In’s and out’s of link spamming

In an article titled "Interview with a link spammer", The Register gives us an insight into link spamming (distinct from email spamming) through an anonymous interview with a link spammer who does this for a living (and makes a very good living at that!).  Reading the article is a bit like driving past a motor vehicle accident on the highway.  You know that what you are seeing shouldn’t act as a magnet for your attention but you look anyway with this morbid fascination.



Constantine_bigposterEver since I saw the poster for this movie depicting Keanu Reeves in front of a dark pair of wings, I have been curious about this movie based on the DC Comics/Vertigo series "Hellblazer".  The site contains some awesome images and the story really appeals to me too.  Unfortunately the movie hasn’t received very positive reviews.

There is a pretty comprehensive review at Yahoo! which is worth checking out.  I found this information far more useful than the two reviews which I quoted below.  If you don’t know what the movie is about, the synopsis on the Yahoo! site fills you in:

John Constantine (Reeves) is a world-travelling, mage-like misfit who investigates supernatural mysteries and the like, walking a thin line between evil and good. Constantine teams up with a female police detective, Angela (Weisz), who seeks Constantine’s help while investigating the suicide-like death of her twin sister. Does it have something to do with a mysterious group called "The First of the Fallen"? And what is it about Constantine that puts him in a position where he is making deals with representatives from both Heaven and Hell?

On the whole the effects were highly rated but Reeves’ acting left a little to be desired.  The common complaint is that this movie lacks ‘heart’.


Who is the biggest blogging service of all?

Elise Bauer has conducted a couple studies of market share in the blogosphere.  I originally found this story on Scoble’s Link Blog and tracked it back to Blogging Roller and, in turn, to Threadwatch.  From there I did what any other Google nut would do and I ran a search for the original study.  I found the link to Elise’s site on the Six Apart blog.  The analysis is pretty detailed and very interesting.  The oft quoted graph (just beneath this paragraph) clearly illustrates Blogger’s overwhelming popularity, follows closely by LiveJournal and TypePad.

The study only covered sites in the United States and does not take into account blogs that are not available to be indexed by Google’s spiders.  Apparently roughly 30% of TypePad blogs are basically hidden from Google’s view and this obviously impacts on the TypePad statistics, to name just one set of statistics.


Linux less secure than Windows?

The Seattle Times has reported on a study that suggests that Linux is less secure than Windows.  The test used a Windows 2003 Server machine and a Red Hat Enterprise
Server 3 machine, both of which were "running databases, scripting
engines and Web servers (Microsoft’s on one, the open source Apache on
the other)".  According to The Seattle Times –

SAN FRANCISCO — Believe it or not, a Windows Web server is more secure
than a similarly set-up Linux server, according to a study presented
yesterday by two Florida researchers.

The researchers, appearing at the RSA Conference of computer-security
professionals, discussed the findings in an event, "Security Showdown:
Windows vs. Linux." One of them, a Linux fan, runs an open-source
server at home; the other is a Microsoft enthusiast. They wanted to cut
through the near-religious arguments about which system is better from
a security standpoint.

"I actually was wrong. The results are very surprising, and
there are going to be some people who are skeptical," said Richard
Ford, a computer-science professor at the Florida Institute of
Technology who favors Linux.


The South African Consitutional Court launches a new website

The Constitutional Court launched its new website today and it is a beautiful site!  If you don’t know what the Constitutional Court is, read this:

This court, the highest in South Africa on constitutional matters, was
born of the country’s first democratic Constitution in 1994. In an
acclaimed new building at Constitution Hill, the 11 judges stand guard
over the Constitution and protect everyone’s human rights.

Concourt_logoAs a point of reference for American readers, the Constitutional Court is our equivalent of the US Supreme Court.  Our court is a truly South African construct given form by our Constitution.  It is comprised of 11 judges, many of whom were members of the original bench which was appointed shortly after our first democratic elections in 1994.

To me, the origins of the Court’s logo (to the left) really speak to the principles that are the foundation of the Court:

It depicts people sheltering under a canopy of branches – a
representation of the Constitution’s protective role and a reference to
a theme that runs though the Court, that of justice under a tree. The
idea comes from traditional African societies: this was where people
would meet to resolve disputes.

The site contains all the information you may need about the Court and its processes as well as images of its artwork and magnificant decor.  The site of the Court is also significant.  It was built on the site of three notorious prisons where such historical figures as Albert Luthuli, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were held.  This site was specifically chosen by the judges for the new Court building which was completed last year.



Earthquakes and natural disasters rock the USA

Metafilter has reported on a series of predictions of a catastrophic disaster in North America which was made by a largely South African group of psychics, healers and other esoterically minded people.  Apparently the primary psychic, SilverJade is a resident of Johannesburg, my hometown.  The Free Internet Press has also carried this story which begins with this introductory paragraph:

A group of psychics led by colourful ‘SilverJade’, based in
Johannesburg South Africa, have predicted that a series of earthquakes
and other natural disasters will strike the western coast of the United
States on or around the 23rd of February 2005.


Firefox: 25 million downloads in 99 days!!

On February 15th, exactly 99 days after it was released, Firefox 1.0 smashed through the 25 million download milestone.

Amazing!  There isn’t much more I can say about this.  I am so proud to be one of those 25 million people using such an awesome browser and the product of such an open movement.

Get Firefox!


Exclusive Support for Internet Explorer

In a recent newsletter, the online recruitment company, CareerJunction, advised its subscribers as follows:

In the near future CareerJunction will only be supporting Internet

Explorer 6 and above. If you are not using a supported version you can

upgrade your browser for free!

I was completely taken aback by this statement.  With all the recent news about security issues with Internet Explorer and the tremendous surge in interest in alternative browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, it comes as a surprise to hear that an initiative of a major media company in South Africa would take such a limited stance and focus on Microsoft’s browser to the exclusion of all others.

This comes at a time when downloads of Firefox have just exceeded 25 million in just 99 days.  Poor showing on CareerJunction’s part, I think.