Archive for October, 2007

Microsoft is referrer spamming me

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Using my open source website statistics program, Obsessive Website Statistics, I monitor my traffic on a regular basis mostly to see if there are any links from anywhere interesting. Well, lately I’ve been noticing a large number of referrer links from search.live.com with random single-term search terms in them. So I looked at the hostnames and noticed this (this is just a sampling):

msn_spam.PNG

The IP’s and non-standard domain names all belong to Microsoft.The agent is always the same. It always browses maybe one or two pages deep, possibly grabbing some CSS files in the process. Its definitely a parallel bot of some kind, since its all from the same IP ranges, and they all have similar queries. Additionally, it NEVER checks robots.txt .

Researching this on the internet (using Google, of course) shows I’m not the only one affected by this. Apparently MSN has claimed that its just a “quality test”, but thats BS. They’ve been quality testing since August 15 for me, in that case.

My first reaction has been to agree with Josh Cohen, who posted in his blog that he thinks MSN is doing good old-fashioned referrer spam to try and entice people to use Live Search since the normal methods of getting people to use it have failed.

Its certainly enticed me to click through a number of times, only to discover that my site isn’t anywhere near the top of the listings for those terms. In fact, originally the links weren’t even resolving to proper pages, and it would give me an error when I actually got to Live Search. Go figure.
If anything, this has convinced me to NOT use Live Search. Thank you Microsoft, for making my log files a little more annoying. Microsoft needs to stop doing this, and do a “quality check” on their own procedures.

Sampling from my log files containing these accesses:

msn_referrer_spam.txt

Related links:

http://artific.com/articles/2005/12/27/a_practically_u/
http://pocketseo.com/analytics/146
http://www.webmasterworld.com/msn_microsoft_search/3424476.htm
http://andrewu.co.uk/webtech/archive/?odd_referrer_spamlike_behaviour_from_microsoft

Lack of blogging

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Hey, I’ve been doing a TON of stuff lately, but haven’t had time to blog. And of course, WordPress caused some trouble when I upgraded last.. so there will be more blogging soon! Just trying to graduate… 🙂

TV Links Shutdown: Implications

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

So, apparently the popular TV/Movie link site “TV Links” has been shutdown on friday, according to news sources on the internet. A great commentary on this situation can be found on this Guardian blog.

It brings up an interesting question: is linking illegal? How can I be sure that what I’m linking to is legal or not? For that matter, if linking is illegal, then is viewing the content illegal? What about the things that most people don’t realize is possibly illegal, like mixing in copyrighted music into video files. What about taking videos of computer games, how legal is that?

This is rather similar to the shutdown of the Pirate Bay, where all they were hosting were (essentially) links to download the alleged illegal content. Does that mean it’s illegal for me to post a link to the pirate bay, since they may host illegal content. And then theres all the sites that Google links, wonder how much illegal content they link to. *sighs*

Of course, the biggest problem here is that the people in the studios and recording industry making these decisions are morons.  Seriously. One of the reasons TV links was shutdown was because they were able to profit from their enterprise.. well, why haven’t the studios profited off of this concept? Same thing goes for mp3’s… one of the primary reasons I think people use these questionable or outright illegal resources is because its way easier and far cheaper to use those as opposed to legit resources.

Instead of spending money on prosecuting and finding these alleged pirates, why don’t they provide a equal or better service that they can monetize? Thats how the free market works, people use the best services.

Most of the TV networks now have streaming video on their sites of the current season, with commercials, and I think this is a definite step in the right direction. I’m not sure how much they’re making off of it, but certainly I would rather watch high quality video immediately on their site rather than using other ways to do it, and I think as these become more popular more consumers will agree.

Of course, I’m not really saying anything new here, people keep repeating the same thing over and over again. Maybe one day they will learn.

If you want Google to buy you, play the lottery instead

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

This is a great quote:

” There are more people that win $5 million in the New York lottery than get acquired by Google (BusinessWeek.com, 10/22/07). ”

Not quite sure why the date is post-dated, but it was in there anyways. Interesting article though.

Link

prnRename: an AutoIt based utility to rename IPP printers in Windows

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Using CUPS in conjunction with Windows is pretty easy to do, except there is one big major annoyance: you can’t rename the printer to something “friendly”, its always something long and annoying with the URL of the printer in it.

So, I jumped into the registry and figured out how to change it, and developed a tool using AutoIt (which works really well for these types of simple things) that allows you to change the URL and the name displayed for the printer in Windows Explorer.

See, at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers lies registry keys for all of the printers you have there, and you’ll notice that the key for the IPP printer starts with two ,, and the URL. So, you just need to rename that to whatever you want, then change the following keys/values under that key to the same thing (this is AutoIt code, but I think you get the point).

RegWrite($key,"Name","REG_SZ",$newPrinterName)
RegWrite($key & "\DsSpooler","printerName","REG_SZ",$newPrinterName)
RegWrite($key & "\DsSpooler","uNCName","REG_SZ", "\\" & @ComputerName & "\\\" & $newPrinterName)

After making the changes, restart the spooler service

net stop spooler
net start spooler

And, thats pretty much all there is to it. Obviously, use this at your own risk, seeing as this is modifying undocumented registry entries. Source code is included.

Download Windows 2000/XP IPP Printer Rename Utility 

No, *I* am the supreme computer god!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Jon thought HE was the geekist person to ever take this quiz. I took it after him, and apparently I’m geekier than he is. Or, it just doesn’t keep statistics correctly:

0% scored higher (more computer geeky),
0% scored the same, and
100% scored lower (less geeky).

:^D

MS Word docx amusing error

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Wow… I was looking over a paper for my girlfriend, and word popped up the following warning to me. It was great. 🙂

word_amusing.PNG

In case you don’t get it, its a docx file, which IS the latest format. LoL. Stupid errors…

Visual Studio 2005 not putting User Controls into Toolbox

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

I’ve been developing in C# for my Senior Design project, and I have a lot of user controls that I’ve been using in the project, and while most of them are instantiated at runtime, a few needed to be embedded into the forms. And of course, I couldn’t actually do that since I couldn’t drag any of the controls into the Toolbox, even with a successful build. After playing with it for awhile, I found the solution.

It was as easy as this:

Tools -> Options ->  Windows Form Designer  -> General -> AutoToolboxPopulate = true

For some reason, it was not set on my desktop but was set on my laptop. So odd… hope that helps ya if you happen to have that problem!

“POKE” is a registered trademark of Facebook

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

So, I got kicked off of Facebook for a few hours because I was being “spammy”, and this gave me the opportunity to review their TOS. Turns out, “POKE” is a registered trademark of Facebook.

Seriously?

I respect companies wanting to protect their business and all, but sometimes it just seems like they go too far.  Sorta like people and frivolous lawsuits resulting in the silliest warning labels…sheesh.