Daily Archives: June 19, 2007

Complimentary Comment Spam

I mentioned previously that comment spam on the site seems to be on an uptick.  I must have passed some magic threshold of notoriety as the level of spam is holding steady.  I was rather hoping it was some sort of spammer’s rush to hit totals before summer.

The comment spam seems to be primarily about the following topics in order of frequency:

  1. Online Gambling
  2. Automotive Insurance
  3. Online Pharmacies
  4. Porn
  5. Home Refinancing

The topics ebb and flow.  Today seemed to be online gambling and pharmacy day.  Other topics show up from time to time, like divorce attorneys and cheap airline tickets, but for the most part the five topics I listed make up the bulk of the traffic.

The comments themselves can contain any number of things.  Long lists of URLs, text from Wikipedia with links in it, index words and numbers that no doubt get used to track what comments get past the spam filter, gibberish, product endorsements, frank descriptions of associated URLs (usually porn), and compliments all make their way into the stream.

It is the compliments that are my favorite. 

You can read through those, ignoring the URLs pointing to Canadian Pharmacies and off shore gambling sites, and imagine that you have a huge and appreciative following who say things like:

  • U’ve got good pics, the site could use a tiny bit of work (no offense) its still awesome
  • Nice site, I have bookmarked your site yet and I will come back again ! You have a gratest site!
  • Nice site and fine content
  • A very interesting website. I plan to access it again when I get home and have more time. There is much I need to look into here.
  • Congratulations on finally setting up your site. I am sure the website will become a internet legend
  • This is a great web site. I have some great web pages myself if you are interested to share. But I should not go on about my site too much, that is not fair, right?
  • Great site guys, please let me know if you are interested in exchanging links with us.
  • Our site is cool, but also yours is very nice too
  • Thanks for your site!
  • Could you please send to me the contacts of developer of your site? It looks so damn good!
  • Thank you for the great web site – a true resource, and one many people clearly enjoy
  • Great work with this one, nicelly done!
  • Hello, What a beautiful and awesome site. I adore what you?ve done with your setup and graphics. Thanks you so much.
  • The stuff on this web site is really witty and cool wise
  • Thank you, friends, for your sharing your ideas
  • nice site indeed
  • We loved the site, really loved it!
  • Hi there, I must say that you have done a wonderful job on your site and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here, I thank you for sharing it with me?
  • I have admire your unselfishness in taking the time to make this web site.
  • A very very nice site with helpful informations! So keep up the good work – I already added the site to my personal favourites. All the best!
  • Howdy! Great site. Great content. Great! I can recommend this site to others!
  • Thanks for a lovely site, I am very impressed
  • great site great site great site BRAVO!
  • Your site looks great! Best of luck to you.
  • Nice work chief
  • This is one super duper site
  • I really enjoy looking through your website
  • a really great homepage! i’m a big fan of your stuff although i’m just 16!
  • Your site is a much needed addition to my life. THANK YOU!
  • Hi! very amused by the website .
  • I Googled for something completely different, but found your page?and have to say thanks. nice read.
  • perfect site !!!!!!!! Perfect piece of work fellows !!!!!!!
  • I dont even remember how i reached your site but it doesnt matter, cause i’m so happy i found it, it really made me think, keep up the good work
  • In Zeiten von massenhaft Websitenm? Internet eine sehr gut aufgebaute Website, nicht ?mensioniertes Design und sehr gut recher-schierte Hintergrundinformationen.
  • Informative professional site, whatmore can i say!!
  • I come to your site because it keeps me entertained and aware of new things.
  • I finally got a chance to check out your web page, and I must say that I?m impressed. Hope everything is going well. Take care!
  • Exstremely lovely site. Very impressed about all the lesson there are to learn and to know how much help is there also. Keep up the great work

And, my all time favorite: 

  • Your site is a refreshing change from the majority of sites I have visited. When I first started visiting web sites I was excited by the potential of the internet as a resource and was very disappointed initially. You have restored my enthusiasm and I thank you for your efforts to share your insights and help the world become a better place.

You would think you had changed somebody’s life, were it not for the fact that the name listed with the comment was “Best Italian Online Casino!”

StarCraft Memories

I will forever associate StarCraft with the office.  My career in Silicon Valley, at a variety of companies, has been marked by a lot of after hours game play at the office.  Bolo, Marathon, Age of Empires, Delta Force, and Total Annihilation all saw a lot of action at work over the years.  Before we had TeamSpeak and Ventrilo, we had phones in our cubes (and sometimes even headsets) to allow communication around the building.

More recently the increased workload at my company, the rather restrictive policy regarding what we are allowed to install on office machine has pretty much killed off the after hours game time, the games that our office machines actually support, and the general aging of the people with whom I work (we’re not a bunch of unmarried guys with excess free time any more!) has pretty much killed off the after hours tournaments.

But there was a time when we would be on the network and engaged in combat with each other several nights a week.

The release of StarCraft coincided with my starting a new job.  At the new company there was a group of Age of Empires players, but this fresh new game distracted everybody’s attention for a while.  And it deserved to do so.  While I was a bit skeptical at first, not being a fan of Blizzard’s WarCraft (I and II and, eventually, III), I bit when we were at Fry’s and other people were picking up copies.

While not my favorite RTS of all time (that is a toss up between Age of Empires II: Age of Kings and Total Annihilation) it is undeniably a great game.  Three races, well balanced, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, made for very intense game play.  No other RTS I have played has had such diversity between factions.  Most of them are similar enough that learning to play one faction means gaining knowledge that will apply to any faction.  In StarCraft, learning to play one faction did not give you much insight into the other two.

The distinct factions, of course, meant that we specialized.  People picked a race that suited their play style and generally concentrated on that race to the exclusion of the others.

We had some very aggressive Zerg players who would swamp you if you stumbled at all in the first few minutes of the game.  We all developed an opening build order to defeat the zergling rush and counter strokes to punish any player who tried that rush and failed.

We had a couple of very good Protoss players.   You had to starve them early and keep them from getting to late technology.  If they managed it, your superior numbers might end up turning to dust in the face of well handled Protoss units.

And then there were those of us who went the Terran route.  It is hard to argue with a mass of marines with good air support.  I played enough games as a Terran with speakers on that to this day my wife will use the phrase “Jacked up and good to go?” to ask if I am playing a game.

A lot of battles were fought, many of them short and sharp, a few were long and drawn out, but all were fun.  The game is light, well balanced, and, in the Bilzzard tradidtion, easy to learn, difficulty to master.  If it wasn’t locked into a 640×480 resolution I would probably have it still installed.  On a 1600×1200 monitor though, it looks like Sega Gensis quality graphics.

But now StarCraft II has been announced.

I am sure that I am not alone in being somewhat skeptical about any game replacing StarCraft.  How do you strike a balance between providing a new and different experience while at the same time staying true to the finely balanced instrument that StarCraft has become?  I mean, this is a game with a professional league in Korea that gets TV coverage on par with any professional sports here in the US.  You have to tread carefully.

Of course, one can look at Blizzard and say, “There is a company that knows how to do sequels.”

But have they ever faced a challenge like this?

Their other sequels have kept to the spirit of the past games, but have tended to change the dynamics quite a bit.  Warcraft III felt quite different than Warcraft II.  Diablo II was certainly the successor to Diablo, but in a bigger, faster, grander sort of way.  Once you played Diablo II, Diablo was probably out of the picture for you.  But neither predecessor had the fanatical following of StarCraft.

Blizzard will keep us guessing for a long time to come.  They are so good at being teases.

Until then, the best insight I have read into the potential of StarCraft II and what the reality is likely to be is over at Firing Squad.