Matt Connolly's Blog

my brain dumps here…

Monthly Archives: March 2009

spam spam and more spam

Helping out with building a website for a friend at the moment, and you guessed it, the guestbook got filled with spam.

Fortunately it was easily removed because it was all from one email address, so that made it easy to remove all the posts in one big hit.

But it got me thinking about how to stop it.

Here’s a few things I’m going to try:

  1. Only accept posts where I can verify that the referrer is my own site.
  2. Automatically block posts where more than a certain number of posts happen in a day from the same IP address  (let’s say 5 per day).
  3. Use the API from this site: http://www.stopforumspam.com/
  4. Perhaps use Captcha from here: http://www.captcha.net/

I was pretty impressed with the Stop Forum Spam site – the guy spamming mine was on that list already. I guess the more sites use anti-spam databases, the harder it is for spammers to get their stuff out there.

Any other ideas are welcome!

Facebook app crashed my iPhone

The facebook app crashed my iPhone this morning. I was opening a friend’s photo album that they had posted… and the music started skipping and then it just hung.

I know Optus’s data connection isn’t the best, but that shouldn’t stop the whole phone from working. I think it’s a buggy app. It’s always telling me I have unread messages when I don’t and generally clunky.

Lucky for me I managed to guess the reset combination… press and hold both button simultaneously for about 10 seconds.

Too many projects, not enough time

Especially now that I’m working in a permanent full time job, I have less time available to work on my own “projects”. I have many. And I’m fearful of becoming one who never finishes anything.

As with the usual balance of time and money, some of my projects are more interesting to me, and others are more likely to earn me some cash.

So does anyone have any great tricks for “culling the list” and how to pick which one to focus on?

Sound vs Audio (terminology)

I’ve been thinking the last few days about the difference between the words “Sound” and “Audio”. In many respects, they are synonymous, and I’ve noticed that my usage is inconsistent.

For example: Am I a Sound Designer or Audio Designer?

Sometimes using one word over the other feels right because we often hear them combined with other words:

  1. Audio Technology
  2. Sound Effects
  3. Sound Track (of a film)
  4. Audio- visual

Then the difference came to me when thinking in plurals. You can have many sounds but not many audios. So audio is the general word, referring to the whole, and sound is the more specific word, referring to a specific instance of a noise.

But I still don’t have an answer to the question above…

Why invest in Banks?

Some time ago, I had an interesting thought about the value of banks – and whether or not we should invest in them.

Banks loan money to people. They provide all sorts of credit: home loans, personal loans, credit cards, etc.

Many banks are listed on the stock exchange – so what are their shares really worth?

Two ways of valuing a business are their assets and their income:

ASSET: A bank’s asset is the money they lend you. On your balance sheet, it’s a liability, on the bank’s balance sheet, it’s an asset. Paying off debt reduces a bank’s assets.

INCOME: A bank’s income is the interest they charge you on credit. On your profit and loss statement, interest charged from a loan is an expense; on their profit and loss statement, it’s income. Paying off debt reduces a bank’s income.

It seems that one of the major factors in the world’s current financial crisis is bad debt.

Let’s consider the possibility of people paying off their debts. Firstly, why would people want to pay off debt?

  • So you can eventually own your own home.
  • To reduce interest payments every month and free up cash flow
  • Gain financial independence
  • Prepare for retirement
  • Be a conservative investor without the risk of suffering from margin calls
  • and, I’m sure there are plenty of other good reasons, too…

Secondly, what would happen if people actually paid off their debts?

You would reasonably expect the banks to lose share value since the act of reducing debt reduces both asset and income for the bank.

So when you invest in bank shares, what are you really investing in? DEBT. Yet people believe that bank shares are a safe investment – safer than biotech, IT, mining or many other industries….

I hope this triggers some thoughtful comments and discussion….

Mac IP printing without Bonjour

Bonjour is great because devices can be automatically discovered on the network.

However, I’ve got a faulty router that won’t allow bonjour to travel from wireless to wired ethernet connections.

So I was trying to figure out if there was a way to get the Brother Printer driver to work on the ip address, which I can manually set in the router, and not rely on Bonjour.

Here’s how I did it.

1. Give the printer a fixed IP address in the router’s DHCP settings. Alternatively you could also manually set the IP address on the printer.

2. Add the printer, like so:

 

Network printer by IP address

Network printer by IP address

Works a treat for printing.

DLink DSL-G604T Bonjour issues

It seems that the D-Link DSL-G604T wireless router has serious problems with Bonjour.

I have just purchased a network printer, which is automatically discovered over the network using bonjour. This technology is really great.

The printer connects by ethernet. One computer connects by ethernet – it works fine. The other computer connects by wireless, and it doesn’t.

To make things more strange, the wireless computer can ping the printer. But it won’t discover it over bonjour. If I connect the second computer via an ethernet cable and turn off the wireless connection, then everything works perfectly.

I read a similar story on the whirlpool forums where that router had a problem with music sharing between wired and wireless computers, and apparently the problem was fixed by a firmware upgrade for the router.

Not so lucky for me. I downloaded the latest firmware, and the same problem still exists.

If anyone has heard of how to solve this problem, please do tell.

Lifecycle ride – Nudgee Loop

Here’s my bike ride from this morning, recorded using instamapper for iphone.

http://www.instamapper.com/trk?key=11265370479177707018

For some reason, I can’t put iframes in wordpress….

The people against censorship of the Internet in Australia

The story “Web censorship plan heads towards a dead end” in the Sydney Morning Herald shows two surveys where there are less than 10% of people who strongly agree or want the government to implement mandatory censorship of the internet.

So, technical feasability and civil liberties aside, what kind of a democracy do we have here?

Queensland Election

I normally don’t follow election campaigns with too much detail, but Springborg’s campaign for the upcoming Queensland appears to me to be irresponsible and full of misinformation.

One of his ads Springborg appears and claims that he will “lower payroll tax to create jobs”. I’m no expert in tax, but taxation is a federal government department – so how can the Queensland election affect that!?

And then there is the series of ads: “Labor: Not good enough”. These are the perfect example of why I’ve hated political campaigns since I was a child. Who is this ad by? Who should I vote then?

I don’t think that Coca Cola would legally be able to make ads like this about Pepsi. So why do political parties do it?

I think political ads should always mention, not just in the disclaimer, who the ad is for. Instead of saying “Labor: not good enough” say “LNP: we’ll do it better”… then people can ask why and make an educated decision instead of being badgered by a negative and ambiguous campaign.