Monthly Archives: April, 2007

Recent Movie Rentals

The Prestige

Stranger Than Fiction, directed by: Marc Forster
Mark’s Rating: 5 out of 5

When I originally saw the ads and trailers for this movie, I knew I would want to rent it1. I figured it would be a couple of hours of silliness and that would be it. I never expected that I’d want to add this movie to my collection; but by the time we finished watching it, both my wife2 and I want to own it. Besides having a fair amount of silliness, the movie is also very clever. Visually clever in how the sfx crew generated all the overlay graphics to numerically describe Mr. Crick’s life at the beginning of the film. And cleverly written in well… the whole dang movie. Definitely worth watching!

The Prestige, directed by: Christopher Nolan
Mark’s Rating: 4 out of 5

It’s a shame that The Prestige came out at the same time as The Illusionist. If it had come out months/years prior or even after, the movie might have done so much better. As it is, The Prestige is always going to be known as “The other magician movie. You know, the one that came out when The Illusionist did”. The Prestige was an enjoyable, if rather dark, movie and had its own clever twists. But when compared to The Illusionist, it just falls short.

 

House of Flying Daggers, directed by: Yimou Zhang
Mark’s Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Stunningly beautiful as to be expected of Yimou Zhang, but the story just didn’t click with me. There were parts where it almost seemed like it would, but then the scene changed and those bits were crushed underfoot. Then again, I was pretty exhausted when trying to watch this one, so I’ll probably give it another chance at a later time.

1 Seriously, who needs to go to the theater for a comedy? The only thing I really want to see on the big screen are action flicks.
2 My wife’s expectations for the movie were initially much lower than my own.

HowTo: Install Windows Vista in 2 Minutes

Do you have a new computer that doesn’t run Windows Vista? Do you need step-by-step instructions on how to install it? Then watch this great YouTube video for instructions.

Then go download and install a proper OS, like Ubuntu.

Dashboard Akismet Hack 0.0.3

Dashboard Hack 0.0.3

Akismet is a popular comment, trackback, pingback spam blocker. Originally it was developed for the WordPress blogging platform; it has since been extended to work on a variety of blogging and forums systems. However the only part of it I really care about is the WordPress plugin as it is one of the ways I protect this site from spammers. Akismet works great1 but there is one thing the developers of Akismet have never seen fit to do which drives me bonkers. Which is to say the only place the Akismet plugin shows you how many comments it has in the spam moderation queue is on the spam moderation queue page. And yet they put some stats for Akismet right there on the WordPress dashboard. In ages long past, I cobbled together a small hack to display those moderation numbers, when I upgraded my site to a more current version of WordPress my hack broke.

This morning I finally fixed it. People more clever than myself could make this into a full fledged plugin, but this little hack is good enough for me. To do this:

  1. Download a copy of the Akismet plugin for WordPress
  2. Decompress the zip file
  3. Open the akismet.php file in your favorite text editor2
  4. In akismet.php, search for “function akismet_stats()”. It should be around line 510.
  5. In the akismet_stats function, under the line reading echo '<h3>'.__('Spam').'</h3>'; add the following code:
    $spam_count = akismet_spam_count();
    $link = 'edit-comments.php';
    if ($spam_count) :
    print "<strong><a href="$link?page=akismet-admin" title="Click here to see the moderation queue">Spam in moderation ($spam_count)</a></strong>\n";
    endif;
  6. Save your changes.
  7. Uploaded your edited copy of akismet.php to http://yourblog.com/wp-content/plugins/akismet/ and then follow the normal instructions for installing/activating the Akismet plugin.

With this small hack in place, when Akismet traps some comment spam in its moderation queue the WordPress dashboard will display a link under the Spam in the Latest Activity box. The link will say “Spam in moderation (x)” where x is the number of items in the spam moderation queue. Since WordPress likes to occasionally mangle the display of code in posts, I’ve created a text file with my changes to the akismet_stats function. You download that file here.

Update 2007-04-22: As to be expected, it didn’t take the spammers long to generate some sample data for me to create a screenshot of my hack.  Enjoy!

1 Particularly with the Bad Behavior anti-spam plugin added to it.
2 E.g. Kate

Adverts by Text Link Ads

Frequent visitors to this site1 will probably notice something a bit new over in my sidebar. Today I added a new “Sponsors” section to the site. This sponsors section is will be serving up text link adverts from Text Link Ads2.

For a long time I have resisted placing any form of advertising on this site. I just didn’t want to deal with the hassle of it and I wanted to keep CoffeeBear.net “pure”. However I realize now that is something of a very silly notion and decided to give Text Link Ads a chance to make this site pay for itself.

Does this mean I’ve sold out? Well I am trying to make a small amount of money from this site now; however CoffeeBear.net will not become some advert laden monstrosity with hundreds of annoying, flashing banners. Just two little links in the sidebar. So you’re free to think what you like, but I’m not thinking this counts as selling out.

1 Readers of my RSS feed will also eventually be seeing some text link ads as well. How long it takes depends on how quickly Text Link Ads sells the advert slots.
2 All links to Text Link Ads in this post are in fact affiliate links and if you use them to go to their site to sign up, then I am supposed to get 25 smackeroos. 🙂

Ultimate Star Wars Personality Test

Han Solo

Han Solo: You are Han Solo! You can be a bit cocky and reckless at times, but at the end of the day you’re just plain old courageous! If anybody ever asks you if you like doing the “Han Solo” just punch him in the face. They were making a masturbation joke and that crap’s just old.

From the Ultimate Star Wars Personality Test by Liquid Generation

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