Turn and Face the Strange

With apologies for two weeks in a row of naval gazey posts about blogging, I’m still playing around with WordPress. I managed to solve the most pressing issues for this initial migration from Movable Type to WordPress and have made the momentous transition from the old blog to the new. As described last week, this has already conferred many benefits, including HTTPS, a better responsive design, and pretty permalinks. That said, there are a few stragglers and other things that I still need to implement.

One thing that has struck me during this process is how easy a fresh installation is versus the challenges inherent in converting an existing site to a new system. This is something that has come up in my professional life as well. After decades of new systems being layered on top of old systems, we’re finally embarking on the process of retiring some of those older systems. It’s a challenging proposition, but the devil is in the details, and the details are all in the transition phase where the system to be retired still exists. Everyone loves designing a new system; no one loves retiring the old legacy systems and all the thrash implied in such an effort. Also, no one wants to lose functionality, just like I didn’t want to lose decades of blog posts and whatever Google juice I might have conjured up.

Look, this blog has never been popular and I’m not under any delusions here, but part of the reason it took so long to make this transition is that I didn’t really want to lose what I’d built up. Most of this was for my own edification, and thus, so is the transition, but at the same time, it wouldn’t be public if I didn’t want anyone to see it.

Anywho, here’s some remaining considerations:

  • Adding Widgets – There are a few things that I used to have on my old blog page that I want to port over here, namely some introductory text and additional links (i.e. the blogroll, etc…) for the sidebar. It shouldn’t be too difficult, but I haven’t looked into it yet and from what I’ve seen, there’s probably some ideal way to do it that won’t involve mucking with design themes.
  • Design Themes – Speaking of which, I’ve chosen a pretty basic design at the moment. One of the benefits of this process is that I should be able to change designs very easily… and there are tons of design themes out there for the picking. Navigating those themes is pretty rough though, and they tend to be very extensible, so even just previewing them can be awkward.
  • Commenting – I played around with this last week and immediately started getting spam. I know the process of commenting on my old blog was awful, but it at least prevented spam. There are, of course, lots of plugins for this sort of thing, so I’ll just need to play around with it. I’ll probably try opening up commenting again today
  • The Beer Blog – I’ve actually set up the WordPress version, which appears to be working well enough. It’s the transition that will kill me here. For some reason, I installed the original beer blog on a subdomain (it’s currently at This, of course, does not play nice with WordPress (or, uh, vice versa). That said, I should be able to do something similar to here, which is to write up some regex code for .htaccess file to 301 redirect to the new site. Needless to say, my regex skills are not up to snuff at this point, so I’ll need to do some research and learning. In some ways, it’s nice to learn something technical to solve a problem. In other ways, I just want to get the new version up and running.
  • Various and Sundry Cleanup – While importing all the entries for both blogs was a relatively easy process, not everything survived intact. There’s lots of weird formatting issues strewn about that probably should be cleaned up. That said, the prospect of going through thousands of posts to do such a thing is a bit daunting. But I will probably pick and choose individual posts to be cleaned up here and there.
  • Stone Knives and Bearskins – So once I get all this fancy newfangled blog stuff sorted, I should probably go back and figure out some of the older content on the site (much of which pre-existed the original Blogger weblog, let alone Movable Type or WordPress). Some of it is probably fine to languish in obscurity, but some of it should probably be ported over here. Again, this will involve some sort of republishing and 301 redirects.

So yes, plenty of changes still to come. This process has been both easier than expected and yet some of the difficulties are exactly what I wanted to avoid. Good progress so far though, so let’s keep things moving.

Changes, They Are A Comin’

To the blog. I mean, yeah, sure, the world too (boy, are they!), but this post is about my blog. I’m sorry. It’s been about 4 years since the last refresh, and even that was kicked off accidentally and thus never quite achieved what was truly needed. Since then, additional requirements have come to light, and I figure it’s finally time to take a serious look at the technical foundations of Kaedrin.

Since 2002, this weblog has been powered by Movable Type. At the time, this was pretty much state of the art. It was significantly better than Blogger (the original platform I used) and other competitors at the time (i.e. Greymatter, etc…) WordPress was still three years away, and the initial versions were probably a bit behind Movable Type. For a long while, I feel like the two platforms kept up with each other and the competition was probably good for both. Movable Type even offered an Open Source option under GPL for a while. Alas, WordPress became the standard… but by then, I’d build up a solid decade’s worth of posts and the transition seemed like a lot of work for little benefit.

Well, things have changed a bit. Movable Type retired their Open Source version and basically priced individuals out of the software. I’ve mostly limped along since then, never really finding the time or motivation to seriously fix some of the issues. I could certainly continue on this path, but there are a few things I’ve wanted to do for a while now and it seems like WordPress would be a much better (and more sustainable) option for the future. You know, the one where people still care about and read blogs?

So anyway, after 18 years of service, I’m planning to retire Movable Type. Take a bow. Yeah, I probably should have made this transition a decade ago, but for all its faults, MT has served me well. So, what are the reasons I’m making this change? Here’s a few things:

  • HTTPS – Security has become more and more important over the years and somewhat recently, browsers and search engines have started penalizing sites that don’t use TLS/SSL. There are ways to do this on MT, but WordPress appears to be much easier.
  • Pretty Permalinks – Back in 2002, the only option for permalinks was to just use the numerical post id in the URL. A while later, the standard changed to using something more descriptive and while MT offered that option, I’d built up enough history that the change wasn’t as easy, and then it only got worse as time went on. So while I’m updating to HTTPS (which counts as a URL change), I might as well switch to a better, more descriptive permalink. More about how I’ll achieve this below…
  • Responsive Design – I technically already have this, but as already mentioned, it’s barely functional. In general, the design of Kaedrin has degraded a bit over time, and one of the things that WordPress is really good at is allowing quick and easy theme changes. They have a massive library of thousands of designs to choose from, while MT has, like, a dozen (maybe, I’m not checking). Now, the process of browsing and choosing a design theme leaves a lot to be desired, but I think I’ve found a few that could be interesting (and many allow for enough customization that it’ll be fine).
  • Comments – It’s possible to comment here, but man I’ve made it obnoxious to do so, haven’t I? Well, there are plenty of limitations on the MT side and it relied on some third party services that are no longer working (particularly, Google’s OpenID system broke again a few years back after I managed to briefly fix it). In any case, WordPress seems to have a much better way of capturing comments and their anti-spam measures are also better.
  • Support – In general, WordPress has a much better support community. This is also why it has so many design themes and plugins.

And there’s plenty of other reasons. You may have noticed that everything looks the same, and that’s because the transition hasn’t quite happened yet. So why isn’t this fancy new blog shooting into your eyeballs right now? What have I done and what’s left to do?

  • Installation – Installation was a breeze, actually. Only minor little kerfluffles here and there. WordPress is actually powering the main page right now. It’s not much to look at, but now I’ve got some more options.
  • Importing Posts – Also a relatively simple process. There was one snag, which had to do with the CONVERT BREAKS indicator not being imported properly, but a quick google search for “wordpress movable type import line breaks WHY THE FUCK WON’T IT WORK” yielded a good solution. The only other annoying thing was that the importer can only work on files that are 1 MB or less. Believe it or not, this blog exports to a 12 MB file, so I had to spend some time splitting up the files and importing in batches. But all in all, it was a pretty easy process.
  • Stupid Rewrite Engine – So WordPress does this thing where it uses .htaccess rewrite rules to run the entire URL structure. Which, like, sure, it’s probably better than MT’s static HTML files, but it’s also not nearly as flexible in terms of where you can publish your blog. In particular, since this “weblog” directory already exists, WordPress has difficulty displaying the main page (everything else works fine – I can go to individual posts, archives, etc… with no problem). If you came here in the last few days when I’d been playing with this, you may have seen the main blog page show a 403 error (and you may see that again as I work out kinks). Now, the grand majority of users probably aren’t migrating 20 years of posts and are, in fact, just starting something new and thus won’t experience any issues. But after a few decades and several content management strategies, my directories are a bit of a mess, which causes issues with WordPress’ rewrite engine. It’s nothing insurmountable, but it will take some time to resolve.
  • 301 Redirects – Basically, I need to set this up for every blog post (I’m less concerned about Monthly/Category archives, etc…) There are easy ways to do this and I think there might be a way to do it in bulk, I just need to figure it out. I was hoping that the new and old blog could coexist for a while so that I could do a more leisurely transition, but this may ultimately be for the best anyway…
  • Updating Manual Links/Images – There may be some weirdness in the beginning as some of the old links and images are hardcoded into entries. The 301 redirects should function for the links, but it’s not a good practice to keep them in place; they should be updated to the new URL structure. I should be able to fix the majority of these using find/replace capabilities in WordPress, but again, some weirdness may persist in the archives.
  • The Beer Blog – I haven’t even started on the beer blog, but I’m anticipating basically the same problems there. Not only does that directory already exist (thus probably breaking the rewrite engine), but I also made that directory a sub-domain (again, WordPress’ lack of flexibility in terms of publishing makes this problematic). I’m also shuddering about the thought of reorganizing all the categories there (the import process flattens the category hierarchy – I’m hoping there’s a plugin that allows for better category management, I just haven’t looked yet).

There’s still plenty left to do, but it all seems more approachable than I had feared. A big part of this is the huge ecosystem of plugins and support that WordPress has built up (and that is practically non-existent for MT). I’m hopefully that the new blog will be up and running for the 20th anniversary of the weblog (while Kaedrin existed in various incarnations before the weblog, the first post here was on July 14, 2000). Until then, stay safe and healthy out there folks.

Update 6/30/20: The changes have come and are blasting into your eyeballs as we speak. Turn and face the strange. Moar to come.

Redesigning Kaedrin, 2016 Edition

So I did something dumb this week. I’ve been thinking about how poorly my sites display on mobile (not dumb) and was playing around with Movable Type (marginally dumb) and accidentally clicked on a new theme (extra special dumb). This had the effect of blowing out all of the design templates and modules I had ever created (and replacing them with the default MT setup). Because I installed MT back in aught-two, all of that crap was custom. Sure, it was backed up, but restoring it would be a pain and hey, maybe I should take this opportunity to refresh the technology behind the blog. Lots of things have changed in the decade-plus since I cobbled this place together and I haven’t been keeping up. It’s the sort of thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while, but who has time to redesign a site from scratch? It turns out that accidentally resetting the design was just the kick in the arse I needed. So welcome to the 2016 edition of Kaedrin (He says, as if he’s done anything in the past decade or so. For reference, here’s a writeup of the first few designs and here’s what the site looked like until this afternoon.)

The biggest benefit you’ll see is that the site looks a lot better on Mobile devices. The layout now uses some rudimentary responsive design techniques – if you shrink your browser window, you’ll see some things rearrange themselves (notably the right navigation). It’s far from perfect, but still a large improvement over the table based layout that had been in place for so long. Lots of changes to typography and spacing, mostly to accommodate mobile, but also because of the prevalence of higher resolution screens. I tried to keep the visual design fairly consistent, but lots of things have unavoidably changed. There are also tons of behind-the-scenes improvements that you won’t notice, but Google will.

Of course, a few hours of tweaking the default templates does not a complete redesign make. There’s still a lot of stuff I’d like to tackle, and plenty of other considerations:

  • Mobile still requires a lot of tweaking. The navigation at the top of the page does some funky things when the screen gets small, and frankly not all of that stuff is probably needed. Most of it is legacy content from the pre-blogging, turn-of-the-century timeframe and should mostly be jettisoned.
  • Speaking of navigation, most blogs seem to have abandoned the stuff that’s currently in my right navigation. This might be worth considering, so long as I can still provide a way to navigate (I do hate it when you can’t find someone’s archives or they rely exclusively on lazy-loading or something).
  • Categories need a major overhaul. There’s not much rhyme or reason to them, and many aren’t complete (i.e. when I created a new one, I rarely went back and added legacy entries into the category). Because this is a generalist blog, a rigid categorization scheme is perhaps not ideal (unlike my beer blog, which has a well-thought-out and consistent categorization scheme). I should probably look into tags as well.
  • Monthly and Category Archives are kinda minimalist now. I’m planning on updating them to include full entries.
  • Breadcrumbs might not be necessary at this point, but I had them on the old site so they stay for now. Unfortunately, the default layout in MT puts them in a location that is mildly inconvenient. This might be the first thing to go.
  • Archives are all using the same filename conventions as previously, so this redesign shouldn’t break any links. That said, I’d like to figure out a way to at least update the individual entries to use a more descriptive filename. This would break old links though, so I’d have to figure out the Canonical linking strategy, and that’s no fun.
  • Visual design could certainly use some more work. I’m no artist, but I liked what was there before and I’d like to make some incremental improvements to this design as time goes on. The masthead needs some work, the footer is a mess, and the right nav could use some rethinking. Typography and spacing could use some tightening as well.
  • CSS needs considerable cleanup. Everything appears functional right now, but it’s a mess. That’s partly because CSS is an inherent nightmare, but also because I’m out of practice and MT’s default templates are bonkers.
  • I tested the site in most modern browsers, but there will undoubtedly be a ton of tweaks needed in the near future. If you see anything dramatically wrong, please email or leave a comment.
  • Expect tons of tiny, incremental changes over the next few months. This is the big bang change, everything else should barely be noticable.

There’s probably lots of other stuff as well and this whole fiasco did get me thinking generally about the state of personal, generalist blogs (i.e. they’re basically an anachronism at this point), but I’ll leave that for later posts. For now, just enjoy the new design and mobile experience…

Update: I’ve been making some tweaks throughout the day. I’m going to put a running list in the Extended Entry, partly just so that I can make sure that works too.

Comments Are Working Now!

At least, I think they are, hence this test post which you can safely ignore.

Ignore Me!

I’ve confirmed that the two most popular login types are working, so Google OpenID and WordPress users are free to fire away in the comments. It looks like the new version of Google ID (now that I’ve got it working) actually shows a relevant name and even links to Google+ (formerly, you got a username at best, and a weird string of characters at worst). Go forth, ye readers, and comment. Also, why are you reading this? I said to ignore this post. IGNORE ME!


So the comments on here have been broken for a few months and I haven’t been able to figure it out. I’m finally taking some measures to get this stuff fixed. All of which is to say that things may get a little wonky around here for the next couple of days, but we’ll hopefully be upgraded to the newest version of Movable Type and comments should work too. Fingers crossed!

Update: The upgrade is complete, but I’m still dealing with some issues. Comments are working on my generalist blog, but not on the beer blog (no idea why), and I’m having trouble publishing new entries now. Super duper. Not even sure if this update will make it out there… In any case, bear with me. We’ll be back and running soon enough.

Again Update: Huzzah! I think all issues have been resolved. Comments are working again, and I’m able to actually publish updates. And the world rejoiced! Or, well, I am rejoicing.

Movable Type and Commenting Woes

Many moons ago, I heard about this new thing called a “weblog”. A new site had popped up called Blogger, and it was the coolest thing evar. It had a hip startup mentality, and it was going to, like, totally change the world. I immediately signed up and used it for a couple years. Keep in mind, I’m talking turn of the century timeframe here, so blogging software options were extremely limited (basically just Blogger and whatever homegrown stuff you could cobble together). I used Blogger for a couple years, until their explosive growth lead to slow load times and unreliable FTP service (a few years after that, they got bought out by Google, and their stability problems suddenly vanished. Incidentally, the founder of Blogger went on to found a couple other businesses, including something called Twitter. Good for him.). At the time, options were still limited, but a new startup seemed promising. It was called Movable Type, and it was fully featured (certainly an upgrade from Blogger’s original functionality) and free. I jumped at the software and have been, more or less, pretty comfortable with it since then.

It’s been over a decade, and in that time, Movable Type has treated me rather well, despite the emergence of a rather popular competitor in the Open Source WordPress. In fact, WordPress has pretty well eaten Movable Type’s market, to the point where they’re currently retreating up market, catering to enterprise clients like Huffington Post. For a while, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Indeed, they even released an open source version of Movable Type. However, about a year ago, they shifted focus dramatically. Open Source options were set to expire and the individual blogger license was set to go away, replaced by a ridiculously overpriced option (effectively leaving amateurs like myself out in the cold).

My problem? The Google login for comments seems to have stopped working for some reason. No obvious fixes have presented themselves. I’ve upgraded Movable Type to the latest Open Source version available, but that has not resolved the issue (in fact, it actually broke things further, though I figured out that issue pretty quickly, leaving me back where I started). This makes me want to jump ship and hit up WordPress. But then, I’m 14 years into this and maintain two blogs with over 3000 entries, copious meta-data (as bad as the categories are here on my generalist blog, my beer blog has a pretty comprehensive categorization scheme), and nearly as many comments. I’m sure many folks have it much worse, but it still seems daunting.

Simply migrating to WordPress would be rather difficult (hell, just transferring my current data into a local version of MT running on my Ubuntu box was a huge pain in the arse). It’s certainly possible, but even in the best case, I’m likely to lose any SEO benefits I’ve accrued throughout the years, not to mention the hassle of actually getting the data to load (I can pretty much guarantee that various timeouts and permissions will have to be overridden in order for all that data to be transferred). There are ways around this, but it would be a huge hassle. My best case would probably be to commission a hired gun to make the transfer go smoothly, but I’m sure that’s still going to be a painful transition.

All of this is to say that comments aren’t working quite right these days. In particular, the Google login seems to be failing for some reason. WordPress and Yahoo (and other options) seem to work fine, but Google is clearly the option used by the majority of commenters here. Anonymous commenting hasn’t been an option for a long time (the last time I enabled anonymous commenting, even with a captcha, I received about 5000 spam comments in just a few hours). I tried enabling User Registration (where you could actually register an account here at Kaedrin), but for some reason, the email confirmation isn’t working properly. I will probably take a swing at this over the next few weeks, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. My days of hacking all this blogging software stuff are long gone, and I’m not really into the hassle so much these days. Maybe I’ll figure it out. Or maybe a long overdue transition to WordPress is in the cards. We’ll see where it goes, but for now, just note that the Google login for commenting isn’t working so well. Sorry for any inconvenience. Personally, I blame spammers. Those assholes made commenting and trackbacks a total nightmare to deal with. Stay with me here, I’ll figure something out eventually. In the meantime, feel free to email me at (see, I even need to remove the @ symbol from my email, least I get bombarded with spam) if you want to comment on anything (or use a WordPress login, which seems to work fine).

State of the Blog

Hard as it may be to believe, this blog is coming up on its 11th anniversary. In other words, I’ve been blogging for more than a third of my life, and all of my adult life. Of course, the blog has seen varying levels of activity over the years, but has remained remarkably consistent over the past few years, largely due to my Sunday/Wednesday schedule. Anywho, I thought I’d take a look at the past year of statistics and see what that shows me. Some generic stuff:

  • 36,815 Visits
  • 54,408 Pageviews
  • Approximately 75% of traffic comes from search engines (approx. 62% of total site traffic comes from Google)
  • The remaining 25% are split between referring sites (13%) and direct load (12%)

Now, I have set up my analytics software to ignore me, and this is mostly successful, though there are definitely times when the cookie gets cleared somehow, so I’m sure some of the above is me. But you’re not seeing the full brunt of my obsessive site-checking.

So what are the most popular pages?

  • Weblog main page is obviously the biggest winner here, with 18% of pageviews
  • Time Travel in Donnie Darko seems to be the most popular single entry on the blog. Google seems to be the biggest referrer, though I do frequently see people coming from facebook.
  • Samoas vs Caramel DeLites is also quite popular. The interesting thing about this one is that it only really gets traffic in January, February, and March (i.e. when Girl Scout cookies are sold). Facebook and other referring sites seem to make up a bigger percentage of the referrers for this one…
  • Sins of a Solar Empire: Lessons Learned, Sorta is a funny one to be popular, as I suck at that game. It’s what’s known in the biz as a “PC ass PC Game”, meaning that it’s ridiculously complicated, with a huge learning curve and a crappy tutorial. Apparently this post has a great google ranking for people looking for a guide to the game (of which the post really isn’t).
  • Cowboy Bebop: The Ending is also a popular post, presumably because I’m so brilliant.
  • A Reflexive Media gets a bunch of traffic as well, usually from folks looking to understand Reflexive Documentaries.
  • Bear Pajamas gets a ridiculous amount of traffic given the trivial nature of the post (about how a character in an Anime wears Bear Pajamas)
  • Neal Stephenson Category Archive gets a nice amount of traffic, which isn’t all that surprising.
  • Interrupts and Context Switching gets some love too, which is reassuring, as it’s one of my favorite posts.

Mind you, those are only blog posts I’m referencing. Older stuff from the pre-blog days still gets a lot of traffic too, most notably my in-depth review of Hitchcock’s Rear Window and my Guide to Isaac Asimov (which I wrote when I was a teenager and should probably revise at some point, as it’s pretty embarrassingly bad).

I’ve definitely settled into a bit of a groove on the blog, and I can tell you that I spend less time writing posts these days. I have mentioned a few times that I need to shake things up a bit, but I have had limited success with that. I’ve generally noticed that my posting goes in waves. Sometimes I’ll be inspired and have no problem writing new, interesting stuff. Other times, not so much (which is when you get simple posts like a link dump or something). Yeah, this isn’t exactly an earth shattering observation, but still. In reality, I tend to be pretty hard on myself when I’m in the midst of writing – I’m usually not super happy with a post when I publish, but if I revisit later, I’m often surprised by what I wrote. I usually like it a lot more after the fact. Go figure. In any case, the blog must go on, even if it does get stuck in a rut every now and again (hopefully, it’s at least an entertaining rut!)

Link Dump & Notes

Just some interesting links and some notes about upcoming posts and whatnot:

  • First, an announcement! The Oscars are this Sunday, and in accordance with tradition, I will be liveblogging the event, as I have for the past 7 years (!) Feel free to stop by and leave some comments! Previous installments here: [2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004]
  • An update on Game Dev Story! I’ve finally figured out how to hire a “Hardware Engineer” and thus was able to create my own console. Well, I found this DIY Gamer page, which explains it:

    Perhaps the biggest secret in Game Dev Story, bagging a hardware engineer is simple – if expensive – stuff. The idea is to level up one of your staff to the max in every type of role. This can be done with a combination of development points and Career Change Manuals (from the salesman). Level your chosen character up to level 5 in whatever role they’re in, then use the Career Change Manual to swap their job to something they aren’t already level 5 in.

    Level them up to level 5 in this role, then repeat until they are level 5 in every available role. Now use the Career Change Manual on them once more, and the Hardware Engineer role will now be available for selection. Choose this, and you’ll then be able to develop your own console.

    Sweet. Of course, I’m now paying this person almost $2 million a year in salary, but hey, I got to create a console. And according to my records, my company has over $1 billion in reserve, so I should be all right (this is what happens when you sell 30-40 million units of each game). I still think there’s a lot of room in this concept for a deeper dive into some of these details (for instance, shouldn’t I get licensing fees from other developers who want to release games on my console? How about competition with other consoles? And so on…) but for a game that cost $0.99, I’ve had a blast.

  • The Boy Who Stole Half-Life 2 – I never heard of this until now, but it’s an interesting story of some kid who stole the source code to Half-Life 2 before it was released. Very interesting stuff.
  • Black Widow Gone Wild – Heh.
  • Here Be Dragons: Governing a Technologically Uncertain Future 10 – An interview with Neal Stephenson on an earlier panel he participated in and the article he wrote (that I posted) a while back on the history of rocket technology. Some interesting stuff here, but it really just makes me want to read his new book (still no word on when that will be coming out, short of “2011” which is, uh, now).

That’s all for now. Look for my Oscar picks early on Sunday. Updates after that will most likely begin when the show does (I really hate the damn red carpet crap, but sometimes I’m on a bit early anyway).

Insert Spam Pun Here

So I upgraded Movable Type about two months ago, and for the most part, I think the version I’m using right now is great. However, it quickly became clear that my preferred spam fighting solution, CCode, was not working correctly, and indeed, it was messing up all of the fancy new authentication methods that MT was implementing. So I had to remove that and update the comment form code to reflect the new functionality. That seemed to go swimmingly, but due to a combination of factors, I’ve discovered a veritable plethora of spam comments pouring into my system.

The way it was set up was that anonymous comments end up being stored in “pending” status, meaning that I need to approve it before it shows up on the site. The tricky part there is that the default way MT displays comments when I log in doesn’t register “pending” comments, so I never noticed that the spambots were quickly rediscovering my blog and having their way with my comment system.

Now, this isn’t and hasn’t ever been a particularly popular blog, so it’s not uncommon to see a lack of comments. That being said, I began to get a bit suspicious after over a month with no comments. So I took a closer look and found 11,000 pending comments in the system. The grand majority of these were placed in the past couple of weeks, and looking at the comments shows an interesting progression from the time I upgraded to the present. At first, only a couple of comments were submitted per day, then a few more, then a dozen, then a few dozen, then hundreds, and recently it’s been in the thousands. So a few hours ago, I turned off anonymous comments, which effectively muted the spam, but which I suppose also presents more of a hurdle towards casual or new readers.

The great thing about CCode was that it was completely transparent to everyone but the spammers. It stopped spam cold, but visitors to my site didn’t have to do anything differently (except that their browser had to be javascript enabled, which is hardly a big hurdle for, well, just about anyone) and I didn’t have to wade through thousands of spam submissions. It would be really nice if the developer who originally wrote CCode (or someone else) would update it to work with MT5, but it doesn’t look like it’s been updated since 2007, so I’m guessing that won’t happen anytime soon.

All of which is to say that if you submitted a comment in the past month or two, it may be deleted in the great purge I’m about to implement here. Sorry about that. Also, you may see some funkiness happening with the comment forms below. If you have a Google or Yahoo account (among a few others), you should be able to use that to comment for now. I’m trying to figure out a way to reinstate anonymous commenting without resorting to CAPTCHAs or other intrusive methods, but it will most likely be slow going.

In any case, I’ll leave you with my favorite piece of spam from this latest attack:

I tried to publish a comment previously, but it has not shown up. I think your spam filter may be broken?

This would be hysterical if it wasn’t so annoying…


I’m in the process of upgrading some of the software that drives the site, including Movable Type (which runs this blog). Which is to say, you may see some issues with some of the dynamic features (like comments or the pagination). There’s no specific problem that’s causing me to upgrade or anything, I just figured it was about time.

Update: Upgrade is complete. I hope. No unintended consequences as of yet, but I haven’t tested commenting yet, and the thing I’m most worried about is my anti-spam functionality. The version I’m using was built for MT4, but it seems pretty straightforward – hopefully it will work on MT5. Pagination seems fine.

Again Update: All quiet on the internet front. Upgrade has gone well. Too well. Suspiciously well. But for now, everything is ok. See you tomorrow with some zombie movies!