Max-Banner-Ads Plugin Problem Fixed

After recently upgrading to WordPress 3.1 I found that trying to open the Max Banner Ads admin page resulted in this error message:

You do not have sufficient permissions to access this page.

My first reaction was “The HELL you say! It’s my blog on my domain. You better effing believe I have sufficient permissions!”

In searching for a solution to this problem I saw several references to checking the wp_options table but no mention of exactly WHAT to look for.

Also, I remember having this problem a few years ago and at that time the answer turned out to be making a change to max-banner-ads.php. I wondered if it was possible that there is a similar edit needed to be compatible with WordPress 3.1 although I couldn’t find any reference to this being the solution in this case. Besides which, I’m NOT a php programmer, I probably couldn’t spot a problem there if it introduced itself.

After a LOT of trial and error I believe I’ve come up with a fix. At least so far it has worked on three blogs without a hitch.

Note: This works for me but I *cannot* guarantee anything, your mileage may vary, make backups first before you try this, if you break your blog trying this it’s not my fault, etc, etc.

Here’s the fix:

1, get the latest version (1.4) of Max Banner Ads
2. Deactivate the plugin on the blog in question
3. In your phpMyAdmin, open the blog’s database and drop these tables from the database

wp_mban_banner
wp_mban_options
wp_mban_zone

4. ftp to your site, change to the wp-content/plugins directory and delete the existing max-banner-ads directory and it’s contents.

5. upload version 1.4 of Max Banner Ads
6. re-activate the plugin

From there it *should* be working again.

The only downside is that all of your previous banner settings WILL be gone and you’ll have to set them up all over again.

On the other hand, if it’s working, who cares? Once you have your urls and images ready, setting up MBP is a breeze and shouldn’t take more than an hour at the very outside.

Meanwhile, because I believe this problem was largely caused by incompatibilities that resulted from a WordPress “upgrade”, the next time I apply such an upgrade I’m going to do it on a test blog first and make sure that all my plugins work before deploying it on my actual blogs!

[tags]wordpress, upgrade, 3.1, maxblogpress, max blog press, max banner ads, permissions, error, admin, mpb admin, fix, how to fix, fix mpb, fix max banner, fix mpb plugin, banner ads, rotator, banner ad rotator, banner plugin, plugin error, phpmyadmin, database, drop tables, drop db tables[/tags]

Bad Behavior WordPress Plugin Up To No Good

I was taking a casual look at several of my websites and blogs when I noticed that blogs that just a few days ago enjoyed solid PR3 and PR4 rankings in Google were suddenly Unranked. This coincided with a significant drop in traffic that I had noticed starting a few days before.

I logged in to Google’s webmaster tools and checked on my site’s stats and found one glaring factor for each of them. Every single WordPress blog that I have was showing HUNDREDS of crawl errors!

Crawl errors mean that googlebot has tried to crawl the site and was unable to retrieve the pages listed. On looking at several of the error reports for several sites I found a common factor. Each one of them had been blocked by the “Bad Behavior” WordPress Plugin.

Bad Behavior is a plugin for WordPress blogs that I have used for years. It’s purpose is to block automated requests to a PHP based site (like WordPress) and therefore massively reduce the amount of automated spam comments and other forms of mischievous bots trying to access your blog.

It has performed great for a long time. However when I checked the plugin’s logs on the affected blogs I found that it has been blocking googlebot, under the assumption that it’s not really googlebot but rather something else pretending to be googlebot

If you are using Bad Behavior, Go to your plugins page, scroll down until you see the Bad Behavior plugin and click “logs”. On that page, click “show blocked”. If in that listing you see a lot of entries where googlebot is blocked then the best advice I can give you is to do two things.

1. Deactivate the plugin immediately The fastest way to lose all traffic from Google is for googlebot to not be able to craw your site! I don’t know about you but I’ve been steadily getting more and more traffic from Google searches and I’d like to keep it that way!!

2. Go to the plugin site: http://bad-behavior.ioerror.us/2011/02/15/bad-behavior-2-0-42-and-2-1-11/ and let the plugin author know that it is mis-behaving by incorrectly blocking googlebot. If enough people report the error there’s at least a decent chance that it will get fixed.

[tags]Bad Behavior, WordPress Plugin, googlebot, blocking google, blocking googlebot, websites unranked, pagerank, lost pagerank, traffic, search results, search traffic[/tags]

Removing The Plug

One of the things that is becoming more obvious as time goes by is that, in spite of labels like “information superhighway”, there are more and more controls over what can be published on the internet today (call it what it is, censorship). It’s a slow progress down a slippery slope but I definitely believe that the journey in the wrong direction is well underway.

Basically, there are places in which the free flow of information is becoming constipated. Because of this, what the net really needs is something to clean it out and free up the normal flow. A virtual colonetix, if you will, to clear the blockages and unwanted junk from the system and more importantly, allow free expression to once again rule.

Freenet is the solution to this problem. It’s a system that allows the free flow of information in such a way that both protects the identity of those publishing (and downloading or reading) that information and is also very resistant to censorship.

It’s an anonymous, decentralized network that takes requests for information and routes them through other nodes at random who then do the same until the data is found. As the requested data is returned, copies of it are made along the way which make it easier to retrieve every time.

Because of this decentralized approach, the node that originated a file does not have to be online for that file to still be available. There are freesites (websites that exist entirely within freenet) that are still available YEARS after the node that originally inserted them went offline.

Freenet is perhaps one of the best emerging tools for free speech online yet. If you believe in freedom of speech, consider running a freenet node today.

[tags]free speech online, freedom of speech, free speech, internet, censorship, freenet, anonymous blogging, anonymous website, freesite, freenet website, distributed data store[/tags]

Revisiting A Stalled Freenet Project

Roughly a little over a year ago I began a project in which I was planning to make a series of videos that would start out by explaining a bit of what Freenet classic opennet is, give an overview of how it works and then proceed to walk the potential user through downloading, installing and using freenet and several freenet applications.

Along the way I became sidetracked by other concerns and was forced to put the project on hold after the first freenet video was made so that I could deal with them. While those concerns are far from completely dealt with, I think I’ve progressed far enough that I can afford to take the time to bring that project out to mothballs and get more of those videos made.

So this weekend I’m going to be doing the next video in the series, walking the user through downloading and installing freenet, getting their new node operating.

[tags]freenet, p2p, anonymous publishing, publish websites anonymously, anonymous network[/tags]

b.scorecardresearch.com Causing Problems

On another of my blogs I noticed a severe problem this morning. It would start to load and then, once almost fully loaded it would switch to a blank page and hang indefinitely. According to my browser it was waiting for b.scorecardreasearch.com.

After doing some Googling I found that there’s been a lot of this going on. There are sites that are using a script from scorecardresearch.com in their widgets and apparently that script is broken, at least as far as Firefox 3.6 is concerned and it’s making sites not work as a result.

I did some trial and error testing and found that when I removed the Technorati widget from the blog in question, the problem stopped. Therefore, until somebody fixes it, I recommend turning off or removing Technorati and any other widgets that use scripts from scorecardresearch.com.

It seems they’re trying to build a web bug from javascript instead of using the traditional 1×1 or 0x0 pixel image that’s been in use for a long time.

Short answer: scorecardresearch (apparently associated with Comscore) needs to go, it’s breaking websites all over the place.

[tags]scorecardresearch, comscore, web bug, javascript, broken site, broken script, javascript[/tags]