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 For Web Designers 2018-06-22 17:48:15 UTC Mail Delivery Problems? 

Wednesday, January 03 2018

More On Net Neutrality

Vote For Net Neutrality is telling members of Congress to repeal the net neutrality rollback or be replaced. Naturally, I am for it: What harms my clients harms me.

→ committed: 1/3/2018 16:21:45

[ / internet] permanent link

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Thursday, December 14 2017

I Support Net Neutrality

Of course I support net neutrality. I also support community broadband, which is what now connects my servers to the internet and which is and always will be, in at least this one case, data neutral.

The medium that carries my data through the wall on its way to and from the internet is fiber-optic cable, and running at one Gigabit/second. No telephone or cable company offers anything more than a tiny fraction of that here, but they charge every bit as much or more for their best but still weak service. I'll soon gladly disconnect our wiring from the telephone network interface, and that will be that. The TV cable, completely dead and left by the previous owner, will be removed and scrapped.

For so long as I have an alternative, those who seek to partition the internet will get none of my business. I'm sure they'll never miss me, but it's important to me that I don't directly support them.

If any service you expect from my network is unavailable to you, take it up with your ISP or, far better, find another who hasn't put up toll booths on roads they didn't build.

→ committed: 12/14/2017 12:28:54

[ / internet] permanent link

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Saturday, September 28 2013

Wuala

As you might guess a guy like me ought to be, I'm absolutely compulsive about avoiding data loss. I provide an off-site backups service for my clients, and of course I take backups of my own stuff to the same server upon which I keep client data, and I keep another external drive sync'd with the most important stuff from my workstation. But that's not enough because I need off-site backups for my own data, too. I also need to keep a few devices synchronized. But I can't use the most popular services because they don't provide the level of security that I demand, the same level I provide for my clients.

Enter Wuala. It's similar to Google Drive and Dropbox, but with one very vital distinction: It's encrypted end-to-end, not just in transit. That means that the good folks of Wuala can't get at my data. It's mine. They won't be indexing my data to figure out which ads to serve to me. Someone getting hold of the files I've stored there, which are encrypted, won't be reading them any time soon.

The synchronization service ensures that my netbook has the files I consider most important on my workstation, up to date, when I hit the road. Any work I do while away is already on my workstation when I get back to the office -- no more fooling around with USB sticks, no more rsync'ing to get everything caught up. I just keep the Wuala client running, and the rest happens automagically.

And they give up 5GB of storage for free.

If you need something like that, give Wuala a try.

→ committed: 9/28/2013 00:34:38

[ / internet] permanent link

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Monday, August 06 2012

Bad Bots Must Be Punished.

I periodically look through my web server logs to pick out things that are not as they should be. You might recall from previous blog entries that I operate spam traps and so on -- last night I picked out of my server logs that some critter calling itself MJ12bot was going where no legitimate bots belong. But it's apparently trying to be a good bot because it leaves its calling card:

173.242.125.206 - - [06/Aug/2012:01:28:42 -0600] "GET /robots.txt HTTP/1.0" 200 1247 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MJ12bot/v1.4.3; http://www.majestic12.co.uk/bot.php?+")"

So off I go to that URI, and find that the folks who run the thing have said "If you have reason to believe that MJ12bot did NOT obey your robots.txt commands, then please let us know via email..." And so I did.

We discussed the matter via email a bit, and it seems probable that their bot encountered some kind of network error when it tried to grab my robots.txt file. Not an error response from my server, but a failure to even contact my server. To my way of thinking, in a case like that a properly designed bot will try again to get that file, and will not crawl the site until it gets either the file or a verifiable 404 Not Found. Not MJ12bot, though. The network failure is treated as if it were a 404, and is taken to mean that the whole darn site is wide open to them. Here's what their guy Alex said:

Sadly it's very difficult for us to diagnose this case - as you can see from your logs our bot grabs robots.txt, so we are not intentionally breaking your directives, it's just if bot could not get robots.txt then it could not obey it :(

Huh? Your bot encounters a network error and that gives you license to crawl my site in violation of my terms of service? It seems to me that if you know your crawler is broken in that way, which you do now, and you continue to run it knowing it's broken in that way, then what you're doing is willful negligence and that makes it intentional.

No worries here. I've informed the folks behind the thing that their bot is no longer welcome here and any connections it makes will be considered trespass. The fun part? When their bot comes around it will not see my web site. It will instead see a very, very long joke that will be delivered very, very slowly. How slowly? From start to finish will take from an hour and a half to more than six hours.

If you've seen a bad bot in your logs and want to punish it in this way, feel free to hit my contact form to inquire about it. It's a freebie if all you need is the application itself and very minimal installation/configuration instructions. After all: Bad Bots Must Be Punished!

→ committed: 8/6/2012 17:36:54

[ / internet / web_weirdness] permanent link

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