A New Annoyance – Twitter Favourite Spam

I’ve noticed a lot of favourites on odd tweets lately, mostly my check-ins to beers from Untappd – then I started noticing some patterns.

I get a whole flood of favourites on a single tweet, all of them have innocuous looking twitter handles (A name and a couple of letters, or two names) – mostly with 2 numbers at the end, and they are populated Twitter accounts with bios, tweets, retweets etc. Seems like a fairly intelligent spam bot.

The only thing I did notice, is there’s no interaction – no replies to anyone, no conversations (which is suspicious for Twitter). Other than that, it’s pretty legit.

Take this avalance of favourites for example (click the image to see full size):

Twitter Favourite Spam

Twitter Favourite Spam indeed.

All within 8 minutes of each other, all on different Tweets, all on Tweets from Untappd. The interesting part is, because they are Twitter favourites, Gmail deems them important and puts them right at the top of the pile in the ‘Important’ inbox.

Which is the only reason I think perhaps the spammers are doing this. They don’t have spammy URLs in their profiles either.

After some reading, it seems like this method has been around since June 2013 (last year) and has bee noticed by a few people:

- MY ‘FAVORITE’ TWITTER SPAMMERS
- New Twitter spammers abuse ‘favorites’: Seattle startup Meshfire explains

The other reason they are doing it is to pick-up followers by favouring, and then what? Maybe sell the accounts to spammers. Anyone else had this happening to them lately?

I’m not sure there’s a lot we can do other than block/mark as spam on the accounts and hope Twitter figures out how to stop this.

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Posting Spoilers on Social Media – Yes you are a TWAT

Spoiler Alert

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a ranty blog post in this category, 4 years in fact. It used to get fairy well used haha.

Part of what blogging used to originally be I guess, a diary, a journal, somewhere to vent, somewhere to be grateful, somewhere to celebrate. I guess we should go back to that type of blogging, lose the commercialism. I think medium.com has brought that back to some degree.

Anyway, that’s off topic. Because for now, I want to talk about selfish, self-absorbed pricks who are into posting spoilers on social media – be it about a movie or a TV series, either way it is 100% guaranteed that you are ruining SOMEONE’S enjoyment.

But then the people that post that kind of stuff obviously don’t give a shit about anyone else do they, empathy? Realizing that not everyone watches new episodes immediately when they come out – that’s too hard.

Me for example, I like to wait until the entire season is finished, then watch it all at my own pace (and that’s a very normal way to consume now, Netflix realized that and release their series in a single chunk, so you can binge watch House of Cards in one weekend).

Yah, I get excited about TV shows sometimes too, and you can post stuff without being explicit about details. I don’t post spoilers because I know for a fact there’s a lot of people who don’t watch stuff until much later, which is fine – I’m not going to be the one to ruin their fun. If you need to discuss it, do it in real life with people who’ve also watched it already.

It’s like those people that come out of the movie theatre and start telling everyone about the movie they’ve just seen in explicit detail without asking everyone if they’ve watched it first..

It’s that’s bad, there’s actually an app to deal with it called Spoiler Shield (unfortunately only for iOS).

If you REALLY REALLY must post a spoiler, how hard is it just to type SPOILER ALERT, then a few lines of dots so that whatever you type is hidden below ‘See more’. Like a friend that did this for example – this is what a decent human being does:

How to post a spoiler like a human

There’s collapsible spoilers plugins for WordPress, there’s spoiler functionality in Tumblr and other platforms, it’s there for a reason – because posting spoilers out in the open is a DICK MOVE.

Spoilers alerts used to be a thing, I guess people used to care about each other more. Now they think since the media publish spoiler stories, it’s ok for them to Tweet/Facebook it – the fact is it’s easy to avoid reading spoiler stories and they are generally well marked.

It’s hard to avoid it on Facebook when you open it and someone’s posted a massive spoiler with pictures and explicit details and it’s at the top of your news feed – pray tell how do I avoid that?

And the funny part is, in Game of Thrones for example – I’ve read the books..I could spoil the fuck out of the whole season, and the next season..But I don’t.

For those that are looking for a timeline on when it’s ok to post spoilers, honestly it’s not really ever ok – I watched The Sopranos in full 6-7 years after it came out. I avoided reading anything about it until after I’d watched it.

If you must post a spoiler, do it at least after the current season has finished, preferably not until the next season comes out for TV shows. Movies, at least after the Bluray came out..and when you do – put a spoiler warning/hide it.

The sad part is, the people who do it don’t even care, they won’t read this, they won’t stop being pricks – there’s no cure.

A guide from Lifehacker – How to Avoid Spoiling TV Shows and Movies for Everyone Else

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Happy 36th Birthday To Me! And WE ARE HAVING A BABY!

So last year my gorgeous wife took me to Bali for my birthday, it was hot, and hectic, interesting but not relaxing haha.

Bali - 2013

I should really write about the trip at some point. Anyhow, onto this year! We decided against a trip, as it’s expensive and can be a hassle. So I suggested she get me a nice present and take me for dinner instead – which she did, and did very well too!

She got me the Fitbit Aria smart Wi-fi scale to go with my Fitbit Force (which is unfortunately undergoing a recall).

Fitbit Aria

I might write more about the scale later, if anyone is interested.

And then on Friday, my actual birthday, she took me for a really lovely degustation menu at Soleil in PJ, Section 17.

Soleil PJ Section 17

Good food, good wine and of course the very best company available :) After that it was off to TDH, our usual birthday joint to see my bro with the same birthday – Terence, and I had to do the judgement pipe..not pleasant.

And after we went to Velvet at Zouk..I don’t even remember the last time I went there – I’m still tired today haha.

TDH Time

We’ve gotten a few other bits and bobs too lately (which is nice!) – like a PS4, PSB Surround sound system, new router, new leather sofa and gotten a few things around the house fixed (broken lights, some leaks in the porch, got some new artificial grass, cat-proofed the porch etc), sold off a bunch of stuff I wasn’t really using any more. And it was all good timing too, as I guess we’ll be spending more time at home, we need a puke proof sofa and a well kept house.

Because…WE ARE HAVING A BABY! Yes, we decided to announce on my birthday, so we let the people know that were there – and if you weren’t you probably might already know, or if not – well now you know! We don’t know the gender yet, but the baby should be due around September 22nd 2014.

Even got a label maker for the baby book haha. So yah, it’s on – so excited!

Baby Book

So it surely is going to be an interesting year, it’s already been quite a journey and there’s so much to learn. Yes I’ll be the confinement lady, if you have any tips..let me know haha.

My mother in law is so concerned that I said I’ll learn to wash the baby from Youtube, like really it can’t be that hard right?

Sometimes I feel like I should start blogging again, but then again it feels like no-one is reading – but honestly that shouldn’t be the motivation right?

Also any well loved, high quality, useful baby gear is welcome over here if any of you out there are all done having babies and still have some stuff lying around.

My birthday posts for previous years:

2013 – Getting Old – Turning 35 Today – Happy Birthday To Me!
2012 – Happy 34th Birthday To Me!
2011 – Happy Birthday To Me!
2010 – Random Blog Post #1 – What A Week & My Birthday
2009 – No post for some reason?!
2008 – My Surprise 30th Birthday Party / Being 30 – Happy Birthday to Me!
2007 – Happy Birthday to Me Again
2006 – Happy Birthday To Me.
2005 – The Triple Faggot Birthday Bonanza!
2004 – Hadn’t started blogging yet, and was still in the UK actually.

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Continue Reading · 20 Comments · General Nonsense

ASUS RT-AC68U Keeps Rebooting Or Restarting Itself – 3.0.0.4.374.4561

I just got a new fancy router, I went for the top of the line..because well I like gadgets and shiny things haha – maybe I’ll get a dual band wifi phone next?

Not that it would make any difference really..as my Internet connection is only 10MB – but hey, why not right?

After reading lots of reviews (and from past research) it was between the previous series N66U and the new generation of 802.11ac dual band routers like the 66U or 68U. In the end I just went for the top boss – the Asus RT-AC68U.

ASUS RT-AC68U

It was great, super easy to set up, has the Unifi Hypp.tv VLAN tags dialed in with a click of a button, fast and what? Not so stable. Yah wifi was great, Internet was speedy – but the damn thing kept rebooting itself.

I couldn’t even get it to 24 hours uptime, sometimes every 2-4 hours, sometimes after 8-12 hours everything would just drop, the Hypp.TV would hang, wifi connections would be lost, and the Internet would be gone – just for a few seconds, and then pop it would come back.

It wasn’t hugely disruptive, but it was rather annoying, especially for such a high end router. I’m not sure what firmware version it came with in the box as during installation it prompted me to update and I did, I ended up with the latest firmware (as of writing this post) version 3.0.0.4.374.4561.

After some Googling, I found dozens of people in this thread having the same problems as me – ASUS RT-AC68U Firmware version 3.0.0.4.374.4561 is out

Frequent, inconsistent reboots on their AC68U with the latest firmware.

Many people downgraded to a previous firmware version like 3.0.0.4.374_4422 – and the issue went away, which did make me feel better as it indicates it’s not a hardware issue, but a firmware issue.

As for me, after looking through all the options (stock downgrade vs dd-wrt vs tomato vs asuswrt-merlin) I went for Merlin in the end, built around the stock ROM it seemed like the most sensible option (as with most things, I favour stability and speed over features, and this is what this ROM aims for).

Asuswrt-Merlin – custom firmware for Asus routers

Since installed the latest Merlin build, I haven’t had a reboot at all. Great stuff!

Asuswrt-Merlin Uptime

I’ll keep an eye on the official firmware updates, but honsetly I’m happy with this for now and it does support all the fancy stuff the router has anyway (Media stuff, DNLA, dual band wifi, guest networks, USB3 support etc).

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Continue Reading · 5 Comments · Internet & Tech

How Beer Saved The World – Documentary

Fridges, medicine, the written word, the pyramids and all kinds of things – all exist because of beer! So yah, watch this to find out how beer saved the World!

And yes, if you didn’t already know – I love beers!

How Beer Saved The World - Documentary

Interesting stuff. I also learnt how disgusting it would be to burp in space.

This show traces the important role that beer has played in human history from the probable origins of the first beer at the dawn of history to the development of a special beer for use in zero gravity space missions.

Put simply, without beer, we wouldn’t have the pyramids. Even in more recent times, beer’s hidden hand has been behind some of history’s most remarkable breakthroughs, from the discovery of germ theory and modern medicine, to the invention of refrigeration, the birth of the factory and the end of child labour. Beer didn’t just change the world, it saved it!

The narrator has a proper epic voice too haha.

Enjoy!

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Addicted to Pleasure – BBC Whisky Documentary

I discovered this whisky documentary fairly recently and watched it in its’ entirety – very interesting and I learnt a few things. It’s from the BBC series Addicted to Pleasure and this episode is solely about whisky, scotch whisky in fact (my favourite!).

I’m quite a whisky fan as it happens, if you are too – you’ll enjoy this.

Actor Brian Cox reveals the rich and controversial past of sugar, alcohol, tobacco and opium to uncover how the commercial exploitation of these products hooked the world.

Today, whisky is a source of Scottish pride; it’s one of the UK’s few growth industries. In this last episode, actor Brian Cox reveals how whisky was born and shaped in opposition to the British tax system, and how that history forged the character of Scotland’s national drink. But as he discovers, during the 19th century, addiction became a huge social problem with Scots drinking around six million gallons every year to escape the often unbearable conditions of their urban lives. The Scots reputation for hard drinking was born, an image Scotland struggles with to this day.

Enjoy, Sláinte!

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Continue Reading · 2 Comments · Single Malt Whisky

Easy but DELICIOUS Meatloaf Recipe

I keep forgetting my own recipe, so I’m gonna note it down here and it’s been a looooong time since I’ve done a cooking/food post on here (probably like 2005) – so here we go.

I’ve never really had a meatloaf I liked, and I always thought meatloaf must be something good because the yanks are always raving about it, so I decided to make it myself a while back – and guess what? It was bloody delicious.

Meatloaf

And it was still delicious the next day in a meatloaf sandwich, so now my wife keeps bugging me to make it again – so tonight, I am making it again.

Meatloaf Sandwich

This is an improved/tweaked version of the classic/stock meatloaf recipe. I’m actually trying a different variation tonight (half minced beef and half minced pork), so I’ll see how that goes. The recipe below is the full beef version tho.

Ingredients

  • 1.5lb/700g good quality ground/minced beef
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 large onion, diced/chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced/chopped finely
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs (preferably seasoned)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 2/3 cup ketchup

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F)
  2. Sautee the onions and garlic in the butter until soft and light brown
  3. In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, sauteed onion, milk, Worcestershire sauce and bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in a lightly greased 5×9 inch loaf pan, OR form into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
  4. In a separate small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. Mix well and pour over the meatloaf.
  5. Bake at 175 degrees C (350 degrees F) for 1 hour.

Tips

  • Don’t overmix the ingredients, just make sure they are nicely combined.
  • If you don’t have seasoned breadcrumbs (I don’t), just add some dried basil or parsely/oregano or thyme and garlic powder to the mix.
  • Line the baking tin with tinfoil for easier clean-up.
  • Let the meatloaf sit/rest for a while before slicing (just like any other meat)
  • You can experiment with the topping sauce and spice it up a bit (add some Sriracha/BBQ/Chili sauce etc).

Yah that’s it, easy right? I suggest serving with some mash/boiled potatoes and steamed broccoli or peas. I tend to go for broccoli as it’s yummy, healthy and is super easy to steam in the Microwave.

Do let me know if you cook it, and how it turned out – Enjoy!

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Continue Reading · No Comments · Cooking/Recipes, Food/Eating

Facebook Like Box Button Flyout Getting Cut Off – Woothemes Canvas

I’ve had this problem with a few themes, most recently with Woothemes Canvas and the social sharing plugin Digg Digg.

Having used Digg Digg many times, and never having had this problem before I was a little confused. I tried dozens of tweaks in the css to try and fix it, tried all the different variations of settings in Digg Digg – but still no dice.

Whenever I clicked Like on a post – it got chopped off like this:

Facebook Like Cut Off

I eventually found the culprit, which for Woothemes Canvas was this line in the css:

/* 1.4 Embedded Videos */
embed,
iframe,
video {
  max-width: 100%;
}

The above limits the fly-out to the size of the parent element (100% the size of it), to fix it you just need to put this in the Custom CSS:

iframe {
 max-width: none;
}

After the tweak the entire flyout shows correctly as such:

Facebook Like Box Fixed

I hope this helps someone as it really was a rather frustrating problem.

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Error Reading PID From File (0 Byte) With Monit After Service Crash

Sometimes services crash badly, in this case I was trying to stabilize an old server running nginx and PHP via Fast-cgi. It crashes quite often, so I set up monit on it – but I noticed monit has stopped doing it’s job due to the following batch of errors:

[06:02:24] error    : monit: Error reading pid from file '/var/run/fastcgi-php.pid'
[06:02:25] error    : monit: Error reading pid from file '/var/run/fastcgi-php.pid'
[06:02:26] error    : monit: Error reading pid from file '/var/run/fastcgi-php.pid'
[06:02:27] error    : monit: Error reading pid from file '/var/run/fastcgi-php.pid'
[06:02:28] error    : monit: Error reading pid from file '/var/run/fastcgi-php.pid'
[06:02:29] error    : monit: Error reading pid from file '/var/run/fastcgi-php.pid'

Now the problem was, the PID file was there, but it was 0 bytes for some reason – so monit couldn’t read from it. I have a fairly regular monit setup for the normal PHP monitoring, something like:

check process php-cgi with pidfile /var/run/fastcgi-php.pid
    start program = "/etc/init.d/php5-fcgi start"
    stop program  = "/etc/init.d/php5-fcgi stop"
    if totalcpu > 60% for 2 cycles then alert
    if totalcpu > 80% for 5 cycles then restart
    if totalmem > 1200.0 MB for 5 cycles then alert
    if failed unixsocket /var/run/fcgi.sock then restart
    if 3 restarts within 5 cycles then timeout
    if failed host localhost port 80 protocol http
       and request "/healtcheckfile.php"
       then restart

And this worked fine in most cases, but when something happened that caused a 0 byte PID file, monit would totally ignore the process with the following error:

[06:02:50] error    : 'php-cgi' failed to start
[06:04:50] error    : 'php-cgi' service timed out and will not be checked anymore

The solution to this problem, is to delete the PID file if it’s 0 bytes and restart the service so it creates a new, valid PID file. I achieved this with the following:

    check file fastcgi-php.pid with path /var/run/fastcgi-php.pid
    if size = 0 then
    exec "/bin/rm /var/run/fastcgi-php.pid"
    start program = "/etc/init.d/php5-fcgi start"
    stop program  = "/etc/init.d/php5-fcgi stop"

If you encounter the 0 byte PID after a crash and this works, you should see the following:

[11:21:39] error    : 'fastcgi-php.pid' size test failed for /var/run/fastcgi-php.pid -- current size is 0 B
[11:21:39] info     : 'fastcgi-php.pid' exec: /bin/rm
[11:23:39] error    : 'fastcgi-php.pid' file doesn't exist
[11:23:39] info     : 'fastcgi-php.pid' trying to restart
[11:23:39] info     : 'fastcgi-php.pid' stop: /etc/init.d/php5-fcgi
[11:23:39] info     : 'fastcgi-php.pid' start: /etc/init.d/php5-fcgi
[11:25:39] info     : 'fastcgi-php.pid' file exist
[11:25:39] info     : 'fastcgi-php.pid' size succeeded

Good luck!

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Continue Reading · No Comments · Internet & Tech, Sys Admin

Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary To Us!

It’s been quite a year, post wedding, we’ve had some time to ourselves, and some money to do some things we wanted to do – like our epic Eurotrip :)

And some diving too at Pom Pom, and various other trips here and there.

People always ask me what being married is like, how it’s different – honestly on the surface it’s not that much difference. Especially when you’ve been together for a long time like we had before getting married (8 years).

It does put some sort of more serious undercurrent on the relationship, as now it’s really permanent – but we always treated it that way anyway. It’s funny how priorities change as you get older, and it’s true when you look for someone to spend your life with – don’t look for the ‘best’ person you can find – look for the person who makes you the best version of yourself possible.

Thanks for being that person to me Kim :)

Wedding

May we have many more incredible years together.

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Continue Reading · 2 Comments · Serious Issues