Thursday, March 31, 2005

Wordpress & SEO tactics

It appears that WordPress has been using spam related methods to work the Google index. Due to the high PR of the WordPress site, hidden articles have been created that relate to topics commonly found in blog comment spam. Using AdWords & pointing the advertisements to these articles causes more hits to the WordPress site which of course makes the site more appealing to companies that might want to advertise on the WordPress site.

As well as that, artcles were provided by Hot Nacho who pay people to write short articles on various subjects. Those articles then appear on high ranking sites such as WordPress and Matt was paid a flat fee for hosting the artcles and add banners.

Apart from the financial gains that are possible, it's not much different to what a lot of us did a while ago by trying to fill up the first page of results on Google for common blog comment spam subjects, such as Viagra. Although we didn't have any financial motive for doing so, it's spam just like what Matt has been doing with WordPress but we didn't use any hidden methods or do it for financial gain. Even if all proceeds would be going to the project, the search engines Google & Yahoo! see what WordPress has been doing as spam and for the momemnt have removed all traces of the site from their indexes.

On the other hand, it's using the power of those search terms to get the project site to show up on the first page for a lot of spam related topics and so removing the spam sites from the first page or top results. That in itself is good, it's basically using the spam related words and a high Google PR, much like the blog related spam aimed to use to higher PR of blogs.

I think what bothers a lot of people is not the method used, but the fact it was not announced. People don't mind any financial gains for the people that make the project happen or for the project itself, if it is announced. All of this was done on the quiet without anything being said. For people that support the project to find out in this manner, is not the best.

Everyone makes mistakes but the key is being able to learn from them. Obviously Google does not like what has happened, so it won't continue but it's the support of the project itself and the WordPress name that could loose out. Bad publicity spreads easily, yet good things take a lot longer to become known.

Ben uses WordPress now, I'll ask him to post about what he thinks about it, especially since he has not posted in a while, but there are reasons for that. The main thing is that others can learn from this and be sure to make public issues which the community should know and not have to find out in a way which causes damage that could have been avoided.

There are varied opinions on the matter, although not a user of WordPress, I think that even announcing what was going on would not correct the fact that the methods used were asking for trouble. For example, if Google refuse to list any WordPress links in the index from now on, that has caused a lot more damage that the increased hits and advertising revenue would have generated for the project. Even so, it's not a worthy case to all jump on Matt. Think about all the good work that has been done, people should be thanking him.

Post ID: 711, posted by jase at 11:36 PM
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

PSP - The ultimate portable console

I've ordered a PSP via Lik Sang as I didn't want to wait for the UK release, which is not until June. It should be here in a few days and hopefully mine won't have any dead pixels on the screen, it seems a lot of people are reporting issues, but not all units are affected. Apart from the display issues, most people appear to love the PSP. There have already been some details released to gain access to a built in browser, but I'm sure that Sony will release updates that will allow for this and other functionality quite soon.

Check out some videos of some of the games already available, the quality is really good, especially because of the new Sony X-Black TFT screen technology. My new laptop has one of these screens and the clarity is amazing, it's just that the PSP screens have been having issues but hopefully they will be sorted out soon if not already. Due to the the facility of live tracking, I can see that my package is on the way so I should get it within the next few days, tomorrow hopefully.

There have already been a number of games released with support for playing games over the Internet, with plenty more that will follow in the months to come.

Post ID: 710, posted by jase at 01:59 PM
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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Google acquires Urchin Software

Google has acquired Urchin Software for an fee which has not been disclosed. The idea itself is interesting, Google states it wants to be able to provide better statistical reporting for customers, amongst other things. Obviously for AdSense and AdWords publishers and customers respectively, they'll see some improvements.

Post ID: 709, posted by jase at 11:21 PM
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Monday, March 28, 2005

Want a small Linux box?

I've seen some great devices on sites such as Linux Devices before, including systems running Linux that are built as very small units. Of course, as time progresses, so does technoogy and there are a number of new units that can now be purchased as ready built systems or as kits. They are getting smaller, this embedded Linux system could come in handy to sniff data for example. It's called Picotux and it said to be the smallest unit that is currently available. It features an ARM7 CPU clocked at 55 megahertz, running uClinux kernel 2.4.27 & Busybox 1.0. It has support for 10/100 megabit half/full duplex as well as a serial port.

There are other alternatives that I have seen, such as the Gunstix range. Also check out their Gumstix cluster project. I've wanted something like this for a while, so I'll probably invest in one of these to play with shortly.

Post ID: 708, posted by jase at 10:29 PM
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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Public battery charging

I have had the odd time where I have been low on battery power on my mobile (cell) phone and have been on my way to meet someone or their phone battery has died, which made it a right pain trying to meet up.

In Ibiza, they have public mobile phone battery charging points that have been provided by Orange, free of charge. It would be good to see something like that implemented on a wider scale, even a small charge for using the service would be fine, as long as it provides just enough power until later. I don't have a copy of my numbers with me when I am out and about apart from stored in my phone, so if the battery dies and I need access to the numbers it causes a problem & although mine does not die very often, when it does it's always at the worst times.

Post ID: 707, posted by jase at 11:39 PM
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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Longhorn 2005 , forward we go!

SuperSite for Windows is reporting on a roadmap schedule for Longhorn. Reading the article, it seems that Longhorn will provide a vast number of improvments over XP & 2000. Features such as better account administration, reduced number of reboots after applying updates (around 70% less) and faster application loading times are all said to be included with Longhorn.

The list contains a lot of other things which will be good to see, such as inclusion of the tool by Microsoft to detect & clean spyware, WinFS, EFS and lots more. Check out Paul Thurrott's article on his Windows SuperSite for all the details. It looks like a lot is to look forward to, as far as Windows goes anyway, with the release of Longhorn.

Post ID: 706, posted by jase at 04:09 PM
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Friday, March 25, 2005

Happy Easter!

A lot of people will be having a long weekend this weekend, so whatever you are doing, enjoy it. If I had of sorted it out earlier, I'd have done to Miami for the Winter Music Conference this week and Ultra Music Festival this weekend, but being my usual last minute self, I didn't arrange it and flights were limited. I'll just have to listen to the BBC Radio 1 coverage and look forward to next year. I don't think the weather will be as nice over here in the UK though!

Post ID: 705, posted by jase at 09:45 PM
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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Luminocity OpenGL videos

If you'd like to see what the next generation of X Windows rendering will probably be like, check out some of the videos from Seth Nickell. They remind my of Project Looking Glass a little, which is also nice eye candy. Combining the best of both would see a really great desktop develop. A desktop that looks better, really helps to attract more people that are not anything but a Windows user, over to the other side and of course they then discover a whole lot more is possible.

Post ID: 704, posted by jase at 11:58 PM
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Yahoo! Mail storage

Yahoo! is going to increase the amount of storage space available on free Yahoo! Mail accounts. At the moment the limit is 250MB but the new storage limit will be 1GB, which will put it level with Gmail. I'm wondering if Hotmail will be the next to upgrade again, since we all know they follow each other like a flock of sheep.

Most people I know have an account from all three providers and will still probably use all three for various things regardless of the features or space provided per account. Really, out of all three, there is no winner from the point of winning most users over totally as I'd say it'll be a small minority that use one service exclusively.

More storage space can only be a good thing. These limits will mean that seperate storage accounts that are available, will no longer be needed, especially if the interfaces that services such as I-Drive provide are available via Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo Mail! for free or a small charge. There are lots of free online storage providers too, but unless backed by a big company usually they don't last very long as a free service, as with most free online services.

Post ID: 701, posted by jase at 11:19 PM
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The UK is the most hacked country!

That might be true, but compromised Windows systems on ADSL or cable Internet links, don't really constitute systems that have been compromised and possibly had sites that they host defaced in the generally accepted sense. You might remember the days of the Attrition defacement mirror or one of the currently updated alternatives. The systems that hosted all of those sites were defaced and more often than not, security was circumvented by a human.

Reports such as this one, fail to even consider that bots running on Windows systems are probably the result of a worm or trojan for example rather than a human actually attacking a system individually. The worm attacks are mostly automated in all respects.

To attribute the status of most hacked country in that sense as we know it, due to a vast number of bots running on Windows systems belonging to computers owned by people who really don't have a clue how to use them, let alone computer security is laughable.

It's not a true representation of the amount of systems that have been compromised, simply because to arrive at a reasonable result all angles would have to be covered and taking results gathered statistics of bot networks is certainly not enough to justify the title being given to the UK or indeed any other country.

Post ID: 700, posted by jase at 11:20 PM
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Monday, March 21, 2005

e-Scrabble

e-Scrabble has received a cease and desist order from Hasbro, who created this game. I'm sure it's because the Scrabble name has been used. If the name is changed, will they still be intersted in trying to close the site down?

The amount of users is high so it would be sad for them to see the site go, but looking at the letter it seems Hasbo are referring to use of the name and board game rules. I'd simply change the name and keep the rules, that would probably be the end of it. Hasbro will be annoying a lot of Scrabble users by causing the site to be shut down. If the domain is handed over they would probably start a service that you have to pay for, the money aspect is taking over yet again.

It's fair enough that the name and such belongs to Hasbo but by shutting this site down they are giving a red light to players of Scrabble who may in turn decide to no longer purchase any games from Hasbo and with the amount of users that e-Scrabble has, if they all decided to stop buying Hasbo games, Hasbo would wish they had of provided support for it rather than issuing cease and desist orders.

Maybe Hasbo should take notice of other recent purchases of web based services and buy e-Scrabble, it's popular and Hasbo would get respect for doing so as well as financial gains, depending on how they moved things forward. Taking the approach they have, all parties will loose out.

Post ID: 699, posted by jase at 11:10 PM
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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Yahoo! is buying Flickr

Yahoo! is buying Flickr as being reported. The announcement contains quite a lot of information and answers a number of questions that people nay have. Primarily, Flickr will remain as it is, but will have the funding behind it to take the deveopment cycle to the next level.

Yahoo will gain features in other areas from Flickr and you'll be able to login to Flickr using an existing Yahoo account for example. Check out the announcement for further information.

Post ID: 698, posted by jase at 10:49 PM
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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Yahoo! 360

Yahoo! has recently made some details available about the up and coming Yahoo! 360 service. I've signed up to get an account as soon as the public beta goes live, you can do the same if you wish. It's not so much going to be like Friendster or Orkut in the social networking aspect, but more about providing people you really know with information. Sharing pictures, music & spreading personal news are just some of the things which this service can be used for.

See what Yahoo! has to say about it here and register your interest.

Post ID: 697, posted by jase at 11:53 PM
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Friday, March 18, 2005

Blu-Ray, HV-DVD or HVD?

The battle of the next generation of storage to replace DVD has been going on for some time now but as consumers we don't appear to see any progress being made. It's really all about who is backing what and because the film companies have such a big impact, it may well not be the best of the three that makes it for technical advantages but rather because it has the most support for what the industry wants, copy protection for example.

If we're talking about storage, Optware HVD and then Blu-Ray would be my first and second choices. The amount of storage available on all three technologies beat the current state of what the DVD can offer, the data transfer rates are also better. A lot of the big names like Sony, Panasonic and Pioneer are all backing Blu-Ray but most of the big names in the film industry are showing more interest for HV-DVD because it offers AACS (Advanced Access Content System) protection.

Blu-Ray does not currenly offer any protection so although it allows for a lot more storage, it also does not offer any protection at the moment. If Blu-Ray can incorporate AACS or another protection that proves to work better than CSS the war will probably be won a lot more easily. Without any protection it looks like Blu-Ray will not be given the chance to change the way we think and use storage on cheap media.

HVD does not offer any protection at present either, but I'm sure this will change as the development program progresses. What consumers want is for the next technology to be decided quickly, so products start to hit the market earlier. At the moment, people are having to wait because the industries can't make their minds up.

I'm sure all the comsumers would go for storage over protection so right now most would choose Blu-Ray or Optware HVD. Of course, in the eyes of the film and software industry for example, they also care a lot about a decent protection system. What they are forgetting is, eventually it will be broken anyway and although maybe not as quickly as with DVD CSS, it will happen and all that money that will have been invested in creating the protection will have been wasted.

Check out this Softpedia article and decide on which you would like to see as the most used replacement for DVD.

Post ID: 696, posted by jase at 10:25 AM
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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Fuel cell motorbike

If you are a fan of motorbikes, you'll probably be interested in the new fuel cell based bike called ENV (Emissions Neutral Vehicle) that has been designed by Intelligent Energy. Apart from having virtually no emissions, the bike is silent. No engine noise can be heard, which I think for most people interested in bikes is like what enjoyment no sound from the engine of a car would give to someone who likes cars.

In terms of technology, it's quite an achievement, looking at the specifications you'll find that it can acheive speeds of 50 miles per hour but maybe more with modifications and run for at least 100 miles without needing the cells to be recharged or swapped. It also looks quite nice, not very bulky and probably a lot lighter than a normal motorbike. Read the Rubber Magazine article for more information.

Post ID: 695, posted by jase at 11:41 PM
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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

AdSense

Google has updated the AdSense program to allow for payments to publishers to now be made via electronic funds transfer and also on a monthly basis. I was wondering when this would be an option and now it is, I'm sure it will be welcomed!

You can of course choose to hold your payments until a later date but if you require a monthly payment that is now an option. You can still choose to receive a cheque and have it sent by secure courier delivery but istant transfer is much better for most people.

Post ID: 694, posted by jase at 09:29 AM
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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Gmail goes public, partially!

Google has started to offer Gmail accounts to users of Google. I've not seen the link appear myself yet, but others have already. I have got 50 invites to give out again at the moment, but I don't think these will be of use for that much longer unless Google decides to give out accounts via Google for a while.

Check out this blog post for more information and an image of what the page looks like.

Post ID: 693, posted by jase at 11:30 PM
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Monday, March 14, 2005

Yahoo! to release an AdSense type program

It's being reported that Yahoo! is about to release its own version of the popular AdSense program from Google. Finally a little more competition it seems is about to appear on the market. There is already Overture, but AdSense is the only program which allows individual publishers to promote other sites via their own sites very easily.

Next I'm sure we will see MSN come up with something, as we all know these things always follow the "sheep" methodology. One does it so they all do, only this time round it has taken a little longer for the others to catch up, but it's not really a bag thing as it has happened eventually and soon people will have more choice.

Post ID: 692, posted by jase at 11:20 PM
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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Trying to order food via the phone

I've been trying to order some food to be delivered. All of the leaflets that I have here must be out of date because most of the ones I have tried don't answer. One place I called I could not understand what the person was saying and another one who answered stated they they are closed on a Sunday and don't do delivery.

Even though I wanted some food, I quickly decided to save the cash and not bother. I then proceeded to ponder over the reason why I didn't bother stopping off at the shops on the way back from work to pick some things up.

It's time to get some supplies in, something which I am used to having back back up at home.

Post ID: 691, posted by jase at 10:24 PM
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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Long night

I've been in bed all day, makes a change lately but I needed it after getting back this morning after 8am. It's all good fun. I'm still waiting on the ADSL pipe to be activated, I'll have to chase that up as it's starting to get really frustrating with the amount of time it takes to browse and download anything.

I'll be able to catch up on a load of stuff then, as at the moment it's just not worth even trying to browse too much!

Post ID: 690, posted by jase at 06:27 PM
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Friday, March 11, 2005

I blame Windows

I think that most people blame Windows when something goes wrong, even when the problem in question has no relation to Microsoft or Windows at all. It's a worthy contender though when something is not working correctly or at all. Someone or something has to take the blame so why not pass the blame?

Although, for all its bad points, Windows sometimes works as it should without problems. One of the keys to running a stable Windows based system is to provide a lot of resources and not install too many applications as doing so will in most cases cause problems as a lot of applications do things we don't know about, unless an application is running which monitors system changes.

That is what I have found anyway. Keep the system clean and a fresh install or restore from a clean Ghost image will not be required as often. It's not the definitive key to Windows harmony, but it's a start.

Post ID: 689, posted by jase at 06:07 PM
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Thursday, March 10, 2005

Everyone is getting ill

There seems to be a lot of bugs going around at the moment, a lot of people I know have come down with various things. I've not had any issues yet but these things spread around easily ans quickly so I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed. Some of it has to do with the weather so reducing the amount of time being spent out in the cold should help.

Post ID: 688, posted by jase at 09:57 PM
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Wednesday, March 9, 2005

OpenSSH 4.0 released

OpenSSH 4.0 and the portable version 4.0p1 have been released today.

Here are the changes since 3.9 as reported in the announcement email, I've just edited and formatted them as when copying from the email they don't display very well.

--

* ssh(1) now allows the optional specification of an address to bind to in port forwarding connections (local, remote and dynamic). Please refer to the documentation for the -L and -R options in the ssh(1) manual page and the LocalForward and RemoteForward options in the ssh_config(5) manpage. (Bugzilla #413)

* To control remote bindings while retaining backwards compatibility, sshd(8)'s GatewayPorts option has been extended. To allow client specified bind addresses for remote (-R) port forwardings, the server must be
configured with "GatewayPorts clientspecified".

* ssh(1) and ssh-keyscan(1) now support hashing of host names and addresses added to known_hosts files, controlled by the ssh(1) HashKnownHosts configuration directive. This option improves user privacy by hiding which hosts have been visited. At present this option is off by default, but may be turned on once it receives sufficient testing to confirm stability.

* Added options for managing keys in known_hosts files to ssh-keygen (1), including the ability to search for hosts by name, delete hosts by name and convert a known_hosts file over to one with hashed names. These are particularly useful for managing known_hosts files with hashed names that are stored in the file.

* Improve account and password expiry support in sshd(8). Ther server will now warn in advance,
for both account and password expiry.

* sshd(8) will now log the source of connections denied by AllowUsers, DenyUsers, AllowGroups and DenyGroups.
See Bugzilla #909.

* Added the AddressFamily option to sshd(8) to allow global control over IPv4/IPv6 usage. See Bugzilla #989.

* Improved sftp(1) client, including fixes for the ``ls'' command and command history and editing support using libedit.

* Improved the handling of bad data in authorized_keys files, eliminating fatal errors on corrupt or very large keys.
See Bugzilla #884.

* Improved connection multiplexing support in ssh(1). Several bugs have been fixed and a new "command mode" has been added to allow the control of a running multiplexing master connection, including checking that it is up,
determining its PID and asking it to exit.

* Have scp(1) and sftp(1) wait for the spawned ssh to exit before they exit themselves. This prevents ssh from being unable to restore terminal modes (not normally a problem on OpenBSD but common with OpenSSH portable on POSIX platforms).
See Bugzilla #950.

* Portable OpenSSH:

- Add *EXPERIMENTAL* BSM audit support for Solaris systems
See Bugzilla #125.

- Enable IPv6 on AIX where possible (see README.platform for details), working around a misfeature of AIX's getnameinfo.
See Bugzilla #835.

- Teach sshd(8) to write failed login records to btmp for unsuccessful login attempts. Currently this is only for password, keyboard-interactive and challenge/response authentication methods and only on Linux and HP-UX.

- sshd(8) now sends output from failing PAM session modules to the user before exiting,
similar to the way /etc/nologin is handled.

- Store credentials from gssapi-with-mic authentication early enough to be available to
PAM session modules when privsep=yes.

--

There are lots of changes and improvements so worth upgrading the current OpenSSH server running on your systems, if you use OpenSSH of course.

Post ID: 687, posted by jase at 04:01 PM
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Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Ebay giving away more free stuff!

Ebay are giving away loads more items starting on the 10th of March 2005 and running through until 21st March 2005. All you have to do to be in with a chance is buy or sell items in the specially selected categories and then enter via the Ebay site and complete a short brain teaser. If you answer the question correctly, your entry might be picked as a winner, winning entries are picked at random on a day to day basis.

Check out the promotion pages for all of the information about the competition and what prizes are available!

Post ID: 686, posted by jase at 02:44 PM
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Monday, March 7, 2005

Proper keyboard or laptop keyboard?

I much prefer using a proper computer keyboard to laptop ones. I'm more used to proper ones, but even so I think that the keys are easier to type on. The Sony ones are nice, but the keys are closer together and sometimes can cause more mistakes to be made when typing at higher speeds.

I also tend to keep touching the touch sensitive pad on the laptop as I am typing because I am used to hitting the space bar mostly with my thumbs, but on a laptop it means I activate the pad so the cursor moves somewhere else which causes my typing to stop.

I might get a USB keyboard to plug as that would solve my issues and save using the laptop keyboard for when using a normal one isn't practical. I've also got a nice mouse to use as I prefer a mouse over a pad when possible.

Post ID: 685, posted by jase at 11:39 AM
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Sunday, March 6, 2005

Cheque from Google

I've just received a cheque from Google, payment for being part of the Adsense program. With the way the exchange rate is at the moment, since it's paid in American dollars, it does not work out as nicely as it could have done when converted to pounds sterling.

The amount came to just over $100 which is from when I joined back in May 2004 until near the end of February 2005. As they say, every little helps. It's good that Google extended the program so that more people can take part.

Post ID: 684, posted by jase at 07:29 PM
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Saturday, March 5, 2005

It must be bad luck!

After the bad luck on Thursday night, there were problems with the plan of events last night out in London too. After changing plans to head to another club for the night or for a while before heading to Turnmills, I wish I had not bothered. It was the Sunday Sport party at 10 Room that I was planned to visit, but after being told it was too full even though we were down on the list, combined with the fact they wanted to also charge people to get in now, I didn't bother going in.

I still could have made it to the Gallery night at Turnmills but instead I had some drinks at some other places and then went back to the house. Some people I knew that actually made it inside, said it was rubbish anyway so I didn't miss out on anything. I'm just annoyed becuase I missed out on a good night at Turnmills. I could have still gone but after the waiting around earlier at 10 Room, I was now freezing and could not be bothered trying to get over to Turnmills, especially since it was late and I didn't know if I would be able to get in as it was near 3am!

I'm not doing anything tonight, I've come back to visit the family. I'll certainly be making up for all the trouble this weekend, next weekend!

Post ID: 683, posted by jase at 09:42 PM
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Friday, March 4, 2005

Last night

I went out in London last night, looking forward to attending a good night at The Big Chill Bar, only to find that it was invite only. Now if only I had of checked, I would have known that. I'll learn from it, normally I ould check but since it's a bar I didn't think it would be a problem. It was a good night anyway, we went to some other bars, but it was still annoying that we had been looking forward to it and had made the effort only to be unable to get in.

Post ID: 682, posted by jase at 01:38 PM
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Thursday, March 3, 2005

Gmail is good but...

I've reported a number of issues that are really annoying, such at messages being filtered to the spam folder that already have rules. It happens quite a lot to some of my messages from certain mailing lists and although I have reported it a number of times nothing has yet been done to fix it. Come on Google, sort it out!

Post ID: 681, posted by jase at 03:06 PM
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Wednesday, March 2, 2005

MT causing high load

Even though I'm running MT v3.14, it seems that mt-comments.cgi is still causing a high load from comment spam attempts even though comments from users that are not registered are not currently enabled. I've been meaning to sort out MT-BL as I've not been able to get it working since upgrading to MT v3 as I'm experiencing a strange error I've not been able to figure out. I'll get it posted on the forum and hopefully get it resolved at which point I can enable the ability for unregistered users to post comments once more.

The load issues may also be sorted out once MT-BL is up and running again. I thought all of the load issues had been resolved, but obviously that is not the case in relation to comment posting and even when non registered user commenting is disabled.

Post ID: 680, posted by jase at 10:37 PM
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Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Yahoo! search API access

Yahoo! has decided to open up access to its search infrastucture to more deveopers which will mean that more people and companies can start building applications that link with Yahoo! and services that it provides. It looks like this is another move aimed in the open source direction, not really open source in this case but in the same same kind of area, by allowing more people the chance to introduce more applications and services that people may want.

More eyes as it were, means more ideas. More ideas, means more problems get solutions & so it continues.

Post ID: 679, posted by jase at 10:42 PM
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