Back from hiatus

It’s been a while since my last post mainly because I have most waking hours, if not at work or out with people, searching for a more permanent home in London. I’ll write more about that experience later, but back to putting up some stuff I’ve been meaning to for a couple of weeks now.

WordPress 1.5

Sorry if I broke anyone subscribing to the RSS feeds, but tonight I just upgraded TheKua to WordPress 1.5! Upgrading was relatively painless, with only a few teething issues since I had been using WordPress 1.3-alpha.3 and had to ensure some of my own *tweaks* didn’t break anything. It looks like my RSS is back to being everything as well for the time being. One of the nifty features of this new version is the ability to ensure RSS feeds get all of the text from the posts (which after this weekend, I know some people prefer).

Can The Spam

Yesterday morning my blog was flooded with a huge amount of spam (about 40+ in about an hour). I think that the use of any popular blog software (be it WordPress, Movable Type, Blogger) will make you an easy prey for spammers. I know of a couple of people that rolled their own software and haven’t had any spam issues. I have only had one incident of spam since my blog was first made public, but it’s definitely something that I don’t like.

Here’s my list anti-spam initiatives that I intend to take, depending on how bad I feel my spam threshold is being violated:

  1. WordPress Comment Moderation – The latest version (at least available from CVS) includes a comment moderation facility (like MT’s blacklist plugin). This can help you block known aggressors but still requires you to approve/delete each of comment.
  2. Change the name of the page being spammed – As of yesterday, I have renamed the standard wordpress comments page to something else. If this keeps spammers at bay for a while, I’ll be quite happy with that. If they seem to keep up with the changes (am I really worth the effort guys?), I might write a cron script or something to change the name daily.
  3. Change the name of the fields that are posted – Requiring a little more tweaking of the actual code (yay opensource!), I next intend to change the name of the parameters that are submitted, hopefully rendering spammer’s scripts somewhat useless.
  4. Port the security code (SCODE plugin) from MT to WordPress – If it comes down to it, I’m willing to plunge my head straight into PHP just to prevent spam.
  5. Adopt a Bayesian Filter – Brett mentioned this seemed to work quite well on some blogs but requires a bit of training. I hope not to have to get to this point.

I haven’t thought about how I can prevent spams from TrackBack URIs just yet, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. If anyone has any other ideas, I’d love to hear about them, just to add to my arsenal (or should that be my canning factory?).

Update 23 Nov:
After reaching the second threshold in my anti-spam checklist, a simple check of the logs informs me that 176 spam comments have been blocked!

What’s in a name let alone a website?

Selecting a domain name is such a tough business… especially when all of the ones you want are taken. Initially setting out to get one associated with my last name, I found that they were all taken up as acronyms for a number of completely unrelated associations. These included:

Another alternative domain,, had been considered but was turned down as I thought it would be good to have it generic so that other Kua family members could host their own areas in the future. It was only when an old work colleague of mine referred to me as “the kua” to some current work colleagues that I thought that would make a great domain name for because of its brevity and appropriate generality (not to mention it was not taken!) and so was born.