Wednesday, August 30, 2006

One of those odds and ends entries that people never comment on

1. Lost in Time

I wrote an entry in LiveJournal an hour ago about four or five times in my life when there was a discrepancy between perceived time and the reality. My brain pointed all these out to me after I read an entry from my friend Sarah (not Sara) about thinking she was terribly, horribly late for something important, after some guy at a bus stop insisted it was an hour later than it really was. Go. Read. (Don't forget to come back!)

2. The Splogosphere

Speaking of my LiveJournal, I've written a few entries there in the last year or two about splogs and link farms. A splog is a spam blog. A link farm is a web page full of links and ads. Both tend to be mostly nonsense, blocks of text from legitimate sites, harvested for their keywords to fill a page, linking to each other to improve their PageRank with Google and the rest, all so you'll click on an ad and they can make a buck.

Anyway, John mentioned to me that the latest issue of Wired has an article about the menace of splogs as they start to overwhelm the legitimate blogosphere. I've been reading it in our print copy of the magazine tonight. It's pretty alarming. One study claimed that 56% of "all active English blogs" (that's blogs in English with current content) are splogs.

I went to see if there's an online version of the article, because that makes for easier quoting (not to mention linking). Instead I found a summary of the article, and this. Here are the bullet points from an article called "How to Fight Those Surging Splogs":

* Find out if you're being splogged:

You don't want your work to be on a splog, the article says, because it can lower your blog's PageRank and damage your reputation. Check search engines like Technorati for uses of "your name, your site's name or its URL." "You'll recognize a splog by the unusual number of buzzwords in the main content area," the article says. "And splogs often redirect visitors to an entirely different site."

* How to report splogs:

Splogs get in the way of finding what you're actually searching for, and waste the resources of hosting services such as Blogger and blog search engines like Technorati. So report it when you see it. "If the splog is on Blogger, you can easily report it by clicking the Flag button on the top right corner of the page," the article says. "If the splog is on another blogging platform, you may have to contact the host directly." Or you can report a splot to a new service, Splog Reporter. The print article says that "in December, 2005, Blogger was hosting more than 100,000 sploggers." Blogger doesn't want to do that, and we don't want them to do that. So we should probably help to reduce that number a bit, yes? and if the splog uses AdSense, Google can revoke the account (and remember, Google owns Blogger).

* Removing comment and trackback spam helps:

If you get a comment that says something like "Nice blog," followed by a link, it's probably comment spam. Kill it. I removed two of these a few days ago myself. A lot of the time, these are posted to months-old entries, in the hope that you won't notice. Sometimes the links are attached to asterisks instead of text to be less obvious. While they're there, they increase the PageRank of the splog or link farm or Viagra ad they link to.

The print article is scheduled to go online September 5th. Or you can just buy the issue, which has lots of neat stuff in it anyway.

3. Remembering about Remembering

In six days, another Round Robin Photo Challenge will be upon us. The topic this time, Nostalgia, comes from Dorn, of the blog, Through the Eyes of the Beholder. Nostalgia is all about remembering the past fondly, even longingly. So it's appropriate that I remember to promo this topic. Too often, I forget to do more than mention it in passing before the posting date.

Anyway, here's a little teaser for it. At Casa Blocher, better known as the Museum of the Weird, most nostalgia is about the 1950s and 1960s, one way or another. Many of the exhibits are in this vein, including these two dolls. They're both Chatty Baby. The bibs on the dresses actually call them Tiny Chatty Baby, but to me the doll was Chatty Baby. I had one when I was six years old, and was quite rude to my grandmother when she gave me a lesser doll that same Christmas.

Neither of these dolls is the one I had when I was six. That's long gone, along with the one my grandmother gave me, and the one with the soft body and a music box inside that played Brahms' Lullaby. I got these two Chatty Babies a few years ago at Firehouse Antiques, either the same day or a week apart. The brown haired one still has a working record. The blond one does not. The doll was never all that intelligible, anyway. Being a baby, it mostly delivered babytalk, in glorious low fidelity.

So why did I buy both dolls, instead of just the one that still sort-of talks when you pull the string? Simple. I can't remember whether my Chatty Baby had blond or dark hair, so I bought both versions. Nostalgia can drive us to do weird things, sometimes.

If you're interested in participating in the Round Robin Photo Challenge, you still have almost a week to prepare before the posting date of September 6th. Click here for details, and don't forget to RSVP!

4. Two Sunsets

These two sunset shots are from last night and tonight. The first one, of a building near St. Michael's, I thought was kind of interesting because of the way the wedge of sunset color framed the building.

This other sunset shot was taken tonight. Those are the Santa Rita Mountains under that huge cloud. That's right - this "sunset" was to the south.


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Gaboatman said...

We've all had the experience of believeing we are really late for something important at least once, Ithink. It's a terrible feeling while it is happening. The sunsets shots are very pretty. What I most want to say, though, is thanks for the info on the splogs and link farms. Very interesting and useful info here. Now see, someone did comment on this odds and ends entry, LOL!

julie said...

Well, you know how I feel about splogs and the like. As frustrating as I find CAPTCHAs from a user standpoint, they're one of the best tools I've found to combat blog spam.

Anonymous said...

Cyber Chocolate's been harvested for link farms a lot. I see it in my technorati and similar search feeds.

As for splog commenting, that's why I put on comment moderation. That crap never hits my blog. I leave the character verification on to cut down the amount I have to deal with in moderation, but the moderation was the key for me.

--Shelly, happily on beta and hoping everyone is soon, too, so she can comment under her new Blogger name

Becky said...

Heh. I knew when I saw the implied challenge in your title that there would be at least one comment already here. ;-)