spammer problems

spammers have been spoofing my domain to create random addresses for their mailouts – I am doing my best to get this halted, but in the meantime if you have recieved spam which looks like it originated here I would like to assure you that it has nothing to do with me whatsoever, and am more angry than you about this 🙁

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lunch with janice joplin

The car park at work isn’t the best place to eat noodles, but on a day like today it was too much to resist spending a peaceful half hour out there listening to Janice Joplins greatest hits.

fork in front of derelict flour mill

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legacy of a flash splash page

I recently did a quick reimplementation of a website to remove a splash page and frameset which was hindering it’s search engine listings. Before I did this, all searches stopped at the splash page and only listed the sole HTML of the page which was “can’t see anything? click here” leading to a “please download flash” page.

The site contains some dynamic content using query strings which will be stopping spiders, but the rest is now static (although generated dynamically by a Content Management System)

However, it still hasn’t been spidered after a few weeks and I am wondering whether the homepage URL has been marked as a gateway page? Therefore maybe I would be better concentrating on sub directories such as the services page, or maybe the “what’s new” page.

For what it’s worth I work as a Web Developer for them (disclaimer: opinions on this website do not necessarily reflect those of the aforementioned company) who are based in Bristol, UK and are a Microsoft Certified Partner providing bespoke software development (Delphi), web development (specialising in database driven websites and Content Management Systems using ASP and SQL Server, CSS, HTML, XHTML, Javascript), Network and IT support. Feel free to get in touch with us

Those of you who know how web spidering works will know exactly why I just wrote the above two paragraphs 😉

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browser statistics warped by web designers?

I was just reading the interview with Mike Davidson of ESPN (Part 1) (which seems too be linked from virtually every web design blog in existence), and what particularly interested me is their policy on locking out netscape 4.x users, who account for about 2% of their audience. I then did what any self respecting web experimentalist would do and dusted off my “only used for testing” version of Netscape 4.6 and went to the site to see what happens.

Could it be that it is web designers who are warping the statistics by repeatedly hitting sites driving their battered old testing software just to see what possible mess ensues?

In case you now want to have a look at this site in an old non-standards browser, you will experience nothing but unstyled vanilla content as god intended.

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If you look, you won’t see

I haven’t taken any photographs in the last couple of days and I think the reason is that I am looking too hard. When i’m not consciously looking around for things to take pictures of I seem to spot things and if I have my camera with me (which is most of the time) I record it for prosperity.

I think this sort of unconscious spontaneous photography will increase especially now things like camera phones are common place, and combined with mobile email to blog services, the pictures will make their way almost instantly onto the net.

I suppose one disadvantage is that camera phones are currently low resolution so a really good picture might never be good enough quality for a decent size print, but if you weigh this up against the fact that the photo might never have been taken in the first place then it balances out.

Personally I haven’t got a camera phone, but I purposely bought a compact digital camera (Pentax optio 330GS for those who are interested) which would be small enough to carry around in my pocket (provided I am wearing combats with huge side pockets, it would look all wrong in the pocket of my rarely worn tight 70’s cords) but take high resolution pictures to be suitable for a half decent print if the picture really warrants it.

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half page advertisements – new trend in internet advertising?

I keep a yahoo account for a high volume email list I subscribe to and was just assaulted by a HUGE advert for a Cadburys creme egg Mc Flurry at McDonalds. The thing was a 425 x 600 pixels image embedded in the page rather than a pop-up. I dont think i’ve seen adverts that big on a website before – i’m hoping that they had detected my bandwidth and screen estate before unleashing it. I wonder if this is a new trend – hope not.

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DOS batch ftp using mget with no user input

by default when you initiate an FTP session under DOS, the default mode is interactive. If you want to create a batch file to download multiple files and you dont want to have to manually accept each transfer, enter the word “prompt” which will toggle the interactive mode on or off

e.g.:-

open www.mywebsite.com
user myusername mypassword
cd mydesireddirectory
prompt
mget *.xml
quit

the above example will download everything with a .xml file extension

I saved those commands in a file called xml_download_commands.txt and created a batch file with the following commands:-

cd C:downloads
ftp -n -s:xml_download_commands.txt

i’m using something like the above to connect to this site and download the archives periodically as an automated scheduled task so that I have a local copy if the web server was to blow up or something

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XML for the sake of it

XML is a wondeful thing, but I think sometimes it can be all to easy to make life difficult for myself, by attempting to do things in XML which would be much more straightforward if I did them with a database and then output XML as needed.

For example a couple of things I will be adding to this site are a “last updated” menu, showing which pages have been recently updated on this “multi-blog” site and a bookmarks section – a central place to keep my bookmarks rather than importing them from one web browser to another. Both of these could be done purely using ASP and XML, and i’m sure if I look around I will find some examples, but I know I can knock something up with an access database, even writing everything out as XML in half the time.

The other thing is that the ASP I would use if it was purely XML wouldn’t be portable in the slightest if I wanted to move it all to, say , PHP, whereas any SQL queries I use for a database version probably would be.

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the internet is a real place

I read this article by bill thompson on the BBC site about the Amazon IPAQ price error, and while i’m not sure that I agree about that particular issue (I was always under the impression that pricing mistakes have to be honoured), the general theory behind the article is that the internet suffers from a perception problem, where the general public believe that it is an imaginary place where different rules apply.

Whilst there is some truth in the “alternative reality” of something like an online role playing game, the mundane reality of 90% of internet transactions is that it is as real as filling out a form in a post office or phoning up a travel agent. The scale and automation of the internet may make it easier to slip things through unnoticed, but there are people behind the scenes, and alarm bells will ring when people start to get silly about it…

Sorry to burst the bubble 😉

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