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Tech Progress Report

Blog migrated to a new server. Many things still flaky.

Along the way I learned that I had 2.2 GB — yes gigabytes — of useless accumulated metadata for comments, caused by getting 1.5 million 2.1 million or so sp*m comments over the last decade. I removed those with the WordPress WP Clean Up plugin which worked like a champ.

Before I got to that point, however, I had to back up my databases, and because of all the cruft they were too large to back up on the old host. Eventually I figured out how to let PHP run for half an hour and I got there.

The transfer to the new service (Dreampress instead of a VPS at Dreamhost) was supposed to be automatic, but it wasn’t. Files didn’t get copied over, permissions were wrong, and doubtless more stuff I don’t know about yet.

Anyway, lots of cleanup and checking left to do.

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Could Be A Long Weekend

Gonna do radical stuff under the hood of the blog. Expect flaky behavior until I sound the all clear.

Best case: all goes smoothly tomorrow and blog stops crashing.

Worst case: on Monday I’m back where I started.

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More than 1.3 Million Spams

That’s what I got this past year. That’s more than triple the previous year, and more than ten times what I got four years ago.

The level has gotten so great that the blog crashes about once a day; it’s practically a DDOS attack. Something will have to be done — but short of paying for very much more expensive hosting, I’m not at all clear what would be. I use Akismet and a javascript-based test too.

This combination worked fine for a decade. Now I’m getting overwhelmed. Over the past decade, 99.67% of my comments have been spam. I could turn off comments — it’s not like I’m overwhelmed with real ones these days — but I’d hate to do that.

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Moved to a New Server got a new server overnight and then crashed a few times. Here’s hoping the bugs get ironed out soon….

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Annals of Weird Marketing


My name is Devin. I am an online website optimization consultant for small to medium size businesses. I came across your website and have noticed that there are many things that can be improved on your website to help you rank better in the search engines and ultimately drive more traffic to your webpage. Currently you have a page rank of 2nd position of 5th page for the Keyword – Balance of Miami-Dade House Painter – this can be improved very quickly. I will be happy to review your site in more depth for and give you a free quote on how you can improve your traffic, which will ultimately give you more online visibility, increasing your revenue.

Balance of Miami-Dade House Painter? Really? Someone has written a program to send ads touting SEO services and that is the best they can come up with?

PS. After this post, I bet I make the 4th page for “Balance of Miami-Dade House Painter” at least! And without paying a penny!

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What is Scorecardresearch Doing Here?

Excess of Democracy blog has a post about trackers on lawprof blogs. Coincidentally, I spent a couple of hours today trying to figure out why it is that gtmerix reports that has this redirect, which both slows the site and amounts to a tracker on users:

I certainly didn’t put any of that in here on purpose. I have grepped all the code for this site and the words “scorecardresearch” and “specificclick” don’t appear anywhere in it. That means either something is inserting the code, or it is obfuscated in some way.

I can imagine three possibilities: (1) a plugin has some javascript; (2) something in the right margin; (3) a malicious code injection.

I tried disabling several of the plugins (but not all as some are essential), but nothing changed. I tried removing a couple of the most likely suspects from the right margin, but that wasn’t it. I don’t know how to look for the code injection.

Any thoughts on how best to track this down?

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What Gets Commentators Excited

I write a fair amount about politics here. And about the law. But what issue has the power to keep commentators excited ten years after I first posted about it? Knee Defender.

The fringes of the public sphere indeed.

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