“I’m not so dumb I take my own advice.”

— Pete Bradley

What political caricature are you?


Short poll at Harvard to chart your politics in comparison to current college students. Based on the short list of questions (at least two of which merited a “yes, but not the way you mean it”), I’m a Secular Centrist.

Basically this is a less-reliable version of the “What ‘Buffy’ character are you?” quiz.

What political caricature are you?
You are a Secular Centrist. Secular centrists like you tend to be:
  • Strongly supportive of gay rights.
  • Believe strongly in the separation of church and state.
  • Less supportive of affirmative action than most college students.
  • Less likely to be concerned about the environment than most college students.
  • Less likely to believe in basic health insurance as a right than most college students.

It smells like… victory


Last July, I knocked together a small perl script to monitor my Apache logs for virus probes, rude robots, and other annoyances, and automatically add their IP addresses to my firewall’s block list.

Today I spotted a very unusual entry at the bottom of my referrer report. I was morbidly curious what someone at a commercial web site devoted to she-males would be linking to, but it turns out the answer is “nothing”. Someone in China was running a robot that pretended to be a Windows 98 box while recursively downloading my site, no doubt to encourage My Loyal Readers (all six of them) to visit this fascinating site.

Unfortunately for my hopeful new friend, his robot tripped my log monitor and triggered a block, preventing him from getting more than a few hits. Even more unfortunately, I don’t display recent referrers anywhere on this site, so I’m the only person who knows what site he’s being paid to direct traffic to.

And I’m not going to tell. But it’s registered to someone named Dmitri Kukushkin in Delaware, who owns at least one other fetish domain.

Survey spam: nice try, Satmetrix


Found this one in my Quarantine folder (“things that make it past my spam filters but come from people I’ve never corresponded with”). It claims to be a survey conducted for Yahoo! over a recent Customer Care case, and even includes a case number.

The tip-off? It was sent to the phony email address I publish on the home page of this site, which changes every month. So, not only have I never used this address to send email to anyone, but it’s addressed to last month’s address. Satmetrix appears to be legit, but a quick Google turned up several examples of them sending this exact same message to mailing lists (over at least a year and a half).

It looks like Yahoo! is forwarding viruses, spam, and other forged email to them as legitimate customer care cases, and they’re not detecting it, which significantly reduces the value of their service and likely puts them both in violation of various spam laws.

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Truth in advertising?


Apparently these came out a few years ago, but I just saw them for the first time in a local Safeway:

Homemade cookies for Dummies

I guess the instructions on all of those other cookie mixes were too complicated for some people…

Another stupid “smart gun”


Implanted RFID tags to make sure that nobody can use a handgun, including the owner.

And the winners are…


4 days, 19 hours, and 45 minutes after submitting my music database to the in-development iTunes Music Recommendation service, here’s what it came back with:

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Dreams


I usually don’t remember my dreams, but Thursday morning I woke up with an incredibly vivid recollection of my old apartment, including the landlord, the odd arrangement of parking spaces, little details about my old motorcycle, a visit from my parents, even how much I was paying for rent.

When I woke up, it was a good ten minutes before I was confident that none of it was true. I had to actually review the length of time that I know I lived at each apartment in California and Ohio to make sure that I wasn’t missing one, and it took almost as long to convince myself that I have in fact never owned a motorcycle.

The whole experience makes me a touch more sympathetic to people who become convinced of past-life regressions, suppressed childhood abuse, alien abductions, divine revelations, and other false memories. It was so real that even now, listening to the recording I made while the dream was fresh, I feel the urge to dig through my financial records looking for rent receipts and motorcycle-maintenance bills.

Trojan horse or false advertising?


This claim from Intego doesn’t pass the sniff test. If it actually worked the way they claim, the correct response would be a trivial security patch from Apple, not the mass purchase of a third-party “protection” package. I smell marketing, not security.

Update: the story finally hit Slashdot, and, sure enough, their explanation of the “security hole” was nonsense. The proof-of-concept “trojan” has to be distributed in a StuffIt archive, because the actual problem is the presence of code in the resource fork, which will not survive standard Internet distribution methods. It has nothing to do with embedding executable content into an MP3 file; it’s just an old-style Mac application with a funny name.

Update: here’s a free tool to check downloads for any attempt to make use of Intego’s mob-marketing gimmick. Much better than paying $60 for a week’s worth of “insurance”.

Update: here’s a free folder action you can attach to your download folder to automatically catch any attempts to exploit this vendor publicity scheme. See, aren’t you glad you didn’t send Intego any money? :-)

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”