WordPress: A cute trick to combat WordPress spam #2 – Simple Spam Filter

Well, here I am again.

The original name verification worked for like two weeks before the porn/drug comments slowly started up again, so I began looking around for an alternative. Simple Spam Filter by Joe Tan seems to be a good and simple solution to all the crap comments, so here I am having a go at it.

Note: remember to take a look at your dashboard, under Comments – Spam Filter. Configure and enable the reCaptcha option inside, and have an updated list of the blacklisted words.


Sample screenshot from the author #1: how to configure.


Sample screenshot from the author #2: how it looks like when reCaptcha is enabled.

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Tech: Creative breathes fire over modder who provides Vista drivers FOC

Creative forum user daniel_k has been providing usable Vista drivers for the Audigy soundcards, which were crippled by the unusable official drivers. And now he gets his arse lambasted because of intellectual property issues. And of the ways to do it, they did so on the forum.

Daniel_K:

We are aware that you have been assisting owners of our Creative sound cards for some time now, by providing unofficial driver packages for Vista that deliver more of the original functionality that was found in the equivalent XP packages for those sound cards. In principle we don’t have a problem with you helping users in this way, so long as they understand that any driver packages you supply are not supported by Creative. Where we do have a problem is when technology and IP owned by Creative or other companies that Creative has licensed from, are made to run on other products for which they are not intended. We took action to remove your thread because, like you, Creative and its technology partners think it is only fair to be compensated for goods and services. The difference in this case is that we own the rights to the materials that you are distributing. By enabling our technology and IP to run on sound cards for which it was not originally offered or intended, you are in effect, stealing our goods. When you solicit donations for providing packages like this, you are profiting from something that you do not own. If we choose to develop and provide host-based processing features with certain sound cards and not others, that is a business decision that only we have the right to make.

Although you say you have discontinued your practice of distributing unauthorized software packages for Creative sound cards we have seen evidence of them elsewhere along with donation requests from you. We also note in a recent post of yours on these forums, that you appear to be contemplating the release of further packages. To be clear, we are asking you to respect our legal rights in this matter and cease all further unauthorized distribution of our technology and IP. In addition we request that you observe our forum rules and respect our right to enforce those rules. If you are in any doubt as to what we would consider unacceptable then please request clarification through one of our forum moderators before posting.

Phil O’Shaughnessy
VP Corporate Communications
Creative Labs Inc.

While I’d say they weren’t wrong to insist on their IP rights, their hardfisted approach to this is not exactly commended. I’d say Creative’s got their collective ass whooped this time round, many people must be pledging to go on a ban on Creative products.

Here’s the link to the Creative forum thread:

Well done Creative, I hope you do wake up and hire daniel_k to help with driver support, before you lose more customers.

*News courtesy of nerdgeek.

Earth Hour 2008: Melbourne

Melbourne’s first ever Earth Hour: a solid 60 minutes of conservationism. By turning the lights off, it was supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

IMO, it could’ve been better.

As the countdown hit 0, my expectations of Federation Square being drowned in darkness was totally offset by the reality; the noticeable differences were the huge-ass TV screen being turned off, Flinders Station’s unlighted walls at the main entrance, and the Arts Centre’s lack of light on its spire. Federation Square itself was lighted all right. Too all right in fact, since there didn’t seem to be a difference at all. The batteries in the torches they gave out probably used up unneeded energy as well.

A walk around the city from Flinders to Lygon via Swanston showed pretty much the same scenario.

Saving energy? What energy? I rest my case.

Easter!

And before I know it, I’ve missed the one-week-per-post mark yet again. Too caught up with everyday mundane stuff to have anything worth writing about. Or stuff that I can actually talk about; quite abit of things are off-limits here.

And of course, the lack of properly interesting pictures have contributed to the lack of posts as well. You’ll notice that the blog posts tend to increase whenever I take pictures and go to new places.

So here’s some random updates:

  • It’s Easter today, and back in Singapore we call it Good Friday. Same thing basically, but people here like to give Easter eggs (chocolate bunnies too) and the public holiday’s a little longer, stretching from Friday to Monday. So it’s a good long break for people who’re looking to have a short getaway.
  • I’ve been spending my time doing research on our upcoming ski trip to Falls Creek, hopefully back to Halleys Lodge again. It’s a little pricey, as we’re heading there in mid-July but hell, it’s once a year. There’ll be quite a few of us too, so it should be fun! : ) It’s a pity I can’t go with Monash this year though; will miss the discounts and the people.
  • And Cookie’s about three months old now, and she’s learnt to climb over the walls with ease. So I had to “upgrade” the walls, and it looks like she’s sitting in a maximum security prison right now heh heh. Will post photos in a later post. I’ve been training her to jump from the sofa to the floor, first with cushions and now without them. She was whining and totally petrified initially, but she learns fast. One successful jump = no fear thereafter.
  • Some of my photographs on the Moomba fireworks got linked on a NowPublic article titled Crowds flock to Melbourne’s Moomba parade by Rachel Nixon; thanks Rachel!
  • I might be returning in mid-April, hmm.

I’m still hunting around for a suitable cover title image, so this post will be delayed. I linked a picture from Captain, which had all rights reserved on it (but I didn’t really notice that) so he left a comment saying it would be good if I could ask before using the image. And there’s a ton of people who have all rights reserved on Flickr, so heh. All about manners I suppose.

-~-


nerdgeek‘s first ever comic strip! funny stuff, so keep checking back at his blog for more updates : )

Fireworks yet again: Moomba Waterfest 2008

[Moomba 2007] – V’s Flickr, 10 Mar ’07

As promised in the previous post, fireworks pics!

It’s been a year since the last Moomba Waterfest, and some forgotten things came rushing back into the brain while I made my way down. Like for example, how bloody crowded the event was. Countless people lazing out on the slopes near the Yarra, waiting for the fireworks. Others walked around randomly, dressed minimally; some shirtless even! And yes I meant guys not girls; kids trying the carnival rides, everyone grabbing a bite of the exhorbitantly-priced ice cream on a hot summer night.


Benro BH-0 on an A-350EX.

I got there pretty late, a scant half hour before the fireworks started but my spot wasn’t too bad. Not too many photographers were there last night, so there was room for me to mount the tripod; a much more decent tripod compared to last year. But I’d left the camera mount at home, so I had a usable tripod this year but I couldn’t mount my camera on it; how sweet.

The fireworks began before V came down, so I had to hold the camera steady with one hand and start shooting first. Fortunately she came to my rescue soon enough, and all was not lost. So that’s enough of the words, let’s go on with the snaps.





I decided to do a change of angle after that; having a higher reach seemed logical seems fireworks go upwards.


Incase you were wondering: no I did not overexpose these shots; the people letting off fireworks on the boat decided flames were more interesting than fireworks. So that’s actually the rosy orange hues you’re seeing below.


And back to fireworks again.






And that concluded the fireworks; a short five minute display (so it seemed). A quick snap of the Ferris Wheel before I left.

A performance by Diafrix going on at the River Rhythms Stage; great music.


A few pictures of the carnival rides, where I tried long exposure shots and did a bit of post processing i.e. contrast tweaking.

And a last snap of the river view.

That’s all for now; hope you guys enjoyed the snaps. I think this year’s shots looked considerably better than last year’s initial foray; what do you think? Hopefully I’ll be shooting with a DSLR next year!

And thanks still goes to Kevin from MPC for his tips last year on fireworks photography.

-~-

Addendum:
Terry Richardson Girls: hot stuff. (via funtasticus)

“Limping Terrorist Escapes” – 10 questions for Wong Kan Seng: room for plenty of doubt and ridicule indeed. (via theonlinecitizen)

Questions that Wong Kan Seng must answer: second round. (via singabloodypore)

Pokerfaced?

[Playing poker cards] – mv13365 on Flickr, 31 Dec ’07

As you might have noticed, there’s a new Nuffnang ad campaign running on my blog for Royal Flush Asia right now. Looking at the advertisement, it kind of reminds me how I have never played much poker in all my years of gambling. It was endless sessions of blackjack (21 points, anyone?) initially at school, and later Big 2 (what is popularly known as tai di), and later on bridge. Bridge required four people, but certainly provided endless mental stimulation.

I gave up entirely on cards after coming to Melbourne however, and have played roulette exclusively since. (Roulette’s easier for me, despite having the worst winning odds among all the games in the casino.)

That being said, it’s surprising how poker is actually regarded as a sport in some quarters, and is actually in consideration for inclusion in the Olympics.

Quoted caption from Poker in Athens:”More people compete at Poker than any other sport. So what if the players sport beer bellies and smoke cigars? Poker is mentally tough. And the game deserves a place at the 2004 games.”

.. 2004? Apparently they’ve been rooting for this longer than I thought. And I haven’t read anything about poker in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, so I guess the folks haven’t been making progress yet.

It’s funny how they associate beer bellies and cigars with poker though; I’d imagine there’s beer guzzlers and cigar smokers among the people who watch TV, and no one’s cheering for telly-watching to become an Olympic sport yet.

But well, I’ve always thought that the Olympics would cover physical stuff, and not stuff like these.

Nevertheless, I have to admit that poker takes a fair amount of skill and bluff, as well as deduction skills to win consistently. Not to mention balls of steel; you’ve got to control your facial expression even when you’ve got the worst hand in the history of mankind. I bet being born with an expressionless face helps too; maybe that’s why they call that a poker face.

Well like I said, if you’re a consistent winner, there’s two possibilities:

  • either you’ve got what I mentioned earlier; good on ya.
  • you have got to be the luckiest shitarsed player in the whole bloody world. Go offer some incense, kill some sheep and burn them in offering to whichever god that’s watching over you.

So that’s that, end of musings for poker. I still prefer my little steel ball that goes around the spinning wheel, heh heh.

Related links:
Wikipedia on Poker
PokerWiki, a Wiki for Poker, wow.
Poker: new sport of the annoying masses (via The Minnesota Daily)
Poker: A game of skill or chance? (via BBC UK)

Weekend Melbourne snaps

[Flinders Street] – V‘s Flickr, 02 Mar ’08

Pictures taken last weekend; one of those rare mornings when we actually bother to get out of the house that early. V thought that the Melbourne Culture and Food Festival was going on, but as it turned out she was 90% right; she missed out on one word.


It was the Melbourne Thai Culture and Food Festival, period.

There were chanting monks, people queuing up to offer donations (something like this usually happens in Orchard Road when there’s a 50% sale on Mango or Zara products), and various Thai foodstuffs/clothes/ornaments being sold as well. We bought a couple of instant Thai curry packets, and the instant green curry didn’t taste half bad, as we found out last night.


Taken last weekend at the Thai Culture and Food Festival: Stan says it’s the cathedral and the Buddha’s vying for attention, which is true. But actually I was trying to show the contrast between the statue (Thai) and the cathedral (Western), so I couldn’t very well focus exclusively on either one of them.


V: Get Animated. One of my favourite energy drinks, ranks way higher than Red Bull anyday.


Leisurely breakfast over at ISSUS (those who’ve come over should know where that is).


Mr Pepper Shaker, bird’s eye view.

Moomba Waterfest 2008 is here! I missed out on yesterday, but I’ll be heading down tomorrow night to catch some snaps of the fantastic fireworks; hopefully they’ll be as good as the ones from last year. (program list)

-~-

Addendum:
– Slurpalicious Heidi Klum pictures, yum yum. (via funtasticus)

Independent investigation committee on the escaped JI prisoner includes deputy secretary of the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs); very cool. We can certainly look forward to the neutrality of the findings heh. (via Mr Wang)

– Informative article from HardwareZone about Intel’s new processor, named the Atom (for obvious reasons) and the rise of the Netbook generation of platforms.