More anti-spam regex updating

Permalink 10:21:39 am, Categories: Web Design, Programming, 234 words  

Recently there seems to have been a minor swarm of a new style of spam - insurance spam. An extra little bit to the regex and all should be good: insurance for your car, travel, motor, life or medical should all now be blocked.

Also, I've noticed before that spammers were encoding the comment title on a trackback, using the "&#" number code for the vowels. Recently, they've started doing it on the 'blog name' as well, so an update has been made:

$blog_name = preg_replace("~&(#?)(48|49|5[0-7]|6[4-9]|[78][0-9]|9[07-9]|1[01][0-9]|12[0-2]);~e",
    "chr('\\2')", $blog_name);

Now all blog names that encode any standard english letter will be swapped back to their real letter.

As a final note, it's rather strange, but I've actually received hits for searches on "anti-spam regex". As much as I like the idea of being some important spam-fighter, the complete regex is staying private so that it doesn't become common and the spammers don't learn it.

Edit: Typical - my anti-spam filter blocked my trackback to the last anti-spam post. Oh well, at least I know it's working!

Edit 2: ten hours later and four comments got through. Turns out that "\b" for word boundary counts a hyphen as a word boundary, but not an underscore! That minor oversight is now fixed and insurance-scam spam should now be fairly well blocked (until they decide to advertise some other form of insurance, on they try Pratchett's Inn-Sewer-Ants!)


FloridaHomesDirectory ready for go-live!

Permalink 09:31:33 pm, Categories: Web Design, Programming, 195 words  

For the past few months, I've been working on a new website and a new use for my CMS.

The latest website to run on the system is FloridaHomesDirectory.co.uk, the new Florida holiday villa listing website that is being set up and run by my girlfriend and her mother. The website aims to link holiday makers with the villas they want, all through a small set of search filters. Each villa will be listed with a photograph and a small description, ensuring that visitors can see what they are getting before they click through to the villa website.

The site isn't live quite yet, we're waiting until the New Year for the actual launch, but it should be fully functional now.The site design has also been checked in a variety of browsers. Mozilla 0.9 chokes on the styling used for forms (but then it is quite a few years old now!), Opera 6 wasn't too happy with some parts of the styling either, and Netscape 4 manages to get confused by the hitcounter (stupid thing) but other than that all versions of IE, the latest Firefox and v7 and above of Opera handle it fine.


New look for Blog

Permalink 01:41:43 pm, Categories: Web Design, 173 words  

I've just changed the CSS for the blog - just before University starts! Ben said he had a new design he had to get round to creating and I said I'd probably make a new design for my site before the new year started and I've made it! Now to see if he makes his "CSS: Reboot" deadline.

There may be some areas that aren't working quite right at the moment (I know some of the areas need a bit more padding and the body background doesn't quite seem to be sitting perfectly) but what you see is pretty much what it is going to look like. Thanks to Studio 28 and their Fatal IE Windows XP Visual Style for giving me the idea of the nice subtle fade effect.

Update: OK, so the background problem was actually a problem with the background image (damn Photoshop and its laters, I thought they were merged!) Everything else looks fine at the moment. If anyone spots anything that looks odd/old-style-blue, then comment here or contact me :)


New skins on Skins@HWT

Permalink 03:56:07 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, Web Design, 160 words  

After months (I think) of deliberation, trial and error, I've finally added the Winter Assault skin to Skins@HWT and made it the default!

OK, so I actually did it last week and only just posted about it, but never mind :D While I was at it, I also added the "Dark/Chaos" skin, which I quickly put together as something for those people who prefer their dark skins.

All three skins (the original and the two new ones) are selectable for each visiting session from the drop down on the left hand side. I will also, at some point, be adding the new skins to the HWT Forums. My latest project of making Dawn of War skins as playable cloned races in the form of Mods is taking priority, though.

All three skins are made with exactly the same HTML and structure, changing only the Style Sheet of the page for each different skin. Ahhhh, the power of CSS!


New Winter Assault design (logo)

Permalink 12:44:33 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, Web Design, 134 words  

Using the colour scheme from the WA4 skin and the font from the normal Skins@HWT logo, combined with the style of the Winter Assault game logo (military stamp over the normal logo) I have now made a Winter Assault skin v4.

I'm quite happy with the skin now, and Winter Assault is due out in approximately 1 month (23rd September, so one month tomorrow) so I'll hopefully get the new design up tomorrow, as the default, for a month in advance :) The old skin will still be available, and you'll be able to choose it each time you visit the site.

If I don't get to do it tomorrow, I might do it on Friday, when it is four weeks until release.

So, as per usual (to anyone who reads this!), your comments please!


Third Skins@HWT site design release

Permalink 08:11:38 am, Categories: Dawn of War, Web Design, 81 words  

Following earlier comments from my brother, I've tried to make the repeat section of the header more subtle and less defined. The new third release is available at http://skins.hiveworldterra.co.uk/SkinsAtHWT_WA4.html

One final idea I might add to it is replacing the logo with "Skins@HWT" in Civic (the font on the original skin) and using the stencil font to stamp "Winter Assault" over the logo, like they're doing with the logo for Winter Assault itself.


Hive World Terra gets a .com

Permalink 11:25:07 am, Categories: Web Design, 220 words  

I've finally got round to doing it, over one month since it was suggested to me by my manager at my Industrial Experience placement - I've bought HiveWorldTerra.com.

The suggestion to buy the domain came because I mentioned I had IBBoard.co.uk and someone had recently bought the .com and was putting a CMS there (or they were, that page seems to have gone now to be replaced with an Apache test page). So since I had HiveWorldTerra.co.uk, why not buy the .com as well and make sure no-one steals that? At $7.99 per year from my host, Micfo.com, (that's about £4.50) it's not going to break the bank!

I've currently got it set up the proper way around so that www.hiveworldterra.com/anything redirects to www.hiveworldterra.co.uk/anything :) skins.hiveworldterra.com and forums.hiveworldterra.com have also been setup as redirects to the correct TLD, but I've yet to get the Skins subdomain to respond, even though they were both set up at the same time.

Update: the DNS settings seem to have propogated - skins.hiveworldterra.com now redirects to the same page in skins.hiveworldterra.co.uk. And remember, the .co.uk is the correct domain because I'm British and unlike some British companies I want to keep the website that way :D


Improved Winter Assault design

Permalink 09:32:20 am, Categories: Dawn of War, Web Design, 248 words  

Having received a tip from Mel_Danes at the Hive World Terra forums about using the official art work for my colour scheme (I would use the art work with the Guardsman as well, but GW probably has legal problems with that!) I've now come up with a new scheme that looks quite a bit better. I've also included a logo in this one.

Feel free to check out the new Winter Assault @ Hive World Terra skin and tell me what you think. Just before Winter Assault is released, this skin will become the default for a while, with the option to change it back to the standard skin. Once Winter Assault has been out for a while, I'll leave the skin available but revert to the current cream skin as the default skin.

Please note that I'm having a few known issues with the various backgrounds lining up properly, and I'll be fixing it at some point.

Update: for those of you wanting to see the original look (well, original release, not my first attempt), then it is still available at http://skins.hiveworldterra.co.uk/SkinsAtHWT_WA2.html. Note that I didn't have a logo made for this one, but it would be about the same as the new one.

Update 2: The images have now been replaced with better versions that align correctly (the repeat was taken from the saved JPG instead of from the original non-resized image that was then scaled down seperately as before)


Skins@HWT browser stats

Permalink 12:14:14 pm, Categories: General, Web Design, 96 words  

Now I don't have anything against people who use IE, and hopefully IE7 might even be an improvement, but I'm always impressed by the browser usage stats for the Skins @ HWT website.

Granted, it's a gaming website, so people are more likely to go and download an alternative, but here are the current stats from the first month (roughly, it's actually one month and half a day)

Internet Explorer	1733	 	62.6 %
Firefox			880	 	31.8 %
Opera			68	 	2.5 %
Mozilla			32	 	1.2 %
Netscape		29	 	1 %
Safari			16	 	0.6 %
Konqueror		1	 	0 %

Over 30% Firefox usage and nearly down to 60% IE usage (it keeps moving between 60 and 65%) - now that's the way I like it!



Permalink 04:54:53 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, General, Web Design, 90 words  

Today is my birthday! I've not done much (wandered into Manchester, met up with my brother, watched Eddie Izzard's Circle DVD, probably lounging and watching CSI:Crime Scene Investigations series 4 on DVD tonight) but I am 21. I'm old :D

As for the websites, I've about got an improvement for the Downloads area complete. I'll upload it tomorrow, update all of the Dawn of War downloads so that they reference the top few relevant downloads (including some on Hangar-8's site - the link exchange is now done and traffic is flowing :) )


New Winter Assault design

Permalink 03:45:16 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, Web Design, 155 words  

OK, the design has had a bit of shuffling around and trimming to neaten it up. The important bits are still there, but it still looks like a normal blog. This will, of course, be remedied later.

But the topic of this message - the Winter Assault design that I want to use on Skins@HWT for a while when the Winter Assault expansion comes out. I made two colour schemes based off a header image, the second Winter Assault design is acceptable, but not great, the first was far too pale and blue.

So, the design is now in the big beyond, although not a very big beyond because only one other person knows about the blog so far!

[Update] Just ignore the colour difference on the slanted corners (if you're using a modern browser like Firefox or Opera) - I've just been lazy so far and not recreated the images in the new colour scheme!