Month: March 2007

Happy Birthday, Forum SpamBots!

In dealing with spambots as the administrator of a couple phpBB forums, I’ve noticed that most of them, when registering, give the birthdate of March 28, 1983. I thought there might be some explanation for this consistency — like the January 1, 1970 dating of phantom phpBB posts — but a Google search for “march 28 1983” only turns up threads on various forums mentioning the coincidence, without offering any explanation.

I did find out that these spambots are likely the product of XRumer, a spamming tool, so my guess is that March 28, 1983 is the default value of a configurable birthdate, but I’m not really interested in installing it to find out.

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In the early Nineties my family had one computer, a Zeos 386, and Prodigy was my very first experience with anything resembling the internet, including e-mail. I spent a lot of online time playing this labyrinth game called Mad Maze, which you can once again play in its entirety, as long as you use Internet Explorer.

Mad Maze is being discussed at:

and on these blogs:

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Count Chocula

Ernst Choukula was born the third child to Estonian landowers in the late autumn of 1873. His parents, Ivan and Brushken Choukula, were well-established traders of Baltic grain who– by the early twentieth century – had established a monopolistic hold on the export markets of Lithuania, Latvia and southern Finland. A clever child, Ernst advanced quickly through secondary schooling and, at the age of nineteen, was managing one of six Talinn-area farms, along with his father, and older brother, Grinsh. By twenty-four, he appeared in his first “barrelled cereal” endorsement, as the Choukula family debuted “Ernst Choukula’s Golden Wheat Muesli”, a packaged mix that was intended for horses, mules, and the hospital ridden.

[via Design Observer]

And Boo Berry:

On February 2, 1969, Robert Barry’s four-plane group, now known as “The Green-Blue Angels”, took to the skies in a routine “horizon sweep;” this was a standard mid-morning exercise where the planes would spin low to the ground in hexagonal patterns. At approximately 10:16 a.m., Robert’s altimeter malfunctioned, his plane dropped suddenly and severely, and he crashed unceremoniously into the hard earth of central Illinois. When word reached the west coast, Francis Christopher was nearly incapacitated with grief. The ever-increasing success of “Frank Barry’s Cereal” was absolutely no salvation from the melancholy he felt. Susannah Mills struggled to lift her fiancée’s spirits. After a difficult month, the engaged two, along with General Peter Mills, traveled to North Carolina for Robert’s funeral. In a surprising and touching move, Peter spoke at length after the ceremony, passionately and animatedly describing his plans to immortalize his soon-to-be son-in-law’s brother the only way he new how: on a cereal box. With tremendous emotion and very little public fanfare, “Robert ‘Booh’ Barry’s Airplane Cereal” first saw mainstream distribution in December of 1969.

Note that the editor’s name in both cases is Philelvrum. Further reading:

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I feel like I’ve been asleep for four months.

I dreamt that I:

  • Saw Essex Green at TT’s, and was drunk and disappointed
  • Bought the new Air record, and was disappointed
  • Saw Red Sparowes at TT’s on Thursday, and was drunk
  • Played Wii for the first time at Jon’s place on Friday night, and was disappointed
  • Saw Clinic and Holy Fuck at the Middle East Downstairs on Saturday, and was pleased
  • Saw Pan’s Labyrinth on Saturday afternoon at the Harvard Loews, and thought it was very good

There were more parts, but truthfully I don’t remember them.

It’s 60 degrees, and I may go to Magic Night in Harvard Square tonight.

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Vista Calculator

Vista calculator

Believe it or not: still without a square root button in scientific mode.

I’ve also been told that the native Windows color palette still doesn’t save custom colors.

More Microsoft Calculator trivia, care of Wikipedia:

The version of Calculator shipped with Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1 suffered from a bug causing it to display completely wrong results for certain classes of calculations. The most typical example was the 1-1.1 operation, which would lead to a long number sequence approximating the expected result, -0.1, such as -0.095645564564564…. One of the most joked about calculation is 3.11-3.1, results in 0.00. This leads to the joke “Q: What is the difference between 3.11 and 3.1? A: Nothing!” (In this case, “3.11” and “3.1” imply the version numbers of Windows.)

Oh, numbered Windows versions. Reminds me of those old PC Magazine issues I had with exclusive first looks at “Windows 4.0.”

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