Comment Spam on Blogwise

Grrr. A while ago I started getting comment spam on Blogwise – the review section where visitors can put up descriptions about blogs gets quite a few spam posts daily. All sorts of websites are advertised, and it’s rather annoying (although thankfully they’re not in any unmanageable quantity).

Changing the field names for the reply form this week appears to have done nothing to stem the flow. Within a day I’d gotten more spam. Essentially what I’d done was change the name field to something like wiejfoijweoij3903, and similarly renamed the comment field. To no avail; they still come. I have, however, removed the ‘website’ field and disabled direct linking in the comments form. The pages on which comments appear are also labeled with a NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW directive for Google. Those bastards aren’t getting any pagerank or clickthroughs from me.

Can’t remember where I saw it, but a while ago somebody suggested an ‘endorsed’ attribute tacked onto <a> tags – that’d be neat. The principle being that only tags with that attribute set would affect the Pagerank of the destination page. How long before that’d be circumvented though?


UKGoods (via Simon Jessey) is an importer of common British goods to the United States. Great for expats, or people who just like lots of tea and biscuits. Speaking of which, check out this site, where it’s sensible kettle month and this week’s biscuit of the week is delicious Graham crackers. Nice.


Matt Mullenweg has announced the start of development of some new forum software, bbPress. It looks good, and his description of it only makes it sound sweeter.

" bbPress is not going to have avatars, or put post counts next to your name, or give every user 80 options about how they want their dates formatted " – yes yes yes! This is precisely what has always frustrated me about the likes of phpBB and many of the other big forums out there. In cases of a large well-knit, largely computer-literate community avators and signatures are a nice touch (although some are ridiculously over-used). When you just want a forum to start threads and post replies – particularly with a group of people who’ve never really encountered forums before – this is all superfluous fluff.

Similarly I’ve never really gotten the point of private messaging in forums. What does it achieve that email doesn’t? The only benefit I can see from it is a sort-of anonymity, protecting you (the author) from exposing your email (true identity?) to the recipient. Since I tend to deal with users who have no reason not to expose their email addresses, this system is complete bloat. Fortunately phpBB allows you to turn it off, but I’d rather it not be on in the first place.

The first thing I do with a fresh phpBB installation is remove most of it again.

I hope/think Matt might have the right formula – for my needs at least, he’s very clear that it might not be for everybody! – If you can start with a basic, straightforward piece of forum software, with enough flexibility and extensibility from the start, then it must surely satisfy many people’s needs whilst allowing for various other tastes through plugins. The important thing is to get the basic forum running – all the fluff can come later as an option! Good luck to Matt and his team with what looks like a very interesting project.

New search engine

Finally managed to get the new search engine for Blogwise up and running. Last night it was listed as a ‘beta’ and an optional trial. Tonight it’s the main thing (albeit still well and truly under a beta label). The old search engine really was that bad that I felt it was necessary to push the boat out this early.

Actually there are some pretty cool things (well, I think so…) that I haven’t revealed on the search interface yet. For starters the search tool is distributed across the Internet – the queries are done elsewhere which means the server is free to serve pages, and other computers pick up the bulk of the work.

There’s also search by proximity: have a look for sites near Heathrow Airport (51.3N, 0.3W), and a sort-of content filtering as a result of some work I did with ICRA over the past few months – the code is there but there isn’t yet a neat way to interface to that.

Performance is massively improved over the last search engine, as are the results themselves. Unfortunately I’m still not able to search within blogs (would be nice, but simply not enough resources to achieve the kinds of data processing that I’d need).

Expect many more bits & pieces over the coming weeks – I’ll probably post them here in advance.

Phone ripoff

Have a listen to this (MP3, ~450Kb). It was a message left on BT 1571 (domestic voicemail service, for non-Brits) the other day. I’ve also been called directly by this person/machine and had another similar message.

I love the way they’ve crafted it to make it sound like a stumbling yet polite gentleman that couldn’t possibly be part of a scam. I also love the way that they put emphasis on the 090 number (charged at £1.50/min… of course) and that the last three digits are clearly inserted by a computer.

It would be hilarious if so many people didn’t get caught out by these bastards.

Vague thought

Why do radio travel reports always refer to ongoing accidents? ‘There is an ongoing accident at Junction 6 of the M27…’

Slightly more normal posts returning soon… just going through a hectic phase…


What a good idea. By simply inserting this Javascript into the start of your page, you no longer need to worry about IE errors with CSS and stylesheets. The script works (I think) by modifying the DOM on the fly to suit IE’s render engine, applying all sorts of hacks and workarounds on the way – neat!


Heard on the radio the other morning… Scientists have determined that December the 4th at 12.30pm is the average time at which adults stop looking forward to Christmas and start stressing about it. If it’s not true it certainly feels like it should be!

Congratulation by the way to Woodge & family whose baby daughter, Kajsa Christina was born on the 2nd.


A geo-location directory; works by spotting which routers you’re using to get to the net and using that to look up where you are. Neat – I ought to look at this in more details, sign up and have a play!