waving android

I am currently a software engineer at Google, where as a member of the Android platform team I build frameworks and user interfaces.

The blog here at is mostly historical; you can find more recent posts on .

Archive for November, 2005

Stuff

November 28th, 2005

[17:57] <em> looking for a high-quality Stuff Engineer. must have 10 years experience in Stuff.

Emerson

November 28th, 2005
Pain and joy: My friend Blair is now a father, and has been kind enough to share the emotional story. Congratulations, Blair and Kim: I wish you happiness and sleep.

A short break

November 24th, 2005
As if they weren’t already sufficiently sparse, dsandler.org updates will pretty much grind to a halt for the holiday weekend and the following week. Between my family (in town) and my classes (concluding, with projects due), there’s no justifiable reason to be wasting time posting things here. Thanks for understanding, and I’ll be in touch in December.

My (old) new parking technique.

November 18th, 2005

Some of you may already know that in July of last year I had a rather embarrassing (and highly dangerous) parking mishap. I scrupulously avoided posting it back then, but I think enough time has passed that I can share the story with you all.

Plus, it’s an excuse to try out my shiny new (old) scanner ($22 on CL).

Please enjoy: “my new parking technique is unstoppable” (originally drawn & inked in my large sketchbook on July 27, 2004).

FeedTree 0.6.0 out.

November 15th, 2005

I pushed out a new FeedTree release at about 2:30 this morning. The biggest new feature is a shiny graphical app, because the biggest complaint I received about the last release was the arcane command-line interface. Downloads available for Mac, Windows, and any other platform that runs Swing applications. (The command-line ftproxy is still available, too.)

Update 11/18: Version 0.6.1 is now out, and it’s even better—oh point one better!

Trackback spammers upping the ante

November 14th, 2005

Kevin Burton: Nasty New Trackback Spam. The main technique in this case exploits the fact that TypePad allows HTML in a place where it shouldn’t (an easy fix), but this caught my eye:

3. In the post URL they encode your permalink’s URL so that automated backlink trackers fail since now your URL appears on their site.

This might sound a bit confusing so I’ll show an example.

The trackback they submitted was:

http://foocom/foo.php?www.feedblog.org/2005/08/msn_filter_even.html

Then when you load this URL they automatically create a link to:

http://www.feedblog.org/2005/08/msn_filter_even.html

This is the first attack I’m aware of that specifically attempts to thwart backlink checkers like the Trackback Validator I helped with this past summer. When we started the project, we predicted that trackback spammers would either give up and go home (ha!) or they’d continue with the arms race and develop some kind of dynamic spam page in response.

There are a couple of reasons why I think this means that the spammers have essentially lost:

  1. The spammers now need a stable URL on a server that can (potentially) serve a lot of hits. It’s a slightly greater investment, and any time we can create some financial burden on spammers, it’s a tiny win.
  2. More importantly, the URL used in the spam contains a valid backlink. By the metric we described when we released the Validator, this is no longer considered “spam”. Since PageRank is (currently) strictly additive, this means that the spammer can only be increasing your PageRank (and of course you’re doing nothing for his, because you used nofollow, right?). The spam is essentially harmless (and, in practice, difficult for a human to distinguish from a legitimate Trackback).

In a sense, these are the central goals of any anti-spam effort: to increase the costs to spammers, and to decrease the costs (in terms of time, PageRank, money, etc.) to recipients.

no nonsense in any month

November 13th, 2005
From Craigslist, via Ping: 10 reasons why gay marriage should be illegal. Excerpt:
02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
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