Archive for the ‘Yes, I’m a geek.’ Category

Google Adsense have bolloxed up NZ payments

July 17, 2012 7am in Yes, I'm a geek. | Comments (0)

Well done Google Adsense. </sarcasm>

For those people who have New Zealand bank accounts, the June 2012 Google Adsense payment was made incorrectly – Google inverted the exchange rate, meaning that everyone was only paid 60% of what they were supposed to be paid. New Zealand publishers awoke to this email:

SUBJECT: Important update about your recently issued AdSense payment

Dear publisher,

We’re writing to let you know about an issue with your June 2012 payment from AdSense. As you may have realized, an incorrect exchange rate was applied for this payment. As a result, the amount you received was only a portion of the earnings owed. We have already issued a credit to your account, and the remaining amount will be sent in a separate transaction in a few days.

We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.


The Google AdSense Team

There’s no excuse for this – simple system checks should have prevented (or at least warned) that an exchange rate was used that was wildly different to last month’s. However, not only that, Google screwed up the correction as well. A few days later, we were treated to this email:

SUBJECT: Important update about your recently displayed June AdSense earnings


We recently contacted you to inform you of an incorrect exchange rate used when calculating your June 2012 AdSense payment.

As we work to fix this problem we issued a credit for the portion of earnings owed to you along with displaying your June AdSense earnings. You may have noticed that the adjustment credit amount issued to your account is incorrect. Rest assured we will correct this adjustment amount and this will be reflected in your account early next week.

Shortly after we will pay out your June earnings plus the correct portion of earnings owed to you as a result of the incorrect exchange rate.

We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.


The Google AdSense Team

And, proving that Google have abandoned their “Don’t be evil” motto, they did not provide a “separate transaction in a few days” as they promised, rather, they issued it as a credit to your Google Adsense account. For me, that means I have to wait a couple of months before I’ll get the underpayment while I wait for my account to get above US$100 (the lower limit).

But, for those people who don’t get a lot of traffic and took a long time to get to their US$100 lower limit, they will have to wait for it to get up to US$100 again to get the repayment – remember, this was entirely Google’s fault, yet we suffer for it. And of course – there’s no email address or telephone number for them.


Back in December 2009, when I wrote this post, I would have been very annoyed about this mistake.

You watch, now that I’ve written this, Google will probably cancel my account. In their terms and conditions is probably something like “Thou shalt say nothing bad about the almighty Google, or thy soul shall become payable to Google along with thy first-born”.

“401.3 Access denied by ACL on resource” IIS – finally found a solution!

November 4, 2011 7pm in Yes, I'm a geek. | Comments (0)

Okay, so I was trying to build my website on IIS (Microsoft’s Internet Information Services) and I kept getting Access denied by ACL on resource at a certain point. Every single google search result said “check the permissions on your folder”, and there was never a follow-up post. Needless to say, it didn’t work for me. I spent hours trying to fiddle with the permissions, and eventually I compared the permissions to that of a folder that did not have the problem, and they were completely identical. So I did some thinking.

What solved the problem for me is that I had a folder called “” – the same as the name of the website. As soon as I renamed the folder and took the “.com” off the folder name (I renamed the folder to “xyz”), it suddenly worked!

I suspect that IIS was reading the “.com” ending of the name and thinking it was an executable – in windows, .COM and .EXE are executable files… but to the best of my knowledge, this doesn’t apply to directories! Stupid IIS!

I hope this helps someone else out there in the IIS world. Please leave a comment if it helped you!

Both my blog and old mail account have been hacked!

April 2, 2011 3pm in Yes, I'm a geek. | Comments (2)

First off, sorry to those of you who have known me since 2005 and still use the same email address as back then. You might have received spam from me from my old Yahoo email account. Most of it seemed to have consisted of just a link to some site.

I know because I got lots of “undeliverable emails” for emails that I’d never sent, and they were all to people in my Yahoo contacts, so someone somewhere got my Yahoo contact list. Luckily, it’s a very old email account of mine and I stopped using the contact list around 2005.

I’m not sure how it happened, whether it was someone “brute force” guessing my password (trying all possible passwords using a computer program), but I think it was more likely to be Open ID. I signed up to to ask about some programming questions, and to do that, rather than use a new user account, I used Open ID to save time, and used my Yahoo ID as my Open ID. I had to give my Yahoo password to this site.

Now, this site may have passed my password on to another site, or they may have logged onto my Yahoo mail after I gave them my password. I have no proof of this, but I’ve had this email address for over 10 years without a problem and it seems a bit of a coincidence that less than a week after I sign up to Open ID, my account is compromised.

So, when I log onto my blog to blog about this, I see that my most recent post has been marked as private, and someone’s put ads all over it! Uhoh, I thought, this is not good. So I looked further, and it showed a revision by someone called pandona. So I looked at my WordPress users, and this user had administration rights, meaning that they could do anything they wanted! Ouch!!!

And, to make things worse, they’d set it so that anyone that signs up to my blog automatically gets administrator rights! Fortunately, he or she also had the decency to disable user signups – if they didn’t, anyone could have done anything. This user also changed my time zone to the middle east, and changed a couple of other settings.

I have no idea how they did this, but since my WordPress version is two years old they probably used some obscure vulnerability which is freely available on the web. So, I’ve upgraded my wordpress to the most recent version, and changed the password on both my Yahoo email and my blog. Hopefully that will be the end of my problems!

T-Mobile! Stop goddamn texting me!!

August 19, 2010 1pm in Random Ramblings,Yes, I'm a geek. | Comments (12)

When I got back from my holiday last month, I got myself a new phone as I thought it was about time that I had a phone with internet on it. I joined T-Mobile because they had the best deal.

But now they won’t stop texting me with SPAM and JUNK!!! Every couple of days, I get a text telling me about some new feature, thing I don’t need or offer I don’t want.

So yesterday I called customer services (on a premium rate number of course) and was told that by texting STOP to 49011, I would be removed from all marketing. So I did.

Since then I’ve had more texts than ever.

Yesterday, 13:22 from “T-Mobile”: T-Mobile is really pleased to have helped you today, for 24 hour access to manage your account log in Thankyou, Stephen PS78

Yesterday, 13:23 from “49011″: Thank you, you will be removed from the T-Mobile Marketing mail list within 14 days. Pelase note this does not stop marketing messages from other companies.

Yesterday, 13:23 from “49011″: Thank you your request has been received. Please allow up to 14 days for changes to take affect.

Today, 13:26 from “T-Mobile”: Thank you for contacting T-Mobile! We’ll text you shortly for some feedback about your experience with us (All texts are free)

Today, 13:28 from “303510″: Q1 of 4: Overall, how satisfied were you with your call experience? [followed by a list of multichoice]

T-Mobile… listen… stop it! Stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it! STOP IT! What part of “I don’t want any more texts from you” don’t you understand??? One more text and I will be making a formal complaint.

By the way, I shouldn’t have to wait 14 days. Their developer needs to simply run the following SQL query to remove me from their database:

DELETE FROM numbers_to_annoy_incessantly_for_the_rest_of_their_life WHERE name = “Matthew Coolness McGee”.

That’s not difficult, is it? If that takes 14 days, then they have a severly defective index in their database schema.

Can I also take this time to say that T-Mobile are shit. Don’t use them. 70% of the time when I try to use anything that requires internet on my phone, I’m hit with “Connection failed”, “No network available”, or that sort of gubbins. This is despite being in an office building 8 floors up with full advertised phone reception. Plus, 30% of texts I send come back with “unable to send message”, and then I find out from my friends that they got my messages twice. That turns out to be costly for me when I start texting people in New Zealand.

Grr T-Mobile. You suck. I was with O2 for 3 years and never had a problem with them. Wish I’d paid an extra fiver a month and stayed with them.

Some fun games – if you like geeky physics games

April 3, 2010 2pm in Random Ramblings,Yes, I'm a geek. | Comments (2)

I’ve spent hours playing these two games – I think you have to be a geek to like them, but I think they’re fun!

Blosics 2 – Fire balls at stacks of green blocks to knock them off the screen, but don’t let the red blocks fall.
Taberinos – Launch your ball at the evil white lines, in order to clear the playing field in as few moves as possible.

Do you think they’re fun too?

I finally got a Google adsense payment!

December 1, 2009 4pm in Yes, I'm a geek. | Comments (3)

Google Adsense Bank StatementPrecisely four years after I first put Google Adsense ads on my games website, Google have finally given me some money! You can see it on my bank statement here.

For those of you who don’t know what it is, you can put ads on your webpages (see my website here, and also little ads that appear at the bottom of some posts on this blog), and if people that visit your site click them, you get a few cents. You don’t even have to choose the ads, Google does it for you.

However they won’t pay you until you reach 100 US Dollars. Since my website started off very small and without very much useful content, I figured I would never get there. Indeed, I started off by getting less than $1 per month (see the graph below. Note that the points on this graph are EARNINGS PER MONTH, not total earnings.

Google Adsense Earnings Per Month

Early this year (2009), we had a talk at our workplace from the creator of Java, and it inspired me to getting back into Java development. I wrote a couple of games in Java and put them on the website, and in the process put in a bit more colour to the site and jazzed it up a bit. Since then, my earnings increased a lot! In Nov 09, the month just gone, my website got me $25 US. Sure, not massive amounts of money, but I’m happy about it!

I’m not sure what caused the big spike in November 2008, I think my website got a mention somewhere on a major internet forum, but if you discard that month it seems that my website has got steadily more and more popular this year. If only it made about 10x times as much as it does, then I could work on it full time from home and never have to go into the office again!

It just goes to show, put some effort into your site and you might just make some money from it. You probably won’t get megabucks like you see in those online ads (“I made $5,000 a day from Google Adsense!”) but it’s a nice little hobby.

Jet Set Willy

November 3, 2009 11pm in Yes, I'm a geek. | Comments (1)

Jet Set Willy - The BathroomI used to love this game as a kid on my Commodore 64. Then Jet Set Willy II came out and I loved that even more.

Because I’m such a geek, I wrote my own version of Jet Set Willy in around June this year (about 22 years after I played the original). It’s a version that you can play in your browser here. I tried to make it as close to the original as possible, even with the same music.

Surprisingly, when you do a search on Google for Jet Set Willy, mine comes up third (your results depends on your country, but on my computer it comes up third). I think that’s pretty good – that means it’s the third most important link in the world on Jet Set Willy – not bad considering I only did my version a few months ago.

Now, if only I knew how to make money from this sort of thing.

Putting runs and walks on the map

July 26, 2009 3pm in Health and Fitness,Yes, I'm a geek. | Comments (0)

For those of you that don’t know, I like running and walking, and each time I go out for at least an hour, I draw the route that I ran on  The site has a lot of bugs, but it’s the best one out there that I know of (that, and I started on that site, and I don’t want to swtich to another site).

Yes, that makes me a geek alright… but it’s a good way to track how far I go each month and how many calories it burns.

I walked for 22km today around Tower Hamlets to take some photos (the map’s just there), and put it on the map when I got back home. I’ll put the photos I took up in a separate post so you can see where I live!  It will be exciting.

Hotlinkers… and free advertising

July 24, 2009 6pm in Yes, I'm a geek. | Comments (5)


What’s hotlinking?  It’s when a website links directly to images hosted on my webserver.  That means that that website gets images on their site, and I pay for the bandwidth.

But… what happens if I delete that image off my webserver?  Or… change it to something else?  Muhahahaha… this gives me an idea.

I’ve knocked up the following image in a few minutes:

Any time anybody downloads anything off my website (, it’s logged.  I can easily check the logs and see which websites are hotlinking to my images.  I’ve found that websites are only linking to two particular images on my server… a picture of a question mark, and a picture of the java icon.

Note… to avoid this problem, all a website has to do is download the image and then re-post it on their own server!

I’m going to replace the appropriate images on my website with the picture above.  That means that those sites that display my images are now going to show the image above!  Check here and you’ll see what I mean (when they notice, they’ll probably take them down, but they were there at the time of writing):

The first attempt at hacking my site… that I know of

July 22, 2009 2pm in Yes, I'm a geek. | Comments (0)

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Well I was looking through my logs of my website and saw some people had been trying to hack my website.  They did it by attempting to hard-code certain variables in the URL of my page to override the need for the admin password.

Luckily they failed!!! Muhahahahaha.  Their attack would have worked if I had PHP’s register_globals option on.  Fortunately, I didn’t, as it’s a well known security hole.

If you’re reading this, and you’re a PHP developer… turn register_globals off.  Now.  Do it now.  Have you done it yet?