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You know you’re a Web 2.0 geek when…

… you totally nailed the first Buchanan submission to a Flickr pool about U.S. Presidents.

Akismet is teh r0×0r

I’ve seen a steep increase in comment spam in the past couple weeks — from basically none to ten or more a day. Across three blogs, this gets pretty annoying, even if they don’t make it through the filter — I still have to delete them and I get emailed about them as they’re submitted.

I had in place a WordPress plugin called Anti Spam Image, which was a rudimentary Captcha-style “verify you are a human” image test. They must have gotten around it, because that wasn’t stopping anyone.

So yesterday I looked into Akismet, which requires a free, basic account. In less than twenty four hours, I’ve had no false positives and here are the stats:

this blog: 1 spam caught
wedding blog: 15 spam caught!
Code Sorcery Workshop: 28 spam caught!!

That’s pretty sweet. So far, I heartily recommend it.

Fun with hardware

I actually don’t have any new hardware… yet. But I’ve been eying a couple things to play with. Um, I mean work with.

Truth is, I’ve been pretty busy freelancing for the past couple weeks. That’s right, I made the leap and so far I’m really enjoying it. I have a profile site which I’m not incredibly proud of (I’m going for simplicity and an easy-to-remember URL) but since it’s going to get Googled up anyway, you can check it out here. I have to build it up, but for now, like I said — simplicity and stickiness factors are the focus. Feedback welcome in the comments, if you want.

Anyway, hardware. I’m down in Fredericksburg today wrapping up some storage space that we had (finally… we’re completely moved out of Virginia). I took a run through Best Buy, which I typically hate to do because all of the things I want have great prices that are dependent upon rebates, which I’m poor at filing. But today, I saw a couple cool things.

First up is Western Digital’s My Book series of external drives up to 1TB. Mmmm… terabytes. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about good ways to get our files backed up at home, including offsite. I’d love to have two of these suckers running in the RAID1 mode. That would give me two drives of 500GB each (the capacity cuts in half when in RAID1, or mirrored, mode) but they each support USB 2, FireWire 400, and FireWire 800. I’d set them up in a way that gives us network access to one 500GB store and a way to have it mirror to the other 500GB every now and then overnight, then carry the duplicate drive offsite, like in a safe deposit box or something. So, maybe twice a month I’d backup everything that’s been backed up. My big fear is that we have a fire or something (and I hope I don’t jinx myself… we’ve had bad luck with acts of God in the past year) and then we lose everything. Initially, things like email and old websites would be pretty tragic, but now we’re talking about heirlooms like gigabytes of wedding photos. I really need to step it up.

Next up we have a Wacom tablet. I’ve been looking at the Graphire4 4×5 which works great with Inkwell. Inkwell! I bet you didn’t even know that existed. I’ve been itching to give it a shot for the pure fun factor, as well as (and here’s my real excuse) having better posture and exercising my hands and arms differently.

Now that I’m home all day, I need to mix it up a bit more and I think this could do the trick. I met Philippe Casgrain at C4 and he was working on some sweet graphics stuff but he also tended to use the tablet for basic navigation as well. I’d at least like to give it a shot.

Lastly, a hardware gripe. Since I got my MacBook Pro in the spring, I’ve noticed that I can no longer get online at Kinko’s with the LapNet service. T-Mobile Hotspot works fine (which is what I’m using now) but the Cocoa app behind LapNet doesn’t seem to work under Intel. It just sits and does nothing on start and the console shows errors like this.

So that sucks. I can’t seem to find anything about it on the internets. Kinko’s, tear down this wall!

My take on Lost

Catherine writes about her frustration with Lost and links to How ‘Lost’ is Ruining My Life. I feel their pain. That’s why when something occurred to me last time I was watching, it almost snapped into being as the only logical explanation.

I started watching at the second season premiere and haven’t missed an episode since. I’ve caught maybe two or three episodes from the first season but have yet to catch up. I’ve been sharing the same frustrations as time has gone on.

A week or two back, I was watching the scene with the new girl in the hatch, when she points out that there are more TV monitors than hatches. And I was just staring at her going, “Who ARE you? How could the writers just slip you in and not even take a second to explain?”

Then it hit me.

Lost is our Dharma Initiative. The writers are testing how far they can push the audience in crazy ways and still have them obey and watch. It’s all a social experiment to see what kinds of crap they can pull and still have people be addicted to watching, convinced that if they don’t, next week at work when they hear the next juicy tidbits, they’ll get reeled right back in and feel like such as idiot.

  • characters just appearing out of nowhere
  • death of major characters for no logical reason
  • mysterious happenings: healings, polar bears, killer fog

And the list goes on. But they are using us to figure out techniques for future shows, or perhaps a Lost movie.

What happens if you don’t push the button? If you stop watching?

They’re convinced that you’re too scared to try.

Improving photography

I’m trying to better my photography skills, so today Jim and I spent some time down on the Mall. I’ve also been reading this book but I’m not very far in. Going in I had no understanding of aperture, shutter speed, etc., but I’m learning by trial and error.

My first attempt is here — feedback and criticism welcome. My goal is to show improvement between each study as I learn some technique.

Great headlines

Two very exciting headlines this morning:

Democrats recapture US House of Representatives


Democrats Take Majority of Governorships

Now, let’s just get the results of Virginia and Montana…

Athenian BORF

Just wanted to make sure that this didn’t slip off the radar… saw an homage to BORF in Athens that I was able to capture. I hope to soon annotate those other moblogs that I took with details as to where and when they were.

Minor update

So, in a nutshell:

* We’re married. Best day of my life. Photos soon.
* Greece & Turkey rocked. I flew back a week before this. Major buzzkill to go from Mediterranean cuisine to eating at a Subway in New Jersey on the drive home — wish I could have come down a little easier.
* Still feels like summer in DC.
* I have the new LEGO MINDSTORMS (capitalization not mine, but I probably would have anyway on account of awesomeness). See a brief demo here.
* The run of bad luck seems to have ended. I hope.

That’s all for now. Weekends are again booked until November, but I’ll try to get some more posts in.

It’s never easy

So I took my car back to the collision place for a few niggling issues — the trunk latch was flaky, the steering wheel was rotated slightly, and the brake light was out. I just called to get an ETA (after a whole day) and it turns out when they checked it out, they found that the rear axle was bent (How was that missed in the first place? The car had its rear end smashed against the curb…) So now the new estimate is late next week, which is great except… I’m getting married in Connecticut late next week. I need to drive from DC Wednesday, be there all weekend, then leave the country for over two weeks, then get back and the next day, drive back to DC. How is that going to work with a rental?

That’s what I’m hopefully finding out very soon. Why can’t it just be easy?

Listen up, old timer

So I’m confirming our hotel reservations in Istanbul and the email we got offers two options for getting picked up from Ataturk Airport. First off, the email’s automatically awesome because THE WHOLE THING IS IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Thank you, HAKAN & OKAN BROTHERS, for getting me up to speed so loudly.

Do we want:




Wow, that’s tempting. It seems a little steep, but can you imagine the stories that will result from bumping through Istanbul, from the far west side where the airport is, to the far east side by the wall where we’ll be staying, in OLDTIMER 56CHEVY? Man.