Thursday, November 2, 2006

Valve Media Ltd - The Hub

Yesterday we launched the Valve Media Ltd Hub, which will be the central port of call for the Valve Media selection of sites & services. It has been launched online as part of the CSS Reboot launch schedule, being launched on November 1st. We hope you like the design and hope we can be of service to you. Some of it still needs to be completed, so please keep checking back. Hopefully we'll get some of the other sites online soon as well.

Pop on over and check out what we offer - there's a lot more we're planning on doing and some things which are not listed that we already do (but soon will be) so if you have any questions then get in touch.

Post ID: 782, posted by jase at 01:54 PM
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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Google going on the cheap?

I just went to the Adsense site, but instead of going via I accessed it via Since I had installed IE7 on my XP laptop, it alerted me to the fact that the SSL certificate did not match the URL, firstly by displaying a page asking if I wanted to continue and then by turning the adress bar a kind of pink colour.

Although there is nothing amazing about that, I just found it funny that Google didn't purchase another SSL certificate for the domain or even a wildcard one and use subdomains instead, hence the idea of going on the cheap side. Google is a company afterall and even the big ones like to keep the costs down. A better point is that the more evident security warnings will help reduce the number of issues that the average Windows user will get fooled by, hopefully.

Post ID: 780, posted by jase at 10:45 PM
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Thursday, October 12, 2006


It has once again been a while since my last post, time goes quickly. Anyway, we've all known that with things online moving towards the simple ideas, it has long been thought that the sites that provide things that the masses want will be popular. In the case of YouTube and many others people are saying "Why didn't I think of that?"

Looking back it's easy to ask the question but it's not very productive. I'd spend my time trying to think of the next best thing to attract the attention of a big company so hopefully they'll buy it, but it's not as easy as it sounds else everyone would be doing it.

Good luck if that is what you're also trying to do and well done to the YouTube founders.

Post ID: 779, posted by jase at 01:33 AM
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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Gmail on the SORBS blocking list

I just tried sending a reply back to Vodafone customer services regarding an issue I've got with my online account. I used my Gmail account (of course) only to get the following sent back:

PERM_FAILURE: SMTP Error (state 8): 550 5.7.1 Mail from refused - see

After a quick check, I found that it was a Google assigned IP address. After doing a search of the SORBS database, it was confirmed. It's interesting to note though that the PTR record has changed from what was listed at the time of the SORBS database entry to but that would not avoid the block, since it is IP based. The change must have been for another reason.

Record Created: Sat Apr 22 04:30:03 2006 GMT
Record Updated: Sat Apr 22 04:30:03 2006 GMT
Additional Information: Received: from ( []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 670B611439 for <[email]>; Sat, 22 Apr 2006 13:15:05 +1000 (EST)
Currently active and flagged to be published in DNS
If you wish to request a delisting please do so through the Support System.

I noticed that Sun is one of the companies involved in SORBS, so I tried sending an email from Gmail to my Sun address but it went through okay, strange. Maybe Sun is part of it, but not actually using it. Anyway, it seems that people who are using SORBS can't currently receive mail from Gmail users.

The funny thing is that Google is part of SORBS too - so part of it, but blocked by it! If Google were using SORBS, then it would mean that Gmail users would probably be unable to send email to other Gmail users unless Google had something in place to always allow it, regardless of any blocking list or system. Maybe Google are using it, but I don't think they currently are.

Aftering seeing the current block myself and typing this post, I did a quick Google search and found discussion about this issue. It seems that Spamcop have also blocked Gmail, but at present the IP in question is not in the database. The blocks are due to Gmail not including the injecting user IP in the headers, which in one respect gives an element of privacy but something that nobody else really does and it also allowed spammers to hide.

I guess I won't be emailing Vodafone for a while, not from Gmail anyway. I wonder what other companies are using SORBS, that I won't be able to contact using Gmail? This is an example of when free email isn't always the best option but I'm sure it will be sorted out soon.

Post ID: 778, posted by jase at 12:08 PM
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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Google doesn't have it all

Although a lot of the time Google is great for finding what I am looking for, sometimes it does not return any related results, even for common subjects. When this happens it is annoying, as although there are other search engines which can be used, a lot of people, including myself only ever use Google these days. At this point in time, the question to be asked is:

When Google does not have the answer, what do you do?

Post ID: 775, posted by jase at 02:07 PM
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Saturday, May 21, 2005


If you fancy building something interesting, StompBox is something that is a good idea. There are commercial products on the market, but building one yourself can be a lot more fun.

The StompBox is a WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network)access point & router. If you like working on projects to build things, then this will more than likely be of interest. Since a flash image is provided to get the system to boot, the problems that were encountered getting that working have already been resolved.

All you would need is a sticker on your car or other form of transport stating that your vehicle is a wireless access point. The price tag associated with this project is quite low as well so worth giving it a go. I might get around to it at some point!

Post ID: 765, posted by jase at 10:26 AM
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Gumball 3000 tracking via the Internet

The Gumball drivers can be tracked online using a service which maps the location of each car via a GPS receiver in each car along with some software that either runs on a mobile phone or PDA.

It's a handy system which is probably in use by courier companies for example but having it in use on the Gumball is good. Some drivers have switched it off because there are reports that various police forces are using it to help them catch drivers going over the local speed limits in various countries.

Post ID: 761, posted by jase at 10:40 PM
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Sunday, May 8, 2005

Flickr and AdSense

Ben pointed out to me recently that Flickr is still using AdSense on the site pages, which I found amusing. I wonder how long it'll be before they are removed, if at all? Maybe Overture could be used instead. Time will tell.

Post ID: 752, posted by jase at 09:32 PM
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Monday, April 25, 2005


I downloaded and installed Firefox on my desk computer at work today, then proceeded to get a number of extensions. Then I noticed that it crashes every now and again. I'm not sure what is causing it, but first things first, I'll remove or disable the extensions one by one and see if that eliminates the problem. If so, I can then avoid any problem plugins and see if anyone else is having any problems, as it could be a conflict with certain ones I am using.

I've been meaning to give Firefox a proper go for a while but had not got to that task yet, with the news that there may be no support for IE7 on Windows 2000, I'm sure a lot of other people will swap to an alternative browser than IE at some point. Being able to manage bookmarks and having the option of sharing them via a central file stored on a server is a good advantage, as well as being able to browse with tabs.

These features have existed in Firefox for a long time and as we all know IE is lacking in a lot of functionality in comparison with Firefox and a number of other popular browsers such as Opera.

I use Furl and at the moment, but I'll be looking to using them more to store and manage my bookmarks in combination with browser plugins to allow easy access and management from virtually any browser.

We're seeing a lot more services being used over the web which make access to information we want available from any Internet connected computer, by accessing data stored on servers and eradicating the need to be locked down to an individual computer.

Post ID: 739, posted by jase at 12:20 PM
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Thursday, April 21, 2005


I'm still having to use GPRS at the moment because I can't get a 3G signal where I am currently staying and also there is no date for the ADSL being activated. I'm probably going to be moving to another place in the next few months, so I'll be able to sort things out there. For the moment I'll just have to deal with this really slow GPRS connection when I am not at work.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

UK rolls out WiMax on trains

Soon using GPRS or 3G connections on trains will be a thing of the past. On the train, users can now connect via standard 802.11b Wi-Fi and using onboard equipment, a conversion to 802.16d is made. The system does not need to wait until 802.16e is available, so the implementation can be started earlier. Currently the service is free to use but from June T-Mobile will start charging users. I'm sure a lot of people will use this service as it'll mean real broadband speeds are available on trains instead of limited more by using 3G and GPRS.

As all of the base stations along the track are not yet in place, the system switches users over to GPRS when there is no Wi-Fi signal, of course the user may notice the slower speeds but at least the conection will be maintained. I'm sure it won't be long before we'll be playing online games on our PSP consoles over Wi-Fi.

Post ID: 733, posted by jase at 10:59 PM
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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Google video upload service launched

After the recent announcements regarding a new Google service that allows users to upload videos, it's now available. You can use your existing Google account to login. If you have lots of video and want another distribution platform, then this service could be ideal.

People will be able to search for material and your video matches will show and since a description and other information can be provided you can increase the chances of people viewing your material. Of course, any DMCA violations will be investigated so it's not worth uploading material that you do not have permission to distribute.

It'll be a really good tool for people making videos to share their material via Google which is used by so many people. The fact people can charge others to download their material, is an interesting feature. What will be next, audio uploads?

Post ID: 732, posted by jase at 10:39 AM
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Monday, April 11, 2005

Mapping Google News

BuzzTracker has been busy mapping Google News for quite some time now. If you're interested in certain news topic, you can easily find a lot of different news stories in relation to that topic or search via a certain geographic area. It's a tool which I'm sure will be used quite a lot, give it a try.

Post ID: 724, posted by jase at 11:35 PM
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Saturday, April 9, 2005

More PSP stuff

In what is the first of a kind, a PSP portal has been setup to allow you to easily browse to various sites on your PSP. You can access the Internet via the browser in Wipeout Pure and by changing some DNS information you can visit any site.

If you want to read a comic on your PSP you can also do that already. There will be a lot more on the way, no doubt.

Post ID: 722, posted by jase at 04:46 PM
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Friday, April 8, 2005

Google Q&A service

Google has launched a new feature which will save us time when looking for answers. Certain queries will now produce the exact information you require as part of the search results. The link from which the information was gathered is also displayed so the site will get some publicity from that.

I've tried it and it did not appear to work for the examples listed in the article I read or for a number of other search criteria that I tried. It's in the early stages of development implementation, so maybe it's not working at the moment but when it starts helping out with more answers to questions, it'll be great.

Post ID: 721, posted by jase at 12:20 PM
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Monday, April 4, 2005


Amaztype is pretty smart for searching for books. At the moment only the main Amazon site is supported but it's going to expand. It allows you to search for books and not only are the covers displayed, they are displayed taking the form of the letters of your provided search criteria, mine was Linux.

Details are provided on each book and you can then be taken to the appropriate Amazon listing if required. It provides a new look to searching Amazon and keeps things nice and simple as well as providing just the information you want.

Post ID: 717, posted by jase at 01:52 PM
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Saturday, April 2, 2005

Gmail storage is still growing

Gmail has increased the amount of space available to accounts to over 2GB and although the increase rate has slowed down, it's still going. I'm sure we'll see increased space being provided by other providers shortly if previous examples are followed.

I'm more than happy with 1GB so anything else is a bonus. If the size of attachments are increased on Gmail people will use it to store a lot more files.

Post ID: 715, posted by jase at 11:40 PM
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Friday, April 1, 2005

Gmail 1st birthday, more space for every account!

If you visit the Gmail page today you'll see the counter gradually going up and up. Each account will have 2GB by the end of today and with plans for this to increase even more in due course, the other providers have got something to think about. It's the Gmail 1st birthday, so Gmail are dishing out more space as a present.

You may have also noticed Google Gulp. An interesting read, but of course in case you have not yet been informed, it's the 1st of April which means it's the biggest day for pranks and jokes of the year so Google Gulp is probably a joke, but we said that about Gmail. Maybe Google are expanding and taking on the drinks industry. Who knows, you could be asking for a pint of Google in no time!

Post ID: 714, posted by jase at 11:57 AM
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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 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 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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Wednesday, March 16, 2005


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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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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Monday, February 28, 2005

Very slow

I'm not able to do a lot on the Internet at night at the moment as I am currently waiting for the ADSL to be activated down at the house I'm staying at. Having a proper connection is one of the things that I certainly miss about being back at my proper house.

At the moment I'm only really using that connection at the weekend when I go back up there. As soon as I get this other connection enabled it'll make my life a lot easier as at the moment I only have a decent connection when at work during the day. It proves the point you certainly miss things when they are not available.

Post ID: 678, posted by jase at 10:29 PM
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Friday, February 25, 2005

Furl & Filangy

I've been looking for something like these for quite a while. Well, not looking, but thinking I would like an easier way to manage my bookmarks that is web based and available from any location with Internet access. I use to manage my links on my blog which allows me to easily make the links available to others. I've not yet used Filangy as it is invite only so if anyone has a spare invite, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

I've had a little play with Furl and I like what that has to offer. I'll probably import all of my browser links over to Furl and Filangy and see which works the best for me. With Furl you can share links, keep them private and also search your links. Being able to access the links from any Internet connected computer is one of the major advantages over having only one copy of any saved links on a local computer.

It's looking like web based management of various types of data is becoming more and more popular as people want unrestricted access to their data. The question is, what will be the next big thing in online data managment and availability?

It's all about networking and having access to your information when you want it. Not so much about distributing the information itself, but more of a focus on providing a wider area of access to that information.

Post ID: 675, posted by jase at 10:51 AM
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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

4Mbps ADSL is coming shortly

We'll be getting a nice 4Mbps ADSL connection activated at this house I'm currently staying at during the week, which is good news. It may take around a month to be activated though as Bulldog will have to install their equipment in the exchange, as part of the LLU project.

It will be worth waiting for, at double the amount of bandwidth of my ADSL connection at my family house and at a fraction of the cost it is a really great deal. Bulldog is by Cable & Wireless and as I've spoken to someone at work who has Bulldog broadband and they like it, there will hopefully be nothing bad for me to say about the service.

It's going to be a long wait though, I'll keep chasing them to see if things can be moved along a little quicker.

Post ID: 674, posted by jase at 11:08 PM
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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Smile is rubbish

Smile is an Internet only bank. To be honest, they make me want to do anything but smile. I opened the account about 5 or 6 months ago, as at the time I was considering getting a loan. I've sorted all of that out now and I found better deals from my existing Internet based bank, Cahoot and also another online only one, Egg.

I didn't bother getting the loan from Smile, but I did open a current account. Now usually I don't bother reading the terms and conditions for current accounts as there is nothing that you really need to look out for. Or so I thought. I've just received a letter from them saying as agreed by accepting the terms and conditions, I need to be paying in over £1,000 a month.

At first I thought I had read it incorrectly so I read it again. I read it right the first time. I have never known this be a condition of opening an account and it seems very silly. It's basically to get people to use their Smile account and probably use it as their main account.

I'll be sending them a message saying I'll be closing the account, because I don't want to be paying in that much money a month when I have other accounts with other banks that have much better better online banking sites, quite frankly the Smile one is pretty rubbish.

Since when did any bank have such a childish condition as part of their current account terms?

So, if you're in the UK and get a new account, be sure to aviod Smile as they certainly won't be making you smile by sending you pointless letters. What about people that don't earn £1,000 a month after tax and national insurance has been paid? Those people won't be able to pay in that much and they would have to call Smile to make them aware of the fact.

The amount of accounts that are available these days, banks should be trying to keep customers not push them away with stupid conditions. It makes me wonder what else Smile have in their terms and conditions.

Maybe I should have read them, I usually would, but not when opening a current account. There is not normally anything this unreasonable in them. To say it for the last time - Smile is silly, avoid opening any sort of account with them, unless you want to and can afford to meet their demands.

I'll be shortly closing my account with them, but I've not got any reason to be sad about it.

Post ID: 669, posted by jase at 11:45 PM
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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Cable or ADSL?

It seems that the house that I'm staying in is covered by Telewest which means that digital cable, telephone line and cable Internet is available. The BT line has already been ordered, as has Sky so those will be kept as they are for a year at least, which is the length of the contract.

The Internet decision is still open, the BT line can only get a 2 megabit feed at the moment, which is shame since Bulldog are offering 4Mbps for a very good price but only for a limited time.

We can get 4Mbps via Telewest cable, for slightly more a month than the Bulldog offer but it's better than paying nearly the same price for 2Mbps ADSL from BT or another provider. I think cable will be the one we go for, maybe not the 4Mbps though, I'm not paying so I'll just advise that 4Mbps would be nice but not required.

I'd try out the 4Mbps cable back at home, but some of the things that I have with my ADSL are not available, so right now I would make savings on the price and also get a faster connection but since BT have announced the planned upgrades to allow for higher ADSL speeds and more bandwidth on the upstream, I'd be best to wait!

Normally, I'd choose ADSL but for the house I'm currently staying at down here, I'll suggest the cable Internet.

Post ID: 666, posted by jase at 10:59 PM
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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Good old BT

BT originally stated that it would take around four weeks to get the telephone line installed, which meant that we'd have to wait at least that long before being able to get an ADSL Internet pipe activated. The good news is that BT state they will be able to install the line next week, so we'll get the ADSL sorted out a lot sooner. At the moment I'm using my GPRS/3G connection to get online at the house, mostly GPRS though as the 3G signal is not very strong.

I'll be going home on Friday, so will be back to my usual 2Mbps ADSL. Not sure what connection will be installed at this house but anything will do, it may well be 4Mbps which would be nice. BT have announced the plans for faster ADSL speeds with the new technology, stating that 8Mbps will be national and 18Mbps possible which would mean more bandwidth would be available for upstream data too, although this might be limited due to the possibility of companies using it instead of SDSL.

Having the phone line put in will mean the Sky Digital can be activated, as a line is required initially to be able to use it, as part of the contract. I'm going to be cancelling my Sky Digital subscription at home since I am not there enough now and I don't watch much TV anyway so I've never really watched it. We've got digital cable there as well, so it makes no difference.

Post ID: 659, posted by jase at 07:05 PM
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Sunday, February 6, 2005

Trackback spam

They never stop do they. I've noticed some trackback spam has been left recently, as currently this is not blocked by MT. As soon as fix MT-BL this problem will also be resolved but I'vde not got around to that yet, I will get to it shortly along with a number of other things that I have been meaning to sort out.

Time to head back down south!

Post ID: 656, posted by jase at 09:18 PM
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Saturday, February 5, 2005

Bloglines has been acquired by Ask Jeeves

This could be interesting for both projects, Bloglines has a number of good features but with the financial backing and more people from Ask Jeeves it can not be developed further and integrated with the Ask Jeeves search engine. It can only be a good thing for both parties, we'll see how it goes.

Friday, February 4, 2005

Want a Gmail invite?

I did have 4 Gmail invites left yesterday, but today Gmail has changed and you can now invite people more easily. I've also now got a total of 50 Gmail invites. So, if you would like one, leave a comment. At the moment, you'll have to be registered with TypeKey to leave comments so if you don't have a TypeKey account then go and create one.

I'll be sorting out the problem I've been having with MT-Blacklist shortly so that comments can still be left without having to authenticate via TypeKey. Since the blacklist is not working, the spam problem needed to be addressed as I was having to clear out loads of spam from the moderation queue.

Post ID: 653, posted by jase at 12:48 PM
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Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Internet is broken

It is for me anyway or has been over the past few days. A number of problems with my ISP have meant that my connectivity has been up and down. Rather annoying but it does not happen very often, even so since my account is a business one, I may well claim some discount for the problems I have had.

In these cases when there are major problems, another connection always comes in handy. Looking at ADSL Guide there are a lot of people worse off than I am!

Post ID: 647, posted by jase at 11:53 PM
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Wednesday, January 26, 2005


I've been after a few new games on Ebay but I keep missing out on the items because I keep forgetting about the auctions. I'll notice there is only an hour to go and keep thinking about it but then forget in the last 10 minutes or so and loose out.

I've done it a number of times in the past few days and it's really annoying. I only buy new items, things like sealed Xbox games as they can be obtained for a lot cheaper than in the shops, it's just annoying when I forget to put last minute bids in and loose the auction.

Post ID: 644, posted by jase at 11:15 PM
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Thursday, January 20, 2005

Google helps to stop comment spam

I'm sure you have heard, but Google are at it again. This time they are helping with the comment spam problem. By adding a new tag to links that users post on blog comments Google will know not to follow the links. Of course if you implement this then all links posted by users will be affected as far as the PR issue goes but the main reason for posting a link under normal circumstances would be to make the link available to other people, which isn't affected.

The updates are easily made to most web based applications that allow users to post comments or links. With this change being made, we'll have to see how it will affect the amounts of comment spam being posted and also what impact it will have on trackback based spam.

Will you be making this change on user comments / trackbacks?

Since my spam problem is resolved, in my case I believe if I made the change it would have an impact on spam PR that is never posted to the live pages and will also affect legitimate comment links. I'd see no loss towards the spam that doesn't make it through anyway and all other user links would loose out. It may well stop the amount of attempted comment spam messages, but they don't have any impact on resources that I notice. I'm undecided on making this change at the moment.

Post ID: 638, posted by jase at 11:01 PM
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Sunday, January 16, 2005

That annoying comment spam

I've disabled the ability for comments to be posted without being registered and logged in via TypeKey for the moment. I've not managed to figure out the problem I'm having with MT-BL and I can't find anyone else that is having the same issue. The amount of comment spam that is being posted and sitting in the moderation queue is quite high and it's just a waste of time having to keep removing it. I'm getting around 100-200 per day at the moment, all of which would normally be blocked by MT-BL.

Once the blacklist is back up and running I will switch the ability to post without being registered back on, although comments from users not authenticated via TypeKey will still be moderated. Also, the issue where the comments boxes were not always visible without selecting the area with a mouse has also been fixed.

Post ID: 634, posted by jase at 10:02 PM
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Google Zeitgeist

Google has just released the end of year report, Google Zeitgeist, which details information such as the most popular search terms for the year. Some of the results are quite interesting. You can get data relating to which entity of Google was used based on the Google domain, the United Kingdom for example. There is also a weekly report available.

Post ID: 633, posted by jase at 09:43 PM
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Saturday, January 15, 2005

LiveJournal is down

LiveJournal is currently down due to a massive power failure at Internap. Power has been restored but at present data is being integrity checked. Updates on the situation can be found here.

It just goes to show that even when you have a number of redundant methods of power, UPS should still be used.

Post ID: 632, posted by jase at 12:17 PM
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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Shopping via WordPress

Here's a new take on the WordPress system, an Origami site is being powered by it. That's right, the shopping cart & indeed the entire site is powered by WordPress. Now that is something new, but it goes to show the kinds of things that are possible with WordPress if you really want them to be. The site is a side project of Jennifer who runs Scripty Goddess.

Post ID: 629, posted by jase at 11:51 PM
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Friday, January 7, 2005

Isn't it annoying when...

You sign up for something that requires email verification, which just about covers every online based service these days, but the email never arrives. I've got this problem at the moment with Gravatar. I've tried a number of times, I guess it'll have to wait. It's not anything to do with my email, so must be a problem their end. These problems can never happen at the right time because there isn't one, I'll have to report the issue so it can be addressed.

I also had a problem with TypeKey in that the account I registered when it was first launched appeared to have been taken by someone else after I signed up and I did have the email confirmation to confirm the account was setup for me and I followed the link in the email to confirm my email address.

That was quite strange and after sending support requests about it I never got a reply so ended up creating another account which wasn't a problem but the circumstances of what happened with my first one are currently unknown to me, maybe I'll find out at some point.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

The Google PR of some sites has reduced

Ben asked me earlier if it was just him or had the PR of his blog gone down. I checked and it has, I'm not sure why. Mine is still at five. It might be due to the pool of sites that Google is indexing has increased a lot and as such the PR has been spread out more.

The funny thing is that even some of the Google country based domains such as are not reporting the maximum PR of 10 which is what they normally show as, which is interesting.

Post ID: 621, posted by jase at 10:55 PM
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Six Apart to buy LiveJournal

Ben has informed us ealier today about a post he saw which states that Six Apart are about to buy LiveJournal. Ben has a few interesting ideas as to the intentions of this takeover, due to the mostly free nature of the LiveJournal services and the more commercial side that Six Apart has been taking Movable Type and their other creations such as TypePad.

Of course there is a large potential gain with regard to the number of new users that will be acquired by Six Apart if the plan goes ahead. We'll have to wait and see, since another party might win the bid instead or it might all be made up. Let us wait for official confirmation.

Post ID: 620, posted by jase at 10:29 PM
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Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Comment spam sitting in the queue

It just goes to show how much spam really does get submitted when the blacklist plugin that is in place is not working. I've not yet fixed the issue that was introduced as part of the recent upgrade that I did and the amount of spam that has been coming though is quite high.

It'll all get wiped out once I get the plugin going again and of course, it can sit in the queue for ages as it'll never make it to the live pages, the only problem is that some real comments might not be approved for a while.

There is an easy way around that, use TypeKey to comment!

Post ID: 618, posted by jase at 11:10 PM
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Monday, January 3, 2005

Ben is back

Ben has launched his new look blog, which is now also powered by WordPress instead of Movable Type.
There are a number of other changes and additions too. It has been a long time coming but he has finally sorted it although there are still some things he's working on. The spam problem will be under control now, due to the code verification he's put in place and also via the use of a MTBL port to WordPress.

Well done to Ben!

Sunday, January 2, 2005

Anti-Santy worm spreading around

There seems to be a new work spreading about that is searching for sites still running vulnerable phpBB versions and then once found it attacks them via the highlight bug in viewtopic.php, it then patches the system to stop any of the other worms from compromising the system and and posts a message to a file called secure.php which contains the text:

"viewtopic.php secured by Anti-Santy-Worm V4 your site is a bit safer, but upgrade to >= 2.0.11"

I'm not sure if the patch that is applied actually works and if it can be trusted since I've not seen the changes made for myself and have not found anyone else that has confirmed it yet.

There has been reports of potential DOS caused by repeated requests made by this worm, so it's not all good.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Pointless comment spam

Over the past few days, I along with a number of other people are seeing a lot of pointless spam being posted to our blogs. It's obviously an automated job, but the reasons behind it are not clear.

Since the URL that is included with each comment is random, along with the name and email address, there does not seem much point in the spam. Really, I'd class it as complete junk.

Apart from the name used always having two numbers at the end of it there appears to be no other pattern which is making it difficult to block, under my current setup. I'm sure there is a regular expression that can be used to resolve this issue though, taking advantage of the one pattern that does seem clear.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Google helps stop Santy

Google has helped to stop Santy searching for vulnerable phpBB installs by blocking search requests that the worm is making. There are a number of variants now that are not just targeting phpBB but rather any PHP script, after some other issues have been found which could have an affect on quite a number of PHP based applications.

Running a search on the beta MSN search engine yields plenty of results which proves that the impact of Santy has been widespead. Due to the other issues that have been discovered it seems that upgrading to phpBB 2.0.11 and PHP 4.3.10 does not make you totally safe.

The source code to the original proof of concept phpBB exploit as well as the source to the Santy worm are available which will probably allow for the development of more variants that are exploiting similar vulnerabilities in other PHP based scripts.

Post ID: 610, posted by jase at 11:53 PM
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Saturday, December 25, 2004

More Gmail invites

A present from Google this Christmas must be more Gmail invites. I've got another five to give away. The first five people to leave their details in a comment on this post get one each.

If you've already got an account, leave them for people who do not have one, it is Christmas so don't be greedy. Although, there are plenty of places to pick up an invite these days.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ebay Treasure Hunt search tactics

I thought about this before, but it seems that people are running blank searches on Ebay UK to help them find new listings, which helpds find the prizes without any work. I'm sure Ebay will fix this but is it classed as cheating?

I would say no, but others would not agree. Working a system to your advantage when everybody can do the same, is not really cheating but it depends how you look at it. Today PS2 consoles are up for grabs, I've already got one so I'll not bother searching.

Post ID: 598, posted by jase at 02:45 PM
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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

What a nice ring

The winner of the prize today will be happy, it's worth a lot of money. It's a shame there is only one available though. Not knowing the time it will be going on the listings and being at work does not help my chances of winning it. I could really do with being at home and spending all day working on gathering search criteria, like some people are doing!

Post ID: 597, posted by jase at 12:19 PM
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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Nothing so far

I've not yet won anything on the Ebay Treasure Hunt yet but I shall keep trying. I'd prefer there to be more days of less value prizes so that there are more of them. People are getting tired of not even coming close and when there is only one prize to be won it makes it frustrating!

Omega watches are up for grabs today!

Post ID: 596, posted by jase at 12:14 PM
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Monday, December 13, 2004

Bose home cinema systems to be won

The Ebay Treasure Hunt prizes today are home cinema systems by Bose. A nice prize but again less of them to win. The clue today is "MISTLETOE". There are a lot of obvious things to think of so fingers crossed. It seems that there are a lot of people working on the hunt instead of doing other things, like going to work.

I don't blame them, I should do the same. Especially when at the moment I am so annoyed at the situation I am in, with regards to the travel and unsociable hours I have to deal with.

The hunt continues.

Post ID: 595, posted by jase at 01:54 AM
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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Ebay hunt cryptic hints

Some of the hints that Ebay have been posting have been quite cryptic but it seems that people are still working them out quite quickly. From reading the forums I've seen that people are using different methods to search for their kewords constantly. I have formed a team with a few people and we have been coming up with ideas, although we have been along the right lines and even right on some of them, we've still been too slow or not around and monitoring Ebay at the right time.

If only there were more prizes of less value, rather than less of more value which is what we have been seeing. Great if you win a higher value prize but for most people, nothing but the feeling of being unlucky.

Today the prizes are Sony Vaio laptops, one every hour which is nice. Yesterday there were digital camcorders every hour, even better at two per hour. Tomorrow, the prizes and amount are still to be announced.

Post ID: 594, posted by jase at 11:46 PM
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Saturday, December 11, 2004

So close

Yet so far. I'm one of the many people that has been having a go on the Ebay Christmas Treasure Hunt. I have been close, but always missed the right listing by a short time. I've come up with some ideas and I'm sure other people have done the same, to try and help with locating the prizes.

Working with other people can help, sometimes the winning listing uses words that are really close to the word of the day or one of the clues or the form an anagram of the word of the day, for example. From what I have read some people are loosing a lot of sleep over this hunt and I don't blame them because I don't know anyone that would pass on the chance to win some of these prizes.

Fingers crossed I might get there quick enough on one of them but you need to be on the right track and there is no way of really knowing.

Post ID: 593, posted by jase at 10:15 PM
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Friday, December 10, 2004

Ebay UK Christmas Treasure Hunt

The Ebay UK Christmas Treasure Hunt has recently started so the rush is on to win some of the many prizes up for grabs. With daily clues and prizes every hour from laptops to camcorders you'd be mad not to have a go!

The hunt has been running since Monday and continues until the 3rd of January 2005 so there is plenty of time to try and win a prize. In some respects it can be easy, but mostly it is harder than it seems!

Good luck!

Post ID: 592, posted by jase at 07:17 PM
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Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Google images index

One annoying thing with Google image search is that a lot of the links are dead. It stores the smaller copy of an image, but most of the time when I try to view the full size version the image is not longer available. The index needs to be cleaned up and the dead links removed. I would think it would be easy enough to do automatically by just checking each link for a 404 or other error.

It would make the index of images a lot cleaner. Maybe it already happens, but if it does obviously not very well. At least the main search index is much cleaner, I don't come over many dead links.

Post ID: 589, posted by jase at 04:26 PM
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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

High bandwidth ADSL users

It seems that PlusNet has moved a few hundred high bandiwdth users over to a new pipe because they were using too much bandwidth. It seems a lot of the users of low cost DSL and cable services are told that there is a usage cap, but this is not automatic - they simply get a warning if they go over the limit. In the case of PlusNet, it seems the users that they have moved are now reporting that their service has degraded.

Maybe when an ISP introduces a usage limit on certain product offerings, it should allow for automatic suspension of the offending user rather than sending warnings. You do get what you pay for and if you are only paying a small amount you can't expect the world. Do instead expect service outages, bandwidth limits and no sight of any SLA.

I have a 2 megabit business ADSL pipe from Demon who I have been with for nearly four years. Since I pay more, I don't have limitations on usage and don't really experience any problems. I'd rather pay more for a better service.

If you pay hardly anything for a service, think about why. Don't expect things that are designed for accounts that cost more, which includes no bandiwdth restrictions and better service. Some people might not be aware of a limit, but once they are told about it they should either change to a better suited package or cut their bandwidth use.

I think PlusNet took things a little too far and did not need to take the approach that they have, but at least they are portraying that if you want a half decent service you're going to have to pay for it like most other people do. Costs of Internet connections are coming down with the flood of providers on the market but always remember that cheaper isn't usually better.

I've not checked what the amount monthly bandwidth usage is on my link, I could probably find out from Demon but I'll be able to monitor it myself via MRTG and other graphing applications via SNMP when I configure it all.

Post ID: 582, posted by jase at 10:55 PM
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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

RSS feed advertising

There is discussion at the moment of some aggregator services and actual sites with RSS feeds putting advertising in the feeds. Personally I don't think it is a good idea, but people have different views. I think most readers that read news a lot use an aggregator service or application. I don't currently use one but have chcked a few out such as Bloglines and a few application based programs for doing the job. It does make the job of reading different news sources a lot easier and less time consuming so I'm going to get round to adding a load of feeds to Bloglines and see how it goes. Of course doing things via the web based method instead of via an application has the sama benefits as with web based email in that you can access it virtually any time you like and from almost any location.

Keeping the RSS feeds free from advertising on your feed from you site is easy, but there is no way to control what a third party aggregator does to it. In the future I'm sure more services will add in their own advertising and I think in the most part this will stop users using a service that does this. Sites that add advertising directly the the source of the RSS feed would also loose visitors and they might switch back to viewing the site via the web which would probably also have adverts on it but they would be easier to block.

People should really be given the choice. A google example would be to have two feeds, one with advertising and one without. You might think that is a bit pointless but one feed could have advertising and other things which a user might want, the other could simply be a pure RSS feed with no additions, service such as FeedBurner allows you to add verious things. I've taken a look and I'll probably try it out for a few of the things it offers and add that in as another feed.

Giving people a choice is the main thing.

Post ID: 575, posted by jase at 10:51 PM
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Friday, November 19, 2004

Google - Strange WHOIS data

I've just noticed something strange when I did a whois on I tried from another location as well, which gave the same results that you can see below.


# whois

Whois Server Version 1.3

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to
for detailed information.


To single out one record, look it up with "xxx", where xxx is one of the
of the records displayed above. If the records are the same, look them up
with "=xxx" to receive a full display for each record.

>>> Last update of whois database: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 07:14:39 EST <<<

NOTICE: The expiration date displayed in this record is the date the
registrar's sponsorship of the domain name registration in the registry is
currently set to expire. This date does not necessarily reflect the expiration
date of the domain name registrant's agreement with the sponsoring
registrar. Users may consult the sponsoring registrar's Whois database to
view the registrar's reported date of expiration for this registration.

TERMS OF USE: You are not authorized to access or query our Whois
database through the use of electronic processes that are high-volume and
automated except as reasonably necessary to register domain names or
modify existing registrations; the Data in VeriSign Global Registry
Services' ("VeriSign") Whois database is provided by VeriSign for
information purposes only, and to assist persons in obtaining information
about or related to a domain name registration record. VeriSign does not
guarantee its accuracy. By submitting a Whois query, you agree to abide
by the following terms of use: You agree that you may use this Data only
for lawful purposes and that under no circumstances will you use this Data
to: (1) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission of mass
unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations via e-mail, telephone,
or facsimile; or (2) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes
that apply to VeriSign (or its computer systems). The compilation,
repackaging, dissemination or other use of this Data is expressly
prohibited without the prior written consent of VeriSign. You agree not to
use electronic processes that are automated and high-volume to access or
query the Whois database except as reasonably necessary to register
domain names or modify existing registrations. VeriSign reserves the right
to restrict your access to the Whois database in its sole discretion to ensure
operational stability. VeriSign may restrict or terminate your access to the
Whois database for failure to abide by these terms of use. VeriSign
reserves the right to modify these terms at any time.

The Registry database contains ONLY .COM, .NET, .EDU domains and


Now, why would the whois data for GOOGLE.COM show what it does?
I'm just about to send an email to inform Google about it and see what they say. If that does not get a response or even if it does but it does not get sorted out then there is always the Internic Whois Data Reporting System. I'll post an update when I hear something back about it.

UPDATE: 20/11/04

I've received a reply back from Google thanking me for reporting this and that they have forwarded my email to their legal team. We'll have to see what happens when they investigate it, I'll ask if they can keep me updated.

Post ID: 571, posted by jase at 02:27 AM
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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

ICANN changes

The recent changes made by ICANN have been reported by some people as not required and pointless, check out the changes. A lot of domains are possibly open to bogus transfer requests now. Most domains are locked usually but if not most people are turning on the transfer locking feature. One change will allow for a transfer request to take place even when the owner of the domain has not accepted it, which does not make sense since an owner should have the right not to reply to a non-requested transfer and it be totally ignored without any intervention as was the case before now.

However, it is being reported that these changes have only been made due to some registras not making it easy enough for customers to transfer domains away, instead trying to keep them as customers so these changes have been made to allow changes of registra to take place more easily.

Is also interesting to point out that this is for the transfer of domains from one registra to another, not changing the owner. That is a seperate issue and so the domain won't change hands, who bills you will. Of course if any of the name server information changes then the domain will not work, but as long as this is kept the same you would not notice a difference to a domain without looking at the whois record or noticing that the domain is no longer listed on the account you have with a certain registra.

The issue of increased hijacking taking place does not appear to be something that will happen due to these changes, but a lot of sites are reporting this is the case. These changes are not going to allow the domains to change hands without any action from the current domain owner, so there seem to be a lot of worried people for no reason.

Another issue that people seem to be seeing is some requests for their domains being submitted to report that their domain has a problem with the stored whois record data. When a report such as this has been submitted, some registras request a reply from the domain owner in a short period of time else will delete or suspend a domain. Other registras charge a fee for checking these reports out which may have not been made by the domain owner but of course causing charges to be invoiced to the domain owner. There are a lot of comments on the Slashdot post regarding this so check it out for further information.

Post ID: 569, posted by jase at 01:55 AM
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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Gmail POP3 / SMTP access

Gmail have introduced POP3 & SMTP access for Gmail users, which was announced last week. I've only just noticed that my account has been enabled for POP3/SMTP access, it's being done in sections of users at a time but mine may have been done days earlier as soon as it was announced but I've not been checking to see if mine had been enabled.

I'm yet to check it out, but will do soon. It'll allow people to access their mail and also send mail using their usual email aplpication as well as the web browser. With forced use of SSL/TLS, you'll be keeping your connection secure, so not only will the authentication of your account be secure but also the transmission of any data, when accessing Gmail via the website only the authentication part is done via SSL so there is increased security, but emails generally travel between server to server with no encryption so until all mail servers also send mail between each other with SSL for example, the protection a secure connection can provide is limited your email could have already been viewed in transit.

At the moment, you don't see any Adwords advertsing in your email when accessing it via POP3 and none is added to any mail when sending via the Gmail SMTP server, although this may change. At the moment the folders in your Gmail account are not populated to your mail application and you only seem to get the mail that is in your Gmail inbox, not any that has been archived.

I'm sure this functionality will be added at some point as having access to all of your mail is obviously better than just access to mail in the inbox of your account.

Also the fact that POP3 and mail forwarding will be free is good as I got the impression that there may have been some charges for these options. Things are coming along well and Gmail is proving to be a great tool for managing email. I've still got a few issues with it though, such as filtering email that has filters already straight to the Spam folder. I've informed Gmail about this but as yet it is still happening. Personal rules should be applied before hitting the anti-spam filters and systems that Gmail uses. I just noticed an email from Orkut even got filtered as Spam.

I've moved all my email over to Gmail really, because having access to all my email makes it a lot easier. When I was using an email application that was only available on one computer, it meant I'd only have access to mail for a certain amount of the day and if the disk failed the mail data would be lost unless backed up. Using Gmail, the backup is taken care of and you can still use a mail application when you want to. If you have a laptop, then you can use the application more often as obviously you can carry it around wth you.

At the moment I have a lot of accounts forwarding to my Gmail account, a few I still use locally on the individual systems. I backup the data on the servers using Veritas NetBackup but I'll eventually forward all of my accounts to Gmail and then use a mail client on my new laptop when I get it and then via webmail the rest of the time when I don't have it wth me.

Gmail is making good progress!

Post ID: 568, posted by jase at 11:29 PM
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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Screen Select

I emailed Screen Select as I had over 50 selections in my account and nothing had been allocated to me, even after four days! They said it was a technical error, I've just checked and I now have some titles awaiting dispatch which is good.

I was thinking that the service was not very good, which was a strange thing to encounter since I had read a lot of good reviews. It looks like the problem with my account was a strange one, I think it might have been something to do with the fact I signed up as an affiliate as well using the same email address, when I logged in I was always directed to the affiliate page instead of my account page. It does not do that now, so I'll have to check the affiliate aspect is alright.

They also extended my free trial, so all is good so far but we'll have to see how the service shapes up over the next few weeks.

Post ID: 565, posted by jase at 11:02 PM
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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

It just goes to show a second look is worth it!

I thought I spotted a mistake on the National Express site relating to one of the coach routes. I was tired at work as it was 3am and I thought it read that it stopped at the airport but looking later on it seems I obviously just got the idea in my head because I hoped that it did stop there.

So, combined with my desire to sleep and my hopes that it did stop off at the airport clouded what really was on the site. I found the correct information after looking again later. I was going to call them to report the mistake, it's a good job I checked again before doing so. I managed to get dropped off where I wanted to go by the driver, which saved me a lot of time.

Post ID: 562, posted by jase at 10:54 PM
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Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Cahoot security issue

You might have heard recently about a problem that was discovered after an update to the systems that power the Cahoot online banking site. I am a Cahoot customer myself and was wondering why I could not access the site, it appeared that there was some work being done but during the middle of the day which was a bit strange as any work would normally be done during the night.

It then came to light that the site was down due to some essential changes being made after a problem was discovered that allowed anyone with a Cahoot account to gain access to the account of another customer without a password, but you would need to know details about another account to gain access and it would be read only as performing any tasks would still require the account password.

Normally banks are not quick to admit to these kinds of problems and shy away from the questions even if like in this Case it is all over the news. Cahoot appears to be taking another angle by putting the message out about what happened, although no real details were provided. Generally speaking I think that is the right way to deal with it especially when the media coverage would almost certainly have spread the word quite a lot.

Maybe more banks shouldm learn some lessons and change their ways as hiding away from the truth when these things happen does not really help the situation but admitting there were problems would do. You can't solve a problem until it accepted that one exists.

Post ID: 561, posted by jase at 10:39 PM
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Monday, November 8, 2004

That blog spam

The spam is coming through a lot more with the current delays in the updates to the master blacklist. I'm going to upgrade MT & MT-BL soon which will help with the issue but in the mean time it would help if there is an alternative list to use. Although people can check my blacklist file I think I'm going to start logging any addtions to my blacklist in another file for other people to add. There are probably other people doing this already, which will help with things until the master list is updated.

Post ID: 560, posted by jase at 08:49 PM
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Saturday, November 6, 2004

Shopping around

When looking for new things to buy it is of course a good idea to shop around. I've found such variation in prices for certain things available from various suppliers in the UK. Prices are usually cheaper in the USA than the UK but then there is the shipping costs and such to add on top, I'll just wait until I am over there next and pick up a load of things then.

Sometimes it is too much trouble looking around though, but when online it is a lot easier than if the price comparison was being done via visiting stores. There is also the phone, so calling would be an option. I've purchased a few things recently and have got some more things that I want to get so I'll be looking about for the best prices which is something that most people would do, it would be silly not to. I'll probably start posting some of this information on good deals, as I'm sure it may be of use to people.

Post ID: 558, posted by jase at 11:25 PM
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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Gmail spam count

Currently the spam count reported on my Gmail account is incorrect. It is showing that there are six spam emails stored, but if I look there is only one. It also lists 1-6 as if the messages were there. Strange, is anyone else having seeing this happen on their accounts?

Even Gmail isn't perfect!

Post ID: 552, posted by jase at 11:04 PM
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Saturday, October 23, 2004

Gmail advertising

I've noticed that the adverts that appear on my Gmail account appear at the bottom of my messages if there are any that are appropriate to display. I've not found anyone else that is experiencing this, mine has been like it for nearly as long as I have had the account. Everyone else that I have asked states that they see adverts at the side of the emails still.

Maybe it is a test that is split so some accounts see them in one place and the rest in the other. Has anyone else got the adverts appearing at the bottom instead on their account or another position? At the bottom does not appear to make any marketing sense as I see them less.

Post ID: 544, posted by jase at 10:51 PM
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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Register hit by DDOS

The Register is reporting - if you can read it - that it has been hit by a DDOS attack. Maybe someone got bored or did not like one of the articles. It seems that everything is back to normal now. Again, kids will play.

Post ID: 541, posted by jase at 07:26 PM
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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Snap search

I'm just in the process of reading various things after missing out because of being in Germany. I really need to hurry up and get a laptop with mobile data so that when I am away I can keep up with things. It is really annoying that at the moment I have to keep going to locate Internet access points and even then have limited time online. You know, it's good to be able to browse the net when you have some free time and are in a hotel and such. I know I would like to be able to do this. I've got quite a lot of stuff to still catch up on from when I was away in Ibiza.

I'm just reading Jeremy Zawodny's coverage of the recent Web 2.0 conference. It looks like there were loads of interesting talks taking place and he has done quite a good job of noting down a lot of talks and the key points they made.

Snap, is another search engine. I say another as there have been a number of them appear lately each offering different facilities and options. The layout of this is good and the results are provided along with some other information such as popularity. I decided to give it a test with the first search term I could think of - sex. I got a message saying that the search would probably result in adult content and I had to agree to being provided with content of an adult nature. I clicked it a few times but did not get any further, not sure what was happening there so I decided to try a number of other searchs. They all worked fine.

I look at the Internet and sites I use in the same way as I look at other things in life. Take clothes, we all like certain styles and brands for different reasons but once you find something you like, you tend to stick with it rather than change. I think most people could relate to this idea online as well. There might be new search engines appearing such as this and A9, but are people likely to change from using there current engine, even if the newer ones offer more functionality?

For one thing, Google searches a lot more pages than say Snap - that fact alone could be a major point in people wanting to stick with Google as when it comes to search people want something that searches more pages in the hope that they will not only find matches that are related but they will find a wider variety of matches.

It'll be an interesting are as things progress but it may not be much of an issue at the moment for the established search engines to keep their userbase from wondering away. Even if a certain number did, I'm sure people would be using multiple engines as they might do now as one engine might have something another does not. I only really use Google, but to be honest I always find information in relation to what I want.

Maybe when engines are offereing a lot more, such as intelligent search, custom RSS feeds in relation to the current search and a whole lot more all in one go, then people will take a more serious look at what is available. It's all an ongoing project and it'll always continue to be that way. Most people will stick with what they know.

Post ID: 533, posted by jase at 01:55 AM
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Sunday, October 3, 2004

Company registration

I have been meaning for a while to form a limited company by submitting the appropriate documents to Companies House. The process can be quite daunting, especially if you have not done it before. I looked around on the Internet and it seems there are company formation agents that provide a service so that you can form a company and they deal with sending the documents to Companies House.

It costs more, but it means that you will submit an application with the correct information and since the process is done electronically, there is less time wasted on getting documents to and from Companies House if there are any problems with an application.

I'm awaiting a reply from Companies House at the moment, but hopefully everything should have gone through okay. If there are any issues they can be quickly dealt with and the application submitted again. The CFA I used is called Quick Formations.

Once the company is registered and is an entity in itself, there will then be other issues to deal with. Another consideration that will have to be made is regarding VAT registration. We'll deal with that with advice from our accountant as it might be wise to get VAT registered in our case, but I'm not sure at the moment. I've been reading about it, there is quite a lot to deal with - you only come to know about how much there is to consider when you are in the position of doing it unless you have an interest and read up anyway.

It's good things are moving, hopefully we'll contine progressing at the same rate now, if not faster. I'll have more to talk about regarding all of this as it happens, no doubt.

Post ID: 524, posted by jase at 12:06 AM
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Saturday, October 2, 2004

WorldPay under attack

I've just recevied the following email from WorldPay. It seems they are under a DOS attack. As you can see, the email is a bit light on details but at least they have decided to let customers know. I remember attacks happening in the past, not for a while though. Obviously the children are playing again.


WorldPay System Status: 2/10/2004

Dear Customer,

We regret that access to our payment and administration systems is severely disrupted due to a planned and large scale Denial of Service (DDOS) attack by a third party.

Our payment and administration systems are working, safe and secure, but the networks around them are being flooded with requests on a huge scale, causing 'service denials'. We are processing payments, but far slower and fewer than we normally would.

We are executing our contingency plans to move to full restoration of the service but cannot at this point in time predict when all customers will have the service restored without further interruption.

While attacks of this type can be anticipated, it does take time to identify and deal with the exact nature of a particular attack. We are doing everything that is possible to restore a full service as soon as is possible.

PLEASE NOTE: although we are subject to a "denial-of-service" attack, the integrity and security of our systems and data is in no way compromised.

Please check the Customer Management System portal page at where we post information about system status on a regular basis.


I'm not sure how long it has been going on for, but I paid for a product via Worldpay earlier tonight and it was processed as normal. The email has only been sent in the last hour, so I probably missed the start of the attack.

Post ID: 523, posted by jase at 11:25 PM
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Sunday, September 19, 2004

Intelligent search engines

There is some talk at the moment about intelligent, responsive search. Indeed, it would be highly advantageous to most of us, even those who would define themselves as a professional searcher. I mean, I've seen some people use Google & they don't have any real idea about using the correct search terms to produce the most accurate, desired results.

It's quite hit and miss even for those of us who have been doing it for years. Now, in the future things may become a lot easier with the help of the search engine itself. Google may one day, with the help of artificial intelligence be able to predict with good accuracy what we are actually looking for, be it something or some site in particular or a certain topic.

Some of this is already being done, but only to a certain level. For example, when you make a spelling mistake, Google can suggest something else. Since searching is a part of everyday Internet life, moving along with the times and using new technology is a must & it may not be that far ahead when we see this sort of thing devleop further.

It appears that Amazon has a search engine called A9 which could be interesting, it stores a list of previous searches that you have made and also can show some images in relation to your search. It looks good, I've only just tried it out but it could be of use. I thought it was nice that it knew who I was, due to cookies from Amazon, obviously.

Jeremy has recently posted about this, which I found interesting. In a time when it can be harder finding more specific material relating to some subjects, any development can only be a good thing.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Mail delivery failures

Don;t you just hate those annoying worms that send themsolves out using your email addresses that have been obtained from some infected machine? I'm getting a fair few of them at the moment. Some indeed contain elements of spam. Most mail delivery failure notices will pass through anti-spam filters easily so it looks as though this is a new idea being used be the spammers.

Send out mails which look like failure notices, but still contain a link to some site you're probabl not interested in. That load of failure notices combined with the ones these worms generate causes an increased load of mail. It would be great of there was one easy way of getting rid of the spam problem. We do see things moving forward, but it will take time.

The other thing to consider is apart from these email lists which are being sold all over the place, where are emails gathered from? I'd say there is a percentage of lists which are stolen from insecure servers. It only takes one server that is not configured correctly or compromised & a mailing list that you are subscribed to could now be in the hands of a whole host of spammers.

Maybe the solution is not prevention but a more active approach. Maybe spammers should be killed. I'm sure if that started happening, it would send a lot of spammers to consider early retirement rather than risk being caught and then killed. We can only dream.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Gmail is currently down

I suppose there is a first time for everything!


Server Error

Gmail is temporarily unavailable. Cross your fingers and try again in a few minutes. We're sorry for the inconvenience.


Post ID: 507, posted by jase at 11:06 PM
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Saturday, September 11, 2004

Online time

I've spent quite a lot of time reading about a few topics so far this weekend and will probably spend a lot more. It is interesting how quickly time goes when you are doing this. I've been reading about topics which are related to some of the projects currently being worked on.

Although I'm not going to talk about them at the moment, since most of them are in the early stages of development, I'm glad things are moving more on this front. Now, we all could do with more time, but in this situation, I need more time or more people to get work done, for our business. In the future, we hope our efforts will pay off and we can think about employing people to help with various things. At the moment, a small dream but we all know where the biggestg companies came from - exactly that.

Post ID: 501, posted by jase at 11:01 PM
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Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Audioblog - Audio on your blog

I recently came over Audioblog, but as I was about to go on holiday thought I would bookmark it and take a proper look later. It seems like a good idea and could add another angle to blogging, in the form of being able to post audio. Having looked at the site it seems that it is not a free service and it does not look like there is a free trial available. You can record audio posts either via a Flash enabled browser or over the phone.

Here is a list of the features available, taken from the Audioblog site.


Post to multiple blogs.
You can add multiple blog services and post to any of them. Movable Type, Typepad, Blogger, LiveJournal and more to come.

Upload MP3 or WAV format files
You may upload your MP3 or WAV format audio files to and we will automatically prepare them for streaming in just seconds. No need to buy and learn complex audio editing software, just upload it to us and let us do the hard work.

Post by telephone
In the moblog mood? No problem. Pick up the phone, record and post.

* Functionality

A single audioblog length of 60 minutes
Record or stream a single audioblog up to one hour in length or use the playlist builder to create an audioblog playlist of almost unlimited length.

Playlists for unlimited-length audios
Only members can use our exclusive playlist builder to create audios of unlimited length, but because each audio is a new segment, you can easily and seamlessly integrate testimonials or other audio samples into your presentations.

Record audios from anywhere, 24/7
Whether you call the media center, use the BlogRecorder or upload your own MP3 or WAV files, you can manage your audios anytime of the day or night, 365 days a year.

Per-audio recording history
Each audio in our system maintains a complete version history, which you can refer to at any time. You can even revert to past versions at any time and never lose any of your work.

* Bandwidth

Unlimited audios per account
You may have an unlimited number of audios in your account at any time. No need to worry about running out of space, just keep recording them.

1,024 MB of streaming audio bandwidth per month members can stream up to A FULL GIGABYTE (1,024 MB equals 1 GB) of audio content per month. If your audio clips are one minute long, that means up to 5,000 FULL plays per month at no additional cost & since we account for actual play time, you're not billed for bandwidth you're not using. Additional bandwidth will be automatically added as needed to ensure your audio clips keep playing to your visitors ($1.95 per additional 1GB).


So there you have it. Quite a list of features. I've seen it in use on a few sites and the quality is good. Being able to add clips via phone means you could easily take a sample of something when you are mobile and have it online within no time at all, automatically. I might give it a go, as it only costs $4.95 a month for the basic service and especially since it integrates easily with MT.

Friday, September 3, 2004

Gmail spam filtering

I noticed that Gmail filtered a message from Google Adsense and marked it as spam, which I found quite funny. Of course I reported it as not being spam. It seems to be doing quite a good job, only a few false reports so far.

On another Gmail related point, I also have some Gmail invitations to give out so I will be doing that shortly when I get back home so keep checking my blog.

Post ID: 493, posted by jase at 04:42 PM
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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Yahoo! Search Blog

In another corporate blogging event, we now see the Yahoo! Search team have their own blog. According to Jeremy, we should see a number of people posting to it and it won't be used as a PR outlet.

It's good to see more companies trying to communicate with their customers in a more personal way, rather than just in ways we have seen in the past via commercial channels such as press releases.

We'll see what comes of it. I'm glad to see it is using Movable Type and has trackbacks and comments enabled, unlike some other commercial blogs we have recently seen. Check out the first post by Jeff Weiner.

Post ID: 477, posted by jase at 11:55 PM
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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

MSN Newsbot

Along with the recent release of a new search engine from Microsoft, it seems that now available is a beta of something else planned, called MSN Newsbot. Although beta, like the search engine Newsbot is a new service and still under development, but public testing has started. It seems that some of the major companies are starting to branch out and offer more in the way of services, even when going up against the competition that in some cases holds most of the market share - in the case of the search engine for example, Google.

In the world of business competition is good, but as we are seeing with Gmail, people will swap service if it offers something new and something that will benefit them individually otherwise they will stick with the current provider of the service in question.

In the case of searching, will people move away from using Google? Even if the new alternatives are better, it'll still be hard work to steal users. In some cases, there are no reasons to move, unless the service is rubbish - the new features are not considered by some users.

It is just a case of the big companies all wanting a slice of the market share as for example, a lot of money can be made from paid advertising.

Post ID: 455, posted by jase at 12:59 AM
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Friday, July 23, 2004

Time spent blogging

I'd have to say, regarding Jeremy's post about time spent blogging that I spend more time blogging posts than the linkblog, which I would think is quite obvious anyway since adding links is rather quick and automated using the methods I have used, rather than having another actual MT blog for it.

The same goes for when I moblog, it is rather easy and automated. I need to setup my Nokia 6600 to be able to use it to moblog as I've not figured out how to get the required fields yet, such as message subject, main message and then attachment which are obviously needed to allow for correctly displaying the post online.

The other thing I need to sort out is actual blog posting via my mobile either via email to blog or text only MMS to blog. I've just not got round to doing it, but will do soon as it will be handy when doing updates from Ibiza!

Post ID: 451, posted by jase at 11:03 PM
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Friday, July 16, 2004

Gmail forums, tools and more!

There is a lot of user discussion taking place regarding Gmail - maybe because Google is behind it or maybe because of the way it is being launched or the new functionality it offers. I'd be inclined to think it is a combination of all of those factors. I've not seen this relating to any other web based email service, but already we have the Gmail Forums and various other sites dedicated to Gmail.

There are also various tools being developed allowing you to easily migrate your existing mail over to Gmail from other web based email providers, with a tool specifically for Hotmail and also for email applications such as Outlook, Thunderbird and more.

Also exists is a PHP script which will allow you to upload files to your Gmail account easily and download them again if you wish. In fact there are a list of tools currently available, check them out here. It is early days yet, so more handy tools will be sure to appear.

Post ID: 444, posted by jase at 07:22 PM
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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Atak mass mailing worm

On the ever updating list of new mass mailing worms, we now have a new contender, known as Atak.

It seems that it copies itself to the system as as %System%\hint.exe and creates a mutex named "SloperMtx" to ensure that only one instance of the worm is executed. On Windows NT/2000/XP, the worm adds the value:

"load"="%System%\hint.exe" to the registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows

& on Windows 95/98/Me, the worm adds the following line to the [windows] section of Win.ini file:


It sends itself out to addresses that it obtains by running a search on the infected system, with various names as the from address and also various subjects, the attachment is a .zip file that includes a copy of the worm.

Again, it requires user intervention to become infected but the amount of people that still get infected by opening these attachements and then opening the files inside is qiute high - user stupidity is to blame or maybe it is a combination of that and ignorance.

Update your AV software or better still have it auto-update since these updates are released on a daily basis. For a full analysis of the worm go here & here. The worm has said to contain stealth code to try and make analysis more difficult but this has not had much of an effect with regards to debugging and reverse engineering.

Post ID: 443, posted by jase at 11:01 PM
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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Improving TLD DNS

The improvements that Verisign will be making to allow for more regular updates to the root dns servers will allow for domain updates to be populated out over the Internet a lot quicker. Since there are only two updates per day at the moment the thought of it only taking a few minutes would be great.

There also appears to be other changes, including more information displayed in the whois database. It's all good, but you just have to remember Sitefinder and it all goes sour.

Post ID: 441, posted by jase at 11:05 PM
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Sunday, July 11, 2004

Browsing the Internet

I was just reading this post by Jeremy Zawodny regarding aimless Internet browsing. I'd have to agree, I don't spent as much time browsing at the moment as I simply don't have the free time. The sites I visit are ones I visit quite often, mostly on a daily basis such as news sites, web based email and some others.

Combined with the lack of time to browse, there is also the repetitive factor. I tend to get bored of most things which are repetitive after a while and browsing is sometimes meeting the criteria for this category.

Often in times such as these, it is a wise idea to have a break and then come back after a while, much like when you go for a coffee or tea break at work or even over a longer period - like abstaining from doing something for a longer period of time. Doing this can usually add the buzz back which you have missed due to the amount of exposure to the said activity, be it browsing or something else. In addition, there are some things which we simply cannot do without. For most of us, Internet access is one of them.

Post ID: 439, posted by jase at 11:33 PM
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Thursday, July 8, 2004

Happy 1st birthday

To my blog that is! I only just noticed, but it has been just over a year since I started writing this. Another example of how quickly time goes. I'll not prepare a toast as that would not work very well over the Internet.

However, I shall say let it be another exciting year of my life and maybe this blog as well. It seems to be healthy so far anyway.

Presents could come in the form of donations - only joking - I suppose if anyone did want to donate, then you could. Maybe I should create an Amazon wish list which might appeal more than sending digital cash. Let me know if you are interested! Feel free to send e-cards as well.

Sunday, July 4, 2004

Gmail, first impressions...

From what I have seen available in Gmail so far, I'm quite impressed. The keyboard shortcuts are a really good idea for a start. I've not forwarded any mail over to it yet and don't know how well the spam filtering works, but I'm sure I'll find out when I start using the address.

The main thing really will be the extra space, as I'm sure most people will agree but the other things the service offers and the layout are all important factors. I think the layout is good and it seems quick to load up emails as well.

I'll post up about invites when I get some and I'm sure I'll have more comments when I use the service more. I've already got a few suggestions to make as features that I would like to see, such as aliases.

I wonder why you cannot at present have an account with 5 or less characters that make up the alias. That is something which should be changed.

Saturday, July 3, 2004

Gmail account - I've got one now!

After one failed attempt from Kev at sending me an invite (due to a server error) I now have an account, thanks to an invite from Wayne.

Thanks to you both! Hopefully Google will look at the errors Kev got so that more invites are not wasted, as the system gave an error but did not send out the invite - it still took it off the available invite credits though which happened to be Kev's last one at present.

Now, it's time to have a play.

One thing I would like to see on web based services is the option of creating a number of aliases. As previously stated, once I get some invites they will be dished out via these pages!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Gmail account

After noticing that Ben posted requesting a Gmail invite, I thought I would ask as well. I'll be able to get one from him at some point, but I'm not sure if they are given out at random or just every now and again.

If anyone does have one to spare, I'd appreciate it. If not, I guess I'll have to wait a while longer! Once I do get one, I'll be sure to distribute the invites I get via my blog as you know what they say, share & share alike and all.

You can find an email address of mine to use at the bottom right in case you can't find it.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Like a herd of sheep

It's quite amusing how one company does something and then they all follow suit. In this example, storage capacity for wed based email accounts. First Google introducing Gmail, so Yahoo! increases its offering and releases a new design & now last but not least Hotmail - again more storage, as well as AV scanning and disinfection.

It can only be good they all follow each other like sheep, it's better for the users, well in most cases. Now, what would happen if one provider decided to downgrade accounts? I'd like to think they would not all follow suit in that situation.

What is MS going to be offereing then? Well, read the announcement below:

"Upgrade announcement for ALL MSN Hotmail customers June 24th, 2004.
We are delighted to announce that MSN® Hotmail®, the world’s most popular free Web-based e-mail service, will be undergoing a major upgrade starting in early July. We will be introducing free e-mail anti-virus protection to all the 170 million MSN Hotmail customers worldwide, making MSN Hotmail the only free global e-mail service to both scan and clean incoming and outgoing e-mail for viruses and worms before they can enter your inbox.

All MSN Hotmail customers have, or will be receiving, a service update email detailing the new and exciting changes. Further updates will be sent over the next few weeks so keep an eye on your inbox.

Later this summer, all free MSN Hotmail accounts will receive 125 times their current e-mail storage with the introduction of 250MB inboxes, and have the ability to send attachments up to 10 MB. This is in addition to the new scanning and cleaning of incoming and outgoing e-mail for viruses and worms. MSN Hotmail customers will also receive MSN Calendar free, enabling both individual and shared diaries.

MSN Extra Storage to be upgraded to MSN Hotmail Plus
All current MSN Hotmail Extra Storage subscribers will be upgraded to our new premium web service, MSN Hotmail Plus due to launch later this summer.

MSN Hotmail Plus will be priced at £14.99* and will provide 2 GB of online storage for email and the ability to send 20MB attachments, as well as additional offline storage limited only by the size of your computer’s hard drive. MSN Hotmail Plus subscribers will also receive additional benefits, including a more streamlined Web e-mail experience with no graphical adverts and no account expiration.

For customers who need more storage for their Hotmail account in the weeks leading to upgrade then our MSN Extra Storage services will remain on sale until MSN Hotmail Plus is launched. However, we would recommend subscribing to the MSN Extra Storage 10MB at £14.99 service as this will be automatically upgraded to the MSN Hotmail Plus service and is also priced at £14.99 per year.

MSN Premium and MSN Plus upgrades
MSN Premium and MSN Plus subscribers will also receive 2 GB of online storage for email and the ability to send 20MB attachments. Click here for more.

We hope you find these upgrades exciting and continue to enjoy using MSN Hotmail and our premium web services subscriptions.

* You must agree to the MSN Subscription Agreement to access the service. For users of Windows® 98 or later operating systems only. Additional terms may apply."

250MB is quite an increase over the current 2MB and will be more than enough for most people. I find that I have to delete emails with attachements quite a lot at the moment but once the 250MB is introduced it should no longer be a problem.

Some better anti-spam filtering would be good or at least something which allows for more user interaction like Yahoo! does. As for the storage increase at least, well done to Hotmail as well. There have been other instances of companies following like sheep recently as well, I'm sure there will be more to come too!

Thursday, June 17, 2004 offline

It's not totally offline, but all of the free accounts are gone, according to various reports.

This is an episode of Blog Murder. It seems with some further reading that the sites have not been lost and will be hosted on another server. Good news for the people that had not got any backup of their data.
All in all though, it boils once again down to the fact you get what you pay for and when not paying anything, you can't really expect superior service.

I'm sure a few lessons will be learnt, which is the main thing.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Yahoo! Mail storage increase

Yahoo are about to increase the storage capacity on accounts, which has been talked about for some time, in response to Gmail. I've had 6mb on my Yahoo Mail account because I've had it since 1998, I'm not sure if it started off with 6MB, I think it did and they lowered it down later. Either that or it got upgraded, I can't remember. Anyway, from the current 4MB a free upgrade to 100MB storage on a free account is good.

And if you pay, you get an even better deal - 2GB which is more than Gmail.
Maybe there will be an upgrade option on Gmail which will allow you to get even more space?

Hotmail needs to do something for the free accounts, the 2MB is quite low and I find I have to delete stuff quite often, usually attachments and things that people have sent which is annoying as usually I might want to forward them on at some point and it casues more work by having to forward them to POP accounts.

I'm rather pleased with Yahoo spam filtering and this in conjunction with the new storage limit and new design, can only be good.

Well done Yahoo!

Post ID: 409, posted by jase at 04:28 PM
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Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Loopholes in casino promotions

Well, normally I would not bother playing the casino games online for real money, but I had a go last night and made 95 pounds profit. A number of other people have made quite a lot of money too, mostly around the 100-150 pound mark.

The reason I decided to play was due to a little tip, that seems to be floating around the Internet at the moment, relating to certain promotions. In this case, you will almost 100% walk away with over 100 in your pocket. I'm not sure if this is a specially crafted marketing scheme to get more people betting online but for most of us this is another quick way to make some money.

So I guess you're wondering how to do it?

* Visit and download the casino.
* Load the software and reigster a new account but do not depoit any money.
* Visit & login with your details.
* Click "Your Account" and deposit £100.
* Log out of the website and return to the casino software.
* Select banking & change £100 to chips, from your Ladbrokes account.
* Select games and start Vegas Strip Blackjack.
* Right click the chip on the table until it is yellow, the other chip should be yellow too.
* Click expert then options & choose fastest mode then diable all sounds.
* Click autoplay & select deals as 400.
* Click start and wait for the hands to play.
* When finished head to the bank and withdraw your money.
* On Ladbrokes Casino website click on promotions then £100 bonus, enter your details.
* You should receive a bonus within 24 hours.
* On the website, change this into chips then back again to cash.
* Now withdraw to your card.

You've just made 100+ for doing virtually nothing!

I just did it and ended up with my 100 pounds back plus 95 extra, most people I have read about end up with more than this! Note, you will need to sign up a new account to do this and this offer ends on the 30th June 2004.

You can also claim the 30 pounds bonus too, but I think you will need to leave 30 pounds in the account and claim that bonus before removing all of the money since I think you need to keep at least 30 pounds in there so they match it by giving you the 30 pounds bonus, this offer ends on the 13th June 2004.

You can probably put some money back in and claim, that's what I'll do if they don't pay it me now with nothing in the account.

Have fun and this is obviously done at your own risk, but plenty of people have done it now and they all gain money. I know I'll be keeping my eyes open for more opportunities like this in the future. Thanks to whoever posted this originally!

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

SDSL rollout

More exchanges are being SDSL enabled now as BT expand the rollout around the UK. More exchanges in Birmingham, Manchester, Coventry and London have been abled with more planned. Using the BT SDSL checker, it does not seem that I can get it yet. I've got 2mb ADSL and there is no reason for me to want more outgoing bandwidth really, but being able to send out at 2mb would be nice!

Post ID: 403, posted by jase at 08:39 PM
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Friday, May 21, 2004

Yahoo Domain Keys

I'd heard of this recently, but reading Jeremy Zawodny's post reminded me about it. Off I went to read the details. It seems like a good idea and would probably work. The issue would be, getting as many different mail servers as possible to use it - actually, it might not be such a task as long as it is integrated with as many popular MTA's as possible.

It looks like that will be the case. It won't stop spam alone since spammers running their own servers could easily setup key pairs, although it would be easier to trace and then blacklist these servers. Also, if a mail server is an open relay, then won't it just accept and sign any incoming mail then pass it on?

Signed spam - delivered directly to you.

It appears that Yahoo has submitted the RFC to the IETF so I'll have to have a read through that, at first glance it looks like an interesting idea.

There is also the alternative Sender Policy Framework, which already has quite a large amount of users. With that in mind, from the perspective of a new user, which method should be the one used? Maybe if you were able to implement both, you would have the best of both offereings.

Microsoft has also submitted its RCF draft to the IETF, regarding their Caller ID anti-spam idea.

It looks like some of the big names are really looking at the issues of spam more now which is a good thing. I've had my Yahoo Mail account since 1998 and I used it to sign up to loads of different things. As you would imagine, by now I get a lot of spam. Until Spam Guard, it was all being delivered to the inbox. With Spam Guard, most of it was being caught and delivered to the bulk mail folder, which could be deleted there & then or automatically later on.

Now you can submit mail as spam, for the odd one or two that do get delivered to the inbox, I submit. For a while I was submitting a lot, but as more mail is submitted by many users, it can be flagged and all future mail filtered.

With the addition that bulk mail does not count towards your account quota as well as the quota size going to increase - the Yahoo Mail offereing is a lot better.

Since the 15th of May to now, 292 emails have been caught and devliered to the bulk mail folder in my account. I've had to mark about 5 as spam that were not caught. That is not bad going and a lot better than it was. I'm sure more improvements will be made as well.

When using web based mail, you really need good spam filtering as it is more of task to keep adding your own rules and you can't use a proper mail MTA unless you use POP3, which means you can't have the benefit of using other applications to catch spam as well.

These methods look promising to use, in addition to spam filtering applications. I'll be giving some of them a try to reduce the amounts of spam I am getting to my other accounts which are not free / web based.

Post ID: 384, posted by jase at 09:14 PM
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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

They go for the money

Well it seems that people close to the author of the Sasser worm, reported him in as they wanted the reward money. The individual, admitted it. Maybe that was not such a bright thing to do, but it depends on the evidence on the plate and how good you are at getting out of situations.

The Microsoft Bounty Program, looks like it is working.

Indeed though, we see here another fine example where the money issue, takes over everything else such as respect & trust in order to receive a nice payout.

It's very tempting, could you resist?

Post ID: 381, posted by jase at 08:08 PM
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Tuesday, May 4, 2004

Google Adsense

I signed up to Google Adsense before, but was not accepted due to this being a personal site. Google sent me an email stating that they had evaluated it again and would now include it. I'm just giving it a go, to see what kind of ads will be shown. At the moment there is only one advert shown at any one time, but I might increase it - just as a test - I'm not expecting to actually get any revenue from one advert or say four adverts but if I do then I'd happily welcome it.

In addition to that, since it seems the links so far that I have seen are blog related, I might find some good sites to check out, you may do too. They state you can add as many other sites to your account as well, once you have the initial account accepted so I might try putting the code on some other domains and see if ads are directed to appropriate content on those, like it states would be the case.

Since Google is expanding the program so it seems, I think that there will be a lot more people now able to use the program, to drive traffic to sites or make some cash from showing adverts.

Post ID: 365, posted by jase at 01:48 PM
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Monday, May 3, 2004

Sasser worm

So, yet another day and yet another worm. Only this one is not spreading via email. It is spreading by exlpoiting a recent vulnerability in MS Windows operating systems.

XP, 2000, 2003 are all affected, however if you applied all of the patches recently which addressed 20 vulnerabilties, you are safe - well your box and network is. If not, I'd suggest installing the updates, updating your AV and running a scan, just in case your systems are already infected.

The main problem this worm may cause is increased bandwidth usage on your network as infected hosts scan for other machines to infect. The reports of new worms are common place these days, most via email though and the odd one like this or Blaster which exploit a vulnerability.

Sasser exploits a bug in the Local Security Authority Subsystem service. See the MS bulletin for more information regarding the vulnerability.

It creates the following resitry key:

"avserve.exe" = "%WinDir%\avserve.exe"

So that only one copy of the worm is running it creates a mutex called 'Jobaka3l'.

Ports used by the worm are:

445/TCP - The worm attacks using this port
5554/TCP - FTP server, running on infected systems
9996/TCP - Remote shell opened by the exploit on vulnerable hosts

So get updating, if you have not already!

Post ID: 364, posted by jase at 11:14 PM
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Thursday, April 29, 2004

MSN UK directory back online

It seems that the UK MSN directory is back online. From what I can remember of the directory search before it went offline, it seems the same now. I think profiles of members under 18 have just been removed from the search results, so you would need to know their MSN address to access it.

It's a shame it took so long to implement...

Post ID: 360, posted by jase at 11:09 PM
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Monday, April 26, 2004


It's looking like the DCC protocol is going to be updated & known as DCC2. check out the RFC.

It's all well and good updating the DCC protocol - but a lot of people are wondering why the actual IRC protocol is not getting the same treatment. There are a whole host of evident flaws and problems with the IRC protocol that should be ironed out. In fact, these improvements would make a lot of different in plenty of ways.

Some people think IRC is dead or is going that way. I don't agree with that, just take a look at some of the big networks - as popular as ever.

With all the IM options currently available, IRC still manages to stay around and I think it'll always be around - but things do need to move forward.

It's just a case of setting your priorities out correctly - I'd say: IRC protcol revamp, then DCC!

Post ID: 357, posted by jase at 03:27 PM
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Saturday, April 24, 2004


Gigablast, the up and coming search engine - I hear, s on a mission to index a whole lot of sites, more than Google infact.

At first glance, it seems much like Google. A nice and simple design, with various search options. I wonder if there is a PR type thing and if it works?

There are a lot of emerging search engines, but choosing a new one or making the change is too much trouble for most people. It's like moving from one provider of a service over to another one, we try to aviod it unless really needed.

I'm going to guess that most people will want something really different or better than what they have already to be inclined to move. I've not seen it yet, but I may well do.

Post ID: 354, posted by jase at 11:03 PM
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Monday, April 12, 2004 to close

It's being reported that will stop providing mirror services from the 1st of August due to the contract from JISC held by Lancaster University & The University of Kent being lost.

Considering a lot of projects host their projects on and not at any other site, some projects will have to move. Will anything be lost for good?

If the contract has been lost - surely some other group or organization will take over the mirror. Loosing a contract, would usually mean someone else has got it, rather than something being removed and no longer maintained.

We'll have to wait and see. Let's hope it does not die!
At least we will still have the various SunSITE's around the world.

Post ID: 341, posted by jase at 10:19 AM
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Saturday, April 10, 2004

Spymac 1GB webmail

According to an article, Spymac have implemented a 1GB limit on free accounts to users of the system. They are reported to be the 1st people with this limit, which has probably be implemented in light of the Google announcement. It seems that Google have a number of issues to contend with.

The first one, is that people are not going to like their mail being scanned - at all. I thought that paid advertising would be used to cover the costs of this service but does mail need to be scanned to implement directed advertising?

Not everyone will want to use PGP.

The other issue Google will face is with the name - Gmail, is reported to be the tradmark of another company that has been using it for some time. There are also a number of other webmail services named Gmail.

I'd agree with that is said in this post - wait until Gmail is out of beta or at least open to the public and then give it a try. Make your mind up then, not before - regardless of the reports flowing around at the moment.

There are also some more images available.

Post ID: 339, posted by jase at 12:06 PM
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Friday, April 9, 2004


I just noticed this worm, which is not good for us Trance lovers out there.
From what I've gathered from a report, it is obviously coded by someone who does not like and trance & or has something against the sites which it tries to DDOS.

The main payload is to corrupt any MP3 files with Trance as the genre in the ID tag field. A simple fix to protect your trance MP3 files is to make them read only.

Of course, not opening strange attachments also helps.

Post ID: 338, posted by jase at 11:07 PM
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Thursday, April 1, 2004


The word has been for a while that Google may delve in and create a web based email service and it seems that it is true. It looks like each user of Gmail will have 1gb of storage space, which is quite a lot for a free service. I think that Google will have to invest in some of our high end StorEdge systems, with terrabytes of storage with redundancy of course.

Looks exciting, we'll have to wait for more information.

UPDATE: 04/04/2004

Here are some screen shots of Gmail.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Google, the new look!

I'm sure I'm not the only one to notice that Google has updated the main front page when you visit the site. Search results have changed slightly as well. Now links to other Google tools and services are linked to from the main page.

The Froogle home page and search results pages have been updated to allow for a better user experience. Links to popular recent searches are now used instead of categories.

A new advanced search command allows you to search for results in a set range which will be good for searching for sites selling products with prices within a set range, for example a DVD player $250..$350.

Google News is also now including images in news search results, which will give better insight when reading news stories.

You can read the full announcement on the new features and changes here.

Post ID: 324, posted by jase at 10:17 PM
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Saturday, March 20, 2004

Yahoo paid inclusion

Recently people have been talking about paid inclusion on search engines. I've known that Yahoo has been doing this for ages and so have other engines. As people have been paying it is nothing new.

I just caught JZ's post, where he is defending Yahoo's paid inclusion scheme. I'll defend it as well as probably most other ones. Some people have obviously got the wrong idea about it and jumped in at the deep end.

In the case of Yahoo at least, paying only confirms that your listing WILL make it to the public directory & maybe a little quicker. If you didn't pay, then your site might not make it in and it might take a little longer even if it is to be included.

It does not (as some people think) get you a better ranking in search results which is the main thing people have taken the wrong way. At the end of the day Yahoo is a business and like any business it will usually do things to help it evolve and make money. Yes, there will need to be some element of filtering to take place even on paid inclusions as there is no point filling a directory with rubbish but search results are another story.

Read Dan Gillmor's article.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Feedster responds to the community

Recently Jeremy Zawodny posted about how Feedster was accepting paid advertising on its pages. JZ noticed that some of the links being displayed were sites that belong to spammers & ultimately blog spammers.

This find clearly wasn't very nice. The good thing to come out of it is that these advertisements have now been removed, a good response. I'm sure most people don't mind advertisements, but in a world where there are enough spam emails and what not advertising certain things like Viagra, do we really need any more?

I think not.

Wise man Ben, summed up the general consensus of thought nicely.

Post ID: 312, posted by jase at 03:20 PM
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Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Packet loss no more

The earlier problems have been resolved, it seems it was a problem upstream.
The monitoring system alerted me to the problem early on, as intended. I've got to implement another system which will monitor everything on multiple servers, a client / server model.

I've been meaning to do this for ages but have not got round to doing it yet. Soon I will get the time and motivation to sort things out that need doing.

When that is, I don't currently know.

Post ID: 302, posted by jase at 03:18 PM
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Monday, March 8, 2004

Packet loss

We seem to be experiencing some packet loss when communicating with this server, investigations are underway. You might find things a bit slow at the moment.

--- ping statistics ---
606 packets transmitted, 425 packets received, 29% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/std-dev = 157.899/184.249/260.070/13.894 ms

It seems there is a problem a couple of hops away from this box.
These things happen once in a while, events like this make you appreciate it more when things are working!

Monday, March 1, 2004

Internet CB network

I've just stumbled over the ICB network, which is kind of like IRC but less well known even though it has been around for some time. There are various clients for a multitude of operating systems. A popular Windows based client is Win/ICB.

Since this was called Internet CB, I thought it would be some sort of audio communication. Not at all, it's text based.

Sounds, good (excuse the pun) so will probably check it out. Since I've been interested in radio for years when I saw CB I thought - interesting! I've not been on the real CB for ages, so will have to check it out again at some point. I've got a load of radio equipment sitting around not doing much at the moment.

I'm also a licensed amateur radio user, but I don't really use it much. I got my license when I was 16, but was using CB for years before that. I've not played around with the radio stuff much lately, as I've been off doing other things. There are a lot of things to play around with on the radio waves - packet radio, SSTV, repeaters, RTTY and more.

Radio is one of those things that I check out every once in a while but will probably play about more in the future.

Post ID: 291, posted by jase at 07:10 AM
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Saturday, February 21, 2004


I could really do with some more drive space - either that or I need to start burning data to DVD/CD as I'm usually always low on space these days.

There's something to work on this weekend I think!

Post ID: 281, posted by jase at 04:17 PM
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Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Increased levels of spam

With all of the worms spreading around on the Internet at the moment, it's hardly a shock to see that most of us are receiving a lot more spam and worm related mail than in recent times. Of late, it has been news of worm after worm, which I thinkwill probably now continue.

So what can we do? Ensure that our anti-virus software is always updated and setup proper filtering to ensure that these mails don't even reach our inboxes.

I've been getting so much junk lately that I've got loads of unread mail as I have not had time to go through and sort it all out. I'm going to employ new filtering to lower the amount of rubbish coming through to various addresses.

I suppose as far as commercial spam goes, people must buy stuff that is advertised via spam else there would be no point in sending it all out - on the other hand though, maybe spammers just spam to annoy people, knowing that people will not buy their products or the ones that they are just advertising anyway.

And we thought it was bad at the moment...

Post ID: 278, posted by jase at 03:34 PM
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Tuesday, February 3, 2004

MyDoom.B - Non impact

It seems that very few copies of MyDoom.B have been stopped in the wild, by firms like Message Labs, compared to over 18 million copies of MyDoom stopped in the past week by Message Labs alone, according to an article on The Register.

That said, I don't think MS have anything to worry about at the moment - but a list of new variants and future worms attacking various sites will probably become more common in the future, causing problems much like SCO are having & there is not a lot that SCO or other companies can do to protect from it.

Post ID: 259, posted by jase at 10:39 PM
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Monday, February 2, 2004


It seems that SCO.COM does not have any DNS entries for the moment.

host -t ns NS NS NS NS

host -t soa SOA
2004020105 ;serial (version)
3600 ;refresh period
900 ;retry refresh this often
604800 ;expiration period
1800 ;minimum TTL

host -t mx mail is handled (pri=10) by

host -v -t any

Host not found.
rcode = 3 (Non-existent domain), ancount=0

SCO.COM works as normal, since the worm isn't attacking (only So if you really want to visit the SCO site - for now.

Of course, removing the DNS will stop a lot of bandwidth usage and keep the server(s) from falling over. The attack on MS will start soon with the world moving over to the 3rd of February.

I wonder how MS will deal with it, if the attack is as big?

Post ID: 258, posted by jase at 10:22 PM
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Sunday, February 1, 2004


As expected, SCO.COM is now unavailable, as of earlier today. From tomorrow we will probably see MICROSOFT.COM hit as well.

I wonder if the sites will be down for the duration of the attack?

Post ID: 256, posted by jase at 11:54 PM
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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

MyDoom spreading fast

Well, it appears that MyDoom is spreading fast and SCO has announced that it has put up a reward of $250,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons involed. Good luck to them...

In the mean time, SCO had better put some protection in place to help see that their site stays up come February 1st. It seems, according to Message Labs and other filtering outfits that MyDoom is up there as being the fatest spreading worm yet!

Message Labs has already blocked over 1 million copies. Not only is this going to cause issues for SCO, it is causing problems for company mail servers all over the world. Especially with the extra traffic generated by auto-responders and added to that - the fact that a lot of mail is being sent to random email addresses that don't exist causing a lot of failure messages and failed mail being held in mail server queues.

I suppose that SCO have asked for this attack - depending on how you look at it, be it right or wrong it looks like they are going to have to just take it. The fact that filtering firms are already blocking it will reduce the spread but there will still be a lot of people infected and as we have seen from previous examples, unless there is a built in shut off date - these worms / virii will be around for a long time and in some cases they will never be killed off totally.

Post ID: 251, posted by jase at 04:15 PM
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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

My Yahoo RSS Beta

Recently JZ published published the launch of the new beta service from Yahoo which allows you to aggregate a number of RSS feeds which you can select yourself or choose from a list. I've taken a look at it and it is pretty good, I'm sure there will be a lot more added as time goes on.

In a follow up, Jeremy Zawodny also posted an easy way to make MT ping Yahoo each time your blog is updated, so that the feed is updated by Yahoo, which will be better for anyone using this RSS service and has your blog listed as they will get updated posts quicker, as Yahoo will pull the feed every so often.

From a web based interface, this is perfect - you can see what's been talked about on the blogs you read from any web browser without having to visit each site. When you are in front of your box, you can also use this method or use a software based aggregator. In both instances, it saves time but the web based method means you can have the latest information at a glance from any computer with Internet access and a decent browser.

How to Ping Yahoo RSS from MT

Give it a try!

Post ID: 249, posted by jase at 11:28 AM
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Thursday, January 22, 2004

More Easy services

I noticed earlier that Stelios and the Easy group are introducing even more new services, such as Easy Pizza, Easy Cruise & and Easy Dorm.

They are all based on the idea of "the earlier you book the less you pay"
Sounds good, especially when Easy Pizza & Easy Dorm expand out of London.
But saying that - there is still no Easy Everything here in the UK's second city!

Easy Pizza
Easy Dorm
Easy Cruise

Post ID: 244, posted by jase at 10:37 PM
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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Why bother?

I just noticed 5 comments left today advertising different German sites, which obviously didn't get blocked because they are not in the blacklist - well they are in mine now!

They were simply advertising sites and leaving a comment to say I like this site. Maybe they would pass as legit, but leaving them all in one go? A bit too blatant. Especially when the site URL's are questionable.

Added to blacklist now - I think I'll forward them over to Jay for addition in the master blacklist.

I've just wasted all of 1 minute deleting them ;)

Post ID: 236, posted by jase at 11:40 PM
Permalink | Post / View Comments (0) | TrackBack ID: 211, (7) | Google Search

ADSL by the minute

It seems that ADSL is available from certain ISP's or will be soon and charged by the minute. Which amongst other things, costs a lot more than fixed rate.

I can see the situations where this would be an ideal package, but for most people the per minute charging will eventually cost more anyway, so people will no doubt avoid these packages.

I know I would...

Post ID: 234, posted by jase at 12:54 AM
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Sunday, January 11, 2004

Verisign to change DNS

Verisign are planning changes, to take place on February 9th. The changes should not affect most people, except people that rely on data directly from the root servers.

The SOA record for .com & .net will be changing format, so instead of being in the YYMMDD plus a 2 digit number which is updated when the zone is changed (usually they need to change when multiple updates are made on the same YYMMDD value, so clients know the zone has been updated more than once that day.

These changes will allow for more updates per day, so that new domains can appear more quickly, for example. The new serial format will be based on how many seconds it has been since 00:00:00 GMT on Jan. 1, 1970.

Verisign states that this should not cause any problems at all for most people.
Even so, we'll have to wait and see as I'm sure people that reply on the current format and don't know about the changes, will have problems.

Post ID: 229, posted by jase at 11:20 PM
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Friday, January 2, 2004

New MSN Worm - Jitux

It appears there is a new worm spreading via MSN Messenger. Although there are only a few reports of this in the wild at the moment, I'm sure it will spread quickly. The worm contains a link to a site which starts a download of a file called "jituxramon.exe" which is then executed and then the worm starts sending out copies of itself to contacts on the users list.

Sounds like it'll be more of an annoyance than anything else.

Post ID: 219, posted by jase at 07:01 PM
Permalink | Post / View Comments (0) | TrackBack ID: 196, (0) | Google Search

Monday, December 29, 2003

Online crime up in 2003

That might be true, but a bet a lot of complaints that the Internet Crime Complaint Center receive are related to email scams and other scams trying to con people out of money or help with scams.

I wouldn't class most of this as real crime as only idiots generally fall for these scams anyway. I bet that a good proportion is also made up of people sending complaints about the fact they received an email which was offensive or had a virus attached (probably unknown to the sender) - so, get over it people.

Indeed, the vast majority of these people will be without a doubt, part of the point and click generation. Says it all really.

I'd personally agree with the fact that online crime has gone up and probably will continue to do so, along with the so called crimes which really are not worthy of the status. If more people had a clue & if it were a mandatory requirement that you can use & understand Windows (at least) before being allowed on a computer then things would be better.

All the real crime and would like to be crime aside, it's not such a bad place to be. Let's just rid the Internet & world of sick so called humans instead of going on about silly scams that a monkey wouldn't fall for.

Post ID: 215, posted by jase at 05:43 PM
Permalink | Post / View Comments (0) | TrackBack ID: 192, (5) | Google Search

Saturday, December 27, 2003

MT comment uber spam

I'm sure most of us have seen the amount of UCE and other junk left in comments reduced since we all started to use Jay Allen's MT-Blacklist. I have, luckily I employed his nice plugin before I was starting to get too much as my blog was in its early days - it still is.

We should see even less once MT v3.0 and Pro are released.

Now despite all of this, it seems there is something that has been vitally missed.
After all of of mind numbing hours spent on AI R&D, we (the anti blog spam collective) have forgot to consider the LAMERS.

That is right, will we be able to rid our comments of useless junk / offensive messages left by lamers who don't realise it is quite easy to work out who they are, especially when you know them!

I've had comments left by people I know, who for some reason or another think I can't figure out who they are by a number of methods. Anyway, I don't mind deleting a few comments now and then that are not classed as spam - but something of a lower class - LAME COMMENTS.

Declare war - It has never been so much fun.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Net access for all?

Well in the UK at least.

That is what they would like, by 2008 according to this article. I don't think it will be achieved, not in the sense of "all" anyway. Most people will probably have some kind of access then, so things will be a lot better than they currently are.

I've had Internet access since 1998 and broadband since early 2001 so it doesn't really bother me - as long as I've got my access!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

The Wayback Machine

After reading JZ's blog post about previous personal web publishing, I headed over to to run a search or two. Well that was the plan anyway. I'll have to try later, as all I'm getting at the moment is a custom server error message, every time I try.

Don't you just hate that?

It'll be good though when it's working, as Jeremy found, it can bring memories back. In some cases, you might shake your head & in others laugh!

Post ID: 192, posted by jase at 01:34 AM
Permalink | Post / View Comments (0) | TrackBack ID: 170, (8) | Google Search

Thursday, December 4, 2003

SDSL in the UK

I had read a while ago about BT planning to start the roll out of SDSL, but thought it was a pretty limited initial roll out around London only. I'd be correct in saying that, but I'm pleased they are rolling out to more exchanges by the end of January, including some in the Midlands.

I wonder if mine will be upgraded? I bet the pricing on SDSL will be pretty expensive, especially since it is being targeted at the business community.

Will there be any cases of exchanges being upgraded directly to SDSL/ADSL all in one go?

Post ID: 185, posted by jase at 08:44 PM
Permalink | Post / View Comments (0) | TrackBack ID: 163, (4) | Google Search

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

MP3.COM archive no more

I just noticed over at The Register, that the MP3.COM archive will still be destroyed after attempts to save it.

It seems a shame that all that music will be lost / artists having to move, just because it was sold. I don't think it has been destroyed just yet, but it looks like it will be.

What a waste. See the story here.

Post ID: 184, posted by jase at 10:56 AM
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Saturday, November 29, 2003


It's good to see that more exchanges in areas that don't have a high user base, are finally meeting the demands to become upgraded. Just reading this article over at The Register, informed me.

I'm glad that I live in an area which was upgraded 2 years ago and I've had ADSL ever since it was first available.

Post ID: 180, posted by jase at 11:51 AM
Permalink | Post / View Comments (0) | TrackBack ID: 158, (4) | Google Search

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Google & IRC

You might have seen the various reports around at the moment that Google is playing about on IRC. I just read an interesting post by Dan on his blog which indicates that Googlebot might be getting data from the Toolbar that you may run.

More tests will have to be done, it would be nice to find a list of channels the bot is joining & on what networks. Aside from indexing chat, it's more likely that it's looking for URL's to crawl.

Time will tell.

Post ID: 161, posted by jase at 11:30 PM
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A UN run Internet - No thanks!

I don't like the idea of any organisation or company running the Internet.

Of course I doubt this will ever happen, but as time goes by I'm sure there will be more censorship taking place. The goal is to ensure that this is not taken too far. On the other hand, we all know how hard it would be to undertake censorship of information - even C&D orders these days don't hold much weight. The content would just be moved somewhere else.

It's another fine example of Governments trying to control something which they cannot control, what gives them the right?

Specifically, it is down to power. Certain people and Governments want more. Let us ensure this does not happen - ever.

Post ID: 160, posted by jase at 11:13 PM
Permalink | Post / View Comments (0) | TrackBack ID: 140, (2) | Google Search

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

WorldPay DDOS

It seems WorldPay want to get their services back online, more than they want to trace the attack. Usually, you would need to at least identify where the attacks are coming from, so they can be blocked upstream.

The site seems available now, but for how long?

Post ID: 147, posted by jase at 06:24 PM
Permalink | Post / View Comments (0) | TrackBack ID: 131, (2) | Google Search

Saturday, November 1, 2003

Microsoft to eat Google - Alive!

Word on the street is that Microsoft and Google are to form an alliance. If this is true and in what context this alliance would form, I don't know what to think. I suppose it could be good, then again, MS might just buy Google and convert it to its way of working. Or float it on the stock marktet? Keep things the way they are? We'll have to wait and see as things unfold. Then we can have more informed opinions about the issue.

One thing is for sure, Google doesn't want the fate that Netscape had.

Post ID: 138, posted by jase at 06:31 AM
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Cliff Stanford, director turned criminal

It seems that Cliff Stanford, who founded Demon Internet (my ISP) & got £33 million for it when he sold it to Thus PLC in 1998, has been arrested over claims that he has gained unauthorized access into the network of Redbus Interhouse & or redirected mail destined for people there, to a Hotmail address. It appears he has since sold his shares in the company recently.

I find this hard to believe, I think a man which so much money would have a lot of better things to do, for a start. And why risk doing something as trivial as redirecting mail? If you wanted to do something, there are a lot of better things that could have been done. Anyway, as always with these types of case, he probably won't get charged and the case will be dropped.

If they are scared of people reading their mail, they should at least use PGP - they obviously are not that bothered about people looking at their mail!

Post ID: 137, posted by jase at 06:02 AM
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Friday, October 31, 2003

jasun's moblog

This message is the official announcement, to launch my Moblog. I'm still working on things, but it's now online - so will be updated when I get the urge to send a picture to it. I'm using the MT-Moblog script by Ben, which is based on original code by Yoz, only Ben's script has improvements, such as POP3 support.

I'm currently using my Sharp GX10i. The new GX20 looks nice though!

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Internet connected devices

There are quite a few interesting devices connected to the Internet these days and more and more are being added. The ones which you can control are the best. How about at some point being able to switch on lights and stuff at your house? Well, you could do already. Try this desk lamp example. I've got a webcam, recently just got a new one, the Creative Webcam Pro. It's USB and better quality than the parallel version Creative Webcam 2 I had originally. I'd like to get one of these IP cameras though to mess about with.

Post ID: 131, posted by jase at 12:43 AM
Permalink | Post / View Comments (0) | TrackBack ID: 119, (1) | Google Search

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Visits from the Navy, NASA & Governments

It's interesting to see the kinds of visits you get from various places. Especially when they are visitors from interesting Government departments & agencies. Just looking through the stats, I can see hits from various & hosts as well as a load of universities such as Berkeley, some in Japan and the UK. In fact, there are loads of interesting hosts listed.

It also seems that Google is the search engine of choice by various people at NASA & The Navy.

So they are watching...

Post ID: 113, posted by jase at 07:57 AM
Permalink | Post / View Comments (0) | TrackBack ID: 114, (1) | Google Search

Friday, October 17, 2003

Site Finder will be back!

It appears that Verisign is going to launch Site Finder again, only this time with some prior notification to boards such as ICANN, according to a story I just read on The Register. The idea will remain the same, but it appears that they will think about the implementation a bit better this time and focus on comments received. For example, MX records so that mail servers don't waste time sending mail to domains that don't exist (or the Verisign mail servers). I won't discuss my previously discussed thoughts again, on this matter. Was there any point in them even suspending it? Maybe they did that because a few lawsuits came along.

Annoying, but still.

Post ID: 101, posted by jase at 11:17 PM
Permalink | Post / View Comments (0) | TrackBack ID: 102, (7) | Google Search

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Trackbacks to destroy Google

I have just been reading an article about Google Noise (which seems to be something that keeps being brought up a lot lately) over at The Register. Anyway, it seems that now even the Trackback is gaining ground in the whole Blog vs Google saga. From what example Andrew has used in the article, yes it appears that Google will index junk, but don't all of the engines?. The only way that this would be avoided is to use humans as part of the entire directory auditing process, which is not feasible.

The reason why Google appears to be the one in the limelight over this entire indexing subject, is because of the way it currently likes newer content over old. Unless there is a major human element involved, this will always be a problem.

There is one simple solution to Google indexing Trackback pages and other junk.

I noticed that comment entries and such from my blog were being indexed by Google and in some cases higher than the actual archive pages. So, what did I do? Easy. I just added the MovableType cgi directory to robots.txt. Problem solved, Google will no longer index any Trackback pages, comment pages etc. The only things it will index now are the actual archive pages. No more junk indexed on Google from my blog, unless of course you class my thoughts as junk!

The problem is getting everyone using MT and other engines to do something like that.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Spam test, so far...

Well, you know that anti-spam test that some of us did the other day? Well, so far since making the post, I've had 53 hits to that page. Just goes to show what certain words can get you more hits in a small amount of time than other words. The post I made about the Verisign Wildcard has had 556 hits since I posted it. It also of course depends on where the link shows up in the search results!

Thursday, October 9, 2003

Napster, hot or not?

Although it seems that Napster is coming back, I really doubt that it will be as big as it was. For everyone that used to enjoy using Napster, have now found other networks to use. Okay, so if it came back as it was, then it would probably be as popular, if not more popular than it was originally. But this time, people are going to have to pay to use it.

Immediate meltdown.

I know what I shall be doing - sticking with Soulseek, WinMX & DC++ clients and the networks they are designed for. Or the *nix alternative clients.

All this trouble that the RIAA are going on about, is caused by the big artists complaining about people downloading their productions for nothing and not buying the CD or whatever. Well, I'm not into chart music. The music I download is of the electronic age - trance, house, techno, dnb etc.

I never hear about any producer of these types of music complaining about people downloading tracks online...Why? because most of this stuff is not released on CD anyway, only on vinyl - so if someone wants to DJ using a track they would buy the record or for new promo tunes, burn to a CD and mix using the CD before the 12" is out. Even if the record wasn't purchased when it was released, the producers are not used to millions of purchases anyway, so they don't complain - they produce for the love of music, not making loads of money.

In chart terms, it's all about the money. Long live the free peer to peer networks. Remember, for unsigned artists wanting to get their work out there, sites and sharing online is the best way of doing it! Never mind people not buying CD's because of online downloading - ever thought that the stuff being released is rubbish? Well, most of it is! that's why less people are buying cd's!

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Blog Shares

Want shares in my blog?

Then get on over to Blog Shares!

Get them whilst they are available & low in price! (currently at $18.23 per share) but tipped to be hot stock as these shares are currently underpriced!

Blueyonder gaming service, no more!

Blueyonder, the broadband part of Telewest is closing it's gaming services. It's a subscription service, so you would think they would put more effort in. As you only get out what you put in! My ISP Demon, runs unsupported games and IRC servers, at no extra cost to the users. Some of the games servers are for Demon users only, but most are open. It is a good thing for me that they do run some as I get very low ping times when playing!

Even though the servers are officially unsupported, there's not ever any downtime with them any more than the supported services.

Then on the XBOX I play online with XBConnect, Gamespy Arcade & XBOX Live. It's all good!

Monday, October 6, 2003

Mission Critical Systems

I was just reading a story over on The Register about how a British teenager caused disruption to a US port when he used their systems to launch a DDOS attack (so they say). Well, apart from this being laughable, one would ask...

Why are there so many "mission critical" systems connected to the Internet in some way or another these days? Some companies & organizations are just asking for trouble. Well, like most of the people arrested due to computer misuse "so called crimes" in the UK, this one will probably be dropped.

Stop wasting court time and deal with real issues. At least most of them never reach this stage, as most people with half a clue understand how easily things can be spoofed and edited. Maybe there should be a seperate jury of technical advisors who actually understand the implications of dealing with these kinds of cases, instead of just anyone who gets called up!

That could apply to a lot of subjects - Go specialist!

Friday, October 3, 2003

Verisign To Suspend Site Finder

Well there is more to the saga. Verisign are going to disable Site Finder, well only for now at least... but we'll hope it is a final thing. Check out the story on Yahoo here. No doubt it will be back, we shall see.

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Verisign Wildcard - The lawsuits are coming!

Well, things are moving. As it stands, there are at least three lawsuits filed against Verisign. Maybe they could see all this happening and wanted the attention? Who knows. There is a lot of discussion about this top all over the web. We shall see how it unfolds as time progresses. You can read my earlier post about the Verisign Wildcard, here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Clients reconnecting to Yahoo IM

As I posted about previously, it now seems that 3rd party clients are now able to connect to the Yahoo instant messaging service. Reading some info from a /. post, it seems that there is a cat and mouse game being played between Yahoo (in this case) and the 3rd party IM application vendors.

Although Yahoo and indeed other companies can allow or disallow access to their services as they wish, you would think that they wouldn't be that bothered. Well it all comes down to money really. For example, Yahoo IM client has ads on it, so unless you block connections to stop the ads appearing, you will see these ads. If you're using a 3rd party client you won't & this means less clicks on the ads - Yahoo may change the advertisers per click for example, which would mean they are loosing out. Along with this, if you're using a 3rd party client instead, their application might not be free and they might use ads as well.

So there is one reason for blocking external access. Another thing is Yahoo can make money from selling licenses to 3rd parties to allow them access, but this may mean a charge is passed onto users of the alternative clients or (as already discussed) ads might be forced upon users in the program to cover costs paid to Yahoo or whoever, for access to their service.

Security is another concern. I don't really need to discuss it as I'm sure we all can understand what implications there might be with external protocol knowledge and access. Of course Yahoo and indeed MSN, ICQ, AIM etc could choose to integrate better protection and encryption but all of this development for a free service? They'd probably spend too much time and effort on this idea, especially when workarounds arrise and they have to change something again.

It's funny how MSN etc in some situations are hard to block access to on your corporate network - You don't see these companies bothered and trying to help then! Annoying for users of the popular 4 as well - We don't want to have to use 4 seperate clients when we can just simply use one integrated one, which may use less system resources as well! I'd suggest to Yahoo to stay open access - it might actually do them good and attract users to the service if they can stick with their all in one client.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Google Page Rank, fubar?

I've just been reading an article by Andrew Orlowski, over at The Register. Google has aquired a search engine (Kaltix). Maybe they want to develop certain technologies already thought up by this little start up? More interesting is discussion about the Google Page Rank and how it has died a death. I suppose different people have different views about why. Then others, will of course think everything is in order. We're getting back to the discussion (as is Andrew Orlowski's article) about how Google defines content and more importantly how it gets indexed for all to seach & see. At the moment at least Google seems to like new content over old. In some respects this is a good thing but in other cases not. Old content (old links) may now just be a sea of 404's. You're probably less likely to find this with new pages so that's a good thing to start off with.

This method of indexing that Google uses doesn't allow for moderation of content so the quality might not be very good, but how is an engine that searches so many pages going to easily automate quality assurance? I think the simple answer is, no search engine is going to be able to do this, even with some advanced AI. I suppose you could have a method by where humans search submitted links or links that the spiders have found, but this would be a lengthy process. Most engines have some sort of directory which uses this method anyway, so the massive unmoderated database is another addition! When people say that bloggers are filling up search engines with "noise", I think it is a bit harsh. Fair enough when a blog is just used like a personal diary then that would be a good point, but the fact is most blogs about all different kinds of subjects are not simply people having their say.

You can find out information and ways of solving problems which other people have already solved and then documented their methods on blogs, for example.

Maybe for people that don't want to see blog based stuff, search engines could have an option to filter out blogs. But I think this option would have to be turned off by default and people enable it if they wish. I reckon that most average web users, who may know what a blog is, wouldn't think they have a dominant place in most search engine results pages. I don't and I run a lot of searches (mainly only on Google) and I can't say that I see blogs listed on the first page or even first few pages for most things I search for. So the "noise" factor statement is a bit over the top.

Regardless of what we think, Google and the others, are still great tools and we would be lost without them!

The Dictionary.COM entry for fubar is pretty good... "Utterly botched or confused, and below that -
"[f(ucked) u(p) b(eyond) a(ll) r(ecognition).]" I wonder if that appears in a printed version?

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Verisign Wildcard

I just read a post over on Slashdot about Verisign adding a wildcard A record to the .com & .net TLD's. Another prime example of a company taking every advertising opportunity it can. I don't believe that there is anything anyone could do about it with regards to getting it removed as I'm not aware what boards such as ICANN have to say about it. It's just that we are all used to getting a simple browser error message and the like.

Like Jeremy Zawodny states, lets all block & or ask our ISP's to as well!

Why should we be foced to change, because Verisign feel the need? I suppose in some ways, it could be classed as giving Verisign an unfair advantage when it comes to users registering new domains, as they type a domain in, find it is not registered & are already at Verisign pretty much!

UPDATE - 19/09/2003

I just read on /. that Popular Enterprises, LLC has filed a lawsuit against Verisign over their Sitefinder service. ISC has also promised to update BIND to block Sitefinder according to a story on Wired.

UPDATE: 02/10/2003

The lawsuits are coming!

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Communication Established.

On another note, BT have finally sorted the configuration out on my router so it's all up and running now, 2mb all the way! I shall be writing to Demon though to make them aware that 5 days downtime on a business connection is not acceptable. No fault on their side, they did everything they needed to, the problem was with BT, but because it's all upto BT to sort this stuff out, Demon can deal with tjem over it. I will certainly not be paying for the period I was offline and will try and get the £150 charge for the regrade squashed which isn't too much to ask from BT for causing me problems for 5 days! Other than this I've never had any real trouble with the feed, other than occasional latency/routing issues which will be evident on any connection sometimes, some more than others, however.

Monday, September 8, 2003

Demon & BT support

Err, you would think BT would accept fault calls from ISP's 24/7. They do, but they only "look" at the faults during office hours. My ADSL is still down, it better get sorted tonight! (Hence why no updates over the weekend).

Friday, September 5, 2003


The regrade of my adsl has been done, but it looks like BT configured the router to use NAT, so at the moment the connection isn't working.

I was going to make a post when I got home last night but as I had no connectivity, I could not. There was no point hooking my modem up. The new bits came for my other new box this morning so I'll be building that tonight! Lets hope BT sort the configuration out.

Monday, September 1, 2003

Google Page Rank

Before I was able to mention it to Ben, he's posted about Google giving his blog a page rank.

But what he failed to note also, is that my blog has also got one! His Page Ranking is higher clocking in at 5, mine is at 4 if I remember correctly.

It's okay though, as I've got a bigger penis than him. I think it's time he checked out the MT spam comments on the various blogs, to find some sites to get an enlargement.

As you know Ben, I'm only joking.HEH.

Spam Comments

I've seen this talked about before, but I've just noticed that I've had a few spam comments advertising penis enlargements and the like. I just deleted them of course, but there must be some automation involved here to find MT blog's where these comments can be easily posted? As who would spend time looking manually?!

I've switched on email when new comments are posted, but maybe a new feature of MT could be moderation of comments before they are posted? Unless someone has hacked this in already?

On thing I did notice was that one was posted as person "vig-rx". Looking back on Jeremy Jawodny's blog to this post about MT spam comments, good old vig-rx is listed... and what do you know, he's posted some spam! Maybe there should be some name banning as well, just to annoy the spammers.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Update on Google Search Results

Well if you read my orginal post and the update, you'll be in tune with where I'm at! Anyway, I've just tried running the search again and now I am back at number 1, and 2nd if removing the a & of.

Weird. It goes to show, how things change...

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Demon ADSL

Well I've had mine for just over 2 years now and have never had a problem with it really. The router died once, so I had a few days downtime then before British Telecom (read: BT) got their act together and came out to replace it & there seems to be some periodic loss of routing happening lately, so need to investigate that but otherwise... no problems! With all the price drops recently, my 512/256kbps link has dropped in price to £45+Vat (£52.88), which is probably still more expensive than other ISP's and packages, but mine is one of the business packs which I have always had (20:1 contention, /28 subnet and various other things you don't get on the cheaper no frills options.

Also generally, the cheaper ones with 1 million users, tend to break get what you pay for as they say. Anyway, I'm currently being re-graded, so I will have a nice 2mb/256k 20:1 soon (Demon Express Pro), which should be more than plenty for my home usage, the 512k is, but for the price, I might as well now get 2mb as it is really only costing slightly more than I have been paying for the 512k link.

A bit annoying though, having to pay £150 to upgrade...

BT, sort it out!

Monday, August 25, 2003

Google Search Results

I just noticed A-list blogger Jeremy Zawodny has an interesting post about Google on his blog. Just after reading his post I went onto Google UK to run a search to find out if I could get the same kind of results with popular words. Anyway, the search I did was "Reading a lot of stuff". Google states that it found about 2,020,000 matches. I'm number one! (which I already knew). Google said: "The following words are very common and were not included in your search: a of."

So I tried the same search without a & of. New search: "Reading lot stuff". Although the same amount of results were found, the returned results were different. I show up 2nd in this search & a lot of other results are different.

It does seem that it's taking more notice if these words than it would appear...Maybe they should re-phrase to state the words are included in search results so if you would like more detailed search results then obmit these words from your searches (rather than say they are ignored)

One thing I have also noticed about google at least, is that it takes notice of the Post subject headers quite a lot, so if you use the right words in the headers, you can get higher up in the search results for good search phrases! Even better when Google likes newer content more and puts it closer to the top!

Yahoo on the other hand, also has slightly different returned results values as well as some different sites listed, but they don't claim to ignore popular words, so different results for different search words are allowed!

UPDATE: Well it seems that now, I'm not even on the first page, or near it! and the amount of returned results appears to have gone down.... Although Jeremy is now listed as I did a trackback to his post. I suppose when we wonder why this information changes, we have to think about how Google is setup and distributed via various servers and database, some not being the REAL database if you like, but data gathered by freshbot rather than deepcrawl.... then obviously which server you hit will be dependant on the load balancing...

Friday, August 22, 2003

New Blog Design

Well, I'm having a play... but... I think I'll get Ben to modify it some more, as I've got a few ideas about how I want it to look, but ... he knows all about this kind of design thing :-)

I know the colours on the text is a bit hard to read, so will be changing it around.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Moving sites

Don't you find it really annoying, that when moving sites from one box to another, you then spend a lot of time getting everything working again? It's okay when you just use html etc, but when you're using databases, cgi scripts and such, it takes a while to figure out whats wrong with each thing after the move.

But you always get there in the end, it's just a chore having to move stuff sometimes!

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Reading a lot of stuff

I noticed on Jeremy Zawodny's blog that he has a little post about being bored with the stuff that he reads online, such as other blogs etc. I can relate to this, not so much in the bored of sites sense but in the sense that I can't be bothered to keep checking sites! It grows towards becoming a sort of chore! Even more so when you read a lot of sites on a daily basis!

Maybe I've just lost most of my motivation lately, yeah... that's what it is!


Well, due to delays in getting the other box back online, I've been having some DNS problems. They should all be sorted out shortly... so, now you know!

Thursday, July 17, 2003


Whilst checking out blog categories on Yahoo I noticed the Sex category, so of course I had a look. Out of the ones that took my fancy, Evie's blog has some interesting reads, especially this one (article on Mainichi Daily News).

Another funny site has got to be Masturbate For Peace, which has some funny images, links & stuff to read on it.

I suppose two questions you could ask yourself when looking at MFP is..."Am I a wanker?" & "Do I admit it?"

Friday, July 4, 2003

More web filter fun, etc..

Well the lame websweeper at work has blocked my blog! I suppose that is my fault for using bad language HEH. Anyway, I was thinking earlier about how most tech firms spend lost of money on projects and rollout of new equipment etc (for example our migration of 30 odd sites / thousands of users from NT4 to Win2k) - they've spend a lot on new hardware for all the users, yet we are still using banger boxen in the office... How annoying are slow pc's? It slows peoples productivity down, for one thing. This nt box has only 64mb of ram! WTF! It takes about 6-7 seconds to open up new emails, as the HDD is whirring away.