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Failing Users

December 20th, 2009  · stk

This article was a long time in coming. Over 25 years, to be exact. However, it contains much more than observations on why software fails the users for which it's supposed to be designed. It also demonstrates a method of designing blog posts. Is it "just another post" or a "completely new website"? You decide.

Programmers Cut Off Their Noses

 
 
 

Are users ever truly satisfied with the software they use? The answer is typically "no". We need the software. We use the software. But we often don't like it. Among the reasons: it's buggy, hard to figure out, doesn't do what we want, is overly complex, the navigation sucks, it's got a steep learning curve or it's poorly documented. Take your pick. Why does software fail the very users for whom it's supposed to be designed?

 

Why Software Fails

Why Software Fails

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Updated: 4-Feb-2010
Web View Count: 16933 viewsLast Web Update: 4-Feb-2010
Filed in:CSS
Web Dev·b2evo

PZ3 Enhanced ImageMaps

July 15th, 2006  · stk

What do sunken ships have to do with Photo-Caption Zoom (PZ3) enhanced imagemaps? Find out, as history and technology collide on the Internet, in a demonstration that creatively extends PZ3 functionality and capability

PZ3: Putting the "Hot" in Hotspots!

Besides the problems associated with posting image maps in XHTML v1.1, there is very little information contained in such a construct, other than whatever the author might add to the "title" attribute. Along comes PZ3 to the rescue! It can add information images and text to a hovered hot-spot. In addition, it can "animate" the spot, so a visitor knows when it's been activated.

"Look Ma, no JavaScript, XHTML-valid, pure-CSS, cross-browser ... what could be finer?!"

For a demonstration of this new technique, which extends the capability and versatility of the Photo-caption Zoom method, read on ....

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Views: 41567 views
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Updated: 24-Sep-2006
Web View Count: 41567 viewsLast Web Update: 24-Sep-2006
Filed in:b2evo
Astonish Me!

Fighting Spam

June 20th, 2006  · stk

Your b2evolution blog is a target for SPAM. What SPAM-fighting tools are out there? What works? Here's an up-to-date list of the SPAM-fighting techniques for your blog, with links to instructions and a synopsis of their effectiveness.

SPAM is a Four Letter Word

stop spam

If you have a blog, it doesn't matter what software or service you use, once you begin blogging, you'll discover two things:

• Thing 1: You are now a webmaster.

• Thing 2: Your blog is a target for SPAM.

You didn't sign up for these things! You don't care about htaccess, PHP, JavaScript, XHTML, validation, web standards, CSS and the like! You just want to blog, have it all "work" and for spammers to leave you alone, gosh darn it.

If life were like that, you wouldn't need articles like this one. The fact is, if you want to keep SPAM off your blog website, you'll need to play an active roll in defending it, or hire someone to do it for you.

Like those who dump garbage in the forest, SPAMmers are scum. Like the garbage dumpers, a SPAMmer has no regard for others. Their only thought is that SPAM allows them to send their bogus offers and get rich schemes to suckers at a very low cost.

-Ian Kaplan

SPAM works like this: Blog developers build tools into their (often free) applications to keep SPAM away, then SPAM developers (the enemy) find a way to defeat it, selling their software to people who use it to leave SPAM on your blog. The SPAM helps these people sell something (typically medications or website memberships, but it could be anything). By leaving a link with keywords, they get "inbound links", better page rankings, and possible click-through customers, which, in turn, means that anyone looking to buy their product, finds their site, on page one, of a web search.

Fighting SPAM is like a game of leap frog. A new version of blog software comes out with anti-spam methods that work. Everyone is happy ... until the methods are defeated. Bloggers are left to fend for themselves, until the next major release of blog software comes out, which starts the cycle over again.

This is where we are with b2evolution. The new version (Phoenix) will have some nifty tools to aid in the battle against spammers, but it's not quite ready for prime time. So what's a b2evolution blogger to do?

What are the SPAM defense options? What works? What doesn't?

This article presents a list of known SPAM defenses, with links to information about each, a description of the pros and cons associated with the technique and a brief synopsis of their effectiveness. I first posted the list on the b2evolution forums, but because posts get buried so quickly there, decided to keep an up-to-date list, with more detail, here.

Why me? I'm no SPAM guru. What I've learned, I've learned from necessity. I don't like spammers, I do like to "noodle around" and learn and I like helping others. So, there you are. If you find a mistake or know of a technique I don't mention, please leave a comment or contact me.

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Updated: 13-Feb-2011
Web View Count: 16177 viewsLast Web Update: 13-Feb-2011

Google Spell-Check Plugin

May 30th, 2006  · stk

AstonishMe! brings you "Google Spell-Check Plugin", adding spell-checking capabilities to your b2evolution (v1.0+) posts and comment forms. It uses Google's API and has many similar features to the Gmail spell-checker. It supports 8 different languages. Learn more.

 AstonishMe! Google Spell Plugin

An AstonishMe! Public Release

If you want to get a really nifty spell checker for your b2evolution blog, then look no further than AstonishMe!

Now publicly available, our "Google Spell-Check Plug-in" is a back-office and comment form spell-checker, which uses the Google Spell-Check API. If you use Gmail, then you're already familiar with the interface, as ours has the same look-and-feel and uses the same dictionary. It's a piece of cake to install, easy as pie to use and makes for a delicious add-on to your b2evolution blog.

To learn more about "Google Spell-Check" and obtain your copy, continue on ...

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Views: 32490 views
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Updated: 23-Feb-2008
Web View Count: 32490 viewsLast Web Update: 23-Feb-2008
Filed in:b2evo
Web Dev·The Web

A Target on Your Blog

May 9th, 2006  · stk

How about this: Software that targets b2evolution blogs and ONLY b2evolution blogs! We're talking comment SPAM here, folks. Ever wonder why you spend so much time deleting comments from your blog? Find out more ...

b2evolution Comment Spam Software

b2eblogger

Did you know that you can buy software specifically for spamming b2evolution blogs? How about that "howdy-do" with your morning coffee? Just think of all those SPAM messages you spend time deleting from your blog. Perhaps many are coming from this software?

It's enough to make steam come out of your ears.

Of course, if the programming is crafted as well as the banner ad (notice the spelling error?), then b2evolution owners don't have too much to worry about.

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Views: 16126 views
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Updated: 20-Jun-2011
Web View Count: 16126 viewsLast Web Update: 20-Jun-2011