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Blosxom plugin tagging released //at 02:22 //by abe

from the if-it-doesn't-exist-you-have-to-write-it-yourself dept.

I like the idea of categorising blog posts and I like blosxom, but even with multcat adding a post to multiple categories is somehow limited. In other blogs I often saw the technic of tagging articles with a keyword. I wanted that feature, too, but there weren’t any appropriate plugin for blosxom. Until now, because again, I just wrote it by my own…

So here is the blosxom plugin tagging, version 0.01. License is GPL v2 or higher.

tagging expects one or more “header” lines starting with “Tags: ” and being located directly under the first line, which always is the title. Those lines you can fill with comma seperated keywords (seperation by blanks possible via config) and shows them with appropriate links in $tagging::tag_list for the story template and $tagging::global_tag_list with all used keywords for the head or foot template.

Filtering is done using the -tags parameter in the query string. It uses the same delimiter as configured for the Tag header lines inside the posts.

Image based captchas are evil //at 02:20 //by abe

from the accessibility dept.

I always found Captchas annoying. But since I also had or have problems with guestbook or comment spamming, I understood that people and especially companies saw no other choice against comment or wiki spamming, mass account grabbing, etc. But since most captcha are based on the fact that people can still read deformed or garbled texts in images while machines can’t or at least only with a big effort, there is one big drawback with them: They are even more an insuperable obstacle for blinds or visually handicapped people than for machines.

The blind computer science student Sebastian Andres showed at Berlinux how blinds navigate and use the web and where they (must) stop. So because of GMail uses visual captchas as a defense against mass account grabbing, he couldn’t get such a “free” e-mail account. (And yes there exist non-visual captchas. But they’re seldom used.) Thanks Sebastian for this insight.

Uncyclopedia: Misinformation rules //at 02:20 //by abe

from the nonsens-united dept.

Uncyclopedia is an encyclopedia full of misinformation and utter lies. It’s sort of like Congress or Parliament (or Funkadelic). Unlike Congress or Parliament (but not Funkadelic), however, we do have a sense of humor.”

Sounds a little bit like the German written Kamelopedia which has any information about camels, even that information, that doesn’t exist.

Now playing: J.B.O. — Verteidiger des wahren Blödsinns

Implemented a blacklist for blog comment spam //at 02:12 //by abe

from the the-last-straw dept.

Just killed all the remaining comment spams (I hope) and implemented a simple regexp based blacklist which should get most medicaments, potence pills, casinos, lotteries and other frequently posted junk. I hope, it does not hit too many valid posts. If you have problems posting comments, feel free to contact me by e-mail or on IRC.

In other news, I installed the blosxom plugin comments_recent and adapted the mail feature of writeback notify to my (in the meantime heavily modified) instance of the comments plugin v0.6. I also made it symlink-safe for use with multcat.

Blacklisting comment spam in blosxom //at 02:12 //by abe

from the it-seems-to-work-so-it-has-to-be-released dept.

Since the demand for blosxom anti-comment-spam solutions respective appropriate blosxom plugins seems to be really high, I’ve decided to polish up my apparently quite well working although still in beta state being anti-spam enhanced version of the comments plugin (ZIP) by putting the blacklist outside in an external file and writing some (still short) docs.

I use it since 11th of January this year and got only two spam comments and many more normal comments since then, so it should work. Although: I also got a question if my trackback doesn’t work. Hmmm. So no warranties, just an offer for help fighting against comment spam. ;-)

Another feature which is basically ported from the writeback notify plugin is notification of the blog owner about new comments by mail. Since on the server on which my blog runs the used Perl module Mail::Sendmail was not available, I used Mail::Send instead for my version.

For installation you first need to download the ZIP file of the original comments plugin, install it’s templates and then install my anti-spam enhanced version of the plugin itself.

Now playing: Rockapella — Come on Eileen

Blosxom like alternatives to Blosxom //at 02:10 //by abe

from the write-once-read-never dept.

I really like the simplicity of Blosxom as blogging framework and I also like Perl very much. But somehow this Perl 4 alike global variables madness of Blosxom v2 sucks in several ways: It effectively prevents Blosxom from being used with mod_perl and it’s just not what I would call an API. I would like to have a more object-oriented plugin API and it should be save for use with FastCGI, mod_perl or similar possibilities to cache the parsed script code instead of reparsing with each request. Another thing should be a tagging facility. Had to write that by myself for Blosxom v2. (Wasn’t that hard though.) But since Blosxom v3 development seemed to have stopped in May 2004, I have been thinking about and looking for alternatives.

First thought was to write a Blosxom clone by myself using Embperl as framework (as I did with web galleries after not finding any web gallery software fitting all my needs).

But since I got infected with Ruby recently, I also thought about writting a Blosxom clone in Ruby, which would give me quite a lot of Ruby experience and would make a good fit since Ruby as well as Blosxom have some kind of Zen (or KISS) philosophy. The next thought was: I can’t be the first to come up with that idea and googled a little bit.

First thing I digged up was Rage, some kind of Blosxom on Rails. But I didn’t find any source code although the author seems to prefer open source software. Seems as if it is seems to be ready for production but not ready for public release.

The next thing I found was hint to some Blosxom clones in the Ruby Application Archive (RAA). Unfortunately two of them (sakura and lily) seem to have Japanese only web pages. :-(

But for luck the third Ruby based Blosxom clone found in the RAA, Blosxonomy, seems to be quite well featured, under actual development, has a english written web page and one of if its main concepts is taggability. And also the other core concepts sound fine: simplicity, extensibility and compatibility. Sounds really perfect and I’ll probably give it a try, but not on my current blog host: There is no Ruby installed and it’s not my own box.

Now playing: Rolling Stones — Ruby Tuesday

Some new plugins, XFN, Technorati and //at 02:09 //by abe

from the web-2.0 dept.

After blathijs and I today talked a little bit about blosxom plugins on the #blosxom IRC channel, I installed the listplugins plugin. Since I’m a perfectionist in some things, I had to configure it to link every plugin I use to it’s web page or source.

While going through my plugin list, I noticed that there were three additional plugins I wrote myself and of which I thought I should share:

  • acronyms works similar to and is losely based on Fletcher Penney’s autolinks but instead of setting links it marks configurable keywords as abbreviation or acronym and show their expansion when hovering over the keyword (all using standard XHTML).
  • xml_ping_generic is based on xml_ping_weblogs and can ping an arbitrary number of URLs to be pinged with the’s XML RPC ping API. By default it pings and
  • date_rfc822 is nothing else than the 822-date command (which returns a date in RFC 822 conform format and is written in Perl, too) wrapped into a blosxom plugin. Work similar to date_fullname. I use it for including <pubDate> tags in the RDF.

All plugins are published under the same open source license, they initially came with.

In other news…
I started using XFN, the XHTML Friends Network, at least the blogroll, and created accounts at Technorati and at, a German clone formerly respective yet still known as

Now playing: Battle Without Honor or Humanity — Hotei Tomayasu (from the Kill Bill Soundtrack)

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Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert


This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the Network Security Group (NSG) of the Central IT Services (Informatikdienste) at ETH Zurich.

Links to internal pages are orange, links to related pages are blue, links to external resources are green and links to Wikipedia articles, Internet Movie Database (IMDb) entries or similar resources are bordeaux. Times are CET respective CEST (which means GMT +0100 respective +0200).

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  • Bastian Sick: Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod (Teile 1-3)
  • Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: Good Omens (borrowed from Ermel)

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  • Neil Gaiman: Keine Panik (borrowed from Ermel)

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  • Neil Stephenson: Cryptonomicon (borrowed from Ermel)

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  • Wolfgang Stoffels: Lokomotivbau und Dampftechnik (borrowed from Ermel)
  • Beverly Cole: Trains — The Early Years (getty images)