Page Rank zero? Pah!

Many moons ago I noticed that my site had PR0 – usually reserved for those sites deemed to be selling links by the almighty Google. I’ve never sold a link on this site, everything I link to is a personal recommendation – just the way link citation is supposed to work. Giving me a PR0 seems once more makes me feel personally penalised – it happened in 2005 when a site of mine appeared in the Google Raters Quality Guidelines, which at the time allegedly didn’t exist. An odd claim to fame that one – as my rankings went from #1 to #999 for all my search terms, sigh.

I don’t intend for this site to rank for anything, or to sell links to anyone, so Mr G, you can keep me on PR0 for as long as you like 🙂

Renting a flat in Barcelona

Barcelona is a great place to live, and a fantastic place to visit for a short city-break holiday. Everyone knows that of course, which is why the apartment rental market has exploded since I first moved here in 2002. Now there is no shortage of offer – though sometimes the quality of the accommodation may be lacking. Here’s my recommendation if you’re looking to rent an apartment in the Raval area of Barcelona. The Raval district is unrelentingly “real”, and is breath of not-quite-so fresh air amidst the heavily-touristed (can I say that?! spell check sure doesn’t like it…) Barrio Gotico and Las Ramblas. Full of bars, restaurants, and night-life, super-close to all the tourist spots whilst being very much authentic, it’s a lively multicultural area of BCN. Enjoy!

Guided walks in Andalucia

If you enjoy walking holidays or nature trails, I would like to suggest my uncle’s guided walking holidays in spain. He runs walking holidays and guided walks in the beautiful Lakes region of Ardales, Andalucia, in southern Spain.

This area is particularly good walking country, often compared to the English Lake District in Wordsworth’s time, before the hordes descended on it but with better weather! The bird life is excellent, including such specialties as eagles, osprey, blue rock thrush, hoopoe, pink flamingo. The history embedded in the landscape stretches from 30,000-year-old cave paintings to Mozarabic ruins.

His walks are graded according to difficulty and length, from gentle wanders on good, level paths to fairly strenuous 12-hour yomps in the mountains. Each has a different focus, e.g. flora, fauna, archaeological sites, birds etc. He’s qualified as a guide locally, and has lived there for seven years, developing a broad and intimate knowledge of the area.

CAP Webinar: How Affiliates Can Succeed in the Spanish iGaming Market

Quick plug: next week, on Oct 19th at 18:00 CET, I’ll be doing a webinar with the friendly crew from CAP: Spanish iGaming 101: A How-To for Affiliates to Launch & Succeed in this Market

Topics to be covered:

  1. What & Where does the Spanish Market Encompass?
  2. How will the Online Gambling Legislative Changes in Spain affect Affiliates?
  3. Who to work with? (What are the Questions Affiliates Need to Ask to Ensure Higher Conversions and Retention?)
  4. What are the Most Lucrative Opportunities that will Deliver the Best ROI to Affiliates?

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the CAP Webinar recording 🙂

Notes on the conference: Gaming In Spain 2011 – Opportunities and Challenges

(Gaming in Spain Conference held in Madrid, June 9 2011)

First and foremost, the minister present (specifically, Juan Carlos Alfonso Rubio, Subdirector General de Regulación del Juego) confirmed which games are to be included in the first round of legislation – specifically, this now includes bingo. Prior to last week, it had been thought that they would class bingo under “lottery”, which would mean bingo would have fallen under the national lottery operator ONLY, so this is a good thing. However, slots are NOT included in this first round, so it’s uncertain how they’re going to deal with sites that offer slots alongside bingo (i.e. all of us!).

In terms of time-scale, the legislation is to be finalised mid-July and passed to the EU commission for approval. Applications for licenses are to be made from November 1st, and from Jan 1st 2012 licenses are required to operate in the Spanish market.

Financial highlights:

  • Operators must have a permanent presence in Spain, as a Sociaded Anonima (S.A. – i.e. a public limited company) with a minimum capital of 100,000€
  • The license application fee is also 100,000€ (non-refundable)
  • A bank guarantee of somewhere between 1,200,000€ to 2,200,000€ will have to be lodged when making the application.
  • Tax rates are 25% on NGR
  • An additional tax of 0.1% on DEPOSITS, to finance the regulatory body (!)
  • Taxes are to paid every 3 months, and must be kept up-to-date or license is forfeit

Operational highlights:

  • Players’ identities have to be verified via their name, address, and National Identity number at point of registration against a government-held database
  • No international shared liquidity
  • Software/platforms have to be certified by as-yet-to-be-specified 3rd parties. Two kinds – game software and server security.
  • Bonus policies are likely to be controlled, as they are viewed as “encouraging gambling”
  • All operators must use .es domains


  • Operators and their associates (white-labels, marketing partners, affiliates, payment providers, etc) who continue to operate in Spain after Jan 1st will be pursued using all legal means, including blocking of domains and/or IPs at an ISP level. In the case of payment providers, those that accept payments for an unlicensed operator will have their rights to trade in Spain removed
  • Any partner/business found working with an unlicensed operator will be legally and financially responsible for the operator and subject to very heavy fines. I.e. it is the responsibility of anyone working with an operator to ensure that the operator in question is licensed, or suffer the consequences. Affiliates are running for the hills…

What’s still uncertain:

  • Whether one license will cover multiple white-labels/network portals.
  • Whether the bingo software itself must conform to the Spanish bingo definition i.e. draws from a series of 1944 predefined tickets, vs RNG bingo (which I believe is your case)
  • Whether servers must be physically located inside Spanish territory
  • Legality of slot machines in the period between first round and second round legislation

On the plus side:

  • Online gambling becomes legal and “main-stream”, and players protected/reassured
  • Advertising is allowed, including on TV
  • Um, that’s it. In theory, due to the above two points, the market will grow and we will all benefit…

As you can see, this new law is a game-changer, it has implications for anyone and everyone operating at any level in the Spanish market, is going to be heavily enforced, and is coming into play in a very very short time-frame.

Many thanks to GamingInSpain for organising this enlightening conference 🙂

Postfix configuration: dealing with spam

Recently had an issue where everytime I tried to send an email, it was getting rejected by my smtp server. At the same time, it seemed like I was getting a barrage of spam hitting my inboxes, so I assumed I had been hacked.

To cut a long story short, turned out to be that my server had lost its configuration for DNS lookup, and the anti-spam rule reject_unknown_sender_domain was then being triggered! 3 fucking days to work that one out…the following two files should have contained some DNS info:

  • /var/spool/postfix/etc/resolv.conf
  • /etc/resolv.conf

I used dig to prove that I did not even have DNS lookup abilities. dig is a command-line tool for querying DNS name servers for information about host addresses, mail exchanges, name servers, and related information.

  • # get a list of yahoo's mail servers
    dig MX +noall +answer

In the end, I defined Google’s open DNS servers in the interfaces configuration file at /etc/network/interfaces: dns-nameservers (ref :

In the process, I learnt a lot about Postfix anti-spam config:

Textmate Tips & Tricks

Adding folding to CSS blocks in TextMate


Top tip for folding CSS according to comments such as:

/* start ContentBlock */

/* end ContentBlock */

  1. Added snippet called “sectionfold” to the Textmate CSS bundle:
    • Bundles -> Bundle Editor -> Show Bundle Editor
    • New Snippet, then paste in the following:
    • /* start ${1:section} */
      /* end $1 */
    • It gets activated by the tab trigger “sec” (or as you like), and set the scope selector to source.css.
  2. Modify the CSS language definition:
    • foldingStartMarker = '/\*\*(?!\*)|\{\s*($|/\*(?!.*?\*/.*\S))|/\* start \w+ \*/';
    • foldingStopMarker = '(?<!\*)\*\*/|^\s*\}|/\* end \w+ \*/';

How to convert date format MM/DD/YYYY to YYYY/MM/DD using sed (Unix)

Damned Americans and their illogical data formats…trying to import a 100MB file into MySQL, and the date fields are in MM/DD/YYYY instead of the traditional YYYY/MM/DD that we all know and love…so I turned my hand to sed:

First, a quick test on the command line:

echo “MM/DD/YYYY” | sed -e “s_\(..\)\/\(..\)\/\(….\)_\3/\1/\2_”


echo “textbeforeMM/DD/YYYYtextafter” | sed -e “s_\(..\)\/\(..\)\/\(….\)_\3/\1/\2_”


Then let’s let it loose on the file itself:

sed -e “s_\(..\)\/\(..\)\/\(….\)_\3/\1/\2_” test_in.csv > test_out.csv

Took a few seconds to run against a 100MB file 🙂

Many thanks to Bruce Barnett for his Sed – An Introduction and Tutorial , an invaluable reference for a neophyte like me 🙂