Dan Byrnes has looked at this blog and offered me some valuable editorial advice. He pointed out that I am putting programming tips in it ... and they should be in the programming tips section.
As usual, when on the topic of writing, he is correct. Putting programming tips in this, makes the whole thing cluttered. And it's cluttered enough as it is. I have removed the tips from the earlier entry and put them in the Feedback and Hints column, where they belong.
He also asked why was I writing my own software to publish the blog?
There are many reasons for writing your own software to do a task:
- When you get something off the shelf, it is much easier to install it and use the system as the author intended. This means that you must change your way of working to suit the way the software works.
- Customising software, even Open Source software is difficult and can take a considerable amount of time.
- If it's a simple task, writing your own software may not take as long as installing and configuring a package. And you can tailor the software to your exact requirements.
- Programmers like writing software! We do it because we enjoy it! Surely Mr Byrnes, if you were a mechanic and you really enjoyed fixing cars, you'd probably fix your own car! Even if it hadn't broken down. Hey! Maybe you can come and fix my car, while your about it! But there you have it. Someone would really enjoys fixing cars probably finds it hard to believe that anyone could enjoy programming ... just as much as someone who enjoys programming would not appreciate the joys of fixing a motor vehicle (which would be quite low on my to-do list -- somewhat lower than being buried at sea)
Dan Byrnes also accused me of nursing a "spectacular hatred of spammers". I really must tone down my rhetoric ... I would have thought hatred much too strong a word for the trivial annoyance of spamming. As I have said on many previous occasions, spamming is impolite. So is pushing in front of someone in a queue, or farting in lifts. But hardly worth a million dollar fine.
In the real world, there are so many constraints on physical "rage". Seems that word is very much in vogue these days. We are now used to hearing about "road rage". Lately, we hear about "shopping rage", "pool rage", and amazingly enough "golf rage" (that's "golf" not "gulf" -- "Gulf Rage" is quite deadly). And ... God have mercy on us all! "Yoga Rage!" -- apparently when someone arrives at yoga class and doesn't get the perfect yoga mat, or cannot reach the transcendental state in 56 seconds etc etc -- they might spin off into some "yoga rage".
Still with all these types of "rage" there are physical constraints. Or there is, if you have a physical presence in the real world. The object of your rage stands right in front of you and too much of it could earn you a bloody nose or even get you killed (as in the case of "road rage"). But spam rage, it seems, has no such constraints. It can ratchet all the way up into the stratosphere. You can throw a complete "wobbly" about it. Start foaming at the mouth ... Go ballistic ... Throw yourself on the floor and kick your legs ... and never even leave your chair becuase it's all in your mind, you know! It's remarkable ... the excesses we exceed to in virtual space.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that I am fond of spammers, but surely even the most dour and serious person has smiled (just a little) upon receiving one of those cute little nigerian letters in broken English and CAPITALS. A friend, who lives in Sydney, and shall remain nameless, took to replying to them with small sentences like:
Your assassination has been planned. Flee the country now!
Nice one Brian, (oops, I did promise not to mention your name).
Truth be told, and I am telling the truth here, I probably feel more dislike for the "intellectually challenged" victims. I am talking about the dickheads who send spammers money and in so doing, perpetuate the endless cycle.
In fact, if legislators targeted those dull-witted spammer clients, they would get a far better result. Because:
- They would be easier to catch (because they are stupid).
- They would provide much better revenue, which could fund the legal system (because the victims are stupid -- I mean they're already giving their money to spammers, so it should be easy to extract more from them in the form of fines)
- They may wise up if we make an example of them (not only will you lose your money to the spammer, but you will then be fined and it will become generally known that you are stupid)
- They don't deserve sympathy (It would be a tax on stupidity -- what could be better than that?)
- If we manage to dissaude people from giving money to spammers, we might put a stop to spamming.
Ahh but what about the cost of spamming? You ask. And you may well ask! There are numerous articles that quote the billions of dollars that it costs us. These figures are just as rubbery as the ones which cite the billions of dollars worth of "intellectual property" that Internet users "steal" from media conglomerates. The costs like the rage are virtual.