Thursday, November 08, 2007

Robot spiders attack

Festo - Airic's armToday I spent most of my morning encoding or hiding e-mail addresses from our web site to prevent spiders or "spam-bots" form harvesting them. That's how some spammers get e-mail addresses to sell them. It's something I wanted to do for a long time, and funny or scary enough, today I received a spam message comming from :
by with SMTP; 8 Nov 2007 06:28:30 -0000
Received from BLU125-W7 ([])
by with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.3959);
Message-ID: BLU125-W7B8A0709EEE8379D85598D48B0@phx.gbl
which contained e-mail addresses harvested from links found on this blog. I sincerely apologize to those affected, but it's not my fault. Blogger, google or in this case hotmail and Ecommerce corporation should have a stricter policy regarding control of harvesting bots. There are methods and scripts to prevent evil bots from crawling and harvesting e-mails or crawling too many times.

A while ago, I had a very insisting visitor that almost caused me to lose my adsense account because of "unusual invalid activity". I had to ban him (or her) using the last resource: .htaccess This script can also be used to prevent bots from viewing a page at all. As Mike Pilgrim points out, some of those spiders are harvesting bots, some are just annoying, and some are real evil.

Airic's armSo, what to do against evil spam bots? I can't block them from this blog, because I don't have privileges to ban them from crawling here. The best strategy is to hide your e-mail addresses from your web site or ban those bots from entering at all. Some people are against e-mail munging (disguising), but there's no other way of stopping those spammers. Yes, every method has it's (dis)advantages. After careful consideration, I decided to use the Enkoder (via). It's very similar to email protector, a 2 digit encryption script, but you don't have to upload the decryption script into your directory. Like I said, after careful consideration I decided to use Hivelogic's Enkoder... I suggest to those affected by spam-bots, to use it as well.

Festo - Sound machinesNow to the good bots. Have a look at these amazing pneumatic robots created by Festo. Some of them use so called Festo Fluidic Muscles which are the core technology for the Airic's arm prosthesis for example. (via) (have a look at the sound machine video)
This robotic prosthesis sports a "bone structure" which mimics that found on a real live human, and can be moved via the 30 "muscles" built within. Essentially, Festo's approach to movement relies on "an elastomer tube reinforced by aramid fibers, which contract quickly and exert a pulling force when they're filled with a blast of compressed air or liquid." (via)
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