Friday, May 30, 2008

HTTP Codes for More Efficient Whining

Someone on Facebook posted an article by The Beijinger about a rock festival being cancelled by the Chinese government. I was entertained when I got a unique 403 by following the Facebook link:
We have identified that you have been refered here by a known or supposed spammer.

Yeah, something tells me they didn't work very hard on the supposing part. It also shows up when following it from my site.
If you are actually doing referer spam, please note that this website/b2evolution no longer records and publishes referers. Not even legitimate ones! While we understand it was fun for you guys while it lasted, please understand our servers cannot take the load of all this cumulated spam any longer... Thank you.

Seems like quite the over-emotional IT staff. Anyway, like the plea for attention said, publishing your referers enables link spam. So...don't. or use rel="nofollow" on your referral links. But don't abuse the 403 error codes to complain about how you had to disable spam.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Google/Address Book Syncing--Just iPhone Advertisement

So, over at the Google Mac blog, they've announced the ability to sync Google contacts. With what? Well with Address Book, of course. Yes, Address Book, that system-wide service/application with iCal, Safari and integration. It's an important piece of software to many Mac users, so you can see why it'd be useful to sync with your Google contacts.

Oh, did I mention it only works if you have an iPhone?

This is what a slap in the face looks like.

See that bottom checkbox? "Synchronize with Google?" The feature works like a charm, or so I'm told. I wouldn't know, because that simple little checkbox (which surely doesn't require any sort of iPhone software to work properly) just flat out does not appear unless that Mac has been synced in the past with an iPhone.

Quoth the Google Mac blog entry: "We hope this helps you keep a little more of your information organized and easy to find, at any place and time you need it." Sorry, guys, you fail it.

Update: Looks like you need an iPod of some sort, not just an iPod. See this Lifehacker post for details and info on how to get around this mind-numbingly stupid restriction.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Nihongo Benkyou: Kanji Invaders

Over the past few weeks I've been throwing together some JavaScript to make myself a Japanese language study-game. If you've ever played Letter Invaders-type games, you'll catch onto this one pretty fast.

It's (unimaginatively) called Kanji Invaders, and is a JavaScript application which runs on IE 6.0+, Firefox and Safari. The objective is to type the readings for randomly-selected falling Japanese words before they reach the bottom of the screen. If you can't read Kanji, all words convert themselves to Hiragana as they fall. When you successfully type a word, the definition is given down at the bottom. You can even specify which particular words you want to see; for now, the only types I have are JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) classifications.

To play, simply type the romaji for each falling word! I initially chose this method because I had problems with Firefox recognizing Japanese input methods. Since then, though, I've come to the realization that most keyboards (even in Japan) are being used Romaji style, so I've stuck with it. By supporting romaji exclusively, Kanji Invaders works on virtually all Japanese and English computers.

Current feature ideas: An online scoreboard. Better intensity rise/fall. Automagically-downloadable version without an advert (though it's already pretty easy to download). More graphical special effects. Music/SFX.

Currently known issues: sometimes typing a word that has appeared twice will cause both instances to go away. I've fixed it and will upload a new version soon.

Since Kanji Invaders' Japanese input processing is home-brewed, let me know if a particular romaji-ism that you use doesn't work on Kanji Invaders. Other bug reports/feature ideas are very welcome. The code is free for you to take and do what you like with, but I'd appreciate attribution if you simply make a Kanji Invaders fork. I'm regularly improving this app, and will keep the latest version available at for your perusal.

Have fun studying, and ganbatte!