Monthly Archive for January, 2005

Beware the power of .htaccess

Ok, this is an egg on my face story:

On Janaury 9th, I wrote about adding Jeremy’s comment spam prevention code to my site. I also added the code to my .htaccess file. All has been well. I’ve gotten dramatically less spam since then… however…

I logged into my Google Adsense account the other day, and noticed that my earnings were way down… waaaay down. And that got me concerned. At first I suspected Google did a Google Dance on their servers, and that was sending a lot less traffic to me… but I figured if that had happened, a lot of other people would be complaining too, and I hadn’t noticed that… so…

I started looking at when the traffic dropped off, and I realized it apparently happened on January 10th. So, I read what I wrote on the 9th and/or 10th, and realized that I probably broke my site when I played with my .htaccess file, as it was all working fine before I played with that file.

Sure enough, none of the links on my site were working. See, I’ve got “extension free urls” which is a trick I pulled off, so that you can look at this url:

http://www.inluminent.com/weblog/archives/2005/01/09/comment_spam_prevention/
instead of this url:
http://www.inluminent.com/weblog/archives/2005/01/09/comment_spam_prevention.php

Not a huge deal, but enough that I like having “extension free urls”. Well, none of those links were working… but the real url (with the .php) was working fine, so I knew it wasn’t my entire site that was broken…

Anyways, I started investigating the .htaccess files for this site, and I had like 4 or 5 saved versions (I always save a copy, just in case I break something)… but none of them were from Janaury 9th. (I save files with this filename format filename.save.20050109 so that I know when they were saved from.)

I figured that maybe I didn’t save a copy, so I started playing with the .htaccess file powering the site, deleting stuff, and moving stuff around, and nothing was working. So I changed the owner to my useraccount and to root, and chmod’d it to 777, 755, 555, 677, 766, all manner of different combinations…

All to no avail.

Then I thought maybe I created a new .htaccess file in the /weblog directory for some reason, in addition to the one that sits at the root directory for this site.

Sure enough, that’s what I did. And the two files weren’t playing nice to each other, for whatver reason.

I deleted the extra file, and viola, all is well again.

Like I said, beware the power of .htaccess when you don’t really understand how mod_rewrite works, or rather, beware my own idiocy.

So, here’s to getting the Google traffic back to my archive pages, which is obviously where 90% of my Google revenues come from.

Selling to Introverts (online)

Bryan Eisenberg just wrote a fantastic article on MakingAdWork about selling online, specifically to introverts:

We must understand and be prepared to sell to introverts the way they want to buy. Typically, introverts require a large amount of information. Questions should be answered systematically, in the order they would arise.

The point of resolution is important. Understanding this helps you develop your site as a conversation tool. If you’ve developed your personas correctly, you can anticipate visitors’ questions and answer them appropriately, in the correct time and sequence. Visitors will likely click until they find enough information to feel as if they tried out the product or service in the inner recesses (i.e., pre-frontal cortex) of their minds.

Read the whole article. It’s a short read, but worth it, if you’re in the business of selling on the web.

Comment Spam Prevention

This:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^$

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_METHOD} ^POST$

RewriteRule ^/mt/mt-comments.cgi – [F]

From Jeremy: Using mod_rewrite against stupid comment spam bots… (by Jeremy Zawodny).

You rock Jeremy. Thanks.

Playing with WordPress

Ok, I succumbed to the pressure. I’m playing with WordPress, but not really because I chose to download it and install it, rather, because I was searching for a new host for a buddy’s website, DubMiller.com, and I was referred to Dreamhost by a different buddy.

After the initial account set up, I noticed in Dreamhost’s “Goodies” menu item, a WordPress Install option, and I figured “what the hell?” Took all of 2 minutes to install WP. Twice. Wow!

So I installed WordPress on DubMiller.com and JohnEngler.com.

I’m still looking for a phpNuke to WordPress or MT script, if anyone has one, or wants to work on one. I’d be happy to beta test, if that’s required.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a host, I can definitely recommend Dreamhost. For two reasons. One, it literally took 30 minutes to get a fantastic hosting plan up and running for two domains, with all email users added and a good open-source CMS tool installed. Second, they pay referral fees for people that sign up based on you recommending them. Wow. Now that’s classy. So, if you do look into them, use this link: Dreamhost referral link, or tell them you’re signing up thanks to a referral from johnengler.com.

Oh, and any wordpress tips are greatly appreciated. I haven’t decided to switch everything over to WP yet, but will think about it as I learn more about the tool.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year folks.

Wondering where I’ve been?

Easy answer: Spending my leisure time with the 6 week old kid. It’s that simple.

I haven’t fallen out of love with blogging by any means, I just have fallen in love with my son, and thus, I’ve been holding him, playing with him, getting him to smile, bouncing him, changing him, trying to get him to sleep, or eat, or changing him (yes, I wrote that twice).

I’ve also been spending time updating our family website with pictures. Lots of them.

I did some counting today of how many pictures we’ve taken:

1,634 pictures taken since November 23, 2004
7 hours of video shot since then (and edited into about 30 minutes of useable video at this point)

Between May 23, 1998 and November 23, 2004, we took a total of about 3500 photos. That’s 3,500 photos over 6 years (give or take). We didn’t shoot any video in that same time frame.

Compare those two data points.

Anyone wanna buy stock in Kodak or Fuji now? Or maybe Canon or Epson?

Or, if you’re smart you’d buy it in Apple, as of those 1600+ photos we’ve taken, we’ve printed about 100 (in triplicate for the grandparents). And we ordered those photos from Apple through iPhoto. We also printed 4 Photo Books from iPhoto.

I’ve bought 50 songs from iTunes for use in the videos I’m making with iMovie, and I’m burning DVD’s for the grandparents with iDVD.

I thought I knew what Steve Jobs meant by “digital hub” a few years ago… boy was I wrong. I now know what he meant.

Wishing you all a good 2005… I’m sure I’ll get back to posting over here again soon.

p.s. my little birdies tell me that ThinkSecret’s predictions about a new sub $500 Mac are true… look for it in a few weeks.