Custom meta tags in Textpattern

Out of the box Textpattern does not provide the meta “description” tag for each article. Although there’s a keywords field available for each article under the “Advanced Options” link on the “write” page, the keywords tag is not included in the default template.

I wanted to implement custom meta tags such as description and keywords on an individual article basis, so I decided to do some research. It was definitely worth the while.

The information put forward by the Textpattern community was definitely sufficient enough for even a novice like me to implement.

Here’s a summary of the many informative articles and discussions which I found on the subject.

* “A tutorial by Graphic Push”:http://www.graphicpush.com/index.php?id=140
* “An item from the FAQ on custom fields”:http://textpattern.com/faq/111/how-do-i-use-custom-fields
* “meta keywords tag”:http://textpattern.net/wiki/index.php?title=Txp:meta_keywords_/
* “meta author tag”:http://textpattern.net/wiki/index.php?title=Txp:meta_author_/

Warren’s Playpen on Google Search

Google_Search_Screen_Grab

Warren’s Playpen is a website which I set up a few months ago for my son. Warren loves to scribble, so I thought I would encourage him by setting up a personal website to showcase his doodles.

Recently I tried to do a search on Google using the term “Warren Tam” and I was presently surprised to see that Warren’s Playpen was at the top of the list.

I would like to think that this is a powerful testimony to the elegant design of Textpattern which generates clean search engine friendly xhtml code.

Shedding light on Etisalat’s Internet filtering (censorship) policy

The “Wikipedia”:http://www.wikipedia.org has an “article”:http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etisalat on Etisalat’s internet filtering (censorship) policy. “Etisalat”:http://www.etisalat.ae is the UAE’s state owned telecommunications company. It has a policy of actively filtering internet websites which are “inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the UAE”.

Apparently the websites which fall under the following categories are actively blocked in the UAE by Etisalat:

# Pornography
# Religious content and/or content that is against the religion of Islam
# Content that criticises the rulers of the UAE
# Information about cracking, phreaking, etc
# Information on how to get around the internet block
# Websites offering P2P services/torrent files
# Dating and matrimonial sites
# Gay and lesbian sites
# Basically the entire Israel (.il domain) TLD
# Other material that EIM, or the Government of the UAE considers objectionable
# Websites that offer VOIP telephony (such as Skype) at subsidised rates, which effect Etisalats’ profits
# Certain blogs
# Certain file hosting websites
# Certain Image hosts
# Criminal Skills

Unfortunately “Skype”:http://www.skype.com and “Flickr”:http://www.flickr.com fall under items 11 and 14 respectively. Etisalat has been “reported”:http://www.answers.com/topic/censorship-in-cyberspace to be using the “SmartFilter”:http://www.securecomputing.com/index.cfm?skey=85 technology of “SecureComputing”:http://www.securecomputing.com which lists websites into “70 different categories”:http://www.securecomputing.com/index.cfm?skey=86. “SmartFilterWhere”:http://www.securecomputing.com/sfwhere/index.cfm is a tool to check which category a website falls into.

There is also an “interesting study”:http://www.opennetinitiative.net/studies/uae/ONI_UAE_Country_Study.pdf , by the “OpenNet Initiative”:http://www.opennetinitiative.net/, into the UAE’s internet filtering efforts with a detailed discussion on the types of filters employed.

Skype.com not accessible in UAE

I have not been successful in accessing Skype’s homepage from Dubai. Now I know why. Skype.com has been blocked by the authorities here since April last year as reported on “Skype Journal”:http://www.skypejournal.com/blog/archives/2005/04/uae_blocks_skyp.php.

However the VOIP service is still working. Only the homepage has been blocked to prevent UAE residents from purchasing Skype credit.