Thunderbird / Mozilla Mail For Spam Control

MozillaeWeek has a nice article reviewing various add-on programs for spam filtering in e-mail, as well as several native e-mail applications that have some spam filtering built-in. Their verdict: “Qurb 2.0 and Mozilla 1.5 did the best job of filtering while providing users with a good level of control.”

I don’t have any experience with the stand-alone Qurb application, but I can say that the new version of Mozilla Mail does a great job with its Bayesian spam filtering. Mozilla Mail is integrated into the Mozilla 1.5 suite of applications, but it is also available as a standalone e-mail application known as Thunderbird, which is what I have transitioned to from Eudora. Possibly the only downside with Mozilla’s implementation of Bayesian filtering is that you need to “train” the application for a period of time by marking e-mails as junk. However, the program quickly learns what to mark as junk on its own, and this approach results in almost no false positives, which the article points out is a large failing of some of the other applications.

I know from personal experience that most people are a lot more invested in e-mail applications than web browsers, so I imagine Mozilla Thunderbird will be a harder sell than Mozilla Firebird or the Mozilla Browser Suite. Still, I can highly recommend it personally; I liked it enough to ditch Eudora after over five years, so that should tell you something…

Beer Bottle Organ

Beer bottle organPeterson Electro-Musical Products has constructed an amazing Beer Bottle Organ. Made with 74 bottles,

The organ as shown is self contained with brass fittings, lighting and is housed in a walnut enclosure on casters. It includes an air pump controller and self playing device which allows the organ to also play tunes unaided, it is also possible to make it coin-operated.

The site has some samples of music that sound surprisingly good…

Comments Are Back

Shaft pointed out that comments have been down for a week or so. It turns out that I stupidly forgot to update the password; duh! Things should be back to normal, so please feel free to post! And here I thought that no one was reading… 😉

The Picture Of Everything

Howard Hallis’ Picture Of Everything is very impressive, and although superheroes were the initial area of interest, he really does cover a whole lot of ground. My ‘80s homage can’t compare to the sheer size and scope of his work, although I like to think I cover my niche very well. Man, this inspires me to do some more work on my project, as I have tons more stuff to add and it’s been quite some time since I’ve done anything. I knew I couldn’t get away without mentioning myself in there somehow… :-p

Copy Protection Robs The Future

Dan Bricklin writes a very lucid, informative article detailing some of the insidious effects that copy protection will have on preserving works for furure generations. He uses music and software as specific examples, but the theory holds true for all types of intellectual work and property. Bricklin contends that

Our new media and distribution techniques need new business models (perhaps with different intermediate players) that don’t shortchange the future. Trying to keep those old business models in place is as inappropriate as continuing to produce only 33 rpm vinyl records.

The respective industries (e.g. RIAA, MPAA, and IDSA) should take heed, although for the most part they are shortsightedly only thinking of present monetary gains. I shudder to imagine all of the works that could be lost but for the ability to maintain their existence without interference from invasive copy protection and litigation…

Video Game Toilets

Counter Strike toiletSomeone with way too much time on their hands has compiled an authoritative page on the depiction of toilets in video games. Covering the gamut from “classic” games like Leisure Suit Larry to more recent hits like Counter Strike with everything in between, this site has definitely done its homework. Why, I just don’t know…

Make sure and enable Cyrillic (e.g. Russian or Ukrainian) character coding so that it’s not all gibberish, and scroll down to near the bottom of the page for the actual list of games.

Condoleezza Rice: The Unsticker.

Showcasing his renowned gifts of sagacity and eloquence, W characterized National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice’s recently expanded role in a press conference yesterday:

The role of the national security adviser is to not only provide good advice to the president, which she does on a regular basis… but her job is also to deal inter-agency and to help unstick things that may get stuck. That’s the best way to put it. She’s an unsticker.

It’s nice to see Rice get the respect she so richly deserves; I’m sure her new role as “Unsticker” will complement her lesser role as National Security Advisor nicely. I (still) can’t believe this moron got elected…

U.S.S. Enterprise “Wind Tunnel” Test

Enterprise laser testYes, you read that right, although possibly not in the way you think. The University of Queensland Laser Diagnostics Department has undertaken the highly scientific endeavour of “wind tunnel” testing the NCC-1701D U.S.S. Enterprise from the newest incarnation of Star Trek, Enterprise, in its super-orbital expansion tube to a simulated speed of Mach 5. For the inevitable orgiastic frenzy of geek/Trekkie comments, nitpicks, and delusional discourses, you must check out the Slashdot forum on this story.

I should point out that the tests are not made in a conventional wind tunnel, but instead employ “laser-based measurement techniques to a range

of high temperature and/or high velocity environments.” Also, I’d like to think that any criticisms I might have are based purely on my experience as an aerospace engineer, which I suppose makes me only marginally less geeky than the rest of them… :-p