A few words on the basics of spam filtering

Spam filtering is a bit like the various Pop Idol auditions.

Firstly, the candidate needs to actually find the audition site. You’d be
amazed at the number of turnups who say “Hi, I’m here for $foo” and are told
“Uhh, not here, sorry.” “Oh.”

Next you get those who’ve turned up at the right place but for the wrong
reason.

“Hi. \0x121\0x310\0x023……..” “Uhh, okay, Knitting World was last week.”

Next you get those who turn up at the right place but don’t listen.

“HI” “He..” “MAIL FROM” “but I’ve not said hel….” “RCPT TO”

Next you get those who turn up, but haven’t read the rules.

“Hi” “Hi there_how_are_you” “Ummm, no.”

Next you get those who turn up, understand the principles, but can’t remember
who they’re supposed to be talking to.

“Hi.” “Hi.” “RCPT TO: AAAAAAAAA@foo.com”, “Who?” RCPT TO: AAAAAAAAB@foo.com”, “Eh?”

And finally, you get those who turn up and sing like they’ve snorted
dysentry-infected liquiturds[0] a few minutes before.[1]

[0] My word, hands off.
[1] Yes, *.{cn, pl, hk, tw, ru, tr} I mean you.

More toys

For some reason there’s a lovely feeling of satisfaction when you wake up one
morning and think “You know, I need more hardware.” It’s an even greater
satisfaction when you can actually justify doing so. This morning I’ve asked
Dell to supply me with a 2950 consisting of dual quad-core processors, 8 gigs
of RAM, eight 10k disks, hardware RAID, lights-out management card and dual
hot-swap power supplies. This box will be an additional front end mail server
for AntibodyMX. It’s been some time since
I’ve had chance to use 64 bit Debian, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that
works out.

March already, first hangover of the year

Last Friday I was out at The Master Gunner with several people from a particular technical mailing list. It’s not often I get drunk, and it’s very very rare for me to get a hangover. I managed both on this occasion.

Last week I was nicely surprised by Dell’s desktop support. The chap I ended up speaking to was helpful, knowledgeable and came back with timely and relevant information about the problem I was experiencing. It turns out that Windows XP SP3 is missing a particular hotfix that prevents machines with the Realtek ACL888 HD audio chipset from installing the driver. Trying to manually install this hotfix results in an error indicating that the hotfix should already be installed. Luckily, there’s a slightly modified version of the hotfix available that will install on SP3 allowing the Realtek driver to install correctly.

The DIY Continues….

Lynda and I had a good chance in Norway to improve our DIY skills. Painting
walls and laying laminate floors aren’t especially hard things to do, you just
need time, patience and practice.

So far we’ve completely redecorated our main living room and we’re now working
on the room opposite, this can be thought of as either living room #2 or
bedroom #2. It used to be blue, very very blue indeed. It’s taken many coats
of paint just to get in back to a fairly neutral white and we’ve so far applied
one coat of the final colour, a kind of creamy white called Almond White.

When not covering myself in paint, I’ve been getting stuck into Crysis, one of
the many game titles I’ve been looking forward to playing. It’s an interesting
game, though I’m not yet in love with some of the gameplay mechanics. Perhaps I
just need a bit more time to get used to it.

Invaluable Support

Those of you who know me will know that I’m no shrinking bloom when it comes to
dealing with bad customer service (yes, Apple, I mean you) and so, for once,
I’m delighted to share with you an example of near-perfect support.

Wind the clock back a few months and Martin takes delivery of his new gaming
rig from Wired2Fire. It’s an Intel
QX6800 based machine, with 4Gb RAM, an Nvidia 8800 Ultra OC graphics card and
couple of 500Gb disks and more fans than your average harem. It’s quick, very
very quick.

After a couple of months I started noticing stability problems. The machine
would sometimes reboot at random, when it did I would struggle to get any video
output afterwards. On one occasion the machine lost all its BIOS settings.
After a couple of diagnostics sessions on the phone, Wired2Fire suggested a
Return To Base to get the motherboard swapped out. W2F are not to far away so
I drove the machine to their office and, their Head Honcho, Toby got on with
the business of sorting my machine out.

Since the motherboard swap out I’ve had zero problems. This is what you’d
expect, right? Alas it seems that people no longer expect timely fixes to their
problem, they’re happy for weeks of tooing and froing whilst a problem is
diagnosed. Congratulations to Wired2Fire for just getting the problem fixed.

I look forward to buying my next gaming rig from you in 2010.

TURN IT DOWN!

The vast majority of commuters would like nothing more than to enjoy some peace
and quiet on our journey to and from work.

If you must listen to personal music, fine, BUT KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. Why should
normal people have to put up with the annoying relentless tinny background
susurration because you think you look cool with your iPod?

TURN IT DOWN.

Likewise the even more braindead morons who honestly truly believe that we
actually want them to play some piece of techno crap out loud on their mobile
phone.

TURN IT OFF.

Spending a couple of hours per day in a tin can with dozens of pairs of armpits
is bad enough, don’t inflict more misery on us with your crappy MP3 collection.

Thankyou.

Call of Duty 4: Steam download problems

If you’re having trouble getting Call of Duty 4 to work, try doing this:

  • Right click on CoD4 and look for “Delete local content”, do so and Steam will start downloading again starting at about 92%.
  • When this has completed, right click again and look for “Verify local content”, do so and Steam will start downloading again starting at about 70%.

After that, you should be good to go.

Another Valve / Steam stuffup

2146 on November 12th and I’m not yet able to play Call of Duty 4, despite
having parted with 70USD on the promise of “play it as soon as it’s released”,
or very similar.

I can’t say I’m entirely surprised, The Orange Box was a cock up and that
was Valve’s own content.
Either way, I’m not best pleased. Come on, Valve,
you have some of the best title on the planet under your belt, you have the
delivery mechanism that puts cash straight in your bank account, SORT IT OUT!

In court today.

Today I was in court for the first time ever. Lynda and I used the rather
efficient Moneyclaim site to
claim back what we considered to be unjustified deductions from a deposit on a
rented 1 bedroom flat.

Without going into many tedious details here, we won. Crescent House Group
Limited of Wanstead have been ordered to refund most of the disputed amount.

If you’re looking to rent property in east London, you may wish to check that
it’s not owned by Crescent House Group Limited, 14 High Street, Wanstead,
London, E11 2AJ.