When
· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · August
· · · · 28 (2 entries)

Scam Spam · I don’t know about you, but in re­cent weeks I’ve been hit with high vol­umes of spam pro­mot­ing pen­ny stock­s. They are elab­o­rate­ly craft­ed and go through my spam de­fens­es like a hot knife through but­ter. When I was off the net for 72 hours last week, the vol­ume ac­tu­al­ly filled up the POP in­box at one of my ac­counts and my mail start­ed bounc­ing. By the way, you can find the peo­ple who do it with a search for “Stock Promotion” (G, Y). As a con­se­quence of liv­ing in Van­cou­ver, long a head­quar­ters for penny-stock pro­mot­er­s, I have some per­son­al ex­po­sure to how in­cred­i­bly de­vi­ous, en­er­gized, and un­prin­ci­pled these peo­ple are; it’s like try­ing to root out cock­roach­es in a warm cli­mate. Part of the prob­lem is that there is ap­par­ent­ly an in­ex­haustible sup­ply of suck­ers ready to march smil­ing in­to the jaws of these bottom-feeders. This could be the straw that fi­nal­ly breaks the back of email as we know it, the kind that costs noth­ing to send and some­thing to re­ceive.
 
RAD IX: Those Libraries · [RAD stands for Ru­by Ape Diaries, of which this is part IX.] Ruby’s de­bug­ging fa­cil­i­ties, com­pared to what IDE users like me are used to, are, well... sin­cere. At one point dur­ing the Ape work, I had a bug that was re­al­ly driv­ing me crazy. The symp­tom was that my HTTP in­ter­ac­tion with the serv­er would just freeze up, and I couldn’t spot the pat­tern be­hind it. It’s a fact of protocol-testing life that this par­tic­u­lar kind of shit hap­pen­s. Some­times you’re re­duced to de­bug­ging with print state­ments, and I was. But af­ter a while they weren’t help­ing me, I was call­ing Net::HTTP#s­tart on an apparently-valid con­nec­tion and then... noth­ing. Even­tu­al­ly, I was driv­en to look­ing in the li­brary source, net/http.rb. Hey, it was easy to un­der­stand! (Have I talked about Ru­by and read­abil­i­ty be­fore?) I could see where my re­quest was go­ing, but I couldn’t see how it could go wrong. Wel­l, this is a dev ma­chine, and Real Men de­bug with print state­ments. So in they wen­t... right in­to the Ru­by dis­tro li­braries, I mean. And I ran it again. On­ly took a cou­ple of min­utes to ze­ro in the prob­lem; in this case, a JRu­by bug. I’m not sure what the les­son is... but the code spelunk­ing was fright­en­ing­ly easy. This is not typ­i­cal of oth­er peoples’ HTTP li­braries; I have bit­ter mem­o­ries of bash­ing my head to a bloody pulp against LWP back in the last mil­len­ni­um. Did I men­tion read­abil­i­ty? [Ed. Note: You’ll be hap­py to hear that there are on­ly a cou­ple more RAD en­tries in the pipeline, then I’ll be done.]
 
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