January 16, 2006

I just discovered that there is such a thing as Religious Freedom Day here in the US.

From ReligiousFreedomDay.com

Religious Freedom Day

Each year, the President declares January 16th to be Religious Freedom Day, and calls upon Americans to "observe this day through appropriate events and activities in homes, schools, and places of worship." The day is the anniversary of the passage, in 1786, of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom.

The goal of ReligiousFreedomDay.com is to promote and protect students' religious expression rights by informing educators, parents, and students about these liberties.

One should really read the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom if they're unfamiliar with it. I agree wholeheartedly with it and I pray our country continues to uphold and understand its worth.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (Paraphrase)

Posted by Bugimus @ 08:10 AM PST [Link it]
January 13, 2006

Here's the wrap up entry for Wella's family gathering on New Years weekend 2006:

Cabin Dwelling

[Dec 30, 2006] Iím sitting in a lovely mountain cabin reflecting on my day. I got up around 6:30 AM and made a nice strong pot of coffee. I went upstairs to get the bills done and correspondence with online friends. We needed to get everything done before we headed up to Lake Arrowhead for a family New Years retreat.

On the way we picked up a family of 3 and loaded them up in the Tahoe. We fit quite comfortably as we sat in bumper to bumper traffic on the 91 freeway through Riverside. I was tremendously pleased with how the Tahoe handled the mountain roads since this was the first time we'd driven in that setting. I could only recall how constantly had to kick the Honda CRV into lower gear to keep my speed up the hill whereas now I just cruised up smoothly. The "chugging" sound of the V8 engine was music to my ears.

We arrived a couple of hours after sundown and when we finally got a look at the cabin we were a bit surprised. We were expecting 27 people and realized our cabin was basically one room and perhaps a 1,000 sq. ft at best with one bathroom. Oh yeah, it was quite cozy once everyone arrived! But never fear, I had my laptop and Age of Empires III =D So I climbed one of the ladders to a sleeping loft and noticed there were only 2 prong outlets and I didn't have an adapter for my computer plug. AGGHH!!!

[December 31, 2006] I dealt with the lack of computing that evening as best I could and headed off to the local hardware store the next morning for an adapter. Thankfully I found one and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Snow Tubing

There was no snow but just up the road was a place that had man-made snow with inner tubes. We took the kids over there for some fun. Kianna, her cousins and I had an absolute blast tubing! The look on Kianna's face as she went down the hill was just classic. She laughed and giggled all the time we were there and it was so wonderful to see her enjoying herself that much. When we first arrived she was a bit concerned about it but after every slide she wanted to go higher and higher. In fact, by the end of the day she was begging to go down the highest slope.

Snow Tubing

All in all, I really enjoyed myself. This is interesting when you consider how introverted I was during the first family gathering of this type I attended years ago. I was extremely uncomfortable with this type of close family association under one roof for days at a time but I have made a complete transformation since then. I now know how to be in my "happy place" in the midst of all the familial chaos and I believe I may have become even more at home with it than other members of the family.

Posted by Bugimus @ 07:40 AM PST [Link it]
January 5, 2006

Comment Spam

I'm not declaring total victory in the war against spam because this war is much like the GWOT, it will take decades to win. However, I can now declare victory in a key battle in this war against comment spam in particular. What is comment spam you ask? Well, it is similar to the email spam you're no doubt familiar with except that it shows up in your blogs and online forums as unwanted posts.

For a while now I've been getting ridiculously inane posts in my BugLOG from spawns of spam hell very much like this:

video gambling games: Umm, that gambling is much less ashamed than the unobtrusive video slots. Goodness, the video slots is much less flawless than a spontaneous video gambling games. I chose that online casinos with a gambling. According to common sense, an online gambling is much more contagious than some fluid video slots.

I had simply turned off the ability to comment on my entries because of this. But I began thinking how I could determine whether a spam robot was visiting my page versus a human being. Virtually all the spam that ends up on your entries comes from automated bots and not real people sitting there posting this crap. One of the most obvious things that came to my mind was to detect whether the mouse had been used at all prior to posting a comment. It turns out that the bots do not meddle in any way with the mouse functions of a page so all I needed to do was to check whether the onmousemove event had ever fired. This works perfectly!!!

Now I can have my blog back to the way I like it, open and free for real folks to comment on. And just so I can keep appraised of attempts at spamming my blog, I now see entries like this in my log files:

A spambot attempted to post a comment to entry #108 (video gambling games: Umm, that gambling is much less ashamed than the unobtrusive video slots. Goodness, the video slots is much less flawless than a spontaneous video gambling games. I chose that online casinos with a gambling. According to common sense, an online gambling is much more contagious than some fluid video slots.)

Email Spam

I believe I've found the best Outlook anti-spam solution available and it is Cloudmark Desktop (formerly Safetybar)

It claims a whopping 98% blocking rate for spam and phishing emails with zero false positives. When I first began using it I was very cautious because I had recently dumped McAfee's Spamkiller which was extremely poor. But the more I used Cloudmark's product the more I realized their claims were not exaggerations.

The beauty to why it's such a successful approach to fighting spam is that it is not algorithm based but community based. Over a million users of this product cast their votes for whether certain messages are spam or not. At first this may sound risky but in practice it works extremely well. There are of course several more layers of complexity to the process but the community based spam identification is the key to this products success.

The only down side to this is that I actually have to pay for software to fight something that should not exist in the first place. But as long as there is spam to fight I'm sticking with Cloudmark's Desktop as my primary weapon.

Posted by Bugimus @ 09:21 AM PST [Link it]
January 4, 2006

The next time I stub my toe or hit my thumb with a hammer I'm going to curse, "Cat piss and spiders!!!". Here's why:

Just before our trip to the mountains to visit with Wella's extended family, I went into our garage hoping to get my snow pants and some mittens. I found them but the snow pants were covered with a thick putrid puddle of cat piss. Man, does that stink!

Black Widow in Garage

So I totally gave up on the pants. I found my mittens nearby thankfully free from feline urine but harboring a huge black widow! Yikes! We have so many of those spiders in our yard itís really concerning me. I would get some exterminators out but I understand itís extremely difficult to deal with spiders since they just float in from other yards and donít normally go where pesticide residue can be safely deposited.

Posted by Bugimus @ 08:00 AM PST [Link it]

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