Blog Internet Mozilla

Off Topic Mail

It seems to be happening more and more. I get emails sent either through my contact page or emailed directly to me that are extremely misguided. Often to the point where you question if they would give you their credit card number, social security number, or proof of a sacrificed first born if you just replied and asked for it. We aren’t talking about spam, but questions that really have no purpose being directed towards me, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why someone would pick me.

I’ve tried with the “emails about _____ will be ignored” warnings on the contact page, but they were ignored, so to make the page cleaner I just removed it. Apparently people who do this are so misdirected, that didn’t help ;-).

Among the more memorable ones:

  • Account/Invite Requests – This is the most popular. They typically want an account on: Orkut, Reporter, Gmail, something about ‘Mozilla Email Service’ or something like that once or twice a few years ago. Are there plans to compete with Gmail that I haven’t heard about? Even The Venice Project (which I can’t confirm or deny any sneak peak, much less share if I did).
  • It’s Broken – I answer if it’s related to code that I wrote (extension, website, etc.). If it’s a “Firefox doesn’t work” I always point to mozillaZine forums for this (since those forums do a pretty good job), can’t login to some random site including online banking or their work email, or some other site. Requests about lost passwords? Yup.
  • He’s picking on me – How to get revenge? I got one of these before too.
  • Can you help me make… – Typically a request for me to do all the work (for free) behind someones moronic business idea. Like I don’t have enough things I want to do for myself.
  • Angry Mail – These are the ones where people feel that if your online, it’s your legally binding obligation is to be their digital slave. Not even a simple request, but a demand or threat, often either abrasive or just outright offensive in nature.

There are others, but not quite as memorable. 9/10 that fall into the above categories are just ignored and deleted with no reply. After all, why even get them started. Some people do get worse than me, so I really can’t complain too much.

A few months ago I was getting some serious spam, but since I rewrote the system to include several anti-spam defenses, that’s been remedied. That of course doesn’t solve this.

It doesn’t bother me to much (it’s not like it’s flooding my email), but just one of those silly things you have to deal with. I understand the Firefox related questions on occasion, or things related to work I’ve done. But much of it is so off target it’s funny.

I do wonder if there is a better way to handle it.


Small Changes

Over the past few days I’ve made about a dozen small changes to this blog, including code cleanup, slight layout tweaks, optimization, etc. I also managed to cut page size and requests down a little bit, which is always welcome.

Every once in a while it’s necessary to stop developing and just cleanup after yourself. Overall, while most of the changes should be pretty transparent it resolves some of the rough edges that have been around for way too long.


Some Changes

I just made some changes around here, cleaning up some of the older code. Most notable changes:

  • Comments – New lighter ajax comment script in place, this should make the pages load a little faster (actually quite a bit if your on 56k). Could use a little help testing so feel free to leave a comment. If it doesn’t work contact me.
  • Menu Bar – Some CSS changes to make it look more consistent across browsers, and it now highlights the current section.

Some other, more obscure changes were also made. Let me know if there is trouble.


Updated Header

I finally got around to changing the header to something different. This one is the tracks below Penn Station taken by user garann on sxc. I really should change pics a little more often to freshen the site up.

Around The Web Blog

New Link Blog {Beta}

Inspired by Robert Scoble I started a link blog [atom feed] powered by Google Reader. It’s just an experiment at this point. I’ll add items as I find them interesting. Should prove interesting.

Blog Spam Web Development

Hardened Defenses

This weekend my Contact page got spammed. It’s now rewritten and using a few blacklists (including Akismet) among other techniques to eliminate spam. Should be much better now. I also think the handling of attachments should be better.

The spam appeared to be from a botnet, based on the fact that no 2 seemed to have the same IP address. So just blocking IP’s wasn’t an option.

Now things should be even better.


3 years old

Just realized this blog is now 3 years old (as of a few days ago) with 930 posts.

And yes, posting has been very light lately, as I’ve been extremely busy, though I do expect things to ease up eventually.


Words of Wisdom

I accidentally turned off my “words of wisdom” on the sidebar of the homepage a few weeks ago… it’s back in all it’s glory, plus a few new quotes.

Blog Mozilla

Trolling is getting out of hand

The vast majority of Internet users are by far peaceful, sharing, and helpful. This especially holds true for the Mozilla Community. Though recently there seems to be a surge in the amount of Trolls parading around, and quite frankly, it needs to stop.

Daniel Glazman had to shut off comments a few months ago. Asa’s also been fighting this war.

Recently I wrote a rebuttal to a rather bogus article that made up “myths” in order to spread FUD. The author then retaliated like he has on many other sites by posting under several assumed names to rally his point of view (I’ve verified this thanks to David Hammond‘s help, who BTW picked out the bogus comments just by eye). The author has been banned from numerous blogs/forums including Mozillazine for spamming his poorly researched articles and using false identities to create his own fan base.

Recently he’s decided to step things up by falsely using Asa as an endorsement. FYI he’s also using me as an endorsement by pulling my words out of context (just ellipse over the bad part) to make it look like I approve of the content rather than view it as an interesting fictional work. Here’s more on the topic. Yes he’s been asked to remove it or correct it so that it accurately reflects my intent when it was written. Making it appear as if Asa is against the very product he works so hard for, is just wrong (I can assure you Asa is a Firefox fan or he wouldn’t be doing as much as he does).

I’m somewhat pissed to see someone would go that far as a troll. I’ve even debated the idea of creating a blacklist, so we can collaborate and just block these individuals. I advocate people telling what sucks about Firefox (I wrote the reporter tool explicity so users can tell us what problems they encounter). But this childish trolling is just problematic. I’d question the legality of mis-representing someone, as well as the use of bogus names when leaving comments (may now be illegal).

I really hate to waste bandwidth with this type of stuff, but looking at other blogs recently, it’s becoming a real problem.


New Header

I put up a new header tonight. Finally retiring the old tiger pattern I had up. This one just struck me. I really have to get around to changing it more often.

It’s based on a photo by the user Zela at stock.xchng.