unique visitors since July 27, 2005

May 17, 2006

Bigger Boards With Bigger Nails: A Bleg

Malbug_17An anti-spam company thought that it had come up with an ingenious way to combat unsolicited commercial emails:

(Eran) Reshef's Silicon Valley company, Blue Security Inc., simply asked the spammers to stop sending junk e-mail to his clients. But because those sort of requests tend to be ignored, Blue Security took them to a new level: it bombarded the spammers with requests from all 522,000 of its customers at the same time.

But the spammers retaliated.  Using tens of thousands of hijacked computers, they launched a furious counter-attack against Blue Security that was so severe, it also affected a number of other sites, including TypePad, the engine behind The Malcontent and many other blogs.  (Which would explain the latest behind-the-scenes frustrations experienced by Robbie and me.)

The spammers told Blue Security to cease operations, or it would turn viruses loose on the company's clients.  Rather than risk an all-out war, today Blue Security is unilaterally disarming.

Which leads me to the real topic of this post, a "bleg":

A few months ago, I bought an additional 60GB of server space and 1.8TB of monthly bandwidth at DreamHost to handle our video demands.  But recently, I have also been preparing to ditch TypePad for a WordPress blog.

DreamHost has "one-click" set-up of WordPress, but of course, it takes a lot more than that, and DreamHost doesn't offer a lot of support in exchange for their cheap rates.

So, if there are any talented Web types out there who enjoy this site and would be willing to donate a little time (or at very low cost), in exchange for whatever publicity of kudos I could give you, I could use help to get up and running.  Some of my challenges include exporting our massive archives (and ensuring that all the links work), template and theme design, etc.

I have already put a lot of money into this blog, and what I have gotten in return from TypePad is a lot of downtime, degraded performance of our administrative interface, and a complete lack of support for any sort of innovative features.

So whether you have nuts-and-bolts coding talent or artistic/Web design capability, I would be grateful for any affordable assistance.

May 10, 2006

Rent Lied, My Career Died


Clavin At work, I needed to find out how many minutes are in a year, so I naturally went to Google, having forgotten about those famous lyrics from "Seasons of Love."

While the answer "525,600" is right for a typical calendar year, Google returned an answer for the actual number of minutes in a year as 525,948.766.  Turns out, that is the exact length of time is takes the Earth to revolve around the sun, and nearly six hours more than Jonathan Larson wrote.

This explains why we add a leap day every fourth year, and the extra imprecision entailed in "almost six hours" means leap years will occur only in some years divisible by four.

Here's another strange piece of trivia: If you copy a Web URL that begins with "http" and paste it into the Windows calculator, it spits out the value of pi:


I found that one out by mistake.  But I'll have to remember it next time I need to figure out how big a pizza is.

May 03, 2006

A Piece of Hot Apple Guy


Gay Cowboy Bob sends along this image from the Apple Store's website:

Hot Apple Guy

Yes, if I weren't already gay, I'd imagine you could.

April 26, 2006

Mal's Space

Malbug_13Bubbles_1 I have been reading some articles lately and have learned that, in the future, we will all be judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our page on MySpace.com.

I went and designed me one of them-there things (although I use "design" in the loosest possible sense), but it wasn't until I read The PEN15 Club today that it even occurred to me to go grubbing for "friends."

So I'm grubbing away.  Validate me.  Love me.  If not me, then love Bubbles.  Or Robbie.  They're both cuter than me anyway.

Then someone please explain to me what all the fuss is about.

[Mal's MySpace page]

April 14, 2006

Webcam Boys

Malbug_13Before we, um, loved him as host of "Celebrity Fit Club" and as a judge on "But Can They Sing," gay comedian ANT was an entrepreneur of sorts.  You might call him a "porntrepreneur."

A few years and several additional pounds ago, ANT's comedy act wasn't exactly setting the world ablaze.  So to make a little extra scratch, he decided to become a gay webcam pioneer.

He was smart enough not to put his own puffy torso on display.  Instead, he placed an ad in a newspaper and soon met Kip, his first star.  As the popularity caught on, ANT added new studs to the stable.  And soon, he had enough to make a documentary.

"Webcam Boys," which played recently on "Here!TV," is the story of Kip, along with David, Pierre, Cory, Zack, Matt, Dino, Cody, Rick and Jeremy.  More marketing ploy than Peabody Award winner, the boys give us an idea of what it is like to live on the Web, 24/7.

Kinda like a blogger, I imagine, except that y'all don't have to look at my ass.

[Watch video – 13:12, WMV format, high bandwidth, mostly NSFW]

[Watch video – 13:12, WMV format, low bandwidth, mostly NSFW]

A few NSFW screen grabs after the jump.

Continue reading "Webcam Boys" »

Do Italian Spammers Live in Caves?

Malbug_13There is so much wrong about this email (and the fact that I got it) that I don't know where to begin:


April 04, 2006

Somehow I Doubt the "Lord" Will Be Getting His Cut

Malbug_13From a spammer who clearly doesn't read this site:

Praise the Lord

March 27, 2006

FEC Lapses Briefly Into Sanity

Malbug_13The Federal Election Commission has exempted almost all Internet activities from federal campaign-finance regulations.

That's great news, even though McCain-Feingold is still a hopeless mess.

March 15, 2006


Malbug_13Does anyone have any experience with Slingbox?  Good, bad, indifferent?  I know the video quality isn't as high as being in the living room watching it, but are there other limitations, such as what kinds of set-top boxes it works with?

One can only watch so much CNN International before you start to talk like Fionnula Sweeney.

March 14, 2006

Open Thread at 30,000 Feet


Malbug_13OK, this is quite possibly the coolest fucking thing ever. I am currently about 30,000 feet above either Nova Scotia or the Atlantic, and I am blogging. The only thing that's different about Typepad here is that, for some reason, I don't have the user-friendly "GUI" interface, so I have to do links, graphics, etc. the old-fashioned way. I used to be such a pro at HTML ...

Can I just say I love Lufthansa? The picture at right – assuming it shows up properly with my coding – made me very happy. But why in the hell can't American airlines follow suit?

I haven't tried an open thread before, and certainly not at 5:45 p.m. (EST), but I have had a couple of glasses of wine, I figure what the hell.

So what's on y'all's minds?? (Argh, turbulence ...)

March 09, 2006

Moronic Diagram of the Week

Malbug_13Can you guess what's going on in this diagram?  Could some crackpot be mailing bagsful of fish-heads to his ex?


Answer after the jump.

Continue reading "Moronic Diagram of the Week" »

March 07, 2006

Cole's Law(suit)

Malbug_13Input the name of English soccer player Ashley Cole into Google and scroll down the page, and for some reason you get this:


Wonder why?  So does Ashley, and it's all part of messy media lawsuit.

Cole is suing two British newspapers for stories about gay soccer orgies in which he was not named, but related to which his name subsequently appeared in Internet stories linking him to the sexy romps.  (So where is this picture everyone keeps saying exists?)  Cole is engaged to singer Cheryl Tweedy.

Google, by the way, claims that the search result is strictly computer-generated.

February 21, 2006

Molasses, January, You Get the Idea

Malbug_13I apologize if the video streaming has been buffer-heavy and slow-going lately.  I have noticed it, and I know some of you have too.

I hope it isn't the price I'm paying for having an ISP that provides obscene amounts of storage and bandwidth at relatively low cost.  But please bear with me; I'm looking into it.

December 23, 2005

Rediscovering the Primal Scream

Computeraxe Camped out in a room filled with empty boxes, scattered styrofoam, wayward plastic, piles of computer components, and endless miles of cable flung carelessly across the floor, I set aside tonight to accomplish one thing and one thing only: transfer all my old files and complete the configuration of the new PC once and for all so I can clean up this mess.

Networking? No problem. Plug both comps into the cable modem router and an XP wizard creates the network. Sweet, lovely Microsoft. For all the times I have contemplated murdering your entire board of directors, you do have your moments that soften the edge of potential homocide to mere manslaughter.

File sharing?

No. Windows was having none of it. I attempted to use the new PC (nPC) to pull the old files and folders from the old PC (oPC). Various denied permissions and write protections flashed across the screen as, again and again, I clicked and tapped away in frustration. I set and reset the network, altered and re-altered the file sharing settings on oPC. My eyes grew bloodshot, my fingers increasingly arthritic.

I futzed and I futzed and I futzed. I futzed for five hours and six cups of coffee.

Then the "I wonder . . ." moment approached fearfully on the horizon. Perhaps, just perhaps, if I went on the oPC and had it send the files to nPC, it would work. Obviously nPC is utterly unable to access oPC and take anything from it.

I test this brilliant new insight.

Everything transferred instantly.

I trust, by Christmas, I'll have stopped screaming and screaming and screaming.

November 07, 2005

Thanks, Typepad

Malbug_13A subtle change that I made to our coding weeks ago has finally taken effect:

Address Line M

October 31, 2005

NWC: National Webcasting Company


NBC decided that it has a lot of something that might be, you know, worth posting on the Internet: video.  (The Malcontent planted a flag on that terra cognita months ago.)

Fitting that the first Nightly News anchor with a blog would be the one most fully embracing 21st century technology.  Now maybe I'll actually watch.

October 28, 2005

Why I ♥ Orkut


Where else would you get an offer like this?:


October 17, 2005

TiVo and the VCR: A Mausoleum Built for Two


Could it be considered ironic that TiVo is so eagerly marking the death of the VCR, when I was playing my own funeral dirge for TiVo nearly three months ago?

September 30, 2005


Malbug_13A question: You've got yer Google, you've got yer Froogle, so why isn't this called "Bloogle"?

Oh, I guess they'd first have to sue these people out of existence.

September 28, 2005

Early Adopters = Suckers


Way back in the Copper Age, after I had played my Diamond Rio PMP 300 into the ground, I bought a 2G iPod.

Then I bought a 3G iPod.

Then that one broke (just days out of warranty), and I still bought another one.

Then that one burned down, fell over, sank into the swamp, and I got an iPod Mini.  (Of course, mere days later, they announced the top-line Mini would go from 4 gigs to 6 gigs.)  I also bought a Zen Portable Stevejobs_1Media Player to watch videos on long flights.

So you think I would be a perfect sucker candidate for the new iPod Nano, right?  Wrong.

The new iPods have simply come much too fast and furious for me.  What's more, the speed with which new models are released suggests strongly that "planned obsolescence" is a central and cynical feature of Apple's business plan.  I had decided to hit "pause" on the iPod.

So it is always fun to watch Steve Jobs wipe a little egg from his whiskery face.