Canned Spam vs. Spam Karma

The blog comment spam here on SuperAff has ramped up again. My new record is 300+ overnight. You have no idea how much p0rn and guru make money fast and adsense superkits and yada yada your eyes have been spared ;).

The good news is that Spam Karma is really holding well and only an odd few have snuck through, while 99% of the legit comments are posting live.

I find the secret to success with Spam Karma is continually adding common spam words to the blacklist.

Secret #2: Add .info domains to the domain blacklist. Sorry legit .info webmasters, but wowzers all the spam from .info domains is like a locust swarm from armageddon.

How to delete hundreds of spam comments quickly? It’s a trick I had to figure out:

Spam Karma >> Recent Spam Harvest >> Display 200 (change from 20) >> click Invert Checkbox Selection (beside Remove Selected Entries) >> Then eyeball the spam comments, uncheck anything that’s legit >> Now click Remove Selected Entries

Voila! 200 spam comments wiped out in one minute. Blog comment spam no longer consumes my time. Feel the power!

Bad Habits Hard To Break?

Last week I talked about cutting time wasters and so far so good on my end. But I did something sneaky for myself just to make sure and kick away that evil gremlin beckoning me to goof off:

For those bad habit daily haunts–I added the domains to my router’s banned domain list (look under parent controls). Now if I’m ever tempted to visit that gossip blog or distracting website that I find myself drawn to a few times a day, I get a 403 Forbidden error page. hehe.

I know that this is probably the most pathetic thing you’ve ever seen an ADULT have to do for themselves, but I’m telling ya–quitting some daily non-productive site visits is like trying to quit smoking ;).

So yeah. I’m doing GREAT with my new determination to not waste so much time online. I have no choice :lol:.

Sidenote: I realize that all it takes is for me to pull out my password, login and change the settings back, but it’s a hassle that I can’t be bothered with and then the quick peek urge has passed.

Also if you’re interested in doing this for yourself and you don’t have a router or firewall that you can block domains with, you can do the same thing in your hosts file (see this post on how to do that).

If I conquer this, heck I may try quitting smoking next!

Running Out Of Server Space?

I had a shock the other day when I received notice from one of my webhosts that I was using over 80% of my server space and that I needed to look at removing some files or upgrading my hosting package to accommodate my server needs.

I had a hard time believing that I was using nearly 100 MBs so I did some digging around and cleaned out what I could. Didn’t make much difference. I downloaded a complete site backup to my desktop to confirm for myself that I really did have that much uploaded–and indeed I did.

I was a bit stumped because it wasn’t that long ago when I noted to myself I had over 1/2 the space free and I really hadn’t added anything that would account for the space hog. That’s a lot of room.

With my backup on my computer, I checked the various folder sizes and found a huge amount of MBs in the mail folder–something like 35 MBs. I went into cPanel and check the webmail. Bingo!

*Hundreds* of spam emails were sitting in my webmail account. I have it setup that I download all emails to my computer and then the mail is removed from the server. In this case I wasn’t receiving the spam because it was being sent to email addresses for my domain that don’t exist. The emails were just sitting in my online space.

I’ve cleaned out all that spam and now all is well.

Tip: If your server space is filling up and you’re not sure why, check your webmail.

Clear Off Your Desktop – Windows Users

Now this is something I didn’t know:

Many people choose to save files on their desktop because they are easily accessible. However, what they may not know is that there are certain risks associated with this practice – the biggest one being that you increase the chances of losing your files.

Source: Lockergnome

Yikes! I keep *a lot* of stuff on my desktop (in folders). That’s all been moved as soon as I read that article. I’ve had to do a few system restores over the years and I never noticed anything missing, but why take chances.

Tip:

  • Create a folder in My Documents (call it Desktop or whatever)
  • Create a Shortcut of that folder and drop it on your desktop
  • Store all the things in that shortcut folder rather than on the desktop itself. That way everything’s tucked away in My Documents, yet still easy access from the Desktop

Custom 404 Page For WordPress

Normally when setting up a custom 404 page you just need to create your page, save it as 404.shtml, plop it in your main directory and voila! It’s all good.

Or do the redirect in your .htaccess file:

ErrorDocument 404 http://superaff.com/your-custom-page.html

But no matter what I tried, or how much hair I pulled – I could not get the sucker to work on this blog. I think it’s partly due to the permalink structure I’m using, maybe the WP version 2.01 has a configuration somewhere too that I was fighting against.

So here’s what I did:

  • Open the blog theme’s index.php page
  • Copy all contents and paste to a new file
  • Save that file as 404.php
  • Delete everything between <div id=”content”> and </div> (or whatever the post’s content div class is named)
  • Rename div id=”content” to div id=”content404″
  • Within the content404 div in 404.php, add the information you want on your custom 404 page
  • In the style.css file, play with the formatting of the div until it displays the way you want
  • Upload both 404.php and the updated style.css files

Here’s what the error page for SuperAff looks like:

http://superaff.com/test404
*sorry it’s not clickable – I don’t want to point to a live error page

The plugin I used for the archive list was Smart Archives for WordPress. A few tweaks were involved, but it’s easy enough to work with.

By copying the blog theme’s index.php and altering it a bit for the 404.php, if I add anything to my sidebars (header, footer or any .css changes for the main template), it will update on the 404.php as well since I’m still pulling the same includes as the main blog template.

Pretty hands free once it’s set up.

ETA: Whoops! I forgot to give a hat tip to the WordPress Codex for the tip: Creating An Error 404 Page

Using A USB Hard Drive – Back Up Computer & Files

When you have 2 gigs of ebooks sitting on your computer that you don’t want to lose – what do you do?

Or gigs and gigs of software programs – and their backups.

Websites, databases, script programs – and their backups.

I was really at a loss as to what the best, most workable method for me would be. And since I’m a tightwad – it had to be economical as well.

Disks and CDs drive me crazy. For one thing – I hate digging through my mile high disk pile trying to find the one I’m looking for. Plus I wasn’t very ‘up-to-date’ on my CD burning.

For awhile I was uploading everything to a hosting account of mine that has a crazy amount of space (cheap too!). But that gets interesting when you’re doing weekly backups of your account. And tiresome when trying to upload/download large files. Even though the files were kept private – I think I was breaking some copyright rules by storing this stuff on the web.

I wasn’t interested in a tape backup system. Or adding another hard drive to my computer. My computer’s a few years old now. Still running fast & furious – but I don’t want to put any money into upgrades.

So when I was at the computer shop getting my son’s computer upgraded a few weeks ago (darn gamers are needy) and saw a 40GB USB Hard Drive on for $100 (Canadian) — I snagged it.

It’s small & easy to handle since it’s just a few inches in size – 3″ x 5″ aluminum case. I just plug it into my USB Hub and voila! I now have 40 gigs waiting to be filled.

Storing and retrieving files with a USB Hard Drive is just like working with a floppy or cd. Plus if you need something portable to carry your files around – this couldn’t be simpler.

And I like the leather pocket it came with too :).

If you’re worried about computer crashes eating your files –the big what if– picking up a USB Hard Drive for yourself may be just the ticket you’re looking for.