Spam Battle Update

I spoke a bit too soon.  When I mentioned last week that I had made a serious dent in the spam wars, little did I know that the spammers would strike back hard.

It seems, I’ve caught a new wave of spammers.  These ones are not trying to sell anything directly (aka bootleg pharmaceuticals)  but instead are simply trying to drive clicks to bullshit pages whose only purpose is to gain ad revenue without providing any content at all.

These new spams all have links to bogus sites like “1qualitylinks.info”, “1mybookmarks.info”, and “topnetsites.info”.  These spams have key words that they hope to drive traffic, thus my previous methods weren’t blocking them.

Yesterday alone, I got 68 additional spams caught by Akismet when before it was down to 4 or 5 a day.

So, I had to add another level of protection.  This new plugin, called JS Spam Block, is rather interesting.  All it does is add a bit of javascript in the comment field.  It sends a script to the browser trying to leave a comment.  If your browser is .js enabled (almost all them are) you are allowed to comment and the user doesn’t even know they were approved.  If you don’t have javascript enabled (most spam posting bots do not) it prompts you to simply enter a number to continue to prove you’re human.  If you enter the number, you can post.  Obviously, to get an automated bot to do this is significantly tougher.  Genius really.

This one appears to be working.  Since installation last night, I’ve only had 5 spams caught.  The rest were blocked by my various other methods.  I have learned to never say I have solved the problem.  With spam, there simply is no solution, although the feds are trying.

One more shot in the never ending war.

You’re calling it the WHAT bowl?

h-bowlSince 1997, there has been a college football bowl game in Boise Idaho at Boise State University’s Bronco Stadium. It has turned into a neat local event, even when the Broncos aren’t playing in it.

Over the years, the bowl’s name has changed, as different title sponsors have ponied up the cash to be involved. Early on, it was just the Humanitarian Bowl (connected to the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, also here in Boise). Then, both Crucial.com and MPC Computers took shots at titleship.

MPC Computers decided to drop out after last year, so the bowl game has been searching for a new title sponsor.

Well, today it was announced who stepped up. And it is as bad as it could possibly be.

Continue reading You’re calling it the WHAT bowl?

Boating Adventure

boating 055On Memorial Day weekend, we got invited to go boating with some of Jess’ friends for the day.  So, we packed up the coolers and headed up to Lucky Peak Reservoir (not far from Boise) for a day of fun on the water.

Here are the pics.

Actually, we had a great time.  The water was a little cold still, and the sun kept hiding behind the clouds, so not everyone wanted a shot at skiing or wake surfing.  Maybe next time.

Thanks again to Jeremy and Janelle for the invite!

My Dogs Is Barkin

My dogs have been barking lately.  My feet have seemed to be getting sore and tired quickly.  This has been going on for the past few years and has been getting worse.  I first noticed such things when playing a round of golf or while walking for hours on end along the Las Vegas Strip.

Finally, I decided to see the podiatrist.

After a quick x-ray, the doc came into the room.  He poked and proded at my tootsies then took a peek at the x-ray.  It didn’t take him long to tell me what was going on.

Continue reading My Dogs Is Barkin

Happy (belated) Birthday, JasonHaberman.com

birthday_spanking.jpgI can’t believe I missed marking the milestone. We were officially 1 year old on April 24th. Notice I said “we” like this is some huge operation? Kinda like Homer Simpson’s web business CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet. Anyway, On the 24th of April, I was still mired in my “without a PC” phase. Thus, the occasion wasn’t properly marked. So, lets make with the birthday spankings!

We’ll call this the baker’s birthday. 13 months. Kinda like the baker’s dozen, only different.

Just a few statistics to throw your way.

  • 166 total posts by me
  • 357 comments by you people
  • I average about 15 to 20 unique visitors a day (granted, I know most of those visitors personally, but that’s ok)

I have really enjoyed having an outlet for my creative juices. Although, I don’t know how creative it is to bitch about sports and TV, but whatever.

There is one thing that has not been so fun about this blog. The only thing, really.

Battling Spam.

You know spam. If you have been on the Internet for more than 37 seconds, I guarantee you have become personally acquainted with the vile stuff. On this blog, I have battled tooth and nail against it. “But, I’ve seen no spam on your site!” you may exclaim. You would be correct, but behind the scenes, it has been a different story. Continue reading Happy (belated) Birthday, JasonHaberman.com

The Pigturducken – Update

pigturducken2.jpgSo, in the last post (To Salt Lake… Again) I talked about how they served a “Pigturducken” (apparently, all one word is the preferred vernacular – google search here). It was singlehandedly the most amazing piece of meat I have ever seen, let alone eaten.

Now, I have a pic of the beast before the 14 hours of cooking. I warn you, if you’re not a meat person, you might want to skip this one.

View Image

First, that is bbq sauce on the pig, not blood (as Jess thought). I will grant you, raw pigs are a bit gross as it always looks a little to human like for my taste, and I admit, that is a tad too autopsy-photoish (or perhaps a murder victim from the movie Seven). But I will say this… that thing was still damn tasty.

If you have the means, I highly recommend trying one.

Order your own here

To Salt Lake… Again

This past weekend, I found myself again in Salt Lake City. Ya know, for a place I really don’t like that much, I certainly seem to go back often. I was there last September. Again in January. This makes 3 times in 9 months. Luckily, I never seem to spend an inordinate amount of time there. This particular time, Jess’s friend Christy was graduating from med school at the University of Utah. She wanted to go down there to support her friend, so we did.

We hit the road after a half day on Friday. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the drive to SLC from Boise is one of the easiest 5 hour drives there is. You can set the cruise control at 83 and just roll. You have to make like one turn to get there. Of course, this is a relative measure as Boise is the most remote metropolitan area in the entire country. We are farther from the next closest big city than any other place in the lower 48. There’s a bit of trivia for ya there.

We got there about 7pm and checked into the hotel. Jess got a killer deal at Hotel Monaco which was right downtown. It was a beautiful place. It’s one of those boutique hotels. They even give you a goldfish to adopt for your stay (we named ours Chester). More on that in a bit. After freshening up, we wanted to head out and explore the area.

Wow, what a massive disappointment. SLC’s downtown is DEAD. The business that were still in business closed at 7pm. The damn pizza place nearby closed at 8pm. This was FRIDAY NIGHT for pete’s sake! There was nobody on the streets at all, except panhandlers asking for change. It was all very exciting. Giving up on finding any retail joints open, we decided to just try to find a restaurant open. Our options were crappy chain joints like Olive Garden and the like. We kept wandering and eventually found Squatters Brew Pub. Thank god! A place we can relate to. This is the place that produces the Polygamy Porter (bet ya can’t have just one!). Finally, we found some people out on a Friday night. We just kept wondering if there is ANY nightlife in SLC. I think we decided that there just isn’t. So, we had some good food, horrible service, and a few beers. It was really the best we could hope for.

The next morning was the ceremony. We left early in order to find a Starbucks, which turned into another huge chore. In Boise, there is a Starbucks (or other coffee joint) every other block. We drove around for 20 minutes before finding a place to get a lousy cup of coffee. Ugh. But, we did, and found our way to the campus for the commencement.

The ceremony was just like every other graduation I’ve been to or involved with… Pretty boring. The bulk, of course, is reading of names you don’t know while small pockets of support in the crowd whoop and holler for that person. The problem with this one was, being a med school graduation, everyone gets “hooded” which takes extra time. *yawn* There were a few doctor fathers who came in to “hood” their sons, but it made me crazy since only one of these fathers even shook hands with their son after their little deal. It made me crazy! You know, you’ve been pushing that kid since he was 8 years old that he was gonna be a doctor, and you can’t even break off a handshake when he graduates med school!?

The only interesting part was the speech by the class president or whatever, who was detailing out all that had gone on in their 4 years together. There were like 84 members of the actual med school class, and one thing he mentioned that like 35 babies had been born to them (or partners) during those 4 years. Wow. We really ARE in Utah, aren’t we?

After the ceremony ended, we were on our own for a few hours until the party started. Jess spotted a Whole Foods near the Starbucks, and she was dying to stop there and look around, so we did. Found some interesting sauces and whatnot. Interesting place. Then we went next door to one of those Baja Fresh type Mexican food joints for quesadillas. Amazingly enough, we were able to get a beer with lunch. And didn’t even have to fill out an application!

Then, it was back to the hotel to relax (Jess napped) for about an hour before it was party time. Our room wasn’t made up, but that wasn’t the strange thing. We checked on Chester… wait a second… that’s not Chester! Chester was one of those googly eyed goldfish… now, we have one of those regular old boring goldfish! Strange things were afoot, but we were at a loss to come up with why. Jess is convinced Chester died, and they swapped him out. I’m not so sure. So, we tried to accept Chester 2, but it just wasn’t the same.

We found the house (Christy’s sister’s place) up in the hills easily enough. (I’m not going to bitch and moan about the street naming convention in SLC again.) This was a pretty solid shindig. Lots of beers. A bunch of people there. Luckily, I had met a few of these people a month earlier in Boise, so I wasn’t totally uncomfortable.

Then came the main course. This was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. It was flown in from Louisiana by the friend of Christy’s older brother. Simply unbelievable. It was a chicken, inside a duck, inside a turkey (yes, I know that’s a Turducken of John Madden fame), but there was an extra twist… that whole shebang was stuffed into a whole pig! This thing was absolutely glorious. They had it on the smoker grill for something like 16 hours. Everything was completely boned, (except for the pig’s head which they removed prior to serving as to not skeeve everyone out) so you could slice it like a a gigantic loaf of meat bread. Oh yeah, between the pig and the turkey, there was sausage stuffed on one end, and shrimp on the other. If there is a meat dish in heaven, that has got to be the one. I have pictures, but not on me. I’ll get them on here soon.

Update: Here are the pics!

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So, we spent the night drinking and eating. Basically, 2 of my favorite things. I smartly slowed down and started drinking water, knowing that I had to drive home the next day.

We woke the next morning and got all packed up and headed to find breakfast. Jess knew of this place outside of town called Ruth’s Diner. One of those old school joints that are very popular. Thus, we had to wait about 40 minutes to get in. But the food was terrific. They have this beautiful outdoor patio covered by trees. Of course, those trees are covered by thousands of little green caterpillars that were continually dropping onto you. I spent the whole meal convinced that one of those damn things was going to drop into my drink or my biscuits and gravy. I couldn’t relax. But it never happened.

After, we hit the road and again had no issues on the drive home. That was my weekend. I was forced to deal with Salt Lake City again, but, I was introduced to the pig-turducken. I think that’s a fair trade off.

Where the hell have I been?

Actually, nowhere. I suppose I could say I’ve been lazy, but that wouldn’t be accurate. More like I just haven’t felt the strong urge to update this damn thing. But, since I had better update you folks, here goes.

The biggest news is that the new computer is built and up and running. I suppose that is where I’ve been spending the lions share of my spare time. It took me most of the day (Tuesday the 1st) to build the thing, install windows, and get back all of my software. I enjoy that sort of thing, but it is still a pain in the ass sometimes. I guess I’m more of a computer “user” type than one who love tinkering with the guts. I like things to work, and get frustrated when they don’t.

Anyway, I installed the new Windows Vista Home Ultimate, and so far I like it. The only software I haven’t been able to get working on it is my VPN software to log into work from home. Bit of a bummer, but I can try to find a compatible client here at work. Hardware wise, this thing is a monster. I put a lot of horses in there, and you can really tell. It screams. It might be sad that I get so excited about such things, but what can ya do?? I may detail out my build more in the future. Keep your eyes peeled.

The weather is finally getting nice. I’ve been itching to get out on the golf course. I guess I had better get my clubs out of storage and hit the driving range. I played a total of 13 holes last season, so I’m sure I’m rusty as hell. George did say he got his clubs extended and is getting some lessons… we’ll see if I can get him out on the links. Been a long time… I miss it.

I have actually had work to do at work lately. Go figure! It’s nice to not have to kill time, and actually be productive.

MeHad an eye doc appointment last week, and everything is golden. Still only need glasses for computer type work, and even then, that is more just for comfort sake. I’m not one of those who sit and stare at the screen for hours. I’m way to easily distracted for that sort of thing, so I spend a lot of time exercising my eyes by looking around and focusing on far and near stuff. As a plus, Mom seems to think I look smarter in glasses… not sure if that means I look dumber without glasses.

Had a dentist appointment too. That was interesting. No cavities, but I’m gonna need a crown. I never knew what the purpose of those was, but according to the dentist, we all have cracks in our teeth. The only way to determine whether those cracks are becoming a problem is symptoms. And, my bottom right molar (number 31 I believe) is quite sensitive to pressure. Hurts, frankly. So, the clamp a metal head on the tooth to keep that bad boy from flexing. Hopefully, I don’t get taken to the cleaners on that one. Ugh. Win some, lose some.

One thing I just have to bitch about real quick. There is a radio ad here for Lee Reed Jewelers. Anyone from Boise knows these horrible things with Larry Reed basically chastising guys for not not loving their wives enough to get them bigger diamonds. That pisses me off enough as it is. But, one thing I heard on the latest commercial almost made me drive off the road when I heard it. He says something to the effect that diamonds are “one of the rarest gems on earth” (he was comparing this to moms). WTF!? Are you kidding!? Diamonds are made of carbon. Coal. They seriously litter the earth. Millions of them. I mean, they use them in industrial equipment for pete’s sake! It makes me sad that people actually believe this.

Allow me to burst a bubble for those who think that a diamond is inherently valuable… Guess what. Its not. “But they’re expensive” you might retort. Well, you’re correct. But the reason they are is simple. It is called a world wide monopoly by the DeBeers company and a terrific marketing campaign beginning in the early 20th century. Enlisting advertising, Hollywood and various other means, they successfully connected the universal feeling of “love” to the one product they control. Thus, if you don’t buy diamonds, you don’t truly love someone. Grrrrr…. To maintain their position, they either shut down, or buy any competing diamond dealers. Thus, they can set prices as high as they like, and the saps who have been brainwashed into believing the HAVE to have a diamond keep on buying.

Can you tell this pisses me off? Perhaps it has something to do with my having purchased an overpriced engagement ring once and not really get the return on my investment I was looking for. But its not just me. Google “diamond monopoly” or you could read this: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/198202/diamond

Personally, I like gems that are actually rare. Rubies, sapphires, and especially emeralds. But I’m a man, so what do I know?

Ok, thats all for now. I do have a few ‘feature’ style posts coming. I have a few things I have been thinking about writing about and they should be along in a few days.