Archive for October, 2010

Comment Spam – Policy and Practices

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

I love it!!!

Akismet is a collaborative spam filter available for WordPress blogs. The “collaborative” aspect comes from collecting information about what Al, John, Carly, Janice, and every other Akismet user thinks is spam, and using those marking to filter the stuff from infecting other blogs. I love it! It works very very very well. Catches lots of stuff and flushes it before I need to bother. Akismet silently prevents 100-250 spam comments per day for my blog. It actually holds them in a queue for inspection, but I find it so accurate that I never inspect. I just delete the remnants occasionally.

[Hey, all you Blogger users…. Take note and lobby Blogger to implement real spam filtering instead of those damned CAPTCHAs. CAPTCHAs serve mostly to move the burden away from the provider and to the users, and are a total barrier for many people with disabilities. And don’t argue with me, like one idiot did, that it doesn’t matter because people with disabilities shouldn’t do woodworking.]

However, the best spam filters aren’t very successful for certain targeted marketing that’s based on keywords. Here’s a recent example. It was a comment on my post about Woodworking Appliances. Some robot scanned a bunch of blogs for the word “appliance” and added the following comment, with a link, of course, to their product.

Hi , thanks for the posting. Nice. There are many ways to get rid of hair issues, but first know that bad hair is usually the result of unclean hair and scalp, it is also due to the use of excessive hair product, which usually grab on to your hair making it heavy and dry. Chemical hair products also clog hair pores killing the health of your hair.

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!

There are similar comments that most likely were not done by a robot, but by a person taking the time to search out relevant posts. Had one just like that a couple of days ago on the post talking about other woodworking choices. A small boat builder (sounds friendly enough) posted a message and a link to his single page web site that exists only for selling small boat building lessons.

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!

For that stuff, I use a second WordPress filter called WP-SpamFree. I have mine setup to email me a copy of every comment (which I allow to be posted without moderation). Within that email are three tools: Trash It, Spam It, and Blacklist the sender. Each of them is a one-click tool. Poof!

My policy

If you come here solely to advertise, your comment will get the Spam It treatment, and your IP address will be blacklisted. It takes me less effort to do those two actions than it does you to post the comment in the first place.

Boatbuilding and Other Woodworking

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Using small boats is great when weather is good for flip-flops and lift offs, bikini tops and cutoffs (Thanks Travis). One needs to wade into the water a bit to launch, have water drip off the paddle shafts into your lap, and even though the seats in the boats are off the bottom, there’s usually enough water brought aboard that it wicks its way up pant legs that hang over the edge of the seat. It’s no longer that kind of weather, and the water temperature is dropping fast. We could outfit ourselves with cold weather gear, waterproof breeches, boots, and such, but that’s not our style.

Our wardrobe is not full of special purpose costumes for each of our activities. Watching bicyclists in their brightly colored spandex costumes brings chuckles. Good lord! They’re riding along NY country roads, not the Tour de France! The spandex must be helpful in keeping jiggly parts in place as they bump and bounce along the potholes and ruts of our horrendously maintained roads. (Did anyone ever tell you that the tax rates in NY are the highest in the nation? Don’t know what they do with all the money, but it’s not used on roads.) Those bright colors must be so they won’t get shot by the turkey hunters or run down by the Bentley drivers.

""So, without special costumes, our boating season is over … and it’s the time of year to start thinking about building another boat. Well, not exactly. There are lots of boats that I think would be fun to build, but we have a couple of constraints. First, some are too large or heavy for cartopping and there’s no place to park a trailer on our property. Second, the boat shop is getting full and I’m not yet keen about building outside storage for a flotilla of boats. And no, I’m not going to start renting storage space.

Hmmm, maybe I should sell boats to make more room? Nope! That could bring liability problems and New York has way too many lawyers. NY is second only to D.C. with 20.4 lawyers per capita. OK, 20.4 for every 10,000 capitae.

Woodworking includes a huge number of variations. In fact, boatbuilding is a relative back water when compared to many other variants. Maybe the most popular, if the magazine rack at the bookstore, or the number of blogs mean anything is “fine” cabinet and furniture building. Unlike boatbuilding, all of that furniture stuff needs straight boring lines right angles and fancy joinery. No sweeping sheer lines, no wonderfully twisted planks, no rolling bevels, no intriguing acute joins, just straight lines and square corners. I don’t think I’ll ever want to master the dovetail joint. Besides, our house is already full of furniture, and I have no interest in building it for sale, dealing with 20.4 lawyers, etc.

Of course, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other interesting wood working paths to follow: houses, decks, specailty furnishings (think Shaker), boxes, decorative devices of all sorts, and more! Kari Hultman, “the Village Carpenter,” is a one woman show about the variety of woodworking one can enjoy.

Wood turning? Maybe soon. That partially finished treadle lathe only needs this ole crank to make some cranks and finish fitting it out.

Wood carving? Getting warmer (as in the Hot & Cold children’s hunting game). More in the next posting.