Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

ben wilson This is the blog of a one Ben Wilson, a Louisville, Kentucky native who enjoys baseball, beer, music, bikes, things that fly and good food. By day he pushes pixels and makes the Internet happen for a local advertising agency. His wife, Kelly is an Ironman, and his baby Amelia is the cutest thing ever.

I just figured out a fairly sneaky WordPress exploit – one that you won’t even notice if you visit an exploited WordPress installation with a “normal” browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer. The exploit only “does it’s thing” when visited by a non-standard browser like a text-only one (like old-school Lynx) or, the intended target of this exploit – a search engine crawler like GoogleBot.

When this exploit gets loaded and sees GoogleBot, it spits out its content – which is normally a big wad of pharmaceutical SPAM, like Cialis, Viagra, etc. Google picks it up in it’s search results and the content the SPAM links to gets a bump in Google’s search ranking.

For example, when I view normally I see this:

But when the search engine crawler views it (or when you view the page using Firebug+FirePHP):

And eventually the search engine entry for that site looks like this:


PS you can use the Google Mobile Viewer to view a site as Google might…

Some searching in the WordPress Support Forum led me to this post: Site Hacked – 301 Redirects, with some suggestions on fixes. None of my sites have been exploited, so I’m not sure what it will take to fix, but I would assume that as long as your database hasn’t been affected simply updating to the newest version should be sufficient.

I don’t know if this is a recent “development”, but this exploit is likely the result of folks not updating their WordPress installations after the major security update WordPress released back in the Fall of 2009. If you aren’t running the most recent version (2.9.1 as of this writing), you need to be. Check this: Old WordPress Versions Under Attack.

filed under Web and then tagged as ,
Feb 1 2010 ~ 8:11 pm ~ Comments (1) ~

Over the past couple of years I have found myself perusing and eventually following a number of local/regional/national blogs and sites on stuff that I find interesting – cooking, baseball, model sailplanes, cycling, what-have-you. The best ones are ones backed by interesting people with interesting things to say – at least interesting to me, and that’s what’s important to me. This blog-reading/stalking stuff is very personal.

Some blogs do everything “right”, meaning they’ve optimized their site and content for a wide range of viewers – friends or strangers, people new to the site, old hands, people new to the subject they are writing on and people well-acquainted, and people reading it via their primary domain or via the rising trend of RSS readers.

But MOST blogs could use some sort of tweaking to keep their readership, whomever they are, engaged and growing. And that’s where I’ll come in, with this very article you are reading.

After the jump:

  • Say Hello and Show Your Face
  • Don’t Assume I Know What You Are Talking About
  • Google Reader, RSS and publishing your FULL entries
  • Don’t Get Crazy with your Blog Template


filed under Web and then tagged as
Oct 23 2009 ~ 8:45 am ~ Comments (1) ~

I’ve always wanted a website wherein I could make my own mixtapes and share them with friends. Didn’t know how the songs would get there, but I imagined an unlimited archive of songs. Why hasn’t iTunes made this a feature? Think about it – like a mixtape? Buy it! Helps the artists and maybe the creator of the mix gets a little credit or something.

In the meantime… there is Muxtape. Create an account, upload some MP3s and organize them into a mix. They can be played in the browser through a remarkably simple, clean interface. Like a good tool, Muxtape doesn’t do anything extra – it just does what it says it will, and nothing more.

Luckily, I already had a proto-mixtape I had worked on a little while back, entitled “Workingmans Blues” – inspired by my blasting of Uncle Tupelo’s Graveyard Shift upon my last day of work at my previous employer. It’s perfect for that Friday afternoon, or perhaps that last day of work. Enjoy:

(Thanks be to Jackson…)

filed under Music,Web and then tagged as ,
Jun 6 2008 ~ 8:21 am ~ Comments Off ~

Remember Political Compass? I do. Waaaay back in ’03, some friends of mine and I took the test and gauged our political compasses. Having recently been fingered as a Mike Gravel supporter by GlassBooth, I figured I’d get my compass read again, and here’s how it went:

2008 Economic Left/Right: -3.50
2008 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.59

2003 Economic Left/Right: -3.50
2003 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.00

So, I’m a little tiny bit more authoritarian, but overall unchanged in those five formative years.  This was all foretold, by the way – I was told by a co-worker a few years ago this would happen as I grew older. (Me: I’m a pretty liberal Democrat. Her: Oh, you’ll grow out of that.) Does the AARP make you change your voter registration or something?

Back to my Political Compass reading: I’m in pretty good company there, just a bit less Left and a bit less Libertarian than his Holiness the Dalai Lama and polar opposites from Margaret Thatcher and Adolf Hitler. Now, as far as my “Mike Gravel” reading from GlassBooth is concerned, the Political Compass has him near the same Libertarian level as me, but he’s much more to the Right than I am.  My real Political Compass soulmate? Ralph Nader. (Who was only 4% shy of a GlassBooth match). Interesting reading: Political Compass’ readings on the 2008 US Presidential Primaries.

I suspect my real leftist leanings that throw me into the same bucket as Nader are that I think gays, children, the elderly and the infirm have a right to be happy inasmuch as my white, male, upper(?)-middle-class self does. Next thing ya know I’ll be on a kibbutz smashing beets into biofuel with a red scarf around my neck as my strapping wife tows a cartful of bounty off into the sunset.

Er… wait. Well, anyway, it’s not much of a surprise to me – I think my leanings (in whichever direction) solidified sometime around my mid-20s and I’m glad to see they haven’t changed to much from where my 25 year-old (my age in 2003) self saw them.  Refined, maybe, but not a major shift.

Thanks to M@ Rasnake for digging up my 2003 email with my Political Compass stats in it.  I’m afraid to say my email pre-2003 has vanished like so many Nader-as-president dreams.

filed under Politics,Web and then tagged as ,
May 6 2008 ~ 2:29 pm ~ Comments Off ~

I am happy to say that as many meetings over websites that I’ve attended in the past 10 years or so, none of them have ever been this bad. Though some have come close.

filed under Web,Work and then tagged as ,
Apr 25 2008 ~ 7:48 am ~ Comments Off ~
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