I finally took some more measures to deal with comment spam on this blog. I’m fed up wasting time clearing up after people have spammed my website, and regexp blacklisting wasn’t a perfect solution. So hopefully the new measures will help more.

I have tweaked the RSS feed so that it included an HTML version, so links should work. For some reason, old entries have appears as if they were new. I don’t intend to make any more changes, so it’s a one-off.

On the subject of spam, I changed where email gets delivered to nearly two months ago. Yet I still get spam to the old server. I’d have expected all DNS caches to be well and truely flushed by now, so I can only assume that spammers are keeping track of mail server IP address, or have their DNS caches set up with huge long expiry times. Very strange.

Code, monkey, code

I’m back from a gprs-free week in sunny cyprus. I was surprised to find that I can read the Greek alphabet quite well, courtesy of years of physics. Great ideas included hiring pedal boats to get away from the crowds, scooters to explore the island and finally taking 15 minutes out to order food to be delivered a few hours after we got back. Still, back in Edinburgh again … there’s more need for overcast-cream than suncream here.

I installed the 2.6 linux kernel a while ago, including udev but never played with it. Now, after a bit of editing, I have it giving all my various USB devices sensible names and I’m knocking up a script to automatically refresh my MP3 player with a new set of tunes every time I plug it in.

I’ve also been a passive observed of for a while, but I’ve now created my own area there which means I can find bookmarks filed by people with similar interests. The idea has been around for a while. Delicious is just a pretty neat implementation.

I want to set up a calendar/todo/contacts which is accessible from home, work and mobile. Multisync looks useful, as is this review of calendar software. But my wishlist keeps growing …

I’ve been asking the guys at how to simulate aegis-like “staging areas”. The idea is that developers commit their changes to the “staging area”, a script runs to make sure it builds cleanly on win32/mac/linux and passes the smoke test, before pushing it to the main “known to build” tree. It’s not clear to me that syncing between branches works, since you want developers to be updating /from/ the known-to-build stream but committing to the staging area. Hmm.

Finally, I’m currently reading through a biochemistry textbook with a view to exploring backyard DNA computing. How hard can it be? 😉


Electronic ink makes it into a consumer product – the Sony Librie. Only available in Japan atm, I think, but I’ve been waiting for one of these for a while. They’re selling it with a proprietry drm’d ebook reader on it, but it’s running linux and their source bundle includes what appears to be a framebuffer interface to the hardware. It prompted me to read about DRM technology, to see if there’s any good drm solutions out there in the research world, as opposed to the heavy-handed approaches popular by the big player. Anyhow, with the Librie, it’s the hardware which is tasty – 170dpi 800×600 reflective display, usable indoors and outside. Must find an importer …

Little rays of happiness

I finally got around to buying a replacement axle for my bike today to replace the quick-release one which some eejit took from my bike a week ago. (When I texted Susan to tell her what’d happened, my predictive text didn’t know many of the words I used to describe said person). So, I went to the Bicycle Repair Man (a shop in Newington) and the bicycle repair man (the man who works there) said “Ah, this is what you want” and pulled a packet containing front+rear spindles from the shelf, marked with the princely sum of twelve pounds. Now, I thought “that’s going to be expensive, given that I only have a use for a front spindle”. But, before I said anything, the guy had already opened the packet, took out just the front spindle and said “that’ll be six pounds”.

Yay! How nice is that? Most shops would’ve used that as an opportunity to extract maximum money from me … “I’m sorry sir, they only come in packets of two”. Instead, I got the part I need, the other spindle will get used to fix someones bike eventually, and the guy has got one happy customer who’s going to back there in future and tell all his friends about it. Yay for the Bicycle Repair Man in Newington! 🙂