// Internet Duct Tape

Robert Scoble attacks the cat blogs… but what about MyCatBlogLog?

Posted in Asides, Technology, We Welcome Our Feline Overlord by engtech on February 13, 2007

Robert has been on the rampage lately with posts against the gadget blogs and TechMeme.

No cat cow is too sacred and now he has taken on the cat bloggers with “signs blog is boring: cute cat photos?

Of course, the contraversy is all in the title and he’s actually recanting his former opinion that one of the top ten signs a tech blog is boring is if you posted photos of your cat.

Perhaps it cuts like a knife only because it is so true?

My mascot is not pleased.

I wonder what webomatica will have to say about this?

UPDATE: Webomatica has this to say about it… long live MyCatBlogLog. :)

(Of course, this is all jokes. Robert was the first person to link to me.)

Weekend Reader – programming, lifehacks, code, blogging, funny

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on May 10, 2008

Weekly Links

This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. You can follow this list of links as I post them on Friend Feed or on Twitter. Or you can get the weekly update by subscribing to Internet Duct Tape using RSS or using email.

(more…)

How to Import Your Twitter Contacts to Friend Feed

Posted in friendfeed, IDT Labs Software Development, Technology, Twitter by engtech on April 21, 2008

Social Software and You

I’ve commented before that Friend Feed makes for a really sweet Twitter client because of the way it threads replies and how easy it is to reply to another user. The only problem is trying to find all of your Twitter contacts on Friend Feed.

I’ve written a program that uses Google’s social graph to find the links between Twitter users and Friend Feed users. Download the program, run it, enter your passwords and watch it find and subscribe to all of your Tweeps on Friend Feed.

It keeps track of who it has added over time. If you unsubscribe from someone using the web interface, they won’t be added again by the program.

(more…)

Best of Feeds – 23 links – programming, music, photography, psychology, rails

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on January 13, 2008

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

This Week at IDT Labs

  • [WORDPRESS] Category Resizer v1.0
    • WordPress Category Resizer 2008/01/02 – v1.0 – BUGFIX: newer versions of WordPress.com broke this script – BUGFIX: will run on any WordPress install, not just WordPress.com – BUGFIX: now works when you have less than three categories – added automatic update check – Tested with WordPress.com…
  • [WORDPRESS] Comment Ninja v0.5
    • Comment Ninja v0.5 2008/01/02 – 0.5 don’t display comment ninja in mass-edit mode, since it doesn’t work on that mode wordpress.com added avatars to the comment display and they were being sent in emails on multi-author blogs it grays out the comments you can’t edit IDT Labs is a…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Internet Duct Tape featured in Blogging Heroes

Posted in Becoming a Better Blogger, Book Reviews, Internet Duct Tape News, Technology by engtech on November 09, 2007

Blogging HeroesWhen bloggers like Gina Trapani, Mark Frauenfelder, Chris Anderson, and Phillip Lennsen are honored to be collected in New York Times’ bestselling author Michael A. Banks’ new book, Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World’s Top Bloggers I can’t even begin to describe how exciting it is to be included in the list. “Someone must be making a mistake,” went through my head several times.

From the cover of the book you can see a list of a many of my blogging heroes: Frank Warren (PostSecret), Gina Trapani (LifeHacker), Merlin Mann (43folders), Peter Rojas (EnGadget), Chris Anderson (Wired), Michael Arrington (TechCrunch), Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel

Several other sites are posting previews from their chapters in the book, so I will as well: Blogging Heroes Preview Chapter – Internet Duct Tape

Preview the Book

Here’s a list of some of the other free chapters that are available online:

If you spot any other chapters in the wild, drop me a comment on this blog post and I’ll add them to the list.

On Writing Blogging Heroes

Michael Banks is talking about the experience of writing Blogging Heroes.

  1. Getting Started
  2. Contacting the Interviewees

Pick Up Your Copy

Amazon: Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World’s Top Bloggers

Best of Feeds – 55 links – programming, firefox, blogging, tips, lifehacks

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on September 16, 2007

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays [1]. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

This Week at IDT Labs

  • [WORDPRESS] Comment Ninja

    My WordPress Comment Ninja extension is available for beta test. Try it out and let me know what you think! Respond directly from the comment administration panel on your dashboard Respond by comment, email or both (without having to cut-and-paste your response!) Respond using your email…

  • [FLICKR] Cut-and-paste to blog with CSS classes and credit link

    Makes it easy to do an OLE cut-and-paste Flickr photos to your blog (ie: WordPress using TinyMCE) and give the proper attribution This script makes it easy to cut-and-paste photos from Flickr into your blog while still including a credit link to the photographer. creates CSS classes around images…

  • [PHOTOBUCKET] Log Me In Already!

    Takes you directly to your album if you visit http://photobucket.com while already logged in. Because it’s too annoying to have to click “My Album” every time.

  • [GMAIL] Quickly Open Compose Mode

    Turns off clutter when directly composing gmail messages (IE: clicking on a mailto link) One thing that annoys me about Gmail is how slow it can be to load. This becomes a real problem when you force all mailto: links to open in Gmail. Gmail Quick Compose redirects all “compose mode” links…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[1] A little late this week because of login issues at wordpress.com. That’s also why there’s twice as many links as usual.

Best of Feeds – 30 links – blogging, humor, geek, problogger, design

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on August 18, 2007

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

  • Universal identity and single sign on using openID? No thanks
    • One of the holy grails of web technology is single sign-on: the ability to use different web applications from one user account. Instead of having to remember 20 login credentials, you’ll only have to remember one. OpenID gives the sweet promise of being able to have a universal identity and a…
  • Greasemonkey Script: Yahoo Pipe Cleaner
    • Yahoo Pipes can create automated lists that you can cut-and-paste into blog posts. My only real complaint is with the HTML markup they create. It doesn’t look good when you cut-and-paste it into a WordPress blog. This is where Yahoo Pipe Cleaner comes in. It is a Greasemonkey script for Firefox…
  • Best of Feeds – 26 links – video, blogging, web2.0, google, css
    • Tags: blogging, css, design, google, programming, socialsoftware, tips, video, web2.0, webdesign, wordpress

This Week at IDT Labs

  • [RSS] Yahoo Pipe Cleaner
    • I’ve create a Greasemonkey script to make cutting-and-pasting from Yahoo Pipes into a WordPress blog look nicer. — Please link to this post instead — IDT Labs is a blog for news announcements about software, tools or blog themes created by InternetDuctTape.com . Subscribe to InternetDuctTape…
  • [RSS] Recent Blog Mentions
    • I’ve created a new Yahoo Pipe that filters your Technorati recent mentions. removes all the ones with low authority (most likely spam) changes the title and link to go to the root of the domain name IE: if I linked to you from http://internetducttape.com/2007/08/12/hello-world it would show…
  • [RSS] Facebook Status Feed Filter
    • I’ve created a new Yahoo Pipe that that will take the RSS feed URL for your Facebook status, filter out your name, and add (from Facebook status) to the end. This makes it easy to repost your status in Twitter, Pownce, Tumblr, whatever. — Please link to this URL instead — IDT Labs is a blog…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments Off

Best of Feeds – 34 links – blogging, greasemonkey, facebook, programming, wordpress

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on August 04, 2007

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

 

 

  • The Solution to Social Network Site Fatigue

    Social network site fatigue is when you’re sick and tired of trying to find your friends when everyone jumps ship to the Next Big Thing. The biggest problem with the web 2.0 revolution of “social network apps” is that there is no universal identifier. In real life, governments use…

  • Digest for June and July 2007

    Every month I publish a digest post collecting the best of Internet Duct Tape.

  • Community Starts with Communication: 5 Tips to Building Your Readership

    When I first started commenting over at okdork.com, Noah Kogan would personally reply to me by email. I thought this was a little strange, even after a year of blogging this was the first time it had happened to me. I thought it was just that he was bored and killing time. It’s only now that I…

  • Best of Feeds – 58 links – programming, tips, business, code, design

    Tags: blogging, business, code, comics, css, del.icio.us, design, development, digg, email, engineering, facebook, firefox, flickr, free, google, humor, inspiration, javascript, lifehacks, photography, productivity, programming, rss, socialsoftware, software, tips, tshirts, usability, web2.0,…

This Week at IDT Labs

  • [WORDPRESS] Akismet Auntie Spam update

    Ever have one of those weeks? Akismet has decided that all comments from me are spam and there’s nothing I can do about it, other than politely emailing the blogs I regularly post to and asking them to go dumpster diving for me. I’ve updated my Akismet Auntie Spam script for Firefox so that…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best of Feeds – 41 links – blogging, humor, geek, lifehacks, facebook

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on July 21, 2007

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. I post them on Twitter as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

 

 

IDT Labs

 

 

  • [THEME] Sandboxed sample zip updated

    – Please link to this post instead — I’ve taken the sample blog and example CSS template provided by Scott Wallick and made a very easy to use downloadable archive. It contains nothing but the HTML files, image files and CSS from the sample blog. It can get you redesigning Sandbox in less than…

  • [FLICKR] Always search for CC licenses photos

    I’ve updated my script that forces the Flickr search box to remember that you’re searching for Creative Commons licensed photos. It fixes a problem with the advanced search box. IDT Labs is a blog for news announcements about software, tools or blog themes created by InternetDuctTape.com .…

  • List of Software

    I’ve put together a list of all the software I’ve created at http://internetducttape.com/tools/ I’ve oh-so-intelligently organized it by the websites they interface with. Check it out if you haven’t already. And thank you for being an early adopter to my software update news blog.…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best of Feeds – 37 links – google, blogging, facebook, wordpress, tips

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on July 14, 2007

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. I post them on Twitter as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

  • My Favorite Posts from DailyBlogTip’s Project3

    As part of Project3, Daniel from Daily Blog Tips has asked us to read and rate each other’s entries. I went through the big list of 115 entries and here is my (much shortened) list of favorites. They are mostly about blog advice or health tips. You can read my entry for Project 3 here: [...]

  • WordPress Tip: Create a Digest Post in 3 Seconds

    It’s a good habit to post a summary of your recent posts once or twice a month, but like all blog maintenance it can be a pain in the butt if you don’t make it as easy as possible. Here’s a hack that’ll let you create a summary of all of your posts over X [...]

  • Book Review: Overclocked by Cory Doctorow (and Fair Use Day)

    Last night I finished reading Cory Doctorow’s new collection of short stories, Overclocked, and I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

  • Be My Friend (on social network sites)

    Unless you’ve had your head in the sand (or *gasp* you aren’t obsessed with Internet culture), then you’ve noticed that we’re seeing more and more web service startups over the past few years. Last year I flamed the Bubble 2.0 soundly in “Web Too.Many.” Earlier this year I tried to get…

  • Free Pownce Invites [del.icio.us]

    I have some Pownce invites to give away. Click on the link, the password is ‘kitty’.

  • Best of Feeds – 24 links – design, tips, facebook, blogging, games

    Tags: blogging, design, facebook, games, programming, tips, transformers, webdesign, writing

This Week at IDT Labs

 

  • [FLICKR] Always search for CC licenses photos

    I’ve updated my script that forces the Flickr search box to remember that you’re searching for Creative Commons licensed photos. It fixes a problem with the advanced search box.

  • List of Software

    I’ve put together a list of all the software I’ve created at http://internetducttape.com/tools/ I’ve oh-so-intelligently organized it by the websites they interface with. Check it out if you haven’t already. And thank you for being an early adopter to my software update news blog.…

  • Welcome to IDT Labs

    IDT Labs is an offshoot of Internet Duct Tape.com. It is used for announcements related to software, tools, and blog themes I have created. //engtech IDT Labs is a blog for news announcements about software, tools or blog themes created by InternetDuctTape.com .

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be My Friend (on social network sites)

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand (or *gasp* you aren’t obsessed with Internet culture), then you’ve noticed that we’re seeing more and more web service startups over the past few years. Last year I flamed the Bubble 2.0 soundly in “Web Too.Many.” Earlier this year I tried to get an idea of what websites people actually use by starting the What’s Your Web 2.0? meme.I think I’m past breaking when it comes to my attention span and the number of services that I use. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some I heartily recommend. If you use some of these services as well, then please go ahead and “friend” me. And yes, there is a Facebook account in the list.

Active

Software Hosting

Autopilot

  • Twitter – sharing, republishing
  • Tumblr – aggregating my online presence
  • Jaiku – sharing, republishing

Deadpool

These are sites that I used to use often, but I’ve given up on:

  • MyBlogLog – too much spam
  • Flickr – it’s easier to share photos with friends on Facebook
  • RottenTomatoes – it’s easier to share movie reviews with friends on Facebook
  • Technorati – never indexes me properly
  • Blogcritics – got some books, but they aren’t a very good source of traffic
  • LinkedIn – until the next time I’m looking for work
  • … more than I can possibly remember.

What got me thinking about this is trying out Pownce for the first time and seeing how horrible it is at re-discovering my friends.

I just sent out some invites to Kevin Rose’s Pownce to my FeedBurner subscribers. (Thanks for hooking me up, Adam)

Pownce First Impression

I’ve seen other complaints that the biggest problem of Pownce is “what do I do with it?” It’s probably the most powerful web-based instant messaging client out there.

I was very surprised that they Pownce doesn’t have an “import contacts from address book” feature. That is rapidly becoming the only way to easily import the list of your friends from one web app to another. I was trying out Blue Swarm the other day and they are using a very slick widget from Plaxo that does easy address book imports. All web startups should use this, since email address contacts are the only universal data format for identifying your friends on the web.

This is a perfect example of why the Facebook application experience is so powerful… signing up and maintaining a user account is the major barrier that prevents most web startups from gaining a massive user base. “Social” web sites have an even bigger barrier in that you have to move or re-find your network. Facebook apps allow for any application to have the same user account and social network.

Obviously I think it would be pretty awesome if that Plaxo contact importer also supported Facebook as well as Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, and Yahoo.

What Others Have to Say

Scoble: “I see many of the same people in my friends list on Twitter, Jaiku, Facebook, and now Pownce. Pownce is growing faster than the other ones right now, though. 728 people have already added me on Pownce. I can’t take many more social networks.

Memoirs of a Bystander: “My question is this: Is there any value actually garnered from adding an obscenely large amount of random people as your friend on various social sites? Honestly, if a social networking site it meant to enhance you life through discovery of new interests, music, recommendations, etc…, is that easily done by wading through thousands of people?”

Mashable: “And it is this: on Pownce, you can send a message, or a file, or a song, or an event, to one person; or three of your friends; or only your family; or everyone.”

SocialHam: “Now more than ever Email seems to becoming a dead medium so can micro blogging sites fill in the gaps?”

JetPacked: “Can’t decide between pownce and twitter? This should help. Here’s how to post your pownces to twitter.”

Daily Grumble: “Social networking is a very difficult area for a new service to break into. How on earth are you going to persuade users of other, more established social networks to come to your service?”

Greg Verdino: “Are social media mavens living inside a bubble of our own making, artificially inflating the impact that most of these nascent technologies are having on the population in general, and ultimately getting our companies and our clients riled up over something that will, over time, turn out to be, well um, nothing?”

Opting Out of Technorati – The Break-up

Posted in Humor, Technology, Technorati by engtech on May 24, 2007

Dear Technorati,

I’m writing to say goodbye. With time I hope I’ll have more good things to say than bad, but this hasn’t been the case of late. I know you have plenty of other suitors paying attention to you, and I doubt you’ll even miss me. But I thought I’d write you a note to explain my absence and what went wrong between us.

I’ve decided to follow in the footsteps of Jason Kottke (from 2005) and stop calling you. It was fun watching my rank improve until I was in the top percentile of your favorite people, but I’ll never be one of the top one hundred you lavish your attention on… so why am I bothering? One of the key principles of time management is to put your attention and focus on what gets the maximum return on investment, but you haven’t been giving me anything more than a number and a lot of frustration.

goodbye technorati rank

Technorati, I fully appreciate the magnitude of what you’re doing with only a 45 person team behind you. I think focusing on search makes sense because you’ve already wasted too much time courting bloggers for links. Bloggers truly are such a limited part of the all the people who could be using you. We’re also fair weather friends who are the first to turn on you and complain when things go wrong.

But I’m leaving you Technorati, and I have the following grievances that you don’t seem to care about. I’m glad you’ve shed some pounds, and your dressing better, but looks aren’t everything. It’s the way you treat me that matters in the end.

Problems I’ve had with Technorati

  1. You lost the last month of my blog posts even though they were pinged and indexed before your new cosmetic changes. Because I only show the very latest blog post on my front page you’ll never find them again, even though the last 40 entries are all nicely showing up with full text in my RSS feed. Why don’t your spiders use my RSS feed? This is not the first time we’ve had this problem.
  2. You are inflexible when it comes to my blog URL. My latest posts must appear on http://engtech.wordpress.com, and your spiders will become confused if I ever change it to something like engtech.wordpress.com/blog. I can go from …com/blog to …com but not the other way around.
  3. My Technorati favorites page does not show the latest posts from ALL my 500 favorites – only a small subset of them. It is much better for me to track them with Google Reader or to use a Google Custom Search engine then to use Technorati favorites.
  4. The Technorati API should be a great way to grab information about blogs, but if you are under high traffic you will often fail to return any data at all instead of a standard error.
  5. You ask for entirely too many links back. I’m supposed to tag my posts with links back to you and add big “favorite my blog on Technorati” links on every page of my site in the hopes I can climb the top 100 favorites list, which no one really uses anyways.
  6. You do nothing to fix the long standing ping bug where anyone can ping a permalink post on a blog and have it show up as a new blog. I have to log a support ticket whenever I want to fix this.
  7. You cannot handle domain changes. It is very common for bloggers to start out on *.blogspot.com or *.wordpress.com and then eventually buy their own domain name. Every other search engine understands the 301 redirect just fine, why can’t you? This is by far your biggest limitation.

This isn’t to say you don’t have good people working for you. I’ve seen you help out friends and send them free t-shirts. I fully appreciate how difficult bloggers are to deal with, and how big of an achievement indexing that many blogs is. I appreciate all of the times you’ve gone out of your way to contact people who are having problems.

But there’s no denying that I’m having a very bad user experience with Technorati. Instead of being able to use you how I want, I’m pigeon-holed into trying to get you to display my blog properly and track the other blogs who are linking to it. All for what… a few meaningless numbers?

Technorati Rank got a lot of attention before it was replaced with Technorati Authority, but it can easily be deep-sixed. Google has bought FeedBurner and can combine the data from FeedBurner subscription counts and Google Reader. While you were busy determining authority by blog links, authority by RSS readership is going to come along and wipe you out with a metric that makes so much more sense.

So I’ve had enough of our relationship, Technorati. I know I haven’t exactly been kind to you in return (it would be polite to call me overly critical), so I think it is time for us to put this mutually destructive relationship to end. I’ve often complained that the biggest mistake a blog can make it not to own it’s own name. I’m moving on to internetducttape.com, and I know you’ll never find me. Even though I’m redirecting my little heart out, you don’t care to follow.

Sincerely,

Formerly known as Honeycakes


Over the top, but I couldn’t help it.

http://engtech.wordpress.com is now http://internetducttape.com, which means my Technorati Authority has dropped to 0. I’ve freed myself from my ball and chain and now I will focus on content and readers instead of traffic and links.

And of course, cool hacks, tricks and mash-ups of existing web services thanks to a little bit of internet duct tape.

Using Comment Spam to Measure Blog Rank

Posted in Technology, The War on Spam by engtech on May 22, 2007

bambi baby adultUsing the Technorati Rank as a measure of blogging hierarchy is so 2005. Deciding if a blog is part of the top 100 purely by the number of other blogs linking to it is one way to measure popularity, but there must be other ways. In nature you can track the population increases of Bambi, Thumper and friends by the co-related increase the number of hunters going around killing their mothers. Could there be another way to measure blog worth other than Technorati?

If only there was some parasitic relationship that fed off the blogosphere the way predators feed off of prey?

Of course! Spam.


spicy hot blog comment spam

I’m joking about quantity of spam as a measure of blog worth. But what I’m not joking about is how much more spam I am getting now compared to a year ago. I’d like to think it’s because my blog is so much more popular now, but the sad truth is that spam is an epidemic that’s affecting bloggers from all walks of life. Even Robert Scoble.

penny arcade bob the door to door spam salesman

The War on Spam

Comments spam is an infection and it is spreading further and further. It attacks our blogs and stands out like a rash. There are several over the counter remedies to comment spam, but sometimes the medicine is worse than the disease.

  • Force users to login to a verified account
    • Which means no one will bother to comment unless the login is part of a larger network like a Google account or Typepad account
  • Captcha image response algorithms
    • Which means no one will bother to comment because they are impossible to read and a complete pain in the ass
    • (I’m talking about you, Typepad)
  • Simple captcha (math, unscrambled word)
    • Works except for the 90% of the time I forget to fill it out
  • Akismet filtering (what we use at wordpress.com)

Akismet says that 95% of all comments left on blogs are spam

Akismet – Building Spam into Haystacks

One of the limitations about being hosted at wordpress.com is that the only vaccine I have for fighting off comment spam is Akismet. Which is great when it works, but, uh, not so great when it doesn’t. Akismet does a very good job of identifying ham from spam, but the problem is that it doesn’t do anything to decrease the sheer volume of spam you get. Akismet will help you lead a normal day-to-day life, but it won’t keep you from having the occasional sore on your lip for all the world to see.

I get around 1500 spam a day now. Sometimes Akismet isn’t strong enough or isn’t vaccinated against a new strain and I’ll have between 5-15 spam sores to manually delete for that day. Other times Akismet gets overzealous starts attacking the valid comments as spam (which often happens on blog posts where I ask people to post links). It’s easy enough to correct the situation if I can find out it happened. But finding that one valid comment is like trying to find a beauty mark on a leper — it ain’t pretty no matter which way you look at it.

That’s why I created the Akismet Auntie Spam for Firefox extension to make the anti-spam (ham) stick out more from all the obvious spam. In an update I never officially announced, our little old Auntie will now mark all Akismet-marked comments that have common spam words in red so that we can completely skip over them while dumpster diving through the caught spam folder. Akismet Auntie Spam helps me heal the lepers.

Akismet Auntie Spam

How to Reduce the Volume of Spam

But that still doesn’t stop the fact that I’m getting 1500 spam a day. For someone who likes to write about productivity and making the most of your time I am wasting entirely too much time being a good netizen and monitoring spam. We often call it the War on Spam but it’s a war I’m not winning. The only intelligent decision is to stop wasting my time and energy and to pull out. Like any social disease the underlying problem is that I’m being way to promiscuous. Everything I’ve ever posted to my blog is tarted up in a short skirt on a dark alleyway, just waiting for trouble, with nothing but Akismet and hope to avoid the clap.

It’s not working.

So I’m following in the footsteps of many other members of the wordpress.community and I’ve turned comments off for all posts that are over 60 days old. It isn’t because Akismet doesn’t do the job, it’s because even with Akismet doing most of the work, that last little bit takes too much of my time. It’s time for me to take my blog posts off the street and into a private school and hope they start running with a better crowd.

If the spam rash clears up appreciably, I’ll create an automated program like my Tag Cloud Generator for disabling comments on older posts so that everyone can enjoy having one less thing to worry about.

Best of Feeds – 20 links – blog, development, programming, blogging, technology, hightech

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on March 31, 2007

Best of Feeds is a weekly series where I link to the stuff I found interesting from my feed reader. Links are sorted based on how many people have bookmarked them on del.icio.us. They are posted on Twitter as they happen and then collected together in a single post on Saturday. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to feed Subscribe to feed
Subscribe to //engtech
.

This time I have 20 links from: alistair.cockburn.us, angryaussie, logtar, codinghorror, copyblogger, landscape, mathewingram, mattcutts, nomorequo, northxeast, onemansblog, podtech, problogger, ryepup.unwashedmeme, sellsbrothers, sethgodin, surveylink.yahoo, webworkerdaily, worsethanfailure, zephoria

(more…)

Five Ways to Fix Digg’s Comment System

Posted in Digg, Digital Culture, Technology by engtech on March 27, 2007

The Kathy Sierra story made Digg. Of course, the comments were to be expected. Robert Scoble is outraged by the comments (truly, there were some horrible ones there). MG@ParisLemon asks the question:

What role, if any, should Digg play in this? The comments could be a place for great discussions on the story, but usually they degrade into the musings of lunatics. When do comments stop being free speech and start being serious threats? These are the questions.

(more…)

Cyber-bullying – Not just for teenagers

Posted in Digital Culture, Links, Technology by engtech on March 27, 2007

I’ve been thinking about featuring 31 bloggers over 31 days for my one year anniversary and Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users would be tops on that list. Which makes this even more saddening and sickening. I don’t know any of the people involved/accused so I won’t comment on the specifics of the situation. It constantly amazes me how “Just Add Internet” and people get up to the kind of actions and harassment they’d never do in real life.

Well, hopefully they’d never do in real life.

Scobles’ response was good, especially since he gets his fair share of internet death threats as well.

Quoting myself from a previous post:

When I was involved in the BBS/IRC scene as a teenager I was surrounded by flame wars; one-upmanship was part of the attraction. I thought it was because of the immaturity of the participants, but now I think it is a natural offshoot of digital communication. We lose all the visual and auditory cues that are a normal part of human dialog and instead focus on words that can be easy to misinterpret (especially if looking for a reason to fight).

Throw anonymity into the mix and it becomes a recipe for disaster. Becoming popular on Slashdot or Digg is equal parts excitement at the exposure and annoyance at the new commenters. To be fair this isn’t restricted to these two communities; for a large number of people getting into arguments on the Internet is a major source of entertainment.

But some people take that too far. Flamewars and oneupmanship is drastically different than harassment. I hope legal action is pursued and the WordPress.com staff do what they can to identify the source.

Best of Feeds – 27 links – blogging, google, tips, development, alist, howto

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on March 24, 2007

Best of Feeds is a weekly series where I link to the stuff I found interesting from my feed reader. Links are sorted based on how many people have bookmarked them on del.icio.us. They are posted on Twitter as they happen and then collected together in a single post on Saturday. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to feed Subscribe to feed
Subscribe to //engtech
.

This time I have 27 links from: 37signals, angryaussie, guykawasaki, webanalyticsdemystified, codinghorror, computer, consumerist, deepjiveinterests, dilbertblog, hyperorg, lifehacker, lundone, makeuseof, mattcutts, neomeme, paulstamatiou, publishing2, randsinrepose, readwriteweb, scottberkun, usrbingeek, violentacres, webomatica, webworkerdaily, winextra

(more…)

Comments Off

Best of Feeds – 21 links – blogging, development, twitter, blog, web2.0, socialsoftware

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on March 17, 2007

Best of Feeds is a regular series where I link to the stuff I found interesting from my feed reader. Links are sorted based on how many people have bookmarked them on del.icio.us. They are posted as asides daily at 7pm EST and then collected together in a single post on Saturday. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to feed Subscribe to feed
Subscribe to //engtech
.

This time I have 21 links from: albinoblacksheep, andybeard.eu, angryaussie, avc.blogs, businessblogwire, dailyblogtips, deepjiveinterests, drivl, gilesbowkett, gracefulflavor, haacked, headrush, joshua.schachter, my.opera, nik.com.au, plentyoffish, randsinrepose, redchaos, scobleizer, thingsmyboyfriendsays, webomatica

(more…)

Comments Off

Digest for February 2006

Posted in Monthly Digest, Technology by engtech on February 21, 2007

Every two to three weeks I publish a digest for subscribers who are would rather take their //engtech in infrequent chugs rather than frequent sips.

Subscribe to this digest using RSS.

If you’re a blogger you can get win a prize by participating in my group writing project.

(more…)

Comments Off

Best of Feeds – 39 links – humor, google, marketing, howto, seo, tips

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on February 18, 2007

Best of Feeds is a regular series where I link to the stuff I found interesting from my feed reader. Links are sorted based on how many people have bookmarked them on del.icio.us. They are posted as asides daily at 7pm EST and then collected together in a single post on Saturday. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to feed Subscribe to feed
Subscribe to //engtech
.

This time I have 39 links from: adorablay, baron.vc, bittbox, erald, compsci.ca, cornwallseo, cs.tlu.ee, davidairey, destructoid, developertesting, dougal.gunters, eventhelix, fashion4nerds, filmschoolrejects, flickr, gizmodo, google, jeremy.zawodny, jonkenpon, linkbuildingblog, microisvjournal, nbrightside, neatorama, online.wsj, optimizeandprophesize, reviewbasics, samdelacruz, scobleizer, searchenginejournal, sliceofscifi, steve-yegge, troubleshooters, web5.uottawa.ca, webomatica, wilwheaton

  • [SMO] The Wizards of Buzz (online.wsj.com, 346 saves)
    • (digg, social, marketing, buzz, socialsoftware, socialbookmarking, stumbleupon, del.icio.us, delicious, reddit, Web2.0)
    • The most interesting part of this is the photos of the top users of digg/reddit/del.icio.us/stumbleupon.
  • [DESIGN] bittbox.com (bittbox.com, 314 saves)
    • (webdesign, design, css, free, graphics)
    • Bitbox offers a lot of design elements for free in vector formats.
  • [CODE] Optimizing C and C++ Code (eventhelix.com, 281 saves)
    • (howto, programming, c++, c, optimization)
    • Guidelines for how to optimize C/C++ code based on knowledge of how the compiler works.
  • [GADGETS] Joel Johnson Returns…to Spank Us All for Supporting Crap – Gizmodo (gizmodo.com, 250 saves)
    • (technology, gizmodo, gadgets, humor)
    • From the article: ” Stop buying this crap. Just stop it. You don’t need it. Wait a year until the reviews come out and the other suckers too addicted to having the very latest and greatest buy it, put up a review, and have moved on to something else.”
  • [CODE] The Next Big Language (steve-yegge.blogspot.com, 228 saves)
    • (programming, languages, software, coding, development)
    • Stevey on what’s need for the next big programming language.
  • [CATZ] Cats listing to electronic music (cs.tlu.ee, 167 saves)
    • (humor, images, funny, Cats, mycatbloglog)
    • I’d seen some of these before, but never all at once.
  • [GEEK] Top 10 Fashion Suggestions for Nerds (fashion4nerds.com, 154 saves)
    • (fashion, tips, clothing, geek, nerds, advice)
    • From the article: ” While creating Fashion4Nerds.com, we interviewed over 30 young women between the ages of 18 and 32 about their likes and dislikes when it comes to guys’ fashion. We even asked them to give special attention to why they consider us Nerds unfashionabl”
  • [BLOGS] JavaScript Badges and Widgets Considered Harmful (jeremy.zawodny.com, 67 saves)
    • (JavaScript, widgets, security, web, rss, mybloglog, web2.0)
    • Be happy that WP.com doesn’t allow Javascript. It’s a good, if sometimes frustrating solution to the many problems of javascript widgets.
  • [RSS] Google Reader – Common Questions for Publishers (google.com, 50 saves)
    • (google, media, reader, rss)
    • Google Reader tips for content publishers. More general info for producing RSS.
  • [SEO] The Enormous Linkbait list (cornwallseo.com, 48 saves)
    • (linkbaiting, linkbuilding, links, tips, seo)
    • ye grate list o linkbaiting tips
  • [MOVIES] How To Survive a Horror Movie! (sliceofscifi.com, 44 saves)
    • (humor, movies, funny, horror, tips, humour)
  • [NOFOLLOW] 13 Reasons Why NoFollow Tags Suck (searchenginejournal.com, 39 saves)
    • (nofollow, google, search, seo, spam)
    • Why NOFOLLOW doesn’t work.
  • [SEO] The Ultimate Guide To Increasing Web Traffic (linkbuildingblog.com, 31 saves)
    • (blogging, SEO, traffic, marketing, howto)
    • Neil rustles up some SEO links for bloggers. Good primer.
  • [SEO] 7 Rules for Landing Page Optimization (optimizeandprophesize.com, 21 saves)
    • (copywriting, SEO, optimization)
    • 1. Have a Clear and Direct Headline 2. Place High Value on Whitespace 3. Deliver Your Value Proposition with Short Direct Messaging 4. Have a Persuasive Message Directly Above the Call to Action
  • [SMO] What is social media? (scobleizer.com, 13 saves)
    • (smo, socialsoftware)
    • Scoble gives a nice small overview of what is social media.Good introduction.
  • [PERL] Perl OOP (troubleshooters.com, 12 saves)
    • (perl, oop, tutorial)
    • Very simple object oriented Perl tutorial
  • [DIGG] what happened to digg? (wilwheaton.typepad.com, 11 saves)
    • (digg, reddit, social, Culture, sucks)
    • Wil Wheaton on WTF happened to Digg’s community that now it’s a mob of vandals. Wisdom of the mobs?
  • [FEEDBACK] ReviewBasics (reviewbasics.com, 8 saves)
    • (collaboration, review, web2.0, tools)
    • cool web20 site for getting feedback on products or websites.
  • [DESIGN] Flags of contemplation (davidairey.com, 6 saves)
    • (design, politics)
    • Several flags of the world with legends describing what the colours represent to give a political message.
  • [FLICKR] Consumerist.com Using Flickr images without attribution? (flickr.com, 6 saves)
    • (copyright, flickr, photography)
    • Flickr users are up in arms about attributation. I have to admit that I’m not always the best at doing this as well.
  • [MICROISV] How To Deal With Abusive Customers (microisvjournal.wordpress.com, 5 saves)
    • (customersupport, tech)
    • From the article: ” If you weren’t so abrasive and rude, I would’ve refunded your money – even though we are under *no* legal obligation to do so. I am now marking your email address as spam and your communication will no longer get through. If you don’t want to”
  • [TEST] Testivus – Testing for the rest of us (developertesting.com, 3 saves)
    • (softwaredevelopment, testing)
    • -Less testing dogma, more testing karma -Any tests are better than no tests -Testing beats debugging -Test first, during, or after ” whatever works best for you -If a method, technique, or tool, gives you more or better tests use it
  • [GEEK] 5 Ways to say Be My Valentine to a Geek (jonkenpon.com, 3 saves)
    • (geek, humor)
    • ROFLFLMAOAMAOLOLOLOL
  • [SEO] Flash is Nice, However Words Get You Found (blogherald.com, 3 saves)
    • (webdesign, seo)
    • Great advice. Code for the blind because search engines can’t see.
  • [COOL] Faces of Beauty? (neatorama.com, 3 saves)
    • (hotornot, beauty)
    • Using sqirlzMorph to aggregate beauty scores based on HotOrNot.
  • [CODE] 12 Computer science game project ideas (compsci.ca, 2 saves)
    • (games, coding, development)
    • Good list of projects for computer science last year courses.
  • [XBOX360] OMG Ponies! Gears of War mod chips run the game on any console EVAR (destructoid.com, 2 saves)
    • (xbox360, gearsofwar, console)
    • This really is the best console mod.
  • [NOFOLLOW] Follow you, follow me (dougal.gunters.org, 2 saves)
    • (google, nofollow, spam, wordpress)
    • Why nofollow doesn’t work, and a link to a plugin for fading nofollows.
  • [CATZ] Adorablay Animals (adorablay.wordpress.com)
    • (cats, photos, photography)
    • Adorablay collects some really cute photos.
  • [DIGG] Antisocial News? (baron.vc)
    • (digg)
    • Are “social bookmarking sites” anti-social by nature?
  • [QUIZ] Web 2.0 – am I infected ? (nbrightside.com)
    • (web2.0, quiz, questions)
    • Andy has a good quiz to see how web two-dot-oooooooh you are.
  • [MOVIES] Interview: Director Zach Snyder talks 300 (filmschoolrejects.com)
    • (movies, 300)
    • From the article: ” If you aren’t excited about the upcoming film 300, then you may want to check you pulse, because you may no longer be among the living. If you haven’t heard of 300, then get out from underneath your rock.”
  • [MARKETING] Book Notes: But Wait! There’s More! (webomatica.com)
    • (marketing, ronpopeil)
    • webby reviews a book about Ron Popeil. Looks like it’s worth reading.
  • [OTTAWA] Internet Privacy Symposium (web5.uottawa.ca)
    • (techlaw, ottawa)
    • From the article: ” INTERNET PRIVACY SYMPOSIUM — Research Findings from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. Friday, February 23, 2007. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — registration at 8:30.”
  • [PHOTOS] Royalty-free stock photography (davidairey.com)
    • (photos, photography, cc)
    • List of some royalty free stock photography.
  • [BLOG] Beme Inspires Some New Blog Vocabulary (webomatica.com)
    • (neogolisms, blog, blogging, meme, beme)
    • From the article: ” Is beme is a good enough meme to infiltrate the blogosphere, as did meme, spam, splog, flog, linkbait, blogosphere, and gaming? Maybe one way to start a beme is to make up a new term for something. Here are some additional neogolisms I just invented”
  • [PERL] Progress GUI in perl using Win32::GUI (samdelacruz.blogspot.com)
    • (perl, howto)
    • How to do a progress GUI in perl on Win32. VERY useful.
  • [PERL] Perl Best Practices (samdelacruz.blogspot.com)
    • (bestpractices, coding, perl)
    • Damian Conway’s best practices for coding in perl. Coding conventions.
  • [CATZ] MyCatBlogLog (webomatica.com)
    • (cats, mybloglog, blogs, blogging)
    • top sekrit

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 287 other followers