Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Logfiles in the buff

Search engine optimization, deflowered.

Logs are important. Depending on the specific kind of log, the data may shape lives and generate fortunes (how many times were those ads displayed, your clickthrough rate), reveal suspicious behavior and trigger actions (such as shutting the door to that bruteforcer) or provide sysadmins such as yours truly a general idea of what works and not or anything inbetween.

If you're a sysadmin, log data or log data derivatives such as a monitoring tool's graphical status display is more likely than not an important underlying factor to determine how you spend your day.

Then of course most of the material for these columns comes from log files, too. Depending on the specific log file, I tend to either just peek at the data my monitoring scripts offer me or do some manual greping for any patterns that interest me.

One such pattern matches the filename for my resume. I put that online for job hunting purposes, and now that I'm basically a gun for hire, it's slightly interesting to see any activity involving that file.

So at semi-random intervals, I check the apache log for references to my resume. Today, the grepery turned up this nugget - - [27/Aug/2008:04:41:12 +0200] "GET /%7Epeter/PNMH-cv.html HTTP/1.0" 200 12318 "" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; .NET CLR 1.0.3705; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)"

and I count myself lucky that I had thoroughly swallowed my last mouthful of coffee before reading that.

In the Era of PageRank, the Age Search Engine Optimization Consultant, Season of the Clickthrough rage, I suppose we should not be entirely surprised to see such things. Just what the two documents have in common, perhaps other than targeting a very specific market, is left as an excercise for the terminally curious. I would advise some caution in choice of browser and operating system if your research takes you to the referring URL. One of the lessons of the day is, it doesn't always take a spamd log to crack you up.

PF tutorial in London, November 26
In other news, the UKUUG are hosting a full day PF tutorial featuring yours truly in London on November 26th, 2008. See the UKUUG web site for details. OpenCON is the following weekend in Venice, and I hope to make it there too.

The Name and Shame Robot
Last week the Norwegian edition of Computerworld published an article about the Name and Shame Robot, unfortunately in the paper edition only (yes, I've got an English article in process too). The article did spur some nameandshame.html traffic from unexpected places, but no offers of cooperation or spamd synchronization so far. In the meantime, I'm running into odd cron behavior differences when trying to run the generator script I wrote on my OpenBSD machines on a few FreeBSD hosts. More than likely there is a lesson to be learned there too.

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