Archive for November, 2004

A sigh of relief and (hopefully) the end of comment spam floods.

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

Finally, finally. After some e-mail exchange with Tony Shadwick I got the blacklist modification of the writeback plugin working. Now I am able to block the posting of comments that contain certain keywords. A few minor oddities regarding my blacklist remain to be resolved, but even as it stands right now I had several hours free of new comment spam. Yes, I am talking about hours. If I would have been able to spend all the time that I invested in removing spam over the course of the last weeks into writing new entries this blog would have been a much more interesting place. Let’s hope the best for the future – until then: Thanks Tony and Doug!

Without nostalgia.

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Last week Lars and I saw The Cooler (a movie from 2003) in Darmstadt’s Broadway movie theater – the acting (William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin, and Maria Bello) was excellent. Acting, script and camera together produced a movie that showed us the decline of the old school Las Vegas casino. This kind of casino, with its gambling, its entertainers, its crime, and its sex appeal makes a wonderful setting for a movie, as has been demonstrated by many classics – what I liked most about this film is that it shows all of the attractiveness and seduction that emanates from this particular place, but it also shows that it’s an anachronistic place in a world where the real money, and real crimes are made by different people, and different businesses. A movie not only for casino aficionados.
IMDb entry | Trailer

The time before.

Thursday, November 18th, 2004

Last week I almost did not see Diarios de motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries). Kerstin and I were quite tired and decided to walk around a bit and take a look at the movies currently on show in the Kulturbrauerei cinemas. Luckily, after turning around and starting to walk out of the cinema, we turned one more time and decided to watch this movie based on the journals of Che Guevara and Alberto Granado. Both pictures and story were good and captured a certain spirit of Latin America and of Guevara and Granado in this time, somehow manifesting itself in the many places they went through and the people they met on their journey through South America. This movie is not about revolution and politics per se. However, one feels how politics seep into the life of Guevara, and – what made this movie really worthwile for me – one can get a glimpse of what the world might have looked like through the eyes of the young Che. A beautiful and inspiring movie which you should see.
IMDb entry | Trailer

It is out!

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Come and get it: Firefox 1.0 final release is ready to be downloaded! Two things make the user experience in Firefox stand out:

  1. Extensions: You can customize your Firefox to block ads, to use mouse gestures, to better code your website, and much more.
  2. Searching: You can easily extend the search field in Firefox’s toolbar. Just click at the Google G in the search field in the upper right corner and click the lowermost entry to add other search engines. I enjoy accessing, the wikipedia and the dictionary in that way.

Get Firefox!

If you are a mac user and do not heavily use extensions in Firefox, I recommend trying out a recent Camino nightly build, which is better suited to Mac OS X – it’s really sleek!

Measures against comment spam implemented.

Saturday, November 6th, 2004

Most of the time I spent on my blog during the last weeks has been spent removing comment spam. I thought that removing comment spam manually wouldn’t take up that much time but I was wrong. One argument against implementing an automatized solution to this problem was that they often block IP addresses or even ranges of IP addresses. This wouldn’t have been a good solution, since blocking these address ranges would keep other, legitimate users from accessing my blog. After being frustrated by another wave of comment spam I did some more research and found a modified comment plug-in for my blog software (blosxom). This plug-in is based on a keyword blacklist, which is regularly updated. It sounds good and I really hope that it helps keep the comments in this blog spam-free without requiring too much maintenance effort.

End of summer.

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004

This time of year also has a positive effect: the visitor/page view numbers for my site are increasing considerably. During the summer months both the total number of visits and the number of page views per visit are lower than they are in the rest of the year. For my site, the increase seems to begin in mid-september. I will keep you informed if the high-plateau has already been reached, or if the increase will continue into November. (Currently I have about 1.100 visitors per month with an average of about 1.6 page views per visit.)