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Didja miss me?


And, perhaps, I'll be posting more philosophical musings, relationshippy stuff, and the sort of thing you've come to know and love from this journal. But first, irritated bitching about a lot of miscellaneous stuff...

First, I'm back in the land of the living again. Last Monday, I started feeling poorly, and by the time I was halfway through the work day, I had chills and was shivering. By the end of the day, I had a fever over 104 and could scarcely stand; by the time I got home, I was hallucinating. Shelly ended up taking me to the emergency room, though they didn't admit me. I'll skip over the next week or so, which was pretty much all the same--lying in bed in misery, throwing up a lot, that kind of stuff.

Thursday, an appointment with my regular doctor, who finally diagnosed the problem--a very aggressive and fast-moving strep infection. She was pissed that the hospital didn't admit me, but two different antibiotics and two different courses of steroid treatments later, I've finally shaken it.

Also on the bad (or at least irritating) side, McAfee's Site Advisor Web site, which claims to "test the Web to help keep you safe from spyware, spam, viruses and online scams," has redlisted my Xeromag.com site as a spammer after, so they say, entering their email address into my signup form and receiving spam.

Now, my Web site has no signup form, or online contact form of any sort, so they're obviously full of horseshit. [Edit: It appears their bot software "signed up" on my guestbook, and its address got scraped by the software spammers use to hunt for email addresses on Web sites. I've modified my guestbook to mung email addresses to prevent this from happening in the future.] Still, it means that anyone using any McAfee security product (including their enterprise and business security products) sees a big red warning when they visit my site, and that rather pisses me off. Fucktards.

I am also wrapping up my business and moving out of my office. The company that has given me free office space for the last eight years is effectively folding up shop, and my own client base has dwindled to nothing; the Bush regime has been hard on small businesses, and most of my clients have gone under in the past few years. I spent a good part of yesterday cleaning junk out of my office.

It's not all bad, though. I'm chest-deep in a significant rewrite of my sex game Onyx, which has been selling at a tremendous rate lately, in part (I think) due to a writeup on the Wired magazine Weblog last month. The new version is such a tremendous improvement over the current version that it's almost not even fair to compare the two.

And finally, Shelly's done with her summer term in three weeks, and at that point will be ready to move to Gainesville, where she'll be attending school come fall. We no longer have any particular ties to Tampa, and may simply pack up and move in the next month or so, depending on my work situation between now and then.

I'll post some more philosophical content here later.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 28th, 2006 01:36 am (UTC)
Wow. ..sounds like a lot of change, all at once, and hopefully preparing you for the next wonderful things heading your way.
Jun. 28th, 2006 01:56 am (UTC)
yeah, glad to see you back. :^)

What can you do about McAfee? I mean, it's quite clear that they're wrong. How do you prove that?
Jul. 3rd, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC)
I'm working with them on it now; sent them a lengthy email explaining that the conclusions they've come to were unfounded, and they wrote me back right away and have started re-evaluating their site rating. So they've actually turned out to be easier to work with than I expected.
Jul. 3rd, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC)
That's excellent news. If you have the time/energy/interest in writing all this up, I think it could be quite educational for those of us who maintain remotely similar sites.

Best wishes as always.
Jun. 28th, 2006 03:35 am (UTC)
Well, clearly you've figured it out, because you've commented it off of the site, but I'll describe it for others. The home page used to have the "QuickTag" feature, where you could enter a message and your e-mail address, and they were immediately reflected on the page. The brainiacs at SiteAdvisor (and I spotted it before they went McAfee) enter their address in any field labeled "E-Mail", and so when they web scrapers pulled their address off the home page, they blamed the site for any spam that went to the address they used.

You'd think that you could just explain to them the stupid thing they did, and they'd remove the black mark, but I have a sneaking suspicion it couldn't possibly be that easy.

I do think though that it's a little disingenuous to leave your comment "Now, my Web site has no signup form, or online contact form of any sort, so they're obviously full of horseshit." up, un-amended, since you have obviously figured out what happened, and corrected it.
Jun. 28th, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC)
Actually, the guestbook was pulled from the front page for a completely unrelated reason (over the past three days, a spammer using an automated program has been uploading, on average, 1.6MB a day(!) of spam into the guestbook), but looking at it, it does seem likely that's what the Site Advisor software did as well. Though I can't find any entries in the old guestbook logs that look like they might be Site Advisor entries.

The guestbook is still up on the BDSM and poly pages, since the spammers haven't found it yet, but I've rewritten it to mung email addresses so that scrapers won't find them.

I'm also in the process of emailing the Site Advisor team, to let them know they really need to make their automated email entry software a little smarter. Seems to me that Weblogs and online forums would have this problem even worse than I do.
Jun. 28th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
Followup--I've just received word from a couple of users that McAfee's enterprise security software blocks access to Web sites that are listed in Site Advisor, which means that a couple of people who want to register my shareware software can't do so--because they can't reach my site. At this point, this has moved from an annoying inconvenience to actually costing me money.
Jun. 30th, 2006 09:27 pm (UTC)
That probably puts you in a better position to get it addressed right away. Do you have a friendly lawyer to write them a quick letter? Just make sure he mentions that they posted their spam trap address to a public forum on the site.

Incidentally, I'd like to apologize for my tone earlier. It honestly hadn't occurred to me that you might have removed the feedback section for unrelated reasons, but in retrospect it seems a perfectly likely possibility.
Jul. 3rd, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
I've been in touch with them, and they're in the process of re-evaluating the listing right now. It's currently not redlisted, but my other sites ARE still redlisted--because they link to it. Which is annoying, but I think it'll get sorted fairly soon.
Jun. 28th, 2006 05:04 am (UTC)
Welcome back! I look forward to reading more of your writing.
Jun. 28th, 2006 01:02 pm (UTC)
You've definitely been missed. I sleep soundly at night now, which of course worries me to the point where I lay awake at night for fear of being lulled into a false sense of security.

Also, we should hang out and game or plot the downfall of mankind or something!
Jun. 28th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC)
Indeed. And i will have a beta copy of Onyx 3 for you next time I see you as well.

Though I thought you were supposed to be working AGAINST the downfall of man...
Jun. 29th, 2006 03:00 pm (UTC)
Sweet! On behalf of the Smoosh we're looking forward to it! Are you looking more for stress testing/bug hunting, or playability feedback?

As to your second point, freudian slip. ;-)
Jul. 3rd, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
Looking for a few things: bug testing, playability, game mechanics, suggestions for new features, and some feedback on the direct brain virus. I'm most interested in feedback on the new functionality; this version of the game has a whole lot of new features, and I'd like some ideas about how well they work.

I haven't done a build for Windows or Linux yet, but I'll bring a Mac OS build with me to zensidhe's party Saturday. Is Gir PPC or Intel?
Jul. 3rd, 2006 06:54 pm (UTC)
All of our Mac-tech is PPC. They've dropped the 12" form factor with their switch to Intel, and I've grown so accustomed to curling around his tiny aluminum shell at night that I think that the lack of surface conductivity and the minor size increase with the new 13" machines might disturb my/our symbiosis.

I'll redouble my efforts to find that extra PS2 memory card and bring it on Saturday as well. It'll be good to see you!
Jun. 28th, 2006 08:47 pm (UTC)
wait, you were gone? where did you go :) no one tells me anything, oh well. good luck in Gainesville
Jun. 28th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
I found your journal from the directory (forget what I searched). Been enjoying the philosophical and transhumanist pieces. Write more!
Jun. 29th, 2006 02:53 am (UTC)
Gainesville, Florida or Gainesville, Georgia? Petri and I will be headed to Orlando and then Tampa at the end of July, and he has expressed an interest in meeting you if possible.
Jul. 3rd, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
Gainesville, Florida. Though, as per usual, that's just been thrown into uncertainty; it looks like I'll be staying in Tampa after all.

Drop me a line when you think you'll be in the neighborhood! Love to meet you guys. :)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )