Saturday 4 December 2004

Lycos gives up?

Oh well, it was an interesting experiment. The site says, "Stay tuned." I've posted a summary at the Ferris Research blog.

Friday 3 December 2004

Blogger problems deleting comments

From: Richi
Subject: Can't delete comments or edit from blog
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004
I'm logged into, but I don't see the trashcan icon by the comments, and I can only edit posts via, and not from the blog itself.

Can you either help me make it work from the blog, or at least tell me how to delete comments from, please?

I've tried using IE6 as well as Firefox 1.0. OS is Win2003.

To which they replied:
To delete a comment, first make sure you're logged into Blogger, then visit the Post Page where the comment is displayed. Next, click the small trash can icon next to the comment.

The problem with your trash cans seems to be due to the fact that you are using frames within your blog. You will need to modify this in order for the trash can icons to appear properly.

Currently, Blogger Support does not support questions regarding customized template code or CSS/HTML in general. Please see our Blogger Help article for a pointers to more resources:

Hmmm, I'm not using frames. Oh, wait, I might have been briefly while they looked at the problem. Nuts. Let's try this...
I already tried everything you suggested. I also tried with frames and without. I also tried republishing the blog after resetting the URL to use the underlying web host ( I also tried using Blogspot. None of these made any difference. Despite being logged in to Blogger, no trash icon appears in the Post page, whether using Firefox 1.0 or IE6.
To which they came back with...
Unfortunately we don't provide support for template modifications such as these.

Your best bet is to back up your custom template to a text file, then start from scratch with one of Blogger's default templates, where Blogger's template tags are listed in their original context. Then, insert the tags into your custom template with this context in mind.

Blogger Help's Template Tags section is also a good resource:

You might also want ot try changing your publishing settings to not publish through frames or try publishing to Blogspot.

You might also want to try
Have fun!

I might want to try to have fun? What, are they telling me I need to get out more? ;-)

So I fiddled a bit more, reset the template, and it still didn't work. Then their Tags help page got me thinking, and I went to look in the generated source for the post. There I found where it was trying the draw the icon!

OK, I saved my modified template, reset it to the original, republished the entire thing, and I still get no trashcan icon by the comment in the Post page.

Makes sense, 'cos I didn't mess with that bit of the template. I can see that <$BlogCommentDeleteIcon$> is there where it should be in the template. In fact, I looked at the generated source and could see where it was trying to draw the icon. It looks like this:

(can't seem to paste HTML into a post -- grrr)
So I manually went to and sure enough it worked! The comment got deleted. So at least I have a workaround now. Thanks for the link to the tag help page.

Could it be that you can't nest span class="..." tags? Otherwise, I'm stumped as to why it doesn't work as advertised, but thanks for the help. If you want me to try anything else to help you get to the bottom of this, let me know.

So there you have it. If you can't delete comments, go to the post page, view source, and look for the "" URL. Go there manually and voila!

The incredible shrinking US Dollar

Aaaargh. £1 = $1.94!!! What are you guys doing over there? I gots to find me some more European clients. I might even have to put up my $ dayrate.

Earthlink: I take it all back

Yesterday, I implied that I was having trouble reporting a spammer to Earthlink. I take it all back now. They replied again, saying that they've disconnected the website in question.

It's a weird one, this. The original message seemed to be trying to stir up fear about tsunami in Scotland, of all places...


A huge 300 ft. high ocean wave is moving towards Scotland.
Edinburgh and many other cities are in a real danger.
Approximate wave moving speed is 700 km/h.

Please read more about this catastrophe here:

Earthlink host the websites and, which appear to be a ripoff of a Canadian government site. USENET groups also show signs of this being targetted at the Japanese and Australians.

Weird, or what? Possibly the site has a more malicious intent, exploiting an IE security hole, but I'm wasn't about to try opening it in an unpatched IE to find out ;-)

Anyway, the reply I got from Earthlink last night said:

The customer/account that was used in this spam has been identified and the account was secured.

Thursday 2 December 2004

Fool: Lycos' Love Leashed

Rich Smith at The Motley Fool points out that ISPs are working feverishly, blacklisting Lycos Europe to prevent their screensaver from working (or even being downloaded).

Great. So they can work hard to blacklist spam fighters, but their hands are tied when it comes to blacklisting spamvertised websites? In a moment I'll post my sorry story regarding Earthlink.

Meet Oscar!

He's a four year old Rhodesian Ridgeback. Oscar likes frightening small children, chasing Squirrels, and eating horsepoo.

A crisp December afternoon in Berkshire

Lousy camera on my Treo doesn't do it justice

Thunderbird 1.0 release candidate ready

From the Mozillazine article:

Scott MacGregor writes: "I'm excited to announce that our first Thunderbird 1.0 Release Candidate is now available for testing. 1.0RC1 includes lots of bug fixes and improvements for features like saved search folders, the RSS reader, mail migration, and message grouping. The default themes have both been updated with new improved artwork as well."

Scott's post to the Thunderbirds Builds forum about 1.0RC1 has more information. The release candidate can be downloaded from the 1.0rc directory on

Wednesday 1 December 2004

Yet more on Lycos Europe

While the writer of this ZD Comment piece may have a point about legality and morality, which we can debate until the cows come home, the technical angles of this piece are just plain wrong.

Interesting that nobody at ZD was willing to put their name to it, eh? ;-)

Separately, I see that is down, but Lycos claims not to have been hacked. Hmmm...

Annoy a phisher

This site is another attempt to suck bandwidth from evildoers. A little cruder than Lycos Europe's screensaver, but it concentrates on phishers and other scam artists.

Tuesday 30 November 2004

Death of email in S. Korea

Interesting cultural perspective from South Korea. Email seen as overly-formal. Use is giving way to SMS and IM amongst the under-30s.

Remember: this is the country where broadband penetration is huge (and the bandwidth available to most homes is substantially higher than is typical in the US or UK). I used to work for one of the Samsung companies. It's an unusual culture: kind of Japanese, but less formal (perhaps deliberately so).

(For "mini-homepages," perhaps we should read, "blogs"?)

This from Chosun...

The email era is coming to an end because replacement communication means such as Internet messengers, mini-homepages (dubbed "one-man media"), and SMS are wielding their power. As a consequence, the stronghold of email, once the favorite of the Internet, is being shaken from its roots.

The ebbing of email is a phenomenon peculiar to Korea, an IT power. Leading the big change, unprecedented in the world, are our teens and those in their 20's. The perception that "email is an old and formal communication means" is rapidly spreading among them. "I use email when I send messages to elders," said a college student by the name of Park. For 22-year-old office worker Kim, "I use email only for receiving cellphone and credit card invoices."

A poll conducted by Chungbuk University computer education professor Lee Ok-hwa on over 2,000 middle, high school and college students in Gyeonggi and Chungcheong provinces in October revealed that more than two-thirds of the respondents said, "I rarely use or don't use e-mail at all."

The reasons given for shunning email are that it's impossible to tell whether an addressee has received a message right away and replies are not immediately forthcoming. Still another reason is that you send messages through SMS or messenger as if you were playing a game, while doing so through email makes you feel as if you are doing homework or performing a task. "The new generation hate agonizing and waiting and tend to express their feelings immediately," said Professor Lee. "The decline of email is a natural outcome reflecting such characteristics of the new generation."

The ebb of email is confirmed by a diminishing trend in pageviews, a tabulation of frequency in service used by email users. Daum Communication, the top email business in the country, saw its email service pageviews fall over 20 percent from 3.9 billion in October last year to 3 billion in October this year. By contrast, with SK Telecom, the nation's No. 1 communication firm, monthly SMS transmissions skyrocketed over 40 percent in October from 2.7 billion instances last October. Cyworld, a representative mini-homepage firm, witnessed its pageviews multiply over 26-fold from 650 million instances in October last year to 17 billion in October this year.

"Email's efficiency falls in terms of promptness, convenience and credibility," observed Yoo Hyon-ok, president, SK Communications. "With the continuous emergence of new communication means, communication formats will develop further in the future."

(Kim Ki-hong,

Monday 29 November 2004

In defence of Lycos Europe's anti-spam screensaver

Sigh. Dunno about you, but I'm getting fed up reading breathless "comment" that Lycos Europe is DDOS'ing spammers. How dumb do you think these guys are? Do I smell Americans believing that nothing good could possibly come from Cheese-Eating Surrender-Monkeys? Oh surely not.

Let's say it again: Lycos Europe's position is that the cooperative screensaver system monitors the response times of the webservers, endeavouring to throttle the hits sent so as not to shut them down. Not to mention shutting down other, legitimate sites hosted on the same servers.

Here's another example of people fundamentally misunderstanding this attempt: Mr. Kulawiec, like others, doesn't seem to understand what Lycos is trying to do...

From: Rich Kulawiec
Date: November 29, 2004 9:56:33 AM EST
Subject: Lycos gets into the denial-of-service attack business

It's hard to know where to even begin trying to explain how terribly misguided this is, so I'll just confine myself to noting that trying to win a bandwidth contest with spammers -- who have an unlimited supply of it at zero cost -- reflects a stunning ignorance of reality.
The point is to eat up the bandwidth allowance of spamvertised webservers. This will either quickly shut them down, or cost the spammers a lot of money in additional bandwidth charges. Spammers' websites do not have "an infinite amount of bandwidth". Perhaps you're confusing e-commerce webservers with MTAs?