VMware VM, what else would you expect from me). Sunday night I’ll be with the Minnesota Vikings as we host Sunday Night Football against the Chicago Bears.

And before anyone becomes gravely concerned about my developing blogging habits, I’m not blogging at 6am Thanksgiving morning. I’m leveraging the WordPress scheduled posting function. It’s actually Tuesday evening right now and I’m on the bus ride home. With any luck, I’m fast asleep when this post goes live.

WordPress Easter Egg

November 26th, 2008

I’ve always enjoyed Easter Eggs.  It’s too bad they don’t seem as popular today as they once were years ago.  I don’t really see new ones any more.  I discovered one today though.  Not on my own, but by reading about it on another blog.  WordPress Easter Egg – The Matrix style.  Check it out!

Top 10 referring pages as of 11/21/08

November 21st, 2008

Thanks for sending traffic my way. It’s a little easier to write when I know you’re providing readership.

  1. http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/planet/v12n/
  2. http://vmetc.com/
  3. http://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/
  4. http://vmware-land.com/Vmware_launchpad.html
  5. http://blog.scottlowe.org/
  6. http://vmetc.com/2008/11/06/vmware-vi-35-port-diagram/
  7. http://vmware-land.com/
  8. http://www.petri.co.il/forums/showthread.php
  9. http://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/2008/11/vi-admins-sleep.html
  10. http://blogs.vmware.com/

What’s also kind of interesting is seeing the growing list of referrals coming from private and corporate intranet sites.  I can’t access their referral page because there is no route to it from the internet, but I can sum the referring URL + the page being hit on my side to get a good idea of how information is being used internally.

Blog maintenance

November 12th, 2008

A few housecleaning and upgrade tasks in the past 24 hours:

  1. Banned several IP addresses for brute force attacking the FTP server.  This should increase available bandwidth and response time.  This is a problem I’ve been dealing with since I brought the server online many years ago.  It’s a game of cat and mouse.  New attacks will continue to occur almost daily which is to say on a daily basis I could be banning new IP addresses.  I’m not sure I have that kind of time but I’ll check sporadically.
  2. Banned two .MPG cataloging sites for referring boatloads of traffic my way for the sole purpose of downloading model railroad .MPG clips probably in the hopes that the .MPG clips are something other than model railroading related.  Their intentions seem clear to me.  This should increase available bandwidth and response time.
  3. Removed all model railroad .MPG cilps from the web server.  This should increase available bandwidth and response time.
  4. Upgraded GD Star Rating from version 1.0.1 to 1.0.2.  Bug fixes and new features.  I’m still seeing one bug with the product and have provided feedback to the author.  Ratings are bells, whistles, and clutter and I’m half tempted to just get rid of them.
  5. Installed WP Super Cache.  This should increase available bandwidth and response time.

Please let me know if you see any funk that may be caused by serving static/cached pages instead of dynamically rendered PHP WordPress pages.

Blog backup?

October 31st, 2008

Just in time for Halloween, a Scary WordPress Moments! blog article has been published.

I back up my WordPress database (MySQL) daily using a Windows scheduled task.   A script (built by the MySQL Administrator) is executed which dumps the database to a file (hot backup).  The database dump is then backed up to tape nightly.  I believe the backup method is solid and I’m also thinking ease of restoring (the whole database) is easy.  Restoring individual tables or rows however – probably a nightmare I don’t want to get involved with.

There exists another backup method in plugin form located here.  Since I host my own blog, I don’t really have a need for the “Save to server” versus “Save to my computer” options.  I certainly don’t need to email the backup to myself.  I’ve already instituted a backup method that should have me covered.  It’s automated with script and scheduling so to me that’s a huge benefit.  Work smarter, not harder right?

I’m new to both blogging and WordPress.  Is my backup methodology sound?  One thing that I think I share in common with all bloggers:  I would hate to lose what I have created.  One of these weeks I should test the restore scenario in the lab to make sure it works.