December 2003 Archives

December 29, 2003


So I've had an interesting task these last few days. My friend Mike and I have our regular day jobs (mine with Alpine Software Consultants, his with Enhance), but we've got our own little side project called Debonaire Software Solutions.

Someone over at Enhance (formerly decided to give us a nice opportunity to make some money. My understanding of it is this: as part of their vertical marketing, they set up dummy sites—search directories and the like, simply there to generate traffic for them and their partners.

So they basically gave us dominion over one of these sites. It's an interesting opportunity, because if we are able to generate X amount of traffic over the next week, we will get a certain percentage of the profits from the click-throughs, as well as a more permanent arrangement.

The interesting thing is that they give us no content to work with other than this. A domain name like and no content presents an interesting marketing challenge—create and promote a women's fitness site that has no information on the subject. Over the last week, I've been working sporadically on throwing together something that will at the very least appear to have some substance.

This all makes for an interesting dilemna of sorts, because supposing we successfully market this site as a reputable fitness authority for women, it all feels a bit dishonest—misleading people simply to generate traffic. I suppose that's the case with a lot of what's out there on the web, but this is something new for me. I'd like to think that all the web development I've done so far, whether it's been for pay or for fun, has in some way enriched the web. Working on this project has made me feel like a cheap hooker—I've sold out for some quick cash.

In a way, I'm secretly hoping it doesn't work out, so that I can go back to the kind of web development I enjoy where my conscience doesn't give me crap.

Posted by jon at 7:03 AM

December 27, 2003


So I got an email this morning saying someone posted comments on one of my entries. Which is pretty strange considering nobody reads my blog. Further investigation showed they were test comments from someone over at, an online peddler of Viagra-like products.

Now for me this is not the end of the world, because 1. comments are easy enough to delete and 2. AFAIK nobody comes to my site. But it got me wondering about high traffic sites such as The Daily Report—I'm sure Zeldman gets tons of spam comments on a daily basis. What do they do to combat comment spamming? Are there "smart" filters for MovableType? Sure, you can block an IP, but are there modules that detect spam comments either by content, email addess, or other criteria? It'd be kinda nice...

Perhaps I should Google it, because I doubt anyone will comment on it ;)

Posted by jon at 2:22 PM

December 19, 2003

JavaScript/PHP Chat

A question was recently asked on the UUG mailing list about how PHP chat applications are able to push content to a browser. I had helped in the development of an ASP/JavaScript chat server at work, and knew that except for this excellent resource at the Apple Developer Connection, there weren't a lot of good articles on the topic of Remote Scripting with DHTML. I had been meaning to put together this article for some time, and the UUG thread was the impetus in finally getting it done.

My latest addition to the code site includes a tutorial on how to create a chat application using some PHP, JavaScript and MySQL. Even if you're just starting out with PHP and JavaScript, this article will teach you everyrhing you need to know to get started.

Posted by jon at 11:03 AM
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