Popularity Contest

I know it’s a silly thing to do, but I sometimes like to look at the visitor stats for this website – as well as for the buns’ website and Amanda’s blog.

Of course, sometimes these statistics are a bit depressing – but that’s neither here nor there. For “entertainment purposes,” here are some recent statistics:

“Home Page” visits in the last 30 days Visits since Amanda started her blog Last month total visits (all pages)
Bunnies 1,134 341 2,482
Me (Core Dump) 405 153 8,941
Amanda’s Blog 108 113 189

As you can see, the Bunnies are clearly the most popular overall. I get more “total” page views because I have over 1,000 posts stretching back several years which cover a lot of different topics. (My post on Manual vs. Automatic is still the #1 page, with my Desktop Madness series being next in line thanks to Google Image Search.)

But Amanda is really coming up strong – since starting her blog less than a month ago, she’s had nearly the same number of visits to her site as I have in the same time period. Amazing!

I think I’ve created two blogging monsters!

Skype, I Like Your Style

So, I started using Skype recently (for videoconferencing). It’s a good program, and I like it – though I do just use it for Skype-to-Skype calls with a few people.

However, while browsing through the settings, I came across this little gem:

skype-chat-sampleThe sample chat that Skype uses is an exchange from two characters in George Orwell’s 1984.

That is just awesome on so many levels. Well done, Skype – I like your style!

They REALLY Don’t Make ’em Like They Used To

This is the latest in a series (previous entries here and here) on my quest to have a rock-solid, reliable Internet Gateway Router.

Network ConfigurationWhen I last wrote about this, I had gone to Netgear Tech Support, and they said my router was bad, and we were going to exchange it. So, the new unit came, I returned the old one, and…

…still the same problems.

Personally, I’m inclined to think there’s a fundamental flaw with the Netgear WGR614 v7 router itself. But whatever I think, I still need a reliable Internet connection, and the Netgear wasn’t providing it. So, to test for the possibility of outside interference (maybe it’s my cable modem that’s the trouble, or some power fluctuation in the outlet?), I went out and bought a new router from Linksys instead.

The new one is a Linksys WRT54G2 wireless router. It’s basically the same as the popular WRT54G, except in a new box with internal antennas. Since my wireless range needs are rather small, I didn’t mind the internal antennas, and (strangely) this model is slightly cheaper than the WRT54G.

modemSo, now my home is being served by this device. I’m downloading some big files (like, say, the Ubuntu Linux LiveCD ISO via Bittorrent) to put some stress on the device. We’ll see how it turns out.

Basically:

  • If it resets like the Netgear did, we know the problem isn’t the router.
  • If it doesn’t reset, then the problem was the Netgear itself (although it’s still technically possible that the Netgear was simply more susceptible to some outside interference – but let’s be realistic, Occam’s Razor and all that).

I’m keeping my fingers crossed – here’s hoping I can start this new year with a router that doesn’t reset itself spontanously several times each day!!

Icons courtesy of the Crystal Icon Set.

UPDATE: The Conclusion of the Saga

CAN-SPAM Act is 5 Years Old

So it’s been 5 years since the CAN-SPAM act was introduced. Yet my inbox is still flooded with spam (I have to use 2 different spam-filtering services to keep it from being overwhelming – and even then stuff still gets through).

An article on Slashdot asks the obvious question: what went wrong?

“Five years ago, the US tech industry, politicians, and Internet users were wringing their hands over the escalating problem of spam. This prompted Congress to pass a landmark anti-spam bill known as the CAN-SPAM Act in December 2003. Fast forward five years. The number of spam messages sent over the Internet every day has grown more than 10-fold, topping 164 billion worldwide in August 2008. Almost 97% of all e-mails are spam, costing US ISPs and corporations an estimated $42 billion a year. What went wrong here?”

A very good question. The answers, of course, are obvious to those who understand how spam really works (and how often it’s obfuscated so you can’t tell who really sent it), coupled with how hard it is to actually prosecute someone under the CAN-SPAM Act.

Now’s the time to switch to Firefox

A serious security flaw has been found in Internet Explorer – no big surprise there. But this one really IS serious – it was found by attackers before it was found by Microsoft. So exploits are already out there “in the wild.” (This BBC News story has more details.)

The worst part of it is that you could be hit by this exploit just by visiting a “normal” site that’s been infected – being vigilant isn’t enough anymore.

“In this case, hackers found the hole before Microsoft did,” said Rick Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro. “This is never a good thing.”

As many as 10,000 websites have been compromised since the vulnerability was discovered, he said.

“What we’ve seen from the exploit so far is it stealing game passwords, but it’s inevitable that it will be adapted by criminals,” he said. “It’s just a question of modifying the payload the trojan installs.”

Said Mr Ferguson: “If users can find an alternative browser, then that’s good mitigation against the threat.”

The flaw affects even IE7, the latest (released) version of Internet Explorer – so this isn’t just a flaw in older versions of the program.

So if you’ve been dragging your feet over changing to a different browser, now’s a better time than ever to switch! I’d recommend Firefox, but any alternate browser (such as Opera, Apple’s Safari, or Google’s Chrome) would do to keep you safe.

UPDATE (12/18/2008): Microsoft released a fix for this yesterday – it’s available through the normal Windows Update. Just be aware that you’ll have to reboot your computer (which seems silly for a fix to your browser, but that’s an argument for another day).