July 30, 2006

Smart(er) spam

Gmail’s filtering rocks, but today I got a spam mail that got through to my Inbox. Spammers are getting smart. Just look at this:

Spam

First of all, they’re sending their messages via frikkin’ image attachments. I don’t think anyone’s gonna develop technology to filter image-based spam soon.

And secondly—this is just a hunch mind you—notice the message text. Innocuous looking, easy to get through the filters. I think there’s gotta be some hidden agenda here. Bayesian Classification is what most email filters are based on—and if you train your filter on such messages, there’re bound to be more false positives. This sucks.

Time to start looking for tougher email filters. Maybe go for a white-list approach.

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Work

Uh, new rule: no blogging about work. I’ll try not to. Really.

This is for no particular reason. I’ve always had clear partitions between different aspects of my life. It’s simpler to deal with disconnected things.

Ranting about college was fun—whining about work will not definitely not be.

It’s not like I have any shortage of topics to write about as it is.

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July 28, 2006

New in Google Talk: Voicemail and File transfers

Google has selectively updated Talk on some accounts. The new beta supports Voicemail and File transfers, with some other minor UI tweaks. If your version is not updated, download the beta manually.

Voicemail seems about to be integrated into Gmail too. Clicking on the Voicemail icon on talk sends you to a voicemail label on Gmail. The label does not (yet) show up by default, you have to visit it manually.

This’ll be really cool if you can check voice messages even when you don’t have the client running.

July 22, 2006

Flatlife

Jonas Geirnaert graduation project “FLATLIFE” (2004), selected for Short Films in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2004.

Don’t miss watching this.

July 21, 2006

IM Hell!

IM Hell

I can’t handle talking to two people simultaneously, let alone five! Multitasking is not for me.

July 17, 2006

Blogspot banned in India?

I’ve always felt that the Indian government is stupid, but I never realized how stupid they can really be.

It seems that some shadowy government body has decided to ban a few, or possible all blogs hosted at blogspot.com… Whether this is intentional or not, all blogspot blogs are not accessible from India.

Nikhil was the first one I knew who had this problem. Since then, many people have noticed the same. Some have talked to government officials. I personally didn’t have any problems accessing mine or any other blog, until this evening. It seems that Sify has joined in the fray, and has started the blockages too.

Frankly, I’m pissed. I’m betting on this being a temporary problem, caused mostly due to some miscommunication. We Indians have never been too big on open-ness, but I still can’t imagine something like this being permanent. I’m not too good at political rants, so allow me to give you all a (temporary) solution.

Tor is an anonymous-browsing network, which utilizes onion routing if I’m not wrong. Seemingly makes it impossible to block sites.

The setup is really simple, read the instructions. And viola:

Without Tor:

With Tor:

It’s a little slow, but I can’t complain of that.

Now someone please send me some ‘pre-fabricated’ mails I can fire off to Sify Customer Care and whatever Indian government agency is responsible for this. I’m no good at writing those myself.

July 14, 2006

Opinions

Edited version of a chat I had with Sunil. My messages only:

Most people frame opinions just to mirror what others are thinking; to fit in, that is.

Some decide what they want to believe, and then try and figure out some factual basis to support their opinions.

Almost no body ever frames an opinion after getting the relevant facts… at least not about anything important.

Only difference is, I know my opinions are pointless… So I never try to justify them.

Well, he said he didn’t believe me. So:

Too bad … that’s my cynical opinion.

Based on years of observation :P

This drivel was prompted by him forwarding to me a mail conversation he had with guy talking about all sorts of heavy stuff: religious intolerance and all that. After the recent blasts. Trying to talk sense into the religious zealot.

Of course I started off quoting one of the classics of the internets:

Never argue with idiots they drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience.

Then followed all of the above. It was a fun conversation for five minutes. Poor guy, he stood up for what he believed in, and I give him crap for it :)

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July 12, 2006

Chess

I’m currently lost. FICS does that to people.

I wake up. Play a couple of games. Surf for a while. Play some more. Eat. Sleep. And then play s’more.

From the site:

The Free Internet Chess Server, with over 150000 registered users, is one of the oldest and one of the largest internet chess servers. Whether serious with your chess or just looking for the occasional game, whether looking for another player or eager to challenge a strong computer, whether you like a blitz chess or you are fond of one of the many variants, here you can play chess over the internet for free.

My chess client of choice for now is BabasChess.

My ratings are:

Category   rating     RD      win    loss    draw   total
Blitz      1141    137.3       3       5       1       9
Standard   1330    107.6       5       7       1      13

RD = Ratings Deviation.

This is the most telling stat:

% of life online:  20.6  (since Sun Jul  9, 23:32 PDT 2006)

I’ve been online there for 10 hours, 17 minutes since registration. Note to self: need to got a life.

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the show

I’m addicted to the show with zefrank. The only podcast/online show I watch.

Today’s show was brilliant. Transcript via the wiki:

Hungry Hippo licks Aunt JEmima [psych] writes, “Are you ever gonna break into song again? Are you running out of ideas?” Hungry Hippo licks Aunt JEmima, that’s a good question. I run out of ideas every day! Each day I live in mortal fear that I’ve used up the last idea that’ll ever come to me. If you don’t wanna run out of ideas the best thing to do is not to execute them. You can tell yourself that you don’t have the time or resources to do ’em right. Then they stay around in your head like brain crack. No matter how bad things get, at least you have those good ideas that you’ll get to later.

Some people get addicted to that brain crack. And the longer they wait, the more they convince themselves of how perfectly that idea should be executed. And they imagine it on a beautiful platter with glitter and rose petals. And everyone’s clapping for them. But the, but the, but the, but the bummer is most ideas kinda suck when you do ‘em. And no matter how much you plan you still have to do something for the first time. And you’re almost guaranteed the first time you do something that it’ll blow. But somebody who does something bad three times still has three times the experience of that other person who’s still dreaming of all the applause. When I get an idea, even a bad one, I try to get it out into the world as fast as possible, ‘cause I certainly don’t want to be addicted to brain crack.

July 11, 2006

Blasts.

First there were the heavy rains. Then there was some minor rioting. And now a series of bomb blasts. Mumbai’s in for it right now.

Check out Vantage Point for mostly live updates on the situation. Or you can watch the news. CNN-IBN’s site seems to be down though.

Phone networks are jammed-tight. Nothing works. No cellphones, no landlines. There was some footage shown outside Khar station: all blast survivors, bloodied and wounded, with no help on the way it seems, trying to call their loved ones. And shaking their heads when they couldn’t.

There’s a theory going around that the government’s blocked all calls: ostensively to avoid spreading rumours. How, by inducing more panic? Sounds like what these idiots in power could actually do.

The net’s still on. That’s a mercy.

July 10, 2006

Ecstatic martyrs

There’s no type of person more vile than an ecstatic martyr.

The type of person I’m talking about:

  • Someone who has a huge martyr complex.
  • Someone who collects old wounds and resentments, imagines slights, and has a paranoid ‘they’re out to get me’ complex.
  • Someone who just won’t let go.
  • Someone who needs others to feel for them, pity them or hate them, anything at all.
  • Someone who gets all glassy-eyed and ecstatic when sharing all that’s been done to them.

Being ecstatic is not being happy. It’s a high, and it’s addictive. These people are like junkies for others’ pity.

I just can’t stand these morons.

July 06, 2006

World Cup Predictions

What I think will happen1.

  • Germany wins against Portugal on Saturday.
  • Italy wins the cup on Sunday.

France is a good team, but I’m pretty much certain that they can’t win against Italy. Some more predictions:

  • Zidane will be magnificent in the final, but to no avail. Italy’s defense (especially Cannavaro, and Nesta if he’s fit) will not allow him any space.
  • France will probably score first, and it’ll be because of Franck RibĂ©ry. The man can fly I tell you.
  • Totti will be terrible, he’ll be substituted in the second-half.
  • Italy’ll come from behind and score in the second half. Expect someone unlikely to equalize, Gattuso maybe.
  • Extra time: expect a few good saves by Buffon, and then an Italian goal, maybe by Pirlo or Luca Toni.

Now if all this turns out to be right, I should switch careers and become a full-time prophet.

  1. No guarantees.

July 01, 2006

Some YouTube vids for ya.

I’m not embedding any videos here, you can as well click on the links and see ’em for yourselves.

First of all, have you checked any of Billy Collins’ poems? I’m not much of a verse man, but I do like the few of his poems that I’ve read. Without further ado, watch: Forgetfulness and The Dead. This is him reading those two poems with some wonderful animation thrown in for fun.

All Monty Python fans are in for a treat. YouTube has many Python sketches. My favourites: The Dead Parrot Sketch and The Four Yorkshiremen Sketch.

OK, I’ll be running through the rest quickly.

That should keep ya all busy for some time.

PS: To d’load those videos, go over to KeepVid. To play d’loded files, use VLC. When VLC does not work, use the FLV Player.

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