I started writing about the Oscar nominations earlier yesterday, but I got side-tracked with my foot, live blogging the Apple earnings call, which was actually really interesting given the market conditions and the idiotic after hours sales frenzy. Stupid shareholders — who sells stock in a company that earns 16 cents over projections just because they have soft projections for the next quarter, a quarter that is historically soft for the entire marketplace — even though the company is notorious for downplaying expectations?
Anyhoo, right before that call started, the Heath Ledger stuff started coming in over the news readers and a day later, the Internet and social webs are still abuzz. I have to admit, it was shocking to me too — and I certainly had an emotional response (not a deeply emotional response, but a response), unlike when Brad Renfro died last week and I was totally nonplussed. Speaking of Renfro, frankly I still don’t understand all the Facebook freak outs. OK, so a guy our age who we all had a crush on in 6th and 7th grade died — he was a drug addict — it was totally unsurprising, given how he was arrested buying heroin in one of the nastiest parts of LA. Plus, I mean, when was the last time you saw him in a movie that didn’t go direct-to-video? I remember his bit part in “Ghost World” — but Jesus, that was like 6 years ago.
With Heath Ledger I guess it is slightly different because he was well on his way to being an actual star with actual box office mojo behind his name (and that’s the difference — you can be famous but not be famous enough to drive people to the movies — see Alba, Jessica). I thought he was supremely talented and really do feel for the daughter he left behind and his family.
I can’t help but be disturbed by how much of the Euro/LA paparazzi element infiltrated his New York apartment. That’s what disturbs me. I can kind of understand that happening in LA, that is part of the culture, for better or worse, but New York is supposed to be different.
Oh well. In other news, I’m playing around with various Open Source CMS platforms again. Joomla! 1.5 was just released and Drupal 6 should be out soon (RC2 is out now). I really like most elements of WordPress, but there are elements of the backend code, especially with regards to how the databases are structured that don’t really impress me. Normally, I wouldn’t care — but after kind of reinvigorating my interest in PHP and overall web development, I’ve taken a stronger look.
Oh! Speaking of WordPress — if anyone has commented on my blog in the past two weeks and the comment did not show up, I apologize. It’s Akismet’s fault. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the spam plugin is great in theory — but as of right now, it is utterly unusable to me. Why? Well, after Shashi tried to comment on my last post, he told me that he was trapped in Akismet’s filter (apparently it happened to him before earlier in the week), well in the course of trying to rescue his comment — I was unable to actually view the comments WordPress had marked as spam inside my dashboard. This had actually been kind of an ongoing thing. I had six total spam according to the dashboard, but I could not see any of them. Thus far, I have only received one trackback spam comment, and that was two weeks ago. Since then, I just assumed that the non-existent, yet accounted for spam was either a trackback or accessible somewhere. But after Shashi’s tweet, I realized that legitimate comments could be trapped, so I did my damndest to try to retrieve them.
Doing lots of Google searches and searching the WordPress.org forums basically led me to finding lots of other people who have experienced that problem over the last 18 months or so (I was finding stuff from summer 2006), but there was no definitive solution, nor was there an explanation for why this was happening. For some people, it was something that was self-corrected, lending credence to the idea that it is a server problem, but then some other forum posters who seem to be active in the project said that Akismet won’t show you any comments that it “knows for sure are spam” — meaning that if another person has classified someone or some address as a spammer, you won’t see it. Now, that sounds patently absurd to me. In any event, absolutely nothing would let me find a way to retrieve my comments marked as spam and I was unable to find out where the spam comments were stored in the MySQL database.
So Akismet is dunzo. Defensio is my new spam fighting plugin. It installs and configures almost identically to Akismet — except I can actually see comments it marks as spam. So far I have had only one comment not get correctly labeled (it was spam, Defensio missed it), but seeing as my other comments even before the disappearance were showing up as spam, this is manageable. No offense to the WordPress crew — and congratulations on that $29.5 million second round of funding — but if I cannot have access the comments you are marking as spam, whether they are or are not — your plugin is useless.
Long rant short, if you commented and the system ate it — I apologize — please comment again.
2 people have left comments
Wayne Dixon said:
if you have PHPmyadmin Access to your wp database you can ‘re-activate’ the comments. Just connect using phpmyadmin then browse to the database. There’s a table called ‘wp_comments’ Under there there are 3 options. 0,1,spam. Spam are the spammed comments. 1 is for awaiting approval, and 0 is approved. So changing just those comments that aren’t approved to approved is the easiest way to re-enable the ‘disabled’ comments. any questions twitter me, or dm on twitter @waynedixon.
Wayne, Thanks for the suggestion! That was actually one of the first things I did the other night, but because I uninstalled and reinstalled Akismet first (meaning I deleted it from my WP directory and then re-uploaded it), I feared I may have overwritten any of the Akismet specific entries. BUT, as luck would have it, I WP-Backup e-mailed me my complete database back-up on Sunday and I checked the tables in wp_comments the other evening and still came up empty, leading me to think that either Akismet automatically deleted something without my consent or the comments marked “spam” are not held in my local DB. Or the script is just buggy and it deletes shit instead of marking it as 1. Because Akismet was showing “4 total spam” on Sunday, despite me only having manually verified one (and deleting it a couple weeks ago).
I really, really appreciate the suggestion though!