Turn off the lights when you leave

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It’s time to stop fooling myself and shutter the current incarnation of this blog.

It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say; it’s just that I haven’t felt like recording anything as a blog entry.

Yes, I did leave myself an out. Notice that I said “current incarnation.” In the distant future, this weblog may return in a considerably revamped form, but for now all 396 entries and 875+ comments will remain as is, at least as long as AdSense dollars continue to subsidize the domain name and the hosting fees.

I suppose a few random thoughts are in order before I sign off.

  • My aging iPod tumbled to the ground one evening after work, shattering its LCD. I finally replaced it with a “reconditioned” iPod nano.
  • I’ve become addicted to my Tassimo single-cup brewer and Torani coffee syrups.
  • I am immensely happy with my decision over a year ago to switch from six-bladed Gillettes to a double-edge razor (Merkur and Feather), badger hair brush, and Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving soap.
  • I still do not own a cell phone, even in the age of the iPhone.
  • The last four albums I have bought on iTunes have been DRM-free (Mezzanine, A Posteriori, Global, and Reflections).
  • I gave up on physical fitness. Sooner or later I will get back up off my fat ass and get back in shape, but not right now.
  • Like most Americans, I grow increasingly disgusted with Bush and Cheney’s disdain for this country and its voters, its laws, its military, its reputation, and its legacy.
  • I have FiOS, and I love it. Download speeds (and upload speeds) are even faster than at my workplace.
  • With just a couple of months left until I turn 35, I confront myself with the question, “Am I happy?” My response would have to be a resigned exhalation and an unenthusiastic “meh…”

…and with that, “Good night and so long.”

Registrar Hostage

RegisterFly Swatter
If you are a customer of the domain registrar RegisterFly.com, you may have been following the corporate drama. Apparently, two of the owners ousted a third owner, alleging gross misuse of company funds. That owner took over the system and started deleting customer data. The leaders of the “coup” were able to regain control, and issued a statement to their customers. Then, just this Friday, a judge gave the company back to the ousted guy.

To make matters worse, their customer support has been ineffectual and unresponsive, at least as far back as November; however, I have not had the time or energy to transfer my domains to another registrar.

That judge’s ruling was the final straw. Way too much drama for me; I want out as soon as possible.

GoDaddy.com is offering $6.25 (at cost) domain transfers from RegisterFly, so I opened up an account with them. I am seeing now that this will not be an easy process. I am unable to remove the Whois protection from a few of my domains, which means that my real contact information is obscured in the Whois record (normally a good thing) in favor of a spamfly.com or protectfly.com e-mail address. Because of this, GoDaddy cannot send me a “Transaction ID” and “Security Code” for those domains.

Also, half of my domains do not have an “Authorization Code,” which is a 10-digit alphanumeric string, which is supposed to prove that the transfer is legitimate. Instead, only a blank field and the words “Auth code” appear in bold where the 10-digit code is supposed to be.

So now I wait. All of my domains are in limbo, in various states of progression through the transfer process. notMike.com may become a casualty of this process, but at least the numerical IP will remain active (http://72.18.130.5/~notmike).

Abandoned

LiLo
So I’m on my third week of jury duty (more on this after the trial is over), and I was flipping through the New York Post during an extended lunch break.

I normally don’t read offline newspapers, but I was bored, and the barely audible soap opera on the plasma at the front of the room wasn’t holding my interest.

Anyway, one Post article caught my eye. They were reporting on a recent Gartner Group study that estimated there are over 200 million dead, abandoned blogs out there. Of course, the Post’s spin was that Lindsay Lohan’s blog hadn’t been updated in like three and a half years (OMG! SMHID). Jenna Elfman and Melanie Griffith had also not updated their blogs in ages (OMG x2).

As any errant Googlers who happen by the front page of this blog might notice — notMike.com has almost become one of those 200 million. Noooo! Here I am, setting a bad example for the LiLo’s of the world.

Well, damn it, this blogger (you can call me MiMu…or not) is not going to let his blog become a statistic. I promise more frequent updates over the coming weeks.

(RED)

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December 1st is World AIDS Day, so I figured that (PRODUCT) RED deserved a mention on this blog. Especially since the most awesome jacket I have ever owned is a (RED) product.

(PRODUCT) RED is a brilliant celebrity-promoted marketing stunt where “hip” companies release red-colored merchandise and donate portions of the proceeds to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. (RED) has already earned millions of dollars to combat AIDS in Africa. Participating companies include Apple and their (RED) iPod nano, Gap, Armani, AmEx, Motorola, Converse, and others.

When I first saw Gap’s (RED) leather motocross jacket in mid-October, I just had to have it. I drove to the Gap that weekend, but they didn’t have it in stock, so I checked online multiple times a day for two weeks, and got it in early November.

red_jacket_thumb.jpg

I l-o-o-v-e this jacket. It is comfortable, has pockets in all the right places (esp. the sideways-zippered inside vest pocket, and looks cool. Damn cool. And half the price I paid for the thing went to a worth charity; not bad. I am so glad that November has been unseasonably warm, so I have had plenty of opportunity to wear it.

Fortune cookie 28

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I love the fortunes that just make you say “Hunh?”

Ssoorrrryy,, dduupplleexx
sswwiittcchh oonn..
Lucky Numbers 24, 3, 47, 11, 5, 38

Are you human?

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The spambots are getting really…really annoying. Akismet and SpamLookup do block most of the obvious spam comments (at this point why do they even bother with the topless cheerleader, p e e n i s enlargement, viagra, texas holdem, morgage loan BS).

However, lately I have been waking up in the morning to a crapflood of a few dozen spam comments that made their way through. These are usually just random strings of text with no identifying commonality, peppered with links to legitimate web sites. I guess these are trying to poison the filters with false positives and whatnot.

So, thanks to Comment Challenge, a new plug-in from Jay Allen of MT-Blacklist fame, my comment form now has a challenge and response question to weed the bots from the human commenters.

The hardest part was choosing a question that was not culturally biased or ambiguous. My first one is “What direction is opposite of north?” Hopefully, it doesn’t prove to be overly annoying to commenters.

The only other Turing test plug-ins I could find used image CAPTCHAs, which I hate. A few of these have proven that, in fact, I am not human because I could not figure out what those grunge font squiggles were supposed to be.

terminator spambot

So once the spambots get smart enough to answer these types of challenge and response questions, it’s all over for the humans anyway. It will be time to surrender to our AI masters. (Of course, even Skynet or the Architect would be better than Dubya.)

Doe a deer, a roadkill deer

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All of these mild, short winters we’ve been having have really bumped up the deer population. I’ll never forget coming out of the Shop-Rite on Route 206 near Princeton a while back and seeing a doe scurrying around the parking lot.

A few weeks ago, I was fortunately able to slam on my brakes in time to avoid hitting a deer in my lane. The stupid thing just stood there, even after I had stopped. I had to beep the horn to get it to move off the road.

This past Friday evening, my dad, who lives in western PA, wasn’t quite so lucky. A doe and a buck were in his lane, and another doe was in the opposing lane. He was only going around 45 mph, but braking caused his truck to spin around (I’m guessing he swerved), and the rear of his truck struck one of the deer, and his passenger side door struck an embankment.

The vehicle following him also struck one of the deer.

Fortunately, no one was hurt. My dad did bump his head slightly. Unfortunately, his truck got a bit smashed up. Sadly, it is a used truck that he has spent most of the spring and summer trying to get running, and he had just finished it.

Late fall and early winter are when deer are on the move because of hunting season or mating season. A CNN report I found while Googling said that there are around 4000 deer-related traffic accidents a day.

I was curious too whether those wind-powered plastic deer whistles work. I used to have one, but it fell off after a car wash. One study said that road noise drowns them out. There is a company makes a higher decibel electronic deer whistle for $60, but I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle of installation.

Oh well, I guess the easy thing to do is slow down, turn on headlights at dusk, and stay alert.

Hosting problems, downtime, resolution

The site has been offline for at least a day and unable to accept comments for about four days.

At that time, Total Choice Hosting made a change to a number of their servers that generally affected their customers using Movable Type. All plugins that resided in a subfolder of the MT plugins folder were non-functional. This included all of my anti-spam plugins.

I first noticed the problem when a flood of spam posts about “topless cheerleaders” made their way to my blog. Now, I have nothing against topless cheerleaders, and I am sure that these young girls are very nice people. Spammers, however, are not nice people.

I disabled comments and contacted my host. They escalated the problem and offered to move me to a new server. I did not have a chance to respond (work lasted past 9 PM most of the week).

Saturday morning I was doing a Google search for something unrelated and noticed a link for my blog come up. I clicked the link and got a “file not found error.” Proceeding to the main page, I found a teal Apache/CPanel default page.

I contacted my host again, and they restored my site from a backup. My static files and MT installation were from September, and my database was from August 16. I am now manually rebuilding all posts since then and all comments. At least my blog has not seen much activity in the past few months, just three posts and 36 comments.

All is good again I suppose. I was worried I would have to start from scratch.

Fortune cookie 27

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A fortune cookie post seems like a lame way to break the silence on my poor, neglected blog. Seriously, though, the cookie I opened today contained one of my favorite fortunes ever.

The greatest danger could be your
stupidity.
Lucky Numbers 35, 14, 38, 46, 9, 12

Harsh. They are usually so positive. I wonder if this fortune cookie writer was having a bad day or just decided to shake things up a bit.

Three Four

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Happy birthday to me.
Happy birthday to me.
Happy birthday, dear Michael.
Happy birthday to me.

Oh, wait. I think I’m violating Warner Chappel Music’s copyright by publishing these lyrics. Oh, well.

Thirty-four years old. At least I still have a full head of hair (that is, of course, when I don’t shave it off).

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