Blog Archives


If you were on the media social much shortly before Christmas, you no doubt heard quite the kerfuffle about changes to Instagram’s Terms of Service that would take effect on January 16th, 2013, in part related to Facebook’s purchase of the service earlier last year. While much of this response was overblown, and based on misunderstandings of the relevant legalese, and Instagram later apologized and canceled some of the changes, the folderol was a reminder to me that you can’t really trust a service you’re not paying for for hosting your content under the license you want. Thus, I quit.


Posted in Code Projects, How-Tos, meta, Opinion Tagged with: , , ,

Offline in Mali

I will be in Mali for the next two weeks, coming back late on the 19th. My sister’s wedding is on the 16th. I expect to have minimal-to-no internet access during that time, so you probably won’t hear from me via e-mail, Twitter, or otherwise.

Posted in meta Tagged with: , ,

Spam Comment Poetry

I’ve been getting a lot of blocked spam comments, mostly from Russian IP addresses. I clear them out once a week or so, and tweak my IP address filters. You’ll probably never see them, as I block comments that aren’t from a previous poster or a verified OpenID. However, in clearing them out today I noticed a block of text that I felt inspired to reformat into a more poetic form. The credit goes to random spammer username Gefafuw (which my brain wants to read as “guffaw”, ironically enough). It appears this particular WordPress comment bot is using a very simple bigram language model.

Another Drunken Energy

Several days their meaning
muffled voice turned,
been unable
when meat is enough.

Sanity spoken aloud,
Astur attacked,
multiheaded beast.

Fruit bonus machine!
Stilled shock and direst need
until today raise their difficulty.

Have the luxury noticed
just that caribbean stud
videos another drunken energy.

Of course it makes no sense! That’s the point! :oP The raw text, with spam links removed:

Several days their meaning muffled voice duin turned been unable when meat enough sanity spoken aloud astur attacked ultiheaded beast fruit bonus machine ames duin stilled shock and direst need ntil today raise their and difficult hey have the luxury odrigo noticed just that caribbean stud videos another drunken energy

I found it an amusing distraction, at any rate :o). Have you received any particularly hilarious spam that was attempting to beat your spam filters?

Posted in art Tagged with: , ,


I’ve set up FeedBurner for my blog, in part because I’m obsessed with statistics, and in part because I like that nice Google Reader autoprompt when it’s used on other blogs.

UltraNurdage FeedBurner Feed

UltraNurdage Comments FeedBurner Feed

If you’ve already subscribed via RSS, my bandwidth would appreciate you switching to the FeedBurner feeds, as would my stats obsession :o). If you’re reading through the automatic LiveJournal cross-posts, this doesn’t affect you, although if you ever stop using LJ as your feed reader, you’ll find the FeedBurner subscribe link at the top of my blog.

Posted in meta Tagged with:

I Cast Resurrect Blog

Who am I?

My name is Nicolas Ward, generally known as UltraNurd on the intertrons. I am a software engineer working in Natural Language Processing for BBN Technologies in Cambridge, MA. I am a part-time masters student in computer science in the Harvard University EECS department. I am the guildmaster of Mellonea in World of Warcraft. I am a huge geek.

What is this blog?

To be honest, I don’t really know yet. I have recently gotten interested in social media, mostly as a Twitter user. I used to blog on LiveJournal (you’ll note the complete archive of that is available here), but once I got into a work routine, I didn’t have much to post about, or rather never took the time to post. I am now trying to get back into regular long-form blogging, since basic life updates and short comments to the void are fulfilled by microblogging on Twitter.

I am naturally interested in all things computer-related, but I have a wide variety of interests. I like to think of myself as a maven (as per Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point). I expect my posts will fit into several potential categories:

  • Computer howtos
  • Book and video game reviews/discussions
  • Political and religious commentary
  • Software ideas (probably focused on NLP)
  • Current school projects
  • My experiences with social media
  • Responses to friends’ blog posts
  • LiveJournal archive

If any of that is interesting to you, I hope you’ll enjoy reading at least some of what I blather on about.

I license everything I write, as well as all of my pictures, using a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0-US (“CC-BY”) license. In general, that probably means you can quote or copy anything I post, as long as you say it’s from me, except where otherwise noted. For a number of reasons, including licensing issues, I won’t be blogging with any specifics about what I do at work. They own my brain when I’m on the clock.

What do I read?

You can check out my blogroll on the left, but I’ll highlight some of the blogs that aren’t written by famous people, and explain why I follow them.

  • An Bui – An is a friend of mine from college, and she is directly responsible for getting me on Twitter. She writes about social media marketing.
  • The Camel’s Knees – My sister Joanna is currently serving with the Peace Corps in Gao, Mali, West Africa. Her ability to post is intermittent, but she writes about development and nutrition issues, as well as describing elements of Sonrai culture.
  • Tweetworks Blog – Tweetworks is a Twitter threading tool developed by Boston local Mike Langford. He writes about the Tweetworks tool, as well as general Twitter issues.
  • Brett Nordquist – Brett is one of the first people I started following on Twitter randomly; he writes about tech issues, and raising his kids.
  • Ku Photos Blog – Emery was my college roommate for three years, and is an awesome photographer. Check out his work!
Posted in meta Tagged with: , ,

Nicolas Ward

Software engineer in Natural Language Processing research by day; gamer, reader, and aspiring UltraNurd by night. Husband to Andrle
Creative Commons License

Post History

July 2018
« Jun