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Analytics Spam Blocker 2.6 – New API, Better API!

Welcome to an all new API for Analytics Spam Blocker. Now with faster response times, better handling of requests and you get some insights in the API’s Analytics, too.

Blocklists are updated daily, as before. The reporting routine has been updated and modernised a bit to work better.

Analytics Spam Blocker has been tested to work on the new and fancy WordPress 5.0. If you find any weirdness or bugs, let me know. Thanks!

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AdRotate Pro 4.15 – Removed Transactions

An important update where the dashboard got some tweaks and optimisations. A few small bug fixes and the social stuff has been updated.

More importantly though, the underused Transactions Feature got removed. Current and ongoing transactions are still listed in the Advertisers dashboard in the sub menu Transactions. This is for reference.
No new transactions can be made or paid. All functionality has been removed.

As an alternative way, you can set up products in a plugin like WooCommerce.
If there is interest I’ll investigate making a connector plugin to create a more automated solution.

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AdRotate Pro 4.12 – Datepickers and improvements

It’s been a while, I’ve been travelling and a lot has happened and changed in my life over the last 2 months. But I’ve rented a house for a while and hope to work not reliably on AdRotate Pro for a while again.

Focus a bit more on features and general improvements.

This release has been in the making for a few weeks and includes a number of fixes and improvements. I finally found a way to use proper date pickers with Unix timestamps. Which took some trial and error in how to split up the dates and such.

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Howto: Supercharge your wifi network

Check out my tips and hand-outs on how to make your wifi network faster. I use Apple’s Airport Extreme base station as an example. But the general tips and settings apply to every access-point of any brand.

I did a lot of experimenting and some research on what does what and where and how it works best. These settings make my wifi network more reliable and much faster.

What works for me…

Everything in this article works for me. That doesn’t necessarily mean it works for you too. My house and surroundings are different from yours. That said, the general rule of thumb is to just try and see what works best. The settings I use are all fairly generic and will apply to many people. But you may have to tweak a few things to your situation.

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Howto: Solve email issues in macOS

Dealing with email issues in macOS can be a tricky thing. And is not always straightforward – Is the issue with the account? Your server or with macOS Mail.

Here are some tips and methods to find out what may be going on. How to interpret certain error states and error messages. I’ll recommend common settings and warn of cave-ats. And how to fix stuff in macOS mail.

If your mail is not working

Your first step is to restart the macOS mail client. See if it works then. If not. Go to the Window Menu and click “Connection Doctor”.

A new window should open, checking all your settings.

Interpreting the error

Connection doctor lists all your email accounts 2 times, one for incoming and one for outgoing email. In the above example I deliberately broke one account – It’s marked with a red dot and the exact error is displayed behind it.

This means I have to check my settings, check the username and password. In my scenario the password is missing. When I add it in settings and check again everything shows green.

Checking settings

Of-course once we know what’s wrong with the email settings. I can go into settings and correct what macOS Mail thinks is wrong with it. In my case something with the username and password.

Things to check

View the screenshots here – And especially the items marked with a red arrow which are essential for a working mail account. Reach these menus via the Mail > Preferences menu.

Common Email ports:

Secure IMAP – port 993
Secure POP3 – port 995
Secure SMTP – port 465
Standard IMAP – port 143
Standard POP3 – port 110
Standard SMTP – port 25 / 587

Disable automatic settings detection

There are 2 easy checkboxes to disable this silly behaviour and give some freedom over what macOS Mail does.

In Mail Preferences, under each account in Advanced there is this little checkbox.

And in SMTP Server List for each server in Advanced is this similar checkbox.

Uncheck both and set your settings as you need. Save and restart the macOS Mail client.
Why? Since Apple knows just about *nothing* about your hosting providers servers it can’t possibly guess the right settings with any accuracy. Some hosting providers have a autodiscovery feature that may work. But in my experience Apple can’t seem to interpret that too well.

IMAP vs. POP3

If you receive your email on multiple devices you should try to use IMAP. This means that your email is synced via the mail server to all your devices. POP3 can not do that and will download emails on the device that asks for them first. Leaving the other devices without those emails. Having an asynchronous email setup like that is very 1995 and not very efficient. Most providers support IMAP these days. If you can, ditch POP3.

Security and privacy concern

If you can, always use the secure option. Check with your email provider if this is possible! When using a secure connection your email is encrypted end-to-end so nobody can snoop around and you can feel more comfortable sending eyes-only information.

Saving the settings

Saving the settings is done by either moving to another tab (top), selecting another account (left sidebar) or closing the settings window completely and confirming at the prompt.

Note: This post applies to pretty much every recent version of Mac OS X and macOS. So Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite and Sierra *all* have this tool. Probably older versions too.

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6 ways to a faster and safer WordPress

Having a WordPress website is often great, but it also makes you vulnerable for all kinds of attacks and mischief – Or maybe not vulnerable, but it invites many wrong doers to try and attack you. You’re an easy target. Let’s make it a bit less easy for them without using plugins!

Recently I’ve been plagued on another website by slowness, the occasional downtime and other annoying stuff. Paying more attention to usage stats and the error_log it turns out there was a bunch of stuff going on. A few of IP Addresses constantly tried something with wp-login.php and some other pages and files being loaded over and over again for no apparent reason.

Another issue was the RSS feed WordPress generates. Sure, it works fine. But if you get almost 10000+ requests on it per hour, that’ll slow things down, too. Sometimes.

So I did some research and have come up with a few things to try and prevent this kind of behavior. Of-course it’s no use blocking IP addresses but you can prevent access to things or if they access those things lessen the load on your server a great deal.

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The great server migration – Upgrades!

Sunday and yesterday I finally made the move to a new server which apparently is bigger and better than anything before.

This abrupt move was made to future proof the security of the overall system. Prompted by Paypal and Stripe their efforts to upgrade security protocols. A thing the old server didn’t support the newer versions of. I can now handle TLS1.2 encryption and all that modern stuff, required for creditcard payments. Some upgrades like newer PHP and MySQL servers have been made along the way too.

All services, including AdRotate Geo and the update API were affected. I missed a day of sales, too. But everything seems to be working again.

If you run into trouble with something on the site, let me know via the contact form. Please describe what’s not working and any errors you see. I’ll get right on it 🙂

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Switching your WordPress site to SSL

Https for your domain makes sense these days for a bunch of reasons; You offer an encrypted link connection to your visitors which provides security. It’s not very expensive either. You can get affordable certificates via NameCheap (A popular hosting provider).

I got mine via MediaTemple because I’m rather lazy and their dashboard has this fancy thing to install a certificate with just one click. But you can get them cheap via NameCheap from ~$10 per year or so.

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The ultimate development environment for Mac OS X

Updated: December 26, 2018

I’ve pieced together what I think is the ultimate development setup. This tutorial is particularly useful if you’re working in different places and have to rely on public wifi or if you don’t have high speed internet available.

As you may have read I’ve moved to the Philippines. This means I no longer have a home address for a while. This also means that high speed internet becomes a luxury. To not being hindered in developing things like AdRotate and other plugins I needed a fast and reliable alternative for my online development server. So that even if internet is wonky, I can still do some work.

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Troubleshooting common email issues in OS X Mail

Improve your email overall, fix issues with receiving or sending email. Or generally make things work if you simply don’t know how OS X Mail works or is supposed to work. This post will outline a number of things to look at which may improve your overall mail usage but also will be helpful if things go bad. This post is particularly useful if you use IMAP/POP email combined with SMTP (for sending). Exchange accounts are a whole different kind of animal and are not covered in this article.

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