East of the Sun, West of the Moon

2006/6/26

!&$*#! comments (3)

Filed under: Site — Erwin @ 7:15 pm

Just a point of reference.ย  It’s been a little over 3 months and Spam Karma has blocked just over 2000 spam comment and backtrack attempts… That’s over 20 per day on average.ย  Enough to kill an hour or so per week if I had to manually monitor, delete them, and pick out the valid ones!

2006/6/24

Static Pages (2)

Filed under: Projects,Software — Erwin @ 6:43 pm

There we go, I finished polishing it enough to call it a 1.0 product, and created a page on which to make it available to the world.

Go me, or something. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Update: 1.1 now in place.

2006/6/23

Static Pages

Filed under: Projects,Software — Erwin @ 2:58 am

Cool. I wrote my first WordPress Widget this evening, to display the static pages the way I prefer, after eyeballing the ones that came with the Widget Plugin itself. Not bad, if I may say so myself. I’ll make the code available after I’m finished polishing it (adding all the options I can think of, even if I don’t use them myself). ๐Ÿ™‚

2006/6/22

OS X 10.4

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 1:48 pm

Yesterday I received the 10.4 DVD that I’d finally gotten around to ordering (I seem to be at the trailing edge of technology when it comes to OS X, considering that the online crowd is already discussing what will or will not be in 10.5 a.k.a Leopard) from Apple.

First impressions:

  • Smooth upgrade from 10.3.9 to 10.4.6. After inserting the DVD, rebooting the computer, indicating what kind of install I wanted (an upgrade, not a clean install), I had left it running while I ate dinner. When I came back I was just in time to see it do a post-install reboot.
  • Spotlight then dragged down the machine quite a bit while it was busy indexing, which is relatively slow on this first generation Mac Mini (with a 40GB 4200 rpm harddisk). It says this was going to take about 3 hours and I’ll just assume that’s how long it took, because after making sure all the basic applications worked, I wandered off to watch Farscape. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • My SizzlingKeys short-cut command-option-space (to play/pause iTunes) had been hijacked by Spotlight, which was easily changed in the System Preferences.
  • The uControl utility wasn’t doing me any good anymore, as it turns out that swapping the command and option keys (which makes sense if like me you’re using a PC keyboard) is built into the OS now.
  • The cursor-utility PinPoint actually really works at-login, which it didn’t in 10.3.9.
  • The Dashboard is cool but I’m going to have to control myself and not stuff it full of pointless widgets. It looks like I can replace some dock/menubar gadgets though, cleaning up some desktop real estate that way.
  • I noticed this morning that somewhere during the upgrade the software must’ve decided that I didn’t really want to have the ssh-daemon running, so the overnight rsync-based backup failed. This has now been corrected of course.

All in all that was a good start. It is certainly my intention to give this machine a fresh install at some point, if only to erase all the crud I’ve put on it in the first couple of months of its existence when I was still getting to know OS X and finding my limits on this hardware.

Looking forward to trying some of those 10.4-only features in existing software and entirely 10.4-only applications, the next few days/weeks/months. ๐Ÿ™‚

2006/6/20

Catch you later

Filed under: Software — Erwin @ 10:38 pm

While convenient, using a catch-all setup for your email is a bit like playing with fire, these days.

Exhibit #1: My webspace provider DreamHost recently gave up on allowing its customers to create catch-all forwards on (sub)domains (with only one exception) because:

What happens is, people set up an email address @theirdomain hosted with us, and set it to forward to say, their aol email address. Then, they get spam @theirdomain. It forwards to aol. Aol sees it โ€œoriginatingโ€ from us (when weโ€™re just forwarding it on), and block us as spammers.

This is especially a problem because of this annoying habit of spammers to use made-up addresses. If it wasn’t a catch-all setup, DreamHost’s server would be able to stop most of that spam from ever getting to AOL because it would involve non-existing addresses and it would know this.

Exhibit #2: At work we have been using a DS200 device that (usually) takes care of 80% of the spam by applying several block-lists and a few other things, scoring it all and deciding based on that whether to pass it on to the actual mail-server. All fine and dandy except that starting Sunday the roles were changed unexpectedly and we started to see more accepted connections than denied ones, actually overloading the device and causing regular email to arrive… untimely!

The fix, it would appear, was to work out a solution for a few domains where a catch-all setup was in use and where a flood of messages/bounces was arriving on addresses that had never been used before and never would be.

Of course, any day now some spammer could decide to do something like that to one of my own domains… *crosses fingers*

2006/6/19

Hello 2.0(.3)

Filed under: Site — Erwin @ 10:15 pm

And hello Default Theme!

I made one minor tweak in how I name and display the static pages and that’s it for now. The Spam Karma and Acronym plugins have been reinstalled (of course) and one or two others that are only used internally. The rest will follow later, as will things like a theme that’s more to my liking. No offense to the creator of the default theme, but it’s not what I had in mind for my homepage/blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

Update: Fixed the year/month archive layout in the sidebar. Got the babbelstats and spam statistics to work again.

Update 2: Added Gravatars back in.

TODO:

  • Add nested comments back in.
  • Find a suitable theme to hack.
  • Fix the klasgenoten-ssg pages.
  • Make sure the .htaccess file contains all the backward compatible redirects that I had for 1.5
  • Get used to the 2.0 post editor, or switch back to raw editing like I did for nl.is-here.com
  • Check what other plugsin I might be missing still.

2006/6/15

Linkage (46)

Filed under: Linkage,News,OS X,Technology — Erwin @ 10:59 pm

Amazon has begun selling groceries (Ars Technica). So far so good, they sell some cat food and coffee, what more could you ask for?

Well written article (Daring Fireball) about the differences between Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and others, and why you would choose one over the other. I use both OS X and Linux, and several of the reasons listed one way or another sound very familiar.

I’ve started playing with del.icio.us, you know, that domain where nobody can remember where to place the dots. My collection of links/tags is still rather empty.

Warning

Filed under: Site — Erwin @ 9:39 pm

I’ll be upgrading this blog from WordPress 1.5.x to WordPress 2.0.x at some point in the next few days (I’d love to give a more accurate indication but as personal projects go, it’s not very easy to predict when I’ll get A Round Tuit โ„ข). This may mean that, aside for Spam Karma, which I already know to work with 2.0.x, not all features will work correctly and I’ll probably go back to one of the default themes instead of this homebrew hodgepodge.

In other words: Be prepared to have this place look like a mess or even break completely occasionally!

Irony

Filed under: Humo(u)r — Erwin @ 4:13 pm

Thunderbird Logo … is Thunderbird‘s spell-checker complaining about the word Thunderbird?

Tsk. ๐Ÿ™‚

2006/6/14

Linkage (45)

Filed under: Humo(u)r,Linkage,OS X,Software — Erwin @ 9:44 pm

Alky is an open source project that aims to translate Windows binaries into OS X or Linux binaries. Although it isn’t mentioned explicitely on any of their pages as far as I could find, it’s limited to x86 (Intel). (Dworkin was curious enough to glance through the source code and figure that out.)

Are you an active LiveJournal user? Do you have a sense of humour? Ok, then read this and have a chuckle. ๐Ÿ™‚

Google SketchUp is bloody addictive! A pity it won’t install on Win98, or I’d let the oldest kid play with it; he looked quite interested in it when I showed him some basics.

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