Bot 6.x-1.1 and Node Adoption 6.x-1.0 released

My Drupal IRC bot.module received a new release today, bringing it to 6.x-1.1:

  • bot_seen ping prevention matched inside strings; now only word boundaries.
  • #284666: We now use preg_quote() for various nickname escaping.
  • #349245: bot_tell doesn't consume username whitespace (thanks drewish).
  • #356003: bot_tell sorts queued messages by oldest first (thanks litwol).
  • #343245: Better regex for usernames like betz--; supports betz---- now.
  • #338723: Missing decode_entities() on project statuses (thanks RobLoach).
  • #313025: Better regex for log filtering to prevent substring matches.
  • #300206: Better factoid-ignoring of tell-like messages (thanks RobLoach).
  • #275042: Randomized messages now centralized in bot_randomized_choice().
  • #274888: Move all INSERTs and UPDATEs to use drupal_write_record().
  • #218577: bot_tell.module added (thanks Rob Loach). Additions/changes:
    • pending message queue now exists to remove SELECT on every message.
    • received messages use format_interval(), not a date (thanks litwol).
  • bot_factoid: PM a factoid with "BOTNAME: tell <who> about <factoid>".
  • #190825: Get URL to current logged discussion with "BOTNAME: log pointer?"
  • bot_name_regexp() now exists for matching inside a regular expression.
    • #117876: if bot has a nick clash, it now responds to both nicks.
    • #184015: bot name with non-word characters failed regexp addressing.
  • #137171: bot_karma.module added (thanks walkah/Rob Loach). Additions:
    • patch supported only words: committed version supports phrases.
    • if someone tries to karma themselves, the response is customizable.
    • drupal_write_record() is your friend; get used to using it!
    • "BOTNAME: karma foo?" is required to prevent bad parsing.
    • highest/lowest karmas are available at
    • terms less than 3 and more than 15 characters are ignored.
  • #267560: OS-specific newlines broke comparisons (thanks Gurpartap Singh).
  • #245610: bot_agotchi greeting triggers now customizable (thanks Alan Evans).
  • #184032: ignore improper hook_help implementations (thanks John Morahan).
  • #229880: bot_factoid stopwords were case sensitive (thanks John Morahan).
  • #187137: Drupal 7 style concats, and other style fixes (thanks dmitrig01).
  • #167097: fixed undefined index and better host check (thanks czarphanguye).
  • #142812: auto reconnect and retry are now configurable (Morbus/Shiny).

I've also recently taken over maintenance of Node Adoption, which I've upgraded and released as 6.x-1.0: "Node Adoption allows you to automatically reassign nodes created by a deleted user to another user of your choice. Similarly, a form is provided to change ownership of all nodes from one user to another at any time. Node Adoption was originally maintained by Mark Dickson (ideaoforder) and sponsored by The Chicago Technology Cooperative. As of Druapl 6.x, Node Adoption is maintained by Morbus Iff."


Link Dumpage for 2009-02-03

Notable links enjoyed today:

  • "According to legend, Genghis Khan lies buried somewhere beneath the dusty steppe of Northeastern Mongolia, entombed in a spot so secretive that anyone who made the mistake of encountering his funeral procession was executed on the spot. Once he was below ground, his men brought in horses to trample evidence of his grave, and just to be absolutely sure he would never be found, they diverted a river to flow over their leader’s final resting place."
  • "The Saqqara Bird is a bird-shaped artifact made of sycamore wood, discovered during the 1898 excavation of the Pa-di-Imen tomb in Saqqara, Egypt ... The function of the Saqqara Bird is unknown, due to lack of period documentation, but there has been a great deal of speculation regarding the significance of the Saqqara Bird."
  • "As the ceremony got under way with a dramatic, drummed countdown, viewers watching at home and on giant screens inside the Bird's Nest National Stadium watched as a series of giant footprints outlined in fireworks processed gloriously above the city from Tiananmen Square ... What they did not realise was that what they were watching was in fact computer graphics, meticulously created over a period of months and inserted into the coverage electronically at exactly the right moment."
  • "In Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach, Tumbolia is "the land of dead hiccups and extinguished light bulbs", "where dormant software waits for its host hardware to come back up ... In the later dialogue "A Mu Offering" (named after Bach's Musical Offering), the Tortoise gets rid of a knot in a string by tying a second one, and both disappear to Tumbolia; apparently, this is "The Law of Double Nodulation" (a parody of the law of double negation)."
  • "In 1934, Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (or “electric telescopes,” as he called them) that would allow people to search and browse through millions of interlinked documents, images, audio and video files. He described how people would use the devices to send messages to one another, share files and even congregate in online social networks. He called the whole thing a “réseau,” which might be translated as “network” — or arguably, “web.”"


Link Dumpage for 2009-02-02

Notable links enjoyed today:

  • Delicious tags: puzzle puzzles game arg design
    "But some of that furniture and some of those walls conceal secrets — messages, games and treasures — that make up a Rube Goldberg maze of systems and contraptions conceived by a young architectural designer named Eric Clough ... The letter directed the family to a hidden panel in the front hall that contained a beautifully bound and printed book, Ms. Bensko’s opus. The book led them on a scavenger hunt through their own apartment. But not all at once. The 18 clues were sophisticated and in many cases confounding."
  • "At noon, it was black as night. It was May 19, 1780 and some people in New England thought judgment day was at hand. Accounts of that day ... include mentions of midday meals by candlelight, night birds coming out to sing, flowers folding their petals,and strange behavior from animals. The mystery of this day has been solved by researchers at the University of Missouri who say evidence from tree rings reveals massive wildfires as the likely cause, one of several theories proposed after the event, but dismissed as 'simple and absurd.'"
  • "It is a strange phenomenon: thousands of large, perfectly round "forest rings" dot the boreal landscape of northern Ontario ... From the air, these mysterious light-coloured rings of stunted tree growth are clearly visible ... They range in diameter from 30 metres to 2 kilometres, with the average ring measuring about 91 metres across. Over 2,000 of these forest rings have been documented, but scientists estimate the actual number is more than 8,000."
  • "People love a good conspiracy theory ... So where does your average conspiracy buff go to learn about shadowy plots that aren't pure tinfoil hattery?" Includes FDR overthrow, Hitler/Valkyrie assassination, the Tuskegee Experiment, Operation Snow White, and, yawn, MKULTRA.


Link Dumpage for 2009-01-29

Notable links enjoyed today:

  • "So instead of players viewing a screen and projecting their identity elsewhere as in other digital learning games, ARGs actually require the player to play themselves, embodying themselves fully in the fantasy scenario, providing fully-situated meaning. If it can be argued that experience of projective identities contributes to deep learning, in that gaming requires players to 'see themselves in terms of a new identity..., the kind of person who can learn, use and value the new semiotic domain', then experiencing a new domain *as yourself* is likely to increase this contribution."
  • "Project Loyola [was] an alternate reality game (ARG) and senior-level project by students in the Game Design program at Savannah College of Art and Design ... The team members worked together over 10 weeks to develop the project under the guidance of Prof. Brenda Brathwaite."
  • "They [managed to create ball-lightning-like fireballs] by putting pieces of silicon or one of a number of other solid materials inside a shoe-box-sized cavity and zapping the material with microwaves from a metal tip. Once the material had melted, the researchers pulled the metal tip away, dragging material from the molten hotspot. That created a column of fire which then detached itself to form a floating, quivering fireball."
  • "[The regenerative powder] is a substance made from pig bladders called extracellular matrix. It is a mix of protein and connective tissue surgeons often use to repair tendons and it holds some of the secrets behind the emerging new science of regenerative medicine. ... Corporate America, meanwhile, already believes regeneration will work. Investment capital has been pouring in to commercialize and mass produce custom-made body parts."
  • "A neckband that translates thought into speech by picking up nerve signals has been used to demonstrate a "voiceless" phone call for the first time. With careful training a person can send nerve signals to their vocal cords without making a sound. These signals are picked up by the neckband and relayed wirelessly to a computer that converts them into words spoken by a computerised voice."
  • "In the warm-glow view of philanthropy, people aren’t giving money merely to save the whales; they’re also giving money to feel the glow that comes with being the kind of person who’s helping to save the whales. ... “Giving is not about a calculation of what you are buying,” Karlan said. “It is about participating in a fight.” It is about you as much as it about the effect of your gift."


Link Dumpage for 2009-01-28

Notable links enjoyed today:

  • You can finally buy a subscription online. Done. "For nearly forty years, Word Ways has explored the many facets of logology (an old word resurrected by the late Dmitri Borgmann to describe recreational linguistics). Dmitri wrote the classic book on this topic -- Language on Vacation (Scribner's, 1965), now out of print -- and was the first Word Ways editor in 1968. Word Ways is published in an 80-page format four times a year (February, May, August, November)."
  • I've long held this philosophy. "You’re five years old. Don’t presume too much to know what’s important and what isn’t. Photocopy journal articles, photograph archives; create bibliographies, buy books; make notes on every article or book you read, even if it’s just one line saying “Never read this again”; collect newspaper clippings and email them to yourself; collect quotes; save your ideas for future papers, future projects, future conferences, even if they seem wildly implausible now. Hoarding must become instinctual, it must be an uncontrollable, primal urge."
  • Delicious tags: art mirrors audience
    This is great! "Audience ... is an installation consisting of around 64 head-size mirror objects. Each object moves its head in a particular way to give it different characteristics of human behaviour. Some chat amongst themselves, some shy away and others confidently move to grab your attention."
  • Delicious tags: kindle amazon ebook ebooks
    If the second generation natively supports PDF, I'll consider it.


World of Warcraft Quest Tracker Updated to 1.4

Like the script? Keep it updated by sending me a buck or two!

I've released a new version of my World of Warcraft Quest Tracker today:

  • updated to the latest version of Allakhazham's site.
  • fixed bug where level filters missed -1 leveled quests.
  • ignore a healthy dose of broken "Seasonal" database entries.

You can see the latest output for my level 60 Troll Shaman, Morbulin, here (which I'm no longer playing, but that's OK). Thanks to one of my users for letting me know it stopped working - he's been working on finishing every quest available, becoming the first in the world to do it (or, at least, track it). This new version of the script should be more reliable when it comes to new categories and zones being added (i.e., it will hopefully learn of all the new Wrath of the Lich King areas without requiring new code changes).

Operation: Sleeper Cell launches

Back on October 7th, 2007, I wrote that I was a judge over at Adrian Hon's newest project, Let's Change the Game, "a competition to fund development of an [alternate reality game (ARG)] that would raise money for Cancer Research UK". Besides building the Let's Change the Game site (in Drupal), I continued my involvement in the project by becoming an advisor to the winning team, Law 37. Now, a year later, the winner of that competition has just launched the alternate reality game Operation: Sleeper Cell, another Drupal site:

"Operation: Sleeper Cell will see teams of players from around the world working together to solve 'puzzle cells' in a grid. By donating money to the game, they can unlock extra cells for all players, and also advance the story, which takes place over websites, blogs, Twitter and even in real life."

My advisor role largely played to "how do ya do this in Drupal?" so, gladly, I've remained out of the content, missions, and puzzles produced. Gladly because, with the site launched, it looks so tasty that I'm quite happy to be along for the ride with all the other players. I hope to be sponsoring some cells, with proceeds donated to cancer research, sometime soon. Follow the progress of, or sponsor, team #swhack.

Operation: Sleeper Cell launches as another alternate reality experience closes: Liberty News, a companion to the BBC's Spooks: Code 9 from Kudos. The site was created by Adrian Hon's Six to Start and was built in Drupal by yours truly. Unfortunately, an IP filter denies non-UK residents, so you'll need to use to see it.

/me descends into Warhammer Online

I've been a long-time fan of Warhammer, and preordered Warhammer Online months ago (yep, the sold-out Collector's Edition) too. Fiddled with the Open Beta a bit, but my real efforts are now being devoted to Morbulette, a Chaos Magus on the Ulthuan core server. Friend me and watch me strive for every achievement, every title, and every quest, in only 2 hours every week night. I estimate... 32 years to go. Woot!


Wikipedia and the Zodiac Killer

Zodiac, a serial killer whose identity still remains unknown, continues to make headlines, most recently in the murder of Megan Touma, when a newspaper received a letter from someone purporting to be the killer, who will "start using my role-model's signature". A friend on IRC noticed that the John F. Kennedy page on Wikipedia had been defaced with a message, purportedly from Zodiac. Within 30 minutes, the message had been decrypted:

vandaljzing wikipedia is so fun it is funner than killing people or having sex because when you kill people you only destroy their bodys but when you vandalize this website you kill the soul of the poor queer pig slaves that devote their lives to the embarkment that i am now destroying with my own bare hands

Rough timeline of events:

  • Google indexed the same message in the William McKinley Wikipedia article.
  • sbp noticed that there were 26 unique symbols, suggesting a simple substitution cypher.
  • sbp provided a simple symbol-to-character hash, for use in online solvers.
  • ianivs used a cracker to solve it in 6395041 attempts.
  • The folks in #wikimedia found the template changes.

Drupal Tough Love #2: Signatures for Forums 5.x-2.3

Over at Drupal Tough Love, chx and I just reviewed Signatures for Forums 5.x-2.3 which "provides user signatures that will be familiar to users of popular forum software" such as "the administrator can choose the input filter for signatures", conditional signatures that are hidden "if a post is under a particular length", and showing the signature only once per conversation.



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