I’m back!

I haven’t posted here in over a year. Here’s my excuse: My webhost upgraded their servers to the latest version of PHP, which was incompatible with the (seriously out-of-date) version of WordPress I was using. They were able to recompile my database to work with PHP 5.3, but if I posted anything, WordPress broke the database again.

Since my version of WordPress predated the automatic updater (by several versions), this meant a tedious, and time-consuming manual update.

Anyway, several failed attempts later, here we are. There are still a few glitches I need to work out, but overall things seem to to be working okay.

Crazy distributed bots



This is a 28 day graph of my website’s traffic through Feb. 5. Normally my site transfers between 5 and 50MB per day. A distributed bot called “80 legs” (or user-agent: 008) crawled the site on the 5th, sucking up 391MB of my bandwidth to God knows what end. Since this is a distributed bot for-hire, it could conceivably crawl my site like this every damned day or even multiple times per day. No thanks! I immediately blocked it in my robots.txt, we’ll see if it obeys or not.

I found this thread about “80 legs” to be informative.

1st Ever Commenter of the Month Award!

This is something I’ve mentioned doing in the past and at long last I’ve received a comment which I felt was worthy of this illustrious award. Here’s May’s award-winning comment from Sally:

Dear Greg,
Do you give advice on this website, too? This is one of the best sites I’ve ever seen, and you’re obviously a wise person with a great sense of humor, but I really could use advice with various problems in my life. You could call yourself, “Dear Greg,” like Dear Abby. Just an idea.

I hope I haven’t overlooked your advice column. Have I?

Sally
Sally Dr…, on 5-8-2008 @ 10:38 pm

Sally wrote this amazingly insightful comment in response to my post “Every Silver Lining Has a Touch of Gray“. For her contribution to the betterment of this blog, Sally will receive a valuable and much-coveted prize (seriously!)

Those of you who didn’t win; don’t despair. Study Sally’s comment and get to work crafting award-winning comments of your own. Also, bear in mind that this is actually more like a “Commenter of the indeterminate time period award”, it really depends on the quantity of quality comments.

Every Silver Lining Has a Touch of Gray

The other day I wrote about my excitement vis-à-vis my Cameo Mention in the Wahoo Gazette. As luck would have it, I now seem to have angered the Wahoo Gazetteer through no real fault of my own. Here’s what he had to say in today’s Wahoo:

So I give this “Greg Evans” guy a cameo mention the other day. I often see his name in the alt.fan.letterman newsgroup commenting on the show so I decided to give him a mention. This usually results in a cheap Wahoo Gazette plug in the discussion group. Unfortunately, it barely got a blip.

And then I find out that Greg Evans has a website. I checked it out. He spouts how proud he is to have received a cameo mention in the Wahoo Gazette. I was happy to read the shout out. I peruse some more. Down along the right side is a list entitled “Blogs and Such Which I Frequent.” It is a list of 50 blogs and websites Greg Evans likes to read. The Wahoo Gazette is not one of them. Can you believe it? Greg Evans claims to be a fan of David Letterman since his daytime show back in 1980, so how can he not frequent the Wahoo Gazette? It makes no sense. He mentions Dave Yoder’s Letterman website. He does not mention the Wahoo Gazette. Misdirected energy, I say.
And what hurts even more . . . . . Greg Evans writes about his Cameo Mention in the Wahoo Gazette . . . and it receives no comments from his readers . . . if he HAS any readers!
http://www.gsevans.com/blog/
The Wahoo Cameo Committee is presently considering rescinding Mr. Evans’ Cameo Mention.

And here is a snippet of my response, as posted to AFL:

In all honesty, I tried quite some time ago to add a link to the Wahoo, but couldn’t figure out a way to link to it directly since the URL’s are dynamically generated. I did figure it out though.

I’ve added it to my links, I sure hope they don’t rescind
my Cameo Mention!

I can’t believe MikeMack went here:

Greg Evans writes about his Cameo Mention in the Wahoo Gazette . . . and it receives no comments from his readers . . . if he HAS any readers!

Sure I have readers! They’re called web-crawlers, bots and
spiders!

Why must you build me up, only to tear me down, MikeMack, why?

Good News for those Using Google’s “Blogger”….

…If they’ve been wanting to convert to WordPress, that is. WordPress 2.2 just came out, and among other improvements, it now features:

A new Blogger importer that is able to handle the latest version of Google’s Blogger product and seamlessly import posts and comments without any user interaction beyond entering your login.

I’m not complaining, but I do wish this has happened before I wound up seeking out a PHP script to do the deed. I’m sure the built-in importer is vastly simpler and much more streamlined.

If you’ve forgotten (or missed them the first time around) here are some posts detailing my frustrating first (failed) attempt at making the switch:

And then, succeeding:

Stupid Blogger Tricks (that no one cares about)

Somehow when publishing my previous post, I inadvertently set the post status to “private”. While I was logged in to WordPress and looking at the blog everything seemed fine. It wasn’t until just a bit ago when I pulled up the blog on my laptop that I discovered that my last post wasn’t showing up. A few minutes of head-scratching later I found the problem and fixed it.

Duh!

Comment Spam Redux

Using the previously mentioned plugins, I have handily won this round against the spammers. Since I installed it just over 24 hours ago Bad Behavior has blocked 50 attempts by spam-bots and such to access the site. Meanwhile, Akismet has only had to deflect 1 ‘spamment’, rather than the 100+ I’ve been seeing every day for weeks now. Victory is mine! For now, anyway.

It will be interesting to see how much of an impact keeping out the bad bots will have on my server load.

Hooray me!
Boooo! Spamming scum and your robot minions. Boooo!

Comment Spam

Evidently, I’m under siege. Less than two weeks ago, I noted to myself that Akismet had blocked 200 spam comments since I converted the blog to WordPress (two and a half months ago). As I write this it is telling me:

Akismet has caught 1,626 spam for you since you first installed it.

That means that I’m now getting more than 100 spam comments per day! Thankfully, Akismet blocks these comments before they appear on the blog, but I still feel compelled to look them over, just in case a legitimate comment has somehow been flagged (so far, none have). As you can imagine, this is a bit of an ass-pain, so I’m now incrementally raising my defenses, hopeful of reducing the amount of ‘spamments’ which are generated in the first place. The first phase of my plan was to install the Comment Timeout plugin which

automatically closes comments on blog entries after a user-configurable period of time.

Right now that ‘period of time’ is set at 60 days. This should vastly diminish the volume of ‘spamments’. Fewer targets: Less spam.

I’ve also installed Bad Behavior which should keep the spam-bots from getting in in the first place.

I’m crossing my fingers.

The Switch Has Been Made

Oviously.

Everything seems to be working fairly well. There are some formatting issues with IE, I’ve discovered. Shoulda tested first, but I never use it; I’m all Firefox, all the time! I’m sure some internal links got munged in the conversion process, so I’ll be hunting those down as I go.

If you see anything that seems broken, messed up, or just plain weird; please let me know (and be sure to tell me what browser and OS you’re using).

WordPress, Revisited

So, I found a script which will allow me to import the blog into WordPress. So over the next few days things may look a bit weird around here as I settle in.

Hopefully by week’s end, I will have everything switched over.

Once more, wish me luck!