MailBlogging

My little spam blog has been getting some notice, which is fun, (but still no Nigerian bank scams, which are always fun to read.)

It’s really just a proof of concept for what you can do with a mail interface to weblogs. Even though it uses Moblogging (mobile weblogging) technology, it’s not a moblog. For me, I think it’s an interesting thing to find a use for.
So many devices and services and legacy applications are email-capable, but not really convenient. For example, my router can send an email when someone tries to attack. Generally, I don’t want to receive those kinds of emails on my main account, so the other choice is to have it go to an email that I rarely, if ever, read. This is where using an agregator, like NewsMonster or NetNewsWire could come in handy.
I could set my router to send status reports or alerts vi email to an address that gets added to a weblog that produces an XML feed. It’s not really an elegant solution, but since all the components exist and are tested, along with the fact that very little standardization is needed, it will be guaranteed success, with an amazing amount of flexibility.

On a unix system, it’s amazingly easy to send a mail from the command line. So to send a simple report of a server’s processes, you could do something like:
ps ax|mail moblog@server -S “Status Report”
That’s it. You can send any file and parse it on the fly. You can do it on a schedule using cron.
Of course, many blogging applications have an API called xml-rpc to do this kind of stuff, I suspect that’s how these mail to moblog services work.

A long time ago, I wrote a very slow application to process millions of lines of punch-card data for the FAA. My tests generally ran for about an hour, parsing, inserting into a database and reporting the totals and errors. Rather than sit there and watch it, I scrounged an old 2400 baud modem and set the program to use it to dial my pager and report when it was done. Then, I’d start a test and go to the nice cafe in the atrium and wait. I thought it was a pretty cool hack. When it came time to demo it for the client, I forgot to disable the feature, so when the short test was over, they looked puzzled when the modem came on and started dialing. I apologized and explained what it was doing and that I would take it out. Needless to say, they demanded that I keep it in, knowing that they’d be able to take a break when it was running and return just after it was finished.

That’s the kind of automation that I like – as it is, I generally like anything that makes my day a little nicer or more efficient.

As people write more and more XML-feed-aware applications, this kind of stuff becomes more useful…

Spam Blog

Update: The spam Blog is Offline.
I made a spam blog today.
It uses Daiji Hirata‘s moblogging application and a unix ‘dot-forward’ to take mail that was delivered directly to the web server, rather than to the proper MX host and display it in all of its humiliating glory on my Spam Blog.
Sure, it’s probably a security risk, but more for you than for me, if you’re a Windows user.

Now the interesting part is that if you send a message to info@…, it won’t show up on the blog. That’s because I’ve told the DNS server that the mail server for the domain is somewhere else. A well-behaved mail program will first look up the proper mail host, whereas a spambot will just check for a running mail program on the web server, which, for this experiment, I will happily provide.
(It is a pretty secure mail server, I’ve tested for open relays.)

Spambots, please send crap to: info@mmdc.dyndns.org !
Update: The spam Blog is Offline. I may do something else with it some time, but for now, I don’t want to do anything to promote the products offered by the spammers…

Yes, they exist

sqmelon.jpg
Cube-Shaped Watermelon. One hundred bucks.
There were two Japanese guys also looking at it when I took the picture and I told them that you could now also get cube-shaped eggs…

Daytrips

There’s a certain feeling when you come back from a day trip during the summer in Tokyo — You’ve been out in the sun all day, you’ve sweated, maybe swum, eaten too much and you’re sleepy from the sun and the tall glass bottles of Sapporo. You’re shoulders hurt from carrying a pack all day and the green flourescent glare of Tokyo station or Shinjuku station at 11:30pm makes you realize that wherever you were, you’r now back, nine or so hours away from sitting at your desk again, thanking friends by email, posting pictures to your site and waiting desperately for the next few days to pass so you can do it all again. But of course, you still have that long walk from the station to your apartment, which is now quite stuffy after a day of closed windows. The stairs up each feel like three and you don’t even bother to take Fridays mail from the box. As you kick off your sneakers or hiking boots at the doorway and say your “Otsukaresamadeshitas”, you realize that this feeling has somehow become a part of your life…
Scenes from our day in Chinatown, Yokohama:
(The first two are Yuka’s, of a brother and sister sharing a coconut. Very sweet.)
sharing.jpg
cocogirl.jpg
nahosatoshi.jpg
bulb.jpg
chinatown.jpg

INSERT INTO person ( personID,

INSERT INTO person ( personID, givenname_R, familyname_R, branch, start_date, givenname_K, familyname_K, class, bdate )
SELECT Other.Stffcd, Other.StffKana, Other.StffKana, Other.Tnpcd, Left([Enterday],4) & “-” & Left(Right([Enterday],4),2) & “-” & Right(Right([Enterday],4),2) AS Expr2, Other.Stffname, Other.Stffname, Other.Syinsbt, Left([birthday],4) & “-” & Left(Right([birthday],4),2) & “-” & Right(Right([birthday],4),2) AS Expr1
FROM Other
WHERE (((Other.DELDATE) Is Null));

Landscaping

Jason van Herik stopped by to say hi today – he’s a landscape architect who’s doing the garden designs for a new restaurant we’re opening. We started talking about websites and I recommended that he start a weblog – he’d be perfect for it.
I jokingly asked if he had any recommendations for our narrow, near-useless balcony. Surprisingly, he had *lots* of ideas…
gardenplan.jpg
(Image updated to not be so freaking huge…)
Even though our view is all trees, he recommended breaking it up a bit with a bamboo fence and some plants to create more interest.

It’s always a pleasure to talk to someone who gets excited about what they do.
Go visit his Site – I told him I’d send some people his way.