Archive for category Meta

Date: March 24th, 2003
Cate: Meta
3 msgs

Attack of the Porn Spider

Earlier today, my weblog was attacked by some sort of evil referer spamming porn robot! It loaded my front page, many times per second, with the Referer: header set to the URLs of all sorts of porn sites. It caused my referer list to show all these porn sites, instead of the sites that actually link to me. And it was a denial of service attack, to boot.

A little research showed that the hits were coming from some server at, a porn hosting company. So “Deny from” did the trick quite handily. The robot finally gave up after eating 403 errors for a while. I purged my referer table of the dirty, and now I’m back in business.

I suspect this was an automated attack. Some idiot must have downloaded a list of all active weblogs from someplace and set his script going. The motive was to get the URLs of his sites to appear in the referer lists of regular sites, hoping that some make their referers public, like I do. This may drive traffic, and possibly the coveted PageRank, to his sites. But not through me.

Date: February 24th, 2003
Cate: Meta
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Yours truly = IDIOT

OK, so you’re all probably out there chuckling to yourselves each time I talk about messing around with the MAME source code to get the music and sprites out of SFII. Well, your little joke is over. I found the “Self Test” menu.

I’ll probably do nicer versions of the MP3s in a few days. But, even with the power of “Self Test”, and understanding how the graphics are stored in the ROM, getting at the sprites is difficult. It turns out that to save space the fine folks at Capcom split up all the graphics into 8×8 pixel squares, and then reused them wherever they could. For some of the characters, all the squares for a particular frame are stored together and are easy to grab. But for others, they’re spread all throughout memory wherever they can fit in. Somewhere I suppose there’s a table that says which squares you use to paint each frame of each guy, but I’m not about to go find it.

But one mystery I always wondered about is solved: When Chun-Li jumps, she does a flip and her feet disappear off the top of the screen. I was always curious if they bothered to draw her feet, even though they are never shown.

They did.

Date: February 23rd, 2003
Cate: Meta
2 msgs

“lite-yellow” it is

The style formerly known as “lite-yellow” is now the default. The style formerly known as “default” is now called “bluerobot”. If you select “bluerobot” it “should” remember your choice.

Date: February 18th, 2003
Cate: Meta
2 msgs

Further scatterbrainedness

Here’s a list of hobby type stuff I want to do, written out here so it stares me in the face until I do it. (this method has proved effective in the past)

  • weblog stuff
    • create an alternate style good enough to be the new default (do you like yellow?)
    • fix the URLs so they don’t have ? in them
    • render some or all pages statically, especially the various feeds and the homepage
    • maybe someday wrap up all my changes and release them as b3 since b2 is no longer active? b2.1? b2-1/2?

  • RSS stuff (feed on feeds, my own web based RSS client)
    • display DC metadata on each item
    • archives
    • mark individual items as read instead of all items
    • cron job to update every few hours when I’m not around so I don’t miss any items
    • release to unsuspecting world, hear crickets

  • other
    • recompile MAME to be a sprite and music ripping monster
    • the whole world domination thing… I haven’t forgotten

One last thing, I noticed that dive into mark has a super cool 404 page, but I claim mine is slightly better: Broken Link

Date: February 17th, 2003
Cate: Meta
5 msgs

Style Switcher

Check it out now! See over on the right where it says “styles”? Try yellow, then switch back to default. Isn’t that cool? It should remember which one you chose and use it for future visits. Thanks to A List Apart for figuring this out for everybody.

(I already know that on Mozilla/Mac, if you switch to yellow and then back, my name turns into Steve Minutill. Other bug reports welcome.)

Date: January 27th, 2003
Cate: Meta
4 msgs

It worked last time…

Here’s my new idea, now that my previous two are done. Not really an idea for this weblog, but a project I want to do.

Recently I got into the whole RSS thing big time. I use Feedreader at work to keep up with various sites. It works great, except for a few problems:

  • It isn’t integrated with my browser well enough. Sometimes I want to read news items right in the newsreader. Sometimes I want to open up individual items in a page. Sometimes I want to click on links in news items and open tabs. Sometimes I want to go to the home page of the site that the news is from since their feed is plain text only. All these things are inconvenient/impossible in Feedreader.
  • I don’t want it to sit there reloading feeds all night when I’m not there. There’s no way to “pause” it, all I can do is close it, and then it loses its place the next morning and everything is marked unread. Not cool. This is a minor problem, I know.
  • A bigger problem: What about when I get home? If I used an RSS client here too, it wouldn’t be in sync. Stupid.

To get around all these limitaions, I want to make a browser based RSS client. Since it’s right in my browser, all the different ways of navigation I want will just work. I’m thinking of making it only update the feeds, if they’re out of date, when I load the page, so it won’t sit there stupidly updating all night. It will then be in sync wherever I go: I can just load my feeds page and see the latest news, kind of like Livejournal’s friends pages, or News Is Free. But I want it to keep track of what I’ve read, and of course be free and Free. If I do it, I’ll make the code available so others can set up their own versions on their own servers.

I would set it up here so random people can log in and set up personal lists of feeds, but I don’t think could handle the strain. Maybe if it gets good enough some nice person with a big honking server will set up a public version, ready to go.

I think with a little PHP, and a little MySQL, and Magpie to do all the heavy lifting, it shouldn’t be that hard. Wish me luck!

Date: January 20th, 2003
Cate: Meta
4 msgs

Comments in RDF

RDF of the last 10 comments to this weblog.

This should really be integrated into the main RSS feed, but technically that’s a pain in the neck, since comments and posts are in seperate tables.

I also made a thing that shows my top 10 referers, and last 10 referers.

Date: January 17th, 2003
Cate: Meta
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More Minutillo domain news

New to me: (I mentioned him before, but the domain seems new),, and Not all work or have content yet.

Date: January 16th, 2003
Cate: Meta
6 msgs

Zeldmanized for your protection

Just the other day, I was going on and on like I usually do, this time about how I don’t care how this site looks in Netscape 4. Well, today one of my friends told me that A) he is stuck at 4.x at his technologically-backwards place of employment and 2) my site like TOTALLY DOESN’T WORK.

This will not stand.

So, I’ve Zeldmanized it! Yeah that’s right, on 4.x browsers you’ll get all the content, with none of the style. It’s like being back in 1994.

Here’s the how and the why.

Those of you on Mozilla-based browsers can simulate this effect, if you like, by saying View|Use Style|Basic Page Style.

Date: January 16th, 2003
Cate: Meta
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Idea 1 done – Search term RDF feed

An RDF feed of the last 20 searches that led people to this weblog.

The URI of each item is the exact referer URL I saw.
The <title> is the search query they used.
The <link> is the URL on this weblog they ended up at.
The <description> is the domain name of the search engine they used.

I think this is a cool idea because:

  • I spend too much time eye-grepping through my logs seeing what search terms people are using to find me. Now the information is available in real time in a convenient format.
  • This is the big one: Imagine if all weblogs, or even if all sites, made this same information available. That would mean somebody could aggregate them all together, and we’d have the equivalent of the Google Zeitgeist, except updated in real time, and the data would be Free.
Date: January 15th, 2003
Cate: Meta
4 msgs

Embarrassing myself into ACTION

I had two ideas for this weblog recently:

  • Create a RDF/RSS/XML/whatever feed of search terms that led people to this site. I’ll explain later why I think this is cool.
  • Create some sort of department where people can see the code running this site, with my mods to the standard b2 distribution highlighted somehow.

I am sharing this with you so that the longer I am lazy and don’t implement these ideas, the more embarrassed I will become.

Date: January 13th, 2003
Cate: Meta
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Memeufacture is a neat idea. John Wehr is scanning weblogs (probably RSS feeds) and seeing who links to what, and more importantly, who links to what first. Then, he’s figuring out which weblogs tend to have the best (most propogated) links earliest. These he deems to be “most influential”. Right now in the popular category, the top three most influential are Blogdex (which is another meta- site and should be filtered out, or maybe this problem will take care of itself as he adds more “real” weblogs to his spider list), Slashdot, and Boing Boing. Sounds about right.

This is another important tool for those of us not satsfied with getting our memes recycled, second or third hand, and who are always backtracking up the river, following the flow, and trying to find the True Source.

Date: January 8th, 2003
Cate: Meta
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New kid on the netblock: Hello Alessandro

What is Minutillo.NET?
Why is there another version of the page with more content on Tripod?

And the big question, now that .com, .net, and .info are gone, how long will it be until somebody grabs up .org?

Date: January 4th, 2003
Cate: Meta
3 msgs

New features

Check out the bottom of the sidebar over on the right: I added a new section that shows the 5 most recent comments, with links to the associated stories.

I also updated the steve(1) man page. And my home page too, adding a link to this very weblog.

Next up to fix: Make the permalink and archive URLs look nicer. Get rid of question marks. And fix the Last-Modified and ETag headers to be more accurate by incorporating the most recent comment post date as well as the most recent post so people don’t keep double posting all the time.

Date: December 5th, 2002
Cate: Meta
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ETag and Last-Modified

I think there was either a bug in b2 or maybe in my configuration, but the ETag and Last-Modified headers were all screwed up. runs on GMT, but I want the dates in my postings to come out in my local time, so I told b2 what the offset was. It seems b2 adjusts the dates before it writes the dates into the DB, which means when it gets the date of the last posting to generate the Last-Modified header, that date is in EST. That’s not allowed, according to the this section of the HTTP RFC. So a little hacking (reverse the offset) and I’ve fixed it, I think. I’m not confident enough about any of this to submit a patch back to Michel, though.

Maybe I’ll let him know in a few days if this fix seems right.

Date: December 4th, 2002
Cate: Meta
2 msgs

Goal Achieved

One of the subgoals on my way to world domination is to make sure that this site comes up first when you search for Steve Minutillo on Google. Well, that was easy. What’s more surprising is if you just search for Minutillo, I come up third, right after this Hana Minutillo who is apparently some sort of opera singer. On that same first page:

I wonder if my ranking will be hurt when I fix the problem that makes it look to Google like all my site says is “STEVE MINUTILLO STEVE MINUTILLO STEVE MINUTILLO STEVE MINUTILLO STEVE MINUTILLO STEVE MINUTILLO”? I was doing a stupid CSS trick.