Webvisions: Day 1, Portland

Posted in General, Tech, Web at 10 am

So Thursday and Friday were kinda busy:

Web Strategy by Jeremiah – Webvisions: Day 1, Portland: “I can hear the chatter from Ross, one of the event coordinators on the squak boxes –these guys mean business and are well organized.”

There’s more of that from this post too.

Hey cool, that’s me. Nick did a great job organizing the “webvisions06” tag for everyone to use. A simple google search comes up with a bunch of stuff.

It was a great conference this year. The crew of volunteers that were helping out really f’ing rocked!


Reality Check

Posted in General at 9 am

Just making sure that everone realizes that in the UK, they’re about to start paying 1 British Pound for 1 Litre of Petrol.

I believe (and someone should double check my calculations) that means that in US dollars and US liquid gallons, they’re paying the equivelent of $6.92/gallon.

Nearly $7 a gallon.


Just imagine what that would do to the working poor in the US.


World Cup Group of Death

Posted in General at 9 pm

It seems like some people don’t want to admit that, for this World Cup, the Group of Death includes the US. I know the title “Group of Death” is usually reserved for the Group that has the best national teams usually the best four that would individually get to the quarter finals except they were forced to get through this grueling opening round.

A good marker for the group of death would be to add up the current FIFA rankings for each of the teams. Whichever group has the lowest sum is the one with the highest-ranked teams. The Groups this year are set up as below:

Group Rank Sum
A 111
B 107
C 85
D 96
E 69
F 82
G 132
H 106

The lowest, by far, is Group E: Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic… and the USA. I wish the announcers would accept the fact that the US has bought their way … er, joined the ranks of the stronger national teams.

Now if you weight things towards the best (squaring the rank before summing) you get a similar chart, though Group F (Brazil, Croatia, Australia, Japan: 2622 pts.) does come in just ahead of Group E (2673 pts.). That’s mostly because Brazil throws that ranking way off.

Stopping here, wrists are kiilling me.


Tall drink of kitten…

Posted in General at 2 pm

Kitten in a pint

“Gimmie a pint of your felinest… I mean finest! brew.”


Service shop recomendations – PriusChat – Toyota Prius Forums

Posted in General, Transport at 1 am

I just posted this to PriusChat:

[We] just purchased a Super White 2001 Prius with 107,000 miles on it… I’m now looking for a good shop that I can rely on to take care of my new Hybrid baby. Any thoughts or recommendations?

Amy’s 1984 Honda Accord gave up the ghost after 350,000 miles. After a bit of messing around we’ve settled in with this new technomarvel.

More to come about it later.


Heroes of their Degeneration

Posted in General at 7 pm

From Heroes of their degeneration in the London Times:

“…but we’re still a bunch of nerds. We’re the guys who got beat up in Basildon. But, you know, revenge has been sweet.”

So Depeche Mode’s new album, Playing The Angel is out. It’s been a long time since I’ve been excited about music, but on the flip side, it’s been a long time since I’ve really had the chance to listen to music.

With my new 90 minute communte via public transit, I’ve had more of a chance to listen to music, but I have yet to switch to listening to music intentionally. Since I had previously only mlisten to my iPod (in a consistnet fashion) while going back and forth from Hot Pepper (a ridiculously short distance) I only ever had the ‘pod on Shuffle. Now with upwards of 90 minutes at my displosal, the idea of listening to a whole album becomes a possibility.

to that end I’ve spent a time or two with PtA and I’ve been surprised, delighted and disappointed. Suprised: Depeche Mode using… synths? Yes, i know Mode has often been called a synthpop band, but they’ve barely used synthesisers since their original two studio albums. Virtually everything since then has been from the use of samplers witch have a sound far removed from the the oscillating whines of your synth keyboards. It feels totally old school and it feels great.

Delighted? Finally we’ve got some good songs that push your ears, getting underneath your mind and move your forward sometimes like a bulldozer, sometimes like a Tu-114. With Exciter, all we had was Dead of Night. On Ultra, only the remixes of It’s No Good had the kind of beat that brings a listener along for the ride and sets them up to listen and appreciate the slower songs.

The disappointment comes from the lyrics. Some of it is great, but when it’s bad… it stinks. So some stuff (like Macro) is wonderful and unique. But other pieces are just uncooked. Put out without the benefit of critical revision, time to develop, time to evoolve intot a wonderful lyric.

That said, it may get better and better. It’s already surpased the last two albums, let’s see how far it can rise.


Quick Outline of a Project Spec

Posted in General at 12 pm

A single document project spec should have:

  1. Cover page
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Overview
  4. Creative Brief
  5. Development Tools Spec
  6. Deployment Platform Spec
  7. Content Specs
  8. Function Specs
  9. Budget
  10. Calendar/Schedule
  11. Site Map (Visual Overview)
  12. Wireframes (Page/Screen details)

Stickies for Project Planning

Posted in General at 12 pm

As some of you may know, I’m leaving Hot Pepper to go work at Planar Systems. Today I’m packing up the stuff on my desk and I’m cleaning off the stickie notes that I’ve had up for quick reminders of various items.

For my own reference, and your ammusment I have listed another one of them below:

Project Process (Short Version)

  • Plan
  • Content
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Deploy

Project Specs Documents

  • Platform
  • Actors (example users)
  • Functions for each role
  • Specifications for:
    1. Content
    2. Design
    3. Development Platform
    4. Deployment Platform
  • Schedule by phases
  • Budget with hours and rates
  • Site Map
  • Wireframes
  • Mockups
  • Comps

Planning Process

  1. Goals
  2. Audiences
  3. Tasks
  4. Tools
  5. Systems
  6. Business Processes
  7. Business Tools
  8. Admin Tools
  9. Build tools order:
    1. Admin tools
    2. Bix Tools
    3. user tools

Stickies for Sales Calls and New Projects

Posted in General at 12 pm

As some of you may know, I’m leaving Hot Pepper to go work at Planar Systems. Today I’m packing up the stuff on my desk and I’m cleaning off the stickie notes that I’ve had up for quick reminders of various items.

For my own reference, and your ammusment I have listed them below:

Sales Calls

  • Take notes
  • Get name and remember it
  • Get contact info
  • Get project timeframe
  • Get budget size
  • Get platform, media or channel
  • Identify their goals
  • Find out who referred them

The idea there was to list the things I needed to do when someone called in looking to feel out how much a project would cost, or looking around for people to send a project to. Most of the time I would hand these notes off to Brad or Dave, or someone to follow up on the sales part.

New Project Calls

  • Take notes
  • Get contact info
  • Get timeframe
  • Get deadlines
  • Get budget
  • Get deliverables list
  • Get list of incoming assets
  • Ask for similar projects and styles

When a project kicks off, particularly with a client that we have an ongoing relationship with, we just need to get these project notes together. These two stickies were great to rely on when a call would come in out of the blue.


Mail Form Injection Attacks

Posted in General at 3 pm

To: Our Clients
Re: Recent Mail Form Abuse

We are approaching this abuse from a multi-step process. As you might imagine, this bot has has been hitting web-2-mail forms all over the web. We’re dealing with this through a set of solutions for your forms as well as for other forms that we have created for clients going back over many years.

1) Our first step was to eliminate the ultimate goal of the ‘bot, which was to send a customized message to a hijacked AOL account. Our estimation of the purpose of this bot is to find web-2-mail forms that can be used to reflect spam to other victims. The initial e-mails that we are seeing coming through the forms are probes being used to test for the vulnerabilities. The first steps we took eliminated the option of sending these mails out to addresses that we did not designated in the form itself.

By plugging this hole, the form will no longer be a viable reflector for spammers. This should take the form off of the testing list at some point in the future. These first steps were critical to making the form less attractive to spammers in the first place.

However this step, as you’ve seen did not keep the probes themselves from being passed on to ‘approved’ mail addresses.

2) Our second step was to detect the probes in a very specific manner and to cull them out from the legitimate messages that are coming through the forms. We want to be *very* careful here in order to remove *only* the mails that are illegitimate probes/reflection spams. We identified a number of potential ‘fingerprints’ that could be used and decided upon one that should only be used by nefarious ‘bots, and not by actual customers.

While we have this in place, the messages that trigger the detector will be re-routed to us for analysis. If we happen to find a legitimate mail caught with this fingerprint, we will forward it back to you and adjust the detector as appropriate.