I’ve been hacking code for many years now but have never considered myself a real software developer, despite having built apps in a variety of languages. Over the last couple of years I’ve enjoyed hacking away at Python and have created many websites, apps, and scripts but never really published or publicised them.
I just published my first GitHub repository with a Python script to retrieve the latest spot price from the Flick website for our account. Flick has promised to release an API for years but have yet to deliver anything, so my script uses Requests and BeautifulSoup to scrape the spot price from the Flick dashboard.
When first run, the script prompts for your credentials and saves them to a file on your disk so that the script can run without interaction in the future. And when you first successfully authenticate it will save your cookies to a file to avoid having to re-authenticate each time it runs. The spot price on the Flick website updates every half hour, so the script will save the current spot price to disk as well as the end date time which indicates when the next website update will be. Then the script can run as often as you like but it will only ever go to the website once while that price is valid.
I created the script so that I could retrieve the spot price and integrate it into my HomeAssistant installation. I plan to do further automation based on the current spot price but for now I’m just sending myself a Telegram notification when the price changes.
I’ve been getting a few of these emails recently… A provocative subject line like “your website is broken”, or, “broken links on your homepage” which, when you’re running several websites like me, always stops the heart for a second as you rush to find out which of your sites are broken. But then the email message is from some seemingly well-meaning person on the internet who has stumbled across a broken link on your website and is politely suggesting that you update the link to point to their site instead. Another common attribute of these spam/scam emails is that they will follow up with a second email a few days later chasing up their request.
These emails are nothing more than spam and are almost certainly generated by bots which you can prove by copying snippets of the emails and Googling for them. You’ll be sure to find examples of near identical emails just with different company names and websites. For example: “I’m reaching out today because I thought you might want to know about a few broken links on your page” or “I founded the HearTheMusicPlay.com with my few musician friends”
Another guilty party is Comparitech who have persisted to send three spam emails in the span of two weeks about broken links on my website with a plea to point to their website instead.
These types of email scams have been reported as early as 2010 but there are also some more recent articles about them too. Doing some further digging on this I found some instructions on a SEO/spam/scam website (that I won’t link to here) giving specific instructions on how to craft these types of emails. The advice was to use a ‘personal touch’ and suggested three templates to follow to build the spam emails. This is the sleazy world of search engine optimisation and any website that feels a need to resort to these measures will not last in the long term.
So here’s my contribution to providing links to hearthemusicplay.com and Comparitech. I’ll add others as they arrive.