I’ve been getting shelled with comment spam recently, so I just added a CAPTCHA plugin (called reCAPTCHA) that will hopefully weed out all of the annoying links to bad porn sites, viagra offers and online gambling sites showing up in my mailbox. Readers have been saved from this annoyance because I moderate all of my new commenters, but it’s starting to wear on me.  Sadly, this will also mean no more ‘cool’ comment spam, but that’s life.

CAPTCHA stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart,” and is basically a way to weed out bots by using a simple ‘reverse’ Turing test that sets up a challege/response that a computer will most likely fail and a human will most likely pass. It’s a very practical application of Artificial Intelligence techniques (although applied for the opposite reason – to see how stupid a computer is, not how smart it is).

This particular implementation is cool because, while it does require an additional step for users who want to enter comments on my blog (aka, Jeannie), each successful ‘pass’ of a CAPTCHA on my site will help advance the cause of digitizing books. Cool, right?

The DNS changes appear to have propogated, traffic is flowing to the new server and email is up and running . If you encounter any problems, please post a comment here, or email me at my brooke this domain or bmaury the arcus domain above.

And check back in for details about the Orpheus rebirth!

Arcus Logo

This weekend I started migrating the Arcus Associates website to its new home on MediaTemple.com. I hoped to complete the migration last night, but it’s dragging on into the work week. I apologize for any disruption or problems with email.

This move to a dedicated server will allow me to better manage the Arcus environment and website, improve and upgrade some of my software and tools, and support running the Orpheus backend server, as well as the database documentation and automated metadata browser (more on the reincarnation of Orpheus in a later post).

The DNS migration is presently under way. Please be patient with any returned emails or errors you receive in the next 24 hours. I’ll post an update with any problems or once the migration is complete.


This morning some interesting comment spam was in my mailbox. Well, I don’t actually know if it was interesting or not, since I don’t read Russian, but it looked cool. Click on the image to see the screenshot.

I’m pretty sure this is my first non-roman alphabet spam. I’ve received some spam in Spanish and French, but nothing in a different alphabet. The text actually reads “Хорошая разработка сайта волгоград Посетите создание сайта санкт Вы найдете нас на разработка сайтов ижевск

I can only guess the translation has something to do with viagra, cialis or enlarging or shrinking various body parts, but a direct translation would be appreciated!

Hack This!
Hack This!
Lerdorf discusses PHP 5
License Plates
Only in the Valley (Plates read ‘Algortm’ and ‘Hack Me’).
Beck Rocks HackDay06
Sims Reunion
SIMS reunion at Hack Day ’06

I’ve never been that enamored of Yahoo!, to be honest. For starters, the name bothers me. Call me a purist, but I don’t think words should have extraneous punctuation. Secondly, I stopped using many of Yahoo!’s (see what I mean?) features years ago as Google’s services started to come online. I snickered when the Yahoo Music Engine came online. In brief I felt as though much of what Yahoo! was trying to do Google was doing better.

But they’ve been doing some really cool stuff for a year or two now. Last year they opened the Yahoo! Research Lab in Berkeley and hired a bunch of really smart SIMS kids (and poached a faculty member to found it). They’ve acquired some pretty cool companies. They hire really, really well. And this weekend they are having the coolest tech event I’ve ever attended to showcase their awesome employees and APIs and motivate the developer community to get involved.

Welcome to Yahoo! Open Hack Day ’06. I attended yesterday’s workshops and was really blown away. Yahoo! is the shit. Seriously, where else can you get the downlow on PHP from the guy who wrote it, sit next to the person who started Flickr as you learn how to hack the Flickr API, and get a tutorial on the Yahoo UI platform library from the people who designed them and then rock out to a private Beck concert, replete with a live puppet show? Punk. Rock.

This was a great idea from start to finish. Yahoo! gets lots of smart engineers playing around with their tools and services, possibly adds a few of them to their payroll, and spreads tremendous good will among the developer community. Attending engineers and researchers, in turn, get treated to a series of enlightening talks by the leading minds in the industry, sees the internal workings of a cutting-edge company, and get to network with like-minded people.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of the cool hacks that come out of this weekend. I’m also excited to start working with all of the APIs I was exposed to (ha ha) yesterday. Hopefully this is the first of many hack days at Yahoo!