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February 2007 Archives

February 25, 2007

Paged Archives v1.23

Filed in: Movable Type.

My original intention was to completely rewrite the PagedArchives plugin, test it over the course of the next week or so, and release it next weekend. However, having done 95% of the rewrite yesterday, I discovered that when I rebuilt all the category files, MT would only run P.A. on the last file built. Since it uses the same callback as version 1 which works fine, I can't fathom at all why that would be.

So instead I'm releasing a revised version of version 1 with some of the more pending issues raised in the comments on the P.A. v1.2 entry. The main issue which should now be fixed is the construction of navigation URLs (rather than the crappy method I was using to construct them before, I'm now using either the URL MT gives me, or constructing one using the same method used by MT).

Not fixed in this version (but hopefully should be in version 2) is the problem zero had of running out of memory.

You can get version 1.23 on the PagedArchives plugin page. If you're using this plugin, please report bugs in the comments here.

Posted at 4:57 PM | Comments (17)

February 24, 2007

Video Games Live

Filed in: Games.

It was with some surprise this morning that I found out I was going to Video Games Live with my brother. He writes reviews for NZ Gamer and thus had procured two free tickets. I actually knew about this a while ago but had forgotten about it in the meantime...

I wasn't quite sure what to expect (Two hours of Pong?) but as it turned out it was the Vector Wellington Orchestra and Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus (I'm a sucker for orchestras with choirs) playing some bloody good music. Though I have to admit that apart from the retro games (they started off with a medley of music from the likes of Asteroids, Defender, and (yes) Pong), I haven't actually played any of the games they performed music from. Am I slack or what? All the same, I very much enjoyed the music (although not as much as some of the audience members, who seemed to be getting a little too excited) and the light show and game footage. Kudos to all people involved.

Unfortunately my good camera is broken, but here's a crappy cellphone photo:
[round one, FIGHT!]

I was especially impressed with Martin Leung's piano playing skills. I've never ever seen anyone play arcade game music on a piano at that speed. If I could play the piano half as well as him, I'd be a happy (and probably rich) man.

Almost as impressive were the audience member who got up on stage to play Space Invaders (by jumping back and forth to move the spaceship), and the two audience members who played Frogger for a $4,000 laptop. Performance anxiety much?

A great (and unexpected) evening!

Posted at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2007

Energy drink review: Tab Energy

Filed in: Energy Drinks.

[Tab Energy can]I ambled in to my local dairy this morning to find a new energy drink on the shelves!

Tab Energy is a "low calorie energy drink" (sounds like a contradiction in terms but is just a diet drink with the usual high levels of caffeine) produced by Coca Cola. I suspect this is to supplement their current range of energy drinks (Lift Plus and e2) rather than replace them, and I'll be interested to see what demographic the advertising is aimed at.

Available in a hot pink can, Tab Energy is roughly the same colour as its packaging and tastes of strawberries.

Posted at 7:09 PM | Comments (3)

February 20, 2007

Crawl Stats

Filed in: Website Management.

I was looking at Google Webmaster Tools before and noticed that after years of languishing at at around 50th hit for the query "Alden", I'm now at 12th position. I'm headin' for the top, baby!

I'm still confused over something on the "Crawl stats" page though: For months and months now, it's reported that over half the pages on tetrap.com have "PageRank not yet assigned" like so:
[Crawl stats image]

I can't tell if this is a glitch in the system (it's counting pages which are blocked from being indexed or something?) or simply that it's not being updated.

Posted at 8:56 PM | Comments (2)

February 17, 2007

Totally XHTML

Filed in: Website Management.

I've just knocked a long-standing item off my todo list: Every page on tetrap.com is now validated strict XHTML. This means that the pages will all be a lot more compatible with browsers other than Internet Explorer.

The last section that needed to be converted was The DiscContinuity Guide, which was unfortunately last updated more than two years ago. The HTML code it contained was very old (and buggy in a couple of places) but is now all fixed up and shiny.

This also marks the first time in a few year that tetrap.com has had a uniform look to it (except the NZDWFC site which has a look of its own).

My good mood is only slightly spoiled by the fact that TV2 have resumed playing new episodes of Stargate SG-1 at 1pm on Saturdays and DIDN'T BOTHER TO TELL ANYONE! It appears I've only missed the first episode of season 9 (yes, NZ is two years behind) though...

Posted at 3:08 PM | Comments (5)

February 10, 2007

Aggressive Spammer Scripts

Filed in: Spam.

I have one spammer who has a comment spamming script which regularly pounds on my site. This script hits from four IP addresses sending up to 40 requests per second and despite only getting 403 access denied responses, has not given up. The IP addresses are:

  • 195.226.230.58 - owned by the Hard Rock Cafe in Kuwait.
  • 82.114.68.194 - owned by the Kujtesa Network in Kosova.
  • 62.150.35.230 - owned by "Lebanese Besources for Car Spare parts Co.", part of QualityNet Kuwait.
  • 62.150.40.142 - Same ownership as 62.150.35.230

I attempted to communicate with the owners of the IP addresses to try to get this sorted:

  • The cafe in Kuwait: They don't have a web page, and their email address on the Hard Rock Cafe web site bounces with a "not a valid mailbox" error. I got another email address from the HRC site's customer care team... which bounced with "mailbox unavailable".
  • Kujtesa Network: No response yet.
  • QualityNet Kuwait: The email address on the RIPE whois bounced with the error "Over quota". I forwarded it to their support email address from their site. No response yet.

Another spammer (or possibly the same one) is also trying to spam from an IP address from rbnnetwork.com (see also Spacesquad Anti-Spam service). An email to their abuse address I sent on the 1st remains unanswered.

So where does that leave me? At least these spammers are using a small number of consistent IP addresses, so perhaps my last resort is to ask my web host whether I can get them blocked at the firewall level...

Posted at 10:22 PM | Comments (1)

February 9, 2007

Energy drink review: Shot and Go

Filed in: Energy Drinks.

[Shot and Go can]Made in Austria, distributed by National Beverages Ltd in Auckland, this energy drink comes in an eye-catching bright YELLOW can (yellow in lower case is not sufficient to describe the yellowness of this can) which this photo does not do justice. So far as I can tell there's no particular gimmick (other than the extreme yellowness they've managed to acquire) - this is just a regular energy drink which comes in a YELLOW can, has 80mg of caffeine, and tastes almost exactly like Red Bull. It scores over Red Bull in that it's slightly cheaper, and is yellower.

Wait, is that name a "Shop and Go" pun? FOUL!

Posted at 9:26 PM | Comments (3)

February 8, 2007

TSV 43

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

TSV 43 went online a couple of days ago. The paper version was published in early 1995, which means that one of the participants in Four Writers, One Discussion had yet to write anything Doctor Who related. Paul Cornell, Andy Lane and David Bishop were known at the time for their Doctor Who novels (and have done further work since), but Steven Moffat hadn't yet penned The Curse of Fatal Death, let alone the two stories he's done for the new series.

There's also The Engima Magnet, a comic strip featuring the fifth Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Kamelion, which started off a regular run of comic strips - unfortunately they're not as common in TSV these days. And one of my favourite pieces of Cyberman art to appear in TSV. And a rare piece of Mel artwork! And this cartoon by Jon Preddle!

I had two pieces of art in this issue: pictures of the first Doctor and the Destroyer from Battlefield. I sent in the latter piece after Paul requested artwork for the Andrew Cartmel interview in TSV 40, but it was held over until this issue, probably because it was similar to Tim Hill's depiction of the Destroyer.

In TSV 44: the other half of Tardis Tales: Yet Another Alien Invasion Story, a look at the aborted anniversary special The Dark Dimension, and there's an article by me about the Master which I should probably update...

Further reading: Paul Scoones on TSV 43, Jamas Enright on TSV 43, David Bishop on Four Writers, One Discussion.
Previously: TSV 42

Posted at 6:21 PM | Comments (1)

February 2, 2007

Installing a scanner on XP: The Saga

Filed in: Computers.

XP is supposed to make working with devices easy, right? Right?

I have an HP Scanjet 5100c which I used successfully on my old PC for ages, first under Windows 98 and then under Windows XP. Recently I bought a new PC and tonight I needed to scan something, so I dug out the HP install disk and had at it.

Problem 1: Once I'd installed the software and plugged the scanner in, Windows XP would get as far as detecting new hardware and promptly reset. This has happened to me once before with WinFast TV2000 XP WDM Crossbar. In this case the problem was sharshtl.sys (Shuttle printer sharer). I fixed it by unplugging the scanner and then renaming sharshtl.sys so Windows couldn't load it.

Problem 2: Once that was done, XP booted up fine and the scanner was there (twice, actually). Unfortunately when I tried to scan with it, HP PrecisionScan would report that the scanner was not responding... and then the scanner would scan anyway (but the data wouldn't reach the PC).

I'm still not sure whether this is fixed or not. After a few reboots and messing about, the parallel port test is claiming "Scanner not responding", but PrecisionScan went ahead and scanned properly anyway.

Tilt.

Oh, and I downloaded an updated driver from HP's web site. When I try to run it, I get an error stating "The file could not be located", and the program quits. Real good, HP.

Posted at 8:26 PM | Comments (8)

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