Monthly Archives: June 2004

Bad web spiders

I’m looking for help defending myself against bad web spiders that ignore robots.txt and fetch pages in parallel as fast as they can. Possible tools include mod_throttle, iptables, traffic shaping, and spider traps. Please fill in the blanks on the above link in my workspace and I’ll summarize here when the discussion stops.


portable music

I remember the first time I walked down the road with a Sony Walkman’s headphones on, listening to music while not connected to a stereo. It was unreal to have that much music in a place that hadn’t ever had

music in it before.

Nowadays no one that I know carries a little cassette deck around with them – the hot accessory is an Apple iPod. What I can’t quite reconcile is the price differential between my first “wow” portable music experience and what an iPod is going for these days. (I bought a Sony WM-8, which was enough down the evolutionary path that I wasn’t the first person to own it on my block.) I’d like to experience the “wow” again without having it feel like an investment.

I think I’d be able to get by with just burning one 60 to 90 minute playlist onto the thing, and then carrying it around with me. It would be really nice if it was so lightweight that it would not be something I would even have to think about, e.g. if the MP3 player was bundled into a phone (or a pedometer). That way I could have tunes for a walk.

Suggestions? Maybe a USB “thumb drive” with an MP3 gadget? (That’s tiny enough to be sure.) I just don’t know the space quite well enough to suggest to myself what to get.

Thanks for any suggestions. If you’d like, you can update a web page at my wiki on

portable music

with links or thoughts or reviews.

UPDATE: the wiki page is gone, but I still don’t have a portable MP3 player.

On the relationship between wiki and weblog

I’m starting to fill pages in my new vacuum wiki. One technique for starting to vector people into that space is to leave links in weblog entries here to pages there; another is to sign comments with a pointer to a page in the wiki instead of just a link to my main blog page.

By commenting on pages in other people’s blogs with pointers to a wiki page, in some sense I’m stealing more commentary; on the plus side, it’s a shorthand way to revise more commentary and to link through more things after the initial comment time happens. Too often comments are made and then you forget about them.

A goal is to have the comment be a reasonable jumping-off point for surfing on the topic, not just a simple “trackback” but a path forwards.

As an example, Lou Rosenfeld has a recent posting on his visit to the new Seattle Public Library, which I linked to at my library architecture page on the wiki and in turn where I link my comment in his weblog back to that page. Voila, links that work backwards and forwards. Now, as I find more good library architecture pages – important since the Ann Arbor District Library has some building plans on the horizon – I can update the wiki and intertwingle various blog postings together.

Whereas a current page path is
blog -> comment -> blog
I’d like to set it to be
blog -> comment -> wiki -> many blogs
and open up a layer of commentary that’s hard otherwise.

I find the wiki environment a lot less intimidating to write through to – perhaps because I spend my day in it – and it’s easier to draft stuff there knowing just how easy and expected it is to change it subsequently. There’s not the sense of finality about it. Weblogs feel unconfortably like “publishing” sometimes, which triggers writers block.