I have changed the way this website handles comments. The old system made it very difficult for me to deal with any spam comments or the occasional blank comment.
The new system doesn't currently use a captcha but does include some spam filtering. It also requires me to approve all comments before they appear, so any spam comments can be deleted more easily.
I will need to copy the old comments over to the new system which may take a while, but with any luck the transition will be fairly seamless.
I've modified the comments system to use the reCAPTCHA system, rather than my home-made one which relied on the user to count the number of animals in a photo.
reCAPTCHA helps digitise old books by letting people type in words which are a challenge to OCR systems. More information can be found by clicking on the link above.
Not impressed so far. Only an hour after installing the reCAPTCHA, I received 2 spam comments. Under my old system I rarely got any spam comments. I'll give it a day and if it stays like this I'll put the old CAPTCHA back.
Two hours later and another spam comment. I'm putting the old CAPTCHA back. I had hoped that reCAPTCHA would work. I didn't expect to get more spam with it installed.
There has been an increase in the number of people stealing images from this website and re-using them uncredited, as if they were their own pictures. A lot of sites have been 'hot-linking' to the images, so the first thing I did was to stop the site from accepting direct links to images.
To try to prevent people from downloading and re-using images, I have been forced to add a copyright notice as a watermark on all the photographs. It is unfortunate that I've been forced to do this. I don't mind people using my photos as long as they ask permission and I get credited as photographer.
I've tried to make the watermark fairly unobtrusive, to avoid it ruining the appearance of the photographs.
When I check my email this morning, I was surprised to find 64 emails sitting there wanting attention. I was more surprised to find that most of these were 'delivery failure' notices, all from emails which I hadn't sent. Even more surprising was that these were all send during a brief time window between 21:51 and 21:59.
I hope nobody out there is receiving junk email from this domain, but I can assure everyone that I'm not sending any out myself. This is most likely due to spammers inserting my domain as the 'from' address. Some information about the problem can be found here.
I managed to get my computer back up and running again last night. I was worried that I'd have to re-install windows, which would have been a pain since I couldn't find the setup disk. In the end I managed to download a bootable CD which enabled me to backup my data and run the disk check/repair tool.
My computer died over the weekend, so I can't read my email (at least, not without being overwhelmed by spam - I've got various mail filters set up on Mozilla Thunderbird. They manage to delete most of it before it gets downloaded to my inbox). Of course this also means that any site updates will be late and/or brief.
I've added an rss feed to the website. I originally set it up a few weeks ago so my facebook profile could pick up blog entries but I've now added the appropriate code so that firefox can automatically pick up the feed. It's still a bit experimental at the moment. I'll add a button to the sidebar as soon as I'm sure it works properly. In the meantime, the link is here:
I found out the other day that the 'Email Me' form wasn't working properly and any emails would fail without generating an error. Apologies to anyone who sent an email without getting a reply. It's up and running again now.
Over the weekend, I moved the website to a new web host. A lot of the addresses and configuration for the blog script needed changing but hopefully I've got everything sorted now. Most of the links now work but occasionally you'll get an error message explaining about the site moving. That probably means there's a link I've not fixed or a page I've not uploaded yet. It will probably take me most of this week before everything's working properly.
I've noticed that when a website links to a particular page on my site, then instead of displaying the correct page it will give an error announcing that the page is forbidden. The page will display correctly if the URL is copied into the address bar instead.
If you are seeing this page instead of the one you expected to see, then this may have happened. If after trying the method given above, you still can't see the page you are after, then it may have been moved or deleted.
I noticed that my existing website hadn't been updated for a while, so decided to do something about it. I thought that the best way of doing this was to use a system which would make it easier for me to add pages to the site, and blogging software seemed to be one possible route. So here it is... I've decided to try out Blosxom, it's fairly basic but easy to use and configure. I'll have to see how things go now - hopefully this will encourage me to update my site a bit more often.