Friday, 19 April 2013

Procrastination always wins out!

It's about 8:30 on a mid-autumn Perth evening. I'm currently a little intoxicated, but I once again find myself surrounded by code.

I'm not gonna lie, the website has taken a little bit (waaaay more than that!) of a backburner recently. So many other things have taken over recently that it's been kinda hard to keep track of everything. I just know that I am tracking nowhere near where I should be on this website.

I've opened the project for the first time in more than a month, and to be honest, I can't even remember where it was that I left it last time round. That's one of the things about writing code for a living as well as for a hobby, sometimes it becomes blurred, and the few little things you pick up at work merge with those that you think you have already done on your personal projects.

I have a few choices staring me in the face right now. I know that some of the stuff that is already in the project is not going to work out for the final cut. I know that only because of some of the things I have learned over the last few months working on similar projects. Do I take them out now, or do I leave them in there and work around them. Leaving them in means that at least some of the code will compile straight away, but taking them out will be better for the long run, but adds a lot of extra code. The former is, of course, the better option. Take out the stuff I know wont work now. Make a note of it, and come back to it at some other time. The former is the better option but in this state, I can't help thinking that the second option is the better one for the moment. I crave the rush of seeing all greens on the test suite, despite the dirty code.

Maybe I shouldn't be thinking that way. Maybe I should just leave the project alone for tonight and work on something else. I have another project on the go at the moment. It's quite a simple project, that will allow me to back test a ForEx strategy that I have been working on to see if it actually works. It's a quick and dirty application, but it doesn't need to be anything other than that. The point is to see the end result, it doesn't necessarily matter about how it gets there, only that the end result is accurate.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Setting Up Facebook

I have just set up the Facebook account for one of the people in the experiment. As mentioned in the first post of this blog, I have tried to emulate the security options that I am using for my personal account. The problem here is that it has been so long since I last checked my security settings that I have pretty much forgotten what they are. Luckily, I have a wide enough screen that I can have two separate browsers side by side.

The first thing that I need to do is set the option so that only friends can see any of the posts that I am writing. As explained previously, this account will not actually have any friends, but it will be interesting to see how much Facebook will learn about the user with a closed profile.

The next thing to setup is the How You Connect section. I have set this up so that anybody can search for the user based on their email address and phone number. I will not be adding a phone number to the accounts firstly because I don't have a spare number to use, and secondly my phone number is not attached to my personal account. Only friends of friends (of which there will be none) will be able to send friend requests, and only friends will be able to send messages to the user.
Although perhaps a little light on setup, that is pretty much all I need to do for the time being. Now I just need to start liking applications and pages, and see if I start getting any curious emails in my inbox.

More soon.

Friday, 21 September 2012

A Quick Update

Another friend of mine has been in contact with a question about the names being used for this experiment. His email reads as follows
Just been reading your new blog, does publishing the names for the accounts in the blog (assuming the email address etc. are basaed around the name) not risk compromising your experiment? All it will take is for one bored little troll (of which I'm sure you'll agree the internet has an endless supply) to sign you up for all sorts of spam and completely mess up your experiment.
This is something that I had actually thought of when I initially put the names down, but was uncertain whether or not to include the names in this blog or just have the names remain anonymous. At the time, I decided that I would include the names, but having read this email, I have decided to remove the names from this blog.

I am going to leave the names here until I update at the weekend, so if you don't already know what they are, you can see them in the other posts here and here.

That's all for now, I'm hoping to give a proper update over the weekend. Enjoy it, whatever you get up to!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A Few Extra Email Addresses

Having read the first two posts of this blog, a friend of mine voiced the following thought..
"It'd be interesting to open email accounts with Yahoo/Google/Hotmail etc. and see how much spam you get without using them"
Indeed it would!

As part of the experiment, there is already a Hotmail account open which will have no link to any social network, but I have not opened accounts with any other providers.

As stated in my previous post, I already use GMail for my main email account and I know that not a lot of unsolicited email gets through, but for the sake of argument, I will open a new account with them.

Yahoo, is one of the email providers that I have had experience with before, but to be honest, I haven't even tried to log into that account for probably more than ten years.

All that I need are a few names... hmm...

Okay, I'm going to go with the following


As with all of the other accounts, I will set them up with details that are similar to my own.

*** The actual names have now been removed from this post. For an explanation as to why, please see this post here.

Setting Up The Email

First things first is always a good way to order things, so let's start by creating some email addresses.

I am going to be using Hotmail as the email provider for the purpose of this experiment. My personal preference for email is to use GMail because I seem to get far fewer unsolicited emails in that account. It is precisely for this reason that I am not using GMail. I don't want any of the potential spam messages to be pre-filtered before hitting my inbox.

So, here goes... As I said in the the first post, I will be setting up the email accounts using details that are very similar to mine, but with fake names. The names need to be realistic enough to be believed by a potential spammer, so I have chosen to send a nod to the Chris Moyles show, and blatantly thieve a few of the recent funny names that were mentioned on the show. For anybody that is unfamiliar with the Chris Moyles Show, I have added a video to the bottom of this blog that will hopefully explain that bit.

So the names I have chosen are as follows:


Each of the accounts will be held as British accounts, and will have their birthdays set so that they are all 32 on the 1st December 2012.

While I am setting those accounts up, why not check out that Chris Moyles thing...

*** The actual names of the accounts have now been removed from this post. For an explanation as to why, please see this post here

The Beginning

A little while ago, I got into a discussion with my cousin about the many seemingly pointless groups that can be found on Facebook these days. These groups range from the "Cute Animal Pictures" groups to the more aggressive "Click 'Like' if you hate rapists" type groups. As an avid Facebook user, my news feed can often be taken up my friends liking these pages, or the pictures and campaigns contained within. In general, I ignore them, but I have had occasion previously to like a picture posted by some of these groups.

My cousin and I's discussion, albeit brief, got me thinking about the real purpose behind these groups. During the discussion, I pointed out that many of these groups may be set up with the sole intention of harvesting email addresses which can then be sold to marketing companies.

Having thought about this further, I wonder now whether this is entirely accurate or whether it is merely my cynicism that leads me to believe such a thing to be true. It is for this reason that I am setting up both this blog and the underlying experiment.

The Experiment
So, what is the experiment? Well, I am going to set up a new Facebook account with a new email address. The email address will be used solely for Facebook and will not be given out to anybody else. The purpose of the experiment is to see just how much unsolicited email I get through the new account.

For sake of balance, I will also set up two further email addresses. The first will be for the purpose of creating a Twitter account, since my real email address, through which I receive most of my junk email has both Facebook and Twitter accounts attached to it.

The third email account that will be created will be the control account. This will just be an email address and will not be used for anything at all.

The rules

  • The Facebook account will have no friends
  • All accounts will be set up with fake names but will closely match my personal accounts by way of age, sex, religion, etc.
  • Both the Facebook and Twitter accounts will have status updates at least twice daily
  • The Facebook account will also like at least two pictures, groups or pages daily
  • The pages that the Facebook account will like are restricted to *nice* pages. I will steer clear of the nastier subjects as, quite frankly, life's too short! Depending how the experiment goes, this may change
  • On Twitter, I will follow anyone who follows or retweets me except where I believe that the account is an obvious spam-bot.
Some of these rules may change over the course of the experiment depending on how the experiment goes. At the moment, there is no real end date for the experiment, so we will see how things go.

So with that, let the experiment begin!