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Sick of compliment spam on your blog?

Not amused One of the great things about having a blog is getting comments on your posts. It’s particularly gratifying when someone takes the time to tell you that your post was helpful, entertaining, or well-written.

Spammers know this and exploit it by generating compliment spam. They’ll put together a few lines of general praise and slather them across the web, hoping that bloggers will fall for the trick and post their spammy links.

Abusive social engineering like this really annoys me, so when in doubt I always do a Google exact phrase search to see if the compliment is really for me and not from a bot. This is tedious, so I created a simple WordPress plugin: O RLY Comment Spam Search.

You can get the plugin directly from, where you can also give it a rating to tell other webmasters how great (or non-great) it is. By the way, the plugin browser/installer added in WordPress 2.7 is very cool, and makes it much easier to try out plugins.

Judging by the thousands of blogs my O RLY searches have found, this sort of spam works. But why do spammers do it? Since WordPress (and most major blog systems) nofollow links in comments by default, the spammers can’t expect to gain any PageRank from these links. My guess is most of this spam is either intended to get traffic via clickthroughs or is generated by naive site owners, SEOs and marketers who don’t really understand how things work.

Take a look and let me know if it’s useful in the comments below. Also, let me know if it’s breaking on certain comments or otherwise buggy.

LED Bulbs vs. Compact Fluorescent: Part II

DSC_0662 I wanted to revisit an earlier post comparing LEDs, CFLs and traditional incandescent bulbs. I found two different values for the power and light output of the Lemnis Lighting Parox II bulbs, and same folks at work were wondering the same thing.

I decided to bust out my trusty Kill-A-Watt and see how much power the bulb was really drawing.

I watched the meter for a bit and it never went above 4 Watts. So that’s a bit of a bonus. Out of curiosity I decided to plug my CFLs in and see how much power they actually drew.

The 15W CFL spiked to 18W for a second but then settled in at 12W. After a while it climbed up to 13W and would have presumably stayed there. The 7W CFL globe settled at 5W. The incandescent was the odd one of the bunch, measuring 63 W instead of 60W. So when you replace those old lightbulbs, you may be saving a little more than you think.

Here’s the updated spreadsheet:

Again, the total lumen output might not be directly comparable because the LED bulbs really only emit light from a half globe, while the other bulbs cast light in almost all directions. Depending on the fixture this might make the LED seem brighter in comparison.

How do LED lightbulbs compare to CFL and incandescent?

Spectrum of an LED light bulb One of the great things about working at Google is the company’s commitment to the environment. This week for Earth Day the company gave each employee two LED light bulbs – much more efficient than regular old incandescent bulbs and better in some ways than the twisty compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs I already have around the house.

Energy efficiency is one thing, but how do all these different lights compare visually? Three important measures to look at are the color temperature, the color rendering index (CRI), and the light output in lumens. I’ll talk a bit about both and explain a simple science demonstration you can do in your own home.

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