Jun 242011
 
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Zen

Isn’t this really one of the biggest questions that each and every one of us has encountered at some point?  And, of course, it may not seem to have anything to do with anarchy, philosophy, government, business, or anything else covered on this website.    But, on reflection, I thin kit may have to do with everything ever discussed on this site.  But, most of all with parenting, which was, of course, the original inspiration for me to start blogging.

The attitude of not being a winner is the way people get into trouble in life.  The fact you woke up this morning makes you a winner, and no one make you a loser but yourself.

Each day look at the wins you have.  Value the greatness in your life, little and big.  If you find it impossible to isolate any wins in your life, use affirmations and begin creating some.

You can start now to change your own reality.  You are a loser, only when you think you are.

  • Thomas Edison declared bankruptcy for the North American Phonograph Co. in 1894, and his Edison Portland Cement Company filed for bankruptcy twice.
  • Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Milton hershey, H.J. Heinz, and P.T. Barnum all went bankrupt at least once as well.
  • Before filing for bankruptcy, Walt Disney was fired by the Kansas City Star newspaper for lacking ideas.
  • Colonel Sanders idea for Kentucky Fried Chicken was reportedly rejected more than 1000 times
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Jan 192009
 

Welcome to the second edition of Weekly WordPress Roundup!

Sorry for the late posting!  I was busy making lemonade from life’s lemons…

What Is It?

Weekly WordPress Roundup is a hybrid between a blog carnival and a weblog.  Every Monday morning the editor of that week’s roundup makes a single post linking to the “best” WordPress articles they’ve come across that week.  The choices are made from their own web surfing and from articles submitted via the Roundup’s blogcarnival.com page.  If you’re interested in hosting the Weekly WordPress Roundup, just drop an email to: philaahzophy@gmail.com

On To The Entries…

General WordPress News-

Our first entry comes from Jackie at Internet Marketing Strategy For Moms and even though it was posted last October, it’s still very relevant today.  The title pretty much tells the story: WordPress.com Deleted All Of My Blogs.  Apparetnly the folks at WordPress.com decided she was a splogger simply because she linked out to her other blogs.  Not good news.  And it’s not a problem that’s going away.  It was a full year ago that I posted Isn’t Freedom Of Expression Worth $5 Per Month? right here at Philaahzophy.

Looking for work?  Well, according to the WordPress Publisher Blog, oDesk Reports “WordPress” Fastest Growing In-Demand Skill in 2008!  So it seems like your blogging skills can pay off in the “real world” as well.

WordPress Plugins-

Madeline Begun Kane submitted her brief article on the wonders of the WP-SpamFree plugin titled Life-Saving, Spam-Fighting WordPress Plugin.  I didn’t investigate WP-SpamFree during my own recent search for a comment spam solution, because it’s listed as only being compatible up to WordPress 2.6.2.  If you know that it’s been upgraded for (or is compatible with) 2.7 then I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

WordPress Tips-

As I’ve started exploring the limits of what can be done with WordPress I’ve found myself coming closer and closer to altering the core WordPress files.  Since any changes to the core will have to be redone manually whenever a new update comes out, this is a very bad thing.  Luckily, the folx over at Cats Who Code have an elegant solution in their How To: Overwrite Core WordPress Functions.

Mike Mueller recently posted a great overview on Setting Up Your WP Blog at his Mike’s Minute Real Estate Blog.

WordPress Themes-

Ever wish you could use more widgets without your blog looking overcrowded?  Well check out last week’s Thursday Themeday review of the Quadruple Blue four column WordPress theme!  Considering many people (myself included much of the time) feel that three column themes are, by their very nature, cluttered, the concept of a four column theme may seem preposterous.  But, somehow, this one pulls it off.

Anthony Delgado’s Free WordPress Themes may not be what you expect.  Instead of listing more free themes he actually discusses how to make a theme “your own” with only minor modifications.

Want to use WordPress as a CMS?  Then you absolutely have to check out the WordPress ReMix Theme I reviewed last week!

—–

That’s wraps up this week’s WordPress Roundup!  Look for next week’s edition over at Gilroy Review on Monday, January 26th!  Submit your WordPress-related article (or someone else’s that you find worthwhile!) to the next edition of Weekly WordPress Roundup using our carnival submission form or by emailing it to philaahzophy@gmail.com.  Future hosts can be found on the Weekly WordPress Roundup homepage.  If you’d like to be added to the list, just drop an email!

As always, comments, links and social bookmarks are very much appreciated!

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Jan 142009
 
Part of the Wonderful WordPress Wednesdays Series - Previous in series         

Welcome to the twelfth installment of my Wonderful WordPress Wednesday series.

With more than 20 blogs to watch over, comment spam has become quite the annoying time killer of late.  With more than 200 Akismet entries to sort through each day it became clear that something else had to be done, so I had a quick consult with friends who do managed IT services in Calgary and headed into the ether to find a solution.

My first stop was, of course, the WordPress plugin directory.  Unfortunately, searching on “spam” returns 117 of the 3,870 plugins currently listed there.  Not exactly a bullseye solution to the problem.  So I headed into the WordPress Codex ehere I found their Combating Comment Spam page with the following suggestions-

  • Akismet – Akismet was already keeping the majority o fthe spam off my blog, but I was still forced to sort through it in search of false positive.
  • Settings > Discussion –
    • Here there are multiple options to automatically detect spam: number of links, spam keywords, blacklist.  Alas, when detected, it was just dumped into the Akismet area for me to sort through later.
    • Moderate All Comments – This would create even more work for me, essentially labeling everything as spam.  Not exactly a timesaver and not really user friendly, either, IMO.
    • Pre-approve only “old” commenters- Since I don’t have many ‘regular’ commenters this would still require far too much moderation time.
    • Restrict Comments To Registered Users – not only user-unfriendly, but I really have no desire to have dozens or even hundreds of people with user accounts on my blog(s).
  • Delete wp-comments-post.php and/or wp-trackback.php -Again, not exactly user friendly.  I’m trying to encourage more comments, not remove them all.  Besides isn’t this just giving in to the spammers?  I’d rather let them run rampant than shut out my actual readers.
  • Use rel=”nofollow” – this has never actually been effective in stopping comment spam.  The bots simply don’t care.
  • Deny access with .htaccess – Now that seems interesting!
    • Deny Access to Spammer IPs/Referrer Spammers – Again, too labor intensive what with the need to collate and enter individual IP addresses and referrers.
    • Deny Access to No Referrer Requests – I think we have a winner!

Here’s the relevant section of The Codex-

When your readers comment, the wp-comments-post.php file is accessed, does its thing, and creates the post. The user’s browser will send a “referral” line about this.

When a spam-bot comes in, it hits the file directly and usually does not leave a referrer. This allows for some nifty detection and action direct from the server. If you are not familiar with Apache directives, then write the following in your root directory .htaccess file::

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_METHOD} POST
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} .wp-comments-post\.php*
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !.*yourdomain.com.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^$
RewriteRule (.*) ^http://%{REMOTE_ADDR}/$ [R=301,L]

This will:
1. Detect when a POST is being made
2. Check to see if the post is on wp-comments-post.php
3. Check if the referrer is in your domain or if no referrer
4. Send the spam-bot BACK to its originating server’s IP address.

After reading that over it seemed to make perfect sense to me.  A simple but elegant solution t ospambots.  Five minutes later I had added the relevant code to my .htaccess file and expected to never hear from comment spammers again.

However, the next morning, my Akismet spam queue was full of over 100 messages again.  The only thing different was that not a single one of them was a false positive or even questionable.  Every single one of them had been left by a spambot.  Clearly this simple but elegant solution wasn’t working.  So I headed off to find another solution.  The worst part, however, was something I didn’t realize until a full two days later: the .htaccess changes were blocking regular comments!  I think this was because I don’t use the normal comments.php, instead using a custom one from a comment plugin, but regardless, it wasn’t helping block the spambots anyway, so I just wiped it clean out and immediately was able to receive comments again.

My next “great find” was Yet Another WordPress Anti Spam Plugin (YAWASP).  Unlike the vast majority of anti-spam plugins out there, YAWASP did not require Javascript or cookies (which many of my visitors have disabled) or a CAPTCHA (which I and many of my visitors hate), but instead, was entirely transparent to the regular user.  Its primary means of spam detecting is to add a “hidden” field that the bots will see (and complete) but is invisible to the human eye on the rendered page.  I use this same type of anti-apam system to keep spammers from registering on the various forums I’ve over the years and it works great.  So I was exited to see it available for WordPress as well. Unfortunately, i couldn’t get it to work.  No matter what I did it kept insisting that every comment was spam because it’s author had somehow entered data into the “hidden” field.  Exceedingly frustrated at this point I removed it and took a nice long break.

Finally I decided to see what other long term bloggers were doing and with a little poking aruond in Google Blog Search I finally came across several positive article about the Bad Behavior WordPress Plugin.  Like Akismet and YAWASP, Bad Behavior is transparent to my actual readers.  However, unlike them it was as simple as install and activate.  I haven’t received a spambot comment since!  Regular comments still seem to be getting through and spam that is manually left still shows up (though it tends to get caught by Akismet).  Best of all, in the last 24 hours I’ve only had to clear less than a dozen comments from my various Akismet queues.  Now that is protection.

Yeah, I know that was a long way to go for what could have been a simple single paragraph post.  But I wanted y’all to understand that I share your frustrations.  Now, hopefully, you can avoid all of my pitfalls and wasted time and simply install Bad behavior to begin with.  The only question remaining is why is Akismet distributed with WordPress when Bad Behavior is not?

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Jan 022009
 

As usual, I’m a bit slow on the uptake when it comes to Google PageRank updates.  Apparently a major toolbar PR update occurred on New Year’s Eve.  It’s not too surprising that I’m slow to notice these things as Philaahzophy has been condemned to an eternal PR0 status due to my refusal to bow down to the Google Gods.

The good news is that the only websites I manage that dropped in PR were those dedicated to a now dead collectible miniature game, HorrorClix. Their dropping isn’t surprising as the pages that linked to them have all ceased to exist leaving them the sole sites of their kind on the internet. Of course, that also makes them the definitive sites in their niche, but Google doesn’t really care about relevance, they only care about backlinks and following their arbitrary rules.

The wacky part has to do with Zaira’s sites. Her personal blog, Butterfly Diaries, finally managed to score a PR after being around for two years and more than 100 posts. She’s got a shiny new PR of 1.  However, a new site she just started a month ago has a grand total of 6 posts, one backlink (from a PR2 blog carnival), fewer than two dozen unique visitors in its lifetime, and a shiny new PageRank of 3!  Say what?  The site doesn’t even rank in the top 20 for its primary keywords but Google has decided that it’s more trustworthy than the only site linking to it and equally as trustworthy a site as John Chow’s.  Well, at least my little girl has something to brag about 🙂

Nov 192008
 
Part of the Wonderful WordPress Wednesdays Series - Previous in series         Next in series

Welcome to the seventh installment of my Wonderful WordPress Wednesday series.

As you may have noticed I haven’t exactly been keeping to a weekly schedule with this series and, unfortunately, I probably won’t be returning to one until 2009. But this little discovery was too great to not share with y’all while it was fresh in my mind.

Last October I ran a review contest to get some quality feedback on Philaahzophy.  The best piece of advice I received  was to add a CSSClass to my in post images so that they looked more uniform.  I did a quick bit of research and learned that I could style all of my pictures by adding

class="pic"

with the IMG tag of my pictures and the following to my style.css file (through Presentation > Theme Editor in my wp-admin)-

.pic {
padding:5px;
background-color:#e1ccac;
border: 1px solid #660000;
margin: 6px;
}

That’s what I’ve done ever since to put that nice little border around all of my images here at Philaahzophy and on my other blogs as well.  However, since I don’t host my own images (which is both a bandwidth saving and revenue generating decision) I don’t insert pictures into my post by way of the image button in the post editor, but rather I copy and paste my image host’s code directly into my post.  I then have to go back into that code and type class=”pic” in the appropriate place.  If (read: when) I forget to include the code my blog images look like crap.  A better way was needed.

Today I found that better way!  Leaving my old code behind I inserted the following line into my style sheet-

#main a img {padding:5px;background-color:#e1ccac;border: 1px
solid #660000;margin: 6px;}

Now the same attributes I was getting with the “class” tag are automatically applied to all images included in my posts!  Woohoo!  Ain’t automation grand?

Now, I know very, very little about CSS, so realizing both that I could do this and exactly where to write the code took me quite some time to realize.  In fact, when I went to my other blogs I couldn’t find anything similar in their theme files.  Again I poked around a bit and eventually discovered that to get the same results on those blogs I needed to use the following code-

.post a img {
	padding:5px;
        background-color:#D7E1FF;
        border: 1px solid #9DB7FF;
        margin: 6px;
}

So you might need to try a couple of different formats to get the results you want. Obviously, you’ll also want to set your own colors, etc. But if you’ve just got plain old regular images sitting on your blog at the moment, this will make everything that much prettier and who can really complain about that? Using CSS also gives the benefit without the need to add yet another pliugin which will slow your blog’s performance.

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