Comment Spam

Had over 700 spam comments posted this afternoon to this blog, sometimes as often as three a second. I very quickly wrote up a regex-based spam filter which worked a treat, but this is indicative of a real push by spammers on my blog – this is at least a 70-fold increase on the last ‘attack’. I wonder how other bloggers are faring today?

As an aside, what are people’s thoughts on my releasing of the regexes I used to catch the spam? Obviously it gives the spammers clues to get around my filter, but spam is becoming such a major problem a collaborative effort seems the only way.

Perhaps I/we/somebody should run a web service. Comment content goes in, yes/no response comes out. There are privacy issues though, and a nice juicy target for DoS attacks (cf. previous attacks on anti-spam outfits).

Political Blogging

Hansard have done some research into blogs for political means. Looks like an interesting document; I will certainly find time to read it this evening. The Guardian’s interpretation of the report is that it is rather negative of the use of blogs for politics, describing it as ‘frequently damning’. Would be interesting to see a report on the impact of, and interest in American political blogs, particularly in the run up to November’s elections.

Summer Movie List

Summer’s here, and there are quite a few interesting movies on the way. Here’s what I’m planning to go see
The Stepford Wives. A group of nerdy gentlemen build their perfect wives from electronics parts. Could be fun. Out 30 Jul.
I, Robot. I have yet to be disappointed by a Will Smith movie, although I have low standards and did avoid MiB2 on advice from friends.: Out 6 Aug.
The Bourne Supremacy. Matt Damon inadvertantly ends up in a load more trouble. Got to love the car chases. Out 13 Aug.
The Terminal. Tom Hanks as a foreigner trapped in an airport terminal in the States after his country ceases to exist during a war, and his passport becomes invalid. Could be very good. Out 3 Sep.

Suspicious Calls

The number of advertising calls we’ve been getting at home have jumped recently. Still nowhere near the number American households apparantly get, but the spike has been noticeable here.

First of all, quite a few ‘silent’ callers. We get a phone call and after a few seconds of silence the caller hangs up. This happens once every few days, and immediately raises thoughts of burglers checking to see if the house is empty.,,, although I’m probably being paranoid – a friend gets similar calls and BT apparantly discovered they were international, so unless the burglers were planning to fly over…..

Secondly, we have started to get those dire automated calls. You pick up the phone and the machine starts its pitch “Hi there, you’ve won a holiday. All you have to do is call our 50/minute premiu…..”. I usually hang up about there.

Finally, we’ve just gotten a call which triggered my alarm bells more than usual. An Irish caller, speaking very fast with a noisy background. Couldn’t hear a word he said. Eventually, after I got him to repeat his little intro speech about five times, I discovered it was about a ‘holiday we entered about 18 months ago’. Still couldn’t make out the company name. All I had to do was confirm my details. Having had a recent dose of Kevin Mitnick’s book about social engineering I immediately developed a bout of paranoia about this. “This is some random guy, quite unclear about his company, asking me to confirm details…” I asked him for more information about the company and the competition. The intro speech was repeated (I think…), so I said, with a vocal scepticism, ‘go on then…’ – at that point the bastard hung up.

I know it’s supposedly quite easy to wean useful information from people. If the last guy’s questions included asking for my date of birth and mother’s maiden name, he has two bits of information regularly used elsewhere in security forms. Under the guise of a competition, I reckon those details and more can be quite easily had. Perhaps I’m being too reluctant, but I suspect that one can never be too cautious!

New Top Blogs

Blog people, keep your eyes on this page. The script that creates this will be running for the next few days building up a database of inter-blog links. Unlike quite a few other ‘popular blogs’ pages, this one is particularly incestuous, only listing sites that have already been approved by the Blogwise editors.

It all equates in the end

This week has been a mixed bag of stuff. Here’s a summary for your general perusal:

Plus: Went to Blogtalk conference at the beginning of this week. Was good and v. interesting.
Minus: Everybody already knew each other. It was difficult to get into existing social circles.
Plus: It was the first time I’d been abroad.
Minus: It cost a small fortune.
Plus: I had my hair cut this time last week (quite long to very short). Feel very much refreshed.
Minus: Have lots of hair products I no longer have a use for.
Plus: Went to a very good meeting in London Friday for ICRA which is looking very promising.
Minus: Ever tried getting to London at 9am on a weekday? Costs a bundle and is very tiring.
Plus: Have made many progresses with Blogwise, including finally fixing the Top 50 pages.
Minus: Accidentally deleted the keywords database, and am relying on Google cache to pick up half the data.
Plus: I wrote a very quick, but fully working PHP to rip data from Google.
Minus: I think they just noticed.
Plus: I’m starting work full time tomorrow.
Minus: I’m starting work full time tomorrow.

More soon!