HOWTO: Simply Disable Snap Shots From Snap.com

Well, I got to thinking the other day…and this one isn’t just for me. It’s really for anyone, old friends / acquaintances from Facebook, random wanders from the Internet sky, whomever.

Thanks to the joy and wonder of OpenDNS, I finally disabled Snap.com. Frankly, I hate the thing.

Some may like it, some may not, but for me trying to disable it via their interface simply didn’t function. Needless to say, I think they’re spammers now. Such a sad thing to say for what looked at first like a promising Internet startup. C’est la vie. So…they get banned from my world, at the DNS level.

Step 1 – Go to OpenDNS and chose “Create account” in the upper-right corner of the page.

Step 2 – Do the usual register-for-a-website dance.

Step 3 – Follow their instructions for using OpenDNS. This is quite technical, see their website for details.

Step 4 – Go back to OpenDNS and click on “Settings”. Scroll down to “Manage individual domains”. Leave the “Always block” setting as-is, and enter the following two domains: shots.snap.com and spa.snap.com, one at a time. Confirm that you wish these to be blocked under any and all circumstances.

Step 5 – Go back to whatever website you really want to see(for me it was a Second Life Gaming blog) and reload it. Voila! No more Snap.com! *cheers*

Hope this helps someone out there…feel free to leave a comment if this didn’t make sense or you’d just like to say thanks.

Internet Optimization 101

This is mostly for myself, but I wanted to document somewhere the various things I’ve learned from setting up my laptop in the hopes of making the Internet as fast as possible while supporting Internet radio, podcasting, Second Life, etc.

Required Items:

Fast DNS Infrastructure(i.e. OpenDNS) – This company has an entire soon-to-be world-wide infrastructure dedicated to serving DNS as quickly as possible. This is the part of the Internet that turns www.facebook.com into a number for your PC to contact. Huge speed bost.

Another option worth mentioning is the publicly available services from a hosting company named Hurricane Electric.  I encountered some problems with OpenDNS and eventually ended up using HE for my DNS.

Fast Local Search – So I discovered the hard way, that if I leave Spotlight enabled(I’m on a Mac, I bet Windows is similar) that it tries in vain to index every cache on my machine…essentially turning into slag. Once Firefox started freaking I decided to fix it. Voila, SO much better. Just a tip. 🙂

Optional Items:

Fast Caching Infrastructure(i.e. squid) – It’s total overkill, but I love it. I currently devote 512MB of RAM and 4GB of HD to what is essentially a massive personal web cache, via a piece of software called squid. It did need some tweaking…following are my customized settings:

—–
./configure –with-aufs-threads=32
http_port 127.0.0.1:3128
http_port localhost:3128
cache_mem 512 MB
maximum_object_size_in_memory 256 MB
cache_dir aufs /usr/local/squid/var/cache 4096 16 256
maximum_object_size 256 MB
ftp_user colonelforbin74@gmail.com
shutdown_lifetime 1 seconds
cache_mgr colonelforbin74@gmail.com
cache_effective_user nobody
cache_effective_group staff
ipcache_size 4096
fqdncache_size 4096
—-

That’s pretty much it. The rest is “standard” squid setup, but dang do these settings make my web surfing just toast. Love it…and hope this helps others.

Blogging 101

This is mostly for myself, but I wanted to document somewhere the various things I’ve learned from starting a couple of blogs in terms of how to integrate them into various parts of the Internet.

For the moment, this article will be rather sparse, but I’ll fill it in later.

Required Items:

Alexa Toolbar – This toolbar will tell you quite a bit about what the rest of the world thinks of your site. Use it long enough, and in exchange for Alexa monitoring your web habits you’ll receive some really interesting stats on how popular your website is in relative terms with the rest of the Internet.

Blogging Tool (i.e. Blogger) – One has to write their blog with something, after all.

Syndication Tool (i.e. Feedburner) – I’ve no idea why, but simply setting up Feedburner seems to have increased my traffic a bit. It also just makes your blog friendly, for those who wish to subscribe.

Optional Items:

Monitization Tool (i.e. OpenX Adserver) – Hey, I might make money at this someday. Why not. 🙂

PageRank Tool (i.e. Google Toolbar) – For those of us having a hard time getting indexed by Google, or just curious as to what your PageRank is…I don’t think there’s really any other way to find out.

Search Engine 101

This is mostly for myself, but I wanted to document somewhere the various things I’ve learned from Google’s FAQs and general knowledge about how to handle search engines.

And so, in the spirit of Dave Letterman, here is my Top 10:

1) Make sure all domains are listed, with each and every search engine(i.e. Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo).
2) Make sure all “www” hostnames are listed, with each and every search engine.
3) Make sure all sitemaps are actually conforming to the sitemaps specification. For instance, on Blogger this means having an additional parameter “orderby”. See the server’s robots.txt file if you have any doubts. I think this parameter has cost me dearly…damn.
4) Watch search engines go nuts with activity.
5) Keep up with tech support, if necessary(still waiting for crawl stats graphs from Google).

Here’s my current list of websites on Google’s Webmaster Tools site:

– slplacesdir.blogspot.com
– theturinggroup.blogspot.com
– www.slplacesdir.blogspot.com
– www.theturinggroup.blogspot.com
– https://sites.google.com:443/a/turing.com/the-turing-group/
– turing.com
– www.turing.com

That’s it. I hope this is useful to someone besides myself. Either way, at least I have a list for next time… 🙂

Last, but not least, unlisted icon definitions for Google’s new Webmaste Tools page:

– Clock icon: Request queued, but pending. We will get to it, please wait.
– Exclaimation icon: Request processed, with warnings. Please investigate, something -is- wrong.
– Red X icon: Request failed. Please investigate, this request was completely denied.