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Post Tagged with: Blogging

Blog fixed… I think…

Blog fixed… I think…

After carefully examining what I could of the HTML code in my WordPress installation, I concluded that the best way to get rid of the reported injected spam links was to “nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.” – in other words, back up the blog database, delete all WordPress files, re-install WordPress and then import the backed-up database. I had contemplated moving my blog over to somewhere else, like LiveJournal or wordpress.com but I thought I’d give Dreamhost one more chance.

Of course, I’m going to take some better precautions, as recommended by some friends. These include:

WordPress plus Dreamhost = hacked WordPress blog

WordPress plus Dreamhost = hacked WordPress blog

I host my main blog on Dreamhost, using WordPress. This may have been a fatal mistake.

A while ago, someone emailed me to kindly point out that my site had somehow been hacked, and spam links injected into my HTML code. It wouldn’t appear on the site to human eyes, but it’s all there in the HTML code and picked up by Google et. al.

I changed all my passwords (Dreamhost, WordPress, FTP), removed the hacked code and thought the problem was over.

Oh no. It’s just come back. Only this time, I can’t figure out where the code is. And since I changed all the passwords to begin with, it means that either Dreamhost or WordPress has become seriously compromised. Although naturally my Google-fu is failing me and I can’t figure out where the problem’s come from. Although this post gives one indication.

Now I’m debating whether to carry on with this blog or move to yet another blogging platform like LiveJournal or something… bah… Or I could give up. It’s been six years, after all…

The Internet is getting smaller and smaller

The Internet is getting smaller and smaller

Evidenced by two recent random happenings where two very distinct areas of my personal Internet merge in bizarre ways:

  • When news of the new Pet Shop Boys single came out, I naturally emailed it to all my Pet Shop Boys-loving friends (all seven of us. We could have a convention in a very large telephone kiosk). One of them excitedly emailed me to ask how on earth I knew someone else on that list – I replied that I used to live with him back in the halcyon summer days of 1998. It then turns out that Geoff and Iain also lived together in the early 1990s, before I met him.
  • Through mutual friends, I ended up following Star’s blog, which was full of random pop culture links and funny words. She was a good blogger, but alas her life was very suddenly and rudely cut short. Today, I found that a professional blog colleague of mine used one of her pics in his latest blog post – something which may well have gladdened her. Or maybe not.

Maybe it’s time to find a new Internet or something.

Why are faux spam commentators surging to my blog?

Why are faux spam commentators surging to my blog?

Over the last few days, I’ve had a lot of comments on my blog. Which is all well and good – and there’s even genuine-looking content on said comments, implying they’ve at least looked at the blogpost in question.

However, each comment leaves a link to a website of their choice, which turns out to be a purely commercial enterprise, whether it’s a weight-loss programme, a Chicago lawyer or a Southampton business directory.

Which leaves me wondering why people would take the painstaking time and effort to come to my blog, read an entry, make some comment related to the blogpost in question – all for a link from my blog. The last time I checked, my Google pagerank was 4, which isn’t exactly huge in the grand scheme of things. Besides which, WordPress automatically adds a nofollow tag to each outgoing user-submitted link, so adding links to my blog is a somewhat pointless exercise anyway.

So, faux-real spam commentators, what on earth *are* you doing here?

The agony of the short-distance writer

The agony of the short-distance writer

Despite having spent most of my life writing words for websites (and project proposals, that sort of thing), and having had two jobs with the word “Editor” in the title, I’ve never really considered myself a writer.

Recently, I was asked to write a short article for Ariel, the BBC’s internal corporate newspaper. On a topic I knew a lot about, indeed, that I somewhat relished.

However, I kept putting it off week after week until finally, today, I was told that I had to get it to the editor by lunchtime or knives and screams would be heard. So I knuckled down, looked at the few notes I’d made, and in an hour, I’d turned out 425 words of prose that’s almost professional. It’s elegant, the end references the beginning, and it’s one of the best articles I think I’ve written. And I knocked it out in less than an hour.

I’d whip myself even more about being such a procrastinating fool about it, but it seems I’m not that alone. Douglas Adams famously declared that “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Most of the emails that Russell T Davies sends out in The Writer’s Tale are of him either avoiding starting work on a script, procrastinating over working on a script, or the insane things that happen as he tries to finish his work to deadline.

What is it about writing that encourages procrastination to such an extent? How is it I can quickly knock off a blog entry, no problem, but trying to write an article causes huge amounts of internal angst? How come editors don’t want to strangle their contributors at every available opportunity? And how can I stop procrastination in the unlikely event I ever get asked to write another article?

I'm still in the Welsh Blog Awards?

I'm still in the Welsh Blog Awards?

Despite having left Wales a month ago, I still seem to be in the running for the utterly unprestigious Welsh Blog Awards.

Without having done any campaigning whatsoever, I appear to be the lead contender for Best Media Blog and Best Eclectic Blog (whatever that means) – both against two leading Welsh-language blogs who are much more deserving of your vote. Anyway, it’s rather bizarre to be a lead contender. So vote for them!

Vote For Me! (redux)

Vote For Me! (redux)

Apparently, that much-anticipated event in the Welsh blogging calendar is here again, and it’s time to vote for me (for the last time!) in the Welsh Blog Awards.

I’m up for Best Media Blog, Best Specialist Blog and Best Eclectic Blog, apparently. And all you have to do is email the awards organiser. Which is nice.

Shame I don’t live in Wales any more 😉

David Tennant 2.0

David Tennant 2.0

In case you hadn’t noticed, the BBC have started putting up official video clips and diaries onto YouTube. So far, not particularly Web 2.0 – but the two video diaries they have put up there from (completely coincidentally) Doctor Who – shows how you *can* almost make a Media 1.0 product fit within a Web 2.0 environment, and how you can’t.

Watch Freema Agyeman’s Doctor Who video diary (oooh hiss points to whoever at the BBC titled these videos – it’s *Doctor* Who, not Dr Who!). It’s nothing remarkable or exceptional – it’s an edited piece to camera that feels like something taken off an Electronic Press Kit, or a piece of video made/directed by someone who’s got no real idea how a video diary should feel. It feels scripted, dishonest and commercial.

Compare and contrast to David Tennant’s Doctor Who video diary. The various elements feel – and indeed show – that instead of just sitting and facing the camera, David has gone around and filmed himself walking and talking to people, in corridors, entering sets etc. He also filmed himself inside his trailer and shows us his suit – and when he turns the camera around to face himself, you can see that he’s all alone in his trailer. No PR minders, no film crew – just one man with his camera, talking about what he’s doing. It’s video blogging 2.0 – and it’s on a major TV set for possibly one of the BBC’s most famous TV productions. Having said that, neither video is going to compel people who’ve never seen Doctor Who into watching an episode.

It’d be nice to think that sooner or later, Tom Cruise, George Clooney or Kiefer Sutherland would be doing this themselves as part of their publicity, really bringing people closer to the set and the action. But somehow I doubt it. So yet more kudos to David Tennant for doing just that.

(Oh, and the amusing thing about watching a BBC video on YouTube is that afterwards, the ever-so-helpful YouTube recommendation engine links straight to videos on YouTube that the BBC just may have not approved of, from a copyright point of view!)

Andrew Collins blogs!!!

Andrew Collins blogs!!!

Andrew Collins is one of those people who manages to make you realise just what a professional failure you are.

While I sit here panicing about the car tax that’s not renewing itself and the dust that just won’t leave my flat, musing on fanciful notions of future careers while barely remembering to make some coffee for myself (and perhaps do some of the work that’s teetering on the edge of my desk), he’s the kind of chap who managed to edit the two best (at their time) film and music magazines in the UK, makes regular appearances as expert on those Top 100 of Top 100s shows, and even now manages to present a radio show, edit the film pages of a major magazine, write a sitcom, and yet still find time to watch television, enjoy new music and presumably have lots of quality time on the sofa with his nearest and dearest. And now, he’s also got time to write a blog. All this while being a Doctor Who fan to boot.

Then again, he lives in Reigate and is a firm believer in the power of the Arctic sodding Monkeys so I guess it’s not all bliss and rock’n’roll.

If you do one thing today…

If you do one thing today…

Browse through any bookstore (particularly American ones) and you’ll come across those books that purport to suggest that you do one thing per day. Whether it’s learning a new word, or just doing something at random.

Thus it would make excellent blogging material if someone did just that. Enter This Blog Will Change Your Life – he’s spent the last three months doing whatever the book tells him to do (within reason), and he’s going to keep doing it. Even if it’s calling a random British person late at night.