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October 2005 Archives

October 31, 2005

eFiction sucks part 2

Filed in: Website Management.

eFiction was inherited from the previous management of Teaspoon when it was taken over and I volunteered to act as co-techie. Unfortunately there are many places where eFiction is lacking, and one of those is error recovery.

For instance, if the SQL server is down, rather than fail gracefully, you get errors all over the site saying things like:
Warning: mysql_fetch_array(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /home/whoficco/public_html/index.php on line 35

Which doesn't look very nice, and doesn't tell the user what the problem actually is. This is because there's no test to see if a database query succeeded before going ahead and using the result set.

Equally not very nice is the fact that if, when someone edits a story, eFiction can't open the file to write the changed text to, it fails silently. Yes, it discards the changes and cheerfully gives the user a "Story successfully changed!" message, despite the fact that it hasn't! As this will cause data loss, I've fixed our version to display an error message instead, so the user can at least press the back button and save their changes externally before contacting us so we can fix the problem on the server.

On a more festive note, Brad has an LJ entry going with cool pictures of Halloween pumpkins.

Posted at 6:21 PM

October 29, 2005

Dodgy Alien #2

Filed in: TV & Movies.

From the very outer reaches of the Outer Limits comes a new fear! To be precise, I was watching an episode of The Outer Limits titled "Don't Open 'Til Doomsday". In the episode, people are sucked into a small box (it's bigger on the inside) by the alien within who seeks to destroy the world!

The alien looks like this:
[Turdy the Turd Monster From Another Dimension!]

I've got to hand it to the designer on that show for designing an actual literal crap monster. I'm not entirely sure why they chose to gave it that huge lopsided grin though - makes it look more like it's looking for a hug than seeking to annihilate the universe.

[Previously on Dodgy Alien Theatre: Thing]

Posted at 12:23 AM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2005

Calling Fidel Yzageirre

Filed in: Spam.

My catch-all email box for seems to have exploded with spam. Usually it has a couple of dozen emails for people at, where the sender missed the S off, plus some hopeful spam sent to the webmaster address. But when I checked today, there were 170 messages, mostly spam, directed at one Fidel Yzaguirre. Google and Yahoo have two results for that name, but neither is of much help. The email address in question doesn't come up in a search on either engine...

Who is this mysterious Fidel Yzageirre, and why do dozens of spammers think he has a valid email address on my domain? Strange!

Posted at 6:00 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2005


Filed in: Unreal Tournament.

I only noticed a while ago what it said along the bottom of the Hellbender's licence plate...

Licenced to Frag

Yeah, so I'm slow. Wonder what the significance of the 675 is...

Posted at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2005

UT Review: Maelstrom

Filed in: Unreal Tournament.

Level: ONS-Maelstrom
Type: Onslaught
Download Size: 6 MB
Rating: 9/10
Downloaded from: Unreal Tournament Files (File Front)

Description: A series of gentle plataeus littered with nodes.

Continue reading "UT Review: Maelstrom"

Posted at 1:39 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2005

War of the Worlds (Asylum remix)

Filed in: TV & Movies.

This is the third of the War of the Worlds movies to be released this year. It's no Spielberg masterpiece but it's not technicolour puke either. It's the Asylum take. To the right you should see the cover, on which one of the walkers (they have six legs, not three) is doing an Independance Day impression with the White House. Like the picture on the back with walkers destroying the city, this doesn't occur in the movie.

The trailers which played when I stuck the disk in didn't really fill be with confidence, being full of bad acting and (unintentionally?) hilarious gore. But fortunately, the movie itself didn't plumb those depths.

George Herbert (astronomer) is seperated from his wife and kid at the start of the movie as mysterious objects plung from the skies. He approaches the crater with a group of people, only to be confronted by a huge six-legged machine which starts with the killing and the mayhem. The story swiftly gets to the action, with walkers stomping around heat-raying people and wiping out civilisation in the first half hour, while Mr Herbert attempts to make his way to the Lincoln Memorial to meet up with his wife.

The special effects vary a lot from average for a TV series to pretty good. Fortunately they show stuff sparingly and the movie benefits from it. I'm not big on gore, but this movie has it, and it seemed like about the right amount to me. This movie didn't have a huge budget, but by the looks they made more of it than Pendragon did. The pacing was a little odd at times...

Not a Hollywood masterpiece, but better than a B movie.

In 2007 will be released (hopefully!) yet another War of the Worlds movie, the completely CGI version based on Jeff Wayne's soundtrack...

Posted at 8:34 PM | Comments (1)

October 17, 2005

Doctor Who merchandise which should exist

Filed in: Doctor Who.

A USB drive range, including:

  1. A sonic screwdriver - the light would flash when data is bring transferred
  2. A TARDIS - ditto
  3. A Dalek - flashing gun-stick would probably look coolest...

I'd buy one. Heck, if there can be Barbie USB drives why not?

Posted at 10:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

More proof spammers are idiots

Filed in: Spam.

I got a spam today (well, an apparent spam, it could just be an incompetantly written virus) which said:

<TITLE>404 Not Found</TITLE>
<H1>Not Found</H1>
The requested URL was not found on this server.<P>

Woooo, leet spamming skillz there.

Posted at 7:19 PM | Comments (2)

October 14, 2005

Rey de la hamburguesa

Filed in: Tetrap.Local.

I went into Burger King today (shush, I walked around town for 30 minutes first) to get lunch, and noticed they had a "Caution, Wet floor" sign out, with a neat translation in Spanish underneath the English text. That would make perfect sense in the US, where the nearest Spanish-speaking country is Mexico, but not really in New Zealand, where the nearest Spanish-speaking country is, uh, Mexico (or more likely a South American country). I guess it's cheaper just to print off one design.

Now I'm sure I noticed this before and had a conversation with someone online about it, but my memory sucks, so I don't remember.

Posted at 5:32 PM | Comments (4)

October 12, 2005

Spam attack (part 2)

Filed in: Spam.

Further to my previous entry, several of the more recent spam attempts have been linked to casino sites - perhaps the spammer was hoping to slip them through in the general chaos of the spamming of links to blog entries? Spam Huntress mentioned this lot last month.

I really wish people would clean the spam off their blogs though. Take a look at the number of results for some of these queries:

It's no wonder they keep on spamming.

Edit: Renaming my comments script seems to have stymied them, for a while at least...

Posted at 8:32 PM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2005

Spam attack

Filed in: Spam.

A particularly annoying comment spammer seems to have decided to target my site - the same one who's been spamming legitimate blog URLs. I blocked a bunch of open proxies in my .htaccess file last night, but still had some 74 comments get through overnight. Of those, 38 ended up in the junk folder, 35 were moderated, and 1 got through.

I'd added some phrases to SpamLookup last night as well, but I must have done them wrong, as SpamLookup didn't match them in the comments. I changed the phrases to regular expressions instead, and hopefully that should lower the number of comments that escape the junk folder. I've also added a bunch more open proxies to the .htaccess, and (temporarily) lowered the limits for moderating/junking comments based on number of URLs.

The spams typically start with a piece of generic praise, some random gibberish, then a raw URL, and a piece of random text linked to another URL. The URLs are usually entries from innocent blogs (either the spammers are intending to spam those entries at a later date, or perhaps they just want to muddy the waters of spam blacklists. Example comment openings are:

  • your site is exactly the kind of sites which make the net surfing so fun. keep scrolling down for pastry cream recconsequentlyipe:
  • Just letting you know - your site is fantastic! 1 small clove garlic:
  • your site is a very nice source of info. extensive methods for this:
  • brilliant site! happy to be here. about a year ago i started:
  • Reading your content just made my day. Keep the good work. quilt Your fabric yoyo:

The text before the ':' seems to be used a lot, so adding those to blacklists should help. There's also a wee discussion going on in the comments of the spammed entries on Andrew's Blog.

Posted at 10:50 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

October 8, 2005

TSV 31

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

I've just finished uploading the contents of TSV #31 to the archives. It was published in November 1992, and includes such cool things as an article on The Robots of Death, Jon Preddle's article detailing the use of the Sonic Screwdriver over the course of the original series, the first part of a series of articles about the Target Novelisations, aaaaaand the first part of a JeffStoat fanfic titled Wotan Lives! (Note that this was written before putting an exclamation mark on the end of a title started meaning "THIS IS A COMEDY! YOU MUST LAUGH!" and Wotan Lives! is a serious fanfiction).

Of course, if you're looking for something silly, there's always Tardis Tales and Nigel the Self-Igniting Dalek and his Little Friend Oswald.

TSV #32 next, which features among other things) bits cut from Attack of the Cybermen, more Novelisations (the third Doctor novelisations this time) and the debut of a short-lived comic strip I did titled "Dr Hoo".

Posted at 9:24 PM | Comments (4)

October 5, 2005

More hotlinking for fun

Filed in: Website Management.

I enacted my revenge against another hotlinker, but, um, given the state of her profile, I'm not sure she's going to notice.

Strike 1: green, pink and cyan(?!)
Strike 2: crappy snow javascript raining broken images on her page. WTF?
Strike 3: strikethrough. Yes, every piece of text on that page has the strikethrough attribute applied.

Oh, and in IE it has a badly drawn pink sun cursor, and bright pink scroll bars.

WTF?! Get off my Internets!

Posted at 8:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 4, 2005

Spelling Nazi Post

Filed in: Tetrap.Local.

And massacring the English language today:

Ow. Their draw's are a huge drawer card.

Posted at 5:31 PM | Comments (1)

October 3, 2005

Freeform poetry, courtesy my Yahoo Mail spam box subjects

Filed in: Misc.


Need medicine? All here!
Gain up to 3+ full inches in length
The Jack Rabbit
The Jack Rabbit
Home delivery cialis tabs
Don't expose your intimate life!


Posted at 9:16 PM | Comments (1)


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