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uncommonplace
 

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     Broken comments
    Filed under: — David @ 10:35 am

    Comments on my blog have been broken for a while now. It’s probably related to the blog being hacked at some point. I removed the spam links that were inserted in the page, but it’s still corrupted somehow. What I really need to do is a long-overdue upgrade to the latest version of WordPress. I’m running 1.5, and the latest is 3.1.2. But with moving and an impending baby, life has been a bit busy for that kind of project.

     Twitter
    Filed under: — David @ 3:17 pm

    I signed up for a Twitter account a few weeks ago and started using Twitterific, since I decided anything from my friends at the Iconfactory is worth a look. The idea is called micro-blogging, and because of the way you can follow and respond to other people’s micro-blogs it blurs the line between blogs and chat rooms. The posts tend to be about more trivial things, but they give you a fun and different perspective on the people that post them.

    As it’s now become a regular part of my routine (what with Twitterific sitting in my menu bar and all), I’ve decided to add it to my web site too, so I’ve added my recent “tweets” to my blog sidebar.

     Another outage
    Filed under: — David @ 5:09 pm

    Because my “domain management” account is separate from my main web host account, and therefore has separate contact info, I neglected to update it and therefore didn’t get notified when my domain name, uncommonplace.com, was up for renewal. I didn’t realize what had happened until I noticed that I wasn’t getting any email…

    Then when I went to renew, after accepting my payment the system told me there was a “problem” for which I had to contact support. It took them a few hours to respond, which was not fun, but when they did it was in the middle of the night, so at least I know they’re not sleeping on the job.

    It’s frustrating not being able to have more direct control over my web site when I depend on it so much. But I don’t have the resources required to run a site myself, so I make do with things as they are. And I’m glad that, for now, things are working again.

     The pitfalls of a hosted site
    Filed under: — David @ 12:48 pm

    It started with not being able to get my email. When I tried checking the web site to see if it was up, I was greeted with a generic portal page. The uncommonplace.com domain name had expired. It’s pretty scary when this happens.

    A few months back I had a similar problem where it was time to renew my hosting account, but I had neglected to update my contact email address - it was still the one from my ISP back in Salt Lake City. This got sorted out quickly enough, but it turned out my domain name contact address did not get updated, even though it’s all managed by the same hosting company. So just like before when I didn’t get the notices that it was time to renew my hosting account, this time I didn’t get the notices that my domain name was going to expire.

    It reminds me of the iPod video out problem I had recently, where I didn’t realize you have to explicitly set it to use the video out instead of using the built-in screen. I might have saved myself some aggravation if I had been paying better attention, but there were also things that could have been done to make it easier for me. In this case, that would be having only one set of contact information. If some people do have a legitimate reason for having separate info for their hosting and domain names, the web site could at least remind you when you update one that you might want to update the other.

    Using web hosting services can be very stressful because you have to be completely dependent on someone else maintaining the server and the domain name. If the server goes down, or if somehow my domain name were to get hijacked, there is nothing I can do directly to fix the situation.

    A few years back I lost iconmachine.com because of basically the same thing as what happened today, and it took me too long to notice I had lost it because I wasn’t using it as my primary domain name. I haven’t bothered contacting whoever is squatting on it because I’m sure they’ll ask for some ridiculous amount to give it back to me, and I would consider pretty much anything more than the standard registration fee to be extortion.

     More spam lockdowns
    Filed under: — David @ 10:30 pm

    So soon after removing my site’s forums, today I disabled guest comments in the Volley wiki. It had actually been surprisingly free of spam up until about a week ago, but then suddenly the spammers started attacking.

    The funny thing is that in many of the spam comments, they got the markup wrong so the links didn’t work. They ended up appending their intended URL to the wiki’s own URL, creating a bunch of 404 errors in my server logs. That’s how the spam was brought to my attention. If they had formatted their spam properly it would have taken me longer to discover it.

    Tikiwki doesn’t have particularly good features for dealing with spam, at least not the slightly outdated version I have installed. So to find the affected pages, I used Google to search my site for things like “buy online”, “nice site” (the phrase that screams “spam comment”), or various drug names - the very keywords they were trying to grab. It was fun to take Google and use it as an anti-spam tool.

     Recent Releases
    Filed under: — David @ 11:32 am

    The main page just got a new thing: a list of recent releases. Like the body of the main page, this is powered by WordPress, listing posts in the new Releases category. I’ve been thinking for a while that the main page was lacking something. This should help not only by providing convenient download links, but also giving visitors a better idea of what goes on here.
    (more…)

     Forums are gone
    Filed under: — David @ 9:47 pm

    I have decided to remove the forums section of my site, at least for the time being. It has been months since there were any meaningful posts, and I’m tired of deleting spam accounts every day.

    It sure was a tedious process. I forgot how many pages I have on this site. One of these days I should look in to using CSS or PHP some more to consolidate all the redundant HTML in my pages.

     Forum guest posting disabled for now
    Filed under: — David @ 8:32 am

    For the time being, posting in the forums will require registering for an account. I hope this doesn’t discourage anyone who has something meaningful to contribute.
    (more…)


    This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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