Yea, me too.

As I mentioned many times before, recent development and support on both Spam Karma and WPPM have taken a serious toll on a schedule that certainly didn’t need the extra excitement.

On an average, I receive over a dozen emails/comments a day regarding SK or WP-related support. A good 90% of which are usually RTFM-related and not in any way due to a bug in SK. Lately, I have spent upward of two hours, every single day, dealing with plugin development issues (mostly SK). Very often to come to the conclusion that the bug I’m going after has been introduced by some changes in WP’s code, user hacks, exotic server configurations or any of the hundred parameters I have little control over.

And this, of course, for the mere glory of it all. Because it is doubtful I will ever make a buck off it (and that’s really not the goal), nor is this type of development ever likely to impress anybody reading my resume (the kind of people who employ me usually, ignore until the very meaning of the word ‘blog’).

But this is quite alright.

The many thank-you notes, sincere props, pitches in the tip jar, as well as the personal benefit from using these tools on my own blog, definitely go a long way toward making it worth my time. And I am certainly not gonna start complaining because a project of mine gets some amount of popularity. User adoption is indeed the greatest form of appreciation for one’s work.

Why am I putting Spam Karma’s development on hold, then?

From my childhood readings I remember this particular chapter off Jules Verne‘s visionary masterpiece From the Earth to the Moon.

The first volume would go over the fabrication of a humongous cannon being built to send a few adventurers on the Moon (yea, this is 19th century science-fiction all right, but not as far off as one would think) and included an historical background of both the main character: Impey Barbicane, founder of shots during the Civil war, and his personal nemesis-turned-ally: Captain Nichols, founder of armored plates. That one chapter described extensively the armament race that opposed the two men through their new inventions on the battlefield.

Every time the cannon grew bigger, the armor became thicker, and vice-versa.

Anyway, spam strongly reminds me of that. Just when everybody started enjoying a deceivingly quiet reprieve in the Spam Wars, the filthy baboons come back and hit again, harder, and nastier. This time using a different angle.

Having spent a sizable share of the past few weeks writing and supporting an anti-spam plugin for WordPress, I have been extensively reading and cogitating on the issue.

While I am ashamed to say that I have not come up with any magic answer to the problem (and don’t think anybody ever will), I nonetheless have lots of remarks and ideas I’d love to share. And given the appallingly low level of certain discussions on spam I have read lately, I figure it couldn’t hurt.

Update: Please note that this was originally written for Spam Karma v.1 and therefore some elements (licensing especially) no longer apply to SK2. Same spirit overall though.

OK, so before I go any further, let me make things as clear as I can:

Spam Karma is and will always be absolutely free. Free as in beer, free as in love.

So free, actually, that you could practically take it, change twenty lines and start selling it as yours. Except your own karma would probably shrivel as a result.

Anyway, the gist of it is that you are under no obligation, legal or moral, to pay anything for its use. In fact, you are entirely welcome and encouraged to use it for free. Though a supportive e-mail or comment is always nice too.

Now that we got that part out of the way:

First thing: there is now a static page entirely dedicated to Spam Karma. Among other things, it will always contain the current version number as well as links to other relevant piece of information.

Now that we pretty much got Spam Karma 1.x nice and stable, it’s time to get ready for 2.0!

Below is what I have more or less already planned for it, please feel free to add your own wishes, desires and suggestions in the comments.

Picture spam_sandwich.jpg
UPDATED: 12/09/2004 15:46 JST From now on, please check the central Spam Karma page to get the latest updates and news on this plugin.

Yet another techy update for my fellow bloggers using WordPress.

Now that it’s reached version 1.4 and that most (all?) major bugs have been ironed out, I feel it’s time to introduce the latest member in the ever-expanding WordPress plugin family

Spam Karma is a mean critter that truly enjoys killing

In fact it is so mean that we had to keep it in a special military-grade containment unit on this server.

Genetically engineered in the dark recess of our Secret Spam Research Labs and trained through months of reflex conditioning and shock therapy, this thing, once unleashed on your comments, will only let go of its death grip after the last spam has been shredded to pieces.

We haven’t fed it for a week now, and it could smell spam miles away in its sleep.

But while a fierce and merciless spam killer, this plugin is also a perfect companion for your kids and friend’s comments. Only the unmistakable foul stench of spam will trigger its ire… while questionable, yet potentially legit, comments will always be given a chance to clear themselves before being irremediably disposed of.

If you are using WP Plugin Mgr, install is as easy as a click on the “Check Updates” button and a click on the “One-Click Install”… Yep, that’s all.
For those still stuck in the last century, a manual install archive is available here. Please, please, RTFM: it’s short, sweet and contains essential details.

Once installed, make sure you check at least once the Option screen (in wp-admin, click on Options >> Spam Karma).

I strongly recommend you check for updates (if you are using WPPM it will do it automatically for you) at least once a week so as to make sure you benefit from the latest bug fixes I might make.

Spam Karma v. 1.4 is now compatible with WordPress 1.2: however due to the lack of certain functions in WP 1.2 Plugin API, some of the features are missing (Option Page integration etc). It is fully enabled for use with any fairly recent release of WP alpha 1.3.

Last Update: The WordPress Plugin manager is no longer available for download and support has been discontinued. More info here.
10/20/04 Update: Check out the new version

If you are a WordPress user, go check out the shiny new WordPress Plugin Database!

If you have written plugins for WordPress, go add them already!

If you do not use WordPress, then, well… you should.

But I’ll still talk to you if you don’t…

Will I come out as an insensitive cold-hearted bastard if I publicly lament here the fact that all things interesting and exciting only happen in Japan when I’m not there, stuck six thousands miles away, in a city where major earthquakes, flood and other cool natural disasters are about as likely as a shred of human soul mistakenly finding its way into Dick Cheney’s corpse…

On that count, Paris is quite boring.

I am told the floods of yore, when the as-of-then-undomesticated Seine river expanded its bank to all surrounding neighbourhoods, were a vision of surrealistic awe. What with the people, bank clerks and congressmen alike, having to swim their way back from work, French baguette in one hand, cigarette in the other and beret on top.

OK, perhaps the congressmen didn’t have to go freestyle swimming, but surely there couldn’t be enough boats for everybody…

Finally got around to writing some kind of doc for my mail posting script for WordPress. And I can therefore finally release it for the world to use and enjoy.

Please welcome a new member in the WP plugin & hack family: wp-keitaimail v. 1.0b!

Actually, it is not technically a plugin, nor a hack, rather a standalone script that interfaces with WP to let you post entries to your blog via Email.
The name ‘keitai’ simply means ‘cell phone’ in Japanese… This script might as well have been called wp-cellphone-mail, I just liked the sound of ‘keitai’.

You can see a working demo on the right-hand side of this blog where it powers the “keitai log”. I have been using it for nearly a month now and it should be really stable albeit a tad complicated to set up (see below).