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IDs are anchors, too.

While browsing the internet these days, I see a lot of this: <body> … <a name=”top”></a> … <a href=”#top”>- Back to Top -</a> … </body> There’s an easier, better and prettier way. CSS Signatures are all the rage these days. If you’re not familiar with a CSS Signature, it’s basically nothing more than an ID on your body tag, like this: <body id=”www-domain-tld”></body> The fundamental purpose of the CSS Signature is to allow a user to specify style adjustments to your site in their own user style sheets. Whether or not users are actually capitalizing on this is a discussion […] Read more »

Disable Trace and Track for Better Security

The shared server on which I host Perishable Press was recently scanned by security software that revealed a significant security risk. Namely, the HTTP request methods TRACE and TRACK were found to be enabled on my webserver. The TRACE and TRACK protocols are HTTP methods used in the debugging of webserver connections. Although these methods are useful for legitimate purposes, they may compromise the security of your server by enabling cross-site scripting attacks (XST). By exploiting certain browser vulnerabilities, an attacker may manipulate the TRACE and TRACK methods to intercept your visitors’ sensitive data. The solution, of course, is disable […] Read more »

Sexy HTML List Tricks

Behold the ubiquitous list elements, <ul></ul> and <ol></ol>! These two sexy elements help millions of websites display lists of information in clean, semantic fashion. Without them, we’d be crawling around like filthy cavemen, eating dirt and howling at the moon. But these list elements aren’t just sexy, they are also extremely flexible, enabling us humble designers to create robust list configurations that are semantically versatile and highly customizable. We all know how to throw down a basic list: Read more »

Display Random Posts from Specific Tags or Categories

When developing the colorful Quintessential Theme (opens in new tab), I initially planned on displaying five random posts from each of my most popular tags and categories in the super-slick sliding-panel sidebar. Because I am running an older version of WordPress, however, this task proved to be quite the educational experience. In newer versions (from 2.5 I think) of WordPress, the query_posts() function enables users to display posts in random order using the orderby=rand parameter. This would have made my life easy, as I could have included the following code for each of my random post lists: Read more »

HTAccess Password-Protection Tricks

Recently a reader asked about how to password-protect a directory for every specified IP while allowing open access to everyone else. In my article, Stupid htaccess Tricks, I show how to password-protect a directory for every IP except the one specified, but not for the reverse case. In this article, I will demonstrate this technique along with a wide variety of other useful password-protection tricks, including a few from my Stupid htaccess Tricks article. Before getting into the juicy stuff, we’ll review a few basics of HTAccess password protection. Read more »

Associate Any File with Notepad in Five Seconds

In my article, Associate Extensionless Files with Notepad, I explain how to navigate the labyrinthine maze of Windows dialogue menus to assign Microsoft’s Notepad text editor as the opening application for files without extensions. In this post, I’ll show you how to associate any file type with any program (including Notepad) in less than five seconds. Ready? Don’t blink, you’ll miss it.. ;) Modify any file extension association in five seconds Open the Windows command prompt and enter the following command: assoc .extension=fileType It’s that easy. What is happening here? Let’s break it down, just for fun: assoc — Windows file-association […] Read more »

Dynamic Link Insertion via Unobtrusive External JavaScript

In my recent guest post at The Nexus, I discuss Google’s new nofollow policy (404 link removed 2013/02/08) and suggest several ways to deal with it. In that article, I explain how Google allegedly has changed the way it deals with nofollow links. Instead of transferring leftover nofollow juice to remaining dofollow links as they always have, Google now pours all that wonderful nofollow juice right down the drain. This shift in policy comes as a terrible surprise to many webmasters and SEO gurus, especially those who have invested vast amounts of time, effort and money engaging in supposedly lucrative […] Read more »

Dealing with Google’s New Nofollow Policy

Note: This article was originally posted at a domain that’s unfortunately turned to the dark side.. so the post itself is no longer available in its original location, so it’s been reposted here for reference purposes.</note> Anyone plugged into the Web these days has heard about how Google has supposedly changed the way it deals with nofollow attributes. According to a number of speculative reports, Google will no longer apply unused nofollow PageRank to other links on the page. So, let’s say that you have some sites that have been PageRank “sculpted” by way of strategically applied nofollow tags. For […] Read more »

Block Multiple IP Addresses with PHP

Let’s face it. There’s just as much scum on the Internet as there is out there in the “real world.” Maybe even more, who knows. From scammers and spammers to scrapers and crackers, the Web is just crawling with all sorts of pathetic scumbags. As predictably random as much of the malicious activity happens to be, it is virtually guaranteed that you will be hounded by at least a few persistent IP addresses that, for whatever reason, have latched on and just won’t let go. Like satanic parasites, they plague you night and day, haunting you and making your online […] Read more »

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 »

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 »

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