Because I say I love you doesn't mean I know you'll never go.
Just that I wish you didn't have to.
Saturday night coming home from a concert...
I'm pretty sore from the seatbelt, but otherwise fine. Unfortunately, the poor deer I slammed into broadside at 115 kph didn't fare as well. I'm afraid the Corolla's going to be a write-off.
I don't particularly like car shopping at the best of times, but having to do it under duress and in a hurry really sucks.
Blork, in Montreal, is lamenting that he's getting record warm temperatures for this time in May. He then goes on to mention how he noticed Calgary got snow on Thursday.
Uh, yea dude - and out here an extra hour west, we've had snow several times this week! Including about 6 or 8 cm on the Victoria Day holiday on Monday.
I do have sympathy for you having to ride in that heat because of the transit strike, Blork, but as for the warm weather? Yea, send me some a dat. My mom was at the cottage near Ottawa for the weekend - bet it was glorious.
I did notice that Blork mentions one of the things that infuriates me about the "global warming" discussion - namely the use of that term. Like him, I keep hearing people scoff at the concept by pointing out, for example, that we got a great deal more snow this year, or that certain areas had especially cold weather this winter. As if some places being cold negates the reality of global warming.
Out here. we exclusively refer to it as 'climate change" as well, because that more closely describes the phenomenon. And boy do we see it here. Just looking at pictures of the glaciers in the mountains from a few decades ago compared to now makes it pretty clear.
I was up at the Columbia Icefield two weeks ago with my visiting sister and her family. That's them goofing in front of the Athabasca Glacier - a tongue of the Columbia Icefield (click to enlarge). The stats and photos show the Athabasca Glacier alone has receded by kilometres in the last hundred years, greatly accelerated in recent decades. Scary when you consider how much of the Prairies' water is supplied from that Icefield.
Here is a full shot of the Glacier (click to embiggen). It's a little hard to tell from the perspective how far back the toe of the glacier is from the furthest moraine (the hill of gravel) but it's quite a ways. The glacier used to come down further than the Icefields Parkway, the road visible in the foreground.
And just for Blork, here's an example of how much we snow we get out here. That's a snow bank. In mid-May. Cut out by a blower, not plowed up. Sunshine Village, the ski area near where I work, got over 7 metres of snowfall this winter. (They just closed last weekend.)
This post explains why bloggers and other website owners may see large numbers of bounce messages for spam they didn't send in their domain-based email - i.e. email that uses their domain name as opposed to their Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you're just looking for the fix without the background, check the extended entry.
Lots of people who have their own domains and hosting get justifiably freaked out when they start receiving huge numbers of emails that seem to be bounce notifications for spam that looks like it was sent from addresses at their domain. Mostly these are autogenerated replies from other mail servers telling you the spam messages bounced. What unsettles people the most is that they never sent the original, so are afraid someone has hijacked their email or hosting account account.
In fact, these messages are simply the result of spammers making up addresses using your domain name to employ as fake return addresses when sending their crap. When the crap bounces, it bounces back to you because your domain has been spoofed as the sender.
This is NOT an indication of a problem with your email security. There's nothing you can do to stop spammers from inventing and using return email addresses that have been faked using your domain name (unless you've got some exotic technique for mind-controlling the spammers, in which case, fess up!) If you look at the bounce messages, you'll see that the return addresses are just arbitrary words put in front of @yourdomain.com, making it clear that these aren't your real addresses. So if they're made-up addresses, why do they bounce back to your real address?
Well, actually, they don't. By default, most hosting accounts are set up so that any email that comes in with an @yourdomain.com address will be forwarded to the default mail account. So if a message arrives for email@example.com, it will get routed directly to your inbox. If a message comes in for firstname.lastname@example.org, it will get forwarded to the email@example.com address as well.
There's a good reason for this behaviour. If someone were to accidentally send to firstname.lastname@example.org (a typo), then instead of bouncing, the message would get forwarded to your default address and could be sorted out from there. So what can you do about the mess of bounces that are cluttering your inbox?
If you're willing to give up the security of knowing that an accidentally incorrectly addressed message can still get to you, you can simply instruct your email handler to throw away any message that's not sent to a real, existing address. This means all those spam bounces will simply be discarded and you'll never see them. How do you tell your email system to dump this trash?
The first step is to decide exactly what action should be taken with each crap message. Your choices are to either bounce the message yourself, or to blackhole it. Blackholing is the most extreme, and means the offending message will simply disappear without notification to you or to whomever sent the message.
This is the most tempting solution because it means the crap message dies with you - it doesn't go on to bounce back back to another server that didn't request it either. This is great if the only messages being dealt with this way are guaranteed to be pure crap. BUT! This is very bad news for those messages that might be legit, but with an accidental error in the email address. Remember, no notification of failure will be sent, so if I sent the offer to hire you as my gourmet restaurant's food taster, but it went to email@example.com by accident, you're never going to see it, and I'm just going to assume you ignored me.
So the only time to use the blackhole is if you don't actually use your domain's email at all. In which case you know anything that comes in is crap and can safely be ignored. For everybody else, you want to set your system to bounce any message not sent to a legit address.
Hit the extended entry for step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
This one's for Stevie - the horsewoman:
Bob calls his buddy Sam, the horse rancher, and says he's sending a
friend over to look at a horse.
Sam asks "How will I recognize him?"
"That's easy, he's a midget with a speech impediment."
the midget shows up, and Sam asks him if he's looking for a male or
"A female horth." So he shows him a prized filly.
"Nith lookin' horth. Can I thee her eyeth?" Sam picks up the midget and he gives the horse's eyes the once over.
"Nith eyeth, can I thee her earzth?" So he picks the little fella up again and shows him the horse's ears.
"Nith earzth, can I see her mouf?" The rancher is gettin' pretty irritated at this point, but he picks him up again and shows him the horse's mouth.
"Nice mouf, can I see her twat?" Totally ticked at this point, the rancher grabs the midget under his arms and rams his head as far as he can up the horse's twat, pulls him out and slams him on the ground.
The midget gets up, sputtering and coughing. "Perhapth I thould rephrase that; Can I thee her wun awound a widdlebit?"
A significant commenting problem has surfaced this weekend with Movable Type blogs running version 3.2 or newer. Fortunately this time it has nothing to do with an architecture problem though. Versions of Movable Type from 3.2 up come with a plugin called Spam Lookup preinstalled and activated. One of its defenses is to check a couple of blacklist organisations for known spammers and that check is failing.
Unfortunately, one of the blacklist organisations Spam Lookup uses by default has decided to shut down due to overloading, but instead of just shutting, off, they're blackholing all requests to the address. This means that on any blog using the plugin, Spam Lookup will try to connect for up to 30 seconds before giving up and allowing the comment script to complete its task - the net result being comments that seem to take forever to post.
The address in question is opm.blitzed.org and a note on their wiki states:
Please stop querying the opm.blitzed.org zone. As of May 2007 in order to reduce query load on our servers, opm.blitzed.org is pointing at a blackholed nameserver -- queries will take a long time and result in a SERVFAIL.
If you're running a Moveable Type blog using version 3.2 or higher, you just need to remove this particular address from the list of sources to check within the Spam Lookup plugin's configuration settings. There are step-by-step instruction below for anyone who needs a walk-through.
Folks whose blogs I host, or for which I provide tech support have already had this update applied. No need to do it yourselves, but do mention it to others you know who use Movable Type and may not be aware of the fix. Note this doesn't apply in any way to Typepad.
Click the extended entry for step by step instructions and a screenshot of how to make the change.
I know plenty of the folks who read here are interested in exactly how their computer functions, so I thought I'd show you how your monitor displays the cursor. A Japanese group has devised a way to show what's actually happening on your monitor in order to display the cursor as it moves around your screen. It'll take a minute or 2 for the site to load, then as you move your cursor through the grey circle, it will magnify it and show how its movement is actually created.
Don't ever let it be said I'm not a great source of tech info!
I'm still finding Typepad's documentation sloppy.
This has been an ongoing issue for me - ever since I first started using the service. I can't count the number of times I've had tech-competent clients (hi Jim, hi George!) contact me for help because they couldn't get Typepad to do what it said itself it should do.
Tell me, dear readers, what would be your assumption if you saw the following in your blog's configuration settings?
If selected, unauthenticated commenters will be required to submit an email address along with their comment.
If selected, unauthenticated commenters will be required to pass a test that helps validate that they are a person and not a machine.
Would it not appear to you that, simply leaving the last box unticked, you would avoid the use of captchas on your site?
In fact, Typepad has decided that, in some instances, a captcha will be issued regardless of how that specification is set. This info appears nowhere in the configuration settings - only in the knowledgebase:
Comments that meet the following criteria will trigger the CAPTCHA:
Now, I understand that Typepad is using the captcha as a measure to protect their servers in case of a spam attack. I do find it hard to believe they couldn't implement a less annoying solution, but I'm especially frustrated that the configuration setting is so misleading. Come on Typepad, any user who beta-tested that config page could have told you that description was inadequate and misleading. Are you still not allowing actual users to test your changes before you roll them out? I mean, this has been a pretty common problem in the past.
Just for my own info, if any of you commenting are confronted with a captcha and you don't fit any of the above reasons, would you let me know please?
I'm very fortunate to be able to carpool to work with a couple of good friends mosts days, so I get to bookend the workday with a good visit. But for the days I do the half-hour commute alone, or have to drive into Calgary, I was excited to find a selection of free audiobooks available for download.
Librivox has a massive collection of some great out-of-copyright works. I'm particularly interested in the selection if Victorian novels - my subject at University. No idea what the quality of the reading is like, but it's certainly going to be worth finding out.
Simply Audiobooks also has a selection of free works, as well as a huge commercially-available library. I think I'll start with Call of the Wild. The Wasteland might be interesting too.
When I was in University, I did some book recording for blind students - both course texts and pleasure reading. I used a special tape recorder (like a deluxe Walkman) although now, I'm sure it's all dictated into a computer. I've been thinking it would be fun for both my nephews (twins!) and me if I read some books onto CD's for them, then sent them both to read along with. Maybe I should check back in with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to see if there's something I could be doing for them?
I find it's actually really tough to read aloud well, especially if you're 'sight-reading' (no pun intended) but I've been told by knowledgeable folks I've got a pretty good delivery. My nephews certainly enjoyed the couple of chapters of Roald Dahl (warning - annoying flash intro) I read for 'em when I was home a couple of weeks ago. That's some tough stuff to read - all the wixed up mords he uses. The guys especially like "catastrophous disastrophy".
So, any of you folks using audiobooks?