Any Drupal Experts Out There? [Never Mind - Fixed]

Look up at the top of this page, see that \ up there?

I've suddenly started seeing a \ appear as the very first character on every page. This happened when I upgraded to 5.14
I think I've run out of ideas, and I hope it's just something obvious I'm missing.

I've tried the following
- Changed themes
- Turned off modules
- Reinstalled from scratch, though kept the DB intact
- Cleared Cache
- Grep, grep, grep and more grep

I'm hoping I don't need to down grade from 5.14 to something earlier.

[UPDATE] I did finally fix it, the random \ was in settings.php, not sure how it got there!

Some Recent LISNews Statistics

It's been ages since I posted anything about LISNews stats, so here's a few random interesting numbers for the past few months.

This all covers September 2008 - November 2008

Total Sessions 1,010,894.00
Total Pageviews 5,702,286.00
Total Hits 11,499,192.00
Total Bytes Transferred 158.69 GB

Referrals: It's a Google world. Twitter is still the #1 non search / feed reader site. Google is by far the biggest referral, then bloglines, userland, and stumbleupon. There's a bunch of webmail clients, Microsoft and Yahoo searches round out the top 100 or so. There's a seemingly infinite number of sites that linked to LISNews, but not many sent along many readers. The only site that matters is Google (100,000+ sessions), even at #1 Twitter account for only about 2000 of those 1 million sessions.

Browsers. About 30% IE, 25% "Mozilla Compatible", 20% Firefox, 5% Safari, and everyone else was a small % of all hits.

The feeds are hit quite a bit, making up about 25% of all page views. The only posts that show up in the top 50 are a random few that ended up on the first page of search results for certain search results in Google. It's a rather flat curve and nothing really jumps out as very interesting.


Possible LISNews Meetup In Orlando?

Any LISNewsterz in the Orlando area?

I'm going to be in town for a conference November 17th - 19th.

Maybe if there's any interest we could get together?

[Update 11-10-2008 1:1pm Eastern Time]

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Happy 9th Birthday LISNews!!

LISNews started on this day in 1999. LISNews has been through 4 web servers, and 4 different content management systems. LISNews remains an interesting place to read and discuss issues thanks to all the many people who work to keep the site going.

Every year I do my best to thank everyone who works hard to make LISNews. People Like Stephen Michael Kellat who does the podcast. Everyone who has submitted stories over the years, Lee Hadden, Bob Cox, Charles Davis, Gary Price, Steven Fessenamiar.

All the LISNews authors who've come and gone like Steven M. Cohen, Rochelle Hartman, Ieleene and many others. The current authors like Birdie, Bibliofuture, Great Western Dragon and everyone else who posts stories I'd never find. More authors make this site better. More collaboration, more cooperation, and more involvement from more people can only help make LISNews stronger. They bring diversity, breadth, and depth. There must be a nice slogan there somewhere.

There are three people who really made this all possible. Without their help, LISNews would not exist as it does today. Joe Frazee for his Linux skills, Nabeal Ahmed for teaching me how to program, and Steve Galbraith for posting stories with me in the early days.

There are far too many people involved with LISNews for me to be able to thank everyone, and that's the beauty of it all. I've always strived to make LISNews an open site that allows as many people to participate as possible. I think collaboration is the key to success in most ventures, and LISNews is no exception. I've never really thought of LISNews as "my site," because it's truly a group effort, I just keep the thing running. At this point I've either been proven right on that idea, or the site is empty. Everyone who has had special "author powers" deserves a big pat on the back for the time and effort they put in to post stories. The authors are really the most important part of the site, since they are the people who post the stories that keep us all coming back. Someday, I hope, I'll be able to pay them for their hard work.

LISNews started as a small, hand made, static HTML site with a few pages, and just a few stories. I simply wanted to see if I could make a web site, any web site. I eventually figured out how to get PHPSlash installed and running, and that code kept us going for a few years. Several years ago back I said farewell to that dear old friend, and untold hours of development, and moved to the "real" Slashcode. Slashcode allowed more interaction and participation. With journals, moderation, the zoo, and many other features. Slashcode was nice, but it was also a huge PITA, so a couples years back I moved to Drupal, and never regretted it for a second. LISNews now provides what seems like a never ending array of goodies to help kill some time at work, or home, or wherever you happen to be.

LISNews Turns 9 Years Old Next Week

LISNews Turns 9 Years Old Next Week!
Anyone have any good ideas on how we can celebrate?

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Tasty Tidbits from the New MaintainIT Cookbook: A Free Introductory Webinar

MaintainIT Has Cooked Up Something Special for You!
We're so excited about the new MaintainIT Cookbook, "Planning for Success"! Full of no fuss recipes for technology success, quick, easy and tested by our librarian chefs around the country. And best of all, like all of the other MaintainIT materials, it is FREE. Join us for a 20-minute introduction (3 different time slots) to hear about the exciting new content! Brenda and Stephanie will share 20 Samples in 20 Minutes—it'll be like Iron Chef on fast forward.

LISNews And Libraries Discussed on TWiS Radio Show

LISNews got mentioned on a radio show! You can find their online edition Right Here. LISNews, Fang-face, Stephen Michael Kellat, Sarah Palin, libraries, and book banning came up on TWIS last week. It's the first story they discuss so you don't need to sit through the entire thing if science ain't quite your thing.

Three Fee-Free Library Webinars from MaintainIT: Laptops, Training, and Gaming

Join us for these free webinars. Attend this session from your library, no travel needed!

At the MaintainIT Project (, we interview hundreds of librarians about how they maintain, support, and sustain their public computers. We then publish all of their experiences, successes, and challenges in FREE guides called Cookbooks, so librarians can learn from the experiences of others who’ve done it before them. The best part? Everything the MaintainIT Project does is FREE (thanks to a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant), and everything is on . We also produce free webinars every month!

Sept. 30th Cookbook Book Club: How Much Help Should You Provide Patrons With Laptops?
When: 09/30/2008 9:00am - 10:00am Pacific
Where: Register on MaintainIT's webinar space. Download and read the Cookbook chapter (pdf) here:
This month Brenda Hough will lead a lively discussion where you can share ideas, feedback, and ask questions about providing help and support to patrons using laptops. Find out how other libraries have handled troubleshooting, security, parking lot surfers, space issues and more!

Oct. 8th Train-the-Trainer: The Power of Stories in Technology Training
When: 10/08/2008 11:00am - 12:00pm Pacific

Other Ways To Read LISNews: Subscribe To One Of Our Feeds

LISNews has what seems like an endless number of RSS Feeds (Most Of Them).

The main RSS feed can be found here:

If you use one of the big web based feed readers, here are some handy links:

Subscribe with Bloglines Google Reader or Homepage Add to My Yahoo!


Comments, Commentors, Spammers and Mollom

LISNews has been running on Drupal for about a year now. Before that we ran on Slashcode for a few years, before that it was PHPSlash for a couple years, and even before that I did it all by hand. If you run (or read) blogs you know comment spam is a big problem. If all you do is run or read a blog you actually have NO idea just how bad it really is. I'd estimate about 80% of all POST requests to all the LISHosted sites are spammers. When I have LISNews on the LISHost servers I worked hard at fine tuning the mod_security rules to combat spam.

Within hours of moving to Ibiblio I could see they have very different rules, and I'd need to do something else. I'm actually surprised just how good my rules were working. So I turned on CAPTCHAs. I tried some images, reCAPTCHA, Math, and finally the basic text CAPTCHAs to fight spam. They also worked. A few weeks ago I got a complaint that the CAPTCHAs were getting in the way. This wasn't the first time, so I thought I'd try something new, I turned to Mollom.

I was shocked that within a day the number of comments went up. It's been a few weeks now, and I continue to be shocked at the number of comments we're seeing. Mollom is doing a decent job blocking spam, but more importantly it's letting more people comment. The bad guys are kept out (for the most part) and the good guys have a very low hurtle to get over. (Or at least I think so. If the current trend holds, then I'll be convinced that it is indeed Mollom and not just a coincidence). Two charts that illustrate what I'm seeing on this end

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