Back in business

Sydney HarbourFor some reason that I still can’t really explain my blog has been out of action for the last couple of months. I’ve tried to fix it but didn’t really have time to get into it properly when my small attempts didn’t work. In that time I’ve updated my Social Media for Family Historians book and written a new one called Land research for family historians in Australia and New Zealand.

I’ve just had another go, and when what I tried to do didn’t work I put it back the way it was and started installing another one, with the intention of loading it up with a backup. For some reason I can’t explain doing those things has caused it to work.

It’s a mystery to me, but it’s good to be back!

Spam, spam, everywhere spam

It’s midday in Sydney and this blog has already received 16 spam comments today. Fortunately I don’t have to deal with them as I use a WordPress plugin called Akismet to weed them out for me. They end up in a special folder where I can check them if I have the patience.

In the last 6 months there have been 29,783 spam comments on this blog.

Akismet 6 month stats

Can you believe it? 29,783!!! I can’t.

This blog is not especially popular. I don’t post as often as I’d like, and some of what I post is not relevant to many people. And yet in the last year there has been 36,359 comments classified as spam.

As you can see, the number of comments rose to a peak in September. I’m not sure what the story was or what causes the rise and fall in spam. Has anyone else seen similar figures?

Here is a sample of the sort of comments we mean by spam:

Spam

As you see, they all want to sell me something, or sell you something. Or worse.

Maybe I need to add one of those things where you have to enter the funny characters you see on the screen. I know Akismet is sealing them off for me, but just allowing them to add the comment in the first place offends me.

What do you think?

A good reason to write a blog

Blog posts are a snapshot in time. Just as a photograph can tell you a lot about someone, so can a blog post, even when they talk about seemingly trivial things. Even memes, those things that seem to go around like a craze in primary school, can be meaningful.

I have been sorting through old drafts that were never published, and I found this one from October 2008:

Ten years ago I was:

  1. Working on the implementation of a new computer system to prepare for Y2K
  2. Sharing our new house with my sister’s family until theirs was ready to move into
  3. Wondering how long my mother’s new marriage would last (not long)
  4. Planting Australian natives in the garden
  5. Spending too much money

Five things on today’s to-do list:

  1. Give the cat his antibiotics (done)
  2. Call my Dad to see how my step-mother is doing (trying)
  3. Go and see my step-mother in hospital
  4. Meet an old friend for lunch (will do)
  5. Do some neglected housework (not done)

Five snacks I enjoy:

  1. My sister’s brownies
  2. Yoghurt
  3. A banana, or some grapes
  4. dry-roasted cashews
  5. Did I mention my sister’s brownies?

Five places I have lived (in no particular order):

  1. Beautiful leafy Hornsby in Sydney’s northern suburbs (for the last 20-odd years)
  2. Dubbo in Central Western New South Wales (where I grew up)
  3. A flat in Rockdale in Sydney’s south (while I was at uni)
  4. A semi-detached house in inner-city Stanmore (when I was finishing uni and starting work)
  5. Suva, Fiji (for about 6 months when I was 12)

Five jobs I have had:

  1. Salesgirl at Woolworths Variety when I was 14 or 15
  2. Sales assistant at Angus and Robertson book store in Dubbo between school and uni
  3. Bar attendant at a couple of southern Sydney pubs while I was at uni
  4. Clerk for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs for a couple of years when I finished uni
  5. Computer programmer at the gas company

Five places I would like to visit:

  1. Ireland – Northern Ireland and the Republic
  2. The National Archives of Fiji
  3. Namibia (again)

None of this will have any significance for anyone outside of my family, I suspect. For my close family, however, it may mean a great deal. Not only does it say to anyone who is interested some details of my past and present life, but it has some bearing on other events that had great significance.

I suspect that I didn’t finish the post because of what was going on at the time. I did talk to my Dad about how my step-mother was doing, and I went to see her in hospital every day and sat with her while my sister, her daughter, raced home to get things done. We moved her home when the hospital could no longer do anything for her, and after a few days she passed away, in her own bed with her family around her. Only 11 days after I wrote this.

It still hurts that she was taken so soon. 60 is young, these days. Her father lived much, much longer.

I also remember meeting the old friend for lunch. He told me a trick to do with parking near the hospital before the afternoon peak hour.

It was a shock to read through this post after all this time. I thought I would share it with my family, and anyone else who is interested.

Adi, Christmas 2007