Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

No more blog spam

mt-logo-small.gif For the most part, blog comments have turned into a distributed link farm for perscription drug and porn websites. Instead of a vibrant community of ideas, about half the comments on my blog are a steady stream of Viagra, Propecia and Phentermine ads.

I’ve had enough of this crap.

Instead of disabling comments altogether, I have disabled HTML and URL auto-linking. I also updated my Individual Entry Archive template to use this tag instead:

<$MTCommentAuthorLink show_email="0" show_url="0"$>

(Another way to solve this problem is to replace the <$MTCommentAuthorLink$> tag with <$MTCommentAuthor$>.)

Now blog spammers can post to my site all they want (and they probably will continue to do so) but their links will be ineffective. Ha!

It looks like there are a couple of MT plugins (like Bayesian and CloseComments) which try to solve this problem as well.

Ninestar Action Sports

ninestar.gif I’m not exactly what you’d call an “action sports” type of guy, but a friend of mine is opening a hip new store in Los Angeles. If you’re into skating/snowboarding/BMX/surfing, apparently this store is a dream come true.

Ninestar is having its grand opening (a “Kickass Kickoff Event”) this Saturday November 15. They’re located at 11103 W. Olympic Blvd at Sepulveda Blvd.

They’re having some sort of contest, too. The winner gets $99 a month for life. Spotty details on the website; probably designed to get you to show up in person at the store so you’ll buy something.

The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin

The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin (Audiobook) I recently “read” Steve Martin’s most recent novel The Pleasure of My Company. It’s an excellent book.

I use “read” in quotes, because I purchased the audio book instead of the written book. I’ve listened to only one audio book before (the first Harry Potter book which I snagged from KaZaA before the RIAA flooded the network a bunch of crap). This one was way better. Why? Because Steve Martin reads it!

Like his previous novella, The Pleasure of My Company is a story about a lonely man living in LA who seeks companionship. To say that the main character in is neurotic is an understatement. Asperger’s or OCD is more like it.

But Daniel Pecan Cambridge isn’t all crazy; he’s a true romantic at heart. Throughout much of the story he is admiring Zandy, Clarissa, and Elizabeth from afar, hoping that one day one of them will love him back.

The book is light and and charming. Unlike the Diamond Age, which I read last month, I didn’t need a dictionary to decode the language. Steve Martin reading it makes the book all the more enjoyable. Highly recommended.

SWA drops online double-credit bonus

southwest-airlines.jpg My brother forwarded me this unfortunate news about Southwest Airlines’ frequent flier program:

“After seven years of double credit for online flight bookings, Southwest is calling the promotion quits. Southwest loyalists have until December 31 to book tickets online and earn four credits per round-trip flight.” [Smarter Living]

This means that I’ll be earning only 6 free Southwest tickets per year. And unless they lower the present 100 credit threshold, I’m going to lose my Companion Pass next year. Oh well. All good things must come to an end.

On the plus side, Southwest has recently started to follow the example set by American Airlines in allowing the use of cell phones during taxi-in.

Trip to Amoeba Music

B0000BYM3J.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg Avital is visiting from Boston this weekend. We went to Amoeba Music in Hollywood and got a handful of used CDs.

Here’s what I got:

  • Loveboat – Erasure
  • Other People’s Songs – Erasure
  • Acoustic – Everything But The Girl
  • Sleepyhead – The Brothers Creegan
  • Stop All The World Now – Howie Day

I looked for a used copy of the new BNL album but they only had it new and I didn’t want to for over $18.

Avital recommended the Howie Day album and Ariella and I both really liked it. Cheezy acoustic pop.

Ariella got some classical CDs. Avital got Homogenic by Bj

Attending PHPCon West 2003

I’m at PHPCon West 2003 this week.

I didn’t make it to the Code Sprint today, but Andrei was leading one of the sections, so I’ll get the skinny from him. I really dig the idea — get programmers to pay for the opportunity to contribute their brainpower to an Open Source project.