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? 😉

Danger, danger

Climbing is a high-risk sport, yeah?

Last night at Alien Rock some kids threw a firework rocket into the main climbing area. I was part-way up a climb when I heard this loud screeching sound. I’d just started to think “That sounds just like a …” when I turned around to see what looked like a sparkler weaving violently across the room, heading straight towards me. I turned back to face the wall and make sure I had a good hold (inbuilt sense of self-preservation kicking in) when the rocket exploded just behind me, and immediately on front of DaveM who was belaying for me. Fortunately, it was just made a big bang at the end rather than sending out a shower of sparks. But there was little bits of rocket left on the floor, and I think Dave got hit by something hot on his eyebrow.

So, yeah, next time you go climbing, double-check your rope and harness and watch out for incoming explosives!

Full Body Search

There was a queue at the metal detector at Bristol Airport last night, which gave me a chance to notice an ‘internal’ poster which gives guidelines for the security staff. It described the various numbered stickers which check-in staff can apparently add to your boarding card. Some were pretty innocent, like “7 – has hearing difficulties”.

But more amusing was “4 – person has made light of security questions or actions”. The required follow-up procedure, according to the poster, was “full baggage and body search”.

Moral of the story: If you make jokes at check-in, you’ll regret it!


A random sprinkling of weekend factiods, starting with techbabble:

  • I’ve started using Djvu in preference to PDF.
  • Shfs is cool – it lets you mount a filesystem via ssh
  • A new XML mode for emacs is quite tasty

A some non techbabble:

  • This weekend largely featured motorbike debugging (hence the new picture)
  • Keith’s party accounted for Saturday night and half of Sunday. Much fun, made even better by the nearness to my own flat.
  • Down to Bristol this week, hopefully meeting up with MikeR in the evening.
  • It’s my birthday at the end of the week. Apparently, by this age Einstein had came up with special relativity.

I’m off to test my brain at the pub quiz …