Finally deleted the last trackback spam yesterday. All comments and trackbacks are disabled forthwith. Go and bother someone else you bastards.

Not especially impressed with the new version of Movable Type either. The installation was really quite fiddly, and I’m a geek for heaven’s sake. And there was almost nothing that couldn’t have been scripted if they’d made the effort. I know the theory is that it should be possible to install with nothing more than an FTP connection, but there should have been a script provided for those of us who have complete access. The blacklist capability appears to be dreadful. There was no way to scan existing comments and trackbacks for spam, they were all assumed to be fine it seems. So I had to (via the web interface), delete 2000 odd trackbacks in batches of 100, which each took about a minute to complete. Nice. Bring back MT-Blacklist I say.

Hold tight, I’m going in

The machine my hosted account is on suffered a fairly fatal hardware failure a few weeks ago. Thanks to the marvels of RAID and backup schedules nothing important was lost, but my perl libs (which were not part of the backup) seem to have taken a hit, with the result that some bits of MoveableType have stopped working, namely trackback and comment filtering. I’m taking the opportunity to upgrade MT, so hopefully we’ll be back to spam-free operation soon. Either that or I’m about to take myself offline in a rather unplanned fashion.

Beyond HTML email

Slightly late to the party reading this entry about how we should all switch to HTML email.

That’s so 90’s. HTML is a truly shocking format for email, capable of containing malicious code and tracking your actions (thus allowing spammers to know if your email address is still valid). Also, an HTML ‘document’ often isn’t the whole message. HTML often contains references to external content. Consider the <img> tag. I received an email the other day that consisted almost entirely of image tags pointing off to a site that the corporate proxy had tagged as inappropriate content. The message was completely broken and unreadable (probably just as well), and the proxy logs would show that I ‘attempted’ to browse to a blocked site, despite the fact that it was my email application acting entirely beyond my control. HTML? Its fine for web pages and that’s where it should stay.

What’s more, there at least 2 open standards far better suited to sending richly formatted emails. Rich Text Format (RTF) and Portable Document Format (PDF). Both do what they say on the tin, and both are viewable on pretty much every platform with a GUI. And neither will cause your machine to go trawling the web or turn into a zombie.

(Not) Learning from history

Vorlath writes:

So the compiler will be written in itself. It’s a really strange concept.

Not to denigrate what seems like an otherwise noble project, but compilers are routinely tested by using them to compile themselves.

Every generation of developers seems to rediscover old ideas and believe they invented them. Its one of the most irritating occupational flaws we programmers have.