mod_virgule Attack Resistance

lkcl and redi have commented on the ongoing trust metric attack on mod_virgule sites, noting the effects on Advogato. The same thing is happening to other mod_virgule sites including and ghostscript. I emailed Raph a warning about this activity in May when I first noticed the use of automated programs creating large numbers of identical accounts on the three sites. I don’t want to link to any examples directly but try googling on “dltxprt” or manually typing in the user URL to see an example user on all three of the mentioned sites. I’ve been tracking IPs and the account names on so I can kill them all off if needed but so far the trust metric has resisted the attack effectively.

The spammer is using the notes field of each account for search engine link spamming but otherwise isn’t causing much immediate harm other than resource abuse. I have working code to delete mod_virgule accounts but I’m still pondering how best to use it to remove the evil doers in this case.

The blog spam seems limited to Advogato for some reason. If it starts on, I think my solution will be to remove the A tag from the list of tags that can be used by observers. I don’t want to remove the ability of observers to post blog entries, as lkcl suggested, because that’s the only way we find out enough about some new users to decide whether they should receive a higher trust ranking.

One interesting thing to note is that almost all of the spammer’s accounts certify each other, creating what Google refers to as a “bad neighborhood” in webpage trust rank terminology. If you have a legitimate webpage and link to a “bad neighborhood” it can adversely affect your own page’s rank. It might be wise to implement something similar in mod_virgule. If a legitimate, trusted user certifies an untrusted user in a “bad neighborhood”, maybe it should result in decrementing the trust of the legitimate user rather than increasing the trust of the bogus user? Just a thought.

Art, Cars, Cows, and Robots

As I stepped out of the Deep Ellum Subway where I ate lunch today, I saw a wondrously strange vehicle drive past. It was a Chrysler covertible covered in bovine-themed mosaic tile, with a giant, longhorn and barbed wire hood ornament thing, and driven by a beautiful girl. We briefly made eye contact as she passed. As she drove away, I noticed the words “Cow Goddess” emblazoned on the back of the cow car. Moo.

Seeing an unexpected art car reminded me that I recently posted a few photos from the 2006 ARTFEST event in Addison and the 2006 Deep Ellum Arts Festival.

Are robots art? I think so. The 2006 Tanner Robot Show was held recently and I shot a few photos there too (if you want more, Tanner’s posted some official photos of the event). I’m particularly fond of Ron’s pink bunny-laden robot, though Frank’s Zombarbie also stands out.

I’m still enjoying my Fuji S5200. While I miss some of the flexibility and image quality of my good ol’ Canon T90 film camera, I don’t miss the cost of film processing.

24 Hour Video Race

Susan and I attended a few screenings for the preliminaries of this year’s 24 Hour Video Race. A friend of ours participated and her team, Common Man, was one of the winners in the preliminaries and moved on to the finals (congratulations!). It’s a cool little contest. At midnight on the starting day, the teams are assembled and given a general instructions that include a theme, a prop, a location, and a line of dialog. They have 24 hour to write, shoot, edit, and deliver a 5 minute video containing all the required elements. Everybody’s video is shown at the Angelika theater and judges select the good ones to go on to the finals. The whole event is produced by the Video Association of Dallas, the same folks who put on the annual Dallas Video Festival. I missed the finals but the Comman Man team came in second in their category (congratulations, again!).