Category Archives: Bad Behavior

Examples of, well, bad behavior. Either poor design or just bad practices…like link farms, spamming or sueing people.

Kill is Your Friend

Ah, slowly I am earning my beans in Ubuntu land. Tonight I had my first legitimate need to use kill and even found out what a PID number was and EVEN read my LOG FILES!! Wow. If you’re just learning Apache admin stuff and just can’t reload or restart your web server, head on over to /var/log/apache2 and check out your error.log file. You prolly shouldn’t randomly kill .pids but if you’re getting a repeated httpd error like mine: “httpd (pid 5347?) not started” it could be that the server was manually shut down (oops, old Windows debugging tactic) and the process just needs to be murdered.

kill 5347

Worked like a charm. Another hint for you fellow newbs…maybe reading an Apache admin book would actually SAVE you time, eh? All I needed to do to enable my dern rewrite was to change AllowOverride None to AllowOverride all in my sites-enabled config. Hmmm….I bet a quick doc on configuring sites in Apache2 would have saved me all that. But then I wouldn’t have ever found out how to kill stuff on linux…so then again, maybe it was all worth it.



Awesome drawing by pure evil bunny on Flickr.

Don’t use Main Street Host for Web Hosting!

Someone just called me at work about “Main Street Host Dot Com”. Now, whether that’s mainstreethost.com or main-street-host.com or mainsthost.com, whatever. They telemarket, so they obviously can’t make money by offering good/fair service. Don’t use them. And as long as I’m on a rant about crappy web hosts, if you want to procrastinate whatever it is you’re doing and have a laugh read this account of Lunapages misguided insertion of link farms on their customers’ 404 pages. The comments become puerile and ranty. In fact, I haven’t seen such childish bantering since 1996 bbs flame wars.

2009.03.09 Update Since this rather random little post continues to get a lot of traffic and comments, I thought I’d offer some useful links on SEO [via Lifehacker 2009.02.28]

2009.10.26 Update I have noticed that a lot of the relatively few pro-MSH and most of the name-calling rude comments are coming directly from mainstreethost.com IP addresses. I try to occasionally post their IPs publicly when I find this. Note however, it’s very easy to use a proxy server to fake your IP address so any comments could be by MSH employees and I would not be able to trace it. I am not saying they have zero happy customers, but I would caution that based on simple statistics so far, to use a healthy dose of skepticism while reading the following comments.

2011.08.03 Update Officially closing comments on this post. Some other blog will have to carry the torch as a place for the continually disgruntled customers and near-customers of Main Street Host to kvetch.

If you are looking for a web host recommendation, check out my post What Web Host Should I Use?. Though written in 2006, I still use and recommend Dreamhost (for shared hosting). Good luck!

AOL – Bad News All Around

box full of aol cds - bad, but not as bad as their actual service
photo by optovox on Flickr, check out his giant fish art bike made with recycled AOL CDs!
There’s much ado about AOL (formerly America Online) these days. Blogs have been buzzing for weeks about AOL’s recent security blunder – publicly releasing over search records on 650,000 users, which evenutally resulted in their CTO’s resignation which was widely reported this morning.

“If you are an AOL customer, I feel sorry for you.” says Michael Arrington in his article in early August, AOL Proudly Releases Massive Amounts of Private Data, and continues, “AOL is hitting bottom when it comes to brand image. This story comes on the heels of the recorded phone call with customer service disaster as well as a just-in story about a woman who is unable to cancel her deceased father’s AOL account, nine months after his death.”

As if that weren’t enough, I recieved notice through my webhost this afternoon that an email alias I set up for a friend (so email @theirdomain.com could be forwarded to their AOL account) wouldn’t work anymore because AOL’s technologically stunted anti-spam measures automatically block all of Dreamhost’s IP addresses because they don’t target only the original spammers.

This is just another slap in the face, as far as I’m concerned. In August of 2005, America Online settled with the office of NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer over complaints about how arduous AOL made it to cancel service. Consumerist posted AOL’s Retention Manual that instructs it’s customer service reps on how to make it difficult for people to unsubscribe. Before that there was their preposterous email tax idea where you pay them to ensure your doesn’t get tossed in the spam bucket.

I was suprised to find only 28,000 hits for the literal string “i hate aol” on Google. I searched for “i love aol” and was shocked to see almost 26,000 results…but then I started reading some and many turned out to be satirical citing reasons like “an endless supply of coasters” and I Love AOL = I Love ‘All Outdated Logic”.
Related:

AOL on Wikipedia – company history, major events and general info

AOL Chief Technology Officer Resigns – New York Times

Heads Roll At AOL – TechCrunch

The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time – PCWorld Magazine (guess who’s number 1!)

No More AOL CDs – a website that collects AOL CD’s with plans to dump them at AOL headquarters when they reach a million.

Bloggers – Update WP now!

There’ve been quite a few reports about sites getting hacked, blogs and otherwise. ‘Spykidz ownz you’ is what you’ll see on many such sites. All the more reason to update to the latest and greatest in WordPress – currently 1.5.2. It addresses security issues, specifically xmlrpc.php, which seems to be the leak.

Unrealized CSS Selectors

I just finished reading the Selectutorial. (Actually, I’ve read it before but my CSS skills were not developed enough at the time to make any of it relevant enough to me to remember.) I must say, now that I fully understand it, it’s an different sort of excercise in frustration. Why? There are a lot of really, really useful CSS selectors that can’t be used. At least, not on a client’s site. With every new selector my excitement would build, until the summary: "…not supported by Windows Internet Explorer 5, 5.5 and 6, but are supported by most other standards-compliant browsers."

Think child selectors, adjacent sibling selectors, attribute selectors and the :before and :after pseudo-classes are just for CSS geeks? They could be regular part of your web-design diet, simplifying things like adjusting spacing conditionally depending on whether an element is right next to another. I could have used the attribute selectors to make only my little ‘off-site link’ images inline for a recent site instead of applying a class in the structural code to every freggin image tag!

It’s a shame that the worlds richest software company, fueled with hiring power and a presumably very well-educated and/or skilled workforce can’t make their browser standards compliant. If it wasn’t for Internet Explorer’s bad but predominant browser, things could be so much more efficient for everyone. Though I’ve applauded the relative dissapearance of "This site is best viewed in…" statement, I think I would now welcome "Best viewed in a standards compliant browser (Internet Explorer, try Firefox ).