|As some of you noticed recently, Blog du Wren was "validated" with a barrage of blog spam. Many questions have arisen from this about why, how, etc. I thought now would be as good a time as any (better even, because I don't have anything of value to post about) to examine the phenomenon of blog spam.
Wikipedia has a great write up on Spam in blogs, although it is a bit skewed towards eliminating it rather than explaining it. Basically, an automated script goes around posting comments on blogs with a link to their own site in hopes of raising their site's search engine rank. (Search engine ranking is based on how many sites link to yours, among other things.) These scripts recognize a site as a blog (or guestbook, etc.) by their format and programming (which leads to my feelings of validation because BdW is put into the same formatting/programming arena as the professional blog software packages).
What has been very interesting is to see where these spam comments come from. With the IP tracking I added as part of the BdW 2.0 revamp, I have the ability to look at the comments last known transfer point. This is what I came up with: RUSSIAN FEDERATION, CHINA, INDIA, PAKISTAN, POLAND (with repeats from Russia and India).
In an attempt to spare us all from this initially interesting but quickly annoying phenomenon, I tweaked the way I do comments. Since every little change I make might make everything stop working, I would appreciate if you keep your eyes open for any bugs, esp. you mac users out there. Cheers!
|Friday March 30 2007||File under: blog|
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|As I mentioned before, the concept of a weekend is somewhat lost on me, at least in practice. Well, I'm happy to report, I now get it! Starting last week, I am again a member of the working world. While only temporary, it is real, honest to goodness, start at 8:30, end at 4:30, make-you-tired-by-the-end-of-the-day work. The work mostly consists of lifting heavy things, for which I like to consider myself more than qualified. There is also some shoveling sand and mixing concrete thrown in for good measure.
"What do I care if your lazy bones finally got some work?" you say. Well, that means slightly less frequent blog posts. While I have a few projects brewing that I am anxious to post about, I'm afraid the days of playing at the computer full time are on hold. But have no fear: I foresee my foray into the working world somewhat temporary, at least this time around. Hopefully, I will be back to doing blog worthy things in no time.
|Sunday March 25 2007||File under: work|
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|Once again, we (Amanda and I), accompanied by Marg, hit the town for the Taste of Anacortes. Like last time, it was a blast. Good food, a night on the town, and a little class (enough class that I felt out-classed, but we all know how much class that takes...). Sadly, this was the last Taste of the year. Here's hoping that they do it again next year! For all of you who didn't get to experience it all, here's what was served:
|Wednesday March 21 2007||File under: food, Anacortes|
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|Speaking of word-nerdiness, working on Another Word Game started me on a slippery slope of word games, both playing them and creating them. The two latest games are offshoots of AWG, but different enough to be fun in their own right.
BUNGLE: Essentially, this combines Boggle game play, Scrabble scoring, and the tile replacement of Another Word Game. Oh, and it's timed. Like AWG, this is written in Java.
Thanks again to those folks that helped work the kinks out by taking the time to test these. If you have any questions or encounter any bugs, let me know.
|Sunday March 18 2007||File under: games, coding|
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|The keen eyes of a friend found this recently and knew I needed to see it. From 1995, Lisa in Wordland is a comic featuring many beloved Simpsons characters and much word-nerdiness. It is even more pertinent, as I have been thinking of word play [almost] non-stop for the past week or so.
Some of the priceless phrases: "If bombastic periphrastic grandiloquence be the music of life, then rattle on, I say. Rattle on!" courtesy of Sideshow Bob. Or maybe you prefer palindromes (from Otto, of course): "Tired nude man in a pajama I am. A japan I named under it."
But since a picture is worth 1000 words check these out.
|Thursday March 15 2007||File under: misc|
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|Whew! That was a close one. One of my favorite holidays of the year almost slipped right by me without me knowing. I guess that is what happens when the calendar industry is involved in a conspiracy against it.
March 14 or 3/14. Get it? 3.14. Like the ratio between the diameter and circumference of a circle. Totally awesome.
What is the best way to celebrate Pi Day? Well, first, you gotta eat some pie. Yes, I know it is spelled differently, but I don't questions the traditions that are passed down through the ages. Secondly, you should add one digit to your personal knowledge of pi. If 3.14 is all you know, annex a 15 to the end. For everyone else, here's a helpful start: 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510 (that was from memory, thank you very much, except for the bold 71 that I missed. I guess I am slipping in my old age.)
|Wednesday March 14 2007||File under: holidays|
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|"Uncle Wren, can I have a poopy?"
"Not until after you finish your supper."
We all have our holiday traditions. Some are holdovers from when we were kids. Some we start when we start our own families. Some holiday traditions just sort of happen. I'm glad to see that the Poopy Duck tradition has made its way to a third generation of the Studer/Schultz clan.
Of all the holiday traditions I've known, Poopy Duck is far and away my favorite. Poopy is a crocheted duck who poops jelly beans. He makes his appearance about this time every year, a month or so before Easter. Visitors, both child and adult, are a bit apprehensive about the concept of eating candy coming out the back end of a duck, but they quickly overcome it. If you think you can handle it, stop by Chez du Wren and give ole Poopy a try.
|Monday March 12 2007||File under: holidays|
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Well, this is my something: Another Word Game. Inspired by boggle, Word Racer, and Wordy, the premise of this game struck me while lying in bed one morning. The object is to use up all the initial letters once while reusing letters as infrequently as possible. Points are awarded on length of word and number of reused squares.
To play, you need to have java installed. If you don't have it installed already, it is kind of a pain. Sorry about that. Also, it might not work on some Macs (I don't have a Mac to test it on.) Thanks to Andrew, gretch, marg, Saxtor, rus, Sara, Amanda, and Deanna for help with the testing. If you come up with any bugs, let me know. Enjoy!
|Saturday March 10 2007||File under: games, coding|
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|Huzzah! Huzzah! Blog du Wren has reached a milestone. This is the 100th post. It warms my heart to see how far it has come since it's humble beginnings. Together, we've shared announcements, travels, food, and double comments out the wazoo. In honor of this momentous occasion, I thought it might be fun to have a look at some of the statistics behind BdW.
Thanks to everyone (readers, comments, beta-testers) who has helped make this the success that it is.
|Thursday March 8 2007||File under: blog, stats|
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|I bought a scooter. I've been toying with the idea ever since I got back from Asia (and well before (*cough* Honda Spree (twice))). After spending a lot of time looking through craigslist and the classified, I wasn't finding what I wanted. Through persistence, however, I found a place in Bellingham that had what I wanted: low(ish) size and power, non-automatic transmission but no clutch, decent gas mileage, and decent top speed. All of these came together in the Yumbo C110.
As the dealer tells it, this an replica of the old Honda Cub now made by some Chinese company. The speedometer and odometer are both in kilometers and the owner's manual is obvious translated, but both are no hill for a stepper. Now all that's left is for me to get a motorcycle endorsement on my license and I'll be good to go.
(Oh, and don't worry. I got a good helmet too.) For those gearheads out there, here are the specs:
|Tuesday March 6 2007||File under: transportation|
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