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Comments August 22, 2008

Yeah, I Use IE, Wanna Make Something Of It?

Filed under: Londonvasion 2008 — Dave Rathbun @ 10:56 am CommentsComments (8) 

In a word, or rather, in an emoticon: :-P

I am a creature of habit. I’ve been using IE6 for many years, and my client (in real life) uses it as their corporate standard. Yes, I know there are security issues that can occur. But with the corporate firewalls and various client workstation “lockdowns” they have in place it’s probably okay. As a result, I had kept IE6 on my laptop and my desktop here at home as well.

I’ve also commented more than once at various boards (like phpbb.com) about style or template issues with IE6, and generally I get the response:

You should really upgrade for security reasons


Use a modern browser that supports standards

or anything along those lines. So what is the point of this post?

At Londonvasion we had a presentation by someone that showed off a bunch of really cool styles for Joomla! + phpBB3 integration sites. He even showed some sites where a user could customize the color themselves, giving them a truly unique look for the site. He happened to mention that the techniques used for those styles didn’t work in IE6 so they just didn’t support it. I think at least half of the room (on my side, anyway) turned around and looked at me. :lol:

I upgraded my laptop to IE7 on the spot. I’m still getting used to it, but it does address all of the styles quirks for phpbb.com that I was experiencing with IE6. 8-)

Comments August 16, 2008

phpBB Spam Talk from Londonvasion 2008 Now Available!

Filed under: Anti-spam, Londonvasion 2008, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 2:27 pm CommentsComments (2) 

The media team for phpBB Londonvasion 2008 has posted the videos from the public day of the conference. Yay! :-D I’m going to be hosting my own talk here on my site soon, but the entire group of presentations are available at vimeo.com. Here is my topic:

The talk includes a case study that regular (and long-term) blog readers are likely to be very familiar with: the Checkbox Challenge MOD for Wordpress, phpBB Registrations, and even Comment Forms. During the talk there were a few times where I took questions or had discussion from the audience but I think most of the “dead air” has been removed thanks to AdamR’s fine editing skills. :)

You can review all of the videos here.

I never quite realized how much I “talk” with my hands… :lol:

Comments August 6, 2008

bbProtection Announces Relaunch of Service

Filed under: Anti-spam, Londonvasion 2008, bbProtection, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 4:32 pm CommentsComments (3) 

At Londonvasion 2008 I delivered a talk about various anti-spam techniques available for board owners. One of the challenges that is facing board owners today is that spammers are getting more creative at masking their true intentions. They post stuff that looks like legitimate content but it contains cunningly masked spam. Unless a board owner takes the time to research the rest of the web, it can be difficult to determine if the same content is appearing on other boards.

That’s where a service like AKismet (for Wordpress) or bbProtection (for bulletin boards) comes in. More…

Comments August 1, 2008

Blogging Live from Londonvasion 2008

Filed under: Londonvasion 2008, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 8:57 pm Comments Off 

Here is a wide shot of the conference on Sunday when it was open to the general public as well as team members. Hmm, I recognize that person in the lower corner, but what was he doing?

live image

Oh, right, here’s what was going on…

live image

I was composing a blog post right at that moment. If you run a wordpress blog of your own, you might be able to recognize the standard wordpress posting screen. I sat way towards the the back of the room, as I didn’t want to disturb anyone around me with my typing. It turned out that other folks ended up sitting in the back as well, but there were enough laptops running that one more didn’t seem to matter. :lol: The hotel wireless, which had been so bad the day before, performed quite well. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they placed a wireless access point right in the room with us. ;-)

This image was posted by a team member from phpbb.fr who shared his pictures on flickr.

Comments July 31, 2008

Londonvasion Video Coming…

Filed under: Londonvasion 2008 — Dave Rathbun @ 6:34 am CommentsComments (2) 

I’ve been able to get an advance copy of the video from my presentation at Londonvasion to review and I think it looks great. :) AdamR from the support team is our video tech, and while I have only looked at my talk so far I have to say he did a fantastic job.

As soon as the videos are posted at phpbb.com I will be sure to post a link. Until then, you’ll have to be happy with the teaser information of knowing that it’s coming soon… 8-)

Comments July 23, 2008

Londonvasion Part VII: phpBB Versus Spam Presentation

Filed under: Anti-spam, Londonvasion 2008, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 7:43 am CommentsComments (5) 

I’ve provided a link to a pdf version of the presentation that I did at Londonvasion. If you don’t want to download the entire presentation, here’s a brief recap:

There are three different elements in the fight against spam, as outlined here:

  • Prevention means being able to keep spammers from getting on your board in the first place
  • Detection means being able to quickly identify and react to spam if it is posted
  • Elimination means being able to easily and thoroughly clean up the mess that a spammer has left behind

View the PDF


Comments July 22, 2008

Londonvasion Part VI: Panel Discussion and Wrap-up

Filed under: Londonvasion 2008, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 8:46 pm Comments Off 

I didn’t get a chance to post this before leaving London as I spent the remaining hours of my precious time in London with the rest of the phpBB team talking to as many people as I could. For me, this was the best part of the entire event: talking to and interacting with the rest of the team. I really hope that more folks can come next year because it’s a great opportunity to do this. As the conference grows it will be harder and harder to get one-on-one time with some of the amazingly talented people behind the phpBB product, so if there is one of these next year (I assume that there will at least be discussions about that) and you (anyone reading this blog) have any way to make it to the event, do please consider it.

Which leads me to the closing event, the panel discussion. We had just finished hearing from the Lewis Brothers (Highway of Life and Handyman) and were trying to get the furniture rearranged without completely destroying the hotel. (We managed, mainly because Bertie wasn’t allowed to help. :-P ) Highway of Life (David) was busy getting the audio set up to stream live on the Internet. We still hadn’t figured out who was going to be on the panel, and I was asked for my opinion I simply suggested, “Just pick anyone who hasn’t done anything yet and give folks a chance to meet them too.” So that left me out, as I had done the spam presentation earlier in the day. I really wanted to be on the panel, but I have to say that we got some great comments from everyone involved. I think DavidMJ was the star of the show, but everyone else did a great job as well. So thanks to everyone that put their opinions on the line (live, no less) and answered the many interesting questions that came from the audience and the chat room.

I had some idea about spending time in London after Londonvasion closed. To this point I had only seen the airport, the inside of the bus from the airport to the hotel, the hotel, and the McDonalds next to the hotel. Hardly the things that London is known for. :lol: But to be very honest, I was much happier spending the time with the rest of the team up until after midnight that night, as I can always go back to see London at some point but getting as many team members together as we had might not happen again.

Or at least until next year. :)

Here’s hoping to see anyone and everyone at Unknown-Place-Vasion 2009. 8-)

Comments July 20, 2008

Londonvasion Part V: Joomla Guest, Site Integration, and MODs

Filed under: Londonvasion 2008, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 11:12 am Comments Off 

The next three topics were fairly interesting. There was a guest speaker from Rocket who displayed a number of really nice looking phpBB3 styles that were built from Joomla templates. Since they’re also working on the Rocket Bridge to allow you to run a site based on Joomla + phpBB3 it’s important to share the same style along with the sessions, data, and so on. He showed a quite impressive option where a user can change the color gradients on a style and have it live. It was based on transparent png images with a color background.

Highway of Life followed with a presentation on site integration with phpBB3. Just like you can do with phpBB2 (and I have done more than once) you can utilize some minimal code from phpBB3 and use it to start a brand new page. By doing this, you can build an entire site around phpBB3 and avoid the need for a bridge. If you want a full-featured content management system or don’t have the time or inclination to write your own pages then Joomla or an equivalent system might be interesting. But if you want only a few extra pages that are integrate into your board, that’s certainly possible. Highway of Life showed the basics of that process.

Handyman wrapped up this part of the session by talking through some tips on how to plan, code, and test a MOD. There were only a few bullet points, but they were very appropriate.

We’re now going through the general panel, featuring DavidMJ, NeoThermic, cherokee red, and wGEric taking questions over IRC and from within the room. Cool stuff. 8-)

Londonvasion Part IV: phpBB Versus Spam

Filed under: Londonvasion 2008, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 9:19 am Comments Off 

When the team was discussing the original agenda for Londonvision one of the topics that was to be on the list was combatting spam. It is a topic that I’ve blogged about many times over the years, so I have some definition opinions on the subject. I suppose that’s a good thing, because when I arrived on Friday morning Marshalrusty mentioned that with all of his organizational tasks he had not had the time to prepare a presentation. He offered the slot to me.

As anyone who has ever been in the same room (or country) with me knows, I love to talk. :-) It’s part of what I do in my job (part-time trainer, full-time consultant) and it’s a very real part of why I am particpating on the board in the first place. So I was happy to create a topic.

In a nutshell, I talked about three different aspects of combatting spam:

  • Prevention
  • Detection
  • Elimination

I believe the presentations will be posted on phpbb.com, and I will certainly post my presentation here as well. But to summarize: Prevention techniques keep unwanted content from reaching your board in the first place, and I shared some statistics from my Checkbox Challenge MOD. We also got into a discussion about some of the other MODs for phpBB2 and I talked at some length about the new features of phpBB3 that make most (if not all) of the phpBB2 MODs obsolete. Detection relates to identifying spam content that appears on your board, and Elimination techniques relate to cleaning things up once a spammer has been detected.

I won’t recreate the entire presentation here, but it did seem to be well received and I hope it will be useful once I get a copy posted.

After I was done, we had a brief talk from one member of each team about how the user community can get more involved with the phpBB project. The developer team suggested that more help testing was always welcome. The more tests that can be done in different environments, the more solid the code becomes. All developers like to deliver solid code. :) Most of the rest of the teams talked about being active in the respective areas (MODs, Styles, or Support) and doing a good job. Those that do a good job get noticed, and those that get noticed can get invited to the teams.

Next, we finally had a presentation from a user rather than a team member. Noth started his presentation about the user experience of updating to version 3. In a nutshell, he was quite happy with the upgrade.

Paul is now delivering a presention on how to write a MOD, which looks like some good information for those folks that are always asking, “So, how do I write a MOD?” Now we’ll have something to point them to. :)

I think that the rest of the afternoon belongs to the MOD team, and whatever time is left will be used for an open discussion panel. Probably one or two more posts “live”, and then probably I will do a wrap-up post when I get home. 8-)

Londonvasion Part III: Testing and Security

Filed under: Londonvasion 2008, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 6:26 am Comments Off 

We have just seen a presentation from naderman about the testing procedures being put in place for future phpBB development. Testing is an often overlooked and underappreciated area of coding, and I am quite happy to hear about plans in this area.

Right now we’re taking a quiz from Kellanved about security issues that are possible in php applications, and some of the many steps that phpBB3 is taking to address the issue. It’s quite good; I hope to download the slides later and think about them in more detail.

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