spamassassin, procmail, grep yada yada yada

Following on from yesterday’s housekeeping I updated my spam filters today.

I use spamassassin in combination with procmail which generally rocks.

It features Bayesian Filtering which is described neatly in A Plan For Spam.

The only problem is it requires occasional manual training.

This involves going through my spam mail folder and checking that everything that was automatically tagged as spam by spamassassin was actually spam, and then “teaching” spamassassin’s Bayesian filter to regard it all as spam.

The more this is done the better spamassassin becomes at recognising spam.

The converse of this is that I have to run it over my inbox from time to time to tell it that my inbox isn’t spam.

As I checked each spam I noticed some of the scores that spamassassin had allocated them.

I flag any email with a score over 5 as spam, but I saw some as high as 20.

I became curious as to the highest so I grepped my spam folder and found out the highest was a score of 29.20 points!

I looked at the mail that triggered such a high score and it read like a spammer’s guide to annoying people.

It was selling software to enable me to spam people more effectively, how ironic.

For the geek curious, the command line I used to find out the score was:

grep "^Content analysis details" ~/Maildir/misc/spam/cur/* | grep -o "[[:digit:]]*\.[[:digit:]]* points" | sort -u -n

grep -o is the dog’s nads by the way. 🙂

Programming for fun or profit

Crap day yesterday. Coding to a tight deadline, nothing worked properly, everything took longer than expected.

At 7pm I decided I’d had enough and came home.

On the way home though I started thinking about some features I wanted to add to photodb.

I found it strange that after a frustrating day coding at work I wanted to go home and sit in front of the computer and code some more.

Then I started to think about what was so appealing about working on photodb at home versus working on some programming problem at work.

It’s not about being at home versus being at work, it’s something about the nature of the work itself.

Then it hit me. When I work on photodb I have no deadlines, no managers, no client (except myself) and fundamentally, if something I try to do doesn’t work I’ll just live without out.

This is the nature of working on something for fun rather than working for the man.

I dunno, always thought being paid to do my hobby, would be more… well, you know… fun.

Say Hi to Bug

This is bug, the server that hosts this site.

This was a photo I took when I was building it.

It now has a lid on it and sits in a rack (rack-mounted baby!) in a remote data centre.

Since installing it in December 2001 I have not seen it.

It’s worked perfectly and required no maintenance since installation.

I still think about it though.

Recipe for salad tacos

Made and ate tacos last night.

Was a variation on the usual tacos though, these were cold salad tacos. They kicked ass.

So, here’s how we did it.

Sliced a pack of M&S large cooked prawns, and a pack of M&S Chinese-style chicken.

Then sliced some spring onion, regular onion, tomatoes, cucumber and coriander.

Chucked the whole lot in a large bowl and mixed well.

Warmed the shells, as you do.

Then construction time began (food is always more fun when there’s an element of building involved).

Filled the taco shell halfway with the salad mixture, then added some plain salad leaves.

Then topped with Old El Paso Salsa.


Next time though I will add some avocado to the mix and some grated cheese to put on top of the salsa.

The only down-side to it all was that regular warm tacos soften the shell slightly which reduces cracking, but cold tacos have no such benefit so they can be even messier than normal tacos.

Damn, that’s made me hungry now.

Crap pub

I was thrown out of a pub the other day.

Not for being rowdy, or drunk, or misbehaving in any way in fact.

At lunch yesterday some colleagues and myself went to The Sussex in Covent Garden for lunch.

As soon as we entered the barmaid came over and told us we had to leave.

She said they didn’t allow more than four men in at a time (there were six of us).

We all laughed at her joke and went to sit down, then she said she was being serious.

They only had one bouncer and because of that they only allowed four men in at a time.

To emphasise the stupidity of this I should point out that it was a Thursday lunchtime and the place was deserted.

Also, there was no bouncer on the door during the day anyway.

We laughed some more anyway, and told her we used to come here for lunch with about twelve of us every Friday for most of last year.

She then looked us up and down and said that as we didn’t look like trouble we could stay.

But she’d pissed on her chips by now, we were all too offended to want to stay.

So we left and went somewhere else.

Never wanted to eat their crappy food anyway, bastards!

Guerilla advertising

Read about the fake poems on the underground over at and last night on the way home saw one too.

I was just scanning the tube ads in an inebriated stupor (as you do after drinking five pints) and the word Esso jumped out at me.

I re-scanned and saw that what I had previously dismissed as a poem was in fact an anti-Bush/Esso rant based on Tyger Tyger, it even had an apology to William Blake where they normally show the copyright info.

I can’t recall the wording now but it was vaguely humourous in a sub-O’ level manner.

Hats off to the cleverness of the idea and the execution of it though.


I have been spending an alarming amount of my free time lately playing with celebdaq, the Celebrity Stock Exchange, from the BBC.

It’s a highly entertaining utter waste of time.

Been on it for three weeks and have managed to triple my (virtual) money already.

I am now beginning to have a bit of strategy to my play too, been buying up the Oscar nominees in time for the weekend.

The TV show devoted to the game (don’t ya just love the Beeb) is on BBC 3 tonight at 10.30, go check it out.

Holiday photos are up!

I have finally scanned in all my holiday photos from my trip last September.

I went to Washington State in the US and British Columbia in Canada.

Places visited included Mount Rainier, Olympic National Park, Seattle and Vancouver.

Go to the home page or click below to dive right in.

Feel free to rate the photos too.

Mount Baker
Mount Baker
Skyline Trail
Skyline Trail
Seattle at dusk
Seattle at dusk