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August 2005 Archives

August 30, 2005

More fallout from MT 3.2 upgrade

Filed in: Website Management.

I had to fix two more problems that the MT 3.2 upgrade caused:

1. MTBlacklist no longer seemed to be working with 3.2, so I unloaded it and loaded on the supplied copy of SpamLookup. MTBlacklist's final score was 4380 spams blocked - I'm sure this would have been in the tens of thousands had I not been blocking at the .htaccess level. Hopefully SpamLookup will be as proficient.

2. I was using something along the lines of <MTEntryTitle dirify="1"> to generate the filename for individual entries. Unfortunately with 3.2 the dirify argument (which turns the title into a filename) seems to have stopped regarding '-' as a legal character for filenames, so (for instance) my entry formerly filenamed "stargate_sg-1.html" became "stargate_sg1.html" instead. Am now using the entry_basename as the filename instead, having corrected the entry_basenames for the existing entries to match their current filenames.

*cough* All go now. :P

Posted at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

Interesting discovery of the day

Filed in: Website Management.

If a page has a <link rel="next"> tag, FireFox 1.0.6 will prefetch the "next" page on the assumption the user is likely to go there next. In other words, it's treated in the same way as the <link rel="prefetch">.

This is actually in the Link Prefetching FAQ, as I found while googling for more info. I already knew about the "prefetch" link tag, but not the "next" one.

That's all very interesting, since it means if we include "next" tags on chapters in stories when we revamp Teaspoon, FireFox browsers will prefetch the next chapter. On the one hand, it means the next chapter will load faster for the readers, on the other it means if they don't like chapter 1, FireFox will cache chapter 2 unnecessarily. If we switch to static pages, that might not be an issue.

Posted at 6:52 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2005

Previous Entry followups

Filed in: Misc, Music, TV & Movies.

  • MT 3.2 seems to have solved my problem with new entries showing entry #1 as the next link.
  • Since the R4 run of Justice League: Starcrossed was frelled, I ordered the R1 version from Amazon - this turned out to be in the original movie format and have both widescreen and full screen versions. Much better than the R4 Justice League DVDs.
  • As a side note to the whole Hotel experience, I saw the other week that Geri Halliwell's latest album has come out here, but I didn't buy it, because it had the same copy protection on it. Sorry, but I'm not paying $30 for a CD which may or may not work.
  • Yahoo fixed the login issues with Yahoo mail not long after I complained about it. Both Briefcase issues are still there.
  • LiveJournal still doesn't have trackback support, 8 months later.

Posted at 7:40 PM | Comments (1)

August 28, 2005

UT Review: Horsell Common

Filed in: Unreal Tournament.

Level: Horsell Common
Type: Vehicle CTF
Download Size: 7.55 MB
Rating: 7/10
Downloaded from: Unreal Tournament Files (File Front)

Description: The site of the landing of a Martian invasion.

Continue reading "UT Review: Horsell Common"

Posted at 8:33 PM | Comments (1)

August 26, 2005

Movable Type 3.2 Review

Filed in: Weblogging.

So far, I'm liking it. Once my browser realised it had to reload the stylesheet, the CMS looked very nice. They've put a link to the trackback management page on the main menu finally, and done some very nice stuff... The multiple catagories dropdown is a lot easier to use. It also looks like they've added some new anti-spam measures and the MTSpamLookup plugin comes with it (I haven't touched the plugins directory yet because I wanna evaluate the new version first). Hopefully everyone upgrading MT will install it. We'll see how the anti-spam features go, anyway.

The plugins aren't listed on the main menu any more though, which is a bummer (and for some reason MTBlacklist is no longer giving me a link to configure it (not supported? Plugin protocols changed?)). If you look in the "extras" directory, there's a plugin for Open-ID, which is best explained by the linked site.

Also it took about an hour for me to FTP all the files up to the server and put them into the right directories. That's still a really painful way to update, despite the touted easiest upgrade ever. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong?

Posted at 9:28 PM | Comments (0)

Fixing the Teaspoon

Filed in: Website Management.

A while back I volunteered to help in the technical side of running A Teaspoon and an Open Mind, a Doctor Who fanfiction site. The site's currently using the eFiction CMS, though Barbarella (the other technical admin) and I will be writing a new CMS as eFiction is not great. Bugs fixed so far:

1. Disappearing Help text
Most of the text on the help page disappeared. The problem turned out to be because the text had < symbols in it, and when the help text was edited in the eFiction settings, either the browser or eFiction would cut the text off at that point. The solution was to double escape the tag to &amp;lt;

2. Broken Mac posting
A user posting from a Mac said that their paragraph breaks were being lost and their stories appearing on the site as one huge lump of text. This was likely to be because the Apple line uses a different byte to signify the end of line, so the solution was simply to convert the end-of-lines to Unix format.

The last item is less a bug than an annoyance. PHP likes appending huge session IDs to the links on the site, so you end up with a hugely long URL with a PHPSESSID thing on the end of it. This causes many problems, including messing up the site's indexing in search engines - because the spiders get a different PHPSESSID each time, they keep indexing the same page over and over. The solution to the ID problem is three lines of code which go in the .htaccess file. Excellent.

That may still not fix the site's indexing in Google because Google is apparently wary of parameters called "sid", and eFiction uses "sid=#####" to select the story to display. It also uses exactly the same title on every single page (the site's name and slogan) which I'm sure doesn't help either.

Posted at 8:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2005

Mo blog spamming

Filed in: Spam.

Here's an interesting comment spam attempt. The spammer loaded a post, then attempted to comment to it (in the same second) but fell for the fake comment form which normal surfers don't see because it's commented out in the source. The interesting part was that the referrer they userd when fetching the post seemed to indicate that they had come from an email in a web-based mailbox. The spammers are sharing URLs, perhaps?

Also today I got around to banning Mr, who's been trackback spamming me for a while now using the user agent "Net::Trackback/1.01". I'm not banning on user agent as Net:Trackback appears to be a Perl project to enable people to create Trackback applications more easily and therefore it's not necessarily true that anyone using it will be a spammer. I wonder if the creator knows his work is being used for evil purposes. This spammer appears to be using one IP address all the time, so until they discover open proxies, I'll be safe from them for a while.

With the increasing amount of trackback spam, it's no wonder people are claiming Trackback is dead. So far, over the life of this weblog, I've had one legitamite trackback... Of course, I probably just need to be more interesting. :) I don't think trackback is dead, I think it just needs to adapt.

Posted at 6:23 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2005

Open Letter

Filed in: Website Management.

Dear users.

My site is not your private image hosting server. Please do not remote link to my images. Thank you.

Yours in crankiness,
Alden (Do I have to put "please do not remote link" in every piece of alt text?)

Posted at 8:28 PM | Comments (2)

August 18, 2005

National's political advert

Filed in: Links.

The NZ National Party's latest political advert is very amusing and looks like it was done using Shockwave Flash. Most entertaining NZ political ad in recent time.

I'm still not voting for them though. :)

Doctor Who: The Long Game is on TV at the moment - it's actually better than I remember!

Posted at 7:55 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2005

Search Engine Update

Filed in: Website Management.

You may remember a while back, I posted about how Yahoo hadn't indexed the NZDWFC subdomain very well. I said I'd update with the results in a few months but, um, I forgot.

The results are that the number of pages from the subdomain listed in the Yahoo index has gone from 5 to over a thousand (about 1630, Yahoo reports). This is good. There were only about 2300 redirects last month, as opposed to 4600 in August last year, 432 of last month's resulting from Slurp (Yahoo's web spider) and 140 of them from people searching on Yahoo for stuff. Reducing these values to 0 is impossible, because Yahoo strips the trailing / off URLs, meaning they will always link to (for instance) instead of and thus causing an unnecessary redirect.

And I see they finally caught up with my music subdomain

Of course, other than the trailing / problem, Yahoo seems to be indexing a lot better than they were last year. And recently announced they had something like 20 billion pages in their index.

OTOH, the domain which points to the NZDWFC site used to show up in Google's NZ index but doesn't any more. I think this is because the domain registration company switched it from doing a permanent redirect to bringing up a page with a meta refresh on it. I have now pointed the domain directly at and I'm doing the redirect myself, so hopefully the NZ domain will reappear in Google's NZ index...

Posted at 8:44 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2005

UT Review: Tropica

Filed in: Unreal Tournament.

Level: CBP2-Tropica
Type: Onslaught
File Size: 10.1 MB
Rating: 9/10
(Part of Community Bonus Pack 2)

Description: Tropical island with ruins.

Continue reading "UT Review: Tropica"

Posted at 7:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2005

Currently watching...

Filed in: TV & Movies.

The War of the Worlds

Sadly not the recent Spielburg/Cruise version, which is quite fab, but the Timothy Hines Pendragon version. To say this is an awful film is an understatement.

One scene near the start of the film has the main character stargazing with his wife, during what appears to be mid-day, with a starry sky laid in during post production. The design of the Martian tripods is fine, but subject to the worst CGI animation I've seen - they move so rapidly they look like they're at most a foot tall and actually looks at points like they've used bad stop motion. At one point a tripod crushes a woman beneath its foot, a sequence which would have been horrific had it not been so badly done. At times, it looks more like a computer game than a movie.

The picture is also highly colourful. Much use is made of coloured filters, and often the picture is so saturated it's almost painful to look at. A lot of the dialogue appears to have been layed on later, with completely inappropriate accoustics.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that it makes Ed Wood look like Orson Welles, but it is dreadfully bad.

Posted at 4:42 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2005

Man dies after playing computer game for 50 hours

Filed in: Games.

(via Boing Boing)

S.Korean man dies after 50 hours of computer games

A South Korean man who played computer games for 50 hours almost non-stop died of heart failure minutes after finishing his mammoth session in an Internet cafe, authorities said on Tuesday.

Now, that's an insane amount of time to be playing a computer game, but they don't mention which particular game it was he was playing! I'm interested in knowing...

Posted at 7:15 PM | Comments (1)

August 8, 2005


Filed in: Links.

Lately I've been playing Popcap's latest game, Chuzzle. Chuzzle is not dissimilar to Bejeweled, in that you have to match up groups of critters of the same colour to eliminate them from the board. Rather than merely swapping adjacent critters, you move whole rows or columns to match them up.

Insidiously, once you get to higher levels the game begins to demand you make combos, else it starts putting locks on the critters to prevent you from moving a particular row and column.

WARNING: highly addictive game! Also, you will experience the disappearance of time. Do not be alarmed, this is normal.

As an additional side effect, I've found that after playing this game that the Windows GUI looks extremely square.

Edit: several people have asked what a "Bad Move" is. I believe this is when there was another move you could have made which would have eliminated more critters. I haven't played Chuzzle in a while now though...

Posted at 10:25 PM | Comments (2)

August 6, 2005

Inside the TARDIS

Filed in: Doctor Who.

Last night I went to the Wellington show of Inside the TARDIS. In a nutshell, it was a 2.5 hour show, involving Katy Manning, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, and also some guy called Tim Ferguson.

Outside of a nutshell is...

Continue reading "Inside the TARDIS"

Posted at 4:18 PM | Comments (5)

August 2, 2005

Hosting history of Tetrapyriarbus

Filed in: Website Management.

I posted this to my LiveJournal at the beginning of 2004 when I switched web hosts, but I thought I'd update it here...

Sometime prior to June 1996 - Planet FreeNZ
I'm not 100% sure about the month. That's the date of the earliest posting of mine I could find on Google Groups which mentioned the URL. During this period I created the Mel Bush page (the first major part of the site), and then TSV Editor Paul Scoones was so impressed with it he asked me to make the NZDWFC page as well.
Oct 1996 - First Doctor Who Web Guide to mention my site. Actually here's the first Web Guide from December 1995!.
Mar 1998 - IHUG
Moved to IHUG and my site moved with me. It expanded a bit during this time, but not a huge amount because it was an ISP page and therefore there wasn't a lot of disk space provided.
30 Aug 1998 -
This was the first time I bought hosting. Simplenet was a very good web host at the time, though they didn't have Perl, but offered MIVAscript for creating dynamic web pages. It worked quite well. They were recommended to me by Jason Fraser who had his site on there as
(The simplenet URL first appeared in the 18 September 1998 Doctor Who Web Guide.)
20 Jan 2000 - registered
Due to the impending buying out of Simplenet by Yahoo, as Yahoo were going to scrap the subdomains.
Feb 2000 - Simplenet swallowed by Yahoo
Unfortunately from there the service went downhill, with the MIVA server going down, disk space reduced to 100MB, and eventually Yahoo announced they were going to scrap SSI which my site made (and still makes) heavy use of. I therefore opted to jump ship.
20 July 2001 - switched to CIHost
Worst decision I made. Lots of site slowness and unexplained downtime. Unfortunately I signed up for a year in advance. When July 2002 rolled around again, they charged my credit card without asking me. Despite canceling, it took them several months to give me my money back. The only good thing about this period is that CIHost supported both MIVA and perl, so I was able to convert my miva scripts into perl.
6 Aug 2002 - switched to Sectorlink
Sectorlink were pretty good. Anything was a step up after CIHost, but there were niggly little things that annoyed me. Mainly to do with the site statistics system (ISTR this was the monthly reports I was supposed to be emailed not turning up or turning up months late).
6 Jan 2004 - switched to HostForWeb
HostForWeb have been pretty good. Their control panel and stats are pretty good, I can download the raw access logs, and their technical support is prompt. The only thing I think they need to work on (and this has been a problem all along) is that they rarely announce scheduled down-time, thus occasionally I'll find my site is down, report it, and be told that they're doing a server upgrade. Other than that, they're a pretty darn good web host.

I'm working by the assumption that Tetrapyriarbus started in June 1996, so the site is currently nine years old. That's 90 in Internet years. :)

The name, incidentally, was due to the fact that many other Doctor Who sites took their names from planets from the show, usually something like "Frontios" (there were about three web sites named Frontios at the time, ISTR...) and so I picked a planet name from Time and the Rani.

Posted at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

August 1, 2005

My prediction about the upcoming NZ election

Filed in: Misc.

My prediction: Labour will get back in government, mainly because national can't get organised enough to get their policies out. I'm sure they'll continue their partnership with the Greens.

Not that it really matter in the end, since I trust the lot of 'em about as far as I can throw 'em.

In off-topicness for this post: So not upgrading to Movable Type 3.2 until it's out of beta...

Posted at 7:02 PM | Comments (0)


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