Livejournal comment spam

I woke up this morning thinking about Livejournal comment spam. I mean, do they get any? How do they prevent it? Do thet use an mt-blacklist equivalent? Of course a lot of the problem is mitigated by the fact that lj is effectively one big trust network and you can disable people who aren’t already on your list of friends from leaving coments. But this isn’t the default behaviour. By default anonymous comments can be left, so, what do they do to prevent abuse?

It turns out most of the answers are on the LiveJournal Spam: Overview / FAQ page, and I could quote it extensively, but you may as well just go and read for yourself – it basically says “we can change anything whenever we want because we’re a closed system and we also have some extra systems in place”. Certainly of the few people I know who have livejournal accounts I’ve never seen any evidence of comment spam so obviously the measures they’ve got in place seem to work.

Museums start to get mobile technology

if you decide to visit [the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge] you can grab yourself an ‘eGuide’ – a handheld computer and an earpiece – to carry around the galleries as you go. …there are infrared tags beside the featured exhibits, and you simply point at the tag and click just like you would use a TV remote.

Hurray! And not too long after I suggested

How much better to have a barcode next to each item which you can point your device at and … the audio system, [will be] prompted to play certain parts when a barcode is scanned.

Although I doubt very much whether my blog post actually had anything to do with this ๐Ÿ™‚

The judicious use of quoting aside I’m really pleased to see this sort of thing start actually being used. There’s nothing worse than being in a museum and having not the foggiest idea whether you’re looking at a da Vinci or a scrawl on the back of the caretaker’s fag packet.

Windows messenger contact list to FOAF

There’s now more than one way to convert your MSN Messenger contact list into FOAF.

Phil McCarthy’s msn2foaf has been around for quite a while and is a Perl botlet which logs onto your MSN Messenger account and outputs your contact list as friend-of-a-friend RDF data, which was extended in March 2003 by Bill Kearney to hash the mailboxes.

What I hadn’t realised about MSN Messenger is that it actually allows you to save your contact list to disk as a .ctt file, which is just plain, human-readable XML. Frank Geerling has written a python script which takes this ctt file and converts it to FOAF – there’s even an easy-to-use web interface.

It works well and will hash or not hash the email addresses of your contacts as an option. The only criticism I have isn’t even Frank’s fault – the ctt file outputted by Messenger only includes your contacts’ addresses, not their nicknames. So whilst the resultant FOAF is useful for smushing purposes, it’s of little use on its own.

Mozilla can fuck off

My girlfriend and I were talking about computers the other day; she’s got one, but she’s just a normal user, and to be honest I was slightly surprised with the conversation we were having. โ€œIf anyone tried to tell me that I really should be using Linux and Firefox, I’d tell them to fuck off.โ€ she said. Well, that’s her opinion made pretty clear. Despite my success with converting quite a few (maybe twenty?) people over to Firefox from IE, I’ve got absolutely no chance of converting my own girlfriend. What makes it worse is that we’re using Windows XP at home, and the default browser is a system setting, not a user setting, so whenever I’m on her machine and try to follow a link in my aggregator or mail client, up comes IE. Nightmare.

So anyway, that’s why it’s interesting to read articles like this one in Slate:

You’ve probably been told to dump Internet Explorer for a Mozilla browser before, by the same propeller-head geek who wants you to delete Windows from your hard drive and install Linux. You’ve ignored him, and good for you.

I was kind of hoping that that article, along with one from the BBC would help influence her, but instead she just said โ€œThat article seems to be saying ‘Use Firefox!!!’ ‘*cough* even though it means even this site won’t work properly’โ€, and she’s got a fair point. How do you convince users who couldn’t give two hoots about security or extra features to move? Ah, if only I could uninstall IE…