close the barn doors

I thought I was done with this, but it seems that WordPress v2.3.3 did not fix the injection spam loophole; I was just hit by another injection spam attack on my previous post (now cleaned up). I’ve closed user registration on the blog for now, though of course you needn’t register to comment thanks to the captcha plugins I have installed. I suggest that all WP bloggers do the same and keep an eye out for injection spam by monitoring your RSS feed.

injection spam

I’ve upgraded to v2.3.3 which closes a security hole that was permitting spammers to “inject” spammy links directly into posts via xmlrpc.php, and thereby avoid the “nofollow” attribute that is automatically applied to links in comments (ie, the usual mechanism to deprive comment spammers of the PageRank mojo they seek). The spam was surrounded by “noscript” HTML tags, which meant that they were invisible in the browser, thus hiding the links from detection and removal. However, since RSS feedreaders do not interpret javascript, the spam was revealed, and I am grateful to Dave and to Gothmog for alerting me to the problem.

If you have a WP blog you should upgrade ASAP to the latest version. FYI to all the otaku blogs I link to on my blogroll here, I have not noticed any spam links via your feeds, though I am a bit behind on my reading. You all should upgrade asap.

Substitue one brown geek for another….

Hey all, just a heads up that I’ll be filling in as well while Aziz is out of the house. Just some info, I normally blog @ gnxp and @ gnxp.  I’m a nerd & a geek wrapped up in one package.  My geekiness tends to express itself in a nostalgia for Dr. Who and a contemporary interest in science fiction & high fantasy.  In the domains of nerdiness I’m into evolution, hard-core!

water the cat, feed the plants

I’ve been kindly asked to provide a few musings while the master of the house is away for a short spell. I’m slightly nervous, as the responsibility feels great. It’s like being asked by a neighbor to look after their home while they’re away by bringing in the mail and rummaging through their closets for that lived in look.

So a bit about myself.

I’m Dave Kim and have known Aziz since back in the day when climbing over fences was the standard transportation method. Although we haven’t lived in the same zip code in a long, long time, the magic of modern technology has kept us in touch, more or less, over the years. And since we were raised on the same fluorinated water, we have the same geeky tendencies. In fact, most of my sci-fi sensibilities are because of his influence.

These days I live in the UK, near Cambridge to be precise. I’ve been here now for the past six years but still get back to the States about once a year. Just enough for me to recharge my ‘Why is everything so expensive in the UK’ batteries.

I used to blog in a pseudo anonymous manner, since being Dave Kim on the internet is like being a needle in a needlestack, but haven’t in some time. But I’m sure it’s just like riding a bicycle and it will take me at least month before I start driving away readers like I used to.

goodbye, Astronomicon

Astro has formally closed up shop:

Over the years I’ve had a lot of fun with the Astronomicon. Via the discussions here I’ve met quite a few people whom I’ve never met face to face, yet I consider good friends. Several have emailed me to ask what was up with this site, so I decided to write this last post rather than just fade away. It is pretty clear that I have poor impulse control and will certainly be writing again sometime in the future. Just not here. I imagine that people who were interested in what I had to say will find me again eventually.

Our web community is small enough that any blog departure is a noticeable one. Astro/John is a good guy and I hope to see him here and elsewhere in comments from time to time. And the next anime blog he starts has a reserved slot on my blogroll.

Day of Flight

many worlds theory of otaku

(and here I thought I’d retired my meta category. Ah well.)

Owen S, an animeblogger who I’d never have heard of if not for Author’s link, writes of the equally new to me Anime Blogging Collective:

With the original 2 bloggers (on retrospective, a perfect synergy of an editorial and an episode summary blog) having now snowballed to its current 34, everything seemed well and good; unfortunately, a recent deconstruction of our latest joint blogging efforts have shown to possess a bias towards abstract ideas, with the concern that we’re just not connecting with the everyday otaku who reads anime blogs.

I think this is more a function of the fact that out here in the long tail of the web, there is no single -sphere for a given topic, but probably many micro-spheres. When I refer to the Otakusphere, I am really thinking of.. well, the folks on my blogroll, to be honest. Owen meanwhile has an entire collective of 30+ blogs that also seem to exist in a micro-sphere of their own. Ultimately, for any niche-sphere to grow, the micro-spheres will have to merge, usually under the aegis of one or two uber bloggers who do nothing else but collect links and have time enough to link prodigiously. A good marker that this is occurring is when most blogs in the niche start bearing unwieldy blogrolls.

To be honest, I think I value the more close-knit community of my own micro-sphere more than I do the traffic. So I’m content with not being on everyone’s blogroll; the people who stumble across this corner of the Otakusphere tend to stick around, and forgive me for not really blogging about anime enough. However, I am glad to know about Owen’s ABC project, and will definitely be keeping an eye on it. Who knows. I might actually be forced to expand my horizon a bit.

going meta

It’s time to retire that “meta” category. I’ve setup a new blog called metaBLOG.us which will be my dumping ground for blogging about blogging. I’ve already got one substantial post up, about the difference between taxonomies and folksonomies, which is a kind of sequel to an earlier post here. If you’re at all interested in going meta (a proud blogger tradition!) from time to time, do stop by. I’d love to have co-bloggers aboard as well.

registration captcha

I mentioned earlier that I was using Peter’s Anti-spam Math plugin to allow for freer commenting (after inspiration from Shamus). I was also using the WP-Deadbolt plugin to add a blacklist to the blog registration page. However, I left a comment at Peter’s asking if he could add the same captcha functionality to the registration page as well. He responded almost immediately and sent me a link to the new beta of his plugin, which adds the captcha to the registration page as desired and which also implements a domain-based blacklist for registration email addresses to boot! I just installed it and am really impressed. If you have a WP blog and allow users to register, give this a whirl and let Peter know if you come across any bugs.