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WordPress, Akismet And Spam

WordPress logo blue

WordPress logo blue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is any other WordPress blogger receiving higher than usual incidents of spam getting past Akismet and entering the normal moderation queue for comments? My Akismet is fully enabled, but over the last two to three weeks I have had a high amount of blatant spam to trash.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 47,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Domain Renewal Group Scam

I received a letter today which I am reporting to the Mailing Preference Service.It came from a company called the Domain Renewal Group. They have cheekily looked up who owns the domain for this website and written to me, expecting me to renew my domain with them. While they do talk about transferring it to them and thus stay just the right side of honesty, it is a cynical letter designed to get me to pay them, and take out ownership of other similar domains such as bigcircumstance.net and bigcircumstance.org.

Fortunately I am savvy enough to realise this is a scam and they won’t get away with it with me. However other people might be frightened into giving them money, thinking that otherwise they will lose their domains, when all they need to do is renew their registration with the company they have used up until now (in my case, WordPress). And why I should transfer to them when they cost twice the price of WordPress and I rely on the WordPress software – well, you tell me.

The company appears to be based in the USA but it came with a reply paid envelope that had a London address on it, and hence I am within my rights to report them to the MPS. I strongly suggest that anybody else in the UK who gets these letters and who is registered with the MPS also reports them. By not checking the MPS list of people who have opted out from direct mail they are breaking British law. Let’s put pressure on these cynical and unscrupulous companies.

Sabbatical, Day 30: Victorian Children, Books Books Books, Personality Type Survey And New Blog Theme

Mark stayed home today as a precaution. We don’t want the symptoms of his ear infection to disappear while the bug remains around and then recurs. So he came on the school run to take Rebekah in, then we went to see her board a coach with her friends to visit a museum in Braintree for a Victorian-themed outing. 

All Rebekah’s year had to dress like Victorians (as did the staff and parent helpers). There were additional restrictions on what they could take in their lunch boxes. Becky was nervous, knowing that part of the day would include a simulation of a Victorian school, complete with strict teacher! However, she survived, and although her own real-life teacher has a reputation at the school for keeping rather firm boundaries, Becky came back believing her teacher isn’t strict at all in comparison!

Those of you who are my Facebook friends can see on my profile a photo I took of her this morning in her £10 bargain eBay costume. You’ll also see there (and here on the blog) a changed profile picture. All the children on the trip were given a slateboard and stylus. Rebekah drew a picture of me, I photographed it and cropped it. So if you’re wondering what happened, that’s the story. Besides, she took the previous photo that appeared here and on Facebook on her own digital camera. I like to think she’s a very artistic little five-year-old.

Keeping Mark at home gave us the opportunity to stretch him. Academically he coasts at school, and the reading books sent home for him are well beneath his literacy powers. He devours books like a shark eating human flesh, and so we keep ourselves stocked up with titles at or just above his ability level. Not only do we find Internet bargains, his favourite shop is Waterstone’s and he is well known to the staff at the local library. This morning, he read me ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker‘, stumbling only on the words ‘midnight’, ‘sewed’ and ‘hammered’.

Even with all this going on, I actually managed to do some sabbatical work today. Having done the work on ministry and personality type last Thursday and Friday at Trinity with Jerry Gilpin, I began devising a questionnaire today. I want to survey ministers and members of congregations about the personality types of ministers, and what level of tension might exist between actual personality types and the aspirations of churches. It won’t be the most scientific survey ever constructed, because I won’t have the facility to question an accurate cross-section. Respondents will inevitably be self-selecting to a certain extent, and that may well mean I attract answers from people who have stronger than average views. However, within those constraints, I hope I can learn to some extent whether the tensions I feel are substantially replicated elsewhere or not. 

As to distribution of the survey, I plan to host it on Survey Monkey, and possibly distribute it using Mail Chimp. Both these services have free options for those working small scale. I’ll find other ways of distributing the link to the survey through Methodist sources, Facebook and, naturally, here on the blog.

Finally, I was fiddling around in WordPress earlier and noticed that two weeks ago they had launched another new blog theme, Vigilance. It looks quite clean and is apparently customisable, so I think I might change over to that and then see what modifications I fancy making over the coming weeks. Let me know what you think of it. 

OK, time for bed, said Zebedee.