Archive for the ‘BlogTech’ Category


November 15th, 2007 4 comments

It’s 2:49 am. I just spent all day, since 4:00 pm, setting up a new web site for my college course using WordPress. Tons of modifications, getting all the appearances just right, setting everything just so. Arranging all the links. Setting all the pages and graphics. It was a bitch of a task, but I bore down and got it nailed. The site was perfect. Beautiful. Just like I needed it to be.

So I closed down all the local files I was using to work on it, and did a bit of other work before heading off to bed.

And after finishing that, I checked the site.

Completely. Wiped. Out.

All that work, gone.

Somehow, WordPress decided that everything should be set to zero. I have no idea how it happened, only that between finishing the main body of work and doing that last bit of touch-up, WordPress completely reset the site and erased everything I had done over the day. The only thing I can think of is that I left open a page in my browser that set up the blog in the first place, and it must have reloaded by itself and re-established the blog… as blank and new.

2:55 am. I am too tired and angry beyond description. Somehow, tomorrow morning, I will rebuild all that work, hopefully in less time now that I have worked out the kinks. Still. It is at times like these when you feel like tearing someone’s head off.

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Blog Plagiarism

October 5th, 2007 4 comments

What can you do when someone else out-and-out steals your entire posts, tries to hotlink the images straight from your site, and pastes their name on the writing, without any indication it was made by someone else? Here’s my post, and an image from the thief’s page. (Like hell I’m linking to them.)

Very little, from what I can tell. Even though they’re a business, I bet that suing them wouldn’t work. Even if they weren’t lawyers and expert at dodging stuff like that, one can bet that scumwads like this have lots of experience at evading even those determined to bring lawful action or to collect compensation.

Of course, this is probably spamblogging, where spammers start blogs to link to their own sites, and fill the blogs with copied content from wherever they can find it. Yet another way that the smegma of humanity manifest themselves on the Internet.

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Setting a Target

September 29th, 2007 8 comments

I’ve come to a long-term decision about this blog: I’ve decided to set five years as my ultimate goal for non-stop blogging. As of today, I have been blogging every day without a break for 1,519 days, or about four years and two months. And it’s beginning to wear somewhat.

Usually, I do not like to just write down a few words and call it a day, although I have done that a few times–a very few times. Normally, making a blog post consists of a rather lengthy process, and it’s not something that I feel that I can keep up with indefinitely. There are nights when I realize that I have not written a blog for that day, and really don’t feel like it. Call it blogger’s fatigue. And yes, tonight was one of those nights. But this is not an impulse decision; I have been thinking about this for quite some time. And five years seems like a nice, round number.

Certainly, the amount of content that I have built up is enough so that the site can still attract a lot of people via Google, at the very least. Not to mention that I have no plans for stopping–just not blogging every single day. And I am also aware that next year on August 3rd–the first day after the five years is up–the presidential campaign is going to be in full swing. So I might just continue blogging simply because there will be so much to blog about. It’s not as if I’m going to take a day off to mark the occasion; after the 5th anniversary, I’ll just skip the first day that I feel like.

I may certainly be making too big a deal about this–it’s not the end of the world, nor is it a non-stop blogging record (unless I am seriously overestimating all other bloggers), nor is a five-year unbroken stretch anything that’s worth a Pulitzer Prize, or even more than a minute of your time. But personally, it is quite something–it represents my own personal development in terms of being able to continue something for the long term.

I’m the kind of person who tends not to form new habits very easily (unless they are habits of laziness or other forms of non-effort). At the time I started this blog, I felt it necessary to change that. I decided that if I could maintain a daily blog, I could start other habits of effort as well. And it has helped; I was successful, for example, in establishing an exercise routine, which I have maintained for longer than I have ever done before. That was a small part of my ability to lose ten kilos a few years ago as well. This blog is at the very least a landmark in my personal development. And I figure that the mental exercise of writing is certainly not a bad thing for the old noggin, not to mention a good way to keep my writing skills healthy.

If nothing else, however, this blog also has served as a way to record my thoughts and some of my life’s events in a way I never did consistently before. The recent addition of the “On This Day” widget (see the right-hand sidebar) has emphasized this–it’s pretty interesting to look back and see what I was thinking about and doing on any given day “x” number of years ago.

So in addition to counting up (1,519 days), I now have a count-down as well (308 days).

Unless the election provides too much fodder and I find some reason to make 2000 days the target instead of 5 years.

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Site Outages

September 21st, 2007 4 comments

Sorry about this folks. I have the strong suspicion that when I was subjected to massive spam and hotlinking attacks a month ago, my web host transferred me to a “bad behavior” server, where users constantly hog the CPU and other server resources and cause everyone else to be shut down for hours on end. Maybe not, it could be a coincidence, but after those attacks on my site, my own site started being shut down by abuse on other sites on my server–at least four times now by my count, each time for many hours at a go. The last one just ended about 5 minutes ago.

I hope this can get resolved, whatever it is, and service back to usual reliable standards. In the meantime, if you come here and the site is down, come and visit again later. My apologies for the inconveniences.

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Site Down

September 11th, 2007 2 comments

Sorry, the site was down for somewhere between 5 to 10 hours. Don’t know why, and if the web host acts like all web hosts do, I will probably never know. One of those glitches, and life goes on. Apologies to those who tried to access the site and could not.

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

1500 Days

September 10th, 2007 1 comment

Just another meaningless milestone. But like so many others, I do like to see the odometer click over to at least a few zeroes. 1500 days of nonstop blogging.

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Is There a Coder in the House?

September 1st, 2007 8 comments

Does anyone out there know anything about .htaccess? Because I am getting extraordinarily frustrated here. For months, maybe years, I have tried to run hotlink and referral spam prevention using a .htaccess file, and never got it to work. About a week ago, it seemed like I got it to work… then it wasn’t working. Again. Every time I try a new way, it either lets everybody see my images, or it blocks everybody including my own site.

Please somebody contact me in the comments and help me out. We’ll talk by email. Thank you!

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Oh, Great

September 1st, 2007 4 comments

I’m starting to get hotlinking from a new angle. Over time, I have taken pictures of cats and posted them here. The problem: there now seems to be a surge in the number of people and web sites where a cat-themed role-playing game, with feline “Warriors,” and everyone seems to be linking to my images of cats.

I swear, people like this ruin the web for everyone. Now I can’t post images of cats unless I want to be used by these people. There are way too many different sites on different domains to block effectively.

Anyone know what this whole feline role-playing thing is all about?

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Getting the Site Straight

August 27th, 2007 1 comment

Man, I have been spending way too much time primping the WordPress stuff on this blog. I am probably going to have to take a break from this for a few weeks while I get other business out of the way. In this post, I just wanted to make a few notes about how a few problems were fixed.

First of all, Japanese in the posts. Apparently, if you install WordPress version 2.2 using “Fantastico” (web hosting CPanel software) or in some other fashions as well, there is a bug in the wp-config.php file, specifically two lines:

define(‘DB_CHARSET’, ‘utf8’);
define(‘DB_COLLATE’, ”);

By deleting these two lines (or putting two slashes at the start of each line to “turn them off”), Japanese will appear fine. I thought I had a deal-breaker when pre-existing smart quotes in other posts suddenly turned to gibberish, only to discover that this new bug only happened in blog posts made after the switch. I simply re-uploaded the stories, and now everything is kosher.

As you might also have noticed, I was finally able to center the calendar. In the stylesheet, under the #wp-calendar heading, I added these two lines:

margin-left: auto;
margin-right: auto;

Apparently, they cause free-sized margins to be created to the left and right of the table, effectively centering it. Frankly, a command like “align: center;” would be a lot easier to figure out….

I have also added a new plug-in, called “On This Day.” It shows blog posts from the same day over past years. It’s smart enough to match the day on individual entry pages as well. One problem I had initially was that the widget showed the day’s posts from the current year as well, something which bugged me to the point of distraction, and I tool it down. But I mentioned this to the widget’s developer… and a few days later he posted a new version with the requested feature of excluding this year’s posts. How’s that for customer service?

I added a “robots.txt” file to ask Google Image to stop scanning my images folder, but that doesn’t erase the thousands of files they’ve cached already, and probably will have there for years to come. Still, you gotta start somewhere.

So far, spam has not been that big a problem. Only one spam has gotten past Askimet, not counting a few that needed Askimet moderation (but did not get to the main moderation area). But the spammers have not yet quite figured out where my main site went yet.

For a long time I have had trouble blocking sites using the .htaccess file. Turns out that I was (for the Nth time) the victim of bad documentation. The best I had been able to get was one site blocked (I used that to block MySpace), but after that, none of the blocks would work. Just today I stumbled upon a web page that actually went to the trouble to explain that if you want to block more than one site, you have to add “,OR” tot he deny rule. I had been writing:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} myspace\.com [NC]

…but what I should have been writing was:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} myspace\.com [NC,OR]

The “NC” being a command to ignore case, and the “OR” being a note to add another text string to block. Without the “,OR” added, only the first block in the list works. Would it have really killed the authors of the hundred other pages I had depended on previously to make such an obvious and vital note? Sheesh. I also finally figured out that to block access to an image, you had to place the .htaccess file in the directory which has the images to be blocked.

Now I just have to figure out the specific syntax to block any site that has the word “forum” in the URL, and my life will be ten times easier….

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Search Me

August 26th, 2007 5 comments

Well, I’ve just found a major flaw in WordPress: the lack of a halfway-decent search engine. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the stupid theme that I based my design on, but as far as I can see, the “Search” function in the sidebar is limited to presenting the results of a search in full, unabridged form, printing whole posts in groups of ten instead of giving a succinct, easy-to-read list of titles with short excerpts. I have found and tried a dozen or so widgets, and not a single one works. Either they break with the most recent version of WordPress, or their documentation is so bad that it’s impossible to figure out what the hell you’re supposed to do.

Does anyone out there with WordPress savvy have a suggestion? I would rather avoid Google searching; I would like to control the appearance and not have the search leave my domain. I know that I am essentially asking for what Movable Type had, but it’s more out of functionality than simple dedication to what I am used to.

Thanks to everyone who helps out, in advance.

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Subscribe to Comments Activated

August 24th, 2007 7 comments

I’ve added a plugin that allows you to opt for email notification when someone posts a comment after yours in any one blog entry. The email includes a link which allows you to manage which entries have notification status for you, so you can turn any post’s notifications off if you wish. Seems to work. Let me know if you have any problems.

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Thematic Difficulties

August 22nd, 2007 6 comments

Ah, it’s all coming back. I remember doing this before, when I first designed my site with Movable Type. Most of the layout is CSS, and since I don’t know CSS, I have to use a template of some sort–some WordPress Theme which has all the fundamentals, all I have to do is insert my own images, change the colors, set widths and heights and fonts and so forth. A work in progress, even still after several days of redesigning.

One unexpected factor: the person who built the theme I am using as a template decided to make an ass out of all the people who used his theme. He inserted text which would only appear of you viewed the blog in Internet Explorer; it takes a prime spot right below your blog banner and right above the first post, and essentially says how IE blows and what are you thinking about using that.

Now, to be honest, I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment–but at the same time, this guy’s methods are for crap. Inserting a condescending message into the middle of your blog which you won’t see unless you’re using IE on Windows? I had no idea that I was insulting a large block of my own readers, and would not have known at all until (a) I happened to stumble across the code by accident, (b) used IE myself, or (c) someone got offended and told me about it. (a) was not too likely, as the page content section did not really need modification; (b) would eventually have happened, once I got around to testing the theme out on different browsers; but (c) happened first.

Ergo, as soon as I can root out the last of any original design elements this guy put it, I am deleting the link back to him. All I needed the theme for was as a foundation to create my own design, anyway. Or, that is, to transfer the design I had to the new blog.

But since I did wind up unknowingly offending at least one person in that manner, I wound up doing platform/browser tests early, and was reminded of yet another headache of web site design: getting all the browsers to play nice. Like I said, I greatly dislike the theme author’s methods, though I agree with the sentiment: Microsoft makes life harder for web page designers. Sure, they could follow standards, but do they? Of course not. And since Microsoft owns the Desktop and gives IE as the default browser, virtually everybody uses it–which means that you either dance to Microsoft’s tune and blow off people using other software, or you make your blog look bad for everyone else.

This really stands out when you look at the pages in the different browsers. There really is a good deal of difference in how they render, especially in Windows. Witness three browser views of a part of one of my pages. First, Safari:


Next, Mozilla/Firefox:


And lastly, Internet Explorer:


Notice a few things: the text looks smoothest in Safari, probably because Apple does font anti-aliasing. The text looks bolder. Mozilla/Firefox looks horrible–the text is all jaggy and distorted. Maybe I don’t have the text settings done right–but they are as I downloaded them.

IE is in between the two as far as text quality, but notice something else: the half-page-width horizontal rule is left-aligned in IE, and is correctly centered in Safari and Mozilla.

Here’s the interesting thing: on a Mac, Safari and Mozilla/Firefox are virtually indistinguishable–so much so that posting an image of the different screens would be pointless.

Here is an animated GIF file, for those of you who have that turned on in your browsers, switching between the three browsers renders:


But that’s not the only place IE differs. You’ll find other small bits and pieces here and there that don’t match up–and IE is always the odd browser out… meaning they’re the ones who don’t play by the rules. Look at the bottom of the comments area on an individual page:

Left is Mozilla, center is Safari, right is IE. Notice how the background color for the last comment extends down to the bottom of the page. Again, not the way it should be.

Such problems are not insurmountable, but they are a major pain. If Microsoft stopped finagling with the code so they could force people to make IE look better to the detriment of other browsers, then web design would be a lot easier. Instead, you have to inspect every nook and cranny on different browsers and different platforms, and fiddle with the commands until you find an array of settings that looks acceptable on all browsers.

This is why so many people keep the simple, basic themes provided, and I can’t blame them for it. It’s a huge amount of effort and self-training. The benefit, however, is learning new code, if you don’t know CSS already.

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Getting There

August 21st, 2007 19 comments

Well, the old Movable Type blog is more or less officially closed now, with a note on the door to come over here. I will only be posting new stuff at this location from now on, at least until I decide to put the WordPress blog into the main directory… a decision for later. For now, bookmark this page… or just go to the main page of the old blog and let it redirect you here.

One major hassle will be redirects. Because the old blog did not use blog post numbers for entries that were deleted, and the new blog failed to respect that numbering, the numbering no longer matches. Ergo, the utilities which usually manage redirects will not, in all probability, be of any use to me. Seems foolish–after all, who doesn’t have at least one deleted entry?

Worse, I can’t even redirect the easy way–the redirect utility provided by my web host can’t handle question marks, which WordPress uses. In addition to that, the search engines will continue to send 70% to 80% of my visitors to me… to the old site’s pages. Hell, I don’t even know if the search engines scan and link to WordPress’ php-style pages the same way they do with static pages… they must, right?

Then there is the formatting. As you can see, I have gotten most of the page to look OK, but bits and pieces of the base theme I used are still peeking through. I have to rework stuff like blockquotes, comment background coloring, the footer on the pages, and so on. Please be patient with me while I go through this.

In the meantime, please keep dropping by!

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Now, To Change the Layout

August 21st, 2007 2 comments

Okay, so the transfer seems done, more or less. A few strangenesses, like the fact that the number of posts has decreased from 2631 to 2626, but the number of comments has increased from 6593 to 6705. I have no idea where those five extra posts went to, but I have the feeling that the extra emails are ones that I had not formerly approved and yet had not deleted either…

So now I just have to learn all about WordPress-plugins and widgets and themes, oh my!

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Whack-a-Mole Spambots and WordPress Migration

August 20th, 2007 6 comments

One of the issues that I have been dealing with is how to defeat the spammers. One way to do this in Movable Type is the change the name of the comment script from time to time. This seems to work, but only very temporarily. Even instantly, a lot of spammers’ software detects the new name (probably once it fails to execute the script once) and just resets with the new script address. Some spammers seem to be set on long-term autopilot, however. I have changed the name of my comments script about 4 or 5 times, and yet I still get attempts to access the previous versions–even though the oldest of those has not been active for more than two weeks.

However, you can see the spammers when they auto-correct: you get two hits from the same IP address; one directed at the old script, and one directed at the new one. Apparently that’s when they tried to old script, it failed, and so they accessed the blog entry page and found the new script. All automated; such hits are usually just minutes apart.

Another issue is how to move the blog from Movable Type to WordPress. A process which should be simplified by this time is still, apparently, labyrinthine. The most frustrating aspect to it is, as I have found out many times before, the documentation. Generally speaking, the people who make the documentation are the people who write the software… and as documentation authors, they suck big-time. Their most common error is to assume that everyone using the software has years of experience in web site administration, so they casually say “do this” and “do that” and give no frakking clue as to how these things can be accomplished.

One example is that since my blog is big, I am having trouble uploading the data file so that WordPress can even get started on processing it. They casually set a limit of 2 MB, while the file I need to import is 14 MB. Yes, I know my blog is a lot bigger than most, but still, they must expect most people to have tiny little blogs; I must have exceeded that much in my first year alone. Anyway, the problem, many report, is that the file is too big–so just divide it into pieces. Well, great–but how? No clue is given to this, they just assume that you know all about this kind of stuff. Nobody takes the trouble of spelling it out so that someone with no technical knowledge can do it. Even the better ones, at some point, have one instruction that depends on knowing some protocol, trick, code, or process–and just one broken link will completely stop you in your tracks.

It does not help that Movable Type apparently re-designed their support site, in such a way that none of the links work. If you search the forums, you always find somebody asking about a problem, and other members say, “You dolt! This has already been discussed, just go here!” and they provide a link. But the link is broken, and a search does not bring up the page they are apparently talking about. Swell.

Frankly, I will be rather surprised if I can get this done this week. I was hoping to have it done today, but tech-support lag has hit me. I needed to ask for a php file-size limit to be raised, and they did… for the main directory only. I did not know I had to ask for a specific directory, so another 2-3 hours must go by before I can get that fixed. And I’m only just beginning. If I succeed in importing the file, then there will be issues about making images work, and potentially much more difficult, making links work (where I linked from one post to another). There are tools and solutions for problems like these… each of which I fully expect to have exactly the same quality of documentation that I have experienced thus far.

Right about now, I am actually asking myself, “how much longer can I keep this blogging thing up?” I figure that I have to at least go five years without a day’s break, and then maybe back off to several-times-weekly, or even whenever-I-feel-like-it.

Read more…

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Comments May Go Offline

August 18th, 2007 6 comments

Apparently I am under a full-on massive spam attack, and Movable Type is not helping; my web host continues to press me to switch to WordPress, threatening to shut me down. I have been planning such a switch for a while now, and for the past week have been prepping–despite having a full load of work for my school, plus other plans made long before which cannot be cancelled. Still, the change may not come fast enough–and so my web host may shut down the comments script while I am away over the weekend. I will try to get the blog up and running fully again asap when and if that happens, but it may take a few days. Thanks for your patience.

Postscript: checking my spam logs is an incredible revelation: spammers are hitting my comment script every few seconds. I expect there are as many as ten thousand spam attempts on my site every day.

This is a full-out assault of a kind I thought even spammers would not attempt. Who knows, maybe they figured that I had badmouthed them one too many times and decided to drop on me like a ton of bricks. Has anyone else out there experienced anything like this before?

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Hotlink Protection

August 14th, 2007 3 comments

To all visitors:

Due to a warning from my web host, I have been forced to enable Hotlink Protection. The last time I did this, a lot of people complained of images not showing up. If you experience such image outages, please let me know in the comments of this post. Thanks!

Update: To those of you building your blogs over time, a little word of warning: avoid piling up too many entries with images in any one category. Why? Well, I just found out.

As I mentioned above, I have been taking heat from my web host. First it was for an “abusive script,” which is to say that spammers were hammering my comment script like there was no tomorrow. Even though no spam ever gets through, they were pounding the damn thing like a sunavabitch, tying up the shared hosting server’s CPU too much. I fixed that at least temporarily, with more fixes to come.

But that’s not what I’m talking about in this note. After the cgi script was called out, and after I fixed it, my web host started complaining about my site getting “too many hits.” They pointed out that my site was getting something like 80,000 hits every day. That seemed strange, as I only get a few thousand visits every day–but after checking, I saw the problem. As I said above, it was in the categories.

You see, I had a few categories that were image-rich, like “Focus on Japan,” “Photo Stories,” and “Birdwatching in Japan.” Each category had several hundred posts, most of which had multiple images. And I noticed that these topics were getting the most number of hits of almost any file on my site–over the past two weeks, “Focus on Japan” got 3230 visits, “Photo Stories” got 1826, and “Birdwatching in Japan” got 694.

So what? Well, each time one of those category archives got hit, every single image had to be displayed–sometimes each loading of a page put five or six hundred images, each image representing a “hit” on my site. And a lot of those visits, probably most of those visits, were coming from the image search engine pages.

Each category archive page had accumulated hundreds of different topics, many hundreds of differently-named images; that variety meant that each such page would get more attention from the search engines. People hunting for one image would get the archive page and see hundreds.

As a result, a few thousand visits started generating nearly a hundred thousand hits, and I got into trouble. To fix it, I simply got rid of the “Photo Stories” and “Birdwatching in Japan” categories, figuring that I don’t need them so much–few people if any ever comment on them, so I figure they’re just drawing image searches. To hell with that! “Focus on Japan,” however, I wanted to keep. To solve the problem with that one, I broke the category up into six categories, one for each year since 2003 and one miscellaneous category (see them now in the category list at right). That got rid of the troublemaking plain-vanilla “Focus on Japan” category, created several new categories not yet indexed by the search engines, and kept the number of hits per page down to a lot fewer than before.

So my advice: if you use images in many of your posts, watch how they pile up in the categories, lest you suffer the same fate I did.

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Okay, That’s It

August 9th, 2007 12 comments

That’s it indeed. First free moment I get, I am putting in a block script in my image directory to keep Google’s image bot out. I’ve had it up to here.

When you have a blog with images, you stand the risk of being swamped by hotlinkers. Sometimes I take some nice shots, and I want to share them. But what happens is that some rather impolite person will find that image via Google, and without permission, without a link back to my site, without even visiting my site at all, they simply grab the address of the image and hotlink.

I have described before what hotlinking is. In short, instead of using an image that they store on their own site, they “link” to the image residing on my site; despite being an image on my site, it appears seamlessly to be a part of theirs. The problem: I get charged for the bandwidth it eats up.

Normally, it’s not a huge issue; usually, it’s a small image and is only accessed a few dozen times. That’s a pinprick; I would hardly notice it. A lot of times, people hotlink the images for use on forums or MySpace accounts; those are the worst offenders. But once in a while, someone with a high-bandwidth site decides to take a large image from yours and hotlink to it. That’s what happened here.

Someone in Ohio who runs a web site that talks a lot about “how to increase your site traffic” and boasts of their AdSense revenue took a 1280-pixel-wide image from my site, a photo of lightning I took a while back. They then used that image–badly, at that–as the background for the title header on their blog, so that it appeared on every single last page of their own blog.

In just the past 9 days, the image was hotlinked at least 17,792 times… meaning that in just over a week, this one person ate up almost four gigabytes of my bandwidth, or about 20% of the total bandwidth of my site for that period of time.

I would not have been quite as ticked off had this person innocently hotlinked without understanding… but the content of their site, one comment in particular, told me that they knew exactly what hotlinking was. Worse, this person quotes scripture on their main page.

So I substituted the image with a smaller version that contained a text message detailing my annoyance (no obscenities), and left an acerbic comment… but really, this is the last straw.

As I mentioned above, the first chance I get, I am cleaning house. I will leave a robots.txt file to steer Google Images (and whatever other image bots I can identify) away from my images directory. I am then going to clear out every file more than 100 KB–even smaller ones, if there are not too many. I might replace them with smaller/more compressed images, but that could mean too much work. In the future, I will post larger images, but I will yank them within a few weeks or months.

This is disappointing to me. I like sharing the photos I take, I want people to enjoy them. But when even a few bad apples take advantage of that and run hog-wild over my site resources…

It is just too much frakking trouble.

Categories: BlogTech Tags:

Comments Temporarily Down: Frakking Spammers

August 9th, 2007 Comments off

I woke up to receive this message in my mailbox:

Your account has been suspended or a file disabled in it for the following reason:

CGI/PHP Overload
Your account is causing high load on the server due to an abusive cgi script: …

That, my friends, is what spammers can do to you. Partly my fault, I guess; it has been years since I upgraded my blog software, and just as long since I have taken any evasive maneuvers in regards to my comments script. Fortunately, the web host only shut down the comment script file and has not suspended my account or shut down my scripting abilities altogether. So among other things on my “to do” list today, I’ll have to reshuffle my blog software to get comments working again, and then get to work this month on upgrading the blog software–either to the newest Movable Type, or (my long-term intention) switching to WordPress.

Pardon any inconveniences while this is taking place. Comments should be up again in a few hours.

Update: Comments are back up. More on other changes as I get around to them…

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Four Years

August 2nd, 2007 2 comments

I almost missed the milestone: today is my fourth anniversary of non-stop blogging. 1,461 days (365 x 4 plus a leap year day) since August 2, 2003. That was a photo post on my college’s graduation day (we’re holding it on the 4th this year, keeping it on a Saturday). I noted the first anniversary, the second, the third, and then today is the fourth. Makes me wonder what’s be happening when I reach year five.

Today, I kept busy with a meeting at work (we’re getting moving on switching our internal email system to GMail, specifically Google Apps for Education), grading tests, and doing shopping outside. Tonight, there seems to be an O-bon Dance festival at Sunshine City–I can hear the music from here (150 KB mp3 audio), and you can see a bit of the setup between the buildings from our balcony.


That’s the Prince Hotel on the left, the NTT Building on the right, the Sunshine 60 Tower behind the NTT Building, and Shinjuku skyscrapers above in the middle. The O-bon festival is below and center. Closer up, it looks like this:


A very standard O-bon setup–you can see similar photos I took a few years back in Inagi. There’s always a square platform in the middle, lanterns and lights strung out from that central area, people dancing around it, a wider circle of spectators beyond that.

Later, Sachi came home and we went to what is now our usual yakitori place–not the mom & pop place, but the bigger restaurant around the corner. The one where there’s an old guy who comes in every night and monopolizes the waitress’ time with idle chat. Before we left, a group of seven or eight older men came in wearing garb that told us they were with the O-bon festival themselves. It seemed like they had gotten an early start on the drinking, and were ready to get soused. So after a few made bombastic and half-drunk attempts to speak English to me, we finished and left, with a friendly “goodbye!” to the O-bon guys.

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