TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library

comment spam countermeasures (mollom, honeypots, hashcash, bad behavior)

The spam situation has recently gotten a bit out of hand and automated defenses have been giving in.

I've taken a close look at the problem and implemented a gauntlet of spam countermeasures that I'm hoping will give us back the upper hand for a while longer, without compromising on the user experience.

Previously, we only used mollom to filter out comments by anonymous users. This was easy to get around for two reasons:

Good design is harder than it looks

A few months ago I worked a couple weeks on a new website design. Just to be clear website design isn't one of my specialties. Not be a long shot. I'm much more of an engineer at heart. That means I feel more comfortable coming up with solutions I can test objectively. Visual design doesn't fit the bill. It's more art than engineering. Open-ended. A seemingly infinite solution space. No clear fitness function that doesn't involve wishy washy, vague notions like taste and style.

Website monetization primer: how online advertising works

Money. A tricky subject to bring up. It's been proven that merely activating the concept will induce selfishness. But bear with me here. This is a public service announcement, not a get rich quick scheme.

If you have a website that gets a reasonable amount of traffic, you've probably considered adding advertising at one point or another. Maybe you're dreaming of quiting your day job to work full time on the site or maybe you just want to cover some basic costs.

Another batch of changes to the TurnKey website

These past few weeks I've been having too much fun offline with my development clone of the TurnKey website, ticking items off of my todo list. Today I finally got around to the complex, tedious, and unfortunately uninteresting task of updating the online version of the website. Ah, a necessary evil I suppose.

On to the changes...

Time for a human readable privacy policy?

Up until now TurnKey hasn't had an explicit privacy policy, and that seemed ok because no one ever asked about it. But now that the latest release integrates TurnKey appliances more closely with the TurnKey Hub (e.g., TKLBAM, geo-ip auto apt mirror) and the Hub gets access to sensitive data as part of its normal operation, I felt it was about time we gave this some more thought.

On the other hand, even though we didn't have an explicit privacy policy before I do feel our adoption of the Ubuntu Code of Conduct gave us an implicity privacy policy by making it clear we respect our users and expect them to respect us, and each other, in return.

To put it bluntly, we don't need no stinking privacy policy to avoid breaking your trust. But sometimes it doesn't hurt to spell things out and dispell any doubts. For the record. Here's what I came up with...

TurnKey website refreshed

I've just finished updating the TurnKey website with a range of improvements designed to smooth over existing rough spots and better accommodate the needs of the project as it expands with the upcoming release. 

Veteran community members using modern browsers may also notice the site looks just a bit more visually pleasing now. Otherwise I've just been obsessively tweaking the stylesheets for nothing.