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Can I pay for just 1 month of JetPack/Akismet for WordPress

that’s alot of pending comments — but I know almost all are spam

With 1,846 pending comments I decided to let JetPack check them all for spam – they no longer offer a free version but it’s only $3.50/month. Or so it seemed – as I was trying to sign up it seemed the only option was to subscribe yearly. I struggled to find a way to switch billing to monthly.

Solution was to click on the “trash” icon in the checkout:

…and that took me to this page that had an option to switch to monthly payments.

I still am having a hard time getting it to work so I may have updates to share on how to get an older Akismet API to process via the “Check for Spam” button in the Comments Admin. I am getting “Akismet Error Code: 10403”

other spam filtering plugins for WordPress do not check existing comments to see if they are Spam

update: I have an Akismet API that dates back perhaps 10 years. the API key used to be attached to many sites back when the free option was more available. So it took a lot of back and forth with support to finally get my API unblocked and sort all the spam. As usual, there were a few gems buried in the pile of spam, proving once again that Akismet works well.

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Privnote vs PrivnoteS and other site imitators or possible phishing

The 2 sites are very similar looking.

I noticed a client was using https://privnotes.com/ (note the plural “s” in there) and not https://privnote.com/. – I am not sure if this is actually a problem but I found a blog post that suggests being wary of imitations:

https://privnotes.com/ has empty links to social media in the footer so that is one clear indication that it’s not the “original” service.

Google is allowing ads for the imitation site but you can see the “natural” listing for the original site below:

What is PrivNote? It is a free website that allows you to send private/secret notes. It requires no password or user registration. Just write your note get a link, copy and paste that link into an email (or IM). When the recipient clicks the link for the first time, they will see the note in their browser and the note will automatically self-destruct; which means no one (even the original sender) can read the note again. The link won’t work anymore.

UPDATE: the PrivnoteS site was confirmed to be fake and has been removed: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/06/privnotes-com-is-phishing-bitcoin-from-users-of-private-messaging-service-privnote-com/

But that’s not the half of it. KrebsOnSecurity has learned that the phishing site Privnotes.com uses some kind of automated script that scours messages for bitcoin addresses, and replaces any bitcoin addresses found with its own bitcoin address. The script apparently only modifies messages if the note is opened from a different Internet address than the one that composed the address.

Posted in Web Design | 1 Response

Transfer 7gig-10gig files online Free

I have been testing options for how to transfer large video files from one computer to another.

This is a simple option that needs no download or setup but the files time out after a few days: https://www.sendtransfer.com/

more options:

  • Google Drive is the winner – it offers 15GB of free space: But that 15GB limit includes not only your Google Drive, but also your Gmail account (includes all messages and attachments), Google Photos and more
  • Box.com – 10GB of free storage – the free version is a bit buried but you can sign up at:  https://www.box.com/personal
  • Dropbox only offers 2GB free. But it has a robust way of syncing between machines – it can push and not just pull files. It also allows sharing via an instantly-generated URL, you don’t have to share using their system but you can do that also.
  • OneDrive (by Microsoft) includes a free tier that offers 5GB of file storage
  • iCloud Files: 5GB free. add users to a file via their email, phone, etc. You can’t copy a URL and send like Dropbox (I usually prefer that method since you have easier control over revoking access by just moving the file around)
  • Firefox Send: up to 2.5gig free with end-to-end encryption and a link that automatically expires
  • SFTP is very cost-effective but requires some extra steps to set up.
  • NAS – also alot more setup but great flexibility and lots of storage for heavy users. (Synology DiskStation, QNAP TS-251B, Drobo, Etc.)

Other notes: https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/how-to-send-large-files-for-free/

I like this detailed how-to on using Google Drive or OneDrive or Dropbox: https://m.wikihow.com/Send-Large-Files-to-Another-Computer-Using-the-Internet

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Braintree cancels $50,000 “Ignition” promotion

Braintree is no longer offering their fee-free $50,000 promotion. They called it “Ignition” and it let any new account process the first $50,000 without any fees — no 2.9%+$.30 standard transaction fees. Braintree is a full-stack payments platform that makes it easy to accept payments in your app or website.

Their blog post announcing the offer is still up and is very confusing. Their FAQ doesn’t mention the change.

I even see ads still being run by 3rd party vendors:

Here is the announcement mentioned the end of this offer to waive processing fees from Braintree via twitter:

and their original blog post from 2014 introducing this offer: https://www.braintreepayments.com/blog/ignition-first-50k-on-us/

Today we’re launching our Ignition program, waiving the fees on the first $50,000 in processing for any U.S.-based startup … you don’t have to sign any contracts or make any commitments.

Braintree offers a good product that is easy to integrate with Gravity Forms, WooCommerce and many other payment systems. But their communication on this issue is lacking.

Update: from the support team:

The stoppage of the promotion was not an issue / error. Braintree stopped offering the Ignition Promotion on November 2016 and the blog post you mentioned is from 2014….Braintree needs to cover costs associated with the service we provide – for this reason, we no longer offer the Ignition Promotion or any kind of free processing limit or free processing period….
Merchants that were onboarded on the Ignition promotion and haven’t reached the full promotional usage amount will still be credited back for the processing fees until they reach the promotional limit they were onboarded with.

Our standard pricing is 2.90% + $0.30 per transaction. For verified charitable 501(c)(3) organizations, pricing is 2.20% + $0.30 per transaction for Visa, Mastercard, Discover, JCB and Diners Clubs cards, as well as Venmo and digital wallets, and 3.25% + $0.30 per transaction for American Express cards.

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How to set up free domain redirect using HTTPS

Nowadays it’s common practice to add SSL to even the simplest site. Google.com and many browsers are prominently featuring “not secure” messages and hint that they will make these message more prominent over time.

It’s easy to redirect one domain to another but the tricky part is if you already are using HTTPS and you just want to stop using your domain and forward it to another domain — you can’t use the basic “domain redirect” services from common domain registrars like GoDaddy or Namecheap.

The domain forward will work for HTTP but not for HTTPS. You will either get an error message saying the site is not secure or your HTTPS domain won’t load at all.

The solution is to set up full hosting and add an SSL certificate and then set up the redirect. Got other solutions in mind? please leave a comment below.

Common Redirects:

  • 301, “Moved Permanently”—recommended for SEO
  • 302, “Found” or “Moved Temporarily”
  • Meta Refresh
redirect via Namecheap

redirect via GoDaddy
Privacy error

Posted in Web Design | 1 Response

Web designers toolkit: server monitoring


Downtime Monitoring by Jetpack
free, every five minutes

I have been using this service for many years. Can pay for just a limited number of sms messages on an otherwise free account. Or pay for a full suite of other monitoring tools for apps. Their interface gets a bit confusing since they have added so many options over the years.

They have an iPhone app with push notification that can alert you to your site’s status.

Allows for searching for a particular string of text on a page. great for looking for updates.

server uptime is only one small feature of their analytics package.

good free option, 50 monitors, log for 2 months, 5 minute monitoring intervals


updated for 2018

Posted in Web Design | 1 Response

How to screenshot on Mac and iOS 11 – no software needed

How to take a MacOS screenshot
Two options:  capture entire screen or just a portion of it.

Where will the screenshot be?

Usually the screenshot is automatically saved to your desktop but if you installed Dropbox you may have a “Screenshots” folder in your Dropbox that files will appear in. Also, your screenshots may appear in your downloads folder.

How to take a screenshot of your entire screen

screenshot 3 full screen.JPG

  • Press Shift-Command (⌘) 3

How to take a screenshot of a selected portion of your screen

screenshot 4 all.JPG

  • Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair.
  • Move the crosshair to where you want to start the screenshot, then drag to select an area. (tip:  hold Option. Shift or Space to modify the way the selection moves.)
  • When you’ve selected the area you want, release your mouse or trackpad button. To cancel, press the Esc (Escape) key before you release the button.

crosshair: corsshairs.jpg

How to take a screenshot of a window

Press Shift-Command (⌘) 4 and note that your pointer changes to a crosshair. Press the Space bar and pointer changes to a camera. Move the cursoe over a window to highlight it. Click your mouse button to finish.

iOS 11 and screenshots

October 2017: taking a screenshot is just a bit different than in previous versions of iOS. Users initiate by pressing two buttons — they will still see the screen flash, but beyond that, you have many new editing options.

There is a new Screenshots album, and Screenshots floating interface.

Additionally, when you take a new screenshot (or series of screenshots in a short period of time), the snap minimizes itself in the bottom left corner of the screen. From here, you have four options:

  • swipe it off-screen to save it to your Photos
  • Leave it alone, and the thumbnail will simply be in Photos library after a few seconds
  • long-press on the thumbnail to send it as-is via the “Share Sheet”
  • tap on the thumbnail to enter Markup mode (edit mode)   — without saving it to your Photos library. (this is the most useful feature of the floating interface)

This video shows how to markup a screenshot:

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Free Public Domain Stock Photos – leave your mark

2019 updated list:

Great photos (public domain) can be found from U.S. government agency websites:

  • USA.gov is a government-operated website that was founded to give access to government agencies and resources.

And a bigger list:

And some searchengines to help find free photos:

Many photo editors want to boycott Getty Images because of their “extortion” letters. List of Getty Images owned sites:

  • iStockphoto
  • MediaVast
  • WireImage
  • FilmMagic
  • Contour Photos
  • Master Delegates
  • Redferns Music Picture Library
  • Jupiterimages – stock.xchng and StockXpert
  • Corbis announced that it had sold its image licensing business, including the Corbis Images, Corbis Motion and Veer libraries and their associated assets, to an affiliate of Visual China Group—Getty’s exclusive distributor in China. Concurrently, it was announced that VCG would, after a transition period, license distribution and marketing of the Corbis library outside of China to Getty. The firm will also manage Corbis’s physical archives

Some of these links are via: Matthew Chan

 This YouTube video covers best practices for using other people’s images

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Gravity forms – Notification Issues

Having email Notification issues with Gravity Forms?

It can be hard to find a root cause since many issues can be behind notifications not being sent or received, and perhaps you are experiencing an issue that is less common and will require the support of your server administrator to solve.

One possible solution: there is a issue related with notifications being received when using an email in the domain of Yahoo or AOL in the from address. This isn’t due to an issue with Gravity Forms or your server, it is due to how these providers have configured their domains DMARC records.


The problem here is related to a new DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) “reject” policy advertised by Yahoo to third-party email servers.

With the new policy, when a Yahoo user sends an email to a mailing list, the list’s server distributes that message to all subscribers, changing the headers and breaking DMARC validation. List subscribers with email accounts on servers that perform DMARC checks, such as Gmail, Hotmail (Outlook.com), Comcast or Yahoo itself, will reject the original message and respond back to the list with automated DMARC error messages.

So users of Gmail, Hotmail and other DMARC-enabled providers will not only fail to receive messages sent to the mailing list by Yahoo users, but will flood the list with bounce messages, risking to be bounced off the list themselves.

Laura Tessmer Atkins is a client of mine and  co-founder of email anti-spam consultancy firm Word to the Wise based in Palo Alto, California, also confirmed and documented the issue in a blog post. She believes that Yahoo began advertising a “reject” policy because of a recent attack against Yahoo users that involved attackers compromising yahoo.com email accounts and sending unauthorized emails to their contacts.


AOL imposed a stricter email-validation process aimed at stamping down a “spoofing” attack that plagued users a couple years ago. The policy change makes it easy for mailbox providers to determine which emails are fakes, but the situation is not always so obvious for email users.

Following a similar move by Yahoo, AOL changed its DMARC policy to “reject,” meaning that a line of text has been added to its DNS record instructing mailbox providers to reject any email allegedly associated with an AOL domain that didn’t originate from an AOL server. Although the header of a spoofed email has been specially crafted to make it appear the message originated from a specific AOL email address, it in fact never crosses AOL’s servers.

The change to the email authentication system came after days of users complaining of emails that appear to originate from AOL users that contain links to sites with often nefarious intentions such as spreading malware or peddling diet pills.

  • For more information on the Yahoo domain issue click here.
  • For more info on the AOL domain issue click here.
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Best third party Gravity Forms plugins

First make sure to review the mostly free plugins in the WordPress directory:

Start with the list of free add-ons by the people who make GF (with a dev license of GF): gravityforms.com/add-ons

…and their directory of 3rd party plugins: gravityhelp.com/other-resources

Gravity Perks
wide variety of add-ons including “Pay Per Word”; “Unique ID”; “Conditional Logic Dates”; “eCommerce Fields for Tax, Discounts, and Subtotal fields.”

GravityPlus started with a stripe plugin (but now that is free from GF with a GF dev license). But they have added other useful plugins like “Gravity Forms Utility” (that one is free) and a new Salesforce integration tool. Also a “Gravity Forms User Registration Enhanced” plugin that allows users to both edit as well as add their accounts – so they don’t have to go into the WordPress admin area.

This tool lets you show and sort entries on the front end of your website.
Lots of great demos like an Issue Tracker 

Gravity Forms Import Entries
Like the tile says – this fills in the one missing feature of the default Gravity forms import/export page (you can already import and export forms but by default only export entries).

Automatically generate, email and download PDF documents: free with the option to pay for custom integrations like having Gravity Forms ifll in a preexisting PDF that you alredy have – like a Gift Certificate for example.

Chart and count information captured via Gravity Forms.

Feedback Loops & Process Branching; workflow steps turn forms into business processes.

Gravity Forms Image Choices: images as choices for Radio Buttons or Checkboxes (good for products too, both for product variations and for showing single images for products on order forms).

Posted in Product Reviews, WordPress | 2 Responses
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