Blog Activity

I’m impressed, I couldn’t keep up with everyone’s blog posts and comments and ended up with a good list of about 80 items to go through from the past 3 days. Got busy upgrading my computer and getting ready to build a media server/HTPC. With so much activity it is definitely important to use an RSS reader like Google Reader which I outlined here.

Stopping WordPress Comment Spam Before It Starts

My blog isn’t terribly popular but I do have a good number of links to my plugins which has made me a more visible target for comment spammers. The built-in WordPress spam filter does a pretty good job but it does nothing to stop bots from hammering my blog and eating up bandwith. One of my friends in my extended blog network had a post that tipped me off to a more active method of spam prevention, Bad Behavior.

Bad Behavior works by analyzing the HTTP requests made by clients and running them through a set of tests like checking the user agent description. Before installing the script I was receiving about 200 spam comments per day and maybe 1 or 2 would slip through per week. Now I’ll get maybe 1 a day in my spam queue. Not sure how much this affects the bandwith the spammers are using but it will definetely save a little on database.

Blog facelift

Things were getting a little old around the blog so I spruced things up a bit. Ditched the nav bar across the top, it was a bit of a pain to work with. Put login stuff in the sidebar like Nathan has on the Blarg, RSS buttons down at the bottom (which you should use, if you don’t know how or why please ask) and a thing for my flickr account. There should be more changes and more posts coming.

WordPress – Sidebar Static Page Order

I got an e-mail today from someone who found my My Link Order plugin but wanted to order his pages instead. At first I wasn’t completely sure if you could but a quick look at the core files, database, and WP site answered that question.

Yes, you can set the order in which pages show up in your sidebar, but it is a little clunky. When you edit a page, there is an option to set the “Page Order” to a certain number (in WP 2.0 this is one the collapsable boxes). Now follow these steps:

  1. Set the Page Order on each page in your desired order.
  2. Check if that changes the order, if not you will need to make a change to your template to tell it to sort on that order instead of by name.
  3. Go to Presentation->Theme Editor and select the Sidebar page (I’m assuming this is where your list of pages is being displayed). Find the line that is using a function named wp_list_pages, the whole line should look something like this:<?php wp_list_pages(‘title_li=<h2>Pages</h2>’ ); ?>

    A parameter to tell it to sort by your order needs to be added:

    <?php wp_list_pages(‘title_li=<h2>Pages</h2>&sort_column=menu_order’ ); ?>

With that added your pages should now be sorted. I might create a plugin similar to My Link Order to handle the setting of orders because the current way is annoying and very very very user-unfriendly.

Modified the Blix template

Well if you have visited my site sometime before this evening, you should notice a very different layout and color scheme. I spent a good part of the night getting it put together and there is still lots of work to do. The comments page is still using the old color scheme but that will be fixed eventually. I’m going to hopefully get this template cleaned up real nice and polished and release for others to download and use.