“At one point the sidebar comments were just her chanting ONLY ONE BED! ONLY ONE BED!”

“We have now had sidebar comments for ‘ONLY ONE CAVE! ONLY ONE CAVE!’ and ‘ONLY ONE DRY UNDERSIDE OF THE WAGON!’ I think the slow burn is getting to my editor.”

“At almost exactly the halfway point of the novel, the editor is threatening to drown both characters if they do not get busy.”

— Kingfisher & Wombat, on editor relations

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.


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:



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? :-)

Return of the Keyboard

A company in Canada has decided that the time is right to bring back the tank-like keyboard that old Mac users loved and hated, in an up-to-date USB version.

It’s already sold out through the end of April.

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