Smarty template tricks for OG:tags with international charsets

TL;DR version: if you use opencart or prestashop and your shares on facebook don’t look good, you have product images missing or product descriptions missing, read the article completely, to learn how to properly og: tag your templates.

Some of my Prestashop and Opencart customers, especially French and eastern-europeans use in their product and category names special apostrophe characters, that while look good on the product page, in the product or category description itself, cause a very strange behaviour in Facebook’s sharer apps.

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Trick to use against idiots who try to hack your site

TL:DR version: some examples of how some lifewaster hacker-wannabes try to gain unauthorised access to sites and blogs and how you can simply and effectively block them

Obviously, some people have too much time on their hands, and don’t appreciate life enough in order to do something useful with theirs, so they spend hours and days trying to hack into other people’s servers, websites, and webapps. How do I know this ? Well, this year only, I’ve found and filtered out over 300 IP addresses and user agents, behavioral patterns and 404s (not found messages) in the logs of THIS SITE ALONE (I manage several sites and blogs, both for myself and coworkers and some companies, all on different servers), that have all indicated that some idiots spend hours a day trying to hack into wordpress, joomla, and other CMS (content-management system) based sites.

Some of the IP addresses clearly indicate that they do have some serious resources at their disposal, like hacking attacks coming from datashack.net, a company or hosting service with several thousands of IP addresses, or ovh.net, again, with several hundreds of IPs at their disposal. Some of the log entries (see some examples below) clearly indicate that they either have no clue how a webserver actually operates, or they base their attacks on outdated information from 10 years ago, when hacking into a server was possible simply by knowing what components the CMS has and looking for ones that can be exploited via SQL injections or concurrent command executions.

Obviously, almost all major CMS engines are constantly being improved, and security flaws are consistently being patched by all well-known platforms, however, it looks like some of these life-wasters and hacker wannabes haven’t found out about that and try EVERY DAY the same tactict, the same M.O (modus operandi), on THE SAME SITE, in some cases from the same IP address. Now if that is not a good example of insanity, I don’t know what is 🙂

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Getting more exposure for your articles from already existing visitors

Getting more exposure for your articles from already existing visitors

One of the challenges of every blogger is obviously, bringing traffic to the blog, but most bloggers using the “generally accepted” methods for doing that, forget that there are simple, policy-compliant, easy-to-implement, and easy to overlook solutions.

While some of the social media sharing specialists like addit, sharethis, and others, do offer some form of “next article” or “similar stories” widget or popup for wordpress and other CMS-es, it’s quite difficult to implement some of their trinkets in blogger (blogspot) blogs, and if you do get to implement them, they greatly reduce the speed of the blog.

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How to add a feedburner subscription popup to your blogger blog

The Blogger platform, operated by internet giant Google, is actually a quite complete blogging solution, and currently millions of bloggers use it to publish anything from poetry to rants to tech news ans gossip, basically, if any topic is decent and useful, you can probably find a .blogspot blog about that topic.

But even though the userbase is huge, given the fact that blogger is mainly used by non-techie bloggers, some very useful functionalities are missing from the platform, and most often a year or more passes before any user  feedback or feature request gets actually turned into a new blogger function.

And and it’s every blogger’s wish to increase the number of people that usually read the blog’s posts, it’s curious, that it is particularly the subscription mechanisms used by blogger, that are lacking almost any semblance of currentness, the simple “subscribe to posts via atom” links and the very few widgets that can be added to a blogger blog, don’t really qualify.

Feedburner, also operated by google, does have a pretty good subscription management mechanism, but it’s often cumbersome to even link the two together, and the “Click to subscribe” option which opens a popup window in which you’ll have to enter an e-mail address, and confirm a captcha, doesn’t really have too many options, it’s just a popup window activated on a click.

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Revert to older version of Yahoo Mail

If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of unhappy Yahoo Mail users who believe that the new interface forcefully implemented and forced on users by Yahoo, is much more of a hinderence in the way of accomplishing anything meaningful via e-mail, then an improvement, you’ve probably tried to change how the interface looks, googled about it, complained about it in the forums, to no avail.

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Automate your blogging tasks with free online services – part III. – You have set up a feed with feedburner. Now what ?

You have set up a feed with feedburner. Now what ?

Selecting blog settings from the popup menu in blogger's dashboard
Image no.1 Selecting blog settings from the popup menu in blogger’s dashboard

In the previous post in this multipost series (see part I and part II. here) I have presented the challenges of automating some of the repetitive blogging tasks that any serious or professional blogger is faced with, and in today’s post, I’ll try to show you some of the things that you have accomplished if you’ve set up your feed with google’s free Feedburner.

Now that you’ve set up a feed with feedburner (presumably, after reading my 2 previous posts about this), let’s see first of all, how do you set your blog to redirect your readers who access the blog’s original feed, to your new feedburner feed.

On blogger / blogspot blogs, your original feed would be at http://yourblogurl/atom.xml, or

http://yourblogurl/feeds/posts/default (insert your REAL blog URL [address] instead of “yourblogurl” ).

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