Archive for the 'Blogs on blogs' Category

A gas-powered blender: good thing we have the technology

Posted in Blogs on blogs on June 10th, 2009

I am stunned by the weird things people think they need like a blender that is powered by a 43 cc gas engine with handlebars like a motorcycle.


Amazon shows at least 3-4 different models and colors to choose from.

Website software

Posted in Blogs on blogs, Campfire Stories, Essential Tools on May 7th, 2009

After nearly 18 years of doing web-based work as either my primary job or in support of other work I get this question a few times a year:

We need to find a good, easy to use software program for generating the [website name here]. PC based. Any suggestions?

My snappy answer is

WordPress       WordPress at Wikipedia


I’ve used notepad, vi, VisualStudio, Netscape Gold, DreamWeaver, … All kinds of different tools. On the server side: Netscape Server, cgi-bin with perl, IIS (since NT 3.51), all sorts of pre-IIS app servers I can’t even remember the names of, Java technologies and LAMP.

I’ve used those bastard website-in-a-box things almost every ISP offers.

Way too many times.

Looking back I have to ask myself: which techniques and technologies stood up to the test of time? Which do I look back at with no regrets?

  1. WordPress on LAMP or IIS
  2. IIS/ASP and IIS  with ASP.NET

On the desktop editing/managing side? VisualStudio and Visual Source Safe

That’s it. I assert that you can build ANYTHING with these technologies. I routinely build sites that use BOTH 1. and 2. — like

If you are a beginner: go pure WordPress. if you need more site functionality there is almost anything you could want available as a wad of PHP you can tack on.

If you need a real web application — and you think it is going to get large: ASP.NET is astoundingly powerful and lots of standard functionality is available out of the box. Especially identification/authentication and data driven UI functions.

Two (or three) waves of broken Captchas

Posted in Blogs on blogs, Campfire Stories on May 4th, 2009

Captcha is that technology you see when a site (like mine) is trying to keep spambots from posting spam comments or create junk accounts. Captcha uses a distorted image of a word like this


The idea is that only an actual human can read this image and see the word within. The human is then asked to type this word correctly before they are allowed to enter a comment or create an account, etc.

There were three waves of failure for the Captcha technique.

  1. Initially, webmasters did not even distort the work in the picture. Spammers simply used OCR technology to “read” the picture.
  2. Next, webmasters used scrambled words like above. Spammers used better OCR.
  3. Webmasters improved the scrambling (see below). Spammers enlisted humans to do the OCR (!)

Improved Captcha

Enlisting humans to do OCR? Basically the image is relayed to users who are either paid money or paid by access to porn to solve the captcha and return the solution which can then be used to gain machine or script access to the target system.

Wikipedia does its usual great job explaining the whole Captcha thing.

Jeff Atwood does it best at Coding Horror: March 04, 2008 — CAPTCHA is Dead, Long Live CAPTCHA! 

Jeff also has a great thread on it in his discussion of his ongoing efforts to manage bad behaviour at his excellent StackOverflow site.

Hoocoodanode? What’s that mean?

Posted in Blogs on blogs, Uncategorized on December 26th, 2008

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs about the current financial meltdown and keep seeing “Hoocoodanode?” all over the place.  I finally had a “D’oh!” moment.

Define: Hoocoodanode? = “hoo-cood-ah-node?”

= “Who Could ‘a knowed?” = Who could have known?

Ok, I’m an idiot so I had to write this.

Oh yeah, I’m a Nerd!

Posted in Blogs on blogs on June 27th, 2007

I am nerdier than 99% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

Am I a Nerd?

Posted in Blogs on blogs on June 27th, 2007

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