(Originally posted at http://www.rjray.org/tech/good_intent.html. I don't usually aggregate from there to here, but I wanted widest-possible distribution.)
Thanks to the latest worm, I'm getting a renewed flood of junk e-mail. Most of it is caught by my ISP's spam filter. But there is another contributor to the madness, a source that probably didn't mean to be making the problem worse. And yet...
I have seen a serious percentage of these e-mails that are not the actual virus messages, but instead are auto-reply messages from spam filtering systems, most often tied to SpamAssassin (as a loyal user, I also recognize the report format). It looks like there are a lot of people out there who mean to punish the spammers by returning messages to them, thus causing them the same level of headache they cause (higher, in theory, since others are doing the same thing). But that isn't working. How do I know this? Because I'm not the one sending the virus messages.
These virus mails are going out because someone who got infected has me in their addressbook. Sending me the auto-reply simply because that is the address on the "From" line isn't doing anything (aside from making me a little bit more annoyed). I understand the reasoning behind this-- hell, I've thought about doing something similar. But if I'm getting this many returns, then there are certainly people out there getting even more than I have.
So if you are one of the people doing this auto-reply mojo, please stop it. I hate to break the news, but I doubt that any spammers are going to be truly moved by your efforts. Meanwhile, there are a lot of people who are already getting more than enough useless messages because of the virus. At least the virus messages are caught by the filters. The replies aren't, because they don't look like spam. So I'm getting more of this faux-spam than I'm getting of the real thing. Please stop.
(Somehow, I never got around to announcing this here, but this page has actually been up for nearly a month.)
I recently got a notification of one or two new ones, which I haven't yet integrated. These will be, soon. The errata is also provided as a simple text file wrapped at 80 columns, for those who may wish to print out a copy and tuck it into the back cover or something.
I also link to the code samples, in both gzipped-tar and ZIP formats. Throw in a nice spicing of web service-related links, links to reviews, and that's about enough for the page I figure.
Again, the page is here.
I just uploaded a new version of Image::Size to CPAN. For some reason, my script that auto-posts here didn't work, so I'm making mention of it more manually. The only change in the package is support for FlashMX (compressed Flash files, or Flash 6).
Follow-Up: The fact that this message was successfully uploaded from my XEmacs client actually showed me what was wrong with my other script. It should work next time I upload to CPAN.
I want to take a moment to thank all the members of the Portland Perl Mongers who were a large part of the overall success of last week's OSCON. In particular, one Joshua Keroes who was responsible for leading me to excellent sushi and fine electronica music. Of course, it being Portland and all, Randall was all over the place. While I missed the kick-off party for the Alpaca book, the video-game and beer party was a great walk back into the '80s... Q-Bert, Mr. Do, Robotron, and Rush playing on the loudspeakers. I felt 16 again.
Next year is back in Portland. I'm already looking forward to it.
I think I should like to do a lightning talk next year. They look like loads of fun.
But I can't possibly top Tang's CPAN song just now. I might be able to out-sing Piers, though.
So far, my OSCON experience has been fair to partly cloudy. Partly cloudy in that my lack of sleep through the day Sunday meant that I was still pretty wiped-out on Monday. Today, thankfully, I'm more of myself again.
Thus far, the biggest talk of the con are the persistent WiFi problems that are being encountered. The good folks at O'Reilly are doing their best, but I dread what will happen when the unwashed masses flood in tomorrow.
Notes of note:
In case anyone is wondering, I will in fact be at the OSCON 2003. My flight and hotel arrangements are made and confirmed, and I will be there the full week (though it cost me 4 days of vacation).
I can also say for certain that I will be present at the O'Reilly Authors Event on Wednesday evening, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM, followed immediately by the SOAP::Lite BOF from 7 to 8. Not sure on the locations for these, yet.
You know that feeling of aggravation and annoyance you get, when you are stuck wading through someone's badly-written, poorly-commented (or not at all) code?
You know that sick, sinking feeling you get, when it starts to make sense, and you're not sure if that's because you've become so brain-dead that your mind now works on the same level as the original authors?
It seems that my company does not generally send people to conferences, even if they're tapped as speakers. This is not a snub towards me in particular there are people around here that have to turn down invitations for the same reason, people who are more highly-regarded in speech and VoiceXML circles than I can claim to be in the Open Source arena. It's just a matter of expense and cold, hard numbers.
What they can do, are willing to do, is comp me for the day that I am speaking. So, to do OSCON at all, I will have to pay my own way and then claim it on my taxes next year as a business expense. To be there any more than just the day I'm speaking, I will have to use vacation time.
I find these things sadly unfortunate.
Programming languages in general, and "little" languages in particular, have always been a love of mine. I've always wanted to eventually work in compiler and/or language design, though my career has yet to take me down such paths.
Because of this, I've been eyeing Parse::RecDescent for quite a while, waiting for a spare tuit to come along so I could play with this seemingly-fascinating toy.
As is often the case, it took a day-job work assignment for me to get the chance. But wow, has it been worth the wait. Not only am I having genuine fun working on the grammar for this project (which is complex enough to go into a separate file so that it can be turned into a stand-alone PM file at build-time), but the more features and tricks I find in the man pages and examples for P::RD, the more I want to just make up problems to solve.
Haven't had this much fun programming in quite a while. Also, I'm not sure which part of that last sentence is the most sad...