Posts Categorized: tech + web dev

SXSW – Travel Day

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7am Central Standard Time – Chicago O’Hare Airport

Thurs. March 11 from 7pm to Friday March 12th was/is the travel day to SXSW 2004. Here I am. I have arrived in Austin and am now plugged into the data port in my hotel room blogging to you.
During SXSW Interactive I will be attempting to blog daily about the adventures of the conferece and what is exciting, to me at least. Hopefully, I will get a photo of John Halcyon Styn without his shirt on for “Boys Gone Wild SXSW-Style.”
From Wed. to Sat/Sun. of next week during the Music portion of SXSW, Julie Wanda and I will blog about the Music panels and showcases over at the Barflies.net blog.
Last night and today was my travel day from LA to Chicago to Austin. Chicago O’Hare Airport is a fascinating place between 5am to 8am. The people watching at 6am is even more fascinating. Here are my conclusions on the matter after very little sleep:
Blonde people in Southern California come in all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. The blonde hair, by and large, is the result of bleach.
There are lots of blonde people in Chicago. They all appear to be born that way, even if they use bleach to maintain it. They are all shapes, sizes, but appear to be of central and eastern European ethnicities.
There are lots of TALL blonde people in Austin. They all appear to be born that way, even if they use bleach to maintain it.
My conclusions: I am very short and brown haired/brown eyed.
Further conclusions: My college Logic professor, Dr. Cocchi, would find my logic above to be false, due to the lack of if then or presentation and thus statements.
Even further conclusions: Thus, it is bad to blog when one has had less than 3 hours sleep in the last 48 hours.

A New Twist to Virus Emails

By now we are all familiar with the “hello,” “server report,” and “thank you” email subject lines in emails that contain the latest virus worm.
Today, I received a new twist in three separate spam virus emails – insulting me to get me to open the “story.zip” file that contains the worm virus.
The subject line says something like “Your Story”, “I though you would want to know” etc. The Body text says something to the effect of “Bad writing”, “You could do much better”, “Your plot is thin”…. Basically the virus spammer is attempting to insult a writer into opening the zip file containing the virus.
I am sorry I didn’t save the emails to give you the exact subject lines or body text being used, but they were all sent from actual entertainment companies. If I get more, I will report exactly what is said.
People creating and sending the viruses are getting more sophisticated in their use of tricks to get folks to activate the viruses.
Practice Safe Computing: use a firewall, a good updated anti-virus software, and don’t open any attachments that you are not expecting. If an suspect attachment comes, delete the email. You can always ask your real friend to send again if it is legitimate.

I did it…

MozillaI did it yesterday. Yep, I did. After month’s of thinking about it, after porting Blue completely over in October, today I did it for myself.
I left Netscape. After 9 years of Netscaping faithfully through good times and bad, yesterday I downloaded and made Mozilla 1.5 my default browser and mail client.
Recently AOL made the decision that Netscape 7.0 would be the last version of Netscape, and yesterday I had some trouble with my email and realized that there would be no updates to solve the problem. Given that Mozilla is a great open software / community development browser, as well as being the core of Netscape’s browser, I decided to not go to the DARK SIDE and instead continue to fight for the Light by making Mozilla my default browser.
So far, so good. My only two complaints are both in the mail client: No Spell Check and No File Button of which to use to file emails into folders, it is drag and drop all the way.

All’s Quiet on the Western Front

Supposedly the National Do No Call List was to be set into action today on Oct. 1, 2003. There have been two court cases that have held up the proceedings, all the while Congress and the President moved quickly to give the FCC power to inact the National Do No Call List. Federal Courts defending the telemarketer scum vs. Congress defending 50 million Americans who are sick of bullshit phone calls.
My advice to the 50 million harassed humans: If the Federal courts will not uphold our stated desire to not be invaded by marketing folk, then go down to your favorite purveyor of electronic goods and buy an answering machine. Yep. Screen your phone calls, baby. Then call up your phone company and get the feature where the phone co. sends you a little box that tells you who is calling. Between the old school answering machine with the sound on and the little box with a screen that gives me a number, I am a member of the Screening Nation.
Luckily my friends, family, and business clients are used to my boundaries with the marketing scum, and yell useful things into the answering machine like, “Jen, pick up your phone, this is ….” or “Hey! It’s me! Pick up your phone… Hello, Hello… Pick up your phone…”
When I return from a good long bout of being away from my non-slavemaster the phone it is entertaining to see how many messages I have of friends/family/clients doing the above routine, as they think I am screening rather than actually being away from the slavemaster the phone, versus how many calls the little AT&T box tells me called in. Usually I have a large ratio of hang ups & unavailable numbers (telemarketer scum) to actual messages from real live people who I actually want to talk to; somewhere around 20 irritations to 4 real calls.
Today was different. Today was the day we were supposed to have freedom from telemarketers. Today my ratio of evil vs. good was way down. Today, Oct. 1, 2003 – I had 4 real calls – my sister, Erika, Hector, CSLF, and my sister again to only 3 evil telemarketers. What happened to the other 17+ evil people? Did they actually decided to pay attention to the National Do No Call List even though the courts have sided with them?
The irony of it all is that I got my first spam phone call on my cell today. Yes, the cell number that no one has, well, maybe 5 people. The cell that I have off all the time, the cell that I don’t take messages for, the cell I only use on business trips. Yes, that cell had a telemarketer call on it. Guess, I better go register my cell number on the National Do No Call List….

Spam Update

I have to admit that the Knowspam.net service I have been using on all of my email accounts is working too well. Yes, my email inbox has gone from an avalanche of crapola every day to a very manageable trickle of wanted email, but on occasion I find myself yearning for a bit more mail…
The way Knowspam works is that they send an email to all senders and request that a human validate the email before it gets sent on to me, this stops the email bots and computer spamming. Then I get an email from Knowspam showing me all the non-human emails that are waiting, then I can peruse them to make sure a good email does not get deleted. Sometimes I click on an email to just check to see if it is a legitimate email.
Today I had 20 possible spams awaiting my approval or delete button, I clicked on one from “greeser@…t” to make sure it was not a music related email and the following text lept out at me “Get up to 4 Rock HARD Inches!”.
My first thought… wow, spammers are really reaching, don’t most men start out at about 4 inches and would like to get bigger from there? If the product that the spammer is shilling will only make you up to 4 inches, that defeats the point, right? The language in the email did not imply that it would add up to 4 inches.
Spammers need to work on their wording and advertising a wee bit more…

The Somewhat Bizarre World of Search Engine Results

All of us have a favorite search engine, be in Google or Yahoo or MSN or whatever, and a good portion of the time when you search for something you get a few cool random websites that you would have never have known about otherwise. And then sometimes you stumble across some weird stuff or completely useless sites and not the website you were looking for.
On the other side of the coin, as one of the websites that come up in a search, it is interesting from my perspective to see how people end up at this site. My server logs and counter are kind enough to give me the search words that people used who ended up here at Black Phoeobe. For the regular reader of this blog, the following list will hopefully interest you or pique your curiosity as much as it did mine, as you may see how certain posts and snippets of text over the last two weeks yeilded the search results.
Last 10 queries (8/14/03):
1. ms nude universe
2. yvonne garrett
3. yvonne garrett
4. “Yvonne Garrett”
5. Sting Ray Attacks
6. Black Phoebe
7. sting ray attacks
8. “black phoebe”
9. ms black nude
10. “black phoebe”
Last 10 queries (8/8/03):
3. long beach dead alley 200
4. nude black hot chicks
5. dolphin stess test
6. “yvonne garrett”
7. cute punk boys
8. “her baby toe”
10. black phoebe
Last 10 queries (8/5/03):
1. world’s tallest black man
2. black phoebe
3. surfer dies at bolsa chic
4. f-18,crash,2003,july
5. sting ray attacks
6. phoebe
7. funny phoebe comments
9. alex’s bar long beach
Now of the above words/phrases used in a search some of them are amusing or just plain odd: ms nude universe, world’s tallest black man, long beach dead alley 200, etc. I am wondering why my friend Yvonne is so popular these days…

The wonders of Online Vehicle Registration

For about 3 or 4 years now, I have renewed my bouncing baby honda’s registration at the DMV’s Online Renewal website. I did again last Thurs night, July 31, and I received the new registration for 2003-2004 today! Yes, today. Four days after I registered I received the new sticker, of which two of those days were the weekend! The wonders of the internet never cease….

Tim Bray on the possible Future of Browsers…

Tim Bray makes an excellent case for Mozilla, Safari, Opera or just about any other new browser kicking Microsoft’s booty in the next few years in his July 17th article – The Door is Ajar.

Today, the human experience of the Net stands at a crossroads, paths diverging into the future, and nobody knows which one we’ll be on in a year. A lot of people who will read this have the chance to make a difference in the decision. Let’s look at the options.