Another one bites the dust!

Birthday’s come around every year and remind us all that we are getting old or is it?.  If you cared enough and actually looked beyond the getting old part of it, you would be realising the significance of the day. Not that it rekindles memories of yesteryear’s or make you squabble in fear about the unknown entity ‘the future’ but it never fails to motivate me to live the present.

Its an adrenaline shot right into your system.  I don’t know may be it may be a innate response to fear of failure built into me that drives me nuts. So much so that wouldn’t go to sleep thinking about what I did today but what I wanted to do the next morning.

The premise is that the time before your birthday is exceptionally good for your productivity use it well. I managed to complete some large scale products that were pending through this week. Some of them like the smartpixel_s have taken the best part of 2 months planning and work to be executed the way I wanted but the major part of the work is not in coding or design but in putting the actual work online and I managed to get not just that theme online this week but smart syntax, a new design for smartpixels and got our plugins approved and hosted on official repository.

When I look back the amount of work that has been done over the past couple of months is just unbelievable. Whatever it was pushing it was all for good and definitely taken a major step towards over taking over the world! :).

Birthday’s come and go but I really do hope that I get the energy and motivation like I did with this one for the rest.  Big thanks to my daily inspiration Mom, Amudha, and Dad. You guys are the best things in my life.

Bricks in my fort

It’s my sixth year in the IM business and by all accounts I have loved every single minute of it. I have never left frustrated, tired, or angry to get to work over the past six years. To the contrary, I feel lucky and blessed to have the fortitude and courage to do what I love and make a living out of it.

But do I feel satisfied with what I have been able achieve over the past six years? Certainty not!. I think  I have certainly let down myself by not marketing myself there by not using my potential to its full extent.

I love the coding, design and websites so much that I failed to allocate time to build a brand and an audience. All the talent in the world isn’t going to be discovered by itself unless you put in the effort to market it.

Don’t get me wrong the local market in India is awesome and growing rapidly. I could have all the work I could do for a lifetime here. But that is not the point. This is about challenging yourself and taking pride in what you do.

So I have decided the best way to get the message across is to contribute designs and codes to insanely popular web platforms like wordpress, joomla, and xenforo.   I do have experience on all the these platforms.

I have set myself goals for developing plugins, extensions and addons for these platforms and releasing them. I don’t really want to release end products for free, as I believe if you start releasing products for free then its very hard to go convince people used to free product to pay any reasonable costs just so if you ever decide to charge.

So there will be a free version and paid version, but I am going to make sure it is so cheap it is almost free. So I expect a few wordpress plugins to be released within the next six months. I have already completed a couple of super cool plugins.

1.Smart responsive tabs

2. Smart responsive gallery.

PS: I will be releasing all the plugins through and will be branded as such.

.htaccess and Robots.txt for blocking bad bots

I am fed up with having huge amount of traffic from bots that serves no purpose whatsoever  These are bots that don’t make sense at all. Its impossible to control these bots using a Robots protocol as they don’t follow them and usually mask their user agent. My site is in English and the content is also targeted a completely different audience than the Chinese yet the site has  relentless  Chinese traffic.


The image above shows Apache stats for bandwidth used during 24 hours. Look how China is consuming 203 MB of bandwidth on my site there is just one answer these are not humans but bots. Losing bandwidth might seem petty but it slows down your website completely when such an agreesive bot access your sites leaving genuine end users in a fix. So you can either optimize the robots.txt and .htaccess to block the specific IP’s and useragent that have been used by these useless bots or block traffic completely from the country if you are sure that you don’t need them as your audience. Found IpInfoDb useful in easily adding IP blocks from a country to your .htaccess.

I would prefer blocking specific ip’s and useragent over blocking the entire country out but it requires some work on your part to constantly look up your raw access logs and add those user agents to your ban list. These bots also keep changing IP’s .For example look at Chinese search engine bot Sogou has been found to be using more than 30 ip’s. I soon realised this cannot be done alone need some help.

Download the .htaccess file that I had prepared(Updated 3rd April 2013). This only blocks specific IP’s that I suspect as bots use it at your own risk. I am not sure whether that is an actual users IP or a bot. A user infected with a botnet can also act like bot so its literally shooting in the dark here. But it atleast got some immediate respite.

If you want a better Robots.txt file then this tool might be of help to you.

Going back into the cave!

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