Inspired by walkah

I've been meaning to get it done and walkah finally pushed me over the edge. The blog is now up on Drupal 6. A few of the things that were here will be re-worked and and the theme will need some tweaking to get it looking right. Nitobe is a cool theme but there are a few things I have in mind for this space so it will evolve for sure.

Giving MarsEdit another try

Pat was asking about a good offline blogging tool yesterday. I mentioned that I had a love-hate-hate relationship with MarsEdit. It stuck in my memory as a tool that was decent but had just enough major annoyances to keep it from being useful. Well that was all before the update to version 2 by Red Sweater software.

I'll take it for a spin and report what I find this time around.

New look

Time for a new look. The new theme here doesn't work completely yet as I'm finding a few bugs here and there. The big move is that much of the content which was on the side bars previously is now located near the bottom of the page. This way these items won't be distracting while looking at the page. One of my favorite features of the new design is the "fluid-but-not-too-fluid" nature of it. To a point it is a fluid design but stretch it too far and it will stay at a reasonably readable size. Thanks Drupal for being such a rockin system.

Mollom brings enhanced content protection

MollomMollom moved from a private beta to public beta today. I've been fortunate enough to participate in the private beta and can say this stuff rocks. There are plenty of methods of protecting sites from spam and bad content, but this is by far the best so far. The problem with many systems is they treat legitimate users as the enemy. At least with traditional CAPTCHA systems is that they challenge the user for an answer before the user has provided any information to suggest they should be challenged. Users pay the penalty for the bad behavior of the spam bots. There are systems that work around this and some like Akismet have done pretty well on this site. The problem, however, with many of these services is that they can still be gamed to a greater extent. And, since the spambots don't recognize that their attempts to add content have been unsuccessful they merrily pound away on the server. The other methods also generally call for administrators to monitor things pretty closely. With all the great spam tools there would still be a couple of spam posts a week that would slip through on this site. During the transition to Mollom a bot was actually attempt to post. In the few seconds the site was unprotected a couple of posts slipped through. In the weeks since nary a errant post has been made (aside from one on an article which should not have been configured to accept comments but that wasn't spam).

How to tell who left you a comment

From time to time folks ask if they can tell who left them a comment on a particular blog post. It is a maybe answer at best and there are many ways to fake things so nothing suggested here should be taken as definitive proof of anything. If you want proof you'll need all kinds of logs from internet service providers, computers and a boatload of money to spend on attorneys to get it. The next best thing is understanding what might be true.

Email addresses are a common way of tracking who leaves comments. The first step to deciding whether to trust an email address is understanding if the user was required to prove they owned the email address before they used it on your blog. In many cases there is no authentication that they indeed own the email address. Shocking as this may be people use fake email addresses all the time. However it is also not uncommon for them to use the same email addresses over and over. So, with the presumably fake email address in hand head over to Google and search for it to see if anything interesting turns up.

How can I own my domain?

Just last week I was busily renewing domain names without paying much attention. Then a friend wrote with a question that bears repeating and answering in a forum like this. This friend has a vanity domain and wants to make sure they keep it.

I want to own the domain, like I would own a piece of property. I recognize that I need to pay for the hosting, but I don’t want to pay regularly for the address. I want this address to be mine, until I die, or until we find something better than the internet.

Something better than the internet? OK so that wasn't the question. Especially with a recent spate of articles about domain names as the new real estate it would be easy to fall into a real estate model. Instead a more fitting comparison would be to business ownership. Ultimately the process of getting a domain name starts with having a registrar who can register the name for you. Often this may be bundled with website hosting but the two are separate (and I'll explain why they should be kept very separate in a few sentences).


Subscribe to Blogging