New addition

I would like to announce the birth of little Lauren Gregg at 8.30am today.

Both mother and baby are doing well.

I would write more but I am posting this entry via my mobile phone.


Now I’m back at home and out of the hospital, here’s a pic or two, I’ll get more up on "her" site in the coming weeks.

read more….


If you are any kind of a geek, you’ll be checking your web site’s access_log on a semi-regular basis to get an idea of who is linking to you.  Call it an ego trip if you must 🙂 but, of late, it has become a little more annoying.

You see, spammers have started “referer spamming” (sic) where they spam your referRer logs with URLs that don’t really link to your site in order to get link backs, con people into visiting the URLs, or hopefully find some sites that publish their web site log stats/analysis.

I know it is tempting to believe that or somesuch loves to link to your pages, but this really screws up the logs.  And, so I have taken to firewalling the offenders and it is proving remarkably effective.  So for your perusing pleasure, the “bad guys” list provided in PeerGuardian format (which I convert to ipfw firewall rules):


Link Referrer Spammer:
Care Initiatives linkref spammer 123gotcash:
Linkref spammer:
Linkref spammer:
Linkref spammer: spammer:
linkref spam:
Possible linkref spammer:
Hacked / scanner machine: / nameintelligence “bot” ref spam: spammer: spam: spam:
refspam: linkspamming their own service:


Since I added firewalling to those networks/ips, my referer log is much cleaner and my irregular ego boost can continue largely uninterrupted.

Microsoft XP Retarded Edition to be launched.

Microsoft is launching a cut down version of Windows XP, as "Starter Edition".  This version will feature (or rather not feature) limited graphical capability and will only allow the user to run three programs at once.

Full story at:

"… in an effort to halt the rise of low-cost Linux software"
"…  it hoped the new software would also help deter consumers from buying pirated versions of its XP system"

I don’t see a XP Retarded Edition helping in either of these battles.


So Stelios is launching easymobile using all the usual orange livery that all the easy* companies under Stelios’ control use.

However, now Orange (the mobile phone company) is upset at his planned use of the colour orange.

Stelios says there is no problem.

How ironic after Stelios started suing any company using the word "easy" or "easy" in their company name.

Orange Farce

This is a mini-rant. 🙁

So, I’ve got an Orange contract phone and the wife has a Orange pay-as-you-go phone, both are in my name.  Tried calling her, except the stupid Orange network has assumed that since she didn’t answer one call and it dropped to voicemail, then all future calls should immediately go to voicemail.  Her phone doesn’t even ring.

I figure this will reset if she calls to collect her voicemail – except neither her nor I know how to do this.  Personally I detest mobile voicemails and the first thing I do on my phone is permanently have it removed.   Thus the solution is to do the same to her phone.

No problem you might think.  Both phones are in my name, I’ll just call up Orange and they’ll sort it.  Not on your nelly mate.

Orange contract customer service don’t help with PAYG phones and the (very helpful) guy told me I would have to call 07973100451.   “Ok, thanks for your help”, I replied and proceeded to call the supplied number.

So, I call the number and immediately the standard Orange female recorded message informs me “This number is permanently barred”.   Excuse me?   I call customer service to clarify.  Turns out you have to call from a land line.

So not only will Orange contract not help with Orange PAYG, Orange contract actually block you from phoning Orange PAYG.  Perhaps they are afraid of people moving from contract to PAYG.  What a stupid, stupid setup.

Google adsense and making money from your web.

I was talking to Hendrix in EfNet #php a couple of weeks ago about his site and his use of the Ads by Google.  I wondered if it actually made him any money.

Now Hendrix’s site is pretty new and still ‘in development’ but it’s pretty decent already.  I’ll not say how much he was getting, but I thought it was worth a punt.

I joined 2 weeks ago and have the ads displayed on pages in my Projects area and, quite frankly, I’m astonished by the results.

The way it works (as I figure) is that you put some javascript on the pages you want the adverts and since google has indexed those pages it know relevant adverts to send.  I get mixed results, but on the whole they aren’t bad (tho my system "utilities" attracts adverts for electricity utility companies!).

Companies pay google on a per-click basis to get these ads onto websites such as mine and google gives me a cut.  That "cut" appears to be quite the movable feast from as low as $0.02 per click to unbelievable highs of $1.60 per click.  What spurred me into writing this article was that for the last two days I earned $17 and $20 respectively. Not bad at all.

So, my question to the world, is do you use Google’s AdSense? And if so do you feel it is worth it?  Please vote in the poll.

IRC and l4m3 asshats

This evening, whilst lurking in #php (efnet), a guy by the handle ITman decided to spam the channel with an advert to join his channel to pay him for consulting.

Ordinarily such events come and go, but this one was quite wonderful.

Read and weep.

ITman ( has joined channel #php
<ITman> Anyone need help join #Consulting, only $5 per question
<ajnewbold> ITman ok there buddy
*+* Mode change "-o+b ITman *!*n@*" on channel #php by Qube
ITman has been kicked off channel #php by Qube (game over, man.  game over.)

And that was that, until:

<ajnewbold> #consulting just got pwned
* Can’t join #consulting: channel is invite-only
<ajnewbold> I own #consulting 🙂
<ajnewbold> Who wants ops?
<ajnewbold> hahahaaha
* ajnewbold feels 13 again
<Qube> invite
* You have joined channel #Consulting
* Topic for #Consulting: ^B#Consulting^O | Professional IRC and computer consulting | $5 per question |
* Topic for #Consulting set by ITman! on Fri Jul  9 23:00:09 2004
* Users on #Consulting: Qube @huang-ti Rainmaker Trials MamaTried niklas Avi
babe coldshado @ITguy Averell ITman
*** #Consulting : created Fri Jul  9 22:59:58 2004
<niklas:#php> ajnewbold: having fun? 😉
<ajnewbold:#php> the guy was a turd
<ajnewbold:#php> he kept on advertising in all these channels
<ajnewbold:#php> then he oped me
<ajnewbold:#php> idiot

Knowing he’d lost this challenge:
<ITman> Anyone need help join #Consulting2, only $10 per question
<Avibabe> Oh my.
<Avibabe> TEN BUCKS!
<Avibabe> 😀
<Trials> one of those moments that gets put on a site and ppl read and think pahh, thats just stupid
* huang-ti has changed the topic on channel #Consulting to "Free consulting for one and all!"
* Mode change "+o Qube" on channel #Consulting by ajnewbold
<Avibabe> 😀
<Qube> must be because #consulting2 is worth twice as much as #consulting
<ajnewbold> hahaha
<Avibabe> 😀
<ajnewbold> join #consulting2
<Qube> DoNotTauntTheHappyFunAjnewbold
<ajnewbold> god
<ajnewbold> it’s been 10 years since my last channel takeover
<ajnewbold> mind you, I do think that taking over a channel is highly immature
<ITman> I concur
<ajnewbold> but in this case it felt justifiable
<ajnewbold> the guy was a turd
<Qube> he’ll not spam #php again
* ITman has been kicked off channel #Consulting by ajnewbold (ITman)
<niklas> he will not, i but a ban in place
<ajnewbold> I forgot he was here
<Qube> niklas++
<niklas> now do we really want to stick around as it will look like we did the spamming?

<CyrixBorg> god he was annoying
<CyrixBorg> what happened with him?
<ajnewbold> CyrixBorg, he was relieved of duty
<CyrixBorg> did he op you and you kicked him? hehe
<CyrixBorg> yah
<ajnewbold> yeah, hehe
<ajnewbold> I’m an ass
<CyrixBorg> he was annoying in our channnels
<ajnewbold> he set up shop in #consulting2
<ajnewbold> I should have joined it before I took this over

<ajnewbold> he’s soliciting help in #consulting2
* You have joined channel #Consulting2
* Topic for #Consulting2: State your question, only $10 (
* Topic for #Consulting2 set by ITman! on Fri Jul  9 23:15:59 2004
* Users on #Consulting2: Qube ajnewbold Avibabe sinnedFBI MaggieL Trials Averell gripe @ITman

I then joined channels #Consulting3 .. 22, then we saw:
* You have joined channel #Consulting22
* Mode change "+nt" on channel #Consulting22 by
* Users on #Consulting22: @Qube
<ITman:#Consulting2> Join #Consulting23 for professional consulting, come and ask your question, only 99 cents a piece
* Mode for channel #consulting22 is "+tn"
*** #Consulting22 : created Fri Jul  9 23:35:00 2004
* You have joined channel #consulting23
* Users on #consulting23: Qube @ITman
<MaggieL:#consulting4> Too late

* ITman ( has joined channel #consulting3
<ITman:#consulting3> Join #Consulting23 for professional consulting, come and ask your question, only 99 cents a piece
[etc, etc, for all the channels]

* ITgal ( has joined channel #consulting23
<ajnewbold> qube, you didn’t go up high enough man
* ITgal is horny
<Qube> i know
* Qube rubs itgal
* ITgal loves it
* Mode change "+o ITgal" on channel #consulting23 by ITman
* Mode change "-o ITgal" on channel #consulting23 by ITman
<ITman> oops
<ajnewbold> oh you fucking idiot
<ajnewbold> haha
* ITgal wants the ops, makes her wet
* Mode change "+o ajnewbold" on channel #consulting23 by ITman
* Mode change "-o ajnewbold" on channel #consulting23 by ITman
<ITman> oops
<ITman> I gott alearn mirc lol
<ajnewbold> itman, you got a lot to learn
<Qube> aw, i didn’t gett oped and you all did
* Mode change "+o Qube" on channel #consulting23 by ITman
* ITman has been kicked off channel #consulting23 by Qube (Qube)
<Qube> hooray
<Trials> ROFL
<Trials> ah ya bitch
* ITman ( has joined channel #consulting23
<ajnewbold> wtf?
<ajnewbold> oh my god
<ITman> Join #Consulting24 for professional consulting, come and ask your question, only 99 cents a piece
<ajnewbold> that ROCKS!
<Qube> rotfl
<ajnewbold> Qube, I can’t believe that happened!
<Phlip-> hehehe

We later had an oper gline him when we got bored.

Blogs, Blog software, and other drivel.

Well, as some of you might have noticed. My blog has had a bit of a facelift.

A few months back, when I was thinking of starting up this rant sheet, I started looking at some of the possible blog systems to "help" me achieve this.

Recommended was Bloxsom which is nice and pretty, seems to be widely used, however requires CGI and perl.  The other big name was Movable Type, but that seemed way over the top for a puny little personal blog.

So, what to do?  I thought "well let’s look for something PHP based", which if you know me, I’m a bit of a php whore…   Recommended* was S9Y as it is PHP and authored by many core developers of PHP – seemed perfect!   { * I’ll not be listening to that guy again ;) }

Oh how wrong I was, what a pain in the ass S9Y turned out to be… Badly structured, poorly thought out, and quite lacking in foresight.   To get it to display blog posts on my homepage, I had to hack it into my homepage.  The authors clearly accepted people would want to do this, and made a config option to turn off all the peripheral crap (calendars, search, archives) – but this then made the regular blog "page" useless.  Customising it was, frankly, a bastard.

And so after a couple of months of S9Y, it was time to move on.  Now the challenge again was What software to use?

Then it hit me, just what is a blog anyway?  It’s a place where I can post a message and others can comment. Sounds like a forum / bulletin board system to me.  I had recently set up a punBB based forum for the ops of the EfNet #php channel and I really liked that for its simplicity and speed.  Poking around on the punBB support forums eventually led me to a couple of modifications: Reply Only forums and PunNewz which makes punBB perfect for blogging (with a fix and a tweak).  Both, by the way, are written by Julian, aka cuteseal, of  Kudos to Julian for his work on these.

So there we have it, I now have a bulletin board / forum based blog, PHP based, powerful modding ability and, for now at least, I’m a happy camper.

Tech Support drones.

Now, I work in Technical Support, so don’t take this as a lament against all technical support people – just those who can’t see past the script in front of them.

Yesterday, I had the following conversation with a McAfee TS representative.

The issue wasn’t that difficult, I would have thought, for someone familiar with McAfee’s product line, and it might be reasonable to assume that Technical Support would be familiar… Oh how wrong I was.

The issue at hand was that I wanted to buy VirusScan Command Line Scanners for FreeBSD (just google for it and your find numerous references including McAfees trial download) – the fun comes when you want to buy it.  Nothing anywhere tells you what product actually contains the Command Line Scanners.

Anyway, read and weep.

Establishing Connection

Please wait while we find a technician to assist you…

You have been connected to Andrew Jennings

Andrew Jennings: Paul, thank you for contacting McAfee Online Support Center. How can I assist you with your McAfee software today?

Paul Gregg: Hi Andrew, I’m at a loss in finding out what product I need to buy… I want to get the VirusScan Command Line Scanner for FreeBSD

Andrew Jennings: Could you please tell me in which country you are in?

Paul Gregg: UK

Andrew Jennings: Paul, I would be happy to help you guide you through

Paul Gregg: Thanks

Paul Gregg: I can find the eval download ok – but nothing appears to say how you go about buying it

Andrew Jennings: What are the McAfee products that you already own?

Paul Gregg: none

Paul Gregg: I think I need the TVD or the virusScan Suite, but neither of those itemises the Command Line Scanners for unix based systems

Andrew Jennings: Please tell me the full form of TVD

Paul Gregg: total Virus Defense?

Paul Gregg: McAfee got it when they bought Dr. Solomon

Andrew Jennings: Do you own a Home PC?

Paul Gregg: yes

Paul Gregg: I run FreeBSD, *not* Windows

Andrew Jennings: Thankyou for the information

Andrew Jennings: This issue or concern is best supported by our Customer Service group. Please call 020-794-901-07, and select the option that best meets your needs. You may also visit for more information.

Andrew Jennings: Is there anything else that I can assist you with today?

Paul Gregg: You don’t know what VirusScan product contains the Command Line scanners?

Andrew Jennings: We do not support the Operating System that you are using

Paul Gregg: yes you do

Paul Gregg: … ine/bsd/v4.32/

Andrew Jennings: What version of Windows are you using? (95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP)

Paul Gregg: I’m sorry Andrew – perhaps you could transfer me to someone else… I already told you I don’t use Windows. I’m using FreeBSD. McAfee *does* sell Virusscan for FreeBSd.

Paul Gregg: I just can’t find out which product contains it

Andrew Jennings: We do not support any other Operating System other than Windows. We cannot continue this chat session any further. Please contact customer service for getting to the right place

Andrew Jennings: Your reference number for this chat sessions is 5159845.

Andrew Jennings: Thank you for visiting McAfee Online Support Center. Please feel free to contact us again if you face any problem.

The Tech Vote, and how to lose it.

We techie types are a fickle lot.  We hate our spam and will positively discriminate against any company that used this medium to market their message.

So today, the day before the European elections in the UK, arrives a political spam from a John Gilliland,, promoting himself as the IT friendly vote.

Well I have got news for you Mr. Gilliland, you’ve one less vote tomorrow.

I also wonder how Mr Gilliland obtained his list of spam addresses, because it does seem his spam was very much targeted to any address he could get in Northern Ireland.

Read on….

Yes. Perhaps Mr Gilliland isn’t aware of the law.  I know it’s not an excuse to be ignorant of the law – especially for one so in-tune with the IT industry.  Let me explain.
Mr Gilliland, may fully be aware that on the 11 December 2003, a new law came into force: The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 specifically prohibiting what he has just done.

Section 22, Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes states:

22. (1) This regulation applies to the transmission of unsolicited communications by means of electronic mail to individual subscribers.

    (2) Except in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (3), a person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, unsolicited communications for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail unless the recipient of the electronic mail has previously notified the sender that he consents for the time being to such communications being sent by, or at the instigation of, the sender.

    (3) A person may send or instigate the sending of electronic mail for the purposes of direct marketing where –

(a) that person has obtained the contact details of the recipient of that electronic mail in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient;

(b) the direct marketing is in respect of that person’s similar products and services only; and

(c) the recipient has been given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal) the use of his contact details for the purposes of such direct marketing, at the time that the details were initially collected, and, where he did not initially refuse the use of the details, at the time of each subsequent communication.

    (4) A subscriber shall not permit his line to be used in contravention of paragraph (2).

So, in particular:
Individual subscribers?  Well I certainly did not subscribe.  This is the infamous "business" get-out clause where the law does not cover spams to businesses.  However, I would contend, and Mr Gilliland will know this full well, that businesses cannot vote in elections and so his message was clearly directed at any individuals who received the message.

Opt in – No, I didn’t opt in.
Neither has Mr. Gilliland given his "subscribers" a mechanism to opt-out, a legal requirement.

Mr. Gilliland, please feel free to comment on this.

The spam in full:

Return-Path: <>
Received: from unknown (HELO (
  by with SMTP; 9 Jun 2004 13:30:36 -0000
Received: from [] (helo=DNS1)
        by with asmtp (Exim 4.34)
        id 1BY33W-0007cL-VH; Wed, 09 Jun 2004 08:23:51 -0500
Message-ID: &lt;019b01c44e24$b4a1ac60$6a0aa8c0@DNS1>
From: "John Gilliland" <>
To: <>
Subject: Gilliland – ‘Optical Fibre, the Motorways of the Future’
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2004 14:21:19 +0100
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2800.1409
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2800.1409
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname –
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain –
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID – [0 0] / [47 12]X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain –

John Gilliland argued for rethinking Northern Ireland’s IT strategy. 
"Northern Ireland must set ambitious telecom infrastructure targets if it is to encourage genuine high-tech, knowledge-based companies to site their operations in the province. The motorways of tomorrow consist of optical fibre cables, connecting businesses in our key towns and cities to Europe and the rest of the world via the internet….

Read the full press release at

John Gilliland is standing as an independent candidate in the European elections on June 10th

No Politics Just Action

Gilliland 1

Unit 3b,
Weavers Court Business Park
Belfast BT12 5GH
Tel 028 90333550   Fax 082 90333613