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MindBlog Archives — June 4 - 28, 2002



Previous passing thoughts of a Pageminder

062802 - 08:23 pm (CT)
Been working my fingers off to get MindBlog.com up and running at it's own site.* Hope to have it up by the end of the weekend. Deb at HelpQuest.com has it all (.com with .biz, .info, .net, .org, .us, and .ws all pointing to it) just waiting up there for me to put the finishing touches on it.

I had at first thought about doing a completely different design from my other two sites, WebPageminders.com and Pageminders.com; but thought of a better and, quite frankly, smarter idea. I thought what better way to show what a redesign project might look like than to do that with my own sites. So, I took the basics elements — color scheme, some of the graphics, and text layout — of WebPageminders and redesigned it for MindBlog. (Note: WebPageminders now "points" to Pageminders, so whichever link you click on will take you to Pageminders — JW 12.15.05.)

When I'm done, I'll get back to transforming Pageminders into a clean coding resource site. I'll start by doing another redesign using WebPageminders again as a starting point. When finished, all three sites will become part of my redesign portfolio. As an aside, you're never really finished with a Web site as it is always a work in progress. Top of the page

 
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061802 - 02:15 pm (CT)
As an additional effort to reduce my spam intake, I am trying out MailWasher 1.32, which is a nice little freeware/shareware ($20 to eliminate the advertising) email filtering/bouncing program. So far it has worked nicely, is VERY easy to install and use, and hasn't seemed to screw up any other programs.

MailWasher is used independent of and before using your email program — it gives you a preview of your email while it is still on the server with the option to keep, delete, bounce, and/or blacklist any email you choose. I have it running in the background automatically retrieving my email headers while I am working on whatever and have turned off the automatic efetch in Outlook Express (Tools> Options> General> Check for new messages every __ minutes), so OE doesn't grab any e's before MW has a chance to preview them for me.

The bounce option is rather nice as it sends a "Returned mail: User Unknown" email to the sender as if your eddress did not even exist. I had been doing this myself with a made-up message, but from a real Mailer-Daemon eccount that I had set up just for this task. So far, this works just as well and takes a lot less time — a definite bonus.

I first heard about MailWasher in a Search Engine Watch article, "Nuke that Spam". I was interested enough to save the article, but was not moved to download and try the program until I was reminded of it last week in the Download of the Week in my SitePoint Tribune newsletter. Top of the page

061102 - 07:30 pm (CT)
I was checking out my daily Wusage reports and there it was, just a pile of Unicode and then a 404! I chuckled and felt somewhat vindicated as I checked out at ARIN Whois to see what spambot was trying to mine eddresses from the site. It was an Asian Pacific IP Address, which probably means less "male member" enlargement or herbal remedies for E.D. spams to delete and block.

I came across the rather simple, yet effective means of slowing down the flow of spam in some article and remember thinking at the time, "That's so simple, why didn't I think of that?" They suggested since most spambots can't read Unicode, just replace the @ sign in all of your eddresses with the Unicode for it, which is: @

Later I went even further and tried using JavaScript which also worked nicely — I found the script for this in a NetMechanic Design Tip, "Hide From Email Spiders". However, I soon gave up on the JS idea at the urging of my son, Rob, and my nephew, Michael who are both programmers and have JS turned off in their browsers.

So, instead I decided to go for the whole ball of wax and encoded the whole eddress and, what the heck, I threw in the mailing address and phone numbers, too. To make this task easy, there's a free little utility, E-Cloaker, that I use to do the whole eddress available for download at the CodeFoot site. And to do the addresses and phone numbers — or the whole page if you feel like it — I use Shadow Coder, which is available for free use at the Fantomaster site. Top of the page

060502 - 02:27 pm (CT)
I find it very irritating that the powers that be are deprecating some perfectly good and useful HTML tags and attributes in favor of using styles to do the same thing. For instance, <b></b> - a very nice and straightforward tag that doesn't take up much space versus <span class="bold"></span>, which by my count is seven versus twenty-six spaces taken up by code. OR, how about the width attribute for table data and align attribute for table? OR, the perfectly good <center></center> tag? Not to mention adding the " /" to <br> and <img> tags or now you have to have the end tag for <li>.

Do they know and/or care the time, effort, and money that is going to have to go into updating all of the zillions of pages out there? I know I shouldn't be looking those gift horses in the mouth since I'm going to get paid quite nicely to update my clients' code, but it's time and money better spent on something else... ah, the capitalist in me comes out to argue with the capitalist in me. Enough! Back to getting paid. Top of the page

060402 - 05:52 pm (CT)
By "popular demand", I've been working on a MindBlog Update List. When I have it finished it will appear at the bottom of this page… well, at least as of right now it will. A pet peeve of mine is when all you want to do is change the eddress you are having a newsletter sent to and they make you jump through hoops only to find out you have to totally unsubscribe and then re-subscribe. So, I'm trying to make it so easy to subscribe, unsubscribe, or just change your eddress that it wouldn't even tick me off — some might say an impossible task...yeah yeah yeah, so what do they know. Until then I shall just have to send an email to the "popular demand". Top of the page

* MindBlog was started at Pageminders.com on 05.23.02 and moved to its present location at MindBlog.com on 07.02.02.

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