All transcripts start from the point in the show where we head off into the meat and potatoes. They are the complete verbatim of John and Amber’s discussion of this weeks plugins that have been reviewed.
WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #549 here.
It’s Episode 549 and we have plugins for Code Snips, Blackhole Bots, Dobby, Web Snow, Schedulr, Geo Maps… and ClassicPress Options. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
Transcript for Episode #549
(Plugins lead-in rock music)
John: Okay, we still have the ClassicPress option section of the show, but we don’t have anything from ClassicPress because I’m not working in ClassicPress these days and I don’t have time for multiple platforms anymore. I’ve got so many other things on my plate but if you happen to be a ClassicPress user, and you do show up to the show and listen to us, and you want to hear more about ClassicPress, hey, that’s a wonderful way you can support the show is send us information about ClassicPress what they’re doing, how things are going, and we will get it in here and share it out with everyone else.
Amber: I didn’t hear the dragon, did it play?
John: Yeah, I played — play it again.
Amber: I can’t hear it. That’s weird I was hearing this sound fine before.
John: Do you hear this (Squirrel)?
Amber: Yeah I can hear that one.
John: You hear the squirrel but you don’t hear the dragon? Well, squirrel ate the dragon.
Amber: That’s weird.
John: I guess the squirrel ate the dragon?
Amber: Well, I think that particular plugin is brilliant. I will definitely be keeping that one in my little I have this little folder with plugins that can be useful in just about any situation, so my own little toolbox if you will, I’m gonna be adding that one for sure. First one I have for everyone today is Interactive Geo Maps. This is actually a pretty awesome plugin, the fellow who designed it, his name is Carlos, so he was actually kind enough to donate this one of his Pro plans for our next competition and we were able to get in there and play around with his Pro version. We also have an interview with him that will be coming up this next week. It’s just a really fun one, like I sat there for way longer than I needed to creating maps of all different kinds. You can create single country map, you can create whole world map, you can choose a different kind of map for each thing. Like if you can make the map be lying down, upside down, you can make it like hey, see it on there, it’s loads of fun. With the free version, not only can you choose different kinds of maps but you can also choose like if you have the click action where you click on it and it goes even closer to wherever you put the I want to call it a peg but I don’t think that’s actually what they’re called little dot things with addresses.
John: Pen marker.
Amber: So the free version, pardon?
John: Pen marker.
Amber: Marker, that’s the word, so the free version takes care of you pretty good. The Pro version doesn’t just take care of you, it just makes it absolutely amazing to use. I’d definitely recommend this if you are wanting to create a map, even if the map is for something as simple as placing your various addresses for your company or, in my case, I actually laid down a path of like a travel map, just for the heck of it on my play site. You can do all kinds of things with this map thing, and I rate it at five dragons.
John: Yeah, it’s a pretty cool one. I went and played with it a bit before I did the interview with Carlos. It’s a really great interview with Carlos, you know, he’s from Portugal and he’s been developing this plugin for a while and it’s a really nice plugin, so you want to check out the interview, which will be released next week.
Amber: That was definitely, definitely well done plugin.
John: Okay. Alright, the next one I’ve got for you, I’m pretty sure Amber brought this one sometime in the past, but I decided to bring it back in anyway, because I decided to play with it. It’s called Black Hole For Bad Bots and this plugin works very well for the most part, you got to remember the one thing you got to do with it, though, is you have to go add a snippet of code to your robots.txt file. Don’t put it in the htaccess file because I for some reason my brain wasn’t working when I went to do it. I tried sticking to code the htaccess file of course it crashed my whole site. I was like, wait a minute, pull the code out, so it works, put it back it’s broken. It’s like no, and finally my brain went I’m trying to stick the code into the wrong bloody file. It does a really great job of banishing black bots with a one strike policy. Once they fail, they’re failed, they’re gone. They can’t bot you anymore. You can create a list of whitelisted bots. The other cool thing is it’ll whitelist special IP addresses to if you want to do that. There was one thing what was it my brain had it and then I started talking it went sideways. Oh, the hidden trigger. How it works is it puts a hidden trigger in your code that is only seen by bots, humans will never see it and follow the link. The bots will follow that link because that’s what bots do. They follow all the links they find, they don’t care if it says no follow or not. They just go ahead and follow along and get themselves banned and to make sure it’s working, all you got to do is install it, activate it, put the code in your site, go check the source code for your webpage and see if the trigger link is there and boom, you’re done. Very excellent plugin, doesn’t take very much to setup, you know, it does take a minute or two to go edit your robots.txt file and if you don’t know how to do that, you can always download the plugin robots.txt. There’s a plugin to make it so it’s easy to edit. At any rate really great plugin, check it out Black Hole for Bad Bots and I give it a five dragon rating.
Amber: Yeah I remember, I remember when I brought this before I really liked this, the creator for this plugin, he has some really awesome other plugins that work great in tandem too. Next up is My Scheduler. I wanted to pronounce a different because schedules spelt wrong, but it is my scheduler. This is a third-party plugin with a pretty decent activity, it seems to be free, I didn’t see anywhere where it kept telling me get Pro, so it’s used to create a schedule for your clients to either check your availability in general or to book an appointment with you. You do have to go to these guys’ website, so it’s My Scheduler website, you have to create an account which is free and then you go through the steps, they make it really easy for you. They set it up so that you just fill in your information and they create everything and then what you do is you go back to your site, and you create a menu with the length that they provide you in your account and then you add that menu to whatever page and voila, it’s actually genius and how easy they made this. You create a menu and then add the menu to your page and you have an entire schedule available where people can book things with you or at least check out your availability. It’s pretty awesome. I don’t usually like third parties, but they actually do pretty well on this one. I rate it at four dragons.
John: Very cool. Okay, the final one I’ve got for you is another one that has been on the show previously and it’s Dobby, the elf helper, the admin elf helper.
Amber: Works so well.
John: It actually does. I encountered this on our website recently and I was doing something it’s like, oh, and it’s like, oh, fuck this is Dobby. Oh, I vaguely remember that. Well, let’s check it out and see how it works, besides it’ll give me a nice easy plugin to pop into the site and have for the show. It’s really kind of cool. Of course, what it does is all those admin notifications you have to deal with in your back end which are often cluttering up crap. It collects them all, sticks them in a little wind-up folder in a wind-up window, with a little icon at the top that says Dobby’s notes or something similar. You click on it and expand it and you can see all the notes, you can unexpand it and they hide them all away again, kind of a nice simple way to clean up your back end a little bit. Useful little plugin, go check it out if you’re seeing too many admin notices and you want to clean them all up and just hide them away and not look at them like most of us don’t look at them anyway. At any rate, go check this one out, it is Dobby and I give it a five dragon rating.
Amber: Hello. Sorry, I wasn’t sure when the dragon ended.
John: No, no, he didn’t play hang on. There he goes, he played. For some reason it wouldn’t play, silly thing.
Amber: I do like Dobby. I’ve been using it in my sites that I’ve been working on because I just like it. I’m a total Harry Potter fan, so. Alright, this last one I have is Snow in My Web. This is just a fun freebie plugin, super lightweight. It creates a beautiful snowy background and all it does is add a little CSS which is very easy to remove.
Amber: Yeah, so it’s very easy, very lightweight, very awesome, works well. I rate it at five dragons.
John: Excellent. Maybe that’s the blame for the snow that arrived this last day; it’s all your fault for testing out this plugin.
Amber: Yeah, I hadn’t thought about but now that I think about it, there was no snow when I was testing out plugins and now there is maybe it is that.
John: Maybe it is man. The AI I went oh, they won’t snow there. Alright, so AI for WordPress called up the AI for the weather control service and went, okay, we need snow there. What the hell? It sounds cool. At any rate,
Amber: _____ 00:32:51.
John: Anything can work. Alright, let’s wander down through a few other things, you know, we do have sections here, folks, if you want to send this listener feedback, audio questions, audio clips, listener questions, all of that stuff, we would love to hear from you. We haven’t heard from anybody in quite some time, so hey, feedback, feedback, feedback, you know, help us improve the show. We’ve been trying to improve it really well for the last, you know, year, trying to get it back on track from its complete sidetracking and I think we’ve gotten it back on track to what it’s supposed to be, but help us improve it, folks, get some feedback to us, point us in the right direction of stuff you want to hear about. At any rate, let’s wander into our contest.
Absolutely contest, we do have a current running contest and as we like to mention, from time to time, our contests are powered by the simple giveaways plugin, a really great plugin for running your own contests on your website. I’ve been using this plugin since it was brand new. I think it’s about four or five years old now and it keeps getting better and better. They keep improving it, adding more features to it. There’s one feature I think I’m going to ask them to add to it. I’m not going to mention it right yet, but it’s a really useful feature. At any rate, go check out simple giveaways plugin but that’s not what we’re giving away. We are giving away a one year license for the Events Calendar Pro single domain valued at 99 bucks and the Event Calendar is a very nice calendar plugin. I’ve been using this plugin since it was relatively brand new too and I think they’re close to 10 years old give or take, you know; they’ve been around for quite some time. They’ve made lots of improvements to it. They’re about ready to drop a major improvement to this and if you want to find out all about that, go check out the interview I did with the Events Calendar, person, and I don’t have a link in the show notes for the interview, but you can find the interview on the front page of our website, I believe, let’s see here it is. Just well, this from the Events Calendar is who I did the interview with. So go check out the interview, and listen to the interview, and then come on back here and enter the contest to win your free license for the Events Calendar Pro. It’s a really great plugin. Anyone has a calendar of any sort on their website, they can benefit from this plugin. Alright, let’s see what else do we got. That’s it, so let’s cover up a quick few things and head into the Q&A segment. Plugins I covered on this show were Code Snippets which I gave a five to, Black Hole for Bad Bots, which I gave a five to, and then Dobby which I gave a five to.
Amber: And I covered Snow in My Web which I rated at five, My Scheduler, which I rated at four, and Interactive Geo Maps, which I rated at five. I really liked that map one.
John: Yeah, it was kind of cool. I did have fun and it was a fun interview to do. I had fun doing the interview with it. Well speaking of that interview, also, folks, a little tidbit we actually went on a discussion with him in the interview about a freemium model for plugins and how it is running a freemium model business, so it was kind of a little bit more into the interview than usual.
John: Alright, a couple of quick notices one; there is a meetup that is coming. It’ll be coming sometime around summer solstice, around, June 21st, I’m planning to do it, by then I’ll have my debt cleared, it’s going to be held at the oasis and the specific details about RSVP will be coming, so that is coming down the pike. If you would like to be in an interview show, you’re a developer, no developer, you got some information about WordPress you need to share with the world, hey, reach out to me at wppluginsatoz.com/interview and we will get you on an interview show. Alright, and if you have suggestions for plugins, reviews, anything like that, please send them to us at wppluginsatoz.com/submitpluginreview. Hey, that wraps all that up, so it is time for us.
It’s question and answer time.
John: With Amber.
Amber: Hey, I actually heard that one.
John: It’s just a dragon you can’t hear it, that’s really weird.
Amber: I know. So before I get started, if anyone out there has any questions they’d like to have asked on the show, send them in to me at email@example.com and we’ll get them in here or secondary option is ask them in the chat while we’re live and I’ll bring them in, for instance, Hemdian was just saying something interesting. He said my site host has been grumpy lately because of resources my site uses. When I looked at it’s usually very low except at random times or random days when it falls, which I’d moved with WPS Hide Login, so he just wanted to be a reminder to that everybody maintain and update their firewalls, so that is still something he’s tweaking but if you have a question, or if you want to add to the show, you can also just come on and be live and add whatever you have today, nine times out of ten, my dad or I will catch it and we’ll get into the show.
John: Yeah, he had a little bit more there. He’s using CloudFlare for caching but now he’s activated a firewall option. My suggestion is change hosts to somebody who doesn’t freak out about site resource usages, such as johnoverall.com.
Amber: I agree with that.
John: That’s my suggestion for it, but site resource usage is they will spike randomly and some hosts really get upset over it because of the simple fact that they are running 100s or 1000s of websites on one server and if one site spikes, all the other websites are impacted, which is why I limit the number of websites per server to pretty much a 100. I kept my servers at about 100 websites, so everybody can use all the resources they need even during unusual spikes and if I catch an unusual spike on one of my servers, it’s usually because of a bot attack and I shut that down really quick, you know, I’m not a massive provider. I’m a little boutique, so I can actually manage things a little bit better than the massive providers because they just can’t monitor. They’ve got 100s of servers and 10s of 1000s of clients, so it’s really hard for them to manage it all.
Amber: Kind of makes you think of an over packed elevator.
John: Yep, pretty much. That’s pretty much what good way to look at it, alright on to your questions.
Amber: My first question today is, are there any particular viruses or malware or anything that one should keep an eye on when running an internet business like something that people should just keep an eye out for signs of it? What have you?
John: Okay, well, I was gonna say all of them, but that last little bit is like, signs of them, the signs of malware and other attacks is usually a massive spike in traffic for no apparent reason, because, you know, somebody’s got a semi-popular website, and they happen to put out something that suddenly goes viral. That’s a reasonable expectation for an increase in spike in traffic, but if there’s an increase in the spike in traffic to the site, and there’s no apparent reason they haven’t released some new information, or some new tidbit or anything like that, and go look at the log files, you’ll see it’s all coming from specific IP addresses and, then you know it’s an attack. It’s an attack, the one nice thing is I’ve got a couple of levels of protection, like my data center I’m in, they monitor for bot attacks and if they notice, one, they hoover up all the traffic into their mitigation service and slow that traffic down until it goes away, because they’re relatively short lived, because the bots only attack until they’re blocked and then you gotta leave them blocked for a while, so that they go away permanently if you block them and then unblock them too fast, they’ll just keep re-attacking. The other one is I’ve got firewalls on my servers to help mitigate this stuff, too and then I recommend people have additional firewall stuff on their own website and it can be CloudFlare or a firewall option, whichever one you want to use. Alright, so yeah, it’s like there’s no particular way, no particular one to look for, and basically it’s just kind of keeping an eye on your traffic and seeing what’s happening to mitigate the hassles.
Amber: Okay, next question is, were you ever caught by nasty virus when you first start in the industry?
John: Oh, yeah, I wasn’t really caught by a nasty one that wiped out my websites of servers, but back in the beginning, when we didn’t have as good a protection. There was I can’t remember a hack says something or another, he used to go around and he used to deface websites. Well, it’s kind of like the old cookie virus, you know, give it a cookie and it goes away? Well, it did come in and he deface it, he wouldn’t damage the website, what he’d do is he’d replace the front page with his own front page that says you’ve been hacked or you’ve been pwned, you know.
Amber: Oh, geez, get it right, dad.
John: Pwned, man, you were pwned, you’ve been pwned. I don’t care what how you pronounce it anyway. Yeah, I fortunately, I never gotten that for but, you know, knock on wood because, you know, I don’t want to invite anything for coming in, but for the most part, I’ve been pretty fortunate there’s been a few people out there that have been hacked in major ways and it’s a really continuous battle though. It’s an Arms Race is what it is between yourself and the hackers and the Internet providers, the server providers, the network providers, the router providers, and you know, it’s constantly going on, you know, a lot of times.
Amber: What happened to our fun Loki Hackers who just came in and pulled pranks and left?
John: Yeah, well, those ones are gone, man, those guys have moved on too. Well, I need to feed myself so I may as well start, you know, doing this hacking for real and stealing and selling data, you know?
Amber: _____ 00:44:05 Loki Hackers who would send you a free cup holder in your machine.
John: Yeah, that would force it to open up the CD player. Yeah, that was those were the fun days of the internet. That’s the golden era of the internet when people were still relatively human and they played practical jokes. They didn’t want to damage and destroy or steal and everything else. The practical joke days, the golden age of the internet, I miss the golden age of the internet.
Amber: Although I’ll bet you that if somebody starts pulling practical jokes again it’ll probably pick up pretty fast.
John: No somebody would use the practical joke as a way to hack in another way.
Amber: Oh, that’s sad.
John: You know, you gotta remember this, they don’t think like that anymore.
Amber: Which is sad? Oh, well.
John: It’s the innocence of youth, gotta remember the internet. A lot of the people in the internet say like myself, I was in my 20s when I started in the internet, you know, I’m now in my late 50s, you know, a lot of people that started they’re old, cynical now and the younger ones, all they see is the old and cynical and so that’s how they are. It’s like, it’s the way it is. Unfortunately, this technology grew up and it grew up unfortunately in a bad way. It grew up in a bad neighborhood.
Amber: It grew up cranky.
John: It grew up cranky, the reason for the podcast, the cranky old geeks, which is a really entertaining podcast.
Amber: I have one more question for you.
John: Okay, let’s read it out and we’ll close out the show. For those of you listening to the podcast, you’ll have to come back to YouTube for this answer.
Amber: What was the worst computer you ever had to fix? How long did it take and what did you have to do in order to fix it?
John: Oh, that’ll be entertaining. Alright, let’s let my girl take us on out of here. We’ll come back and answer that.
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John can be reached at his website, JohnOverall.com, or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for joining us and have a great day.
Thanks for listening to the show. This show is copyright by JohnOverall.com. So until next time, have yourselves a good morning, good afternoon, or a good evening, wherever you happen to be out there on the globe today.
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