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Squarespace: What’s a comment spam filter to you?

You may have noticed that this Blog is now hosted on SquareSpace. I've been pretty happy with it so far. While it is kind of a closed system, there are extensive customization features that allow me to get pretty much what I want.

And their support is 24×7 and very responsive. Although not necessarily always helpful. Note that I am not the first to observe this. Joannes Vermorel's Blog says:

"The feedback from the Squarespace support has always two properties:

  • Extremely fast , my tickets are addressed within minutes.
  • Extremely useless , canned answers constantly suggest trivial but vastly unsatisfying solutions." (from Joannes Vermorel's Blog)

But this post is about comment spam. One of the key requirements I had was that the new blog service would have comment spam filtering.

What is comment spam filtering? There are spammers out there that write a script that just runs through all your posts and write comments on them, with URLs pointing back to their site. It's a pretty standard way of manipulating search rankings and driving traffic to your site.

While SquareSpace insists, and seems to believe that they have comment spam filtering, it doesn 't work at all. I noticed by the way, that I am not the first to observe this. Joannes Vermorel's Blog also says:

"Yesterday for the 10th time or so, I have been sending a ticket to Squarespace - the company hosting this very blog - support to improve their abysmal spam filter (inexistent actually) for blog comments.

This is rather frustrating esperience to delete about 10 spam comments on a daily basis just because Squarespace can't manage to do things right in this area. Worse, people have been quitting Squarespace for years for this very reason - spam comment being the No1 reason quoted for the change." (from Joannes Vermorel's Blog)

Yes I could password protect or IP filter my comments. But if I want to allow people to easily add comments I open the door to comment spam.

As I write this I am manually deleting hundreds of identical comments, each from the same site, each with the same title and text. Clearly SquareSpace 's spam filter isn't doing its job eh?

Summer’s almost here

I noticed yesterday that sunset is now occurring at 4:12pm. The day before it was 4:11pm. So sunset is getting later! Summer is almost here, right?

p.s. Before some smart-alec points it out, yes I know that sunrise is still getting later so the number of daylight hours are still shrinking.

****It is left as an exercise to the reader to explain why the two events do not occur on the same day - in other words, sunset starts getting later several weeks before sunrise starts getting earlier. Note: the explanation is very complicated.

Super compelling: Narrative of human error leading to catastrophe

A remarkable article in Popular Mechanics (remember them?) about the crash of Air France 447. It was apparent clear case of human error and resulted in the death of 228 people. It is a compelling narrative.

"For more than two years, the disappearance of Air France Flight 447 over the mid-Atlantic in the early hours of June 1, 2009, remained one of aviation's great mysteries. How could a technologically state-of-the art airliner simply vanish? Read more: Air France 447 Flight-Data Recorder Transcript - What Really Happened Aboard Air France 447 - Popular Mechanics …

… We now understand that, indeed, AF447 passed into clouds associated with a large system of thunderstorms, its speed sensors became iced over, and the autopilot disengaged. In the ensuing confusion, the pilots lost control of the airplane because they reacted incorrectly to the loss of instrumentation and then seemed unable to comprehend the nature of the problems they had caused. Neither weather nor malfunction doomed AF447, nor a complex chain of error, but a simple but persistent mistake on the part of one of the pilots." (from Popular Mechanics)

Weight of tablets

I've been playing around with each of the major tablets while considering 'my next move' 🙂

Oddly I have not been able to find a side by side comparison of their weights. After googling for 3 minutes. So as a public service let me transcribe my notes on this vital topic.

  • Apple iPad 2: 21.1 oz
  • Barnes and Nobel Nook Color: 15.8 oz
  • Amazon Kindle Fire: 14.6 oz
  • Barnes and Nobel Nook Tablet: 14.1 oz
  • Amazon Kindle Touch: 7.8 oz
  • Amazon Kindle 4: 5.9 oz

  • Link to site: Weight of tablets

Latest update on the art for my game

I continue to spend spare time on developing my Android tablet game. As you may remember from my last post, it involves a top view of a city. I've taken the time to learn a lot of Adobe Illustrator so I am used slightly more advanced techniques than last time.

I have to admit that when I walk around town I am constantly noticing the width of sidewalks, the color of streets, whether there is grass right up to the side of the building and other silly details.

Anyway, here is what I have so far. How do you like it?


Guy Kawasaki: What I learned from Steve Jobs

Interesting article by famous Guy Kawasaki about what he learned from Steve Jobs:

"But few, if any, of these people have been inside the tent and experienced first hand what it was like to work with him. I dona€™t want any lessons to be lost or forgotten, so here is my list of the top twelve lessons that I learned from Steve Jobs." (from What I learned from Steve Jobs)



Kashi is the new hot breakfast cereal. Wait, let me rephrase that: Kashi is a breakfast cereal that is getting very popular. It portrays an image of healthfulness and kind of a crunchy scrappy small company attitude. Turns out that they are just part of Kellogs Company. Oh Well!

Killer feature for Mac OS X?

What if when I typed into the search box in Safari (Mac OS X's web browser) the text is interpreted by Siri? I could type "What's the weather tomorrow" and it would display a forecast for tomorrow, or type "text my wife that I love her" and it would initiate a text message to my wife. Wouldn 't that be cool?

I just typed into the search box "Is Kashi a company?" because I was in a Siri kind of mood, and of course I didn't get a good answer. But maybe Siri on my iPhone would have known. (Update: I just tried it, and it didn't but still, I think it's a cool idea!)

Siri and Text Messaging

A lot has been written about Siri (the new voice activated assistant in the iPhone 4s). I have to say that it works surprisingly well. It has been eerily accurate in properly transcribing my voice, although not quite as perfect in understanding what I am saying.

I just had a 3 message dialog with someone over text messaging using Siri. I never ever would have done that with texting previously but here I went speaking in complete sentences over text messaging and with 100% accurate recognition. I don't know if the other guy was using Siri but if he wasn't he must have been annoyed by how quickly I responded with a full sentence 🙂

It occurs to me that the average length of text messages might become longer and longer with the advent of services like this. I wonder if that is at least part of the reason that Apple is now bypassing the mobile operators when doing iPhone to iPhone messaging.