Stupid Virus/Spam tricks

Various scams, bad things, and dangerous things that e-mail can bring- and good reasons to use RSS!

Options to Akismet and Spam Karma 2: Mollom

Once your site gets popular, the next problem is comment spam. It’s all Google’s fault for giving points to inbound links- no mater what the connection (give or take). Spammers will say the stupidist things just to get a link back to their site- or even something innocuous like “Nice site, I’ll be back” or some other compliment that adds nothing to the conversation. These suck- because if you have people subscribed to comments- they all get these stupid messages as well.

Spam Karma 2 is still the mac daddy of all spam killers in our book- but, it’s lead developer, Dr. Dave has decided to throw in the towel- which is really too bad. Too many WordPress updates were making his life a living hell. It’s too bad the core dev team believes it’s their way or the highway- because his spam killer works better than Akismet (from the developers of WordPress, which has a funky license- it’s not quite free).

Mollom is in Beta- and my friend D’Arcy Norman is giving it a test run. So far, it’s not SK2- but, remember- that’s what Beta means. Here’s what they say on the Mollom site:

The web is changing. User contribution is now what makes or breaks a site. Allowing users to react, participate and contribute while still keeping your site under control can be a huge challenge. Mollom is a web service that helps you identify content quality and, more importantly, helps you stop comment and contact form spam. When moderation becomes easier, you have more time and energy to interact with your web community. Mollom is currently in public beta.

Home | Mollom.

There are different philosophies on comment moderation- we tend to recommend that you let spam filtered comments post automatically- as soon as they’ve been screened by your filter- no human intervention. Every once in a while something gets through- but, in general, the speed of conversation gets your network going faster than waiting for you to moderate.

Many corporations are scared to let the unmoderated comments post- but, that’s bunk. If they want to say something crappy about your brand- they’ll either say it on your site, or elsewhere- where you may not be able to respond or correct it.

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What browser makes you safe?

Hackers Use BBC News as IE Attack Lure

The link above is to an article about another security flaw in the Microsoft web browser. Yet another reason to use Firefox– and get a Macintosh. It’s bad enough that Internet Explorer doesn’t understand RSS as it’s supplied now, and that it doesn’t follow W3C standards- it’s a portal for viruses and problems.

You can have both browsers on your computer- use Firefox as your main browser- and only if Firefox won’t work with a site- switch to IE.

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A better internet experience

Today Microsoft released another security patch for Microsoft Internet Explorer– or IE or- “exploder” as the serious programmers refer to it.
I also visited a client and used their PC- with the aforementioned evil default browser: it drove me bonkers. No nice little Google window at the top of every page (which actually is a pull down menu that can give you instant access to Amazon, Wikipedia, or hundreds of other useful search sites) no RSS feed indicator built into the interface- and worst of all- terrible rendering of legal CSS (the code that good sites are coded with).
I asked why they didn’t have Firefox loaded on their machine- and the answer was “What’s Firefox.”
Not only didn’t they know about the Open Source browser- but they were quick to share stories of viruses, pop-ups and broken sites. This made me realize that there are a lot of people out there- who are Internet savvy- yet still have no clue about what a total web experience can be.
So- here is what you need to make your web experience all it can be:
Replace IE with Firefox as your primary browser. You can still have IE on your machine- and may need it for some sites, but in general- you will never look back (at least until IE 7 comes out and possibly becomes halfway useful again). You can import all your bookmarks (favorites) and not skip a beat.
I also recommend for those who don’t use all the features of Outlook- like the calendar etc- to switch to Thunderbird– the companion to Firefox. It will also import all your Outlook or Outlook Express addresses etc. Again- this is only if you just use it for e-mail. Once you switch- you will never need to go back.
Then- the customization of Firefox. It is fully extensible and can be skinned if you like.
The most critical tools:
Google tool bar– which can add auto-complete for forms, and a quick link for Sage– my RSS feed reader of choice.

While you PC users may enjoy the Google tool bar- I was finding it slowing my Mac to a standstill. I’ve deleted it from my Firefox installation and used the Autofill extension.

Once you have added both of these, you are set, but I also suggest making sure you have the latest version of Flash (this is the link for mac- it should redirect you automatically for a PC) (even though I don’t recommend it for building a site) and download Quicktime so that you can get the best video experience available on the web.
If you don’t know what RSS is- I highly recommend you take the seminar. It will change your life online.

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