No, I’m not talking about bathtubs. I’m talking about the scum who have apparently decided that death threats are an acceptable way of expression, at least when it comes to Kathy Sierra.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be on the receiving end of such threats and abuse; hell, I found it hard to get back to work after just reading what she was subjected to.

Kathy, I hope you’re able to return to blogging; your perspectives and good sense have helped me (as have your books). But first, take care of yourself.

Upgrading to WordPress 2.0.4

I’m in the midst of upgrading to WordPress 2.0.4 (from 1.5.2, shame on me). Minor breakage should be expected (my custom 404 page seems to have vanished), but things are running well enough that I’m going to dinner. More fiddling later…

Hmm…I don’t have any idea how I got the old 404 to work (for those who might care, it was a special page in the database, and somehow or another, it got invoked at the right time; the magic formula was on a posting from the Sacramento Web Developers SIG, which seems to have vanished into the ether).  So I’m doing it the old-fashioned way, with a 404.php file in my style.

And I see that Akismet is catching spam for me already, so I guess the migration has been a success.

Relevant comment spam?

Two hours and 15 minutes after my posting last night, there was a comment waiting in my moderation queue from someone purporting to be a user at Yahoo. The comment read, almost verbatim:


Do you know you can get an American idol coin which will feature 2 finalists on 2 sides? Well, I got mine from [redacted]

C ya

I decided not to approve the comment, but I was impressed at the relevancy. So I did a little more digging.

I ignored the purported email address as being trivially spoofed; instead, I did a WHOIS lookup on the IP address from which the comment had come. It was in the 59.95.x.x range, so I had to go to the APNIC Whois database, which told me that that entire subnet was run by an outfit named Sancharnet, whose homepage describes them as “Sancharnet is a country wide Internet Access Network of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, India. It offers Dedicated and Dialup (PSTN & ISDN) Internet Access Services across all the major cities in India”.

I then checked my logs (well, actually, the SiteMeter summary) and found that my only recent connection from 59.95 came though this referral:

and that the user had visited several pages and been on the site for about 4 minutes.

This is, of course, an example of the globalization of services. Whoever sells the coins being flogged (“Abundant Marketing”, in Boynton Beach, Florida, according to the WHOIS database for the URL they were trying to promote) appears to employ people in India to do frequent Technorati searches for relevant terms and then post spam comments. I say that it’s likely to be humans at work rather than bots because of the location, and because the HashCash plugin requires JavaScript and most bots don’t support that.

I must admit to being tempted to go ahead and let the comment post because it was, in fact, relevant — but, of course, I didn’t. Wonder if they’ll try commenting to this posting? It does, after all, have the magic “American Idol” phrase in it!

What spreads faster? Truthiness or brrreeeport?

Scoble is running a test of blog search engines, and this is my contribution to the dataset.  Hmmm…I am not yet there. Let’s say “brrreeeport” and “truthiness” in the body of the post and see what happens now.

In other news, things have been busy, but nothing has been really blog-worthy — sure, we had a beautiful 70-degree day while New York was getting socked with 27 inches of snow, but you could read that in the newspapers.

Possibly the most interesting thing we did over the weekend was go to the Kehillah production of Hannah Senesh.  As he introduced the play, the director (Kehillah’s drama teacher) said that he really couldn’t tell us to “enjoy the play”, and he was right.  It was a very meaty play for highschoolers to deal with, and they did a wonderful job.

Back to work…