Tag Archives: blog

Blog Updates

I’ve been doing some general tidying up of the WordPress installation running this blog. This includes some new plugins that revamp the commenting system. I was getting increasing amounts of spam comments and the old anti-spam plugin just wasn’t helping against what appeared to be manually entered spam comments.

Let me know if you see anything that looks (unintentionally) weird.

279 New Zealand Blogs

For the last few years Ken Perrott at Open Parachute has been compiling a monthly ranking of New Zealand blogs. His list has the pleasing side-effect of being a good way to discover random blogs you would not otherwise come across.

I decided it wasn’t visual enough:

Small montage of 279 blogs(click to view montage)

This little project used Paparazzi! to grab the websites, ImageMagick to wrangle the images, a few lines of Python, and an evening’s work.

Three Hundred

This is the 300th blog post I have made. When I started this back in August 2006 I had no idea that I would still be maintaining it 6 years later. My original plan was to average one post a week – it has been 323 weeks since I started so I am slipping behind.

I am celebrating the 300th post by making a list of blogs I read regularly, not including the technical blogs I try to keep on top of.

People I know who regularly update their blogs:

Simon is an arch-tinkerer, and the only person I know who is Internet Famous for various projects, most notably the Star Wars Ascii Animation.

Stu is runs a tabletop gaming website, and his blog is a font of information on modelling and painting. I never had the patience for these types of games but I find reading about them fascinating.

Nigel hasn’t updated for a long while, but his posts are great and he is pretty much the only person who will spontaneously mention that he reads my blog so he gets included here.

David does a lot of tramping and takes some great photos.

TV and Cinema:

Matt Shot – I love single-topic blogs where someone with an encyclopaedic knowledge in a narrow field talks at length about what they love. I have also always been fascinated with old-time cinema tricks so this is right up my alley.

Strange Shapes – Long, thoughtful articles about the alien series.

TARDIS Eruditorum: A Psychochronography in Blue – Long, scholarly articles on Doctor Who, one for each episode, in sequence, with occasional diversions, written by someone with a PhD in English. At the moment he is up to the gap years where Doctor Who was not in production so he is covering the (fairly terrible in my opinion) spin-off novels. New readers should start at the beginning or just jump to one of the “People Seem To Like These Posts” in the sidebar.

Gavin J. Rothery is a visual effects director, his blog is filled with all sorts of entertaining rubbish.


History Geek – Various titbits of New Zealand history, which some great scanned pictures from yore.

Beachcombing’s Bizarre History – short essays on historical weirdness.

Bad Archaeology – sadly, it turns out almost nothing was built by aliens.

Executed Today – I like to read this first thing in the morning. No matter how bad my day is going this helps me realise some people had it worse.

Futility Closet – A gallimaufry of highest quality.

General Rubbish:

YOU CHOOSE WRONG – a daily scan of a notably grim ending in one of the old “choose your own adventure” type books that were popular when I was growing up. Speaking of which…

Fighting Dantasy is written by a man with a mission. And that mission is to attempt every Fighting Fantasy book ever written. It is not a good mission but an entertaining one.

Finally, if you don’t care about any of the previous links you may like this music video made from clips from the IMDB Top 250.

80legs Is a Pain in the Neck

I got an email from my hosting company (OpenHost – I like them) a couple of days ago telling me that this site had exceeded it’s allocated bandwidth for the month. I found that very unlikely since I pay for 2gig a month and never even get close to that. But investigation revealed it to be true: - - [24/Aug/2012:05:59:03 +1200] "GET /blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/muriwai_gannets-1024x494.jpg HTTP/1.1" 200 19040 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; 008/0.83; http://www.80legs.com/webcrawler.html) Gecko/2008032620" - - [24/Aug/2012:05:59:04 +1200] "GET /experiments/sketchthispage HTTP/1.1" 301 492 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; 008/0.83; http://www.80legs.com/webcrawler.html) Gecko/2008032620" - - [24/Aug/2012:05:59:04 +1200] "GET /blog/tag/48hours/ HTTP/1.1" 200 13939 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; 008/0.83; http://www.80legs.com/webcrawler.html) Gecko/2008032620" - - [24/Aug/2012:05:59:04 +1200] "GET /blog/tag/programming/ HTTP/1.1" 200 33193 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; 008/0.83; http://www.80legs.com/webcrawler.html) Gecko/2008032620" - - [24/Aug/2012:05:59:06 +1200] "GET /blog/tag/wii/ HTTP/1.1" 200 9771 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; 008/0.83; http://www.80legs.com/webcrawler.html) Gecko/2008032620" - - [24/Aug/2012:05:59:06 +1200] "GET /blog/tag/horror/ HTTP/1.1" 200 8668 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; 008/0.83; http://www.80legs.com/webcrawler.html) Gecko/2008032620"

This is a small fragment of a logs generated by a web crawler that I had never heard of before – 80legs. A large proportion of the traffic this site gets is via bots, and normally I don’t mind. It is usually search engines indexing the contents – something I want to encourage. But 80legs decided for some reason to repeatedly download this entire site repeatedly, for no discernible reason as far as I can see.

They are very proud of their “grid computing platform”, but I think that the individual members don’t talk to each other much since I see different machines downloading the same information simultaneously. Most bots take the trouble to slowly spider a site over a few days, but 80legs just seems to charge ahead. Worse, it re-downloads data it has already seen such as images linked from multiple pages. What ever the reasons, 80legs might end up costing me money and I can live without it.

User-agent: 008
Disallow: /

So long, 80legs.

Social Media Integration

I have decided to try out social media integration on my blog for a while, because I am curious to see which posts people enjoy the most. My previous attempts failed, so now I am keeping it simple. From now on you will see both a Facebook “like” button and a Google+ “+1″ at the foot of each of my musings.

A logo made by mashing together the facebook and google+ logoThe Google button is a lot less intrusive than the Facebook solution, hitting +1 is just a small nod of approval. I think the only place it shows up is if you specifically look at your likes on Google+ itself and I am not even sure if other people get to see the things you have +1′d. The total number of +1s is all anyone sees.

Clicking the Facebook “like” button actually posts an item to your Facebook timeline. This is great for me, since your friends see that you like this link and may visit themselves, but you might not like your “friends” knowing what you like. It depends on how much you value your privacy.

Incidentally, unless I am your friend on Facebook I don’t get any special information about who clicked that button. On the G+ side, I don’t know if you +1′d me even if I am following you.

So if you like a post, click away. If you don’t like a post, leave a comment. If you don’t care, watch some cats playing on YouTube. Everybody wins.