Comment for Michael Carden about comment spam

I read on PLOA that Michael Carden briefly tried to open his blog for comments, only to find:

The WordPress UI balked at deleting 194,000 (okay, I ignored it for a while) comment spams. I had to dig in as admin and run a fun sql query on the database to delete all 47 meg of them.

I guess I’ve got a couple of suggestions for Michael to make his life a little easier should he decide to try again.

  1. Akismet has an option to “Automatically discard spam comments older than a month“, that might help (though it’d be nice to be able to adjust the time).
  2. Run, do not walk, to Rich Boakes most excellent Worst Offenders plugin. This will both group comments for deletion based on various criteria but also (if you have permission) add Apache “Deny From” rules for the offending IP addresses. It’s also worth bumping the number of IP addresses it can ban up, Donna’s blog is up to over 8,000 at the moment!
  3. There are also tools like Bad Behaviour to try and catch bots before they get to you and if you are a member of Project Honeypot then there is the http:BL WordPress Plugin to check and block IP’s listed as baddies there.

Anyway, I hope that helps some people out.

Rails GIS Hacks

A good friend and ex-colleague of mine, Shoaib Burq, will be running an afternoon tutorial on the 17th September at RailsConf Europe called Rails GIS Hacks.

Since the advent of Google Maps and a number of other free web APIs for mapping, there has been an exponential increase in the number of mapshups and geography-related web sites. In this tutorial we will introduce what’s happening in the Ruby/Rails Geographic Information space. We will go from defining the key concepts behind the geospatial technology to developing a full-blown mapping application in Rails. In the process, we will make use of a number of cool Rails plug-ins that will let us integrate external geographic data sources as well us share our own data. […]

Sounds like fun.. 🙂

Palestinian Democracy Overruled

An interesting op-ed piece from The Observer in London:

Here is how democracy works in the Alice in Wonderland world of Palestinian politics under the tutelage of the US and international community. After years of being hectored to hold elections and adopt democratic norms, a year and a half ago Palestinians duly elected Hamas with 44 per cent of the vote, ahead of Fatah on 41 per cent.

It was a good election, as former US President Jimmy Carter observed at the time, a free, fair and accurate expression of the desires of a Palestinian people sick of the uselessness, corruption and gangsterism of Fatah. The problem was that it didn’t quite reflect the wishes of Washington and the international community.


It is hard not to be cynical. Palestinian society was squeezed until it hurt – punished as a whole for voting for the wrong party.

I believe violence is wrong, and have no love for Hamas, but if you don’t have respect for peoples democratic choice when it isn’t convenient for you then there is no real hope for democratic change in the Middle East.

Found via this blog which came up via Google News.

One dead, two injured in Melbourne CBD shooting

So this is what all those police helicopters were doing overhead today. 🙁

Melbourne’s CBD is in lockdown after a gunman killed one person and wounded two more in a rush-hour shooting this morning. The shooting happened at about 8:20am on the corner of Flinders Lane and Williams Street. Witnesses said the shooter opened fire at almost point-blank range after two men tried to stop him from dragging a woman into a taxi.

(BBC, Google News links)

LCA 2008 Call For Presentations 2008 Call For Presentations isn’t just a Linux conference. It is a technical conference about Free Software, held annually in Australasia. We invite submissions on any Free Software related subject; from Linux and the BSDs to, from networking to audio-visual magic, from deep hacks to Creative Commons.

** Please feel free to forward this email to any group **
** or individual who you feel might be interested. **

Important dates

  • Submissions open: Friday, June 1 2007
  • Submission deadline: Friday, July 20, 2007
  • Email notifications from review committee: early September
  • Conference begins: Monday, January 28 2008

Presentations being accepted

You can submit a 50 minute talk proposal, or a 2 or 4 hour tutorial proposal: tutorials are interactive and involve more audience participation. All presentations must be related to Free and Open Source Software.

How to submit

Please see for more information on the types of presentations we’re looking for and full details of how to submit a proposal. You can even submit a video pitch!

About ( is Australia’s annual technical conference about Free Software. Fun, informal and seriously technical, draws together Free and Open Source Software developers from across the world. It will be held from January 28th to February 2nd, 2008 at The University of Melbourne.

About Linux Australia

Linux Australia ( is the peak body for Linux User Groups (LUGs) around Australia, and as such represents approximately 5000 Australian Linux users and developers. Linux Australia facilitates the organisation of this international Free Software conference in a different Australasian city each year.

Court Rules Restaurant Review “Defamatory”

So now you can’t criticise bad, expensive food and service ?

The Court of Appeal agreed, finding that it was defamatory to say the food was unpalatable and the service bad.

It appears that only Justice Kirby had any common sense, saying that the jury was far more likely to know what the community standards were than the judges, saying:

Astonishing as it may seem, judges may occasionally lack a sense of irony or humour

Or even common sense, in this case..