[solved] Stop WordPress Spam Registrations

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I’ll bet all of you out there have dealt with your fair share of spam. Everyone gets it, in their email, blog posts and lately even WordPress registrations! I have a tool for handling spam comments on my blog, but what do I do when I get 10’s to 100’s of spam user registrations on my blog with names and emails like BuyCheapMeds and FreeSoftwareDVDs@some-russian-website.ru?

Well, thank goodness the WordPress Extend site has so much to offer! After asking in the WordPress forums how to completely disable new user registrations…and getting little response…I decided that I would have to edit some of the WordPress files to ignore new user registrations in a fashion to fit my needs. I wanted to keep them open from the admin panel so I myself can add new users, but block outsiders from registering so I could control the spam registrations.

To my surprise I got a response in the forum thread that I started with an example plugin that could be used. I looked into the example plugin, but I found myself confused at the description and uncertain of how the plugin actually worked. Who wants to install something on their site when they have no clue how it works!

I dug a bit deeper and searched this time for only 5-10 minutes and came across two plugins that were capable of handling my needs and one that was just plain cool.

To control your spam registrations I would suggest the following three plugins which are ordered according to the order that I would choose them.

  1. Register Plus
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/register-plus/
  2. Sabre
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sabre/
  3. Referrer Bouncer
    http://blog.taragana.com/index.php/archive/word-press-1-5-plugin-referer-bouncer/

If you’re wondering why I sorted them this way then I’ll try to explain quickly.

Referrer Bouncer was the one that was suggested to me in the forum thread, but I found that it was a bit more involved than the others and it required the user to create a file called “referer.txt” and add domains that should be blocked (at least I think it was for blocked domains…not a clear description or how to :( ) and it just made more sense to go with a different plugin rather than tracking down all of the referring sites that I needed to block.

Sabre does exactly what I wanted to do. It was like it knew what I wanted before I asked, haha, but I decided to go with Register Plus in the end because it allows me to create invitation codes so that I can easily leave the registration open to the public, but they will need to contact me and request an invitation.

Why did I chose this method? I figured that most people would prefer not to register in the first place. Nothing at kyleabaker.com is restricted to the general public that is open to the registered users…it’s all the same. So if you wanted to post then you can freely post comments here. The invitations are for friends and people that I know so they can register if they wish and I know they won’t be spamming me. :) Except maybe Dan…he’s done it before. :P

The third plugin that I found (the Referrer Bouncer was found by someone else and posted in the WordPress forums for me) was one that allows users to login via OpenID! This is really cool because it doesn’t require a user to actually register at your site and waste space! They can register at any website that offers OpenID such as Yahoo, WordPress, Flickr (also Yahoo) and many more!

I didn’t go with WP-OpenID because spammers can still register via OpenID and login on your site. They wouldn’t be spamming the registrations, that’s one plus side, but they are still encouraged to test out my comment filtering system..and they always jump at chances to piss people off like that. :P

So I suggest you look into my “research” if you’re having similar trouble! Enjoy!

Bill Gates’ Last Day With Microsoft

As many of you may already know, today is the last day that Bill Gates will be working with Microsoft. He will be stepping down from his position with Microsoft and is currently the third-richest man in the world!

Microsoft will undoubtedly continue to prosper without Gates of course, but what he did to build and develop the company will be unmatched for the the rest of it’s existence. Although I’ve long since switched to open source platforms such as Ubuntu linux, I must respect the work and effort that he has put into building the corporate Microsoft that we know today.

While catching up in the news over the past few days, I came across a hilarious video featuring Bill Gates and several celebrities in a short skit. You should check it out!

Bill Gates will now be spending his time and work to contribute to charities. What a noble thing to do! I mean with his wealth and status he could do anything, but he chose a very respectable way to spend his retired time.

11 Orgoo Invites left if anyone wants one!

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I’ve still got 11 invites left for the new email service called Orgoo that integrates all of your favorite instant messaging services into the same window!

It’s a very cool new email service mainly aimed towards the younger generation, but everyone would love the integrated instant message features that Orgoo offers. It’s currently invite only, but I have 11 left to give out! If you’re interested in trying Orgoo and want an invite then all you need to do is email me with an invite request.

You can find my contact information on the About page (link located at the top). Please make sure that the subject contains [Orgoo Invite], otherwise it will most likely go straight to spam. ;)

Make sure that you mention in the comments that you sent a request as well and I’ll make sure to check my mail and send you an invite immediately. Check it out while the invites last! Else you’ll most likely be waiting for a while. If you request an invite from the main page then chances are it will take you a while to receive it, so you should take advantage of my offering. ;)

“Sliders” – Watched and Reviewed

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“Sliders” was a Science Fiction (Sci-Fi) TV series that aired from 1995-2000. It’s one of those “oldie, but goodie[s]” if you know what I mean.

The tag line sums it up very nicely.

Four people just found a gateway to another dimension, but they forgot one problem… how to get back!

I’m personally not a fan of The X-Files or anything like that, but I really did enjoy watching this show. I just finished watching the entire show, seasons 1-5, on Netflix with Watch Instantly! Well, almost entirely, there were about 8 episodes that Netflix did not have available to Watch Instantly (it’s like a little scam that Netflix tries to pull thinking we’ll never realize that they would rather slow our watching with rentals). :P

The show was at times very interesting and at other just plain old interesting. I did, however, notice a number of flaws in the story line and other facts that were distributed randomly. I didn’t let any of those get in the way of an honest rating for this show, because I enjoy watching these older shows and movies usually more than brand new shows. :)

If you haven’t seen the show and are planning to watch it or catch-up on some episodes then you may not want to read the details below (possible spoilers)!

One big annoyance that I had with the sitecom as a whole is that the worlds that the original four always slide into are the same as their original with different twists, such as communism and lack of technology. What’s funny is that their duplicates are always there as well and one of them usually holds a pretty powerful position in the alternate world…so the double takes advantage of that situation to make sure they slide to their next world safely.

Another funny thing is that in alternate worlds your double may or may not exist. They would, however, never play with these cases in the stories that were released. When a character died on the show, they would never be seen again. Now that doesn’t make those worlds very alternate does it?

Also, they stress time and time again that the slider device does not allow them to move forward in time or backward in time. They always end up in the same year and same hour and same minute…only a different world. They tend to mess this up two or three times in one of the seasons and say that they are in the pas. Then a new sliders asks in one episode if they slide to the past on another world and they aren’t sure…of course not! The prof. and Quinn already decided that they were not affecting time travel…so where is the confusion? Only in the writers minds. :P

I’ll have to say, the two worst actors on there are Rembrandt ‘Crying Man’ Brown (Cleavant Derricks) and Colin Mallory (Charlie O’Connell). At times they can be decent, but I get sick of Rembrandt Brown always having the role where they land in a world where things aren’t perfect and always asks questions like: “I have one question. How can you people blah blah blah..on this world?” like it’s any of his business and his duty to make everything perfect.

He has to be one of the most annoying ones on the show. And then in the fifth season he begins to run the opening lines on the show…just pathetically read if you ask me. :P

Colin Mallory, Quinn’s older brother, plays a very poor role of being behind times (technologically) and he has a terrible accent. Blah.

Also, it seems that the focus of the show shifts three or four times off course from the original focus in the show. The start sliding just to be the first in the world to see what happens, but then they immediately run into the problem of not being able to return home. The show follows this and runs with it for a couple seasons, but you can tell that the writers are drying up and running out of ideas. Shows start going from minor twists to enormous twists. Not that dinosaurs couldn’t rule the earth in an alternate universe, but the lack of anything that different and then all of a sudden everything is that different is just a little confusing and crappy.

Then, after the crazy worlds with primitive people and animals…we got the whole Kromagg (or however it’s spelled) thing. The Kromaggs were on basically every alternate world that they slid into after they saw them the first time. Kind of stupid how they tried to save every world from the Kromaggs. Honestly, if you’re just sliding so you can get back to your own world wouldn’t you just lay back and enough each world or hunker down in the war zone worlds? I wouldn’t be wasting the time trying to save each alternate world, because they are alternate for a reason. You can’t make them all the same as your own and who says your own is better anyways? Just not very well thought out if you ask me.

I would be sitting out on the beaches and hitting up the popular tourist sites and snapping pictures! Not risking my life to save a world and each time narrowly escaping into the vortex and into another world, only making it by a minute or less at times.

Over all, it’s a good show from start to finish. Worth watching if you can find the time. Just don’t keep notes every time you see something that doesn’t add up or contradicts what has been previously outlined. The best thing to do is just sit back and enjoy the show! If you want to see some comments on the show by other fans who loved the show, but found that it was ruined or flawed in some way then check out this group f comments on Sliders from TV.com.

Opera 9.5 Final Released

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Today Opera released a new “stable” build to the public. The latest “stable” version of Opera changed from Opera 9.27 to Opera 9.50. Opera released Opera 9.5 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) just two days ago. Between Opera 9.27 and Opera 9.50, the Opera Desktop Team fixed ~2350 bugs! You can view the changelogs for Windows, Macinstosh and Unix.

Please help spread Opera! digg it!

This is an incredible amount of fixes for a browser or any product!


Opera 9.5 Wallpapers

To use this wallpaper, you can right-click on the resolution sizes and save the image to your computer. Enjoy! :)

For a full overview of the new features in Opera 9.5 check out my overview of Opera 9.5 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) Opera 9.5 is available for Windows, Macintosh and Unix x86 (32-bit) and Unix x86_64 (64-bit). Go get Opera 9.5 now!

Opera 9.5 Release Candidate 1

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Today Jon von Tetzchner, Opera CEO, has officially release Opera 9.5 RC1 to the world. It has been two years since Opera 9 was first released, so you can image the progress and improvements that have been made since then!

The version numbering may be a bit confusing, but we all might as well consider Opera 9 and Opera 9.5 to be two completely different versions..like Opera 8 vs. Opera 9.

Opera 9.5 has introduced a number of new features and stability improvements since Opera 9 and has even improved compatibility between websites that used to simply not work in Opera.

New features that you will find and fall in love with in Opera 9.5 include Speed Dial, Opera Link, Quick Find, Dragonfly, EV (Extended Validation) and new sportier and improved skin!

Speed Dial


Get to your favorite Web sites with just one click! Speed Dial is a set of visual bookmarks you see when you open a new tab. To add a new page, simply click on an empty Speed Dial.

Opera Link


Access your favorite Web sites everywhere! Opera Link syncs your bookmarks and Speed Dial between your computers and mobile phone. Log in with your Opera username, and your data will always be accessible.

Quick Find


Have you ever forgot the page where you found that great article or that perfect gift? Opera remembers the actual content of the Web pages you visit. In the address bar, just type one word you remember, and Opera finds the page for you immediately.

Dragonfly


Opera 9.5 features a new version of Opera Dragonfly, the upcoming Opera developer tools. Opera Dragonfly makes developing using Opera easier than ever, both on your computer and mobile phone.

EV (Extended Validation)


Not all Web pages are what they say they are. In Opera 9.5, Fraud Protection is enabled by default, detecting and warning you about fraudulent Web sites automatically. Support for Extended Validation certificates (EV) provides added assurance and trust for secure Web sites.

Opera 9.5 Skin


To top things off with, Opera has introduced a new default skin for the browser that is designed to make your life easier and make the browser look more mainstream.

I’ve covered some of the changes made to the skin and layout in another post, but the main things that changed were the placement of the New Tab button, the Home button has returned by default and the coloration of the icons and tool bars have changed.

Now it’s time to, as Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner said, continue to support Opera by turning the whisper into a shout!

Go check out Opera 9.5 RC1 now!

Summertime weather

Although it’s not officially summertime yet, the weather here has been exhausting! It’s been easily reaching into the 80’s and mid-90’s here in Western North Carolina, but the temperature down at the state capital have been topping at or near 100 degrees on a fairly regular basis!

Today, in the mountains, we’ve had a bit of a break with the temperature reaching just over 80 degrees. It’s a good time to take a vacation and just get out on the beach and into some cool waves.

Catching those waves may be a while for me as I’m planning a trip to the beach in mid July, but wouldn’t it be nice right about now. :D

I only hope that these temperatures are still here when I head to the beach! No one likes a beach trip with bad weather.

Well, not much else to blog about today other than the Worldwide Developers Conference 2008. That will find it’s way into another post soon.

In the meantime try to stay out of the heat. :P

Opera 9.5 gets improvements after feedback

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Today the Opera Desktop Team released improvements to the new skin which was released only yesterday! The improvements come from an amazing 300+ posts by users like you and me in just 24 hours. What makes that even more incredible is that this is a beta and snapshot blog, so it’s typically just a small group of people who participate…but not this time!

The new skin has brought the Desktop Team a great deal of attention! If you have a digg account then you should help digg this!

http://digg.com/software/Opera_s_new_modern_UI

The improvements to the skin are aimed at correcting issues that were reported by the majority of the visitors yesterday. More improvements will come shortly (maybe Monday!), but for now the changelog consists of the following:

  • Improved contrast between active and inactive tabs in the tab bar
  • Higher contrast for the text on inactive tabs to increase readability, especially on laptops
  • Brighter background in the panels
  • A tiny bit more color: We added the Home button as default by popular demand
  • We tuned the color intensity of the color themes (Tools: Appearance: Color scheme) to be more usable with both this and other skins. Try it out again!
  • Improved visibility of the scrollbars
  • Buttons no longer grow wider when you press them
  • Nicer background for security status on https pages

To use Opera with the new improvements and test them out, you can go to the latest post or you can use the links I’ve posted below for you:

If you find a bug or an improvement to the skin or this build then help us all out by posting it here:
http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/2008/06/06/turtle-wax

This post is an update to the initial Opera 9.5 skin improvements post from yesterday. To read more about this, you should read the post from yesterday.

Opera 9.5 just got a face lift!

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Good news today for Opera browser fans! The Browser received a much needed face lift today. The desktop team has (on a side project) put together a new skin for the browser to enhance it’s appearance, improve functionality and bridge the gap between a few more cross-browser usability issues.

The new skin is now installed by default in the latest Opera 9.5 snapshots from the Desktop Team’s blog. However, if you need some time to get used to the new skin, they have also packaged the previous skin in the installer as well and it is called the Opera Classic skin.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go download this bad boy as you continue reading the rest of this post! You can grab the download from the original post (which is here), or you can just use the links I’ve gathered below for you. ;)

Now that you’ve got the download process going on in the background, I’ll tell you a little bit about the changes that you may notice.

The new skin has replaced all of the old icons that you may be used to and with glossier and shinier new ones. The back, forward, refresh, stop, etc. buttons are all easily recognizable, but different.

It didn’t take me long at all to like the new skin! I actually liked it from the instant I restarted Opera!

One thing, however, that I used quiet often that has been changed is the panel toggle button that extended up the left-hand side of the window. You could click the talk and narrow button to show or hide the side panel and it’s windows.

A new button has been placed to the left of the tabs that does the exact same thing now. I’m still getting used to it, but I think it’s a good change..as many of you may not have known about the older button in the first place. :P

The New Tab button is now moved to the right side of the row of tabs. It moves as the tabs row grows and is designed..or placed there to be more conveniently placed. This change is also one of the areas that Opera is working to bridge the gap between usability in Internet Explorer 7+ and Opera.

If you’ve used Internet Explorer 7 or 8 (beta) then you known that the new tab button is on the right side of the row of tabs and follows the tabs. Well, this is the same behavior as Opera now. :D

The panels icons are also new. Although they take a little more time to get used to than the navigational icons, they are still a much needed update!

One thing that I’m not in favor of is the background color of the windows in the panels tab. The windows are, in my opinion, too dark and slow for the eyes to glance through.

I’ve spoken with some of the developers and they have told me that the skin is by no means finished. They are taking feedback from everyone, tweaking the theme, releasing it and then taking feedback again.

If you have any suggestions or feedback at all for them then you should go post it in the blog so they hear your voice! You can make a difference in the development of Opera!
http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/2008/06/05/looking-sharp

June: My Movie-holic Month Already

Well, the first day of June was a long and slow one…I didn’t think it was ever going to end. :P I spent most of the day watching movies. Let me tell you, I saw a weird movie today, lol.

Two of my Netflix movies came in the mail yesterday so today I got to was Six Days, Seven Nights and Hotel. Both of them ever David Schwimmer films, but if you only read one part of this blog read this:
Do Not Watch Hotel.

Six Days, Seven Nights was actually pretty good. The basic plot from the Netflix envelope is that David Schwimmer and his girlfriend go on vacation together at a romantic beach. The pilot is Harrison Ford. After a crash landing and not getting along, they learn to get along and understand each other.

That was mostly in my words. :P It was pretty good though.

Now…Hotel, on the other hand, was a weird film. The film is split into four separate stories that are happening at the same time. At times, the screen is split four ways! The acting was very poor, even though some of the actors were acting like actors in the film (you know how they make it seem like they are trying to act).

The film just doesn’t make much sense for the majority of the duration. Near the end, it all comes together, but I’d only suggest watching it if you’re desperate for a film you’ve never seen.

After watching those, I watched the movie Untraceable. It was pretty good, but most of the scenes were ridiculous. The scenes where they show how easy it is to catch people online, find their home, wireless signals, photo id, very detail about them..blah blah blah. It’s just a little bit ridiculous how easy they make it look.

I mean, the applications that they are using should look like AIM and other applications that under-go user interface development to look sweet and awesome. Most hacker tools that I’ve seen (whether they be white-hat or not) are always dull looking and purely designed to get the job done.

Getting the job done with these tools usually requires a step-by-step process that can take a while depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, but in the movie..they had one click and double click method to do anything and everything.

It would be nice if you could do some much so easily, but imagine how many things you could to on a computer starting with turning it on, while on and trying to turn it off..all while only being about to use something like the enter key or maybe only the shift key.

The film just had a lot of little stretches in it, but I guess most people wouldn’t have caught most of it.

That reminds me, I was watching some movie about a week ago with Sandra Bullock in it called something like..The Net..or something like that. Anyhoo, the got an ip address with one of the sections ~340 or something like that. Now, no one in Hollywood knew that all four parts of the ip address must be between 0 and 255?

The film was based in the 1990’s and AFAIK, IPv4 was the latest ip version around that time which means no higher in any levels than 255.255.255.255. IPv6 is the latest used today, but is supported very little and still hasn’t caught on just yet. Major slip-up if you ask me! :)

Anyways, back to watching FRIENDS before I try to pass-out for the night. Who knows, maybe one more movie in a bit. Can’t stay up too much later though. I’ve gotta get up and get those flix back in the mail for the next batch.