What's That Noise?! [Ian Kallen's Weblog]

Main | Next page of month (May 2004) »

20040527 Thursday May 27, 2004

Knowing people for a long time without knowing them at all Occasionally you discover something about somebody that reveals a new and unexpected aspect. Sometimes you only discover them reading someone else's blog!

I've known Wade Grubbs for years but I guess I never really knew him 'cause if I did, I'd have known that he was into Stratocasters; I have an oldie but goodie that looks a lot like that.

At least he has time to play his. Cheers to you, Wade! ( May 27 2004, 12:08:27 AM PDT ) Permalink

20040526 Wednesday May 26, 2004

This morning's ride: BMW 540i This has been the week of beemer carpools! Today I rode with a guy who spent most of the time fiddling with his Blackberry and making/taking calls. Still, he managed pretty good time over the bridge and got into downtown San Francisco pretty quickly.

The 540i interior is relatively cramped compared to some of the other rides I've had lately but the seats are still fine enough. Ya know, BART's seats aren't bad by public transit standards but the leather seats in this ride will beat that anyday. ( May 26 2004, 11:34:17 PM PDT ) Permalink

Better pictures on the Treo 600 I flipped the settings on my Treo's camera, the pictures it takes are a lot better now.

In the Picture's application, if you go into the menu and flip the "Picture Size" option in the preferences from "Small" to "Large" you get a little jump in quality (and "Large" is hardly big at all -- I think it's only a .3 megapixel camera anyway).

So, check out this sign I spotted downtown for a lost dog, sad but true! But at least you can read it! ( May 26 2004, 11:23:52 PM PDT ) Permalink

20040525 Tuesday May 25, 2004

Class::DBI riddles Sometimes Perl is wonderfully expressive and an extreme productivity tool; sublime, even. Other times, it is an enigma and a riddle rolled into one.

I recently grabbed Class::DBI (v0.96) off of CPAN to help me wire up some simple objects with lots of database attributes. Now, when roughing out objects in Perl, I typically find it quickest to declare a package in the file scope of my working code -- it's like having a runnable test for the package's code write there in fornt of you. Most of the time, that's just fine and dandy -- as the code matures or gets unwieldy, migrating it out into its own .pm module files is fine. But I noticed that with Class::DBI, all kinds of weirdness can ensue if you declare your packages outside of the .pm module file world. I'd seen goofiness with older version complaining about not finding 'db_Main' in the package and yaddada yada. This time around, I tried putting everything in the file scope i.e. so it looks like this:


use Class::DBI;

my @britons = Criminy->retrieve_all;
map { print $_,$/ } @britons;

package Criminy;
use base 'CriminyDBI';

Criminy->columns(All => qw(id foo bar));

package CriminyDBI;
use Class::DBI;
use base 'Class::DBI';
# someday, I'll have a dog and name him Django Hendrix

But this totally fails...

Criminy can't SELECT 
FROM   criminy
: DBD::mysql::st execute failed: You have an error in your SQL syntax near 
'FROM   criminy
' at line 2 [for Statement "SELECT 
FROM   criminy
"] at /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.8.0/DBIx/ContextualFetch.pm line 51.
 at ./criminy.pl line 5
However if I put each of those packages in their own .pm module file, it's totally happy. I can't explain it (and I really don't want to, it just sucks). Try it out, here's the mysql schema:
CREATE TABLE criminy (
  id int(11) NOT NULL auto_increment,
  foo varchar(32) default NULL,
  bar varchar(32) default NULL,
INSERT INTO criminy VALUES (1,'Led','Zeppelin');
INSERT INTO criminy VALUES (2,'Black','Sabbath');
INSERT INTO criminy VALUES (3,'Deep','Purple');
Anyway, the short answer: don't take any shortcuts. Declare your packages in their own file and Class::DBI will glide along swimmingly. ( May 25 2004, 11:52:22 PM PDT ) Permalink

20040524 Monday May 24, 2004

Riding in the back of a beemer sedan Today's ride over the bridge was quick and comfortable, the BMW sedans are rich in leg room.

And the comfy leather upholstery was certainly a big step up from other recent rides, sometimes casual carpool just rules! Check out the BMW interior. Next year for my birthday, can I get one of these? I'd like the black exterior, tan interior, please. ( May 24 2004, 09:35:57 AM PDT ) Permalink

Moblogging with my Treo 600 The PictureMail service that SprintPCS has always seemed a little bass akwards. It doesn't allow you to send pictures directly to someone but instead can only send them a link to view it on SprintPCS' web server.

That might not be a bad thing per se but when I first wanted to setup my blog with a little procmail magic to post pictures, I was stymied by the limitations of PictureMail. Well, it turns out that Buzznet's moblogware supports fetching the fetching the PictureMail content and posting it!

So I'm gonna give it a go, I'm posting stuff from my Treo 600
there in separate blog simply named Pictures on my Treo 600
(hey, who says these things have to have clever names?).

( May 24 2004, 01:08:36 AM PDT ) Permalink

20040523 Sunday May 23, 2004

What would Google do? The blog index spam issue has to be something that our friends at Google have already accounted for.

Google already has a lot of Secret Sauce in their page rank heuristics. Presumably they've already got some automated Google bomb detection but I sure would be interested in knowing the specifics of how they accomplish that. ( May 23 2004, 01:47:00 PM PDT ) Permalink

Further Ruminations on Blog Index Spam Every time I think of easy ways to squash blog index spam, I can think of countermeasures that They Who Eat Their Young might employ to circumvent those efforts.

Perhaps the Vote Links is a bad idea after all (sorry, Kevin). It would be trivial for blog index spammers to catch on and merely add their thumbs-up vote in the links in the content they're clogging the ping stream with. Perhaps there's a sunnyside to this issue, in the same way that comment spam can provide fodder for anthropological amusement, maybe there's something valuable in blog index spam.

Well, no. All spammers should deserve to be treated to a merciless onslaught of pain. Period. ( May 23 2004, 10:54:38 AM PDT ) Permalink

20040522 Saturday May 22, 2004

Secure Blog Pings The spammers are onto us. They realize that they can inject their undesired noise into the stream.

If you want to have the appearance of having lots of attention on the net, the barrier to entry is not terribly high. Install some blog software, setup a five or six blogs that link to your site about lonely, sexy milfs in your area, octane booster for your libido and deals-of-the-century for mortgages and [badda-bing!] make a thousand DNS entries for each of these blogs. Then, whenever you update your handful of blogs with your wonderful content, programmatically ping all of the wonderful recipients of update notifications and.... [drum roll]


You've spammed the blogosphere.

It's my considered opinion that this problem is going to continue to swell as more spammers catch on. As anyone who's had a friend descend into a Mister-Hyde's-gone-AWOL-on-a-heroin binge dirtball can attest, low life scumbags are often quite resourceful. We've already seen that demonstrated contending with comment spam. The underlying problem is that the event capture engines promiscuously accept anything into the stream. It's as bad as having an open relay in the SMTP universe... millions of mail servers in Asia and Eastern Europe can't be wrong!

Blog posts can be fingerprinted and checked for duplication but next thing you know, we're going to require bayesian filters -- I can easily imagine how to defeat the duplication checks; to catch a criminal, you have to have the capacity to think like one, I suppose. Weblogs.com already makes sure it doesn't take a ping for the same blog too frequently within a duration of time, but that doesn't address any issues concerning authenticity.

Anyway, the underlying problem with SMTP is that you can pretty much claim to be anyone and send mail to everyone when the SMTP server is an open relay. By extension, the ping stream suffers from the exact same problem.

I propose that the ping services become a network of trust. Pings should be identified with secure tokens; one way cryptographic hashes with regularly expiring keys would keep just about everyone except the NSA from anonymous pinging. Those found abusing the ping stream could have their ids revoked. That way, the only events making it into the ping stream would be known and identified entities. I believe that the earlier this is put in place, the sooner the blogosphere can wall itself off from purveyors of canned pork by-product products. ( May 22 2004, 05:32:34 PM PDT ) Permalink

UFO tribute a la Pearl Jam Some of my favorite noise is old UFO, and apparently I'm not alone.

Last week (May 14, 2004), according to a report from The Umlaut, Mike McCready from Pearl Jam gigged at The Showbox (Seattle, Washington) in a tribute set that included classic Aerosmith and UFO:

  1. Doctor Doctor
  2. Lights Out
  3. Too Hot To Handle
  4. Shoot Shoot
  5. Loser
  6. Rock Bottom w/Spinal tap tease
  7. Sick As A Dog (Aerosmith)
  8. Nobody's Fault (Aerosmith)

Sounds like an old time style Headbangin Hoe-Down! ( May 22 2004, 09:47:02 AM PDT ) Permalink

20040521 Friday May 21, 2004

Bill Gates' Clue Inkling (But Only An Inkling) I suppose sooner or later it was inevitable that the swarm of motion in the blogosphere might cause a wobble in The Borg's orbit.

Bill Gates stood before a crowd of top CEO's and waxed on about where he see things going. Now, if you'd read any of his drivel (like The Road Ahead) where he positions himself as a technocaster, you know that at least half the time, he's full-o-crap. But that doesn't matter when you're the richest schmuck on this rock, does it?

"Another new phenomenon that connects into this is one that started outside of the business space, more in the corporate or technical enthusiast space, a thing called blogging. And a standard around that that notifies you that something has changed called RSS."
Bill, RSS and notifications are orthogonal. Don't you have a technical editor review your speeches before you get to the podium? RSS is a confined set of metadata. Period.

What would Bill blog? Posts about how great SCO is? How much he hates Mac OS X cause it's so much better than anything he'd come up with? ( May 21 2004, 02:21:27 PM PDT ) Permalink

20040520 Thursday May 20, 2004

Neifi Perez Hits A Home Run What's the world coming to when the Giants' sluggers are slumping and mister shallow blooper hits a two run home run?

Neifi Perez has only hit five home runs since 2001. I mean, he's a great infielder but perhaps the threat of having Pedro Feliz become the everyday SS was enough to awaken his inner-slugger. This was their game to lose and for a while there, it looked like that might be the it was gonna go. But here ya go:

  Runs Hits Errors
San Francisco Giants 5 10 1
Chicago Cubs 3 8 0
( May 20 2004, 02:43:50 PM PDT ) Permalink

Identifying Blog Index Spam If there's a burst of new links to a URL, it could mean either something very interesting is happening there or perhaps it's blog index spam.

Does the blogosphere need a "report this url as spam" service where any blogs that link to it are immedately suspect? Perhaps a points system... if a blog has legit URLs than the links to spam that have managed to get inserted into the content will should score as strongly. Perhaps this is case for Vote Links as my colleague Kevin Marks will assert. ( May 20 2004, 11:50:08 AM PDT ) Permalink

Blog Index Spammers Must Die! What will they think of next? I wrote a little application to keep an eye on what's under discussion in the blogosphere on a particular topic and next thing ya know, some bozo has posted hundreds of clone blogs to stuff the search index.

Last night at the Technorati Developer's Salon I showed off something I wrote that uses Technorati's API, Who's Talking About The San Francisco Giants, Powered By Technorati. It uses Technorati's search and bloginfo APIs and orders the most recent results by the blog's rank. Lo and behold this morning, there's some bastard who owns the mooseblogs.com domain who has hundreds of aliases pointed to the same blog postings for buying/selling tickets. Among the events mentioned are tickets for the San Francisco Giants, thus killing the usefulness of the search index. The whois specifics for this bastard looks like this:

   10105 W. 126th Terr
   Overland Park, Kansas 66213
   United States

   Registered through: GoDaddy.com
   Domain Name: MOOSEBLOGS.COM
      Created on: 02-Apr-04
      Expires on: 02-Apr-05
      Last Updated on: 04-Apr-04

   Administrative Contact:
      Walls, Tom  twalls@kc.rr.com
      10105 W. 126th Terr
      Overland Park, Kansas 66213
      United States
      9134848289      Fax -- 
   Technical Contact:
      Walls, Tom  twalls@kc.rr.com
      10105 W. 126th Terr
      Overland Park, Kansas 66213
      United States
      9134848289      Fax -- 

   Domain servers in listed order:
So if any kind readers in Overland Park, Kansas would like to pay a visit to 10105 W. 126th Terr and kick the perpetrator's ass, the world would probably be a better place for it. I'll loan you a Barry Bonds bat to help get the job done. ( May 20 2004, 10:58:26 AM PDT ) Permalink

20040519 Wednesday May 19, 2004

Thermonuclear Pitching Randy Johnson throws a perfect game in Atlanta and Jason Schmidt pitches 9 innings of one-hit baseball. Are the planets in an unusual alignment?

It's about time the Giants show some life in their play. Sad that it was still only a one-run game, the offensive anemia long ago crossed the threshold into patheticness. Thank goodness the Dodgers have dropped five in a row; the Giants are only seven games behind them in the standings! Someone tell Alou to get a clue: ditch Dustin Mohr or Deivi Cruz and bring Brian Dallimore back in the line-up! ( May 19 2004, 09:36:40 AM PDT ) Permalink