New Toys!

I just got a brand-new, top of the line, Dell Inspiron 8500. Suffice it to say that I like it. 🙂 Features:

  • 2.4 GHz P4 processor
  • 640 MB DDR RAM – plan to upgrade to 1 GB soon
  • 15.4" widescreen display with 1920 x 1200 resolution – screenshot
  • Windows XP Pro
  • Office XP Pro
  • 40 GB 5400 rpm hard drive
  • Modular DVD/CD-RW drive
  • And more!

I like it. We also got an Epson CX 5200 printer-scanner-copier, which is also quite nice.

Meanwhile, I found a better spam filter. Spammunition doesn’t work well with Office XP and Norton Antivirus 2003, so I found a filter called K9, which happens to have a much prettier interface and better statistics; it also runs with programs other than Outlook, as long as you’re on Windows 95 or higher, since it works as a proxy. So far, it’s doing quite well.

My dad used a gift certificate to get an anti-bark device for the dogs; we’ll see how it does. It just arrived today

Finally, I think I have my new super-app figured out, in my head. I just need to put it into code and do a ton of testing. First, though, I have too many other things to do, as usual…


I’m learning to program in Java. Decided I ought to, because my current pet project will eventually require a swift port to a clustered Linux environment, if I can really make it work. That, and it would make app maintenance easier for the apps I’m writing at Crusade.

Other than that, not much is new. I’m a geek (apparently), and an underpaid one. Situation normal.


Today’s breakthrough is discovering a great and free spam filter for Outlook 2000 (and up) which uses Bayesian filtering. It’s called Spammunition.

For those not familiar with these filters, a Bayesian filter operates on the assumption that history repeats itself: the odds of something being true in the future (or the present) can be predicted extremely well from the odds that the same thing was true in the past. In other words, without doing any complex combinatorics or statistical analysis, the fact that a playing card is a red 50% of the time over hundreds of draws is a great predictor that the odds of the next card being red are also 50%. In terms of emails, this would imply that if emails containing the word “weight” are spam 99% of the time (they are), we can delete any future emails containing that word with 99% confidence.

The trick here is to get beyond that 99%. Imagine if 1% of your legitimate emails get randomly deleted, and you happen to own an online business. That could be very expensive! So, we look at the weights of all the words in the message, including headers, subjects, etc, and combine them appropriately. Some filters using this technique (called Bayesian filtering, because it’s based on Bayes’s Rule) pass 99.95% accuracy. Now, that’s getting there. For more info, read Paul Graham’s website.


Tomorrow is, of course, Easter Sunday. To me, it’s the single most amazing day of the year: it validates not only the Christian faith, but all of life. What a beautiful story. Sadly, so few people understand it. Good Friday is a wonderful thing: on that day, as Christ died on the cross, because (and only because) He was God, He conquered death in the sense of removing the penalty, yet, without the Resurrection, we still wouldn’t have had a hope for eternal life!

To quote Tony Campolo, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!” May this Easter find you and yours well, and may God truly bless you with the gift of life in Him.

Life, the Universe, and Everything

So, I’ve been watching “Avoiding Armageddon,” which is poorly named and sponsored by Ted Turner (read, “biased beyond belief”), but interesting, nonetheless. Basically, it tells me things aren’t as bad as I think – they’re worse… I’m also perusing the MySQL manual and contemplating about a dozen projects of various sorts. Life is far too complicated.

I need some business and about a dozen employees, so I can get some sleep…