Long overdue changes: CAPTCHA goes away, proper email notifications happen.

This will please some of the more accessibility-minded folks who come across this thing for reasons known only to them. For ages, since the reinstall of 2014, I’ve run this site with several antiproblem features in place–up to and including CAPTCHAs on just about anything where user input might be expected. This came with its own set of problems, and that was meant to be a temporary fix while I made damn sure the issues that caused the reinstall of 2014 didn’t reoccur. I figure just about 3 years is temporary enough. And so, with the issues of 2014 well behind me, I pushed the CAPTCHA be gone button. It’s been running sans CAPTCHA for a stretch, now, and nothing’s broken, so we’ll just be staying away from that for the foreseeable future.

And since I was in here messing about with things anyway, two more very minor things have happened.

  • The old daily email notification system has been retired. The page was horribly broken anyway, and my own testing showed it fell over more often than it did what it was supposed to. The 3 of you using that system will still get your emails, but that’s all she wrote.
  • In its place, I’ve fixed and reimplemented the ability to receive individual posts by email–just in case, you know, folks still aren’t entirely sure what this RSS thing’s all about. For those who know and would prefer it, the RSS feeds are a little bit more noticeable now.

In short, stuff was broken. It now, probably, isn’t. Unless I need more caffeine, at which point oops. And just like that, this thing that sucks probably sucks a little bit less. Next time, perhaps I’ll look twice before I hit the red button.

New: ReCAPTCHA now exists where it didn’t before.

It’s common knowledge I hate spammers. It’s equally common knowledge I hate captchas. Enter reCAPTCHA. Yes, it’s still a captcha, but it virtually eliminates any and all of the reasons I hate captchas. Particularly, the thing is perfectly accessible–at least insofar as my testing goes. And now, it runs live on this website. Which, at end of days, means I should start seeing a significant decrease in the number of spam hits to this often neglected thing–without, as it happens, impacting the 2 of you who comment on every 500th thing I toss up here. In short: Where’s this been all my life? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go coax a Windows VM to do what it’s supposed to.

Update: I win at captchas. I fail at HTML. And this is why I shouldn’t geek while distracted.

Posting by email takes a vacation. This might affect a total of 3 people. Oh well.

I won’t deny it–I used to get exceedingly lazy. Hell, I still get that lazy. Not wait ’til 4:00 AM then do laundry lazy, mind you–not yet anyway, but lazy. To the point of I’ve been known to see an email, snerk at it, forward it to a few friends–and then hit the blog with it. By email. Or, if I’m in a situation wherein firing a post up here via the website doesn’t work out so well, I’ll toss it in the blog’s mailbox. Such things are fun things, when they work. Recently, they haven’t been working quite so well. On top of that, while looking for ways to fix the issue, I accidentally ran square into a few sources who indicated some security concerns with the plugin I’ve been using to actually process those emails. Nifty. Except no not really. It doesn’t affect those of you who actually receive posts by email, but there’ll be no such thing as a random snerk from the cell or from a location that actually gets smart and blocks access to the blog while I go find the author of this plugin and slap him around a bit. In the meantime, I’m on the hunt for alternatives. And still more things to mock. And now, back to your regularly scheduled program–while I go find something else to blog about that doesn’t consist of “Hi, I’m in Pembroke. Write more tomorrow.”.

Hanging up on Feedburner. It’s been fun.

So this is what happens when 5:00 AM strikes and sleep goes on strike. I was mainly using Feedburner as an excuse to tell people you could get blog updates by email. Yeah, it also doubled as my RSS feed thinggy for a while–mostly because that kind of went along with the whole email thing. But here’s what I’m not entirely a huge fan of. Feedburner likes to pretty things up. To the tune of all manner of extra links that really don’t make a whole lot of difference. Plus, when posts get updated over here, Feedburner has this nasty little habbit of not catching the update. Plus, really, now that we’ve got updates by email built-in, Feedburner’s sort of gotten all redundant on me. So, I’ve done the only truely logical thing–I’ve hung up on Feedburner. Those of you who follow the RSS feeds as linked to from the site will be automatically redirected to WordPress’s built-in RSS features–no extra work for you. Everyone else? The Feedburner syndication isn’t completely going away, hence why you can still read this over there. It just won’t get shoved in your face from this end anymore. So long, Feedburner. It’s been a blast, but I’ve kind of outgrown you.

Finding new and interesting ways to break the blog. this time, get updates by email!

I had planned to unleash this a long, long time ago, but hadn’t found a way of doing it that didn’t result in pieces of blog landing on my living room floor. So, during a time last night when I didn’t have a whole lot else going on–and while my desktop was undergoing minor surgery (more on that in another entry), I finally sat down and went through with it. Now, just by going over here, you can subscribe to receive everything I post by email, shortly after I post it. Wanna follow the comments that result? I’ve revamped that system a bit, too. Now, pick your post, optionally leave a comment, hit the subscribe option, and you’ll be on the email list for comments received on that post. Or, just go here and subscribe to the posts of your choice. Now, you won’t just get replies to your comments emailed to you. You want comments? You get comments. Happy conversationing!

Randomly related: I should not be left to my own devices with this blog, PHP, and a WordPress plugin library. Just an observation.

Death to spam comments. Or, at least, generous amounts of pain.

For as long as the blog’s been up, I’ve had a kind of open commenting policy. Any entry, posted any time, for any reason, could be commented on by those
who happened across it. Most of those, though, have ended up being everyone’s favourite excuses for target practice–yep, spam incorporated. To the tune of nearly 1300 of them at last look. So, I went tweaking. And what I came up with? The comment locker outer, of sorts. Effective as of about half an hour ago, entries older than 6 months automatically have their comments turned off. Wanna comment on an older entry? There’s probably a more recent one on the same subject–throw an opinion over there. Have something specific to that one entry? Let me know, and it may get a spot as an entry of its very own. Wanna see what else is breaking all over the place? The front page, or any of the category pages, are always a good place to start–and they all have their own RSS feeds. Spammer with an entry to bombard? I hear wordpress.com has several blogs with open commenting policies–try one of those. Welcome to housekeeping. Now, then. Where’d I go and put my spam spray?

Anyone wanna guess what this is?

No? Okay fine. This would be, for the first time in a little bit over a month, my attempted reemergence into the realm of this whole blogging thing. This may or may not include yet more mockery, and that thinggy I’m supposed to do about what you guys were reading last month–conveniently, 4 or 5 days before I should be doing that thing about what you were reading while I was being all unavailable and things. There’s an abso-freaking-lute metric ton of crap I probably could, and should, be writing about. Sadly, most of it kind of stopped applying about 2 weeks ago–sorry, life does that to ya. Things that do get a mention here and may or may not be elaborated on when I have slightly more brain power. In list format, because hey, first post in a month, here. Lazy.

  • Moving: Jessica got herself all moved in, relatively in one piece and with most of what sanity she has left after dating and being engaged to me intact. Her stuff, thankfully, also made it to the other end in one pice. Find her take on that and several million other things over on her blog. Go now. I’ll wait.
  • Technology: I’d started the process before I left, and finished it while down there–in and around the above mentioned move. Shortly before my return to Canada–where I’m currently flaed out now, the new laptop I’d been aiming for met me here. It’s nifty cool, in the wicked sense. Still getting used to using Windows 7 on a more than occasional basis, but hey, so far I’m not complaining much.
  • The stupid: there’s acrap ton of it. It starts with local cab companies, and it’ll all warrant separate entries. Again, see the need for more brain power.
  • Hockey: the playoffs are closing rappidly in on us. There will be playoff mockery involved. There will not be Leafs recaps involved–again. Ah well. You saw it coming.
  • Leafs: I quit. At least for this season. I haven’t done a recap since mid-February. To recap this many games would be both exceedingly spammy and a very good reason to develop a migraine. Naturally it would also double as an excellent exercise in frustration–like all mid to late season attempts at playing the comeback kid do. You’re just not that team, Toronto. Sorry.
  • Mockery: Oh, dear lord, the mockery. Not in this post, but the mockery. I’m buried in it. It’ll get posted over the next couple days. Trust me–it’ll be more than worth the wayt.

So that’s kind of where I’ve been. Now, where’d I put my caffeine?

You may have had difficulty accessing the site this morning. Oops.

I’m a bit of a security freak. Okay, more than a bit. I was testing out a slight modification to see if I could cut down on the number of people trying to do bad things to the blog. In doing so, legitimate users may have been knocked off the site–as evidenced by the influx of email that followed that modification. Needless to say, if you were having trouble accessing the site, you shouldn’t be now. Meanwhile, time to go see what else I can find that does what it’s supposed to. Or find food, whichever comes first.

Comments, 2.0.

I’ve just made a little tiny change to the way comments are handled on the site, in an attempt to cut down on the somewhat insane amount of spam I get to watch filter through the system and get forgotten about until it’s eventually automatically deleted. It also, conveniently enough, comes with an extra side benefit. To encourage discussion on here, on those rare occasions where that happens, I implemented the ability to have replies to your comments sent to you via email. That, naturally, required that the email address you give me be valid. Spammers, while not necessarily expecting replies to their comments to be emailed to them, don’t necessarily provide you with a valid email address. And, in the rare instances where they actually do, they’re easy enough to be delt with. So, as of about 5 minutes ago, folks commenting here must provide not just an email address, but a valid email address. Sorry jokers, blah@blah.blah doesn’t work anymore (I tested it). If you’re an actual commenter with an actual email address, you won’t see a difference. If you’re a spammer with an invalid email address, you’re probably not actually reading this entry and I don’t particularly care. And if you’re a spammer with a valid email address, you probably aren’t getting posted here anyway. Happy discussing, and hopefully I come up with the occasional thing that doesn’t bore you folks to death.

Thanks to Shane for the idea, and the halfway decent method of implementing it. Now here’s hoping it doesn’t break.

Okay I’ve given in.

It took some eventual encouraging, but I’ve decided to give good old LJ another shot. With… my typical, rather unusual but charmingly so twist. Eventually, hopefully by this time tomorrow night… the website address that used to belong to my old blog will find itself redirecting to this one. Since there’s a shitload of randomness on that there other blog, I’ve stuck it over here so that I might at some point refer back to it when I decide to get on one of my, uh, moron of the year award rants. And they will happen. But for now, oh, for now… I find things to do that don’t involve messing with websites. At least until the next interesting news article comes up.