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Thursday, June 30th, 2005

Nostalgia Attack

I was singing Boo to sleep tonight and “Two Little Boys” by Rolf Harris was what sprang to my lips. Rolf didn’t write it – the first recording of that song was in 1903 – but his rendition is what I grew up with, and the reason I know the song.

I was drawing a blank at a couple of lines, so after Boo dropped off I searched for the lyrics and found the official Rolf Harris website. I got into the lyrics section and experienced a major nostalgia attack. There were songs there that are deeply rooted in my childhood: “Jake the Peg,” “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport,” and “The Court of King Caractacus.” Then I found “Botany Bay” and got a little weepy. I guess deep down we Australians are a maudlin lot. It comes with the legacy of suffering and the forced stoicism that comes from enduring hardship.

Not that I can complain – my parents worked hard for me and my brother and sister and the only suffering we endured was the envy of those who had more. I would have to guess that there was a part of the culture that I was susceptible to soaking up. When I first returned to Australia after having been gone away for so long, there were only two places other than my childhood homes that I had to go back to see – the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne and Phillip Island. I’m not qualified to express the significance of the Shrine – just take my word that it’s huge. Phillip Island was where we used to vacation – a happy, very relaxing place. Interestingly, though, it’s also the place that I remember Dad giving me a copy of The Lord of the Flies, the book I consider to be the most influential in my life.

Interesting how we can look back and see influences that have shaped who we are, or at least who we consider ourselves to be. If only we could also extrapolate from that and figure out how we got into this mess and what we need to get out of it.

Posted by Greg as Family & Friends, People, Posts About Me at 23:36 PST

1 Comment »

Comment Spam Manifesto

I was looking to see if there was anything worthwhile to do about tracking down and harassing the person/company/slime who tried posting the earlier comment spam, but it’s a complex process, possibly even more so than when tracking down phishing perpetrators. I did find a great manifesto by Adam Kalsey. It’s a worthwhile read and I’m totally supporting it.

I want to send a trackback to it, which the author is encouraging as a way of signing his manifesto, but then I’m still shaky on this whole trackback thing. My last attempt failed because it was on a site that didn’t accept trackbacks. I also somehow sent a trackback to myself when I last linked to a previous post, and that appeared as a comment on the original post, which is sort of silly, and has discouraged my from putting in links to previous posts. Maybe I can blacklist myself! I read the trackback info at the WordPress codex, so I’ll give it a try again.

Posted by Greg as My Website at 15:28 PST

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Categories Reorganized

In my June 28th post I talked about instituting a filtering system so that readers could decide to just look at personal or technical subjects, and I think I’ve come up with a reasonable solution.

In case you didn’t realize, in the left sidebar there’s a “Categories” heading. It lists all the category tags I’ve applied to my posts. If you click on a Category link in the sidebar, it will list all the posts that are in the category from last to first. I’ve added categories as I’ve started writing about new subjects, and late in the game I went back into my category management tool and made all the technical categories into subcategories under a new category called “All Technical” and everything else under “All Personal.” It worked great in my writing interface, but WordPress still just listed all the categories in the sidebar in the order in which they were created. Also, since no posts were flagged as “Personal” or “Technical”, those categories didn’t appear on the list.

It seemed like a problem that others would have previously encountered, so I went over to the WordPress Forum (which isn’t organized like any other forum I’ve every encountered.) Yep – a quick search led me to threads where others had complained about it, and there was a link to someone’s solution – a plugin that sorts the way the categories are listed. Phew! I had thought about renumbering the categories in the MySQL database table – what a mess I would have made of that!

I downloaded the plugin, read the very brief documentation, entered in my preferred listing, uploaded it to my website, and activated it. It has a neat way of organizing a hierarchy, which isn’t native to WordPress. It seems to work well. I noticed that the “All Personal” and “All Technical” categories don’t appear unless there is at least one post in each category, but once it appeared, you can click on that category and all the posts in the subcategories would appear as well, which was exactly what I wanted. So this post will make those links appear. Good thing – it’s a very slow process to go back and edit each post just to add a new category for it – I thought I was going to add the major category to each one. That also resends the entire post back out on my RSS feed – Poor Web! As my only known RSS feed subscriber, he would have seen every post I every wrote sent back out again! So thanks to pericat for writing that plugin.

I did decide to break down my technical categories a little better, and that’s going to mean editing a few posts, but it’s not too many.

One other problem is when I’ve got combined technical and personal notes in the same post. I’m not going to go back and split them up, but I’ll try and keep future posts in separate topics.

Posted by Greg as All Personal, All Technical, My Website, Posts About Me at 11:25 PST

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First Comment Spam

Wow, this makes me feel important! (Not!)

I just got my first comment spam. I checked my mail this morning and WordPress had sent an email to me saying that there was a comment awaiting my approval. Here’s the edited email:

A new comment on the post #19 “Googlebot at last!” is waiting for your approval
(link to post)

Author : Dedicated Server (IP: 203.122.61.30 , netcache.spectranet.com)
E-mail : pervez@rediffmail.com
URL : (unassociated website)
Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=203.122.61.30
Comment:

<a HREF=”http://www.invalid.com” rel=”nofollow”>ChallengeHost</a> offers Cheap Web Hosting, domain names, web site hosting and dedicated Servers. Our affordable hosting solution makes us the best place to host your business website or personal web site. We are your web host for everything from <a HREF=”http://www.invalid.com” rel=”nofollow”>web design</a>, domain names, <a HREF=”http://www.invalid.com” rel=”nofollow”>web hosting</a> and powerful <a HREF=”http://www.invalid.com” rel=”nofollow”>dedicated servers</a>.

To approve this comment, visit:
(admin link)
To delete this comment, visit:
(admin link)
Currently 1 comments are waiting for approval. Please visit the moderation panel:
(admin link)

I took out the administrative links that WordPress sent me and substituted invalid links for the ones the spammer provided.

I feel good that WordPress caught this and decided that it needed my approval before posting. Yes, I would have seen the comment had it not been screened- I include my own blog and my blog comments in my RSS reader, which I check nearly every day, but this didn’t even post, so it got no Internet exposure whatsoever. I’ll have to look into the criteria WordPress uses for screening comments – I suspect the number of external links is what got this one flagged. Other people have entered comments here without WordPress holding them up for approval. I think I even get an email notice when someone’s entered a comment. I can’t remember for sure – it’s been so long since anyone commented!

Posted by Greg as My Website at 09:27 PST

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