Why, Yes, Chinese Grinding & Boring Equipment Company Spam Email, I am Interested.

Dear Lei Zhang of Fujian Nan’an Boreway Machinery Co., Ltd. in Shuitou Town, Nan’an City, Fujian Province, China. We have never met. But you emailed me on my blog email this morning. Your email was beautiful. I sadly have no use for boring and grinding heads as I sadly have no boring or grinding equipment. I wish I did. I saw the attached photograph of bush hammer rollers and thought to myself, “This is good and useful spam. All spam should be this good and useful. Imagine if it was, I would buy things.” So, thank you, Lei Zhang, you have done the unique. In all my years of receiving spam, in all those tens or hundreds of thousands of impersonal and unwanted emails, yours is the first that’s made me say, “I wish I had a need for this, I would buy immediately.” It’s true, if I had spare cash, I’d buy some bush hammer rollers just because they look brilliant — and I’ve never even seen them before. Because of your email, I learned something new, which is what is best in life. You must think I’m being sarcastic and mocking you, but I’m not. Yours is genuinely the best unsolicited email I’ve ever received.

comments are open … -ish

Does it look like I’m avoiding doing real work today, with a monster funding application due on Monday, what do I do? Muck around with Movable Type’s atrociously obtuse templates and horrendous css, all to try and get comments not just working, but looking ok-ish when they get published.

So, comments are open.

Still a bit of formatting weirdness going on, but I’ll start opening up old posts over the coming week once I’ve cleaned up the skankiness. The comments preview page is unformatted, and more importantly you have to wait for me to approve, so things don’t appear all by magic when you hit ‘post’. I’ll work on that too, but need an umbrella from spam.

just some blabbing about coding

During my rather pitiful self-help attempt at getting comments working, that quite possibly soon will be after a couple of people pointed out what I was missing, I also discovered I could easily fix a couple of the bugs hanging over from when I redid the site to this hell-vetica version.

So, the search page is finally formatted. OMG!!!

Actually this is just a test for the return of comments. Obviously I don’t have enough going on with three applications due tomorrow and another on Monday.

Ho hum … waiting for Movable Type to rebuild 1039 entries. Considering changing to WordPress in the meantime … idly wondering if I could do a full WP install and rewrite all the templates to this version of supernaut in the time it takes MT to rebuild … start to get excited/worried when I realise it could make a fun afternoon game this weekend.

Anyway for now, comments are semi-working. In that they show up and get published, but they take a while to appear on the site for you to read. Boringness. Adding some more code in … rebuilding … yawn …

Blahing around with css…

Comments are more-or-less working. (Which is to say, whatever isn’t working, I don’t know about.)

Only open on this post for now. And I closed them cos this is really a test post, not a vehicle for your self-aggrandizement.

Much formatting to be done…

Sleep and smutty dreams first though.

comments … help … geekery

I’ve been planning on turning on comments again for a while, but there is the issue of a sacrificed goat preventing me.

Around 2 1/2 years ago, I turned off comments on my blog, I think it was MT2.6-ish. I also went through the MT install and trashed all the files relating to comments. I’m fairly sure I followed some instructions I found on the MT forums for this.

I’ve been thinking about turning comments back on, but having updated to 3.34 and being such a long time, I can’t remember what I did, or how to undo it.

The only thing I have to go on is I have the warning, “Note: Commenting is currently disabled at the system level” in the feedback settings, and I haven’t been able to find any info on what this refers to.

I’m planning on putting the comments into the templates in the next week or so as a distraction from grant writing, but it’s the backend that has me completely mystified.

I’ve looked through my current mt install, and it looks like all the necessary files are there, in default_templates, lib/MT and lib/MT/app, PHP/lib, tmpl/cms. I did remove all the comment code from the index and individual templates though, and not sure about any javascript or cookies code that should be there.

I’m fairly ok-ish with mucking around in MT, but I have absolutely no idea where to start, and Movable Type’s search function is utter crap.

So …

Does anyone know either how to re-enable comments from such a state, or how to reinstall the comments part of MT (along with some good anti-spam plugins)?

Please email me if you can help, thanks.

supernaut #3 bug list

A couple of days ago, someone asked me why the search function wasn’t working here. The answer is Spam.

Dreamhost emailed me two weeks ago to say they’d turned off the Movable Type search because it was getting pounded by requests and thus putting a heavy load on their server. I had a look at my web stats and there was no way anyone could search that quick or in such a disconnected pattern from groups of single IP addresses unless it was automated, possibly cycling through single entry pages to spam the comments, which I haven’t had open or even installed for years.

So, currently no search until I get around to optimising it. You can always use Google like this: “search query”

Which brings me to other bugs and miscellaneous detritus of supernaut #3.

Not having MSIE, I can only check that this looks ok by using BrowserCam, which it does. I do have some CSS tweaking to do, particularly in terms of writing in the hacks for MSIE rather than using separate stylesheets. As I have craploads of grants/funding stuff/days embedded in Microsoft Word, don’t expect any of this to get done just because you won’t use a standards compliant browser.

Other miscellany: the “read the whole thing …” link needs to be styled. “…i whore for art” is not quite flush with the right margin when using sIFR. The navigation column underline below “About” sits 1 pixel below the underline for the first date entry, again because of a difference in using sIFR instead of HTML fonts. The “supernaut” title does a page jump under xhtml1.0strict doctype, when sIFR loads, probably the most obvious and ugly of all the bugs. Any image thumbnails prior to #3 aren’t fully styled because I had to put a div around them to get the solid background, and I can’t be arsed – yet – going through 1000 entries and fixing this. Finally, the full archives are so NOT finished. I haven’t really decided how to format this page, so it’s just sitting there getting moldy.

I’d love to have had a strikethrough for all of these kinks last month but … wtf, I do this out of an irrepressible compulsion/sense of obligation/attempt to create meaning in an empty life, not because I get paid, so either quell your browser-rage or give me a job. And of the almost 50 000 “Distinct Hosts” and 140 000 “page requests” I’ve given pleasure to this month alone, at least one of you must have some kind of commodity/currency exchange I can fulfill , even if it’s the second word after the ellipsis in supernaut … i whore for art.

edit …

(early april)

The full archives are so finished. In keeping with minimalism, they are now almost nonexistent.

I opened comments again, so now a whole raft of annoyances such as: I need to rewrite the css instead of having different sheets for different browsers, it’s too complicated, so hacks it is. XHTML strict doesn’t like the ‘name’ attribute, and prefers ‘id’, not much of a problem except it means redoing the comments javascript. I also need to put in some anti-spam measures, Comment Challenge I think.

referrer hell

Being quite committed to wasting time, I like to read my referrer logs. Actually, I’ve found some pretty cool websites through that, and it’s kinda nice to see that people and not robots/spiders/scripts are reading me, and occasionally even say something about me. I don’t enjoy however, endless scrolling like Obi-Wan reading the blinding screeds of data on the Death Star that comprises most of my referrer log. Anyone who hangs around their own stats pages will be familiar with all the referrer spammers, so I won’t mention them by name.

My other pet hate is people who think it’s acceptable to link to an image here. I do make a point of using images that are of reasonable web quality, and usually around 600px square and 60-100kb, the kind of size that gets bumped into Google’s ‘medium’ or ‘large’ image sizes, perfect for dragging to my scrapbook, emailing to Emile or Paul, and also perfect for hotlinking. Something that happens when sub-normal intellects trawl Google’s image search, and copy-pastes the image link into their own mediocre presence on the internet. Kinda like someone coming into your house, drinking all your coffee, and in a diuretic spasm, pissing on the carpet on the way out.

So having a spare evening this morning once I got home, drunk, happy, well-fed from an evening of superlative company, I decided to make a mess of my blog by doing nasty things to my .htaccess file. The result of this is that you might not be able this, you might not see any images, nothing has changed, or in the unlikely event that it worked, everything is peachy for you, and referrer spammers and hotlinkers (of whom impulsos are currently the worst offender) are not having a good day. Knowing my coding skills, it’s probably one of the first two.

i don’t understand

Since starting this part of my site almost 7 months ago, after having a very small flash-based news section on main part of my site for a while, I’ve received maybe 25 genuine comments, and several hundred spam including the 100 comment cluster-fuck I discovered today after a couple of days with no internet while in transit. This is despite having MT-Blacklist installed, MT-CloseComments installed, custom names for the mt-comments.cgi etc. All the things you are supposed to do to avoid this kind of network-art.

A while ago I closed comments for a period, but then reopened them. I’m not sure why. So again, I’m closing them. Like trackbacks, blog-rolls, referrers, and all the other stuff that is seen to define what a blog is, comments can be great, especially on a high-traffic site where they serve a the closest thing the web has to an email discussion list. Comments on this site though don’t really have a purpose beyond the occasional tangible proof that more than just spam-bots and search-engine spiders are visiting this.

For me, trackbacks, blog-rolls, comments and all are largely irrelevant. I’m just trying to document what goes on in the arts in the countries I have a personal attachment to, and with various artists I whose work I like, and maybe it’s useful for someone, or when someone says to me, “what’s the scene like in Guangzhou?”, this can give them more useful information than a quick half-thought-out email.

If you want to say something, send me an email, it’s more fun.

signal to noise

After receiving 50 beautiful invitations to all kinds of … ummm… interesting group events in my comments this morning, possibly because of the previous entry being a beacon to this kind of spam, I’ve decided to turn comments off.

As much as I love spam, and think it is a truly under-rated art-form which will one day be seen for its avant-garde heart, I would rather spend my time doing things other than de-spamming. Even with MT-Blacklist installed, all it takes is one concentrated couple of seconds of carpet-bombing and my inbox is squealing like a pig.

As i don’t get many comments, and the nature of this site at the moment isn’t really aiming to have lengthy comment discussions, I’d rather not bother with the hassle. So, if you really want to comment on something, email me.

[edit] Well that was pointless. I got spammed just as hard the next day. It’s funny in a post-modern way. So until I have a spare afternoon to follow all the MT Forum suggestions for avoiding spam which involve the coding equivalent of changing an leaky washer… or something… comments are open. Woohoo. Party. what a pointless post.