Websites

Stop Click Bombing From Amazon

Lately in my logs I've seen some Amazon IPs visiting my sites and clickbombing them like mad. The IP addresses are never the same, but they always have an amazonaws referrer.

I'm adding this to my htaccess file and hoping it stops them. Basically it will identify any Amazon AWS referrer and redirect it to the Amazon home page. It seems this will be more effective than reporting abuse to Amazon Web Services.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_HOST} ^(.*)amazonaws.*
RewriteRule ^(.*)|(.+) http://www.amazon.com/$1 [R,L]

I will reply to this post to confirm if it works.

UPDATE: That didn't work.

I went with something much more simple:

order allow,deny
deny from amazonaws.com
allow from all

Problem solved!

Infocom Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Warning: This is going to be a nerdy post.

A long, long time ago when I was just a kid, my parents bought me my first computer. It was an Apple //c , and it rocked. Like any kid, my real interest in the machine had nothing to do with education (though I might have hinted that to my parents) and everything to do with video games. I couldn't have convinced them to buy a Nintendo, but I was able to get them to buy this computer. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Anyhow, the first game we got for it had no graphics whatsoever. I'm not sure I knew that when I bought it, I just wanted to play darn it! Whatever disappointment I might have experienced at not getting to see 256 color pixelated images was quickly vanquished once I delved into the Infocom masterpiece: The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy (written by the author of the book by the same name Douglas Adams, and programmed by Steve Meretzky).

Spoiler Warning: I think it was my sister who finally figured out we had to lie down in front of the bulldozer. After having spent hours trying to solve that puzzle it was such a rush of welcome success. Of course, I got killed by space aliens very soon after that.

Well, it turns out on the BBC website you can play this gem, for free, and it even has some clever illustrations added to it. Any fan of Douglas Adams would do well to try it out...it can be maddeningly frustrating, but there's just something so satisfying about figuring out a problem after turning it around in your head for hours. Not the most productive use of time, but still...

Check out the site at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml

More Trouble With GoDaddy

This is driving me crazy...earlier today, I realized that Google was looking at my websites as two separate sites when there should only be one. Google thought that www.pitumbo.com and pitumbo.com were two different websites, for example. I corrected by using the "preferred domain" option under Google's webmaster tools. Next, in order to make sure other SEs didn't make this mistake, I set about trying to make a 301 redirect from www.pitumbo.com to pitumbo.com. GoDaddy clearly offers subdomain forwarding, but I can't get it to work. It's always been a blank page in my browser. And not only that, but for the past couple of weeks I've been trying to get one domain to redirect to an entirely different domain via GoDaddy's control panel, and I've never been able to get it to work. The best I could do was write a little html code to have the user click a link to get to the second, proper website. This is aggravating, to say the least.

Partner link:
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Impressive Whiskers

I just found "StumbleUpon" (yes, I'm always the last to know) and have enjoyed it so far...this picture was so striking to me I just had to post it here. I wish I could give credit to the photographer, but the site seems to be in Spanish. That's about all I can figure out. Hopefully they don't mind me linking to it here. "Diario" is what my mom calls her table wine. Hmm. Interesting. I digress...

At the risk of sounding like a 12 year old, "aren't animals cool" ??
My What Big Whiskers

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Another Reason I Dislike Duke

Anyone familiar with ACC basketball is painfully aware of the officiating favoritism shown to Duke Basketball year in and year out (although this year, I must say the games I saw seemed to be much more evenly officiated). But this post isn't about officiating, it's about flopping and Duke, which go together like peanut butter and jelly. This is how they teach you to "draw" a charge at Duke. Paulus executes it perfectly, and the laugh track is just an added bonus. Well done!


Microsoft Time Synch Ignoring Daylight Savings?

Well, I thought I had made it through the transition to daylight savings OK, only to find I did get bitten by a bug. A bug from Microsoft, no less (surprise, surprise). Now I'm not one to complain about Microsoft too much, as I use a few of their products...actually only XP and a mouse, I believe...anyhow, I have my date and time to autosync once a week with time.windows.com once a week. Now, today is Thursday and the switch to DST occurred early Sunday morning. When my computer just autosync'd, I lost an hour...five days later and Microsoft still hasn't updated their time server? I wonder if this has messed anyone else up. (And yes, I have the adjust for Daylight Savings box checked on my Date and Time user interface). Surely this must have happened to someone else as well?

A Thought

Well, remoteofficetemp.com is doing well, but I need to get it listed in Google if I'm going to have any hope of getting sustained traffic. I'm planning a major overhaul tonight where I make the content easier to navigate and just provide a link at the end to go to the forums. The way it's set up now, finding information is cumbersome. The whole board is in Drupal's forum format, so it's not very pretty to say the least.

New Website

Well, it's been a while since I blogged. I've been working pretty hard to get my newest website up and running, www.remoteofficetemp.com, and I think it's looking good. I've submitted it to DMOZ and hopefully it'll show up in google soon. Basically it's a website for people working from home to network and hopefully find better jobs. It also offers advice on resume, cover letters, and reviews of job websites. Now, I just have to finish up a few more loose ends and get the word out. I won't know for a while how much effort I am going to need to get the forum running, but there are other projects I want to get going as well. So much to do, so little time. Jen comes back tomorrow morning, so I'll be happy to see her but I think I've been pretty productive since she's been gone. She'll no doubt want to watch basketball; I've sworn off watching sports and drinking beer until I start getting some work done. I don't miss the sports too much, but I sure do miss the beer. Heh. Well, back to work...

Preparing for Another Website Release

Well, things are moving now, I've got a plan together to open up another website next Monday. I'm hoping this will be a big hit with people, hopefully it gives them another outlet in this tough job market. I have made a plan with all the things I need to do between now and Monday, hopefully I'll have enough time to get it all done by then. My girlfriend is going out of town from Thursday to Sunday, so that should definitely help with the productivity. I've split up the work into segments and now all that's left is to buckle down and do it. I'll keep you posted on how things go, wish me luck!

Go Daddy and Drupal

One of the the first things I did before knowing much about websites was sign up for a hosting account. I did it with GoDaddy, one of the biggest providers. Now that I know a bit more, I'm not sure if that was a mistake or not. I know they are very inexpensive, and I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a major consideration of mine. I have had some difficulty getting GoDaddy and Drupal to play nicely together, but so far so good. The steps are basically as follows:

1. Register domain
2. Set up domain hosting
3. Download Drupal files
4. Place Drupal files in root directory
5. Set up mySQL database
6. Navigate to homepage
7. Enter name of host and sql database along with applicable passwords
8. Run Drupal for the first time.

There will be more details in the coming posts, but if anyone has questions, feel free to ask in the comment sections!

Working on a Website With a Friend

One of my current projects is working on a completely free website to help people learn Spanish. I'm doing it with my friend Chris, even though he is in Kentucky and I am here in California. It's pretty cool being able to communicate long distance through the internet and work on a project together. He's been writing a lot (actually all of the content save for one short page on the importance of a dictionary) and I have been working under the hood, so to speak, setting up RSS, formating the UI, installing modules etc. I think it's a great idea for anyone just starting out to collaborate with a friend, preferably one with a different (but overlapping) tool set. Together we can not only build a website in terms of content but also get our hands dirty working on the nuts and bolts of it. We're learning skills that I'm sure over time will become even more valuable in a world that is ever more dependent on the internet. If you want to, you can check out the website at www.freespanishschool.com It's just in it's infancy right now (we only started it three days ago). We'll be adding new content every day and open up a forum where people can talk to each other and discuss what they've learned. I'm also planning on adding sound capability so you can hear Chris pronounce the words. I'm obviously very excited about the potential of this site!

Learn to Code

If you're interested in learning to code, whether it be just a simple static html webpage, a mysql database, php, or pretty much any language you can think of, there are tons of readily available resources on the net, all of them free. Isn't the internet great? One of my favorite sites is published by the world wide web consortium. They offer tutorials in all of these languages and many more, and the html tutorial even has a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) editor so that you can see the result of your typed in html in the window next to it. Really quite cool!

w3schools

Thom Yorke Speed Painting

This is really an incredible sight to see...a time lapse portrait of Thom Yorke done in Photoshop. Supposedly it only took 4 hours to do; it hardly seems possible. I think I could study twelve hours a day and never come with anything that brilliant.

A link to the video on YouTube can be found here: Thom Yorke

And for those who haven't heard it yet, Thom Yorke's solo album The Eraser is definitely worth listening to as well.

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Drupal 5.1 and GoDaddy

As I recently discovered, getting Drupal to work with GoDaddy is no easy task. As a newcomer to both services and a self-admitted novice at any programming language, it was a bit tough. Now though, in hindsight, it is a relatively simple process to get Drupal and GoDaddy to work together. Most of my confusion arose from outdated instructions that were relevant only to former versions of Drupal. It really is so much easier with Drupal 5.1

So, without further delay, here's a quick and dirty guide to getting started with a GoDaddy linux server account. One last note, this should work for either one or multiple websites hosted on the same account.

1. Go to the Drupal website at http://drupal.org and download Drupal 5.1

2. Extract the compressed file into a folder named Drupal.

3. Use an FTP client --I use fireFTP for Firefox-- (or the provided service from GoDaddy if you must) to upload the entire Drupal folder to your root directory.

4. In GoDaddy, select "My Hosting Account", open the control panel, then select Domain Management, and have your website point to /drupal by using the domain hosting window. It will take a couple of minutes for this to be set up.

5. While that is being set up, click on databases, then MySql, and create new database. Choose MySql 5.0, then a name and password. After you do that, it'll take a few more moments for the database to be set up.

6. Now, using your FTP client, navigate and create a new folder under drupal/sites with the name of your site, but no www. For example, if your website name is located at http://www.domain.com, you would make a folder in the sites folder named domain.com

7. Now, copy the version of settings.php from drupal/sites/default to the folder you just created in step #6.

8. The next step is to find out the location of the SQL database you created in step #5. Do this by clicking on the name of the database in the GoDaddy control panel -- and a bunch of information will pop up. What you're looking for should look something like p11mysql33.secureserver.net. Copy it to your clipboard.

9. Navigate to your website (in our example case http://www.domain.com) and you should see the Drupal welcome page. First, enter your database name, user name, and password as you created in step #5. Then click on the tab marked advanced options (don't worry, it's not that tricky) and paste the database host (it looks like p11mysql33.secureserver.net) into that section.

Click save configuration and that's it! There will likely be a couple of error messages at the top of the screen (including a create temporary table error -- more on that later), but beneath you should see a message telling you the installation was successful. Go ahead and create the administrator account

Congratulations! That's all there is to it.

Keep in mind you can use this for multiple websites from the same hosting account: just make your website point to the drupal folder like step 4, add a new SQL database as in step 5, and a new folder in the drupal/sites folder like you did in step 6.

Also note, unlike old versions of drupal, you don't need to make any changes to the settings.php file (this is where I got stuck -- making changes to this file). The generic settings.php file is all you need in your site folder. It really is that easy!

If you have any questions or difficulty getting Drupal up and running with GoDaddy, feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best to help you out.

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