August 23rd, 2005

i have just launched a new website: It is a resource to fight spam blogs, or ’splogs’ as they have come to be known. It will be a resource center for dealing with the problem of splog. It lists actions that can be taken, sources of information and news.


Saw: Movie Review

August 22nd, 2005

Stars: Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes and Danny Glover
Director: James Wan

I was very interested in seeing Saw because it seemed like a little bit of a different horror movie than the usual slasher flick. It turned out to be a little different, but not as much as I thought.

After seeing the first few minutes I thought I was going to be treated to a good tight, psychological horror, something along the lines of Cube. As the movie went on it turned out to be a little more of a standard serial-killer thriller. It did, however, still have some interesting aspects to it.

I didn’t like Cary Elwes acting in this movie. He seemed to be trying to hard. Relative newcomer Leigh Whannell did a good job though.

Rating: 4/5


Flying Spaghetti Monster

August 21st, 2005

This is the funniest, most brilliant thing I have read about in a long time. Bobby Henderson wrote an Open letter to the Kansas School Board complaining that the teaching of Intelligent Design in Kansas schools won’t include the alternative Intelligent Design Theory of Flying Spaghetti Monster. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is, of course, the creator of the universe. There is even some scientific evidence presented in the letter.

There is now also a good Wikipedia Entry about it. Boing Boing is “willing to pay any individual *$250,000 if they can produce empirical evidence which proves that Jesus is not the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” This has been recently up to a whopping $1,000,000 by three other bloggers.

This is one of the best memes to ever hit the Internet.


Red Eye: Movie Review

August 21st, 2005

Stars: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy
Directed By: Wes Craven

Red Eye is the latest film by Wes Craven, who’s usual movies, such as A Nightmare On Elm Street and Scream are from the horror genre. I was interested to see if he could deliver the thrills with action instead of horror. Overall I think he did a good job, although I think the end of the movie resorted back to some horror-type thrills, which seemed a little out of place. The suspense level was kept fairly high throughout the movie.

Cillian Murphy and Rachel McAdams gave solid performances.

Rating: 3.5/5 Problems

August 18th, 2005

Frank recently started a new service:

It’s a nice idea but I see a few problems with it.

  1. SpamReporter itself open to spamming. If the spammers start spamming SpamReporter with a bunch of legitimate blogs, the information in it will be useless. Maybe using a Captcha or something would help.
  2. I’m not sure I see how the blog search engines could use this data. Just because a blog is marked as spam by someone doesn’t mean it is really spam. Maybe the more “spam votes” a blog gets would reduce it’s relevancy or something, but I’m just not sure how much sense that makes.
  3. If this data is publicly available, the spammers will be able to use it too. As soon as they find out one of their spam blogs is on the SpamReporter list, they just start up a new free blog.

I hate to criticize a well-meaning project, but hopefully my suggestions can make it a better service.


Blogger Makes a Small Step Forward at Fighting Blog Spam

August 18th, 2005

As reported on BlogHerald, it seems Blogger has been listening to some of the unhappiness about spam blogs. They have announced a new “Flag as Objectionable” button.

It seems like the main purpose of this is to try to hide offensive material from being accidentally found:

When a person visiting a blog clicks the “Flag?” button in the Blogger Navbar, it means they believe the content of the blog may be potentially offensive or illegal.

The spam blog part seems like its almost a afterthought:

For more serious cases, such as spam blogs or sites engaging in illegal activity, we will continue to enforce our existing policies (removing content and deleting accounts when necessary).

This is a small step in the right direction. I’m sure now that Spam Blogs are getting more attention more resources will be spent on defeating them and the community as a whole should be able to get a handle on them. Its good to see everybody getting in on the action to defeat these spammers.


Kubo Radio: Restaurant Review

August 18th, 2005

When Michele and I were in Toronto last week, Krissy and Paul took us to Kubo Radio. Kubo is an Asian restaurant on Queen Street in Leslieville.

The decor was Asian-influenced but still modern. It looked nice, but not so fancy that you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable in shorts and t-shirt. The prices of entrees range from about $9 to $15, with a typical noodle dish being around $12. It had enough vegetarian entrees to provide all of us with a selection.

They had a good selection of different beers including some local brews from the Mill Street Brewery, but I went for the Asahi Black.

Paul and Krissy had been there before and recommended the Sweet Potato Dumplings for appetizers. These were really good, nice and crispy and sweet; you could taste the maple syrup in them. Yummy!

For an entree I had the Panang Curry. It was a good flavourful Thai curry with enough spice to make it interesting. The portions were on the large side, and there was plenty of liquid in the bowl to sop up with the rice. Paul had ordered this last time he was there and found it a little spicy, so be warned. I would definitely consider getting this again if we ever come back.

The rest of the table had the Kubo Noodles (without the chicken), Funga Noodles and Tofu You. I tried a bit of Michele’s Tofu You and it was good. It reminded me a little of Pad Thai. Since Pad Thai is my favorite dish of all time, I’d have to say that I would prefer a good Pad Thai over the Tofu You. Everyone was very happy with their meals. Krissy and Paul even took home the leftovers for the next day.

Unfortunately, we were all too full for dessert.

The service was pretty good too. The busboy (who’s first day of work was that night) forgot to bring us the condiments plate, but the manager came by and noticed this and brought us some. The waiter was prompt with everything he did.

Atmosphere: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Food: 9/10

Kubo Radio
894 Queen Street
Toronto, On


More on Spam Blogs

August 17th, 2005

There has been a lot of buzz about blog spam in the last week or so. On August 9th Technorati’s David Sifry talked about Spam and Fake Blogs, and then on August 15th Mark Cuban (Investor in IceRocket) talked about splogs. I’m sure it’s just coincidence that this happened after my August 4th post on the topic.

Mark Cuban’s remarks that:

If you are an individual blogger whose blog is hosted on, every day the chances of you being excluded from’s, and other search engines’ indexes increases.

His implication is that one way to help produce better searches is by not indexing any of the blogs on Blogger. This seems like a very heavy-handed way to go about things. Eliminating spam from search results is all about providing their search users the best possible experience. If including Blogger blogs causes their search results to be awful, and removing them improves things, then they might to do it. Its up to services (like IceRocket, Technorati, Bloglines, etc) to decide what the best way to fight spam is. In my opinion its not removing Blogger blogs from their index, its finding an algorithm to distinguish spam blogs from real blogs.

David Sifry (from Technorati) seems to agree:

it requires a lot of algorithms, deep thinking, and human intervention to build and monitor systems that deal with these problems. It is also an ongoing issue that needs time, care and attention as spammers come up with new and innovative ways to get game search engines and affiliate networks.

All the major web search engines like Google and Yahoo have had to go to great lengths to try to eliminate spam from their results, and now the blog specific search engines are going through the same thing. It’s an ongoing battle in web search and it will be an ongoing battle in blog search.

The winner of the blog search engine wars will be the one that does the best job of returning relevant results to their users, and a big part of this will be filtering blog spam.


Nouvelle Vague: CD Review

August 7th, 2005

The concept behind this CD is great. Two French producers remade a bunch of late 70’s and early 80’s songs in a lounge style and uses female singers who had never heard the originals before to sing them. The tracks include covers of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, Dead Kennedy’s Too Drunk Too Fuck, Sister’s of Mercy’s Marian and PIL’s (This is not a) Love Song. The result is a unique and amusing album for anyone who is a fan of the originals. Making it even more fun is that it’s obvious that some of the chanteuses don’t even speak English.

The CD would be great for dinner parties or any other time you want some relaxing and fun background musing. I think this is one I’ll be listening to a lot.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


M.I.A. – Arular: CD Review

August 7th, 2005

M.I.A.’s Arular get’s my vote for album of the year so far. Maybe even album of the decade so far.

No review of this album could be complete without mentioning the background of Maya Arulpragasam, the artist who created this album. She spent her childhood moving back and forth between Sri Lanka and India. Her father was a Tamil Tiger leader, so it wasn’t always safe for the family to live in Sri Lanka. As a teenager her family (without her father) moved to Londo, where she discovered hip-hop and went to arts school.

M.I.A.’s background shows through in her music. It’s a mix of hip-hop, electronica, Jamaican dance hall and various other flavors from around the world. The beauty of this album is the way all these sounds are blended to create a new, unique sound. Another thing I like is the way the music seems stripped-down and minimilistic while mixing all these different influences. The only other band I can think of that mixes various sounds so well is Pop Will Eat Itself.

Every song on the album (with the possible exception of “Bucky Done Gone”, I just don’t like those horns) is very strong. After many, many spins of this disc I think I finally settled on “Pull Up The People” as my favorit track.

If you like this type of music at all, do yourself a favor and go buy the album.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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