Alex’s pages are now locked down

As of earlier this evening, Alex’s web pages are now closed off from public access. We’ve had too many incidents of people grabbing pictures of Alex from the site and using them elsewhere. We were also noticing an increase in the amount of people being sent to Alex’s pages from search engines (Google and Yahoo in particular) based on bizarre and sometimes creepy search queries.

(No, I’m not going to say what the search phrases are, because then my pages will end up indexed under those words instead.)

Rather than hack together a bunch of code to do the password-protection myself, I decided to move Alex’s site out of Movable Type and into phpBB. phpBB is a bulletin board tool rather than a blogging tool. But the purpose of Alex’s pages is to keep our friends and family up to date with what’s going on in his life. A bulletin board allows us to publish stories and pictures just as effectively as a blog does. And by going with phpBB, I didn’t have to spend hours/days implementing a custom user management system.

(Top programming tip: wherever possible, avoid writing your own code.)

Anyway, it’s up and running now at last. The only problem is that our ISP’s mail servers are being overwhelmed by spam attacks (so they say), and all of our incoming mail is being delayed by up to twelve hours. I can see that several people have already registered themselves (including two complete strangers, who came in via AOL and Google), but I haven’t received the activation emails yet. I can approve accounts without the activation emails, but that results in the user in question not getting an email to confirm that they have been activated. So if you’re waiting to get in…sorry! It may take a little while…