And by that, I mean one of the hard drives in the server is really, really dying. This is an older copy of the website, hope I haven’t lost too many pieces of data, but bear with me as I slowly try to care enough to bring it back.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/27/2017 9:23:25 PM | Feedback (2)
How many of you browse here without JavaScript turned on? Thinking of protecting the comments even further by making it a script rather than a form.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/8/2014 9:37:16 PM | Feedback (16)
Lately I’ve been getting a crap-ton (metric, not imperial) of spam via my Contact form. Apparently, some spambot figured out my form parameters and ran with it. I have no idea what Ugg Boots are, but I assure you I will never buy a pair. Then again, these idiots never actually sent anything across other than “Nice Posts!” and the title UGG BOOTS, so even if I suddenly found the urge to be cool, I couldn’t buy them anyway. Anywho, I noticed what was happening was that the scripts were reading...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/4/2013 12:34:32 PM | Feedback (5)
Duh! Wouldn’t the first result for a search for Search Engine Optimization be the best company to use?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/3/2013 8:21:08 AM | Feedback (0)
The interface to Akismet was relatively simple as someone else had already packaged up the API so I just grabbed it and put it into Ansible.  I woke up this morning with a few dozen spam comments which got through the generic “Are you a spammer” thing, so I’m going to give Akismet a try to see if that helps. I’m more worried about false positives than anything, so if you see your comments slipping into a moderated state, let me know via the contact form. I can assist with the training by...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/5/2013 10:52:00 AM | Feedback (13)
I killed TinyMCE as it was just sucking for editing comments. I’m looking at a few other possible replacements like markItUp! to make commenting a bit easier to format, but for now, the TinyMCE is gone due to the fact that it killed formatting more than it helped. Two, for the non-account holders, I’ve put CAPTCHA back in. Spam was getting annoying, so now, just tick the radio button that says you’re human and you’re good to go. We’ll have to see if the spammers get by that or not. If they do,...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/9/2012 11:01:27 AM | Feedback (3)
Welcome to Earl. Big change for my readers is the TinyMCE editor for the comments. It’s a WYSIWYG editor so it is both the way to enter comments and a basic preview of your comment to boot. The bulk of Earl is Administration code and some restructuring of the underlying project with a few minor bug fixes. There are some more Spam prevention things tossed in, one of which is automatic-moderation of comments on posts older than 10 days as that’s where most of my spam was sneaking through. Earl...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/17/2012 7:28:20 PM | Feedback (9)
So, I have some pretty basic guards in place to try to head off spam in the comments without requiring CAPTCHA, but it’s working overtime and not really catching most items. One of the easiest ones to do is simply counting links (or even attempted links) and if they meet a threshold, they’re marked as spam. Another easy one is to look at the IP’s they’re coming from and ban them. IPs aren’t the best way as they could end up blocking a legitimate user, but for now that’s what I’ve got. What I’m...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/1/2012 9:04:31 AM | Feedback (14)
I’m aware that there are registration issues where some people are having problems with their user name being ‘unavailable’. Sorry ‘bout that. Won’t have a chance to fix it for the next week as I’m not home, so just put something like a _ after your name and I’ll manually fix them when I get home if need be. Thanks,R
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/21/2012 5:07:58 PM | Feedback (1)
Barely a few days old and Ansible 2.0 (Owen) is already out the door. Welcome to 2.1 Julie. Two major updates. First, by popular demand, Search I ain’t no Google, but it should do a pretty decent enough job of getting you back articles. Second thing…. Ads. Sorry, gotta pay the bills somehow. Hopefully they do not intrude too much. You might see some gray boxes for a bit, but that should start clearing up shortly. As always, let me know if something ain’t working for you.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/17/2012 3:51:15 PM | Feedback (22)
Notice something different? It’s the new blog. Even has that new blog smell (careful, it’s considered carcinogenic in California). Welcome to Ansible 2.0 code named Owen. I had considered changing the title, but Sharp as a Marble ended up sticking around. This is a full release, not a beta or anything. I have worked hard to ensure that the new blog runs on the vast majority of browsers that Google Analytics says I get here, but there are a few I don’t have access to on OS’s I don’t run, so you...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/13/2012 3:24:17 PM | Feedback (36)
Ansible 2.0 is nearing its initial release which will be codenamed ‘Owen’ (2,000,000 Internet Points to he who figures out the release names theme). Owen will be, for you my reader, primarily a redesign with the added ability to register your nickname. Nothing groundbreaking on your side of the screen as most of the ‘upgrades’ are in the back end and the administration piece. A few kinks I need to work out first before I even think about putting this out there but I hope you’ll be pleased....
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/6/2012 8:21:49 AM | Feedback (8)
Do you use RSS or ATOM feed?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/25/2012 9:45:33 PM | Feedback (28)
So one feature I’ve pondered is a time-limited window for a commenter to be able to edit their most recent comment. Shall Not Be Questioned has this feature and yes, it is handy for typos or bad links. It’s also good for epic trolling if you did it right. You could drop some major flame-bait, have a response, then go back and edit it to how you like puppies and wish you could find a cure for cancer, making anyone who replies look like an utter dick. I doubt this is a common thing and my blog...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/18/2012 7:34:29 PM | Feedback (12)
As Ansible 2.0 is taking shape, I’m trying to rethink how this blog actually functions. The problem is, I have no good way of doing user studies because most of you people live too far away from me to observe. Those who I do observe locally tend to have restraining orders against me. So, I’m going to have to do it by having you people tell me a few things. I’m trying to figure out how to do my layout. I’ve had the same design practically since day 1 back in 2004. Each time I tried to change...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/17/2012 10:20:12 PM | Feedback (56)
Sure as hell seem to be getting a lot of fake trackbacks from linkwhore sites with titles like AR-15-Parts-Paintball-Guns. Unfortunately, these idiots scour the web, pull in chunks of text with actual links to my blog, which my system sees as valid. I didn’t capture the IP address with trackbacks, so I can’t tell if these are all coming from a single area or not. Just annoying.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/31/2012 9:27:08 AM | Feedback (3)
So, my blogging platform, Ansible, has been rock solid for the past few years. I’ve learned a LOT since I built it, and it’s getting about that time to completely redo it from scratch. I wasn’t into LINQ or the Entity Framework when I first built it, so I missed out on a lot of ways to really tighten up the code and make it a bit more modular. If I’m going to rewrite it, it’s going to have to be from scratch. The biggest PITA I had in the code is getting the API’s working so that I could use...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/26/2011 9:44:21 AM | Feedback (6)
I’m applying various updates to the server right now. If the blog seems slow, it’s not you.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/20/2011 2:52:06 PM | Feedback (0)
As my astute readers may have noticed, the God-awful Google ads are gone and up on the right is a shiny new ad for Lucky Gunner. If you need ammo, they probably have it. And I prefer their ad over THE TRUTH ABOUT 9MM THAT SELF DEFENSE EXPERTS WON'T TELL YOU or BECOME A 7 GUN MASTER ONLINE ones that seemed to show up all the time.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/30/2010 11:12:53 AM | Feedback (5)
I've been working out some legacy code from the Subtext days, trying to remove stuff that was cluttering up the code. I also made my feed standardized RSS 2.0 instead of the bastardized approach I had originally taken. If you're using an RSS reader, the feed location is and no longer Please update your bookmarks appropriately. If you're having any issues, please let me know.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/9/2010 8:56:54 AM | Feedback (1)
My home grown blogging platform, Ansible, has been churning along just fine. Now that I have a decent job where I'm coding a lot more, I've not really had the need to do extra curricular activities at home, and Ansible has take a bit of a back burner. Alas, there are still several things I really need to do. First, I need to complete the transition to LINQ as well as using the Entity Framework. I'm partially there, but the code isn't in a decent state right now. When I switched servers, I once...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/29/2009 4:08:28 PM | Feedback (6)
Yes, I know the blog is having issues. I'm migrating to a temporary, virtual server so I can install a new one. Probably do this all night long. Bear with me. Update - Servers have been moved, databases restored, and it looks like we're back in business.
...Read More
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/18/2009 6:41:29 PM | Feedback (2)
Finally, after lots of bitching by you people, I've implemented search. It's not Google quality, but it should suffice for now. If you have any problems with it or suggestions, I'm all ears.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/27/2009 11:17:08 AM | Feedback (3)
Well… Hot categories, at least. Updated Ansible to make the categories for each post clickable. Because I could.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/26/2009 7:29:48 PM | Feedback (2)
Uninstalled & reinstalled locally on my desktop, realized I was missing a step, did it again. Moved the databases local. Pointed the web server to use the desktop databases. Uninstalled from server. Reinstalled using the correct settings (minus naming the $#&@* thing correctly, but hell…). Restored the databases to the server and pointed the websites to use that. Everything seems copasetic. I now have full text indexing available and will be implementing basic search hopefully within...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/22/2009 9:13:53 AM | Feedback (0)
So, in the Ansible code, I have TODO: comments. Prefixing a comment in C# with //TODO: automatically puts it in your task list. Very handy when you know you're doing something naughty but don't want to go make a task out of it. However, it helps to occasionally check the comments section to remember to do things. I mean I just saw some comments about things I shouldn't have done and I think "I wrote that? Why?"
...Read More
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/18/2009 9:24:04 PM | Feedback (1)
Got SQL Server 2008 Express up and running. Had to go in and putz with the registry to get Windows to realize "Oh… you really DON'T have SQL Server Express 2005 installed!". Once the registry was cleared, I was able to reinstall 2008 with no problems. The backups I made immediately before hand imported just fine. Still trying to learn how to implement full text indexing so I can start on a search system. I also installed express on my desktop, so now I can not only develop without...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/17/2009 11:14:57 PM | Feedback (5)
So, I'm working on implementing pingbacks in Ansible. So far, this is the trickiest little part of the blog engine so far. First, I have to send pingbacks. Each time I create a new post, I have to parse all the code for links, cue them up, then try to ping each one. This means following the link, scraping all the HTML, and looking for the pingback URL. This can be in a <LINK> tag or included in the header. I'm stuck right now as to how to handle post updates. I tend to fudge things up...
...Read More
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/16/2009 9:50:38 AM | Feedback (0)
Odd. Tested something. Worked on the local box. Pushed it into production and Ansible takes a dirt nap. Turns out, you can't cast a NULL into a boolean. Even if it works for some odd reason on your local box. Just updated the blogroll. Better sorting, and I can indicate who I've actually met. Now it's lunch time.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/2/2009 11:54:01 AM | Feedback (4)
By popular request, comment preview has been implemented. Take it for a test spin and let me know if you have any issues. It's all AJAX-ified to try to make sure the comment is as close to what would be posted as possible, so there could be issues with certain browsers. I admit 'testing' has been "push debug, write a comment, aaaaaaand seems to work for me". If you have bugs, don't forget to let me know your browser / OS etc. Thanks, Management
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/17/2009 10:23:58 AM | Feedback (11)
Dunno why I thought this was an important thing to do, but to your right, there is a button that says Random Post. Guess what happens when you click it?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/5/2009 8:14:25 PM | Feedback (5)
Thanks to everyone who commented on subscriptions. I spent the past few hours working on the system, and now you can subscribe to a particular post and get notifications when comments are added. Still need to write the code to allow for notifications of updates, but it's almost time for bed. So, please do me a favor. Subscribe to this post and let me know if you get emails regarding updates. Let me know if it shows up in your spam folders (gmail is notorious for blocking stuff). Feel free to...
...Read More
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/29/2009 9:40:36 PM | Feedback (24)
My Recent Searches gadget on the side bar was having a negative affect, I think. When perverts would do some sort of search that, due to my nature of using 'loaded terms', would land on a totally unrelated post, my system would link that post with those search terms. The page would be crawled, and I think Google was starting to rank those results higher than necessary. It's like I was Google-bombing myself. I noticed today that there were some pretty illegal searches going on for underage...
...Read More
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/29/2009 3:46:24 PM | Feedback (4)
So, the other day I was carping about Haloscan's horrific email notification system and remembered that email notification was something that was lacking from Ansible and that 6 or 7 minutes of intense work would remedy that situation. Before I put my code into place, I wanted to ask you, my loyal and totally awesome readers, your opinions on my plans. Each email will have the same formatted subject line to facilitate organization [Sharp as a Marble] New comment on Title of Post Now, while...
...Read More
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/27/2009 1:40:19 PM | Feedback (12)
Thanks for leaving a comment. If you'd like me to be able to respond directly back to you, leave a real email in the field marked 'email'. The only place that data goes is in the email notification I receive letting me know you commented. If you don't want me to be able to respond, don't fill anything out at all. Putting crap in the middle of the address does nothing to stop spam bots since they don't see 'em anyway. Just an FYI
...Read More
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/4/2009 3:51:42 PM | Feedback (8)
One of the more interesting parts of my day is to look at all the search terms that people use to find me. Sometimes they're scary. Sometimes they're just weird. Either way, you can see the last 5 on the right as well as the posts they link to. It's things like that that happen when I'm bored.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/27/2009 1:22:54 PM | Feedback (2)

| Back to Categories