Archive for the 'blog housekeeping' Category

Great How To Guide – Feeds & Feedburner

Please note -update 23/08/2014 – Snoskred suggests that you DO NOT use feedburner anymore. :(

Sephy wrote a great how to guide with screenshots on how to integrate your Blogger RSS feed with Feedburner so that you can get detailed stats about your blog’s feed. Right now most blogger people probably don’t know how many people are reading their feed and this is a really good way to find out.

It’s also great because I really struggled with the layout of feedburner and kept having to ask him “what do I do now?” and I bet it got a little trying for him because every time I went there I seemed to have forgotten how to navigate around. Now I can just refer to this guide, which I have bookmarked YAY!

I find that some websites on the net are intuitive – as in, very easy for people to use. Some just don’t click for me. I’m lucky Sephy is my technical guru and always willing to help me even when I keep asking the same questions over and over. I can be a technical low wattage light bulb even at the best of times. This will probably come to people as a surprise – I seem like I am a technical master of things but what I am is more of an idiot savant – if you show me how to do something a couple of times I can remember it and even tell other people how to do it.

If there’s anything computer or blogging related that you want to know how to do, Sephy is offering to make a guide on that especially for you – and others. All you have to do is ask him – either in the comments section of his blog, or shoot him an email via the link on his blog. If you want him to keep it quiet that you were the one asking, he will happily do that and just pretend like I asked him. Its likely I did at some point anyway. ;)

Do you have a technical guru? Are you good with technical things, or do you struggle like me? Leave a comment and let me know.. ;)

Calling All Lurkers..

Recently I merged all my RSS feeds into one feed and discovered that there’s a LOT of people lurking out there reading my blog via RSS. I’d like to take a moment to thank you for reading, and to ask you a few questions – if you could answer them in the comments or send me an email I’d be very grateful. :) I’d like to know a bit more about you.

Where are you from – you don’t have to give specifics, just which country is ok.

Do you have a blog of your own – if yes, do I link to it and if I don’t link to it would you allow me to link to it in the sidebar? If no, what would it take for you to get a blog of your own?

Is there anything I could do here on the blog to encourage you to comment more often?

Is there any particular topic you would like to see me blog about more often?

Could a how to post (with screenshots) on any particular topic help you? Is there something either blogging or computer related that you’d like to know how to do but have no idea how to go about it? If yes, which topic(s)?

I could ask a lot more questions but I don’t want to scare you off. :)

This post was also partly inspired by slouchingmom who mentioned on Blogrhet that she had asked lurkers to delurk. I thought that was such a great idea.. :)

Alexa "Sparky" now works with Firefox 2.0.0.5

Yesterday I got word that Alexa had finally released an official toolbar “Sparky” for Firefox users. I installed it right away but then two hours later Firefox told me it had an update – and the only extension that would not work with the update would be Sparky!

Just now Firefox popped up a box and told me that there was a new version of Sparky available that works with this version of Firefox, so I now have it back. Yay!

So if you want it, go and get Sparky. Finally Firefox users can have their voices (and their traffic) heard! Given that over 50% of the readers here use Firefox I’m hoping many of you will install it so a truer reflection of your visits here can be seen by the world.

Snoskred has a new home..

If you have linked to Snoskred : Life in the Country, could you please take a moment to change your link to my new home – http://www.snoskred.org/ – thanks! If you have not linked to me but you’d like a link back to you, drop me a comment and I’ll check out your blog. ;)

Not every post here..

has to be some kind of profound statement. ;) Today I would like to mention that Meg wrote a great Beginners Guide to StumbleUpon which is worth a read, and ya’all should seriously think about getting on the StumbleUpon train. It’s a lot of fun.

And, I have a couple of photos for you.
This is the mirror I got from Ikea, which we finally got the courage to hang.. ;) I’m taking some time to work on art today, and I might have some pictures of that for you tomorrow. In the meantime, be good! ;)

Awarding bloggers.

m4s0n501

Ya’all have been busy! I got home to find loads of new posts in google reader.. I have been busy too – out in the new car.. ;) I’m a bit speechless on the topic of the car. Words really can not do justice to how I’m feeling about it. I feel a bit like I’m dreaming.

Anyway, a few days ago Meg gave me an award, then Brown Baron gave me an award, then Jennifer gave me an award. Thank you so much! ;)

I had this whole plan of how I was going to write this great post and award some awards to bloggers I adore and tell you why I adore them. That was pre-new car, when I had plenty of time. Now, with less time, this will be a shorter post. ;) I’m sure you’re all glad to read that.. :)

Apologies to anyone who has already got one of these awards, I had intended to check to make sure you didn’t have them, but again the time thing. ;)

First up, the Rockin’ Girl Bloggers – and I do apologise if any of you are men and I’ve missed that memo! ;)

Rockin’ Girl Blogger


Thailand GalVegan MommaMeloukhiaMevaSephaMary-LUECatherineBelindaPieces Of MindJulie PippertredcapSuzanneGigglewickSober BriquetteLiv -

Now I do apologise greatly if you did not get one. I would have given it to every female blogger I read, but I’d have been writing this post for days, and nobody would have read it because it would have been too long. ;) As it is there’s 15 of you!

Now, the Thoughtful Blogger Award.

Gay BankerHaute NatureChristine – RT and Scott from Untwisted VortexCraig HarperSaraJoQTLawyer MamaKaliroz -

And finally, The Power Of Schmooze -

This award particularly recognizes community involvement, so I want to give this to some real community builders.

Meg from Dipping Into The Blogpond – for creating and maintaining the Australian Blogs Community on Bumpzee

Sephy from Sephy’s Platzish for creating and maintaining the US Blogs Community on Bumpzee

Andy Beard for creating and maintaining the No Nofollow | I Follow | DoFollow community on Bumpzee

(all three of the above I read on the RSS feed with Google Reader)

Julie Pippert for creating and maintaining the Hump Day Hmmm Round Tables.

Love your work, ya’all. I mean that. I appreciate every effort you put into blogging more than you can know.

If I missed a link, forgive me, I’ll fix it when I get back because now I’m off to the Chinese Dinner, the Sunday Wrap Up will be here tomorrow as always, maybe a little later than usual as we’re off for a drive.. ;)

MyBlogLog and scammers & spammers

Eric from MyBlogLog dropped by and left a comment, which I would like to respond to here.

Thanks for dropping by, Eric. I’d like to show you the bigger picture. You seem to be seeing one tree in the forest. There’s a lot of trees to be seen, and here are some things you might want to consider.

You think that a 419 scammer can’t set up a blog and make it interesting enough that people will join their communities? These guys are not stupid. They create fake banking websites constantly and some of them are good enough that the *banks* wonder how they’re doing it. They would probably steal content from lesser known bloggers, but how would any of us ever know that they were scammers until they sent us the scam email?

Plenty of people would not even know they were scammers once they GOT the scam email. The situation with education on this topic is not good. New people join the internet every day, many of them elderly people with life savings in the bank.

You think the scammers speak a different language and it would give them away? Incorrect. When you receive a scam letter with terrible spelling and grammar – that is actually TACTICS on their part, because they want the great white hope to think they are less educated and easy to manipulate. They can write just as well as you or I.

You forget that SCAMMING PEOPLE IS THEIR FULL TIME JOB. They get up in the morning and go to the internet cafe. Email isn’t working too well for them these days, and they are always looking for new ways of contacting the “maga” – their word for scam victim. They’re already using social networks. Tagged is their current favourite, it seems, but they are always looking for the next big thing. They work in large gangs, and they have “lower down” scammers doing all the grunt work. Those guys are constantly thinking up new ways to scam people in order to get higher up the chain.

If someone joins your community, most people join theirs in return. I’ve done it myself. I’m sure others have too. That’s the way these social networking things work. So if a scammer signs up and goes around joining communities, its likely they would get a lot of members fairly quickly, who they can then spam.

If you don’t think it is possible, you’re wrong. These guys will use any chance they can. Ask Ebay and Paypal. The next thing you know they’ll be sending out phishing emails to get blogger logins – yes, that is one way they will be able to spam people, by stealing the accounts of established bloggers. They’ll target the bloggers signed up to a lot of communities. Have you organised an education drive on a phishing scam, ever? People fall for it so easily, and they will fall for it just as easily on this occasion. You ready to deal with the fall out of bloggers having their passwords stolen?

Ebay can’t manage to get the message through to people. Paypal can’t manage to get the message through to people. Banks and ISP’s can’t manage to get the message through to people. We scambaiters can’t get the message through to people and trust me, we’re not resting on our laurels. The Anti Phishing Working Group can’t get that message through to people and look at all the influential members they have to help them out. Thousands of online email, banking, Ebay, paypal and ISP accounts are compromised daily. Do you think you’ll be an exception and able to get the message through to all 180,000 members of MyBlogLog?

Even Yahoo has problems with this – the scammers send out emails which look like this - You probably look at it and think – who would fall for that? People fall for these phishing tricks all the time. I’m not kidding. If MyBlogLog people got a message that said – we’re spring cleaning, please log in to show us you wish to remain a member – and it linked to a fake site the scammers set up which looked exactly like MyBlogLog and it asked people to log in..

These guys got game. Some of them have teamed up with the Vlads – scammers from Romania and Russia, in order to do these phishing scams and fake sites. You want to take them all on and make yourself and every member of MyBlogLog a target? Ask Ebay how well that worked out for them. They never took this problem seriously and now it is such a huge problem for them, it’s given them a very bad name, and frankly they will never overcome it. New auction sites setting up know about this problem and take steps to avoid it.

Having a private messaging system is bad enough – the scammers will turn up at some point. I have already received 419 scams via Bumpzee private messaging. But you give them a mechanism to get their 419 messages out en masse to a large group of people, and all they have to do is join a bunch of communities? Sold! That’s a lot easier than messaging people one on one. But if you offer them messaging one on one, they’ll take that. I would recommend you get rid of the private messages as well, in order to keep them off MyBlogLog.

Now you can say ok, we’ll ban all Nigerian IP addresses. That won’t work, the scammers are all over the world – the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, even here in Australia. Canada has a huge group of check scammers working there, sending out fake checks, take a look at some of their work (checks they sent to me) here. There are large scammer contingents in Houston, Atlanta, Amsterdam, London, Abu Dhabi, Romania, Johannesburg and Delhi. This is a global problem without anyone working on a global solution.

There is so much more to this issue than the one tree in the forest that you are seeing. That’s why people are so angry and upset about it – they LIVE with the spam and scams, and they do not want you to offer another mechanism for them to receive that. It won’t go away by your saying “We’re keeping this system, thanks for your feedback” – no, what will happen then is you will lose a lot of your members. Maybe that’s not important to you now you’ve sold out to Yahoo.

You’ve grabbed a tiger by the tail here. How about letting it go and listening to your members? If you don’t believe me or the other outspoken ones, put in a poll and see for yourself – I personally feel the majority of people on MyBlogLog do not want this community messaging system. Many of them will just quietly leave, or stop using MyBlogLog.

Other people who have written about this topic –

MyBlogLog Community Mass Message SPAM Controversy – Alex (new)
Mybloglog messaging system and why I think it sucks – Yack Yack
MyBlogLog Mass Messaging – Swallow Spam or Die – Avinash
MyBlogLog New Features – The Abusive and the Incomplete – Andy Beard
Think Twice Before You Launch A New Service – MyBlogLog – Jon
Community Messages on MyBlogLog – Meg

My Commitment Not To Spam Via MyBlogLog

For those users of the internet who wish to continue using MyBlogLog but want to show their users that they will never spam them using the Community Messages system, I have good news for you.

Jon from Smart Wealthy Rich created a little image you can put in your sidebar, probably under your MyBlogLog widget, to let people know you won’t be spamming them anytime soon. He also made a commitment, and I’d like to make my own commitment to readers of my blog here and now -

My Commitment –

I will not use the community message service, and you will not receive any mass message from me on MyBlogLog. I may use the private message system to reply to you if you message me, or if I have something specific to say to you personally, though usually I would just send you an email or contact you via your blog.

It’s nothing personal.

If you did send out a message to your community, don’t take this like a slap in the face. You probably thought it was a great new feature and a good way to get in touch with everyone at once. But that’s what your *blog* is for. ;) You can make your own commitment if you also feel strongly about this, and display the image on your own blog.

Communities are great, I have gained a lot from being a part of them, but I’m reading your blog daily in google reader and if you have a message to send to members of your community your blog is the place to do it, not via a mass message to all people in your community on MyBlogLog.

Please note, I am not talking about private messaging. Sending one message to someone is not spam. In my opinion, people should not be able to send more than one message at a time. If they want to sit there and message every member of their community individually that is fine, I have no issue with that. It’s when they are able to type one message and instantly send it to hundreds of people that it becomes spam – and a potential problem for every member of MyBlogLog.

It’s a real shame because MyBlogLog has such potential but the moment you allow a system where spam like this can happen and be easily done, you are just opening up a can of worms – the *real* spammers and scammers will be along in no time. I get enough “Enlarge your penis” mail (especially for someone who doesn’t OWN a penis, being female!) through my normal email addresses, thanks very much.

The Nigerian 419 lads will really love this system and I say that because I know them very well and they already abuse similar systems on dating sites and other community sites, and they’ll be along before you can blink, joining OUR communities in order to send US mails intending to SCAM us out of our hard earned money. Worst of all, they WILL get money from people who don’t know anything about those scams. I do not think MyBlogLog really wants to provide a service for scammers – they want to provide a service for bloggers.

The solution is to quickly get rid of this community messaging system. However from what I am reading on the MyBlogLog blog, they seem to want to keep this or wait until people give them feedback. I think that’s a mistake. People will leave, and there’s other sites out there providing the same service, but without the spam.

Also, I don’t belong to a lot of communities yet, but I do read on average 200+ blogs a day. One of the blog communities I read on the RSS feed has over 200 blogs posting to it. In point number 4 of Eric’s blog post – “I’ll leave it for other people to debate why someone would join 5,000 communities” – it sounds like a judgment of people who belong to a lot of communities and that people who belong to less communities won’t have an issue.

At this time I think I belong to less than 5 communities, NOBODY has spammed me, not ONE person, yet I have a problem with this because I can see the potential for disaster and because I know scammers well.. If you have an issue with people belonging to a certain amount of communities, put in a limit. Don’t use this to justify the community messaging system.

I was about to sign up for the MyBlogLog Pro service because they do offer a lot of great features, especially the stats, they are some of the best I have seen on the web but I’ll take a raincheck for now until I see how this plays out. :(

Meg from Dipping into the Blogpond posted on this topic here, so go and read it if you’re not aware of the situation. Other posts I found are here -

Mybloglog messaging system and why I think it sucks – Yack Yack
MyBlogLog Mass Messaging – Swallow Spam or Die – Avinash
MyBlogLog New Features – The Abusive and the Incomplete – Andy Beard
Think Twice Before You Launch A New Service – MyBlogLog – Jon

A quick note about iReply

Over in the sidebar you see a little logo called iReply. I’ve been struggling with the commenting thing for a while now. iReply is an idea which I think can work for me and I have joined the iReply movement.

I’m actually a lazy person at heart, so given the option I tend not to reply to comments people make here on the blog. I apologize for that, please forgive me, and I’m going to try and do better in the future. This is the first step towards change for me. ;)

I’ve written most of a post and I’ll be back with it later, I have a few tasks on my plate today. I spent quite a bit of last night watching them trying to move a boat in the dark on the tv. Newsflash – I couldn’t see much. ;)

A Quick Note About The Sidebar

I’ve put in some scroll bars on my links lists. You might want to do this as well. The code is fairly simple – <div style="overflow: auto; height: 200px">PUT LIST OF LINKS HERE</div> – you can change the height of the box to suit yourself as well, just change 200px to whatever amount of pixels high you would like the box to be. Thanks go to Sephy who figured out how to do this.

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