August 2005

Too Much Time on Our Hands

Well, we all know what happens when a group of people have too much time on their hands. Silly things start to happen. The Lance is one example. Here is another. During PT last week we all participated in the Lancer Olympics. The games pitted first and second flight against each other in events such as the tug of war, wheel-barrow races (you read that right) and various kinds of relays. I am sorry to say that my flight, second flight, was shut out. It seems that first flight has more strength, agility and speed than we do. I must admit that it was a good work-out and we all had fun.

The pictures that I am attaching speak for themselves. Most of them are from the olympics though a few are from the ceremony in which I was granted the "honor" of bearing the Bravo Company Lance.

Oh, about that Lance . . .

I left it unattended in the office last week. It was taken away from me for a few days when it was picked up by a fellow warrant officer. I got it back last week with a stern warning to never again leave it unattended. I was also told that I would not, as planned, be passing the Lance to another junior warrant officer that week but would, as a punishment, be carrying it for another two weeks. Hoo ah.

Drupal Bad Behaviour and killing spam

A couple of days ago I mused here about using server errors to kill spam/trackback bots. It seems I was not the first to think about this and David Angier has done work on porting Bad Behavior from Word Press to Drupal. I'd like to have some more configuration control but I'll likely figure it out shortly.

Update: The Drupal Bad Behavior module works wonderfully. Comments and trackbacks are on and are being filtered and real comments are untouched. There is no menu item for administering the settings. I added the following as the third menu item:

$items[] = array('path' => 'admin/settings', 'title' => t('bad behavior'), 'callback' => 'badbehavior_settings', 'access' => user_access('administer bad behavior'));

Update too: My earlier update seems to be unnecessary. It was likely a caching issue that prevented the menu from appearing. So far more than 800 spams have been prevented and there have been no false positives detected. A few folks have had the same problem I did which is that you have to install badbehavior.module in the bad-behavior directory in the modules directory or it won't find the include files it needs.


On the list of things not to do: don't accidently run "rm -fr directory/ *" when you mean "rm -fr directory/*". The effect is not the same.

Trackback and comment spam handler

For a while now trackback and comment spams have been absent from this site. The process, though, is too manual. With a little luck I'll soon get around to patching the Drupal comment and trackback modules to return 404 errors to comments and trackbacks that contain improper contents. I'd be happier doing this at the Apache level, but without the ability for Apache modules to work based on the content of POST requests it won't work.

Forcing the correct domain name

Nothing new here but a quick note to document how I prefer to handle forcing browsers to see the a website using the preferred domain name. In the virtual server setup place the directives to have the virtual host respond to all the names (i.e.,, Then use the rewrite engine to change the url to be the preferred URL:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.example\.com        [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^$
RewriteRule ^/(.*)$1 [L,R]


I spent three and a half hours today getting poked and prodded. This is called preparing an SRP or Soldier Readiness Packet. Part of the packet is getting vaccinated. I got vaccinated for Typhoid and Smallpox. I expect the Smallpox vaccine to be a lovely experience. I can expect a pus filled blister to develop on my arm within the next three days. The lymph node in my armpit will likely swell and become sore. I may develop a low grade fever and feel fatigued. I will need to be careful to change the dressing carefully and be sure not to contaminate the rest of my body with the virus from the blister. After two to three weeks it will eventually scab and fall off. All of this for protection from a disease that no one has caught in many, many years and, at this time, exists only in a few test tubes.

There is also more about the lance. I accidentally left it unattended in the office last week. One of the more senior warrants picked it up and gave it to the senior instructor pilot. I spent almost a week wondering if there would be some kind of "punishment" for this transgression. I got the lance back today with a warning not to leave it unattended again. I am waiting to see if there will be further repercussions.

Aside from classes on desert flying and getting shots my days are relatively uneventful. I am doing PT most days and getting about half of the day free. I acually wish I was either busier or had full days off so that I could go somewhere. Having a half-day free just means that I sit around being bored in Clarksville. I have heard rumors that we might get some leave in the next few weeks. That would be cool.

Safari's Home Button

Dave Winer comments on Apple's decision not to include a "Home" button in the default toolbar of Safari. As pictured above it can easily be put back by choosing Customize Address Bar... from the View menu. I've often wondered about the choice but don't often think of it because it's solved in the first few seconds I use Safari and never an issue again.


A few months back I wrote about a few podcasts I still listened to. One was Career Opportunities. Until today that is. The show is great and they are short, but when the short 4-5 minute twice-weekly podcast started putting a commercial in the middle I quickly had to find the fast-forward button. Funny thing is I'd listened to bunches of commercials in the podcast at the start and end of the show without complaint. Now that I have to reach for a remote to get through a short podcast it looses its value.

One unfortunate example of indy podcasts trying to do the big media game. If that's what we wanted we'd tune in to big media.

New look for RotorAvi8r Blog

A little late-night work resulted in a new look for the RotorAvi8r blog. If you're interested in contributing to Adding Understanding head over to user registration and sign up. Drop us a note and you'll be all set to go.

Another face-lift comes for the Sandy Valley section which now has its own look too. The casual observer will notice a strong similarity between these designs and the recent redesign of Adding Understanding. Finally getting around to doing some themes. Now to install Drupal HEAD on the test box and get to doing some more work.

The RegisterFly Debacle

Wow! This is a huge mistake in the making. It all started a few months back when a colleague was looking to register a domain name. Another colleague suggested All went well and both colleagues were happy.

Earlier this week I finally got around to getting out from under Network Solutions. I'm tired of paying premium prices for terrible service. So having collected several domains I'd left with another terrible registrar (EnameCo), I set out to transfer the domains to RegisterFly.