Category Archives: Internet

Comment Spammers: Look elsewhere

You keep on trying to spam here, and it keeps on not working.  It took me a while to figure out what you were doing, but no spammy comment has been approved here in over 5 years.  My settings require approval of comments by new people, and between that and the built-in filtering done by Kashimet (sp?), your spammy comment is never going to be seen by anybody but me, and I”m just going to delete it and add it to the Kashimet database, so it’ll be less likely to get approved anywhere else.

Please stop wasting both of our time, and find another way to try to make a living.

Another commercial site sells my email address.

One helpful tool in managing your spam exposure is to develop email addresses to give to sites that have you register so that you can tell if they have sold your address to spammers.  There are ways this can be done with gmail that are interesting, for instance.  Periodically, I will discover sites this way that have sold my address.  Once that’s happened I add that to: address to a filter I use in Thunderbird that automatically deletes messages sent to addresses that only receive spam. It cuts way back on the spam I have to deal with, with no possibility of false-positives — I never want to talk to anybody who has sold my email address to spammers.

Thus far, sites that have done this include:

  • emusic.com
  • podcastpickle.com

And our new winner is

  • strapperfect.com

I bought a set of these for the girls a while back, the first time I’ve bought a “as seen on tv” through the website advertised in the commercial, and I hated the experience.  Based on that, I have resolved to never do so again — I’ll buy them at Walmart or Walgreens and just accept that I don’t get the whiz-bang deals they mention in the commercials.  But now I know that not only are the sleazy in trying to lure you in with one offer, and then trying to get you to upgrade to something that costs more — they also sell your email address to spammers for some extra bucks.

My letter to the General Conference audio team

I just sent this through the feedback system at lds.org.

The category I needed was “gratitude for work well done.”  Specifically for the team involved with preparing the mp3 files from General Conference.  If you can forward this along to them for me, I will have gratitude toward you as well.

I have been making use of these mp3 files for about as long as they have been available.  I have seen the process you’ve used improve from one requiring days for the files to be made available, to the present time where they are available within hours.

There was a time when I would download the full session file to get the music and the reports which were not available, and when I would download the podcast version from KSL to get the music in higher bitrates than the 64k which was adequate for the spoken word.  Today, as I’ve looked thoughtfully at what’s available in the zip files for each session, I see no need to do either again.  Not only are all the reports and the music available in that file, with the music at a higher bitrate than the podcast version, but the file-names provide an easy way to play the whole session in order, or to separate out the music from the talks with some simple command-line work.

And there was a time when I was unable to listen to the proceedings of the Priesthood session, due to work.  Now, I am able to include those talks in my listening pattern.

These things don’t just happen without considerable effort, I am well aware, so I wanted to thank all responsible for their efforts, and to let you know that somebody out here noticed them.

I’m not certain what I think of the new interface.

Thank you,
Blain

Disagreement: The path to real learning. (Life is tough, brother. Get a helmet.)

Another comment from another blog that I wanted to keep where I could find it.

Many years ago I bought a new computer — a 386SX-16running MS-Dos5, with a user interface called GeoWorks that had client software for this upstart on-line service that thought some day it could challenge the big-boys (Compuserve and GEnie) called America On-line.  It had a free trial number of hours, and I looked around and around (it was a long-distance call to the only access number in my area, and things didn’t move fast on my 2400 baud modem), and, at the very end, I found a listing for Hatrack River Town Meeting, which rung bells from a book I had just bought by Orson Scott Card — there was a little blurb at the end of the book.  So I went there, and met Scott and a bunch of people.  After a while I was invited to come to a private area called Nauvoo, and there I met Robert Woolley.  He was one of the more insightful folks in that space, but it was pretty low-key and happy for the most part.   Continue reading Disagreement: The path to real learning. (Life is tough, brother. Get a helmet.)

Responding to WP comment spam

I’m starting to learn the way this is done, and have come to a new conclusion — any comment that doesn’t explicitly show thought about the post it’s responding to, or other comments responding to it, unless it’s made by someone I know that I know, will be marked as spam. “Nice post,” or the like from strangers aren’t going to see light of day, and will be reported to the appropriate databases. Comments are here to continue exploring the thoughts in the posts, or to be a connection between the participants in it.

So, if you’re not someone I already know, and you want to make a connection with what you find here, then say something with even a little bit of substance. Otherwise, I’m going to assume that this is from a spammer and, possibly, machine generated.

njdagr and achesto

Howdy,

So I got friended by these two accounts.  I looked and saw a bunch of familiar folks listed as friends, but the rest of the accounts looked dodgy — no userpics, no details about the individuals to make them sound like anybody I knew, and then I found the journals were identical.  And the posts were nonsensical.  And the second of the three had a “BTW, it would help me if you click this link” that goes to a data gathering website.

So I contacted the person who had friended one of them, and she didn’t know anything more than I do.  So I’m suggesting that these are fake accounts created to point to a likely phishing site. 

Your paranoid tip for the day.

25 Random Things

I put this list together for Facebook, but thought I’d bring it here as well.  These are 25 random things about me.  Feel free to respond with 25 random things about yourself.

1.  I like the color blue.
2. I have shaken hands with Blaine Yorgason, Russell M. Nelson, Orson Scott Card, Slade Gorton, Vladimir Jan Kohanski, Tim Bachman, George “Pinky” Nelson, and Janis Ian.
3. I once blockaded my door and hid when a jealous husband had left his house with guns on his way to my house. (It was a misunderstanding. I never did or said anything inappropriate to/with his wife.)
4.  I have successfully predicted my last two recorded A1C levels. 
5.  I read the Book of Mormon in two days once (Alma one Thursday, everything else the following Thursday).
6.  I once slid down a snow drift in the Beartooths in Montana in August because I tried to walk across it in flip-flops. 
7.  My great-great grandfather was a founding member of the James-Younger Gang (as in Jesse James).  Google “Arthur C. McCoy”
8.  My grandfather sat in the Montana State Legislature, and was suggested as a candidate for governor.
9. His brother was the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota and was appointed to the United States Senate from Minnesota — the last Republican in that seat until the Reagan Revolution. His name was also Arthur.
10. I’m a Republican in the field of Human Services.  It can be lonely sometimes.
11. I once ran a kid on a bike of the road with my car on purpose as part of my job. 
12. I have never received a speeding ticket.
13. I was a candidate for the Washington State Legislature.  I dropped out before the election.
14. I had a pony tail and goatee for seven years. 
15. I learned how to type on a typewriter (IBM Selectric II).
16. I share a birthday with Marie Osmond, Paul Simon, Sammy Hagar, Chris Carter, Maria Cantwell (one of my U.S. Senators), Mario Bonilla (the younger), Kerry Bloxham, and my cousin’s daughter.
17. I have run a 5k, a 10k and a half-marathon.
18. I once received an email from Douglas Adams.  I also had a link-exchange in our blogs with Orson Scott Card.
19. I didn’t start playing Sudoku until the trip to be with my mother when she died.
20. I like Barry Manilow’s music.  Especially “Weekend in New England.”
21. I have seen the Cassini division from a personal telescope (that didn’t belong to me).
22. I’ve been hit by a car.
23. I have autographed pictures from Heather Locklear and Carmen Thomas.
24. I enjoy building computer systems, especially if I’m installing Linux on them.
25. My domestic abuse website has won several awards over the years, and has seen most of those award sites go down (excepting those built by Dr. John Grohol).

Significant Science Fiction/Fantasy Novels 1953-2002

This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club.
Bold the ones you’ve read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved.

I’ve also added commentary, at no extra charge.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
Liked it.  Read it twice.  Maybe again before I die.  Maybe not.
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
It was okay, but I got bored part-way through.
3. Dune, Frank Herbert
Started it a second time, and just couldn’t do it.  Most complex storyline I can remember.
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
Seriously over-rated. 
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Leguin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
Read to the end of the first section.  Felt betrayed.  Never went back.  Don’t plan to.  Clarke’s not my guy.
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
Dick’s not my guy either.
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury*
Love my Bradbury. 
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
One of my history teachers LOVES this one.  I thought it was okay.  Might be more offended if I was Catholic.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov*
Most of my favorite fiction work by Asimov is his robot series, including the Lije Bailey and R. Daneel Olivaw series.
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
Didn’t hate it.  Won’t ever read it again.  Blish really isn’t my guy.
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
Not sure I finished it.  Don’t get the big deal about Ellison. 
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey*
Loved these at the time.  Don’t think I could do it again. 
22. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card*
Loved this, and the rest of the Enderverse stories. 
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
Dear, God, this was the reading equivalent of crawling over broken glass.  I tried, but I hated the character’s voice.  Never.
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling*
On my third (fourth) time through the earlier books in the series. 
27. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams*
Liked this much more the first time than later.  Have I mentioned I got an email from DA after his daughter’s birth?
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
Waited to stop hating the characters.  Didn’t.  Quit.
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
Might have finished it.  Didn’t care about it. 
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein*
One of his better works.  Possibly the best.
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
I like my Tolkein rip-offs a little less flagrant.
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

My honorable mention (use or ignore as you wish, all count as read and loved):
Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, Robert A. Heinlein (My first of his.  Teaches the value of a good education.)
Earth Abides, George R. Stewart (One of the best after-the-disaster novels ever.)
Maps in a Mirror, Orson Scott Card (OSC’s short fiction is amazing.  And, increasingly, rare.  I like almost everything he’s written.)
Alas, Babylon, Pat Frank (Another of the best after-the-nukes novels ever.)
The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury (Bradbury’s short fiction is amazing also, and the connective tissue of the Illustrated Man was the coolest.)
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury (More Bradbury shorts.)
The Golden Apples of the Sun, Ray Bradbury (Still more Bradbury shorts.)
Tunnel in the Sky, Robert A. Heinlein (Beware the stobor!)
The Cold Equations, Tom Godwin (Hard, hard, hard, powerful story.)
The Puppet Masters, Robert A. Heinlein (early-adult Heinlein, before he got smutty — one of his strongest periods.)
Moscow 2042, Vladimir Voinovich  (not really science fiction, any more than 1984 was, but an excellent satire.)

I’m sure I’m forgetting something important.

Alert the Media!

You heard it here first:

Your Social Dysfunction:
Normal

Being average in terms of how social you are, as well as the amount of self-esteem you have, you’re pretty much normal.  Good on you.

       

       

       

       

Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

Please note that we aren’t, nor do we claim to be, psychologists.  This quiz is for fun and entertainment only.  Try not to freak out about your results.

TED Rocks

Technology.  Entertainment.  Design.

For those who didn’t already know.  I didn’t until two weeks ago (although I think I’d stumbled onto some of it a time or two prior to that).  TED is a series of conferences held every year where very interesting people gather to make 18 minute presentations about what they know.  I’ve watched a few of these presentations, and have found them interesting and thought provoking.

One of them is a presentation by Jonathan Haidt on the topic of the Moral Mind, someone I’ve linked to here before on this same topic.  It’s good stuff.  I particularly like his notion of stepping outside our paradigms (he uses the term “matrix,” invoking the movie of the same name) to try to understand the experiences of those of other tribes (he uses the word “teams”) and how those can better inform our own understanding of the truth. 

Since I’ve moved to Minefield, one of the extensions that doesn’t work is Sage, my RSS aggregator.  So I’ve been trying out the built in LiveBookmarks that Firefox has had for some time.  Thus far, I’m less than impressed — I have to add feeds multiple times to get them to work, and the default location for them seems to be the Bookmarks Toolbar Folder — not some place I want a bunch of feeds accumulating.  But it’s what works until the folks at SageToo (Sage, apparently, is orphaned) update the version numbers to allow me to install it into Minefield.

TED has a number of RSS feeds of their videos and the audio.  For now, I’m sticking with the video, which is unusual for me.  But these are visual presentations and there is value in the video that’s not there in the audio-only.  I’m annoyed thus far that it seems to be sending me five or six of these in the past hour or so I’ve been subscribed, and I might dump the feed if this continues.  We’ll see.

But I recommend this site and this talk.  With the rhetoric of inclusion and unity floating around of late, it needs to be understood that inclusion doesn’t mean that any side gives up what it believes to join the other side in their unchallenged sense of superiority.  Unity comes when all sides value and respect all opinions, even when they aren’t shared.  This is one of the fundamental challenges of the statements of the President-elect, and it can’t be faced too quickly.  It is very hard.