03 January 2005

New Pictures in the Gallery

We have some new pictures online in the gallery this evening. A month of pictures have built up and I’ve finally gotten them all online. The pictures include a New Year’s Day trip to the Mercer Slough in Bellevue, flood waters in the Snoqualmie Valley (including some nice pictures of Snoqualmie Falls with flood waters) and some interesting pictures that resulted from me fooling around with a new 50mm lens I got for Christmas.

As with everything else in the gallery, these were shot by either Eileen or I and we haven’t done any post-processing to clean the images up at all. There’ll be problems with levels and white balance and other such technical minutæ, but we hope you won’t hold it against us and enjoy the pictures as much as we do.

02 January 2005

Errant Comments

In the past 24 hours we’ve had several dozen pornography links pasted into the comments of the various articles advertising one particular site. Thankfully that, combined with some other attributes has made it fairly easy to filter the bad guy to a special page just for him (or her, as the case may be).

It seems kind of ridiculous that someone would bother with this sort of thing nowadays. Google already has filtering in place to prevent such postings from impacting their search results, or at least so they say.

In this case the spamming is by some Russian guy advertising a site with various pornography. I don’t really expect their upstream to do anything about the “spamvertised” site. Maybe it is just the Russian mob looking for some hard currency to help with laundering. Throw in the KGB, a rogue CIA agent with amnesia and lots of black Mercedes sedans racing around St. Petersburg and you might have the makings of a good action movie.

The blog spamming itself was being done by a rather unsophisticated tool being run from some number of compromised Windows machines on cable modem networks. Again, I don’t expect the cable modem internet providers will actually bother doing anything to get infected boxes off their network. It’s not like they perceive these costs at all. And I’m quite sure none of those end users know their machines are compromised. Just do us all a favor and remember the following: a computer running Windows will be infected by a virus within 16 minutes of being connected to the Internet if measures (like never ever using MSIE) aren’t taken to protect it, even with countermeasures it’s a crap shoot. You can help by using something else.

For now, he/she/it is blocked and all comments are forced through moderator approval, at least until I’m satisfied that the threat has passed for the time being. Having to waste a few hours on this was annoying. The naughty person in question (and perhaps a few others running ancient Windows) get to see this friendly message for every request they make to this website now:

Hi there!

Someone with a similar browser as you has been spamming the comments with
pornography ads hoping to trick Google into thinking that my site’s good
ranking is some how associated with porn from this guy (probably not real)
in Russia:

Morozov, Alexander se-traf@mail.ru
Tverskaya 13-123
Moscow, Moscow 123456

I’m sick of deleting this garbage out of the pending comment queue, so you’re
seeing this page instead. If you’re a legitimate reader, you have my utmost
apologies, but you shouldn’t be running Windows 98 nowadays anyway unless you
want your computer cracked…

Feel free to direct complaints to…

This person’s host: abuse@atrivo.com
This person’s upstream transit: abuse@nlayer.net
This person’s further upstream transit: abuse@gblx.net

Really, you can stop trying to spam the site now. Go bother someone else
with all the poor Windows cable modem machines you’ve cracked.

01 January 2005

Happy New Year!

Once again the holiday season is here and and another exciting year is behind us. 2004 has been a time of change for us. Early in the year we had a contractor replace our roof that was damaged from last fall’s windstorm. The new roof is a metal construction that should better withstand the valley winds. Just a couple weeks ago the winds picked up again and the roof is still in tact, so we’re calling it a success.

Eileen continues her work for the federal government and spent the better part of the summer studying for the LSAT test which she took in October at Seattle University. The test results were good and so now it’s a matter of going through the admissions process. Seattle University has the most appealing program near us at the moment.

Andy suffered a torn ligament in his knee skiing this spring. After physical therapy, arthroscopic surgery, more physical therapy and some yoga the knee has most of its flexibility back. A knee brace will allow for a return to the slopes this winter, albiet not following his father off any more jumps for at least a year or two.

Not to be outdone, our siamese cat Mocha also managed a minor ligament injury bounding about the house, which necessitated her to clomp around the house with a cast on her right rear leg. The vet did not throw in a parrot for her shoulder and an eyepatch to complete the effect unfortunately. Mocha’s feeling better now and informs me that the last joke will be forgiven for an undisclosed amount of tuna.

This year also saw a change in employment as Andy left his previous job and joined Marchex. Marchex has their Seattle office directly on Westlake Park, a fun place to view the holiday festivities in the downtown shopping district. This also gives us an extra hour together each day commuting. Hopefully next year will see continued success for the company.

We hope that the coming year brings happiness and prosperity to you and yours.