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Overhaul In Progress

Published on April 20, 2011 at midnight by XC

The latest WordPress / Plugin update was a bit more than my old, extremely hacked Performancing theme (from 2006) could handle. The resulting mess was so unbearable that I felt compelled to switch to the new stock theme.

I’ve been putting off a complete overhaul of this site for far too long. As it happens, this is also the week that my company is releasing new offerings. Hopefully, I manage to get some time to work on my personal stuff by the end of the month.

Category: Blogeting

Time For A New Theme

Published on Dec. 6, 2009 at midnight by XC

Since September 2007, I’ve been using a very hacked version of a theme that was close to being obsolete when I selected it. We’re getting ready to roll into 2010 and the design of the entire site is starting to smell like feet.

I’m between two ideas, at the moment:

Grab the D-40 and go out and shoot enough interesting bits to put together my own theme.
Find something that is almost what I want and customize it to suit my needs, basically repeating what I did last time.

Going through the WP theme gallery and all other sites that offer themes leaves me nothing but snow blind, there are just too many of them to look at.
I want something that (sort of) resembles what I have now, but with better options when it comes to widgets and side bar management. I also plan on uploading the better results from the last two months of shooting, so I need to incorporate some kind of gallery. If you happen to know of a theme that might work, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment with a link to it. I will approve any link, but I’m not likely to pay for a ready made theme.

I’m worried that if I take on the task of doing it myself from scratch, I’ll never finish.

Category: Blogeting

Wordpress 2.8 Just “Feels Good”

Published on June 15, 2009 at midnight by XC

I usually cringe with automatic updates to anything, however I have no problem auto-updating WordPress after pulling a backup. I pulled in 2.8 today and to my amazement, it looked like nothing had changed.

Then, since I was logged in anyway, I stole five minutes of time to add my StackOverflow stats to the side bar. Holy widgets, Batman! It was nice to be able to tweak the JS on the fly without having to continuously update the whole side bar. With one click theme installs, I may find myself tempted to change things a bit in the not too distant future.

It is also, as its release notes indicate, considerably faster.

I really have to hand it to the folks behind WP. The theme you see in use here is over four years old, no update has broken any interface that it uses (though I do avoid using depreciated functions). Everything is now where it “feels like” it should be and works exactly the way you would expect it to work. The WP 2.7/2.8 admin interface is really one of the best examples of how to design an intuitive web based UI available.

Category: Blogeting

Yes, I’M Still Alive

Published on April 30, 2009 at midnight by XC

This has been a very busy month. Our daughter started school, we are moving, my wife is going back to work and that doesn’t even describe the half of it.

I’m still alive and kicking, I will be posting again next month with tons of juicy bits.

Category: Blogeting

A Little Time Off, Thanks To Bad Behavior

Published on Dec. 11, 2008 at midnight by XC

This blog receives approximately 10,000 SPAM comments each month. Akismet’s ‘false positive’ rate is quite low, however I like to make sure that nothing in the queue is legit before nuking it. After this blog turned one year old, that task became insurmountable.

Mostly, I thank Google for this pestilence. If a page has many incoming links or a high page rank (and accepts comments) .. that page becomes a target for spammers. Imagine walking through a really bad neighborhood .. and a Google employee walking next to you with a neon sign pointing your way that says “He’s got a pocket full of cash” , that’s basically what their ranking system does.

So, I installed Bad Behavior, a plug in that checks the validity of HTTP requests (and agents). Unfortunately, for some of you non SOCKS proxy users, bad behavior will deny you. I’m not going to apologize for this .. since your likely unable to read this post anyway. Hopefully you find a better proxy or learn how to use SSH.

The end result is, cleaner stats, less spam, less headache. If you find that ‘normal’ use of this blog is somehow inhibited by the new plug in, please e-mail me at tinkertim@gmail.com

Category: Blogeting

A Year Of Echoreply

Published on Sept. 24, 2008 at midnight by XC

Today, Echoreply turns 1 year old. The first post was a year ago today. Hurray! I managed to avoid hosing the blog database for 365 days and kept up with hosting arrangements. To the 200 some folks who have posted comments – thanks for making my hobby more enjoyable.

The first year yielded 220 articles to read .. some of them even interesting. I’m a bit short of my one post per day goal .. but close.

Thanks again to all who read.

Category: Blogeting

Echoreply Turns 200!

Published on July 10, 2008 at midnight by XC

No, not 200 years, 200 posts. Apparently this is some kind of milestone for a personal blog. This is post #201!

Thanks to all who read, especially those who comment and put up with my antics. Hopefully I have provided something interesting and useful.

Cheers!

–Tim

Category: Blogeting

Site And Code Overhaul In Progress

Published on June 26, 2008 at midnight by XC

Its been nearly a year with the same design and format, its time for something new. A few things that used to be here aren’t here anymore. Here’s a list of breakage:

Code repo is (mostly) down: I’m moving all of my Mercurial repositories to another system. The bandwidth they use is getting rather high, plus the CPU load during diffs and searches is getting expensive. I hope to have them moved in the next 48 hours, I’ll place redirects once done.
Xen images are gone: Get them from Jailtime. When I have a few minutes, I’ll be publishing a script that allows you to strap and make your own. Distributing them just requires too much bandwidth.

I’m also going to be re-doing the design of the site, (ack!) getting rid of WordPress in favor of something more sqlite friendly and focusing more on programming projects.

Please also note, I am re-licensing most of my stuff under the modified (3 clause) BSD license. GPL3 has been very problematic. Some existing stuff will go back to GPL2, most new projects will begin and stay BSD.

Category: Blogeting

Ok, No More Ads!

Published on June 11, 2008 at midnight by XC

I have received dozens of complaints regarding Ad Bard, it has been removed. I’m giving up on ad networks. This blog is a hobby, what good is it if it annoys readers? While, yes, I enjoy talking to myself .. blogging to myself is no fun.

Category: Blogeting

More Spam Stopping Trials, No Luck

Published on Jan. 6, 2008 at midnight by XC

I’ve been experimenting on ways to nip comment SPAM in the bud. Ever since noticing that Google sent me more robots than humans, I’ve been really frustrated.

This is the scenario. Bot starts up, bot queries Google to see who shows up in the top 20 results for keyword ‘fud’, bot sees if each result is a blog or a forum (or something that can be spammed, i.e. a site with a guestbook) with a high page rank, bot goes to work on trying to plant forward links. As these bots are built better (distributed), this becomes a major problem.
Joe Q. Spammer is smart, he’s got access to a few hundred servers spread out all over the globe – most of which are accessed illegally through weak scripts hosted on the respective servers. Joe wants to send out another SPAM campaign, so he submits his keyword and a list of URL’s to plant in links. This work load is then divided up amongst all of the servers that Joe controls, altering the text and alternating links to make it very difficult to see that the SPAM is originating from one place.

Why am I so irritated about search engines not doing much (at least not obviously doing much) about this? Many of you have a blog, or a forum. I have to watch a few thousand blogs and forums scattered across quite a few servers. When I look at what CPU time is being spent to accomplish, I find that a large percentage of it is wasted on blocking, queuing or entertaining SPAM bots. The single biggest culprit for this phenomenon is Google page rank.

Category: Blogeting
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