terriko: (Pi)
I maintain a couple of blogs outside of this one, and the most popular one I'm involved with gets a lot of spam. There seemed to be a particular uptick about a month back, and I went to look into it.

What I discovered is that quite a lot of our spam (around 80%) was coming from one company called IPTelligent LLC. There's no easy way for me to tell if they are a legit company who simply have the worst IT staff in the history of IT staffs and all of their machines are compromised, or if they are, in fact, evil jerks who are repeatedly attempting to pollute the internet with really terrible spam. Given a short websearch, it seems pretty likely that IPTelligent is intentionally evil. I suppose one could argue that the level of incompetence displayed by someone who not only runs that many compromised machines but also serves up malware consistently is a form of evil even if it wasn't intentional. Whatever.

Either way, they are responsible for a rather large percentage of the spam we were receiving, and not responsible for any legit visits that we could see.

Since this particular blog uses Wordpress, solving the problem was pretty simple. Wordpress has built in lists for blocking comments, but they simply send to the moderation queue, as does popular plugin Akismet. Since we were seeing hundreds of messages per day from IPTelligent, I needed something that banned them more completely so our moderators wouldn't even see the messages and have to scan through them. Thankfully, there are lots of plugins for this. I settled on one called wp-ban that seems to be working well for my needs.

Once that's installed, the settings are under Settings->Ban. At the top of my list, I now have

# IPTelligent owns these ips, and they seem to be a spam company

Which covers the majority of the IP that were hitting us with spam. A glance at a more specific list of IPTelligent IPs suggests that those lines are good enough right now, although it's possible that they'll buy more IP blocks eventually. (We also have a longer list of other ips that appear to be compromised and were causing problems, but they look more like temporary compromises than intentional, long-term malice so I'm not listing those IPs here).

Of course, it would be better if someone took the company to court for this. I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act must cover at least some portion of their activities. I mean, the things they charged Aaron Swartz with under that act seem less sketchy than what IPTelligent is doing. But court cases take time and money, and banning them right now is pretty easy, so I figured I'd share the short-term solution in case it's useful to anyone who'd like to get a little less spam right away. (We are indeed getting ~80% less spam since the bans went into place.)

For the record, here's the company info as I get from the whois database right now:

OrgName:        IPTelligent LLC
OrgId:          IPTEL-1
Address:        2115 NW 22nd Street
Address:        #C110
City:           Miami
StateProv:      FL
PostalCode:     33142
Country:        US
RegDate:        2009-03-31
Updated:        2012-07-16
Ref:            http://whois.arin.net/rest/org/IPTEL-1

ReferralServer: rwhois://rwhois.iptelligent.com:4321

OrgNOCHandle: NOC3572-ARIN
OrgNOCName:   Network Operations Center
OrgNOCPhone:  +1-888-638-5893
OrgNOCEmail:  sysop@iptelligent.com
OrgNOCRef:    http://whois.arin.net/rest/poc/NOC3572-ARIN
terriko: I am a serious academic (Twlight Sparkle looking confused) (Serious Academic)
You may recall that my Kindle Fire decided to stop charging right before I went off on my vacation at the beginning of December, and I had a somewhat terrible experience with Amazon's online customer service but they did in the end replace it under warranty.

I've had the replacement for two weeks, and it was acting a bit weird, rebooting while I was doing things like reading pdfs. So last night, I looked up whether this was a common problem and the suggestion seemed to be to hard reboot it, so I did.

The kindle has been stuck at the kindle fire reboot screen for about 12 hours now.

Since the online chat support was awful last time, I called Amazon this time and the phone support lady was very nice, efficient and was very apologetic about not being able to get me a new device until Jan 4th. But the replacement is in the works, I just won't get it 'till after I get back from Ottawa.

Meanwhile, dead kindle #2 won't boot up and also won't shut down, so I may be sticking a running device in the mail, which feels kind of weird. Not much for it, though, since the thing is utterly unresponsive. Maybe it'll run out of battery before I get out to mail it this afternoon.
terriko: (Default)
Not sure this will be ever useful to anyone else, but just in case it hits me again later or when I'm helping someone else set up mailman on mac osx 10.7...

When I tried to run python bootstrap.py I got an error that looked like this:

AttributeError: 'module' object has no attribute '__getstate__'

The solution, as implied here is to fix my setuptools which is somehow wrong. On my mac, that meant clearing:


Simple, easy, except that I have about a billion copies of python installed so finding the right one took some work. To figure out what to remove, I did the following:

(a) Ran the version of python I was actually trying to use to get a command line shell
(b) loaded setuptools (e.g.: import setuptools)
(c) Checked where it actually was (e.g.: print setuptools.__file__)
(d) Removed stuff from that directory (I could have just removed setuptools, but since I was trying to set up a fresh environment anyhow, I actually emptied the entire directory and let mailman reload)
terriko: (Pi)
In the course of my thesis work, I made myself a little Firefox plugin that tells me where the javascript/dynamic parts are in a page. It's a fun little thing, just puts some big coloured boxes up, and I used it to help understand how people were using javascript in practice. It's one of those things I should probably release just 'cause it's fun, but I didn't have time to maintain in any meaningful way so I didn't get around to it.

Anyhow, I pulled it out last week to see what state it's in because I want to adapt some ideas from it, and it wasn't working. Which is odd, 'cause it's really quite simple. The core is just a loop that goes through each page element and looks for stuff like onmousover events:

var allTags = document.getElementsByTagName("*");
for each (var tag in allTags) {
// ... do some stuff

And in debugging it, I've learned that getElementsByTagName("*"), which apparently used to return all the tags as objects, is now returning all the tags as well as, inexplicably, a number. It's not the same number for every page, and most of them seem to be around one thousandish on the simpler pages I was trying to test. Which sort of makes me think that maybe it's returning the number of tags, or that it sometimes returns an ordinal index for a single tag instead of an object, but why?

As it turns out, it didn't take much to get my add-on back up and running, just a quick check to see if the "tag" in question was in fact an object. But I'm left with a question: why has this changed in Firefox since I initially made the add-on? I'm not even sure where to ask, since it doesn't seem like it's a thing that changed in the specs. I'm recording it here for posterity so I remember to try to look it up later, but if you happen to know what's going on, please get in touch!
terriko: (Pi)
I've been using John's old video card for a while since he put it in my computer while I was away, but it's so loud that I can hear it even when wearing headphones, and now that it's getting warmer in ABQ I'm noticing that gaming for an hour or more makes me uncomfortably hot. (And shush all of you who have a quip about gamer girls and hotness on the tip of your tongues; I mean temperature.)

So here's the deal. I want a video card that won't trigger a migraine aura in my high altitude desert home. I'm pretty sure they don't check for that in hardware reviews. Here's a more useful checklist:

1. Must be able to play some modern games. I'm mostly playing Diablo III lately, and I also use the machine for Photoshop. (Yeay academic discounts!)
2. Doesn't need to be Linux compatible (this is for my windows-only gaming box)
3. Needs to be as quiet as possible given #1.
4. Cool as possible, given #1.
5. Budget preferably < $200 but gaming in comfort is worth more to me if I'm sure it will help.

It used to be that you'd have to be prepared to replace the fan to get #3, but I'm hoping things have gotten better and I'll be able to just buy something off the shelf. I hate reading hardware reviews (unless it's cameras for some reason), so I'm hoping to narrow things down faster... Does anyone have suggestions?


terriko: (Default)

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