2006-07-25

SpamArrest

I have been using the same email address since 1997. I used to run a small software development consulting company; I needed my email address to be well publiclicized so people could find and hire me. The unintended result is that my email address is a spam target--I get so much spam that the mailbox would be unusable if I didn't have a good tool to help me.

The best tool I have found to cope with spam is to make the sender prove he is human. I use SpamArrest (yes, that's an affiliate link, and I get a small referral bonus if you sign up), and the results are amazing. The downside is that the first time someone sends me email, he has to pass a CAPTCHA. The upside is that I hardly ever receive spam in my filtered mailbox. Given the results, forcing people to pass a CAPTCHA is a fair trade.

I have used SpamArrest since 2004, and the results have been amazing:

Messages Processed       147943
Messages Forwarded 19293
Spam Percentage 86.96%

That's right, 87% of the email I receive is spam. Here are some charts showing the results. The first chart shows the same breakdown between spam and non-spam since I began using SpamArrest:

Pie chart of all email processed

These charts show results for the last 30 days:

Pie chart of all email processed Pie chart of all email processed

The results speak for themselves. SpamArrest works for me, and my email box remains usable.

2006-07-23

Revolution vs. Celtic FC

I saw the New England Revolution play Celtic FC Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough with my friends Andrew and Simon. I accidentally asked for the "$25 seats" instead of "tickets for the Fort," and ended up with seats on the north side of the stadium. We had a clear view of the Fort from there, and it was great to discover that you can hear the nice folks in the Fort everywhere in the stadium.

We met a friendly guy from Scotland, something that wouldn't have happened if we had sat in the Fort. He said he was a lower division player in Scotland who had suffered a major foot injury. His team forced him to take a year off, and he was spending it in the States working as a youth soccer coach at training camps run by MLS. He was excited to see Stevie Nicol coaching. His father is a Celtic season ticket holder, and he filled me in on some of Celtic's background. The team is from Glasgow. The club has an Irish theme and legions Irish and Irish-American supporters because it was founded by Irish monks. Four players from World Cup teams were absent, taking some time off between the Cup and the beginning of Scotland's season.

In the first half, both sides' A teams played to a 0-0 draw. Each side made a number of substitutions in the second half, and the B teams played to a 1-1 final score. Admittedly, the Rev's are in midseason form and Celtic has barely begun training, but it looked like this MLS team was very competitive with this year's Scottish league champs.

I sang to myself on the way out, and I haven't gotten the song out of my head since the match:

We're all part of Nicol's army,
We're all out to win the League!
And we'll really shake 'em up
When we win the [flipping] Cup!
Cause New England has the greatest football team!

(Words adapted from http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=364733)

2006-07-19

How to remove a stale shortcut

Once in a while, a program installed on my HP iPAQ 6315 becomes stale. Some of its files disappear, and it won't run any more. The program's icon still appears in the Windows Mobile Programs list, though. When you select it, Windows displays a message like this:

Foo.exe                   ok
Cannot find 'Foo'
(or one of its components)
. Make sure the path and
filename are correct and all
the required libraries are
available.

I don't need the program any more, so I don't care that it doesn't run, but I do want to remove it from the Programs list. Here's how:

First, run ActiveSync.

ActiveSync

Click Explore. Under My Pocket PC, browse to \Windows\Start Menu\Programs:

Mobile Device explorer

Select the stale shortcut, and click Delete this item.

2006-07-14

Apache RedirectMatch

My web site's front page was stale and ugly. It was time for a makeover, but I am not much of a web site beautifier. I thought this blog might be a good entry point, but it was already installed under /blog/page/kasper/. I thought it would be too hard, and probably a bad idea, to make the blog run directly under /, but I still wanted / to point to the blog.

The first thing I tried was the refresh meta tag. I added this line to my /index.html:

<meta http-equiv="refresh"
content="0;url=http://kasperowski.com/blog/page/kasper/">

That worked--it forwarded to the blog--but it looked amateurish. The web browser displayed the old /index.html file briefly before displaying the blog page--very dissatisfying.

The next thing I tried was Apache Redirect. I added this line to kasperowski.com's VirtualHost entry in the httpd.conf file:

Redirect permanent / http://kasperowski.com/blog/page/kasper/

At first, I thought that worked great. When a web browser requested /, it immediately displayed /blog/page/kasper/. It broke everything else, though. Every page under / was redirected to /blog/page/kasper/. For example, /foo redirected to /blog/page/kasper/foo, which didn't exist.

My final idea was Apache RedirectMatch. I wanted /, and only /, to redirect to the blog, and everything else to behave like usual. I replaced the Redirect line in httpd.conf with:

RedirectMatch permanent ^/$ http://kasperowski.com/blog/page/kasper/

That did exactly what I wanted: / is the only thing that redirected to /blog/page/kasper/. Everything else, like /foo, worked that way it did before.

2006-07-02

Cygwin rxvt

Cygwin is great, but the standard Cygwin Bash Shell shortcut isn't. I need something more powerful than the DOS window. I want something more like an xterm, with easy copy and paste, and a recognized $TERM for emacs and vi sessions.

rxvt gives me what I want. I found this command line somewhere a while ago, and it make rxvt do pretty much what I want:

$ rxvt.exe -sl 1500 -fn "Lucida Console-12" -bg black -fg grey -sr -e bash --login -i

I add a shortcut to C:\cygwin\bin\rxvt.exe on my Windows desktop, and put that command line as the shortcut's target. Now I'm happy.

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