Thinking a bit more about wiki spam avoidance: from a usability point of view, it’s a bit annoying for a user to have to enter a code they see in an image every time they edit a wikipage. The system does pretty much completely block out bots though. That’s a good start.

So why don’t we set a cookie after someone has entered it once (and thus proven they’re not a bot)? After that they won’t be challenged again. Cons: a real person could still run a script after going through “the barrier” once manually. Maybe the cookie could be turned off every time the person enters a link to another site, thereby identifying themselves as a possible spammer. I assume maybe 80% of all wiki page edits don’t add links to other sites.

Whatever the solution, avoiding spam is going to be important for any wiki. The potential for abuse is just too great. Until I come up with a solution (I am seriously thinking about working something out), I just monitor my recent changes by RSS and keep an eye out for wikispam.

Wiki sandbox – Google Blogoscoped Forum: “Pillipp, I have had to lock four of my wikis to control your trashy misuse of them. For many people, the internet is a production tool. Converting portions of it to your own little SEO litterbox is arrogant conceit, more suited to politicians than to internet technologists. I’m glad I’ve hunted you down.”

Wired News: A Contest to Outwit Google: “The owner of an online forum won the first round of a worldwide search-engine optimization competition Monday, by using a backlinking strategy that scored his site as the top Google result for a made-up term, “nigritude ultramarine.”

Jon Udell on portable usability labs. I saw a demo of VisualMark this year, and it is funky. It’s mac only, but worth buying a mac laptop for, and you can test anything on windows or even Linux PC’s by simply connecting a cable. It works like this: get a user behind any (Windows, Mac, …) pc or laptop. Connect your mac running VisualMark. Connect mac cameras to capture face expressions. Run.

XMLTV: “XMLTV is a set of utilities to manage your TV viewing. They work with TV listings stored in the XMLTV format, which is based on XML.”

mod_torrent: “Mod_torrent is a drop in solution for Apache servers when deploying the BitTorrent file swarming technology. With mod_torrent your visitors share the bandwidth burden when distributing large files on your web site. The module transparently makes all, or optionally only certain types of files, retrievable by any client implementing the BitTorrent protocol.”

LAMPPIX: Bootable webserver on a CD – SitePoint PHP Blog: “Here’s a great idea – LAMPPIX a LAMP web server, bootable from a CD. It uses KNOPPIX, a Linux distribution designed to boot from a CD as well as XAMPP – a distribution of Apache the usual suspects (e.g. mmCache).
For PHP solution providers seems like a great way to distribute your product to customers without requiring specialist knowledge from them – just put the CD in and reboot.”

InfoWorld: The joy of outsourcing: “Although most IT managers want increases, the dirty little secret of IT budgeting is that a lot of IT gets steadily cheaper even within a 12-month budget cycle. The time between the day when a budget process begins and the books are actually closed on that budget could be as long as 18 months. This means that the $5,000 server you put in your budget in July 2004 for 2005 might cost $3,000 when you actually buy it in December 2005”

Bluemountain’s impressive (it’s an e-card service), in a somewhat nasty-you-have-to-be-a a-clever-consumer kind-a way.

Before they let you send a card, they ask you to sign up for a 30-day free trial. In order to cancel it, you have to call their customer support (you can’t cancel online), which is only open during business hours. They then “verify” your address, probably to sell it, before closing your account. (I forgot to ask about that.) Before canceling, they offer a discount as well, so that’s worth doing even if you want to use them.

Went to see Supersize me, a home-made documentary about a guy who eats nothing but McDonalds for a month. Thoroughly entertaining and informative, it’s a great documentary, made with cheap gear. It encouraged me to finish the documentary I’m working on. It won’t be this good, but it might be passable…

Everything TypePad!: TypePad vs. Comment Spammers: “According to our logs, most spammers try to cover their tracks by sending their posts through an “Open Proxy Server”. An Open Proxy Server is a misconfigured or infected machine that forwards web requests for anyone on the entire Internet. The spammers use these proxies to avoid the one commment-per-minute restriction and the Blog Owner’s IP address blocking.
So, we started blocking Open Proxies — all 1.5 million of them. It immediately reduced the comment spam problem. In fact on our first day it blocked over 20,000 spam attempts!”

On the train today I saw a weathered sign saying “Welcome home to our soldiers! Great Job!”.

Not So Simple Search – Metrics – CIO: “According to a survey of 300 companies by Boston-based Delphi Group, nearly 30 percent of business users spend more than eight hours per week searching for electronic information.”

Where is the qualitative research (not surveys!) about search? Who is watching businesspeople closely for days, logging exactly what they do (as opposed to what they say they do in a survey) and finding out why?

For what is one of the hottest IT topics around these days, there is surprisingly little valuable research being done on search. (I don’t think I consider the above valuable research. Sorry guys, a survey just doesn’t cut it.)

What’s worse, the typical research findings (“business users spend x hours a day searching”) are almost always followed by dodgy, Jakob-ish ROI conclusions (“At x US$/hour, this costs companies worldwide y billion US$ a year!”). Useful for convincing some of the more stupid CIO’s, maybe. Not for much else. I guess I’m just in a pissed off mood today.