Real-Time Blacklists, QuickTime Bug, Code Mode

Just after hitting Post in Kung-Log on that last entry, remembered that Movable Type is all perl. But wait – I’m building the latest perl in CPAN in the background right now. Amazing — it worked fine — you can apparently use the perl interpreter even while building it. Or you can if you’re lucky. It would probably be as easy to jack yourself up bad if not careful.

Didn’t set out to upgrade perl – just installing SpamAssassin, it found a bunch of dependencies it needed, and before I knew it perl 5.8 was on its way in. Not sure I need SpamAssasin anyway – set up CommuniGate to work with some real-time blacklists earlier today and am impressed – spam dropped by around 75% immediately.

On the downside, RBL systems reject suspected spam outright – you never get to have a look to check for false positives. On the other hand, SpamAssassin and other filters just add a spam tag to the msg header, so you can do whatever client filtering you want. That’s great, but I’ve already got solid client-side tagging via Entourage. It may be useful for future birdhouse customers.

Getting archived QuickTime video ready for async webcasting yesterday and edited dead air from the start of a bunch of files with hint tracks (extra data tracks necessary to work with a streaming server). When accessed via rtsp://, Safari blew up – total crash. Oh, wait, so did IE/Mac. Oh, wait, so did IE/Win. Oh, wait, so did QT Player when accessing the rtsp:// stream directly. I had discovered a super-fatal bug — and the only fix was to delete hint tracks and regenerate them from scratch. For a week’s worth of video. Lovely way to spend a day. Lesson: If you edit QT files with hint tracks, don’t put them on a streaming server until you replace the hint track. Reported to Apple.

This semester I’m splitting the PHP/MySQL class with another team. I taught three weeks of PHP in code mode, they’re doing three weeks working with same in Dreamweaver. Today was the start of the Dreamweaver segment and afterwards I asked the class whether they preferred working in code mode or in Dreamweaver. Pleasantly shocked to hear them say they preferred working in code (remember these are journalism and SIMs students).

Music: King Crimson :: Easy Money

Frying Spam

WebMonkey has an interesting piece titled Frying Spam — a quick tour of back-end procedures for spam detection and elimination. Doubles as a nice tutorial for anyone wanting to set up procmail recipes or Bayesian filters such as Bogofilter.

Music: Gong :: The Invisible Temple

Fried Huge Caterpillars

Plowing through my spam trap and thought I saw a subject line “Fried Huge Caterpillars.” Had to stop and read that one. Turned out to be “Friend, Huge Pillar Candles,” which is almost but not quite as surreal, inverted by my partially dyslexic brain. I swear, sometimes my appreciation for the absurd and my mild dyslexia are a match made in heaven… what Dali called “the paranoicritical method” – rather than correcting the frequent small perceptual mistakes we all make, Dali cultivated this technique of allowing the brain to run with these sorts of errors for pure entertainment or surrealist value. I seem to do this quite naturally. Amy is sometimes unsure whether I actually didn’t perceive something correctly or whether I brushed against a misperception and unconsciously encouraged it to flourish just to flustrate conversation, or for a laugh. The funny thing is, when she calls me on it, I’m not sure either.

Time Travelers, Please Help!

Hoo boy… disturbing spam. Disturbing because it seems so totally sincere.

Subject: Time Travelers PLEASE HELP!! ..

If you are a time traveler or alien disguised as human and or have the technology to travel physically through time I need your help!

Also if you are from any of the following planets and can help me as mentioned please reply:

I come to you for help, and need a way of doing this in the following way exactly in such a way
that there will be little or no danger. I come to you in peace. Trust and honesty is an absolutely must!!

My life has been severely tampered with and cursed.
I have suffered tremendously and am now dying!
I need to be able to:

Travel physically back in time.

Rewind my life (including my age).

Be able to (remember what I know now) so that I can prevent my life from being tampered with
again after I go back.

I am in great danger and need this immediately!

Only if you are a time traveler or nice alien and have this technology please send me a
(separate) email to: