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November 2004 Archives

November 30, 2004

Make Love, Not Spam

Filed in: Spam.

Lycos is introducing a new way to fight spam. It's a screensaver which attacks the web sites of spammers, draining their bandwidth and making their site unresponsive. I'm not at all sure it's legal, but really how many people are going to have sympathy for the spammers?

Of course this could backfire. As we've already seen with SORBS, it's easy to accidentally target people who haven't done anything wrong. It's common, for instance, for a number of completely unrelated web sites to be hosted on the same server simply because the owners are signed up with the same web hosting company. An attack on one site on such a server would impact the other unrelated sites as well...

Posted at 6:39 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2004

AVG anti-virus

Filed in: Computers.

I downloaded AVG free edition version 7 last night, and was glad to find that it is actuall a lot better than version 6. The email scanner seems to work with Pegasus Mail (It may have done before and just not told me, since it seems to do so transparently) and the interface as a whole looks a lot better.

I'm hoping the new version doesn't crash my PC after doing a full scan, like 6 did... I have yet to do one though.

Posted at 5:42 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2004

Filed in: Website Management.

I administer a web ring on At the moment I'm finding this difficult, as any time I attempt to load, it times out. If I load it via Google language tools it works fine. Fanlisting works fine.

So evidently there's a problem somewhere between me and that's stopping me from loading the pages. I would contact webring for help in solving the problem, but all they have is a feedback form and no apparent helpdesk email address. They suggest on the support page to ask in the forums, which I would do if I was able to load the forums (directly) at all.

Thus we have a catch 22 - I am unable to load, and I am unable to obtain help because doing so requires loading

I am going to attempt to guess a support email address in the hope someone there is monitoring that address and can help.

Posted at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

Get Fuzzy

Filed in: Links.

Today's Get Fuzzy. Egads, I say. That's a wee bit disturbing...

Edit: I didn't mean to end up ranking so high for Get Fuzzy on Google. My apologies to anyone who landed here expecting something deep and meaningful about the comic and found instead a (now) dead link and two pathetic sentences of comment.

The comic, which is no longer there because take them down after a couple of weeks, was during a period when Darby was suffering from an injured arm. ISTR it looked like Bucky was doing something obscene to Satchel.

I guess this is more proof Google is broken.

Posted at 9:58 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2004


Filed in: TV & Movies.

I got hold of the Farscape box set finally yesterday and, bam, I've watched five episode already. I've got to slow down and ration them, because after this there's nothing until either the mini-series (or whatever it was they made) plays on TV here, or comes out on DVD.

But Jeff keeps sending me Star Trek and Stingray DVDs to watch, plus both seasons of I'm Alan Partridge, and Kylie's lent me the first season of Dark Angel, not to mention a pile of videotapes which Meg sent me a while back, so it's not like I have nothing to space the episodes out with...

Posted at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2004

Farscape season 4

Filed in: TV & Movies.

Farscape season 4 comes out on DVD here today. Seasons 2-4 of that series haven't screened here other than on pay TV, so I have been waiting (im)paitently for the release of the fourth season so that I could watch it finally. I was going to buy it at lunchtime, however (having gone to the trouble of printing out their $20 coupon) Whitcoulls didn't have it on the shelf.

It turned out that they were sent the wrong items by the distributor. Hopefully they'll get it in before the coupon expires on Sunday...

Posted at 6:09 PM | Comments (1)

November 22, 2004


Filed in: Weblogging.

On a whim last night, I signed up for Blog Explosion, as site which lets you earn credits by looking at other people's weblogs, and then use the credits earned to direct other BE members to your weblog. You can also refer other people to the service in a sort of pyramid scheme dealy and earn credits from that.

After having surfing on blogs using their system for a while:

  1. On dialup, weblogs often take more than 30 seconds to load. :)
  2. The six credits I earned were gone before I finished surfing.
  3. It's also a useful way to find weblogs to vote into industries on BlogShares

I suspect I would have to surf quite a lot of weblogs before experiencing anything like an "explosion" in traffic, but as at the moment most of my hits appear to come from blog spammers, it's worth a go.

Posted at 7:52 PM | Comments (4)

November 19, 2004

SORBS Strikes Back

Filed in: Spam.

Good old SORBS (Spam and Open-Relay Blocking System) is still at it. Not only are they blocking whole ISPs, they're apparently also blocking email from servers hosted on dynamic IP addresses. Once again, SORBS is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

The reason thay're blocking anything from dynamic IP addresses is because virus-ridden PCs can be used to send spam. Gosh, wait until they realise that 100% of spam emails are sent via the SMTP protocol! "OMG! By blocking any email sent with that protocol, we can block 100% of spam! We'll be saviours!"

As I mentioned a while back on my LJ, SORBS came to my attention because I tried to email a friend of mine, and it bounced. If there's one thing I hate more than spam, it's having a perfectly valid email bounce for no good reason. (I've been able to email George since, and it looks like Paradise was taken off SORBS' list.)

Blacklisting is bad, it stops legitimate emails and doesn't really affect spammers much, because they use fake email addresses and don't get the bounces. Of course, if everyone used the blacklist, that would stop the spammers... for about five minutes before they found a way around it. Spammers make quite a lot of money, you see, so they're determined to keep doing it. The only way to stop spam for good is to cut it off at the source. Blacklisting doesn't do that, it just makes the problem invisible, like taking painkillers for a brain tumour.

Of course, people will still use blacklists. However if you consider using SORBS, you might stop to consider what valid emails you might miss out on.

Incidentally, SORBS is currently in fourth position for a worthless project.

Posted at 7:31 PM | Comments (5)

November 17, 2004

Cutesy SWF pets R Us

Filed in: Links.

Adoption Centre

This makes me wish I had the software to make SWF files, so I could make a pet Dalek.

Posted at 8:30 PM | Comments (2)

November 16, 2004

Things pissing Alden off at the moment #1

Filed in: Computers.

It's that time of year again, when I become mysteriously unable to get a decent dial-up connection. When I tell my modem to dial in, it re-negotiates twice and I end up with a sub-56K connection. At the moment I'm connected at 28800bps

I'm pretty sure it's not the modem, as I borrowed another modem from work last year and it had the same problem. Besides which, the modem connects at high-speed fine for most of the year - it's just between November and sometime early the next year that it starts becoming a problem.

Perhaps Telecom lowers the quality of their phone lines to "encourage" people over to its highly-expensive broadband "offerings". Perhaps it's just that the warm weather does something to the phone lines to lower the quality. Maybe it's Paradise's modems. Maybe it's solar flares. Whatever it is, it makes the internet surfing experience more painful than it should be.

Posted at 4:26 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2004


Filed in: TV & Movies.

I started today by pulling my PC apart and giving it a good dusting in order to try to get rid of the resetting problem. This segued into a general tidy which reduced the amount of clutter.

Then I watched Heaven's Gate because I'd never seen it before. Long long loooooong movie, with lots of nice scenery. It really needed a counter at the corner keeping track of the money spent. :)

Meanwhile in America, Left versus Right continues.

Posted at 5:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2004

Updating Firefox

Filed in: Computers.

There's a new version of Firefox out. The only problem I find with updating Firefox is that some of the extensions you've installed and gotten used to will immediately stop working. This time it was Googlebar, and I had to uninstall it then reinstall it to get the toolbar back (And now it's not appearing in the Extensions dialog).

It's still several thousand times better than Internet Explorer, of course.

Posted at 9:35 PM | Comments (0)

November 9, 2004

Hayao Miyazaki movies

Filed in: TV & Movies.

My brother bought a bunch of Hayao Miyazaki movies recently. He's responsible for the award winning anime Spirited Away, which I enjoyed a great deal. I've already watched:

Princess Mononoke: This one seemed confusing, mainly for the reason that the main character Ashitaka seemed to swap allegiences at the drop of a hat. I guess what he was really rooting for was peace, but I didn't think that came across well.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky: Steampunk is cool. This has Anna Paquin and Mark Hamill providing voices for the English dub. I highly recommend this one.

And tonight I have Kiki's Delivery Service to watch...

Posted at 7:13 PM | Comments (3)

November 8, 2004

Queensgate AKA Westfield

Filed in: Tetrap.Local.

The additions to Westfield (or Queensgate as it's still known) in Lower Hutt seem to be coming along nicely. They should hurry, as we vitally need the extra 50 women's clothing stores!!!!!1one

There's also a bit of work going on on Logan's Plaza (or Maidstone Mall as it was originally known) in Upper Hutt. Must be the season to build on to your shopping mall.

Posted at 9:02 PM | Comments (0)

Yahoo! Movies

Filed in: TV & Movies.

I discovered today Yahoo! Movies. It appears to use the old E! Online database as a base, as the entry for "Wombling Free" incorrectly lists its date was 1984 instead of 1977.

I clicked on the Message Board link and, on being told I could "Be the first to post a message!", I had a go. Unfortunately when I hit "post", I got a blank page with the Yahoo! Movies banner at the top of it. The message doesn't seem to have appeared, so I guess it didn't work, hmmm? Could do with a bit more work there...

Frustratingly, the only way to submit updates appears to be a generic Feedback form.

Posted at 5:49 PM | Comments (0)

November 5, 2004

Amusing myself

Filed in: TV & Movies.

One of the best things about DVD is they can include many different languages without too much trouble. This gives me endless amusement switching between them to see what various characters sound like.

Voyager has three alternate languages - German, Italian and Spanish. Spanish Tuvok sounds way too smooth and sexy for a Vulcan. Neelix... well, no one could match the original. German Janeway... Cor blimey guvna!

Ahem, anyway... :)

Posted at 7:54 PM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2004

Tetrapyriarbus Zeitgeist for October

Filed in: Website Management.

Popular DiscContinuity Guide entries

  1. The Twilight Kingdom
  2. Land of the Dead
  3. The Natural History of Fear
  4. Zagreus
  5. Davros

Most of the Land of the Dead hits appear to be coming from Google searches. Alden's conjuncture for web pages: For any web page, over it's lifetime online, the majority of hits will come from people who will have stumbled on it from a search engine while searching for a way to get jam stains out of their curtains.

Still amusingly popular is a page of convention photos from StarFest 2002. 711 hits. The majority from people searching for picture of Toby McGuire.

The same albums on my music site keep ending up in the top 5, since there seem to be a lot of people searching for Era's The Mass and The Celtic Circle, which doesn't make for very dynamic rankings. See above.

Archived TSV items

  1. Recovered clips press release
  2. Who Killed Kennedy eBook
  3. I exterminated JNT
  4. Peanuts cartoon
  5. Davros and Daleks artwork

I wish I could say my attempts to fix the indexing on Yahoo! was working. Most of the old NZDWFC urls have gone, however it's not indexing the subdomain at all well. :P

Posted at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

November 2, 2004

Spammed by Paramount!

Filed in: Spam.

It's not often I'm surprised by spam, but today I was spammed by Paramount studios. Apparently they had taken me for a War of the Worlds fan and wanted me to help pimp their upcoming movie. A quick search of my web site revealed that War of the Worlds is mentioned on five DiscCon Guide entries, and in the Who Killed Kennedy eBook, so, er, no, that is still a bit of a leap to make.

This is, I suspect, an overzealous marketing underling... I guess it makes a change from endless viagra, Nigerian scam and speed camera spams.

Posted at 8:02 PM | Comments (0)

November 1, 2004

Daylight Savings

Filed in: Misc.

The main thing that annoys me about the daylight savings change-over is that, during the New Zealand summer, all the web comics I read update two hours later. E.G. SinFest updates at 10pm instead of 8pm.

That's when I can persuade Paradise's proxy server to actually give me an updated page, of course.

Posted at 9:16 PM | Comments (0)


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