Annoying spammers with pf and spamd

Here’s an interesting article on spam—I like the author’s pro-active approach on fighting spam(mers).

Annoying spammers with pf and spamd


Drink to your health!

Check out this article. You’ll learn some things I bet you didn’t know. In fact, the first time I read it, I had to stop reading because I was laughing so hard. Your mileage may vary, but at least I hope you get a kick out of it. Enjoy!


Blogging is Easy

Right now I’m showing my friend, Gao Wen Dong, how my weblog works. It’s actually quite easy to do (even my mom could do it!). You don’t need to know anything about html. You just log into the Blogger website and start typing. When you’re done typing, you can just press the post and publish button. And voilà! The entry shows up on my weblog.

China Python

Post Holiday Rest and Relaxation

Well, Lily and I had an excellent holiday. We visited family in NE China, wore lots of clothes to keep warm, ate really well, and enjoyed the fireworks and the stars. (In fact, back in Beijing, people are still setting off fireworks for the rest of the week.) It was a great experience for me to celebrate the Spring Festival in China. One fun moment was buying ice cream bars from a street vendor at -20°C! At that temperature, a cardboard box is all you need for refrigeration.

Since coming home to Beijing, I’ve rested lots, and been working at home for the week since the office is closed. (I need to make up for all the work I missed since I took my holiday earlier than everyone else.) But I got it all done and it’s Friday night. I’m looking forward to going out and watching the sunset and then maybe I’ll go out for pizza.

Also this week, for some reason, I’ve gone crazy playing and hacking around in Python. Maybe I missed my computer lots on my holiday. (I think so!) I wrote a command-line equivalent to the Unix cal(1) command which prints calendars like this for any month and/or year:

   February 2003
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 2  3  4  5  6  7  8
 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28

It’s not that big of a deal though since Python has this as a built in module. But it needed a command-line interface, so now my windows box has a cal command. I’m also working with a full-text indexer to index all the textfiles (and email messages) on my computer to aid with searching for stuff I’ve archived long ago. I am also planning to write a simple equivalent to the GNU locate command, to just help find locations of files (not their contents) on my computer.

Of course, when I come up with something useful, I need to stick it on my webpage to share with the world. Fun, fun, fun!


Happy Spring Festival!

[image from]The New Moon on February 1 marks the beginning of the new year in the Chinese calendar. But to the Chinese, this is the start of their Spring Festival. Okay, so it’s not spring yet, but the Chinese are eager to forget winter and to welcome spring. Aren’t you?! (Those of you in northern climes, anyway.)

I will be celebrating the Spring Festival here in China, which I am very happy about. I’m not too sure what I will be experiencing, but already I’ve had two parties at work and I know I’m going to eat well for the rest of the holiday. Yum! Tomorrow I fly to Haerbin in northeast China to experience the holiday in Heilong Jiang Province. I hope to see the famous Ice Festival with the beautiful ice sculptures and ice lanterns.

If you can’t be in China for the Spring Festival, I hope you can check out the festivities in your own community. Any major city in Canada will be having stuff going on. Otherwise, spend an evening with Google! and see what the Spring Festival is all about.

Wishing you and your family much happiness in the new year.


Starting to rebuild the website

I’m back in Beijing and things are going well. I adjusted a lot better to the jet lag coming this direction, so I’m thankful for that. It turned out that even with all my books, my bags weren’t overweight. The girl in front of me in line at the check-in counter ended up paying $300 cause her bags were 17 kg (or was it pounds?) too heavy. Yikes!

The weather here has been quite good, and amazingly, the air has been quite fresh. Wow! So I’m enjoying that. I’m also concentrating on continuing my astrology studies and on overhauling my webpage. For years it’s kind of read like a resume, so I want to change that. I’m designing the style and layout right now, and once I get that in place, I can start to add content to the framework. I’ve just switched the style of this page so that someday my weblog and my homepage will match.


Leaving Edmonton

Well, it’s just after midnight, local time here in Edmonton, and I’m about to fly back to Beijing in the morning. Nothing exciting, I guess. I’m just tired. But I am looking forward to being back in China and being with my friends again. I wonder how cold January will be…?

I’ve got my bags all packed (all the books I bought!) and I’m just playing around on the computer a bit before going to bed. Next time I write, I’ll be in a very different time zone. Cheers!

China General

Books, and Fluoride for your soul

I’ve been home from China for the last three weeks over Christmas, visiting family and friends. I’m going back this Friday, so I’m doing the last of my errand running and such tomorrow. I sure bought a lot of books this trip. I hope they all fit in my suitcase. There is a definite lack of English books in China, especially on the things I like to read about. So I’ve made full use of mail-order web sites as well as the good old used book stores in my hometown. I’m sad to have learned Second Fiddle Books closed about three months after I left for China. I heard the owner, Chris, is no longer in the book business but has started a plumbing apprenticeship. Good luck, Chris! I hope to run into you some day.

I visited the dentist during my brief time here, and a conversation with my dental hygenist left a significant impression on me. It was weird. Having learned I was living in China, she expressed concern whether I would be getting fluorinated water over there. She then launched into a exposé on the importance of fluoride which bordered on fanaticism. It seemed strange enough that it triggered some fragments of pieces I’d heard about fluoride being unsafe. So, this morning I looked up fluoride on Google! and learned a bit more about the controversy. The preceding link will bring up sites on both sides of the fluoride debate. If you read too much, you may begin to question our faith in the agencies which are in place to protect the public’s health, or in the scientific societies (and journals) which are in place to protect the objectivity of science. You could call me paranoid, but maybe I haven’t been getting enough fluoride in my diet the last 9 months to keep me quiet about such things. 🙂 Cheers!


Welcome to my new web log

I’ve given it the title “The Mad Philosopher” because that’s how I feel sometimes. This will be a forum for my thoughts, ideas, experiences, and other things I want to share with my friends and family, especially as I have been hanging out in China lately. It will be interesting for me to see where this goes and how it turns out. I’ll eventually merge it with my webpage proper, so that the two sites are integrated with the same style. You can find my webpage here.

I maintain this “blog” through the site, which allows me to simply log in, enter some text, hit the “publish” button, and blogger then creates and updates the webpages that you are now viewing. So if you feel like creating your own web log, give blogger a try.