Tag Archive: Keyboard

WordPress Upgrade leads to New Comment Spam Deluge

Strangely post on December 3rd, 2010
Posted in Internet Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weird Comment Spam

I don’t know if it’s linked, or not, but since the WP upgrade a few days ago I’ve had an extra type of comment spam fall into my spam filters.

Thankfully the spam filters worked, but still filled up the “spam comment” area for further perusal.

Maybe it’s a plugin?  Whatever.

Dodgy Domains and IP Addresses

If you see a domain like this in your WordPress inbox;

hkridklflsdfkfgjsdfgfdfg.com

Then it’s spam!! (pretty obviously).  Below is a sample from the comments moderation area:

You’ll see that several IP addresses appear, even under the same “random keyboard domain”.

A variety of email addresses are also there, mostly gmail ones.  Are they real?   A.  I don’t know or care actually, and I certainly haven’t the time to check up on them!

Anyway.  Watch out!  The ongoing battle between good and bad coders continues – WordPress comment spam is only part of it.

Weird URL

Another portion of my spam list contained a backlink URL to:

http://parapanta.net/paragliding/%EF%BD%90%EF%BD%81%EF%BD%92%EF%BD%81%EF%BD%87%EF%BD%8C%EF%BD%89%EF%BD%84%EF%BD%85%EF%BD%92-%EF%BD%94%EF%BD%85%EF%BD%93%EF%BD%94-%EF%BD%8D%EF%BD%8F%EF%BD%96%EF%BD%89%EF

If you follow this through, it takes you to this DABLU WordPress Themes website shown here on the left as a screendump, but with the same paragliding URL on a 404 page there.

The URL “http://www.parapanta.net/paragliding/” actually works and if you go to the domain root you’ll find that it’s a hidden Romanian WHOIS.

The whole thing is weird, and I suspect, part of a wider form of bad-web manipulation.  Whether the domain owner or hosts know anything about it, I don’t know.

Perhaps the backlink I’ve provided will in time force them to check its source?  Watch this space.

Related Posts:

How to Clean Up Outlook Contact Phone Numbers using VBA

Introduction

VBA for Fix Phone Numbers

VBA for Fix Phone Numbers

I got a new phone and when synchronised with Microsoft Outlook, the phone numbers don’t dial out properly because of spaces & STD bracketing.  It’s an LG – the previous Nokia was great, as was it’s synchronising software!

Solution

I used VBA in a workaround via Microsoft Excel!  (If you don’t have Excel, this won’t work…).  It will convert phone numbers like (+44) 1234 456789 to 0044123456789.  It also removes “-” entries and ones with multiple spaces as a number, like ”   ” which are invisible but muck stuff up!  [but see later addendum for later code additions, code is here: FixPhoneNumbers – SP]

First Step

Export the “Contacts” folder from Outlook as an Excel spreadsheet to your hard drive.  Give it a sensible name!

Second Step

Open the Excel file and then press Alt + F11 to open the Visual Basic Editor (VBE).  We’re gonna write code now!

Third Step

Insert a new code module.  You can give it a name if you like.  I didn’t and just left it as it was.

Fourth Step

Copy this VBA code into the module in the VBE. (That’s a screenshot of my code above!)

Option Explicit

Public Sub FixPhoneNumbers()
Dim rg As Range
Dim r As Integer
Dim c As Integer
Dim wks As Worksheet
Dim s As String

Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Set wks = ThisWorkbook.ActiveSheet
r = wks.Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Rows.Count
c = wks.Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Columns.Count

With wks
     .Columns("AD:AT").NumberFormat = "@"

 For c = 30 To 46 Step 1 'all phone fields
      For r = 2 To .Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Rows.Count
      Set rg = .Cells(r, c)
           s = rg.Value
           s = Replace(s, "(", "")
           s = Replace(s, " ", "")
           s = Replace(s, ")", "")
           s = Replace(s, "+44", "0044")
           s = Replace(s, "+", "00")
           s = Replace(s, "-", "")
      If Len(s) < 7 And Len(s) > 0 Then s = "01278" & s 'assume local phone #
          rg.Value = s
      Next r
 Next c
End With

Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Set rg = Nothing
Set wks = Nothing

End Sub

The key is the lines with the Replace function.  Additional lines can be easily added if more gotchas are spotted in your own numbers.

If you don’t need a line to run, remark (Rem) it out by putting an apostrophe at the line beginning, like this one here… ‘

Fifth Step

From the Debug menu in the VBE, compile the code.  This ensures that no typos etc have got in.

Save the file.

Sixth Step

Now run the procedure called “FixPhoneNumbers”.  The simplest way to do this is to make sure the screen cursor is somewhere within the code you’ve copied in – and then hit F5 on the keyboard.

If this is confusing, go to the main Excel screen, hit Alt + F8 and run the macro, which unsurprisingly is called “FixPhoneNumbers”!!

Seventh Step

Save the file again if the changes look alright.

If they’re not, then close the file without saving, then re-open, and adjust the VBA code to suit your columns, which will be the most likely thing you’ll need to adjust.

Then do all the above again, from the Fifth Step onwards.

Eighth Step

Import the file back into Outlook.

Overwrite old contacts with the new ones.

There should be no need to map fields etc because we haven’t mucked about with them!

Caveats

  • The code is designed to work with a standard output dump from Outlook.  If you’ve added or removed fields from the contacts part of Outlook, the export will be different and you’ll need to check which columns contain phone numbers.  Modify the VBA code to suit.  In total, there were 92 columns in the export from Outlook, so if you don’t have this number then you’ll probably need a quick code modification. (That’s why I checked the count at the beginning of the code with the CurrentRegion bit so that I could get the dataset size.  In the end, I only needed a row count, but I’ve left the code in so that you can step through the code using F8 to check yours out.  Clear?  Don’t worry. )
  • Some entries I had were local phone numbers.  My code is 01278 so this is added and will need changing to suit your own local STD code if you’ve entered phone numbers without the exchange.
  • I check that the UK international code is correct.  Change the 44 to your own as appropriate.
  • There’s no error checking in the code.  But it should work – it did for me!

ADDENDUM: New Code Version!

This code is smoother and has more features than previously, although I still don’t error check.

It’s advantages are:

  1. It checks all columns and looks for the words “Phone” or “Fax” in the data headings.  In this way, any logical Outlook customisations are taken care of!
  2. It prompts the user for their local STD and National codes, placing these in the correct place.

Next Steps:

  1. I’ll turn the code into an xla add-in with a one-click button.
  2. I’ll make the whole thing work directly on the Outlook contacts from within Outlook.  I’ve used the Outlook object model before, just not very often!  So watch this space as current Outlook addins are pricey and a bit of a kludge from what I’ve read…

The New (Improved) Code Version

Download plain text version: FixPhoneNumbers

Option Explicit

Public Sub FixPhoneNumbers()
Dim rg As Range
Dim r As Integer
Dim c As Integer
Dim wks As Worksheet
Dim s As String
Dim LocalCode As Variant
Dim NationalCode  As Variant

Application.ScreenUpdating = False

LocalCode = InputBox("Do You want Full Code for Local Numbers?" _
                     , "Enter local STD/City dialling code" _
                     , "01278")
NationalCode = InputBox("Do You want cleaned up National Code? e.g. 44=UK" _
                      & vbCrLf _
                      & "+44 goes to 0044" _
                     , "Enter National code" _
                     , "44")

Set wks = ThisWorkbook.ActiveSheet

With wks
       .Range(.Cells(1, 1), .Cells(1, 1).End(xlToRight)).Font.Bold = True

          For c = 1 To .Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Columns.Count Step 1 'all columns
              s = LCase(.Cells(1, c).Value)       's picks up column heading
                                                  'lower case to match search string later
                                                  'as text compare doesn't work
                'now find phone/fax fields and if found, fix numbers
     If (InStr(s, "phone") + InStr(s, "fax")) > 0 Then
            .Columns(c).NumberFormat = "@"      'make text format for tel nos
                                                'allows leading zeroes!

                     For r = 2 To .Cells(1, 1).CurrentRegion.Rows.Count
                         Set rg = .Cells(r, c)
                         s = rg.Value            're-use s
                         s = Replace(s, "(", "")
                         s = Replace(s, " ", "")
                         s = Replace(s, ")", "")
                             If Len(NationalCode) > 0 Then 'not empty string
                                  s = Replace(s, "+" & NationalCode, "00" & NationalCode)
                             End If
                         s = Replace(s, "+", "00")
                         s = Replace(s, "-", "")
                             If Len(s) < 7 And Len(s) > 0 Then s = LocalCode & s
                              rg.Value = s
                     Next r

     Else
        'nowt
     End If
       Next c
End With

Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Set rg = Nothing
Set wks = Nothing

End Sub

Related Posts:

Smash Hits’ Sex Machine Review

Strangely post on July 26th, 2010
Posted in Art Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Smash Hits Review of Sex Machine by Red Starr

Smash Hits on Sex Machine release

I’ve just found a website that scans all Smash Hits magazines and puts them online in their entirety!

Digging through, I found this review notice of the original release of Sex Machine back in 1980…

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Red Starr (sic) states:

…is Crawling Chaos, whose “Sex Machine” is quite the fastest single I’ve heard in a while.  A close cousin is Fad Gadget with it’s ear for sharp lyrics, this hurtles along at breakneck pace with the main keyboard/synthesiser wraparound sound giving way to an excellent biting guitar break.  It’s also quite melodic despite the speed and is altogether recommended.

The highlight for me of all this, of course, is appearing on the same page as Wire….

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Notice: E.Y.E.S.

Strangely post on March 25th, 2010
Posted in Art Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

No fuss.

My old friend Jeff recently died.

Waqqaz

Waqqaz

The track now playing was one of the last pieces we did together.  It’s Jeff’s creation  and is one of my favourite Crawling Chaos tracks.  This is a pre-Waqqaz version from a cassette that has travelled round France, been in various glove compartments and cupboard floors.

I’ve taken it straight from cassette and it’s encoded at the maximum bitrate for MP3 files in Reaper for your enjoyment.  I’ve just used a noise gate set at -20dB and a bit of compression to follow in this extract.   For me, the mix is better than the final vinyl one despite the 12kHz frequency cut-off.

It’s Jeff at his finest.

Jeff Rees

Jeff(R), Rees(L)

I remember him sitting cross-legged on the floor at Bebside for about a fortnight getting the various harmonies planned out.  My input was minimal and I just did a few block keyboard chords as instructed, to bulk out the end as well as the mixing on the guitars and the drums set-up.

The real work was within the complex interlocking guitar parts, of which there are at least six, all played by Jeff.  The only words I could think of came to me in a dream.

E.ver Y.oung, E.ver S.pecial

Purple Flower

Purple Flower

I ensured that they were on the penultimate bounce so that they couldn’t be removed.  I didn’t know why, at the time, I thought of them (apart from the corniness) or why I strove to ensure their longevity.  I instantly knew though, that this was Jeff’s finest work, for me, and I’ve listened many times to it since, mainly this cassette tape version.

But now, I know that one’s karma transcends space and time and that one can affect one’s karma in the distant past.

E.Y.E.S.Currently, I am heavily affected by EYES, believe it or not.  I have chanted to change my karma both now, in the future, and in the past, and the benefits are immense.

So now I know why I woke up with those words in my head 25 springs ago.

It was so that I could write this piece about my old friend Jeff, and remember him and all the joint experiences that we had together  since we were 14.

Goodbye Doomage.  Till next time.

This is a copy of the page here: http://crawlingchaos.co.uk/e-y-e-s/ (any comments to there, please)

Related Posts:

Problems with Conficker or Downadup?

Or How to Disable Autoruns

– to Stop This Particular Infection Route

This is a brief summary of what to do…
  1. Make sure you have a proper anti-virus program running
    • NOD32 is a good one!
    • AVG is too
    • Kaspersky, Trend, CA are also good brands
  2. Make sure your anti-virus is current and updated.  Check like so:
    • Somewhere on your program will be it’s last update
    • For NOD32, hover your mouse cursor over the little icon next to the taskbar clock (bottom right in XP)
    • As well as version numbers, the last update shows in reverse date format – 6 Feb 2009 is 20090206
    • Other programs are very similar and the last update is usually pretty obvious so you don’t need to fiddle with settiings etc.
  3. Disable autoruns as this is a good way for the virus/malware/trojan to get you
    • This is the best and easiest way to do this:
Copy This Text:

REGEDIT4
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping\Autorun.inf]
@=”@SYS:DoesNotExist”

Open Notepad:

start -> run -> type ‘notepad’ (without quotes) and hit Enter on the keyboard

Paste Into Notepad:

Now paste the copied text into Notepad

Now Save the File:

Call the file a handy name like “StopAutoRun” but make sure it has a ‘reg’ extension!

So your file should be called something like StopAutoRun.reg

Now Run The Reg File You’ve Just Made:

Double-click the file – your registry will pick up the change and the handy autorun feature will be disabled!

Of course, you may be used to using this “handy feature”.  If you want to keep it, don’t do any of the above but be very, very, very careful about any USB stick you insert into your computer, any CD you insert or play, any video you watch on DVD, and any network you map or connect to…

What About if I’m Already Infected?

How to Clear and Eliminate Conficker or Downadup?

  1. Connect to the internet with a “good”, clean computer.  You may need to borrow one or visit a friend’s house..
  2. Download a clean up program – the NOD32 version is here: http://download.eset.com/special/EConfickerRemover.exe Other Anti-virus makers have similar ones.
  3. Copy the tool you’ve just downloaded to your own PC and run it.   It may take a while and you’ll definately need a reboot afterwards.
  4. Install and/or Update a good Antivirus program (see above at top)

Further Reading and Information Sources

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