Archive for May 2007

Spam? What spam?

Dear Simon Rumble,

You’ll fight a losing battle with the spammers, especially if you use off-the-shelf software with >5 other users. Even with something you write yourself, like my my crappy script you need something non-standard to keep the spammers away.

No. Wrong. I’m using Drupal, one of the most popular CMS packages on the planet. Do you see spammy comments on my site?

Sure’ there’s a bit of attempted spam. The latest batch of three from this morning are sitting over in my admin block, waiting till I get around to deleting them.

Actual spam getting through though? Okay, so out-of-the-box it does, but all I added was the standard spam module and I’ve not had a problem since. Don’t even have a captcha!

Turning on comments doesn’t gain you protection from spam; I’ve got them on and don’t get any. Turning off comments *does* make it much harder for people to respond to your posts, and does ensure that comments on your posts can’t be made in the open (at least, not by emailing you, which you suggest as a means of contacting you. That’s why I’m blogging here, because this comment is intended to be public).

If you don’t have comments turned on, you only have half a blog.

I'm dating…

It’s been brought to my attention that I’ve never linked to i386.

This is not cool. We’ve been dating for 9 months, we moved in together almost 6 months ago, and not one link?

Well, it’s fixed now.

Love you baby *hug*

Google search results

Searching the web – without the annoyances

I just did a search on Google for “javascript open new tab”.

3rd result (2nd, if you don’t count the indented sub-result below the first result) was a page on – no linklove for you.

I *hate* The page – (check it out if you want, but I’m not giving it even the smallest bit of pagerank on any engine) appears to address exactly my question. The snippet Google gives me is:

Title: open new tab in firefox. Question: I want to create a link that triggers opening a new tab (not a new window) in firefox. i do NOT want the user to …

Go to the link.. and I get nothing. I see the question, and a lovely exhortation that in order to see the answer, which may or may not be helpful to me (all the other answers I’ve found in other places on the web have been along the lines of “Can’t be done”), I should “Sign up for Experts Exchange and receive instant access to this solution and others.”[1][3].

That rankles. If you have useful answers, show them to me, and maybe I’ll join your community. I’m not going to waste time joining up when I don’t think you have answers.

Experts-exchange have pissed me off for years, and a lot of other people too. I’ve been aware of solutions such as the experts-exchange remover Greasemonkey script, but I’ve never felt like toying with such – they’re a solution that only work on the firefox instance where it’s installed, and they’re a solution that have to be reinstalled if you reinstall firefox[2].

However, I just thought of a More Perfect solution: create a custom search engine that excludes experts-exchange! So, I present you with: the Without Annoyances search engine. I can use it from anywhere, I can add to it other sites that annoy me… sounds perfect to me.

You could Add to Google yourself if you wanted to… I’ve just hacked up my site to use this as the default search engine for the site search.

[1] Yes, I know. I can find my answers in other ways as well. For instance, view source of that page shows the following ‘solution’ to my question:

Abg jvgubhg punatvat frggvatf naq gura jvaqbj.bcra naq _oynax ohg gurl pnaabg unir cnenzrgref.

An 8-year olds knowledge of ciphers (or, alternatively, a handy copy of caesar(6), reveals this to mean:

Not without changing settings and then and _blank but they cannot have parameters.

I see.

A more promising (at least, by reason of it being longer) snippet reads:

Ab pbzzrag unf orra nqqrq gb guvf dhrfgvba va zber guna 21 qnlf, fb vg vf abj pynffvsvrq nf nonaqbarq.V jvyy yrnir gur sbyybjvat erpbzzraqngvba sbe guvf dhrfgvba va gur Pyrnahc gbcvp nern:   Fcyvg: urer4h247 {uggc:#14870456} & xvqqnatre {uggc:#14879882}Nal bowrpgvbaf fubhyq or cbfgrq urer va gur arkg 4 qnlf. Nsgre gung gvzr, gur dhrfgvba jvyy or pybfrq. prz_ghexRR Pyrnahc Ibyhagrre

Unforunately, that translates as:

No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned.I will leave the following recommendation for this question in the Cleanup topic area:&aofc; &aofc;Split: here4u247 {http:#14870456} &nzc; kiddanger {http:#14879882}Any objections should be posted here in the next 4 days. After that time, the question will be closed. cem_turk EE Cleanup Volunteer

So, in short. Experts Exchange (A) taunts me by pretending that its notices to the effect that the question is dead are in fact answers to my question, (B) can’t hide said information from said 8 year old, (C) can’t give me a better answer than the rest of the internet, and (D) hides the fact that its answers are bunkus behind requests for me to sign up. No thanks, I don’t think I will.

Anyone want to write a greasemonkey script that does this unbreaking of Experts-Exchange inline? I wouldn’t use it, but others might..

[2] Or if you copy your profile folder into the new installation, as I did last time I upgraded. This is good in a planned upgrade situation, less good in an emergency reinstall where you don’t have time. Although.. I guess maybe my firefox profile is worthy of being backed up…

[3] Update: A colleague has just pointed me to an even easier solution than using caesar: Google’s cached copy doesn’t have the obfuscation. I’ve also been told that using a browser that doesn’t support javascript/CSS will give the same result as that in Google’s cache – ie, Experts-Exchange serve you a perfectly useful page, then use javascript/css to break it and make it unreadable. Good job!

I plead guilty

to this.

Well, I would, iffing I had an audience.

Pascal demonstrates twiddling the deskto

Pascal demonstrates twiddling the desktop

Seen on albion st, surry hills. Not in 1

Seen on albion st, surry hills. Not in 1960, but today.

A night at the movies

I just went to the movies.

Let’s use my twitters to recap the night:

* Just saw an ad at the cinema about dianetics – specifically targetting people with depression. Disgusting.

Yes, that’s right. “Pills don’t cure depression. Dianetics does. Get your free dianetics book today – “. Redacted by me, not by the cinema.

Got me rather riled up. Targeting people when they’re at their lowest point.. despicable.

* Watching children sneak in to a documentary about paedophile priests is disturbing

There were a group of about 3 15ish year old girls sneaking in, giggling over how they’d been so naughty as to sneak into a movie.

I felt concerned; I didn’t think they appreciated what they had gotten themselves into.

* Watching them flee in horror when they realize what they’ve done is priceless

But oh well; before I got a chance, the priest came on to talk about kid-touchin. They realized, exchanged looks of horror, got up and ran out as fast as they could.

* I don’t understand how the catholic church can claim to be a christian church. Have they not read the bible?

My Christian upbringing was in an Open Brethren church. The church was decidedly sparse; there were pews, plain-coloured walls, a pulpit, a piano and an organ. Contrast this with the Catholic monuments shown in the movie: my first thought was “Oh the idolatry, that’s wicked”. There were pictures all over the walls, there was ornamentation everywhere. Yes, it creates a sense of awe – but I really don’t see how it can be possible to get close to God in such an environment. then again, as Catholic priests in the documentary admitted, that’s not the point – the point is to produce a crowd of people who are docile and submit to every commandment from the clergy.

I want to rant more about my theology (and current lack of faith)… but it’s late now, so I’m going to bed.

Engrish? No, this is in north sydney.

Engrish? No, this is in north sydney.

Proxies exist. Sometimes they need authentication. Please deal.


The above is what greets me each and every time I reboot and log in to my work desktop.

I can’t get rid of the blurry thing. I can’t “Install now”, because to get to Teh Intarweb requires going through a proxy, and getting through that proxy requires authentication. The updater fails to do both of these (it might do the former, it definitely doesn’t do the latter), so it fails to update, and instead reminds me next time I reboot.

I hate programs that do this. Proxies exist, some require authentication. If your app can’t deal with that, your app will break for a large fraction of people.

Firefox, I’m looking at you. All too often, Firefox will present me with a notification about updated addons as I’m starting it – a notification that I didn’t ask for, I only wanted Firefox to start. It offers me a button that says “update now” – but if I click it, it doesn’t read its own proxy settings, but instead it times out and fails to get any updates.

Sony-Ericsson, I’m looking at you. I’m now on my second sony-Ericsson phone. In order to update the firmware, one has to download a small executable, which then downloads the real update. This program thus requires (a) a Windows machine, (b) admin access to the windows machine, and (c) unfettered access to Teh Intarweb. The only Windows machine I have available is at work, so that rules out (b) and (c).


(PS. Background is a beautiful picture of a carpenter bee in flight. It’s a pity the bee is covered by the noxious popup in the screenshot 🙁 )