Roman Sandals

February 12, 2009

What does Pee Wee Herman have to do with YAML?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — rchanter @ 11:14 am

Indeed, I often feel that XML documents, when compared with equivalent YAML files, demonstrate all the grace and calm reserve of a Pee-wee Herman chase scene (complete with rope swing, speedboat, sleigh, and man in a Godzilla costume).

That’s a quote from this book by André Ben Hamou, and it’s pretty much exactly how I feel about data serialisation. YAML has become my go-to format for just about everything. Why I love YAML:

  • It’s really easy to map out and visualise complex data structures, especially in languages like Perl where this can be a bit of a pain.
  • It’s completely cross-platform. so I can transport stuff between all the languages I write (yeah, OK, both of them if you don’t count 37 dialects of shell).
  • It’s safe — no eval required
  • Once your code is built to marshal/unmarshal using YAML, adding support for more formats (JSON, XML, language-native formats) is a piece of piss.

I will never write a config file parser again, nor hinky semi-structured report formats.

December 11, 2007


Filed under: spam, technology, Uncategorized — rchanter @ 10:27 am

So one of our mail servers got listed on spamcop the other day. It’s just an operational hazard of running a mail service of a non-tirvial size really, but still a PITA. Delisting is simple enough, mopping up is harder. I don’t know who I should be most annoyed with:

  1. Spamcop, for being a trigger-happy, FP-prone list (and by extension, Ironport for not doing enough to clean up their act).
  2. The people running mail servers who think spamcop is a safe RBL. This includes a few providers that I would have expected to know better.
  3. The people running rogue autoresponders inside our network, which is the most likely way for reputable senders to hit the spamcop spamtraps.
  4. IBM/Lotus, whose Out-of-Office autoresponder is an utterly brain-dead piece of crap. (and don’t get me started on how unusable mail rules are).

The right answer, of course, is all (or none) in equal measure. But deep down, I think I want to blame Spamcop and Ironport. Now, I’m all for blacklists discouraging backscatter. But no matter what measures the service operator takes, there’s always going to be something back at the mailbox that does The Wrong Thing. And Spamcop (by which I mean Ironport) have a tool that would be exactly the right thing to help distinguish between indiscriminate backscatterers and sites that mostly have the problem under control.Grrr. B’stards.

September 7, 2007

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rchanter @ 5:32 am

Ahem. Hello.

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