March 22nd, 2006
For about the past month, I’ve been getting a lot of spam messages posted to my blog. They are all stupid one-line messages that usually include vulgar references to sex in some manner or another. They always post a url, which is always a .info domain, which redirects to winantispyware.com. I think they have an affiliate program with softwareprofit.com or something like that. Either way, they seem to be dirty companies, using a lot of spam, popups and other malicious web tricks. I was receiving up to 30 spam messages a day from this company, which was quite a hassle. The biggest problem was trying to find a way to prevent the messages from getting through.
After repeatedly emailing any address I could find related to both companies and not getting any replies, I decided to see what I could do to block the offending messages. Using the features of WordPress, I was able to flag any spam messages so they wouldn’t be posted on the site. However, that meant I still had to sift through messages, deleting most of them. I thought about blocking ip addresses, but almost all of the messages were from different addresses, so that wouldn’t work. I thought about playing with the WordPress code to introduce a captcha image or something when posting a new comment, but luckily I found a cool plugin that was just the ticket.
Bad behaviour is a set of PHP scripts that prevents spambots from accessing your site. It analyzes HTTP requests and compares them to profiles of known spambots. It’s available as a WordPress plugin, and is also available for a few other CMS, forum and wiki packages. Since installing, I’ve seen the number of spam comments go from 25 or more per day to just 2 in the past week. I highly recommend bad behaviour to help combat spam in your blogs or forums.
March 17th, 2006
They sure don’t make them like they used to. Just last week, our family’s microwave stopped working. It wouldn’t turn on or respond to any button pushing. We tried plugging it in somewhere else and confirmed it was pooched. It is only a year and two months old, so luckily it is still under warranty. We took it to a local repair center and it was fixed in a day at no charge to us. This microwave replaced an older one that we had since 1985. It’s over 20 years old, and it still works like a charm. Sure, it probably leaks microwave radiation all over the place, but at least it can still make popcorn.
Life without a microwave is kinda strange. You really realize how much you use it. Without it, trying to reheat leftovers becomes a chore involving pots and pans and the stove and oven. There is no more 30 second reheating. Lacking a microwave oven, it took 10 or 15 minutes just to reheat pizza, plus you had to wash extra dishes.
March 6th, 2006
We landed in the city of La Romana in the Dominican Republic, which is on the south-eastern side of the island. It’s about 100 km east of Santo Domingo, which is the capital city of the Dominican Republic. We stayed in the city of Juan DOlio, which is about an hour and a half bus ride from the airport in La Romana. We got a good chance to see the countryside and a few towns as well.
The roads are in fairly good condition for the most part, but there are some exceptions. The rules of the road are not strictly enforced, or perhaps they are non-existent. Drivers pass other vehicles at any time, drive at their own pace, and often carry more passengers than their vehicle was ever intended to support. Many people drive
dirtbikes, as they are more inexpensive to purchase and operate. It was not uncommon to see young children riding motorcycles or dirtbikes carrying 4 or 5 passengers. Most of the automobiles are imports that we don’t usually see in Canada. There were a lot of Mitsubishis, Daihatsus and Daewoos.
When travelling through populated areas, many dwellings and businesses were rather small, and often had bars instead of glass windows. But everything is so colourful. The buildings aren’t all grey or dull – they are bright blue or pink or green. Below are a few pictures I managed to snap while on the bus ride through town:
And of course, like everywhere else in the world, there was a McDonald’s…
March 2nd, 2006
I recently came back from a trip to an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. It was a completely amazing experience. My parents very graciously decided to take my two brothers and I along with them on their annual vacation to a sunny destination. We left our house February 10th and flew to the Dominican via Skyservice. In under five hours we went from the sub-zero temperatures here in Canada to a land of intense heat and humidity.
We stayed at the Costa Caribe Coral hotel, which was located in Juan Dolio. The rooms were pretty big and fully furnished. The resort had several different restaurants, a few bars, three pools and a nightclub. There were a lot of activities available, such as tennis, mini golf, kayaking and windsurfing. We spent most of our time at one of the pools, on the beach, in the Carribean Ocean or at one of the fine bars. At nights, we would meet up with our parents and their friends for dinner. After dinner we’d hit up the local casino and then go to the sports bar/nightclub to play pool and hang out. I won 3000 Dominican Pesos playing three card poker at the casino one night, which I spent on cheap Dominican rum and cigars. We made a few friends while we were down there. Strangely enough, they were all Canadians, and all were from Ontario, within an hour or two of each other.
Overall, it was a great trip. The food was good, the rum flowed freely and it was a week of relaxing and fun in the sun. I’ll post some more in a few days. Here’s a few pictures from the trip: