New book on WordPress Theme Development: WordPress Themes In Depth
2009
Yearly Archive

Secure Visitor Posting for WordPress

Normally, when visitors post a comment to your site, specific types of client data are associated with the request. Commonly, a client will provide a user agent, a referrer, and a host header. When any of these variables is absent, there is good reason to suspect foul play. For example, virtually all browsers provide some sort of user-agent name to identify themselves. Conversely, malicious scripts directly posting spam and other payloads to your site frequently operate without specifying a user agent. In the Ultimate User-Agent Blacklist, we account for the “no-user-agent” case in the very first directive, preventing a host […] Read more »

How to Take DVD/Video Screenshots on Windows

Taking screenshots of DVD, MPEG, AVI, and other video on Windows machines requires a couple of extra steps. A normal screenshot is easy enough to capture by pressing the “Print Screen” button on your keyboard. To capture a screenshot of video display, however, you need to disable hardware acceleration to make it work. To do this on Windows machines, go to your Desktop properties and click on the Settings tab. Click on the Advanced button and then on the Troubleshooting tab. Slide the Hardware Acceleration to “None” and then capture and process your screenshot as normal. Once you are finished […] Read more »

9 Ways to Set Dynamic Body IDs via PHP and WordPress

When designing sites, it is often useful to identify different pages by adding an ID attribute to the <body></body> element. Commonly, the name of the page is used as the attribute value, for example: <body id=”about”></body> In this case, “about” would be the body ID for the “About” page, which would be named something like “about.php”. Likewise, other pages would have unique IDs as well, for example: <body id=”archive”> </body><body id=”contact”> </body><body id=”subscribe”> </body><body id=”portfolio”></body> ..again, with each ID associated with the name of the page. This identification strategy is useful for a variety of reasons, including the following: Page-specific […] Read more »

5-Minute PNG Image Optimization

A great way to improve the performance of your site is to optimize the size of your images. Smaller image sizes require less bandwidth, disk space and load time, and ultimately improve visitor experience. In this article, I share my effective 5-minute technique for optimizing PNG images. This is a two-step, lossless optimization process that removes as much extraneous data as possible without sacrificing any image quality whatsoever. It’s fast, free, and highly effective. Read more »

HTAccess Spring Cleaning 2009

Just like last year, this Spring I have been taking some time to do some general maintenance here at Perishable Press. This includes everything from fixing broken links and resolving errors to optimizing scripts and eliminating unnecessary plugins. I’ll admit, this type of work is often quite dull, however I always enjoy the process of cleaning up my HTAccess files. In this post, I share some of the changes made to my HTAccess files and explain the reasoning behind each modification. Some of the changes may surprise you! ;) Read more »

SEO Experiment: Let Google Sort it Out

One way to prevent Google from crawling certain pages is to use <meta /> elements in the <head></head> section of your web documents. For example, if I want to prevent Google from indexing and archiving a certain page, I would add the following code to the head of my document: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex,noarchive” /> I’m no SEO guru, but it is my general understanding that it is possible to manipulate the flow of page rank throughout a site through strategic implementation of <meta /> directives. Read more »

Important Security Fix for WordPress

The other day, my server crashed and Perishable Press was unable to connect to the MySQL database. Normally, when WordPress encounters a database error, it delivers a specific error message similar to the following: Read more »

Best Practices for Error Monitoring

Given my propensity to discuss matters involving error log data (e.g., monitoring malicious behavior, setting up error logs, and creating extensive blacklists), I am often asked about the best way to go about monitoring 404 and other types of server errors. While I consider myself to be a novice in this arena (there are far brighter people with much greater experience), I do spend a lot of time digging through log entries and analyzing data. So, when asked recently about my error monitoring practices, I decided to share my response here at Perishable Press, and hopefully get some good feedback […] Read more »

Import and Display RSS Feeds in WordPress

Importing and displaying external RSS feeds on your site is a great way to share your online activity with your visitors. If you are active on Flickr, Delicious, Twitter, or Tumblr, your visitors will enjoy staying current with your updates. Many social media sites provide exclusive feeds for user-generated content that may be imported and displayed on virtually any web page. In this article, you will learn three ways to import and display feed content on your WordPress-powered website — without installing yet another plugin. Update: This article applies to older versions of WordPress (less than 2.8). For WordPress 2.8 […] Read more »

4G Series: The Ultimate Referrer Blacklist, Featuring Over 8000 Banned Referrers

You have seen user-agent blacklists, IP blacklists, 4G Blacklists, and everything in between. Now, in this article, for your sheer and utter amusement, I present a collection of over 8000 blacklisted referrers. For the uninitiated, in teh language of teh Web, a referrer is the online resource from whence a visitor happened to arrive at your site. For example, if Johnny the Wonder Parrot was visiting the Mainstream Media website and happened to follow a link to your site (of all places), you would look at your access logs, notice Johnny’s visit, and speak out loud (slowly): “hmmm.. it looks […] Read more »

Looking for a Publisher

After several months of working diligently behind the scenes, I am officially announcing my latest project: a new book on WordPress. Without giving away too much at this time, here are some facts about it: It’s focused on WordPress It’s co-authored between Chris Coyier and myself It’s going to be awesome Chris and I have been working on the book for several months now and are very pleased with the results. Both of us have some — albeit limited — knowledge of the publishing world. Truth be told, we don’t have a publisher yet and aren’t quite sure about how […] Read more »

WordPress Tip: Valid, SEO-Friendly Email Permalink Buttons

In addition to your choice collection of “Share This” links, you may also want to provide visitors with a link that enables them to quickly and easily send the URL permalink of any post to their friends via email. This is a great way to increase your readership and further your influence. Just copy & paste the following code into the desired location in your page template: <a href=”mailto:?subject=Fresh%20Linkage%20@%20Perishable%20Press&amp;body=Check%20out%20<?php the_permalink(); ?>%20from%20Perishable%20Press” title=”Send a link to this post via email” rel=”nofollow”>Share this post via email</a> Within the code, you will need to edit both instances of the string “Perishable%20Press” to reflect […] Read more »

Getting Naked on My Birthday

In celebration of CSS Naked Day, Perishable Press has disabled it’s CSS stylesheet for today, April 9th, 2009 (which also happens to be my 37th birthday)! What are you waiting for? Go get naked!! ;) Read more »

Perishable Press Featured at CSS Perk!

Yet another fine reason to celebrate the current Quintessential theme design here at Perishable Press is graciously provided by the fine folks at CSS Perk (404 link removed 2013/06/24). CSS Perk features a growing collection of superior CSS-designed websites, and is always a great source of inspiration and ideas for new design projects. Seeing my current theme showcased at CSS Perk is very inspiring, and a super-cool way to celebrate my upcoming April-9th birthday. Many thanks to the awesome peeps at CSS Perk for sharing Perishable Press with their audience — it is greatly appreciated! :) So what are you […] Read more »

FeedBurner Subscriber Count Problems

I checked my Feedburner subscriber count on April 2nd and was surprised to see that the number of RSS subscribers had dropped from around 1800 to around 1100. The next day, my subscriber count decreased again, this time to around 700. Today, my Feedburner statistics increased slightly to around 1000 subscribers. So, in the course of three days I lost around 40% of my loyal readers, according to Google Feedburner. Will I get these subscribers back? Will my Google subscriber count return to normal? Why did my Feedburner count drop in the first place? Let’s explore the issue and try […] Read more »

About Page Redux

Perishable Press provides high-quality, in-depth articles on web design and development, graphic design, social media, blogging, software, and more. Learn how to use WordPress, PHP, SQL, HTAccess, JavaScript, (X)HTML, and CSS to create beautiful sites that are usable, accessible, and secure. Good Day Sunshine Perishable Press is the virtual playground of Jeff Starr — visionary, founder and lead developer of Monzilla Media, a small web and graphic design company located in the lush desert oasis of Moses Lake, Washington. Perishable Press features articles and tutorials on many aspects of digital design, and is very much a work in progress. It […] Read more »

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