Good plugins for bbPress

After digging around online for awhile, I finally settle on a few plugins for bbPress than does a good job at weeding out web spammers. Sheesh, these people really cause a load of headache for any would be webmasters, fortunately there are many tools created by very smart programmers to weed out these bad people online.

I finally found some good plugins for my bbPress that could do just what I wanted:
1. Weed out bots from humans during the registration phase
2. Mass delete the existing spammers who now number about 5000!

The few plugins that I settled for are:
a. mass delete users
b. recaptcha for bbpress
c. human test

After giving a quick spin after installation it worked flawlessly! So one more up against those pesky web spammers.

If you plan for a lightweight software to build a forum website, bbPress is a very good recommendation with its Akismet spam busting ability and a little help from the plugins above, making it one of the best new free forum website application around!

To get bbPress goto http://bbpress.org

The plugins are in the "Extend" tab.

Cheers!
Jan.

Akismet for punBB

I have been looking around for a good forum application to build a website forum. When building a forum website, one of the most important criteria for me is the banishment of spam. This is a headache just for about every webmaster who attempt to build a website forum. I have installed several forum apps into my website just to study its interface, ease of use, etc. All I did was put in one little link from my main site and before long, I start to see spammers getting into their terrible act of stuffing links into my testing forum!

How on earth did they find my little unknown for testing only forum website, I wonder? Anyway, web spam is a big issue.

When it comes to choosing a forum for website, most people will suggest phpBB as it is the most well known and widely used bulletin board web application software around. Having tried it, I don't like it at all. It is a very heavy application, rather slow because it tries to do so much making it very code heavy. With all its sophistication it has some very bad flaws resulting in many security issues. And for such a sophisticated forum software it doesn't even have Akismet anti-spam build-in. Well you can plug it in yourself. But heard that it was a nightmare to put any plug-ins at all.

So far the only forum software that I found that has Akismet build in is bbPress. But this is a fairly new bulletin board. From the creators of Wordpress, bbPress is build from the gound up. It runs pretty fast, very lightweight, but still lacks many features. But from what I see, I think it will do very well in the future. I have started using this for one of my travel forums and it does a very good job at weeding out those web spammers. The only thing left which I hope they will provide in future is an en-masse deletion of users who are marked as spammers or better yet auto deletion of inactive members. Already as of writing there is 4,000 users and 99% of them are spammers!

Currently I'm looking at another lightweight website forum software, punBB. It looks nice and seem to have a good interface. Unfortunately it does not have a build in Akismet anti-spam feature. This resulted in many spammers logging in and doing their misdeeds. There is plug-in but unfortunately their website has been hacked in and just visiting their website would result in virus installing into your PC. The link is here but I would suggest you tread very carefully here.

http://www.punres.org/viewtopic.php?id=1850

I won't download the plugin just yet until they clear out the malicious code from their website. From those who did install the plugin, it seemed to work very well.

But for now, I'll stay off this code for fear the malicious code has infected the plugin too. But I will give this code a look see in the future one they have solve the virus infection problem.

For now, I guess I will just have too look around and see what other forum software that are easy to use, lightweight, and can especially solve those pesky web spammers!

Wordtracker is still Free

Ya, ya. My mistake. Wordtracker Free Keyword tool is still free. The other day when they plonked in an email promoting their free trial for seven days of their full version mislead to think that they were shutting off their Wordtracker Free Keyword Tool.

You can still find it here:
Wordtracker Free Keyword Tool

For those who don't know, keywords are what people key-in in the search box when they want to search for a specific items. It turns out that majority of people when searching for a particular item will key in the same keyword to look for that information. Most keywords that are typed in are shot ranging from one to a few words. And for those more specific searches they would key-in keyword phrases. Keyword phrases are difficult to measure as it is long. But for those short keywords, majority of the people will start their searches from there.

The idea of keywords is that when you make your own website be it free or otherwise, your article or content got to be related to those keywords or it wouldn't be found.

However just placing those specific keywords in your article or website is no guarantee that you will get website traffic. There are more to it. That's why there is a melange of SEO companies out there offering their services promising that they can get your website on 1st page listing on the specific keywords that is related to your website.

Mind you, their services are not cheap, and of course they have to deliver. But the listing of your website or webpage is sort of a yo-yo process. I have seen some of my pages go up quickly and then fall in the page listing. And yet there are some pages that stood the test of time and remain strong in the search engine.

There is no secret. You can fool the robots some of the time, but you can't full them all the time. Especially the search engine companies like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask are constantly tweaking their search engine. No matter how the SEO tries to reverse engineer the algorithm, a tweak here and a tweak there by the search engine and SEO trick is gone.

The best bet in the end is good solid content or good solid application because the main judge of whether your website or webpage is useful will depend on the human visitor. If they like what you have they will return again and again.

The Wordtracker Free Keyword Tool is just that, a tool to help give you ideas on how to attract the right traffic for your given content or application when you build your own website be it free or otherwise.

Here is the link again.
Wordtracker Free Keyword Tool

And for those who really want to make a success from building their website, this one is really recommended. It may be expensive, but their build in Wordtracker Tool plus all the tools needed to make a successful website is there. I'm using it and I can say it is much better than using normal web hosting if you really want to attract lots and lots of website traffic!

Site Build It - the path to build a successful website
Do you blog or build a website?
Compare the features of SBI and of course dollar for dollar too
Let's go for a quick tour of what this is all about
You got questions about SBI? Ask no more here!

This website of mine is a mess!

This website of mine is a big mess! You can't see it from the public viewpoint, but in the back end, it total crazy! I guess experimenting with the various SQL database software and trying out PHP script here and there, not to mention trying out the SHTMLs and PHPs extension by doing a quick hack and a little tweak there and breaking up the code into several includes ....

I doubt I will be able to clean it up. Should I even bother? As long as the website still functions from the public viewpoint, I think I will just leave it alone. It might take me way too long to clean up the mess.

In addition, having free website here and there enjoined together using CNAME and A records with the main domain and web hosting, I think to really clean up this personal blog of mine would kinda take forever...

But then, this is my website and as long as I have a fair idea how each part is connected to each other it will continue to work as long as I don't break anything major. Still have to be real careful how I tweak my website further. I have broken pages before.

My bro-in-law website is also in a big mess. It s hard enough to sort through my own website, let alone on a collaborative website. He would tweak something there, I would tweak something here, and there is bound to be lots of broken links around the website. Already his Flash pages are not working properly. I'm scratching my head and can't figure it out why it is working on IE but not on the other browsers like FF, Opera, Safari, Chrome, etc. Anyway since most visitors uses IE, so there would be a minority who would not be able to view the Flash pages properly.

Ah... got to fix them up...

Wordtracker is no longer free

Well I guess it has to lose its free wordtracker services. It was good while it was free although only giving the demand side of things. I guess eventually it found that being the only free keyword checking tool around, Wordtracker.com decided that it can make more money by closing its free services. Which is real sad. I still have my good old Site Build It brainstorming tool which is actually using the Wordtracker system. The figure that comes out is different but I'm used to it for analysis. If I have SBI why do I still use Wordtracker Free Keyword tool?

Well, there is a limit to the number of searches allowed in SBI, probably Wordtracker limits it. Sometimes I just want to find a few simple keywords and use Wordtracker in combination with SBI brainstorming tool without using up the points allocated by SBI. Sometimes you just need a mini brainstorm, not a full fledged research.

Well now no choice. Seems like freebies are slowly fading away one by one. I guess dot com companies need to survive and make more money and when they find there is good enough demand, they may just close the free service. On the other hand, like Yahoo, where they want to change direction they too closed some of their free services.

That's the problem when relying on free things. They don't last. Unless the companies that offer the freebies find a way to monetized their services, they will close down.

Anyway them the breaks.

So if you are into building a website seriously and don't want any surprises from those free offering, then a paid services is the way to go. Offering free information to the masses is one thing, but you want to recoup your time investment for some returns.

So far SBI has given me the best returns. So build website for free or paid? You decide. When the dot com decides to close down and take along your hard work with it, don't say I didn't warn ya!

For more information about building a great website that is lasting and profitable check out SBI building a website that works! It has a build in Wordtracker tool called Brainstormer. Instead of paying for just a keyword research tool from Wordtracker, why not get the whole works from SBI (keyword research + webhosting + many more tools) for less?

Simplepie

I have been using Simplepie for some time. It is great for streaming RSS feeds into your web page. A great way to stream information around when you build your own website.

So what is Simplepie? It is a PHP script that you can install in your web host and configure it to get RSS feeds not only from other website and also from within your website. It also a good way to re-feed the various website and blogs that you have and stream them into one easy to access web page too.

For example if you have Twitter, Flickr, Blogger and your very own website, it would be difficult for your visitor (including yourself for that matter) to keep track of what's happening, so why not provide a single page where all your feeds are channelled into it?

So here comes Simplepie to the rescue! Head on over to the Simplepie.Org website and download the latest PHP script.

I liked Simplepie in the sense that I don't have to set up a SQL database. It is also fairly easy to use, though it may be a little bit more complicated than Feedburner. Between using PHP script vs JavaScript, I would prefer going the way of PHP. The content is both visible to visitors and robot crawlers alike and that is a plus point because the search engine thrives on content.

Upload the simplepie.inc file into your Webserver plus the various files as per their specification.

Then it is time to hack your web page. The file needs to be saved with a .php extension and your server must be able to handle PHP files.

Before the main HTML codes add these php lines

require_once('http://www.example.com/folder/simplepie.inc');
require_once('http://www.example.com/folder/idn/idna_convert.class.php');
$feed = new SimplePie();


Then you need to tell it where to find the feed:

$feed->set_feed_url('http://exampleblog.com/atom.xml');


If you got several feeds, you have to use this line instead. Make sure you do not comma the last feed or you will get errors.

$feed->set_feed_url(array(
'http://www.example1.com/feed1',
'http://www.example2.com/feed2.xml',
'http://www.example3.com/rssfeed3'
));


Init the feed with this line and ready for next step.

$feed->init();


Somewhere in your main page add in the following PHP codes and you are good to go. Modify where necessary for the CSS to format the display.


<?php
foreach ($feed->get_items() as $item):
?>
<div class="item_simplepie">
<h3><a href="<?php echo $item->get_permalink(); ?>" ><?php echo $item->get_title(); ?></a></h3>
<p><?php echo $item->get_description(); ?></p>
<p><small>Posted on <?php echo $item->get_date('j F Y | g:i a'); ?></small></p>
</div>
<?php endforeach; ?>


Easy, yes? That's why it is called Simplepie!

Free antivirus software

Best things in life are free. And so is free antivirus software. You could save a couple of bucks using freebies like this. Of course if you need a more comprehensive solution, this might not be so good. If you are good in administering your computer and very cautious in downloading stuff from the internet, such free anti-virus software is probably good enough.

However in an office environment where you are administering a bunch of PCs and your co-workers are prone to download any kind of stuffs, then the free anti-virus software may not be good enough.

Anti-virus software should go in conjunction with a good firewall. The build-in Windows firewall is not good enough. And yes there are free firewall softwares too.

Anyway here are some free anti-virus you can consider. Got this list from PC World and is a brief line up. I'm sure there are many more out there.

Avira AntiVir Personal - Superior performance and superior features with ease of use. It offers great protection but using it might be frustrating for non-techie.

Avast Alwil Antivirus home edition - Superior performance and very good features with ease of use. They offer solid protection and some good feature set, unfortunately their interface is a letdown.

AVG 85. Free - Very good performance and superior features with ease of use. It has good interface and good web attack blocking but their defence against malware is below average.

Microsoft Security Essentials Beta - very good performance and very good features and ease of use. New boys in the block and solid contender. Should be out of Beta stage by end of 2009.

PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition - fair performance with very good features and ease of use. However it lets in too many malware for any sort of good protection.

Comodo Internet Security - fair performance with very good features and ease of use. Not good choice. Poor protection and poor detection.

See the table for cross reference of Anti-virus protection.