Archive for February 24th, 2006

Popup Update

OK, I just worked it out (I Hope!). When I disabled the nedstat/webstats4u code by “commenting it out” in the footer template, the popups disappeared in my browser. Unfortunately, it would appear that Internet Explorer doesn’t understand HTML comments and tries to render them instead. It finally occured to me when I saw “–>” appearing next to the webstats4u icon in IE, that I had been so excited about getting rid of the popups that I only commented out that section of code, and forgot to remove it.

This appears to be a rendering bug (or feature) of Internet Explorer, that the standard “< --" and "-->” comment code is not treated as a comment, and instead treated as renderable code, which is why the popups continued to appear in Internet Explorer.

It should now be fixed (although a hard refresh using CTRL-F5 of the homepage should force it). Again sorry about the inconvenience, I just never counted on that basic staple of usefulness being ignored by a browser.

Hopefully Internet Explorer will understand comments in version 7, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.


3 comments February 24th, 2006 at 11:44pm

If ASIO were reading this…

One does have to wonder what ASIO or the FBI would make of this nonsensical conversation I had with a contact earlier in the evening.

10:24 PM A: the banana flies by evening star
B: and the apple floats on the doctor express
10:25 PM B: ASIO are now trying to work that out
A: the king’s men are rubber chickens. they will be meatball.
10:26 PM B: supermarket chicken be rubber it does not, and the fish
10:27 PM A: I have flown like the fish. do you swim like the chicken?
10:29 PM B: Yes, but only with the roast turnip
10:31 PM A: I prefer my turnip boiled and mashed, it reverses the goat money.
10:32 PM B: fluff bites hard, on the great fledgling goat
A: yes
10:33 PM B: the danger threatening from the unknown consultant, had intended to catch blue shift. Waving it like a banner, she flew out the window. And the waltz
10:34 PM B: confirm?
A: foxtrot the king’s birds, and the kings men. we shall waltz
10:35 PM B: ascend to the throne of the duck munchkin, the waltz will be attended to by the hammer
10:36 PM A: we will continue this discussion later. the kings men hear music, and suspect a waltz
B: you be safe of big bang goes pop weasel


9 comments February 24th, 2006 at 10:43pm

Standards have dropped

It was only a few years ago that I was a student at Campbell High School, and I clearly remember the annual tradition of excursions to the Civic Pool during P.E. classes.

These were organised in an unusual manner, which involved walking to the pool and back from the high school. There was a small level of order to this odd excursion, there were three teachers, one leading the pack, one in the middle and one at the rear attempting to speed up the dawdlers. All students had to cross at the traffic lights on Limestone Avenue outside the high school, walk down a particular side of Coranderrk St to the Constitution Avenue traffic lights, cross at the lights, walk to the pedestrian crossing next to the convention centre and cross over to the swimming pool. This was quite naturally reversed on the way back.

Today on my way into the CIT Reid Campus around 11:30am I spotted one of these drawn out excursion groups, unfortunately there seemed to be much less order to this lot than any time during my high school years. Firstly, there was no visible teacher presence, this could be explained by the general demographic of P.E. teachers being fairly young, and often fresh out of university. Generally they do look a bit older than the students and look mildly authoritative.

Unfortunately there was no such presence in this group and it showed. Road crossings were amazingly disorganised and dangerous. Coranderrk and Ballumbir Streets intersect in a Y shape, with Ballumbir merging with Coranderrk to form a new length of Coranderrk. Naturally, this is where the group decided to cross, seemingly running across the road and dodging cars. If this move was initiated by a leading teacher then I am very concerned about the example they are imparting on their young and impressionable students. Even worse still, no teacher attempted to stop this from happening.

Following this bizarre and dangerous road crossing, many students seemingly disappeared into Glebe Park and the surrounding walkways, and headed in the general direction of Civic. Admittedly a roll call at the pool would have picked up these truants, but it is still unacceptable that this could happen so easily.

It would appear that Campbell High School’s P.E. teachers have forgotten their duty of care, and need to be reminded of school policies in relation to excursions. If an accident had occurred, which it nearly did, the consequences and negative publicity would have made them wake up. None the less, prevention is better than cure, and I will be sending a copy of this article to Campbell High School as a courtesy to allow them to review policies, and take the appropriate action to help ensure the safety of their students.

I’m certain that somebody will now tell me that high school students should be capable of crossing the road safely, and I agree, they should, but peer pressure and general teenage silliness does get in the way of clear judgements from time to time, and it is the job of the supervising teachers to keep this to a minimum.

Whilst Campbell High is my old high school, I am not picking on them simply because I used to go there. In this case I am able to draw on my experiences there and make a comparison, however I would be equally critical of any school that allowed such behaviour.


13 comments February 24th, 2006 at 03:35pm

Bigpond fix email woes

If the number of people landing here by searching for information about the Bigpond Gmail block, and the number of other websites discussing it is anything to go by, Bigpond’s Gmail block has been quite an ordeal throughout the week.

It turns out that Bigpond use somewhat overzealous third party server blocklists that attempt to automatically work out which SMTP servers are open for third party use, and effectively spamming. Technically this should put just about every ISP mail server on the planet on some blocklist by virtue of the fact that you don’t have to be connected to your ISP to utilise their mail servers.

The basic fact of the matter is that this is an outdated method of blocking mail servers, as most spam originates from “botnets” created on home PCs by malware. These botnets are sold to spammers, “malicious users”, etc by malware programmers for a profit, this is fairly effective as it allows standard PCs, which look pretty innocent, to sporadically start sending spam and other useless junk all over the place.

Unfortunately, one of Gmail’s servers was incorrectly picked up by one of these blocklists late last week, and Bigpond then picked it up in their semi-daily or thereabouts update. Gmail’s server was removed from the list sometime this week, and Bigpond worked that out today at about 11am Canberra Time (Midnight GMT).

There is still a bit of a delay as the queued mail gets delivered, but services appear to be back to normal. Incidentally, another ISP, iinet if my memory serves me correctly, fell fowl of these blocklists a couple weeks ago, and have just recently been fixed.

The bottom line is, Bigpond are now accepting emails from Gmail, and probably blocking someone else instead. I have some advice for Bigpond, forget blocklists, use some proper anti-spam technology to run checks on incoming mail, there’s some pretty good open source software that does precisely that, and it will do a much better job than overzealous blocklists.


5 comments February 24th, 2006 at 03:04pm


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