Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

An End of an Era: Mollom End-of-Life Announcement

Mollom Logo

Sometimes I get too nostalgic over computers or software that I once used in my daily life. I remember my first computer (the Commodore Vic-20), I remember my first programming language (BASIC), and I remember my first spam filtering software for user generated content (Akismet). But nine years ago, a new spam filtering service originally intended for Drupal called Mollom emerged and I quickly forgot about the other spam blocking software.

I was first introduced to Mollom by Dries Buytaert via an invitation to beta test the service on my websites. After installing Mollom, the amount of time I spent moderating anonymous comments for potential spam was significantly reduced. In less than three years, Mollom had blocked more than 100,000 pieces of spam on one of my websites. Along the way, Mollom was acquired by Acquia and would record blocking over 13.5 billion spam comments worldwide since its inception.

It was a good run for Mollom but unfortunately the end is near. An end-of-life announcement has been placed on the Mollom website notifying users that Acquia will no longer be supporting the service after April 2, 2018.

As of 2 April 2018, Acquia will no longer actively support or maintain Mollom. After that point in time, the Mollom service will no longer be available. If you still have the Mollom module enabled on your site at that point, either all comments will be approved or all comments will be denied depending on how you have the Mollom module configured . We suggest disabling the Mollom module in advance of the end-of-life date.

Joomla 3.7 Offers Seven Significant Improvements

Joomla 3.7

A more feature rich Joomla! has just been released.

This week, the Joomla! Project announced the release of Joomla 3.7. This new release in the Joomla! 3 series features over 700 improvements to the popular content management system, including many features which "make administration of Joomla! Web sites easier and more feature-rich, as well as several security updates". The following are the seven biggest new feature improvements I found in Joomla 3.7.

1) Custom Fields

Administrators now have the ability to add Custom Fields to their articles, users, and contacts. Extension developers can also use this feature within their own custom Joomla! Extensions. With Custom Fields, there are now 15 different field types that can be utilized to structure more complex content entry systems which in-turn allows content authors to easily enter their data in a standard manner and display it consistently for site visitors.

2) Multilingual Associations Component

The Multilingual Associations Component allows administrators and authors to easily translate content from one single, unified interface. 

3) Improved Workflow

A category, article, or menu item can now all be created in one step from within the menu manager.

4) New Backend Menu Manager

Intended for sites where multiple people are accessing the Backend/Admin-side of the site is the ability to easily manage the admin menu with the new Backend Menu Manager. Now one can can create custom menus for the Backend just like you can for the Frontend. This feature allows site administrators to control which users can see what admin menu options

5) TinyMCE Improvements

More can now be done with the included rich-text editor including new buttons to easily add menu links and contacts.

As Facebook Removes Fake Accounts, Spam Industry Charges More

Fake News  - Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

NBC News recently posted an interesting article where the author notes that the spam industry follows the same Law of Supply and Demand as any capitalist-loving business does. As social networks crack down on fake accounts and fake news, the spam industry is able to charge their customers more to establish such inauthentic accounts.

Facebook shut down as many as 30,000 fake accounts in the past week — but that's unlikely to hurt the multi-million-dollar spam industry.

In fact, since Facebook's post-election housecleaning, it's become even more lucrative for spammers to pump out "inauthentic accounts." The asking price on the black market for 1,000 fake accounts used to be $20, but security changes by the social network giant only succeeded in driving up prices.

"If you go to the underground markets where they sell fake Facebook accounts, you can buy 1,000 of these for $300 to $400," Damon McCoy, a New York University computer science professor specializing in cybercrime, told NBC News.

Fighting inauthentic accounts and inauthentic activity is not new to social networks. In recent years, Facebook has put a lot of effort into reducing such activities by closing accounts responsible for fake likes and fake news. Last week, Shabnam Shaik, Facebook's Security Technical Program Manager, acknowledged  the recent efforts of his security team to fight the spread of misinformation on their social network.

My Son's Fool

Yesterday, I was the victim of an April Fool's prank. When you have a young teenager in the house, I suppose it's inevitably going to happen. I walked into my office and found Teletubbies on the screen. If there is a children's show I have to pick as my least favorite it is the Teletubbies. To make things worse, as the IT expert at both home and work I couldn't figure out how to get the video off my screen.

Well played my son. To be honest, this is the first of your April Fool's pranks that I didn't see coming. Now that I'm aware you're getting smarter and more devious, I'll be better prepared for you next year. 

For the record, growing up it was the character Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street I liked the most. Let's not also forget another one of my favorites, the Adventures of Letterman via the Electric Company.   

DNN releases Evoq 9 with a new Content Features as a Service Platform

DNN Features as a Service

Although I retired last year from writing stories solely focused on content management systems, I still have a few of my favorites that I like to keep an eye on. One of those favorites is DNN which back in the day we once called DotNetNuke. Less than a year ago, DNN brought to market Evoq 8 which addressed modern day marketing needs for better customer engagement. Last week, DNN showed the industry the ongoing evolution of its product line through Evoq 9. The new release continue's DNN's journey to be more than CMS company as it reaches beyond websites to apps, devices, and other Internet of Things.

Evoq 9's goal is to deliver omnichannel publishing via a microservices architecture. To make this happen, Evoq 9 includes Liquid Content, a new Content as a Service platform that is delivered as a service via DNN’s cloud platform, Liquid Content Cloud. Features included in Liquid Content: