Category Archives: Tech

Switch to InMotion Hosting

Notice anything different about House of Annie lately? Like, maybe the site’s pages are loading quicker than usual? It’s almost as if the site is now turbocharged!

Ferrari F430 Spider: Vroom Vroom!

Ferrari F430 Spider

This weekend, I switched the House of Annie’s web hosting service from Go Daddy to InMotion Hosting.  I’ve been wanting to switch to a different host for a while now. With our Go Daddy hosting contract up for renewal this month, I decided it was time to make the switch. And I’m glad I did!

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Defeating Comment Spam Bots

Here’s how I dropped virtually all of my comment spam, with no extra challenge fields to hinder human commenters.

no spam logo by david hegarty

logo by David Hegarty (License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic)

I hate spam. I don’t mean the  canned Hormel pork product that is so tasty in Spam musubi or Spam fried rice. I mean all the unwanted comments and links to any manner of dubious websites invading this blog’s  comments section.

House of Annie is a WordPress-powered blog that used to get a moderate amount of comment spam. Spambots – computers run by spammers to automatically leave comments on blogs – were becoming an increasing nuisance. Like most WordPress blog owners, I use the Akismet anti-spam plugin as my first line of defense against comment spam.

But sometimes Akismet either lets a spam comment through or shunts a legitimate comment over to the Spam queue (a “false positive”). That’s why I moderate comments as well, only letting previously approved commenters get automatic posting privileges. It’s a second line of defense for the ones that gets past Akismet, but doesn’t help with false positives that may be sitting in the Spam queue.

If there are a lot of comments in the spam queue, it’s not so easy to find these false positives. It’s almost like finding a needle in a haystack. As this blog has gotten more popular, that haystack has gotten bigger. I needed to find a way to reduce the comment spam, but did not want to use CAPTCHA or math challenge-response plugins that stop spambots but slow down human commenters.

I think I found my answer.

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Of Facebook and a Thai Recipe

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I love how it has allowed me to be connected with many friends that I’ve lost touch with over the years. It’s amazing how many old high school/college friends I’ve come to know again just from looking up different connections. And Facebook also allows me to keep up with all these friends via their status bars. In a time when we barely have time to shoot emails to each other, this little status updates have helped me to find out which friends are having children, which friends are travelling, which ones have just broken up with their significant others or gotten engaged. It’s amazing how much we can know from that little status bar!

But then again, do I really need to know what is going on with everyone? And do I need to get “cyber hugged” and gifted dimsum, or flowers, or good morning wishes or any other “cyber” thing in the one million and one applications that can be found on Facebook? And then, there are all these polls—which city/country/continent should you live on, what superhero are you, what does your color say about you, etc. (many of which are surprisingly accurate, but not so grammatically).
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