Handy Hints

Sorry, will compose some literary masterpiece about the awards for Surge shortly (gist is, Nick won Technical Innovation award, me and Nick won Silver for best website!)

Firstly though, spam. Blogging supergenius Woodge notes that some pretty odd names are coming up in spam emails lately. This is true, and got me thinking about spam, the big picture and so on…

So, my thought: what if spam actually became useful? Seriously if they’re going to send out this crap and we’re supposedly unable to stem the flow, the spammers should turn to more friendly ways to attract attention. They should make the email interesting, useful, and still advertise their unsavoury products.

What could they have? Anything from tips, quizzes, puzzles, game hints, trivia, to even recipes. You could just imagine it now:

From: evilspammer@spamcorp.com
To: sven@lovelybloke.net
Subject: Penis spam + handy recipe

Want A Bigger Pen1s?
Gain Up to 3+ Full Inches In Length
100% Safe To Take, With NO Side Effects

Want to make delicious cajun chicken wings as well?
It'll impress the wife almost as much.

  2 1/2 lb Chicken wings
    3/4 c  Plain yoghurt
      2 ts Garlic powder.....

Spammers continue their onslaught of genital-growing advertising, and we get some useful and handy hints along the way. It’s win, win!

Tip of the Day

Try going to the BBC homepage, then click a link in on of those pastel boxes. Once that’s done and it’s gone to the new page, go Back and do it again. Repeat this several times. You should notice that the box gets darker over time. It’s intended to indicate subtlely which sections you frequent and effectively ‘wears a path’ over time. I rather like it.

The reason I found this is that I was searching through Google trying to find out which CMS the BBC use, and ended up on a few blogs discussing it. Although I knew about it before seeing it again reminded me to post it here.

Tip of the Day

Samba Server can be a real bastard to get working sometimes.

If you ever get the error ‘getpeername failed. Error was Transport endpoint is not connected’ try:
smbpasswd -a nobody
then hit Enter twice (for a blank password). It just worked for me, after about an hour’s reinstallation and Google searching. Why can’t error messages be less unfriendly :'(

Spam Side-effects

Argh. 382 emails last night alone. Somebody is spamming the entire continent of South America using sales@1do3.com as the From adress, which has the rather undesirable consequence of hundreds of ‘Mail Delivery Failure’ notices arriving in my inbox. I daren’t just filter them out, in case something genuine that I need to be alerted to comes in, but it’s very tempting….

Camera Fun

I bit the bullet and got a Canon Powershot A80, as I promised. It’s a very nice camera with superb quality. As its my first real foray into the world of photography I’m finding the camera simple enough to understand without reading (all) the manual, yet complicated enough for me to continue to be suprised by it.

For the first couple of weeks, I’ve been playing. Unfortunately didn’t get any shots of the total lunar eclipse last Saturday (bloody cloudy, wasn’t it) but I did get some interesting long exposure shots on the way home.

I must install Gallery at some point. However much I dislike the complexity of it, it’s still the best one I can find that doesn’t require me to manually create all sorts of thumbnails myself. Unless any of you wise surfers have come across a better one?

WordNet

Until now, I’d used Google Toolbar + Dictionary.com to look up definitions of words rapidly (I type the word in Google Toolbar, click Search, then click the word itself in the results page which loads up dictionary.com).

Looking around on the Internet for more detailed meanings of words, I stumbled upon WordNet, a project that has a very useful approach to word searches. You can type a word to find a meaning as one would expect, but the clever part is with what you can do next: a dropdown menu presents a list of futher searches based on your word, to show Synonyms, Hypernyms and Hyponyms, and a number of other searches. Hypernyms and Hyponyms are particularly interesting alternatives to Thesauri.