Archive for October, 2002

A close race!

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2002

Your running along in a 100 mile race, you’ve been going nearly 11 and half hours, and the 300 metres to go, and what happens? Some guy romps passed to win and take the glory.

Ramona, of my Running club was also running in the “race”, she only did 92 miles though (what a wimp :-) and what did I do on sunday - well I ran 10, so not completely lazy!

Don’t get a mother in law!

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2002

Mother-in-laws are lethal, science has shown us, who’d’ve thought Bernard Manning could be so right?

Not so cacheable feeds…

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2002

So we have another blogger mentioning the cost of being popular at least Mark Pilgrim has made some effort to be cacheable, but he could certainly do more and put in some expires, and cache-control headers, he says at the RSS level “my feeds should only be read every 3 hours” - but doesn’t bother saying it at the http level. Adaptative freshness based on Last-Modified seems to be rarely used these days, more explicit checking is needed. Add an Expires and Cache-Control header, and then you might see some difference, Microsofts XMLHTTP object for example will likely not get a resource within its “expires” time, but it would with out one, other libraries are likely similar.

American Express Spammers?

Friday, October 18th, 2002

So the other day I got some Unsolicited Commercial Email, nothing new in that you might think, this was from American Express, (It’s here if you want a read) about “overseas payment processing” (particularly stupid as I’m not even in the US, but when was spam realistic). They obviously got my e-mail address from some US banking list I’m on - I get lots of “mortgage leads” too.

So American Express are the sort of organisation who have a good reputation, and one they wouldn’t want to lose - so if they get a complaint about UCE, they should really take it seriously. The e-mail was “signed” by “Brendan G. Walsh Senior Vice President & General Manager Consumer Travel International & Foreign Exchange Services” -so I spent 5 minutes getting “Branden Walsh of American Expresses” email address (I won’t publish it here but the @aexp.com domain pattern is pretty obvious.) If you’re going to complain, you’ve got to do it to the person who actually sent you the mail, anything else would be rude.

The next day I got a poor quality apology from “Patrick English”, no company name or anything and posted from an anonymous account, which included “Our firm inadvertently e-mailed 26 people on a survey today from our no mail list.” unfortunately it wasn’t “today” but a couple of days later, and it was clearly only in response to my complaint. Patrick English also seems to exist in spamcop as a bad boy so American Express really didn’t seem to clever in their choice of partners.

Not really satisified with this, I obviously wrote back to Branden, explaining why I wasn’t happy, and expressing my concern at how American Express had been misled into sending out spam, no response from Branden (perhaps not surprising he is a senior guy, but hopefully he’ll think again about actually signing his name to UCE in future.) but along came a word document(!) from the General Counsel’s Office of American Express which was very friendly and they’re looking into how their partner obtained my address, and thanking me for pointing out “Patrick English”s past history of UCE sending.

Who knows if they mean it or not (I’ll blog any responses), but at least I’ve made American Express spend at least as much time as I have on this UCE, including having important people spend their time dealing with the complaint - hopefully in future they’ll be more careful about sending out UCE.

Car workshop manuals for download?

Friday, October 18th, 2002

So, you’ve got a porsche, you want the workshop manuals for download, so you go to a search engine, say search.dogpile.com and search for Porsche Workshop Manuals downloads and the search engine gives you back … The comp.lang.javascript FAQ. Google does a better job, javascript FAQs only come in at 13 with them - maybe I should start selling car workshop manuals?

Hyundai Service Information can be obtained online for free from HMA Service, any other links for other cars, comment below!

FOAF Graphs

Thursday, October 17th, 2002

Dean Jackson (of W3/SVG fame) created a very nifty SVG graph generator which took XML (or RDF) source and let you explore the space, originally it was the IMDB, but there have since been others. I took the svg, and applied to foaf data with a few simple changes, and have quite an interesting foaf:knows/co-depiction explorer that lets you visualise graphs of relationships within the FOAF world.

The next plan is to improve it so you can interact with a blob, to find out more about them. I also looked at filtering the graph so only people with certain foaf:interests were represented - unfortunately though, there’s not enough data to really do this.

Three!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2002

Ben Hammersley tells us about Three and gives us the url www.three.com - a great url for a mobile technology firm - it’s got a single frame and then it relies on flash, and has the normal incompetent script to try and detect if the (Netscape or IE) browser has it available - of course visit in anything a mobile device might have, and you get _nothing_ at all, if anyone is going to have a mobile audience - it’s them.

Of course even if it does detect you’ve not got flash, you then go to a no flash page where it doesn’t even set the background colour (fortunately my background colour is yellow, so the grey text is readable, I wonder what the default NN4 user might get though..), has loads of text in an image - lets hope they can run a 3G service better than they can author websites.

Handicap

Thursday, October 3rd, 2002

21:38 this month, not that good, but after 10 days without a single mile of running, not disastrous.