Moving from Manila to Movable Type

Craig Jensen's long-running BookNotes weblog has fallen on hard times since the move from Weblogs.Com to Buzzword.Com in 2004. His site lost its Google pagerank and he's had trouble rebuilding his audience. As the first step in retiring free Manila hosting on Buzzword.Com, I'm helping him transfer the weblog to Movable Type, because I have a five-user commercial license that's going to waste on Workbench and I'd like to encourage a fellow liberal and bibliophile to keep blogging. Jason Levine's ... (read more)

Stopping Open Recursion Name Server Attacks

I received an ominous e-mail from my server host Thursday: The DNS service(s) on your server are currently open to recursive queries from the world, leaving them vulnerable to DNS cache poisoning attacks and allowing them to be used to attack other sites. Your server was reported participating in an outbound DDoS attack through means of this vulnerability by an attacker. Please ensure that recursive lookups are DISABLED in yournameserver's configuration to prevent future abuse. If you need any ... (read more)

UserLand Frees Up Manila Servers

UserLand Software is discontinuing free Manila hosting, as I discovered last week when one of their users sought refuge on Buzzword.Com. Edit This Page shut free service on Dec. 1 and ManilaSites will do the same Dec. 31. I can offer free hosting on Buzzword, but webloggers who are committed to publishing with Manila should be advised that I'm migrating the server to new software by May 1, 2006. A better long-term option for those folks is to subscribe to Weblogger.Com or UserLand. (As an ... (read more)

My Name Server is Totally Lame

I started the day with a dead name server that knocked more than 100 sites offline, including Workbench, the Drudge Retort and all of the Buzzword.Com bloggers. I've been using BIND for years and thought I had run out of interesting new ways to break it. Overnight, most name requests failed and my server log filled up with errors like this: lame server resolving '' (in ''?): A lame server is one that's not responding to a name request it is expected ... (read more)

My Reign as the King of Pings

I've been running Weblogs.Com since June for Dave Winer, who wanted to see if service performance could be improved as he began to receive seven-digit inquiries about selling it. Weblogs.Com ran on Frontier for six years from its founding in 1999, handling the load reasonably well until the number of pings topped one million per day within the last year. In a frenzied weekend, I recoded the site as an Apache/MySQL/PHP web application running on a Linux server, writing all of the code from ... (read more)I own a Linksys WRT54G, a 802.11g wireless access point, router, and four-port 10/100 Ethernet switch that runs Linux. InfoWorld columnist Robert X. Cringley singes the praises of the WRT54G, which is an amazing little Linux device that can be hacked to function as an Internet server. I've been using it on a Windows XP network to share a broadband Internet connection over several wired and wireless PCs around the house. As amazing as this device is, I learned something this morning: Even when ... (read more)

My Saturday in Sendmail Hell

Sendmail problems are like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. You have to kill them a couple of times just to make sure they're really dead. I returned home after the jaunty 1,104-mile drive from Dallas to find this server with an 100 percent full disk, which was 70 percent more than the day before. The culprit was Sendmail, which bounced the same e-mail back and forth until it filled the disk. I burned a Saturday at the keyboard as feeling slowly returned to my butt cheeks -- one of these days, ... (read more)

Robot Behaving Badly

Before I can run Urchin to track web traffic, the Apache script split-logfile creates log files for each virtual domain on my server. A bad request from a webcrawling robot breaks split-logfile: - - [13/Jun/2005:03:50:15 -0400] "GET //retort.shtml HTTP/1.1" 400 323 "" "OmniExplorer_Bot/1.07 (+ Internet Categorizer" The error's in the first field: OmniExplorer_Bot should be requesting the page from the ... (read more)

Server Attacked at Random

My server has been under attack for three days by a user in Colorado who requested the same URL 8.3 million times (and counting). The user, making simultaneous connections from eight IP addresses in a block controlled by Time Warner Telecom, requested a URL on URouLette that redirects to a random web site -- as many as 30 requests a second to a PHP script that made a MySQL database connection. I'm guessing the motive was to acquire web addresses for e-mail harvesting or some other form of net ... (read more)

The Slow Route to FastAccess

Six hours I'll never get back: Hooking up a LinkSys WRT54G broadband router to my Windows XP box. The router, which I bought for around $50 after a rebate, is an amazing Linux device that's an 802.11g wireless access point, router, and four-port 10/100 Ethernet switch. You can reprogram it with SSH and a lot of other Linux software, turning it into a killer pint-sized wireless ISP. Robert X. Cringley calls it "disruptive technology": ... the WRT54G with Sveasoft firmware is all you need to ... (read more)