You’ve got spam!

I wonder if it’s some sign that my blog has gotten more popular that it’s getting more and more blog spam. Today I logged in to find 88 spam postings into various n sundry articles advertising a series of porn sites. Yee hah.
I finally updated my copy of MT-Blacklist, a tool designed to stop this sort of posting. I hadn’t updated since December when Lisa helped install the first copy. This new version has smarter and easier-to-update filters in it, and hopefully this’ll stop this crud from coming into my system.
Apparently something also twitched the LIvejournal RSS feed, so folks saw some postings from me from a long time ago. Sorry bout that, we’re not sure what causes that to happen, we’ll check into it.

Firefox 0.9.1 released!

Well, with the 0.9.1 point release, I decided it was finally time to upgrade to the latest version of Firefox. Unfortunately the Debian testing environment hasn’t updated to 0.9 at all yet, so I needed to download and install 0.9.1 into my home directory.
I’m pleased! I went from 0.8 to 0.9.1, and it imported all my bookmarks, though all the extensions did NOT load. The new extension manager and theme managers are nice.
For the record, here’s the extensions I run:

  • Web Developer
    This is GREAT if you’re doing coding. Highlighting table elements with a mouse click is screamingly handy.

  • FLST – Focus Last Selected Tab
    If you open a new tab from a window that’s in the middle of a bunch of other tabs, the tab opens on the end of the toolbar. By default, when you close that tab, it goes to the next to last oen (which may not have been the one you were looking at before). This fixed that behaviour.

  • Sage
    This is an RSS / Atom aggregator. I’m JUST now testing it out, I’ll give more information when I’ve given it a real runthrough.

  • Statusbar Clock
    I just think this is cute (and they have a great image on the home page :). It shows a clock in the status bar. That’s it. For some reason it just works well for me.

  • Mozex
    I’ve alread talked about this. A great little tool for invoking an external editor on a textarea.

Last but not least, the Pinball theme is very nice, thanks to Nathan for pointing this one out to me.

Stop using IE. Really. It’s not just me.

Folks in the biz have been telling users for years that Internet Explorer is a garbage browser. The waves of incompatabilities and just plain boneheaded design decisions weren’t enough to sway most people.
Now though, the security issues in IE have gotten to the point where it would be foolish to even use IE as your primary browser.
The Motley Fool site has an article on the recent viral attack on Internet Explorer. They point out:

At the beginning of this development, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, or CERT, and Internet Storm Center reportedly suggested that Windows users not use the most widespread Web browser out there -- Internet Explorer. (It seems that machines running Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Linux operating systems were safe from the threat, including those using Internet Explorer for Mac.)
This is not just the geeks saying this, folks. This is CERT, one of the most widely respected organizations regarding security on the net. And this isn’t a “You idiot, you clicked on an attachment in Outlook? Don’t do that!” sort of situation. Your machine can and may already have been hijacked without you even knowing it, and you’ve done nothing wrong other than gone to check out the news on
Go to Mozilla’s Firefox page, download Firefox, and enjoy safe browsing without popups, withour virii, and the bonus of a stable, well designed, FAST browser.
I swear, it’s almost time to put up those annoying pages that say “You’re too foolish to run a real web browser. We don’t support Internet Explorer.

How can people use IE?

This is a rant.
How can Microsoft possibly market a browser as ABYSMAL as Internet Explorer? Aside from stomping on standards left and right, and putting out plain old BROKEN implementations, ths browser is a menace to every system.
I have to run it on the Win2k box to test things I’m running for a client. On that w2k box, I normally just use my Firefox installation. Anyway, running up IE, and I -immediately- get a pop-under advertisement.
I have run IE perhaps 5 times since I set this machine up.
Microsoft, you’ve built a product that is unuseable without third party tools (such as Spybot and Ad-Aware) that fix the faults in your product. Sheesh.

Communications device, Phase 2

I think I’ve settled on the Handspring Treo 600 as my phone of choice. It has a tremendous amount of goodies in it, and with an SD slot, I can punch in a half a gig of storage space for MP3’s. Bonus!
Now for the next step. The Treo 600 apparently works with AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Sprint, and T-Mobile. My current phone is workin with AT&T Wireless, which as far as I can tell has the -worst- phone support on the planet, but the service and coverage has been outstanding.
My requirements are unlimited data access (even as a ‘wireless modem’), and decent phone coverage in the Metro Boston area.
Here’s an outline of the services offered. Unfortunately it looks like AT&T doesn’t offer an unlimited plan at all, so that leaves Cingular or Sprint for this area (no T-Mobile?)
I’m leery of Sprint because they have a ‘custom’ network – their PCS stuff. That’ll lock that phone to the Sprint network only, right? But Cat has a GSM Cingular cell phone, and the coverage is cheezy as all git out. She has a terrible time holding a signal.
I’m leaning toward Sprint. Thoughts / commentary?

My Wishful Want for Connectivity

So I’m going to ask the Body Geek Politic here, because frankly I’m out of
the loop on this technology.

I’m doing enough mobile work on my IBM Thinkpad T23 that I
think it’s time to consider wireless service options. I’ve signed up for an
account with T-Mobile for wireless access
in the various Starbucks so liberally
strewn about the area, but that only gets me WiFi access within the cafe(s).

Continue reading “My Wishful Want for Connectivity”

Review : Mozex plugin for Mozilla / Firefox

I’ve been having hassles doing some of the major editing on
the blog, due to the
fact that it’s difficult to do serious editing in HTML Textarea
windows. There’s a couple ways around it, such as having an an intelligent client
to edit in
. I’m still searching for a good client, but it’s sort
of weird when we already -have- one, that being a web browser. Gotta be
a better way!

Continue reading “Review : Mozex plugin for Mozilla / Firefox”

One small victory.

Since I’m doing a bunch of spam analysis, I decided to watch inbound traffic of spam coming to me. Of the 5-6 mails I saw, 4 were from obviously comrpomised Windows boxes that were acting as active relays.
I tracked one to Megapath, so I sent mail off to them with the IP address of the machine spewing the spam. An hour later:

Subject: You have an active spammer.
Discussion Thread Response (Eric B.)	05/25/2004 02:47 PM
Thank you for the notice. We have stopped the traffic.
MegaPath Abuse Department

It’s not much, but gosh it feels good.

Instability in FireFox – solved.

Over the last couple weeks I’ve found myself not using FireFox as much as I had been. This is usually an indication that there are problems with the app that are making me not like it, or just ‘get in the way’. I found myself running Konqueror more, which has its own quirks.
Today I settled into trying to figure out what was annoying me. FireFox had been doing silly things like if a page refreshes automatically (like, say, my My Yahoo news page, it would raise the window to the front, and NOT give it focus. This was annoying as all git out, because every 10 minutes my FireFox window would spontaneously POP to the front of the screen. Not good!
I had seen a few other crashes and other oddities, so I ambled over to #firefox on (note that link may not work for everyone), and posited my problems.
Apparently a while ago I had installed the Tabbrowser Extensions otherwise known as TBE from the FireFox extensions library. This extension gives you amazing control over the tabs in FireFox (tabbed browsing is the cat’s meow – if you’re not using it, by using, say, an inferior browser, you should seriously consider upgrading).
Unfortunately, the TBE is known to have SERIOUS stability problems, and apparently is the first line of defense when someone say “I’m having problems with FireFox”. Sure enough, after I disabled the extension, things got MUCh smoother – the auto-raise behaviour stopped, and FireFox seems more stable.
The one behaviour I absolutely needed was the ability to re-order tabs. If I had tabs “a”, “b” and “c”, and I was viewing “b”, and hit the middle mouse button to open a new tab on a link, after I closed that window (usually with ^W), FireFox would show me tab “c”, and there was no way to fix that (it should have bopped me back to the ‘previously viewed’ tab, that being “b”.
Going through the above link, I found MiniT which looked about right. I installed it, and voila! I can simply drag one tab to another position on the tab bar, and since FireFox closes tabs from right to left, it’s easy to put them in the order I need.
Thanks to the folks on #firefox for pointing out the flaws in TBE.

I feel so… unclean.

This is the first time I had to fire up a Weendoze box to do something I couldn’t do on jboat. I needed to get some pictures off a CF Flash card via the Viking multi-reader (USB) I have. Linux just wasn’t mounting the filesystem right, so I bailed, and *sniff* fired up the windows machine and copied the files off.
I’ll fix it’s little red wagon though. I’ll get it WORKING next time! Hahhahah!

iCal migration, phase 2

We’re making progress, really! Catya and I have published our iCal calendars onto a common website now, and have a piece of software that lets us browse them via a web browser, but still no updating online.
There may be a ray of hope though. The Mozilla Project has a nifty tool that plugs right into their platform simply called Mozilla Calendar. It uses iCal format calendar files, and allows publishing and subscription via webDAV. Spiffy!
One of the tidbits I liked the best was it can ‘think’ in ‘my calendar doesn’t live here on my machine, it lives on the webDAV server’ mode. This means if I want to edit a calendar, I run up Mozilla Calendar, select the entry from the subscribed lists, make the change, and Calendar says “Re-post this to the server?” – and voila, it gets updated.
This still doesn’t do record locking, meeting invites, or busy planning, but it’s getting there. 🙂
I’m still using Evolution as my mail and calendaring program. I’m thinking of also setting up my contact lists, but I worry about the ‘local storage’ problem again, since there doesn’t seem to be a server manager implementation for contact management like there is for Calendaring, unless maybe it’s LDAP? Dunno. More to explore!

Shared calendaring, so it begins

Why is it that the tech world has never really grasped the concept of communal calendaring? Whenever you ask someone about shared calendars, they immediately mention the only one that seems to be in use, that being Microsoft Exchange. The evils of this system are well known, and need not be ranted about here. Beside the fact that the environment I’d like to deploy in is primarily NOT Microsoft.
I’ll be posting more about this as I move through it, but here’s my initial foray.

Continue reading “Shared calendaring, so it begins”