Category: Internet (Page 2 of 2)

Keep out the bots

If you did not know it, half of the internet is overrun by bots.

Most of them are very useful like the GoogleBot, crawlers, and spiders. But others are not so good and usually end up showing when you do not want to.

I “recently” have been doing all sort of tests, attunements, and changes. This with the objective to make the website much more resilient to attacks and solve problems that were left unchecked from the past iteration as mentioned before.

That is when I started to notice how much rampant was the problem of the bots at this place.

For example, here is a graph showing the fall of traffic when changed the “Not found” errors to “Permanently Moved”.

No more bots traffic!

Sudden drop around April 24th

That drop sure was dramatic.

Why was it so?

Well, in short, most of the traffic that I had did come from bots and crawlers. They were trying to access parts of this website that did not exist anymore. Especially for a gallery that I set up for photo sharing with people.

That and some links from nodes, created back when using Drupal, that were still indexed at google.

But of course, not all traffic was from nice behaving bots.

Weird Requests from bots

During the time I checked the logs, started to see internal links to stuff like “Get X medicine”, “shop for X and such”, and so on.

I did not ever remember to have had such stuff on this website!

Since the attempts to access such content was quite often, it makes me wonder if maybe it was some sort of malicious bot, as I did not recognize the “browser string”.

The string just ended pointing to a corporation that offered “analytic solutions”. I’ll not mention it the name, but it was really weird to see such thing in the logs.

Maybe the bots were just hiding themselves to look less suspicious.

Other requests were much more bizarre. They were attempting to access and change stuff at the old Drupal administration core.

But the prize comes to the one that had me puzzled the most: “/_/_/”.

No idea what was the intention of this specific address, probably some sort of exploit attempt but that just came up with nothing now…

 Just to end

While bots are very useful, from crawlers to news feeds fetchers, some of them just have very bizarre and obscure intentions.

Keeping a website safe can be easy if you use the correct software on it and if you keep it up to date. This is maybe the core element in matters of security, alongside a strong password.

But of course, no software or account is safe. Yet, you can do a lot of things to protect yourself from it.

The importance of blogging or to blog

Should one just spend some time blogging or not? or writing in general? That is part of the question, but also with just frequency. Something that with the new era of information… is becoming much more used for marketing.

While there are many reasons on why one should blog, even including marketing, I will not just focus on that really, but more about the person itself and out why it is important to have stuff written out. And will use me as an example.

What are your reasons then?

1. Starting to write at home, to create a blogging habit

While it may sound silly, it is one of the main reasons out why I am doing this. At work, I write a bunch… but it is mostly “mindless writing”, automatic one. You type what you are seeing or hearing. You are done.

Does it improve you? No, not at all.

You can’t get better if you do not have access to review what you have written and then create a review of it. Hard when what your type is mean for other functions and it is gone. When it is ephemeral.

During a time since the last time I had a blog and this new reborn, I almost did not want to write at home. Long sentences? No thanks.

I am trying to change that, as I really like to write. So I am working to create the habit.

2. To see how often I come with new stuff to write about

I have read a bunch of things about that you usually need to write a post a day or such. Given my situation that can be a whole much sometimes… as I am pretty much captive during eight hours already.

Sometimes, you come with an idea earlier in the day but you can’t just write that down into a post… when you get home, with a headache and many other ailments, I bet you it is not easy to write then or either remember what you wanted to share.

Also, I have noticed how my “eureka” process works. Usually, an idea for something to write comes after a few couple of days or as a subset from another post.

It can work, but if you write when you feel like, it is better than to force yourself and to end with a mess. Find your own pace, really.

3. Improve my English skills

I do not know if you have noticed it, but have you seen the domain? It totally points to México. In fact, my native language is Spanish.

This blog, in this new iteration, serves me as a way to make me better at writing at English, even if I have some kind of help on that. So, spending some time into forcing me to write in this language can help me in the long run.

Despite that, I have been tinkering with the idea of write once again in Spanish.

The reasons are simple: It is my main language and the past iteration of this blog was about “anime” events that were happening in the place where I live.

I still get a lot of traffic from people that are searching for such topics. Sadly, such content it is not there anymore and there is no way I can recover it. That is because of the owner, me, just spend a lot of time away and this was overtaken by “an infestation“.

Do not let that happen to you.

4. To create a personal blogging archive of things that I like

This is the kind of things that for what a blog should be about.

When one spends time blogging, one should do it for any reason he or she may like… not only because “you are to do money with it“. Of course, what will be better than do money with what you like? But not always that is the case.

But sharing your mind around can come with a lot of benefits, as sometimes it even serves as a way to discover yourself and to “talk with oneself”, to train the mind and remember.

Of course, blogging about what solution you have come with a specific problem can be very useful too. And if you like to help others, that for sure will bring you some sort of benefit.

Like some people may say: “your space, your choices”. But be smart.

5. To move forward

My life was stuck before I did recover this little space of the internet. While you may say that sharing stuff like this on facebook or twitter is enough… sometimes it is not because such platforms are very ephemeral.

Sometimes you want to move forward looking at the past and what you have done to have a much more solid future. Sometimes that is not possible with other platforms. That is why blogging is my answer because I like to write about a bunch of things.

This is my true way to move forward.

What’s next then?

First of all… continue to move where things are heading, then keep growing and make this a strong habit.

I am very likely to start to write stuff back in Spanish one of this days. No idea if I will totally swap off English from this place or simply… mix English and Spanish (no, not like Spanglish), but for sure with every new post I will get the seed for the next blogging iteration.

Life is about enjoying what you do, and this is part of what I like to do. Create.

Self history with: Joomla, Drupal and WordPress

Back in 1999, we did not have access to stuff like WordPress or any CMS. Doing websites was some short of a challenge and persistence. I have been doing them since mid-2000 if I remember well, with my first big attempt at 2003.

During such time, I have learned PHP, MySQL, some Javascript and whatever I have come across with it. Of course, back in the day, you did not have anything named “Joomla”, “Drupal” or “WordPress”. If you wanted a CMS, you either spend a bunch of bucks or ended making one by yourself. I mostly did stuff with my bare hands.

While doing stuff yourself seems nice, there is a moment where you eventually grow tired. You just want to add content and have everything work without issues.

While adding stuff was not hard… it was not really efficient, in the way I did stuff… so, with the time you simply stopped to do so.

Retaking the network

Somewhere in 2010, I started to be serious about retaking and having a much more professional site and so on. I had a bunch of experience with a website from back 2004, but I was more than sure that did not want to go all the same road all once again.

Gathered then some of my pieces around: Plain HTML is a big NO NO. It is going to be a pain to keep such things. Have you tried to edit 10 HTML files? When you are at the 5th one, you already want to do something else.

The second way to go was PHP again with some tricks, but NO. It was very unprofessional. While I for sure were able to make it look nice and such… in the long run, it was falling into the same pitfall than before… or worst… maybe open a random bug can.

What was the solution then? At that time, there were now some names and the CMS started to take everything around.

One of the first considerations I had was the PHP-Nuke CMS, that I remembered seeing from somewhere, but do not remember what exactly made me not to give it a try.After some extra search eventually had a few names to give it a try: Joomla,

After some extra search eventually had a few names to give it a try: Joomla, Drupal and WordPress.

Joomla

I am not going to be fair with this engine as I do not remember giving it enough chances.

When I installed and give it a test run, I felt like that Joomla was quite fitting to what I needed back in the day: A simple blogging platform.

Played with it a few hours until I went ahead to try and customize it. There is where I found the very first problem with it.

Kitty being Derp

Maybe my reaction if I did it today

I ended having no idea how to modify the themes I had downloaded for it.

 

Maybe if I see the code today, I would be like “why I was so derp?”. But back at that day, I spend a fair amount of hours trying to make it look nice and other stuff… just to give up eventually.

So, moved on.

Drupal

I did not give WordPress a try during the 2010-2011 because… well… a bunch of people was like “It is really bloated, avoid it at all costs”. Since the CPU use and memory was a concern for me, back at that day, I decided not to question that, so moved to the next one in the line: Drupal.

At that moment, Drupal was in its version 6. Installing was… easy… configuration was not all that bad. Adding and editing a theme was relatively easy after a few hacks here and there… urg… really bad habit from that day.

While for sure getting used to the administration and blocks was… hard… I felt like that it had a lot of potential. Of course, if you did not mind to get messy with the code.

One thing that I do remember is that a bunch of pluggings did not work on it. So setting up the installation was like a trial and error process… because you never had any indication from the Drupal website if the plugin you downloaded might work on your site or version.

Struggles with it

And as the days went on, stuff started to surface and become more and more annoying.

For example, keeping Drupal updated was a struggle on itself… as I needed to re-do some of my changes into it… or something random did broke… you never knew. The experience was not really pleasurable after a couple of years… and that is what you earn when you mess with the code.

Also, it did not help, I think, that I had a multisite install on it. Heck, even doing that multisite install was rough and messy. Create databases, re-do installs, move files and hope for the best.

Eventually, my installation did fall to the hands of hackers given that I was unable to keep it updated and was avoiding to move to Drupal 7 the most I could because… it was going to break many things.

I for sure will give the new Drupal 8 a try sometime soon, but it is clear that it needs full-time attention. Something that I can’t afford most of the time until a good change happens here.

WordPress

Like mentioned before, back in 2010-2011, I simply discarded this one because… well… people said it was boatled. But now in 2016, computing power is better suitable than what it was at 2010. And of course, had now access to better hardware at this host too.

My first “official” contact came during the set-up of a website that is hosted alongside this one. that person insisted on making a WordPress install, so it happened.

After being moving it for a few minutes, it was clear that it was like nothing else that I had tested before. Was so surprised that I ended doing an install on my own space too.

It was clear why it is used on 1 of every 4 websites on the internet.

Remember, not everyone knows PHP, HTML, CSS and such to be able to modify a website. Most people just can have a bad day and a very steep learning curve ahead with CMS.

And even if you do know such things, then you can modify themes and what not quite easily. I have been having a lot of fun doing that recently. It is enjoyable like never before. Still, I want to someday design my own theme rather than modify one.

Maybe someday.

Just my experience

While there are a bunch of articles there out talking about what system is better, I really can only say that is better just to give it a try to any of them.

But one thing is sure: WordPress is really way too easy to use and maintain, while Drupal is just really more powerful, but requires a lot more of dedication.

I am sure of a few things: I’ll keep using WordPress, but will try and tame Drupal eventually.

Connectivity

Connectivity Issues

Since this past Monday, there has been all sort of connectivity issues at my end. And at least I can’t really tell who is guilty of this things.

First, random websites started to take a whole lot to load, including the ones I am working with. Then while playing late I started to notice a lot of issues related to connectivity (and at Destiny, getting a lot of baboon messages).

To the point to make things really annoying.

On one side, I discovered there have been some issues with CloudFlare’s Railgun. While it is intended to make stuff faster for most websites… I noticed it took a while to “fetch stuff” and make others become really slow. Or even show off errors.

Right now, I was welcomed by some random 503 errors of service unavailable, plus others from CloudFlare.

Even Gaming Affected

In the side of the gaming, around at 2-3 am I am starting to get network issues… I know that maybe it’s the time where my ISP might be doing some network maintenance.

But when so, you expect to be a wide issue… not a localized one.

Why do I know this? Because I usually game with a ping going to google to check if my network is working correctly… and in all cases, there has not been anything that been suggesting issues at all.

Well, maybe just that some videos does not load, the baboon issues at Destiny and anything else that comes in between. It is kind of driving me nuts at some point.

But this has not been the first time that something like this has happened to me.

Keep an eye open

Back in the old days of dial-up, yes I am that old already, there was a time with my old ISP that, whenever you connected to it… you had access to a subset of the internet.

Yes, just a subset of it.

It was… fun and painful… for example, at a game named Ragnarok Online, you had a certain chance to lost connection when you moved from one map to another… because well, if the new IP from the server you intended to enter was not into your “sight scope”, you were out of luck.

You needed to restart your connection and hope just the best to get the specific subset of the network you wanted to see.

And that included websites and all short of things. Those were really rough times.

CloudFlare’s Railgun still with Issues

Lastly, while I am still writing this up… I am still having some random issues with Railgun. While that for some websites it makes a test in 0.1 secs (wow) in others it takes an amazing of… 6 seconds!

The good thing, it is that it is not blocking websites anymore… but sure thing I need to keep an eye on it too as apparently the service have had all sort of issues the few past days and/or after the maintenance, they had recently.

Maybe they did break something and did not notice it yet? Or maybe they know and it is part of something bigger?

After all, computers are sometimes very special and do not behave as how one expect them to do.

But for now, let’s hope all this goes on and gets fixed soon.

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