Monthly Archives: February 2011

MODX – “The developer’s CMS”

For those of you who are looking for an alternative CMS (content management system) to something like Joomla, Mambo, Drupal and the numerous others then I urge you to check out a CMS called MODX.

MODXMODX is open source, written in PHP and MySQL and very, very easy to develop on and customise whether it be front or back end functionality.

MODX has become the CMS of choice at work for content managed websites.

This is mainly due to the cost (MODX is free!), functionality, ease of use for the web master  and ease of,  and therefore speed, of development.

It allows you to plugin your own PHP scripts almost seamlessly and embed them into content with a simple ‘snippet’ call.

You can get MODX from here:  http://modx.com/

If any of you MODX users come across this page and need a little help then be sure to drop me an email or a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out!

Spambots & Prevention

As you may know from reading other blog posts or pages on this site I’m a web developer. This is my job and I also do some at home.

Whitley WarriorsYou may also know that I used to play ice hockey for the Whitley Warriors until I was forced to retire after suffering a DVT.

When playing for the Warriors and studying HND computing at college I created a website dedicated to the Whitley Warriors ice hockey team. Eventually this site became the Official Whitley Warriors website.

The site is powered by a custom CMS (Content Management System) written by myself using PHP and MySQL and makes use of the ZEND Framework.

SpambotsRecently we’ve been getting a lot of spambots registering on the site forums (powered by SMF), making a mess and forcing me to spend hours removing post and spam users (I’ve removed about 2500 users up to date).

We are running CAPTCHA images but the spambots have managed to bypass this allowing them to sign up.

So I’ve recently added a few fields to the sign up form and database to help track new users and try to prevent the registration of spambots. Without the correct answers the registration will fail.

So what have I tried?

I’ve added a couple of dropdowns: Are you human? Are you a spambot?

Pick the wrong answer here and the registration attempt will be rejected.

I’ve attempted to catch spambots out here – if they change both answers they’ll fail, if they leave both answers on the default value they’ll also fail. They must choose the right question to change the answer in order to be successful.

Spambots also like to try to answer every question in the form – so I’ve added a box which must be left blank in order for the registration process to be successful.

The final measure in this attempt to prevent the registration of spambots is to ensure that the form has been posted from the correct page on my site. A lot of spambots submit their own form from a remote site, so, by checking the referrer we can see if the user has registered from the correct site and reject any remote registrations.

These measure seems to be working so far, but, if any of you can think of any other measures, whether it be actual code or just theories, which could be introduced or have any comments on the steps I’ve taken so far then please leave a comment.

Networking

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on networks / networking over the past few days.

NetworkingAs well as being interesting, this reading has also helped to refresh my knowledge of how networks operate – why we use this switch instead of that hub and other things most people wouldn’t know, or want to know, about.

The last time I really did any reading about networks was at college, 6 years ago, no wonder I’d forgotten a lot of it.

This refresher has meant that, although I’m working with networks a lot of the time at work, I now feel much more confident as to why the network is working in the way it is rather than knowing it just works.

Back on form

Really enjoyed 6-a-side last night. Did a lot more running and got involved a lot more in what was a “physical” match with a lot of meaty tackles.

I think more or less everyone will have woken up with some sort of ache or pain this morning.

Nike T90 Protega Shin PadsIn my case it’s my ankle after being the recipient of a slightly late tackle. Being rapped on the inside of your ankle bone/ achilles  wasn’t nice but it was pretty easily run off.

All I can say is that I’m thankful for the protection given by my shin pads as I could have had more than just a small lump there this morning had I not been wearing them.

My team came out on top again with superior fitness seeming to be the biggest contributing factor to the result.

We had a couple of new lads playing with us tonight, both good players, who I’ll be hoping will be able to play every week as the standard of play was slightly higher.

I think we’re going to have to agree on a colour scheme or set of strips to wear – the team we played were all in Newcastle shirts, except for one person who was wearing the black and white stripes of Juventus.

I have to say, it was nice getting the win over a team in black and white stripes.

On another subject, I’ll hopefully have my car back tonight after the clutch/gearbox is replaced. Can’t believe how much having no transport affects you!

That’s it for this post. Seeya later!

6-a-side – week 4

It’s been a while since I last posted on here. Mainly because of a lack of motivation as well as having had a lot on my plate with work, both cars breaking down and other not very nice things going on but hopefully the cars will be up and running again tomorrow and thing will get back to normal.

Nike Protega T90 Shin pads

Tonight will be the 4th week of 6-a-side which I’m enjoying greatly – though I’ve been disappointed with my performances the last 2 weeks running.

My first touch has all but deserted me but I will, I hope, find it again tonight.

At the very least my fitness is improving. I now last 20 minutes before I get a stitch!

The games so far have been fast paced and fairly physical with some meaty tackles flying in.

My shin pads (with ankle protection) seem to have done the trick in preventing badly bruised ankles – damn that blood thinning medication which makes me bruise like a peach after the slightest contact.

The games seem to be getting faster and more competitive each week, and hopefully that will continue. My team usually comes out on top – the other team always runs out of gas later on in the game allowing us to pick them off.

Twitter

And now, off the subject of football, are any of you twitter users also getting sick and tired of your timeline being filled up with people asking for retweets?

For example:

“Hi @FamousPerson Please give me a retweet for absolutely no worthwhile reason”.

Talking of Twitter, you can follow me @keeps21 by clicking on the Twitter logo at the top right hand side of the page. As well as adding me to Facebook by clicking on the Facebook logo in the same place

And that’s about it for this entry, cheers for reading!

Seeya!