Tuesday Mar 06, 2007

What is static.theplanet.com anyway?

Can anyone explain in plain English what static.theplanet.com is? Using StatCounter to analyze my blog traffic, I found my blog was visited from a host name that includes that name. A quick search indicates that it's some sort of robot. And it seems to annoy people at times, but what is it more precisely? Is a 50 word explanation reasonable and available somewhere?

UPDATE 03/26/07

By using the web analytic tool, statcounter.com to which I have a link at the bottom of this blog that anyone can view if he/she so wishes, I have noticed that a lot of people have been visiting this entry because they, too are trying to find out what static.theplanet.com is. I still have no answer to this. I've done a few searches and have still NOT found out what it is. Nobody has commented either, which makes sense; people searching for static.theplanet.com are probably trying to learn about it and aren't in a position to explain it. However, if you ever go on to find out what it is, please come back here and add a comment explaining it. It will be very helpful to many people. Thanks.

UPDATE 04/24/07

I've received two comments to this entry now. Thank you very much to those commenters. One of the comments lists this URL: http://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/virusencyclo/default5.asp?VName=TROJ_BANLOAD.BEX&VSect=T I'd actually looked at that site before. However, I didn't get it. I think I get it better now that I've read it carefully. It seems a trojan (TROJ_BANLOAD.BEX) gets into a computer system and connects to various URLs. Most of those URLs contain static.theplanet.com. From there, it seems that other bad things are brought into the computer that try to get passwords and such for access into one's bank account(s).

I'm not certain that I'm interpreting that correctly. What I'm less certain of is the significance of static.theplanet.com. What's the break down? What's "static"? What's "theplanet.com"? Is it connected to http://www.theplanet.com/, which is a company that provides managed hosting solutions? Is static.theplanet.com necessarily bad or just sometimes?

Anyway, that's where I'm at now in terms of understanding. Please comment if you have anything to add.

UPDATE 05/15/07

I think the comment from Cameron King clarifies things. I don't know Cameron, but he could probably get a job as a technical writer. His answer seems quite clear to me. He even anticipates future questions and provides info about contacting theplanet.com just in case certain behavior that involves theplanet.com seems suspicious. So, from what I know now, it would seem highly unlikely that a visit to my blog from static.theplanet.com is malicious in any way. Now, I've learned a bit more about how the Internet works. Thanks Cameron.

UPDATE 09/05/07

The three most recent entries (Aug 08, Aug 10, and Sep 5, 2007) bring up specific security issues that involve a host that includes "static.theplanet.com." From what I gather at this point, the "static.theplanet.com" part is not the real issue here. Yes, bad things can be coming from such a host as well as just about any host anywhere. Kellie asks why 6 active guests have the IP address of a.f.5746.static.theplanet.com and if something malicious might be going on. I honestly don't know if this should be taken as suspicious behavior or not. Can anyone add anything here? Cameron King's comment does provide an email address where one can voice concerns. Does Kellie's scenario warrant this?

UPDATE 05/28/08

Quite a few comments have come in for this blog entry since I last added an update on 09/05/07. My impression is the same as it has been for a while. I'm relying a lot on the info that commenter Cameron King's left, which I believe implies that the bad things people are reporting from theplanet.com are simply viruses (or something similar) that were able to get into servers connected to theplanet.com network. It seems reasonable to me that theplanet.com doesn't have a higher percentage of these sort of nefarious activities than any other  such network. Are there people out there thinking that there's something more wrong with theplanet.com network than, say AOL's? So, when people are reporting efforts to stop bad behavior from servers on theplanet.com network, I imagine the procedures to actually stop the badness would be similar if the badness were coming from some other network. Does that make sense. I just get the feeling that theplanet.com part of the problem is not that significant. Yes, no? Agree, disagree?

Friday Feb 23, 2007

Tracking Blog Visitors for Free

I've been using StatCounter's free web tracker for a little while now.

At the bottom of this blog you'll see a number for the number of unique visitors this blog has had since I set up my StatCounter account. Under the number, you'll see this link:

See real link below. This is what the StatCounter Link looks like on my blog.
It's not a link here, but it is a link at the bottom of the page.

Then what happens? I'm asking you. Really, I don't know. I thought I was giving anyone full access to my stats. Have I? Can you see everything? One thing for sure, you at least have to register with StatCounter before you can see my stats. However, I don't know if that's enough, is it? No really, I'm asking you.

Anyway, in the spirit of Sun's embrace of full transparency just about all the time for just about everything, I decided to make these statistics fully transparent to anyone who's interested.

What you should see once you get in is something like this:

John Domenichini's StatCounter Statistics
It took me about 21 minutes to be set up with my own project. Not bad considering that I'm not all that technical of a person. Figuring out what the options are has taken a while. I still don't get it completely. But I get it enough to know that it's all very interesting.

The amount of information that you can get about site visitors is downright frightening. One person visiting an entry of mine somehow had an IP address that was to some sex site. The person found my blog entry through Google by typing the words:

  • Identity


  • Paranoid

That person ended up visiting this entry of mine:


It appears that he left my blog immediately. I would guess that's not what he was looking for. I'm not sure I really wanted to know all that. I was too innocent when I came up with that title for the entry.

Anyway, outside of all that nonsense, the information from StatCounter could be extremely valuable depending upon one's blog or site. I can see detailed information on the last 100 visitors and it's all free. One can upgrade to an even more Big Brother-ish account, but I'm as big of a brother as I need to be at the moment.

There are other free web trackers, such as Google Analytics. However, I haven't tried anything else. I'm not sure what the pros and cons are of the various trackers.

Sunday Feb 18, 2007

Getting Even More Identity

By now, my blog has definitely acquired more of an identity.

Look around this blog and you'll more or less see a real blog. I come across pretty much like a blogger.

Considering that I didn't understand a thing about blogging just four months ago, I'd say that's good. The truth is that at this point I don't really understand all the widgets on my own blog, but I do know that it somehow seems appropriate to use the word “widgets” in this context, so there's that. I might not actually be using the word correctly, but one thing at a time.

I think I'll focus a few blog entries here and there over the next few weeks on things I've added to my blog, but as of yet, have not explained. For example:

  • I've recently added a few links in the right column to other people's blogs.

  • I've also added the following:

    • A Technorati button:

    • A ZapTXT button:

    • A StatCounter counter (at the bottom of this blog):

The identity-management-ness of all this new stuff is not obvious, but the connection is often there behind the scenes. For example, the way I've been experimenting with the Technorati and ZapTXT stuff has a pretty strong relationship to identity management.

I'll transparentize all of that stuff soon enough. Right now, I'm just coining words and otherwise abusing the language for no transparent reason.


What does this box do?


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