Spam Report

Other blog sites will occasionally do a post about their traffic stats… what google phrases turn up their site, where readers are coming from, etc… Not me, I don’t have those stats. But what I do have is Akismet comment spam blocker. So instead of talking about who is coming here for the content, I’m going to talk about the people that come here to spam…

Quite possibly the most abundant spam is for phentermine. But only if you are interested. (So the spam claims.) Of course, they post that comment probably 300 times a day. And I’m not interested in phentermine, especially since I don’t know what it is.

Second is Xanax. Almost as often as phentermine. Then comes Xenical, ambien, tramadol, and a horde of other drugs. Does this spam actually generate them sales?

Then comes the online casinos.

Most of the spam is very polite. They apologize for what they are about to do, or say its only if I’m interested. Some tell me I have a great time. Some thank me for the bookmark. Some even exclaim that my site is very cognitive.

The irony is… before I installed a spam blocking plug-in for WordPress, I got about 10, maybe 15, spams a day that I manually deleted. Since installing Akismet 3 weeks ago it has blocked 3,500 spams. Its almost as if blocking spam actually attracts more spam. But I’m not about to remove the plug-in. I’m not that crazy.

Dead in the West

At the recommendation of a friend in a comment on this very weblog, I have read Dead in the West by Joe R. Lansdale.

Undead things are afoot in the town of Mud Creek and the Reverend Jebidiah Mercer figures this might be his chance to redeem his ways. This book isn’t your traditional zombies, but sometimes that’s for the best. It was a good quick read (despite being listed on the site for a week, I actually read the book in about three to four hours). I’d be interested to check out some of Lansdale’s other works.

So it gets a thumbs up from me.

A How-To Guide

Basically, it’s for my brother, but I’ve added a simple “How To” guide on Programming to the site here. It’s over on the right listed as “So you want to be a programmer?”

It isn’t anything fancy, just the basic rules that I personally follow when it comes to programming, which is what I do for a living. The main idea behind it is that you don’t need to spend large amounts of time trying to memorize all the nuances of a language, just learn the basics and fake the rest.

Custom Signature

Sort of a neat little add-on I found for WordPress. Dynasignage. It takes the title of the latest post and builds a PNG signature so that you can use it to use on message boards and stuff to try to increase traffic on your site. The author’s version was a bit bland, just a while box, black border and two lines of centered text. So I modified it to fit three lines of text, use a template image with graphic, and allow for a variable to be passed so that the name on the signature can change on a per board basis. For example:

Its pretty cool.

Links

Not much going on today… but I did manage to move my links from the old site to this one, and they have a page all their own.

Corporate Security

Its one of those things that on one hand I can understand, but on the other hand its really overstepping: Browsing the Internet from work and security. Now, I completely agree… block porn sites and other stuff that people should not be doing at work. But I’m a programmer, and there are a number of times that I come across the need to do something that I don’t know how to do. I check with my co-workers, and none of them know either… so I head to the internet. However, where I’m working now, they have a content review department. They log the urls of sites that everyone visits and they audit it for content. The more often you visit, the sooner the audit. Anything they deem “not good” they block. Many of the best programming sites on the net have ads to support paying for the site. The companies that pay the most for ads are those “scam-like” sites where their promise you “a FREE iPod*” if you punch the monkey. The review department bans any site with those ads. So, the more useful I find a website, the sooner it gets banned.

What?

I mean, I could understand if they reviewed the content, then banned it because its not work appropriate. But banning a site because of the people who buy ads on the site? Huh?

Whatever happened to monitoring people’s usage, then warning or firing them when they do something wrong? If someone wants to visit porn at work, you should let them, once, then fire them. But if they use the Internet in order to do their job better, why the hell are you trying to stop them? Why?

The Night Before…

You know… usually this time of year I put up special Christmas logos and decorations on the site, but I’ve been so busy with work, family, and actually doing stuff for and of the season I just haven’t had time.

Its Christmas Eve, and I’m about to head over to my father’s house to spend a few hours with my family. Jodi and I will return home tonight, and spend some time together, then tomorrow she’ll work, I’ll clean house and run other errands, and then we’ll return to my father’s for Christmas Day.

Tonight, I hope that each and every person out there has someone… a husband, a wife, a friend, a lover, a father, a mother, a daughter or son… someone to share the night with… and to everyone, whether they have someone or not, Merry Christmas.

Where have I been?

I’m sure the three or four of you out there who occasionally hit my site might have been wondering where I’ve gone as its been almost a month since I last posted.

Well, things in the business world have been a little crazy. While I can’t speak in specifics, a client of ours (us being the company I work for, ITCS) is giving us the boot.

Normally, you give a consulting company the boot when A) you can’t afford them or they are no longer cost effective, B) they are done and you have no work for them, or C) they suck and are doing horrible work.

They have alot that needs to be done. We do excellent work. And we cost less than a third what their internal IT department does for the same projects. So why are we getting the boot?

Politics.

Its really frustrating to do a job, do it well, exceed expectations, and come in under budget, and then be forced out by people who do bad incomplete work, always fall short, and typically exceed the budget by 200%.

But sometimes, a curse is a blessing in disguise.

Seeing our majority source of income prepare to kick us to the curb, my boss decided that it was time to focus on bringing one of our products to market. Oh, we’ve been selling it up till now, but its lacked a polish that only happens when you decide to show the world and not just your captive clients.

With that, I bring you the ITCS WebClock.

While this product has been in development for over 5 years (it began as a Microsoft Access application), for the past year and a half, I’ve been working on additions and changes. And in the last month, I completely overhauled the entire look and feel of it, and have started production on a dozen new functions and features.

Its sweet. And it feels good.

EverFix

I decided that I had some good ideas for the game I play called EverQuest. To that end, I’ve added a new category (and new section) for the site for it that will revolve around ideas that I have about EverQuest, both innovations and reworkings.

To start with, when I finish getting it cleaned up, are some ideas that I have for helping relieve the imbalance between pure melee classes and the rest of them.

See ya soon.

Let the mud slinging begin.

You may notice that there is a link missing from my page. SlowNewsDay.net no longer exists. In a soap opera like stage of drama and finger pointing they closed their doors. If you read over on CamelotVault or some of the various DAoC message boards around, you can see bits and pieces of the drama.

In all this, there was one valid point. Scott Jennings, a.k.a. Lum the Mad, wrote some software to manage the news and message boards for his site. He got hired by Mythic Entertainment, who made DAoC, and he turned over his website to other people. In the end, Scott being in close contact in an administrative sense to a site that was supposed to be looking at gaming for faults wasn’t a good idea, and everybody knew it. He needed to remove himself from the site, now SlowNewsDay.net.

After that, I can’t be certain of anything. But the result was the same, SlowNewsDay.net is gone, fingers are pointing, and everyone is a little less polished than they used to be.

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