Posted in April, 2014

Heroes of the Storm

I got into the Heroes of the Storm alpha recently, and had a chance to play the tutorial plus a game or two. My initial experience is that the game-play is extremely simplified. Instead of other games that have a strong focus on micromanagement (last hitting minions, item builds, etc.), Heroes focuses on the team-based bigger picture. Gold is shared between everyone, kills don’t reward one player above others, and reacting to team pings is the way to win.

I found it a little simplistic compared to games like League of Legends or DotA, but I think if Blizzard polishes the game some more (which they will), it should be a disrupting force in the MOBA segment. With the changes they’ve made to their flagship games like World of Warcraft, Blizzard seems to be banking on the casual segment of the gaming population, which is an interesting gamble to make.

I disabled Bad Behavior a while back because I discovered that it didn’t play well with my caching plugin.1 Since then I’ve only been running Akismet, which has been working great. Unfortunately, the problem is that while Akismet filters through spam that get submitted, it doesn’t actually stop spam bots from submitting in the first place, which is what Bad Behavior did. This is important because part of what NearlyFreeSpeech bills is resource usage.

I found a plugin called Anti-spam that works as a “hidden captcha” of sorts. Working on the assumption that spam bots don’t execute JavaScript, it adds an extra field to the comment form. This field is invisible if you have JavaScript enabled, and if you don’t, it asks you a human-answerable question.

The effects have been pretty great. Normally I wake up to around 100-150 spam comments waiting for me, but this morning I found a grand total of… 0. It also let a legitimate comment through in the meantime, no problem.

Whether you get charged for resource usage or not, I would highly recommend installing Anti-spam or a similar plugin. Just the simple defense of not letting spam comments through in the first place take a great load off of the server, since otherwise it would have to process and screen every single one. Ideally, I would run Bad Behavior in combination with Anti-spam, if it worked with my caching setup.

  1. The IP of whoever visited when the cache was being generated would end up hard coded in the <head> of the document, which resulted in people with various IPs who visited having the original visitor’s IP in the Bad Behavior check. 

I got my hands on a beta key for Curse Voice recently, and they passed along some more codes for me to give out:

  • 39392e8f-626b-4f5a-8b5f-58ad9e86de40
  • 90bf6fd7-da8f-416c-b06a-918631ed5312
  • 34556e67-d523-4f7f-b659-8b0085b26aba
  • bf329905-ed34-4a59-b672-131e778bea2a
  • 699d6133-2f4f-4ed9-bc07-92e7ecf6be45

Redeem them here.

Edit: Looks like they’ve all been redeemed. I’ll post again if I get some more.

With the recent news that Yahoo wants Google’s spot in iOS, I went to Yahoo to see what it looks like after all these years. I was met with this:

Yahoo's home page

What is this tabloid garbage? The entire website is an affront to clean, efficient design. If you compare this to Google’s frequently-touted minimalistic homepage, and it looks even worse. On the other hand, if you go to, you’re greeted by this:

Yahoo's search page

The difference is just night and day. If Yahoo wants to be taken seriously in search again (even though they sold it all to Microsoft), they need to make this minimal design their homepage as soon as possible.