Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn


My experiment works! I think all the issues with it have been resolved, and it looks great! Hurrah! Now all I have left to do is work out the instructions for users, and get a subject (hopefully this week) to run it through. This is fantastic. Of course, a number of the gotchas were quirks of E-Prime, which as I'm sure I've mentioned, is an irritatingly bad implementation of BASIC geared towards psychology experiments. BASIC is not a good programming language, and whatever judgement they used in picking it also led them to some horrifically nonintuitive GUI design and random limitations for their IDE (which you pretty much have to use). It's good to have that mostly wrapped up.

On the Psychology Department free stuff table, there were two books that looked interesting that I picked up:

  • Legal Risk Management (For when people are involved with the American Psychological Association)
  • Being Hurt and Hurting Others: Children's Narritive Accounts and Moral Judgements of Their Own Interpersonal Conflicts
On the effectiveness of my IP-consistency-based way to keep spam off my BLOG, it appears to be around 95% effective. Every so often, a GET and a PUT happen to come from the same machine (I've confirmed by the result of the redirect that it's random chance that does it), and the post gets through. So far, this means I get spam at a level that I don't mind deleting it (although at some point I may turn keyword filtering back on). For my email client, I've been playing with some concepts in advanced spam filtering -- one of the ways that spam makes it past traditional word-based filters is it uses either a limited form of Leetspeak or odd punctuation to avoid simple matching. There are a number of ways to deal with this using fuzzy matching, although I've been working on some slightly different tactics. I turn a text stream, using sets of transformation rules, into several separate text streams that are more easily analysed, using rules to downgrade leetspeak into normal english, eliminate punctuation that's obviously wrong, and as a last resort chopping out all nonalphabetical characters and matching against that (which can easily give false positives, sadly). If I decide this works enough, I'll combine it with whitelists and implement it both in my email program and on my BLOG.

Speaking of which, I checked up on the Pegasus Mail folk, and am disappointed to see that their project is still around. At one point in the past, they threatened to sue me to force me to rename my email program from its original name, PMail, to it's current name, PSMail, despite Pegasus Mail not having a good claim to the name PMail. They were rude and pushy, and I look forward to the day their product is forgotten.

Tags: work

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