Archive | September 2005

Microsoft & Golf

I had a real funny experience today that I need to share. Its Labor day today and after eating our traditional Labor Day breakfast and watching a movie with the family we decided to go to Golfland.

Long story short, just as I told the lady that I needed four adults and one child they informed me their computers just went down. They told me that the computer was being restarted and that it would be a minute… four reboots later and almost 15 minutes I asked “is their computer running Microsoft Windows?” They answered in the affirmative and I could not help but laugh to my self. 10 minutes later, a man behind me asked what was taking so long and I told him the computers are down and they are trying to reboot them. I also told him that they were running Microsoft Windows. Immediately he said… a miniature golf place in the [silicon] valley should be running on UNIX or Linux. I told him that I agreed.

A line of 30 or 40 people quickly shortened to only about 5 people. It is sad that an unstable OS can loose a company like this money. I wonder if this is factored into the Microsoft cost analysis. (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/facts/casestudies/default.mspx) I am sure any other OS would have its down time as well, but I wonder if it would go down as often or be as unstable. Who knows, but I challenge small businesses to try. 🙂

 

Gimp on windows

A friend of mine loved  to use gimp on Linux to create some pretty advanced photo manipulation and graphic effects. The other day when I was downloading something for my windows machine I came across a gimp for windows page. I couldn’t wait so I downloaded it and installed it on my machine. It is pretty cool! Why am I so exited about it? Its gimp and it can open Photoshop files.

If you can’t afford Photoshop or choose not to buy it just because you rarely use it, use gimp.

Check it out:
http://www.gimp.org/windows/

Stop email bots from harvesting your email addresses

Are you as sick as spam as I am? Some people just don’t quite!

Years ago I made three vital mistakes that caused my spam count to go up dramatically and of course got my email address in most every spam list in the world.

The first mistake was , and of course the $5 gift certificate for Amazon sounded good at the time.) I learned my lesson and now use a separate email address (yahoo.com/gmail/hotmail) on sites I don’t completely trust with my regular email address.

The second one was I had my personal email address on my 10 domain names as the contacts. After it was almost too late, I replaced my personal email with a generic email address that I only check when I need to (domains@domain.com.)

The third thing was putting my email address on many web sites as a means for people to contact me (of course my email address was harvested by every spammer on the internet.) So through reading on the web sometime ago I came across a tip on how to write your email address in JavaScript s the users (humans) could click on it and it would work, but bots would not be able to see it unless they had JavaScript enabled. I also added an extra level of security by converting my email address into a string of ASCII codes. It seems to work pretty well.

If you would you like to generate code that you can use on your site with your email address, click here.

If your interested, here are some helpful links:
Email Converter and text to ASCII code output java script –http://www.myhep.com/tools/email.php
ASCII Chart I used to create the script – http://www.web-source.net/symbols.htm
A post that I used as a reference for converting valid email address characters to ASCII codes –http://www.ilovejackdaniels.com/php/email-address-validation

If you found this useful in any way, please post a comment. Good Luck!

 

How I found the longest email address in the world

And you thought your current email address was hard for people to understand over the phone. 🙂

One day at work I came across a email address in our db that I was almost completely sure was fake just because of how long it was.

I still don’t know exactly why having the longest email address in the world would be a cool thing but I must say it is unique.

Check it out by going to the web site:

http://www.abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijk.com

Be sure you set your email field length in your database to accommodate email addresses this large! 😉

 

URLS to LINKS

In a content management system I was working on at work we noticed there was a couple of problems with how the URLs entered by users broke our web site due to their length. We also had a request to automatically turn hand typed URLs into links, so here is what I did in C#

Added the RegEx namespace:

using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

 

Here is the method I added to our utility class:

public string URLsToHyperlinks(string sInput)<br /> {<br /> return Regex.Replace(sInput, @&quot;(\bhttp://[^ ]+\b)&quot;, @&quot;&lt;a href=&quot;&quot;$0&quot;&quot;&gt;$0&lt;/a&gt;&quot;);<br /> }

Here is a function that does the same thing only in PHP

function urls_to_hyperlinks($text)<br /> {<br /> return preg_replace( &quot;`((http)+(s)?:(//)|(www\.))((\w|\.|\-|_)+)(/)?(\S+)?`i&quot;, &quot;&lt;a href=\&quot;http\\3://\\5\\6\\8\\9\&quot; title=\&quot;\\&quot; target=\&quot;_blank\&quot;&gt;\\5\\6&lt;/a&gt;&quot;, $text); <br /> }

 

URLS to LINKS

In acontent management system I was working on at work we noticed there was a couple of problems with how the URLs entered by users broke our web site due to their length. We also had a request to automatically turn hand typed URLs into links, so here is what I did in C#

Added the RegEx namespace:


using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

Here is the method I added to our utility class:


public string URLsToHyperlinks(string sInput)
{

return Regex.Replace(sInput, @”(\bhttp://[^ ]+\b)”, @”<a href=””$0″”>$0</a>”);

}

Here is a function that does the same thing only in PHP


function urls_to_hyperlinks($text)
{

return preg_replace( “`((http)+(s)?:(//)|(www\.))((\w|\.|\-|_)+)(/)?(\S+)?`i”, “<a href=\”http\\3://\\5\\6\\8\\9\” title=\”\\” target=\”_blank\”>\\5\\6</a>”, $text);

}

Email White Lists / Avoiding Spam Filters

A few weeks ago asked to find out why some of our users were not getting email from our web site. My first thought was that I did everything I needed to do already and that there was not anything we could do to make our mail be accepted by recipient mail servers. Long story short, I found a few things that I could quickly do to make a difference.

Here are a few simple things I needed to change:

  1. Make sure your mail server has reverse DNS.
    its pretty strait forward, all you have to do is contact your ISP and ask them to delegate the reverse dns to you. I set them up in about 15 minutes. I found out that AOL email servers will not accept email from servers that do not have their reverse dns setup. To see if your server is setup you can go to:http://postmaster.info.aol.com/tools/rdns.html
  2. Make sure your email headers are not throwing red flags.
    I had to make a couple of changes to the postfix main.cf file because it was sending the mail from domain.com instead of the correct relay.domain.com.
  3. Add a SPF entry to your dns zone.
    I was doing a test on one of those cool DNS testing sites and saw that I should have my SPF configured. I had no idea what it even was and then I search google and found this sitehttp://spf.pobox.com/wizard.html?mydomain=domain.com&x=24&y=6. from there I just completed the wizard and edited my zone files and I was good to go.

Of course there are many other things I have done to ensure the legit email I send is not counted as spam, but these were three things that caught me by surprise.

I’m no mail server expert, but with the help of AWStats I can see now that email is being sent and there are 90+% less errors.

Numbers likes these are hard to ignore… (wasn’t that on a TV commercial? 😉

 

Email White Lists / Avoiding Spam Filters

A few weeks ago asked to find out why some of our users were not getting email from our web site. My first thought was that I did everything I needed to do already and that there was not anything we could do to make our mail be accepted by recipient mail servers. Long story short, I found a few things that I could quickly do to make a difference.

Here are a few simple things I needed to change:

  1. Make sure your mail server has reverse DNS.
    its pretty strait forward, all you have to do is contact your ISP and ask them to delegate the reverse dns to you. I set them up in about 15 minutes. I found out that AOL email servers will not accept email from servers that do not have their reverse dns setup. To see if your server is setup you can go to: http://postmaster.info.aol.com/tools/rdns.html
  2. Make sure your email headers are not throwing red flags.
    I had to make a couple of changes to the postfix main.cf file because it was sending the mail from domain.com instead of the correct relay.domain.com.
  3. Add a SPF entry to your dns zone.
    I was doing a test on one of those cool DNS testing sites and saw that I should have my SPF configured. I had no idea what it even was and then I search google and found this site http://spf.pobox.com/wizard.html?mydomain=domain.com&x=24&y=6. from there I just completed the wizard and edited my zone files and I was good to go.

Of course there are many other things I have done to ensure the legit email I send is not counted as spam, but these were three things that caught me by surprise.

I’m no mail server expert, but with the help of AWStats I can see now that email is being sent and there are 90+% less errors.

Numbers likes these are hard to ignore… (wasn’t that on a TV commercial? 😉