Captcha Out, Akismet In

Posted 2009.08.07 23.16 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

I’ve been trying to streamline things recently, without opening the door up too wide for the ^*&%(@ spammers. Just to give you an idea of how much these bastards hammer the internet, I turned off the Captcha thingy on the comments, and in 30 minutes there were three spam comments in the queue. These aren’t people roaming around looking for blogs to pollute, these are programs that people (I use the term loosely) have created to slime around looking for blogs to soil.

A captcha helps stop much of the automated spam but it doesn’t do anything to stop spam created by something like a mechanical turk, and unfortunately, a captcha also tends to stop at least some real legitimate comments. Some people are turned off by them, or have trouble reading them.

I had been avoiding Akismet despite its free nature and being bundled with WordPress, because in order to use it you have to register with WordPress.com – and I don’t like registering for things that I don’t really want… it seems redundant to register with a hosted blog site when I’m self hosting everything here. Still, I want my blog to be as open and accessable as possible, but I don’t want to spend an hour every day going through dozens or hundreds of spam comments and trackbacks.¬†So I’m giving Akismet a try, to see how it goes.

I’ve also retweaked the other settings (and fixed a flaw in my theme) so that A) previously approved commenters do not have to wait for moderation any more, and B) replies and comment threading now works properly.

Cheers!

To Share (This) or Not to Share (This)

Posted 2009.08.07 14.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

So I’ve been waffling on this “Share This” thing. I’m not really up on this stuff myself, I’ve never used it, but my friend Lezley told me it was good and important so I put it on my site. The thing is, it runs entirely on the Share This server, so every time someone is viewing one of my pages, they’re also partially redirected to download stuff from the Share This site. And not just two words and a little logo either – it’s a lot of stuff. ¬†Scripts, style sheets, a bunch of logos, who knows what else. Honestly, I don’t really like it – it seems strange and mysterious and opaque to me.

Most WordPress plugins are pretty open and upfront. I mean, if you can read PHP (which isn’t that hard if you just take your time and don’t let it scare you), you can look at the plugin and get at least a bit of an idea what it does. You can do that with the Share This plugin, but what the Share This plugin does is basically just tell your guests to load a bunch of stuff from elsewhere – and you can’t change that stuff. It’s some digging just to get to see that stuff, what with all the javascript voodoo and all that.

Aside from the opacity of its function and my lack of understanding of its purpose, there is the bottom line fact that it slows things down. I’m on a fast connection – but when I can see a noticable change in speed between Share This and don’t Share This, that gives me misgivings. In fact, if there is a problem and for whatever reason the Share This stuff isn’t working, it makes it look like my site is having problems.

So I’ve turned it off, turned it back on, off and on again. I don’t know what’s best. So I’ve made a poll, and I’m asking you. And, please feel free to comment as well.

Cheers!

The poll has been closed, with the votes in at 8 votes against Share This and 1 vote for it.

How to Kill your Community

Posted 2009.08.07 12.06 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

Here’s a link-worthy article on how to go about killing your blog community and gutting your site, by trading short-term traffic / clicks gain, for long-term hollow death.

6 Steps to Kill Your Community by Matt Mullenweg

Linux Kernel for Eeepc 1008HA

Posted 2009.08.07 7.33 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

I had a request this morning for my linux kernel that I’m using on my Eeepc 1008HA. This is a sub-notebook (aka “netbook”) computer by Asus, it’s very thin and light, though it sports a 10″ screen and a good-sized keyboard.

So on with the kernel info. I’ve been running a custom-built kernel since before I got the 1008; I have been rolling my own eeepc-specific kernel for over a year now, first for my 8G then the 1000, and now the 1008. As of this writing, the kernel version is 2.6.30.4. Essentially I’m downloading the generic “vanilla” kernel from Kernel.org and then applying my own config to it. The config is tweaked to include specifically what I personally want / need, and omits everything else. So fair warning: If you need a kernel that knows about nfs or ntfs or fatfs etc, this kernel won’t work ‘out of the box’ for you. Mucking around with the kernel is not something for total noobs to do, because it’s very easy to end up with a computer that doesn’t boot any more.

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