16 December, 2012


Thought it had gone quiet

Like many who blog on Blogger, I have turned off the awful CAPTCHA word verification system, a scheme which defeats the doubtless rapidly improving OCR capabilities of the spammers' software with an obfuscation strategy that resembles 16th century letterpress, reproduced on a 1970s chemical photocopier, transmitted by low-res fax and then viewed by candlelight.  In other words, CAPTCHA definitively defeats spammers and other robots by making the text unreadable by any reader — human or programmatic.

Not to worry, Google/Blogger's spam comment filter is pretty damn good.  Though, as is only to be expected, it does make very occasional miscategorizations — in both directions.  Actually, just recently the filter has been getting a little slapdash, letting through a number of those verbose ads for fake handbags filled with viagra and penis extension tubes.

But not to worry, like — I suspect — most Blogger users I have the option selected for Blogger to email me a copy of each comment left, which has heretofore at least included all comments identified as spam.  So I can at least keep an eye on how things are going and deal with any glaring errors.

But hark, Yahoo have got into the act.  My mailboxes are on Yahoo and they've been improving their software, innit.  Yahoo now has an aggressive and seemingly compulsory spam filter, which identifies the spam blog comments and directs them straight into the spam folder, which it didn't do before.  So the inbox is nice and quiet, which it should be on the "Edwin" mailbox 'cos as you may have noticed I haven't been posting here much of late.  But the spam folder is bursting at the seams with unnoticed stuff, some of which has been miscategorized by Blogger.

Yahoo have enhanced their mobile mail client as well.  I was quite pleased with the old client, the coolest™ feature of which was push notification, ie immediate delivery and notification of incoming mail rather than waiting for the next periodic server poll.  Despite the bollocks® that Yahoo are coming out with, push notification is still not working on the new Android client.  Is alpha testing in production the new way forward then?  I think we should be told.  Or at least have the old versions available on Google Play for rollback.

Unnecessary development, or creeping featuritis in its most common manifestation, is the addictive drug of software development. Anyone remember MS-DOS 4?

On my Android phone I have a nice little app which taps into TfL's database and presents useful information about, say, London bus services.  This screenshot shows expected arrivals at a stop in Thomas Street, Woolwich — locally known as the street of 1,000 Nigerian barbers.  Jolly useful stuff

but it was really necessary in the current version, to give the estimated time of arrival to the nearest second, and to include the registration number of the bus?*

At a certain point, software reaches a degree of maturity when any further change is not just gratuitous but deleterious.  For basic image editing under Windows, I've gone back to Paintshop Pro version 7.  I did install version 10 but after struggling with its slow loading time and fighting through all the whizzbang FX, I went back to what worked.  For simple "word processing" under Windows I generally rely on Wordpad.  It works.

Keep it simple, stupid.

And, Yahoo, dear Yahoo, if you can't get the new Android mail client working, could you put the old version — you know, the one that works — back on Google Play.  Pretty please.

* Strictly speaking I believe it's some kind of fleet number, but on TfL services they generally seem to be the same thing.

Actually, just recently the filter has been getting a little slapdash...

I've noticed that too. On the bright side, since I started using Onavo to extend my 3G life, I can now read you on my mobile, as the VPN sidesteps O2's netnanny :)

There was a phase a couple of years ago when Yahoo was regularly spamming legit emails. That's much improved now. However recently I got a spam mail purporting to be from my bank. Went into good citizen mode and followed the bank's instructions for forwarding it to them, only to have Yahoo decide I was doing something very naughty which shouldn't be allowed.

The genuine spam I get is increasingly bizarre. I don't know what a mesh implant is and I'm pretty sure I don't want to know.

Pretty nice review and i agree about the yahoo and their spam protection. Better then before!

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