Orange is a state of mind

Finally settled on a new theme (the excellent Suffusion) which comes with a bunch of colour schemes, and I’ve picked Orange on Black (for now).  I know it makes little difference since the 6 people who actually read the blog do so via RSS so never see the colours anyway, and the other hits are all chinese ‘bots trawling data to try and gimp Google out of some cash.  Some folk are tired of dark themes, but I still like them.

The Orange on White version is pretty good as well and if I get bored with dark I might go for that.

I’ve had to work on some new headers, since the old ones were too tall and too narrow.  Managed to salvage the Matrix and floaty text ones, and added a couple of others.  Was very excited to find an Atari Space Invaders icon font!

Haven’t been doing much stuff out of work other than playing Dragon Age: Origins for the second time.  Tried playing it through a second time after originally completing it but it was too soon.  A lengthy break has done the trick and it’s almost as engaging the second time around.  Grete’s also playing it, so we’re taking turns like well behaved kids.  First time through I played as a warrior and was hugely frustrated by all the chests you can’t open until you find your first rogue companion.  So this time, started as a rogue!  Very different feel to the game, can’t go rushing into fights, need to somehow get the others engaged first, and if the warriors die, I’m not likely to survive (where-as when you’re the warrior you can hold on for quite a while with just Wynne).

Playing through again reminds me how good BioWare are at dialog and storyline.

Grete’s doing well at pretending I’m not annoying, when she plays and I shout ‘no, no, do Sten’s quest first’, or whatever.  So I thank her for that.

We bought a couple of the little add-ons, well bought one, got one free.  I’ve also bought Dragon Age: Awakening which was good but no where near worth the price.

I’ve also signed up to the PlayStation Plus service thing.  Got a few free games so far (Zen Pinball being the best).  Hopefully there’ll be enough free content in the next 10 months to justify the cost.

Choosing a template

I want to change the template for this blog, because I fancy a change.  But choosing a template is not easy!  Instead of templates just changing how the site looks, over time, they end up changing how the site behaves, how you include little snippets of code, how your SEO stuff works, etc.

There are some really good looking templates out there, but they’re either too big or too small, or too fiddly or too hard coded with features I don’t want / need.

It’s pretty frustrating, mitigated by the fact that I’m not paying for any of this and it’s only thanks to other people’s freely provided effort that I have software to run a blog from anyway.

I’ll keep looking.


I changed themes to test out the new default WordPress theme, didn’t like it and then when I switched back to Mandigo, it won’t let me edit the settings 🙂

Please stand by while I try and fix things!

Stupid Spammers

So I’ve commented before on how stupid spammers are, mostly blog comment spammers clearly in the context of this blog.  Obviously there are bots which submit spam, and there are clearly people being paid a tiny amount of money to post spam, and here’s another favourite.

If you are given some boiler plate text to copy into blog comment spam, and the boiler plate text says ‘examples in this post’ then you really should replace that text with some examples, rather than leaving it in verbatim, otherwise it doesn’t work.

I really enjoyed this post, especially the ¡°examples in this post¡± portion which made it really easy for me to SEE what you were talking about without even having to leave the article. Thanks

See what I mean?

Also, if you post this comment to a blog,

Great crap as usual…

with the hope that it’ll get approved and your URL will get spidered, think again about your choice of wording.  Seriously.

Sometimes I wish they’d just stick to selling fake watches.

If you write – they will come

I’m interested, peripherally, about how people find web pages and why they read them.  Especially with respect to personal blogs (such as mine) for people who are neither famous nor especially interesting.  The two things I can tell you are,

  1. If you write it, they will come.  People will read anything, and if you eventually get your blog to show up on searches, some people will turn up and read stuff.
  2. The more you write, the more chance you’ll get visitors and the corollary, if you stop writing, they will go.  It doesn’t matter what you write, almost, if you write every day you’ll get visitors on that basis.  If you write once a week you’ll get fewer, if you write once a month you’ll get fewer still.  If you write sporadically you’ll get sporadic visitors, if you write consistently you’ll get consistent visitors.

So there.

New spam comment tactic

I’m always intrigued by how the spammers try and get comments onto threads, the latest approach is to copy someone elses comment verbatim, but hoping that it gets posted so that their name-url link is published.

On huge blogs with a lot of comments it might actually succeed.  On a tiny blog like this with about 40 comments, it’s pretty easy to spot the dupes instantly.

Not much blogging goin’ on

So my rate of blog posts has slowed over the last few months from the peak of 2008.  You may ask ‘is it the fault of Twitter’, have my astounding insights been dulled and diluted by a desire to spout 140 character chunks of wisdom?  Actually, it’s because I’m playing a lot of Lord of the Rings Online and various PS3 games really.  On top of that we had a June and July from hell madness where we had visitors left right and centre and went to weddings and generally were out having a life.

I think Twitter is to ‘blame’ certainly for a reduction in the 2 line blog posts I would sometimes make and perhaps Twitter is a better place for that kind of thought anyway.

But mainly it takes some minutes to sit down and write a blog post or a movie review (increasingly, for films which have been out for several years and no one wants to read reviews about) and those minutes are at the moment taken up with Lord of the Rings, the PS3, the garden, the house or life.

I’m sure as Autumn sets in and Winter gets a grip on our goolies, I’ll be here more often, shivering out a few words of painful insight that you didn’t want to read in the first place.

iPhone / iPod Touch / Android mode

Added what looks to be an awesome plugin for creating a mobile version of the site.  If you’re viewing this through an iphone / ipod touch or android phone you should see the new style (you can turn it on and off at the bottom of the page).

Obviously, I can’t check from Android, if you can, let me know if it works.

This is the plugin home page – WPtouch

Ego-stroking Spam

Spam comments have changed over the last few months.  When I first started the blog the spam comments were essentially heavily laden with links to other spam sites.  Either blatant (just lists of links) or thinly disguised (long diatribe of text with links spread throughout).  Recently though, there’s been an increase in short comments in which the spam is just a URL link of the submitter.  The comments all have the same thing in common – ego-stroking.

They cover the following types,

  • Personal ego-stroke: Something like ‘you have really good insight, please keep blogging, I love your posts’.
  • Site ego-stroke: Something like ‘I love this site, it’s great, I recommend it to all my friends’.
  • Site ego-stroke with question: Often goes ‘I love the site but can’t get my RSS reader to subscribe’.
  • Ego-stroke with debate: Something like ‘this sounds really good but can it last until the future?’ (I had one of these today attached to the ’77 trailer post).

I guess some people get suckered in by the ego-stroke and are encouraged to approve the posts where they would normally ignore them.  Since my ego is already the size of a small mountain I need no further strokage and so am immune.  Or maybe it’s because I’m not as easily fooled.  Or maybe my self image is so bad I can’t for a moment believe any of the comments are true.  Whatever the reason – they still don’t make it past the spam filter on the site.

Soon we’ll be seeing the following class of spam,

  • Pet ego-stroke: I love your cat, you should let them post more often.
  • Family ego-stroke: Your [significant other] looks great, you should blog about them more.
  • Country ego-stroke: I love the part of the world you live in, please post pictures and talk about it more.

I’ll hold out against those as well I think.