Merry Christmas

I had originally planned to wish everyone a Merry Christmas earlier today, but the day got away from me, somehow. We managed to get in a few walks and I got lost in a book. A fitting present this year. And I got to talk on the phone with some real live friends and relatives (which is always nice). Ran out of time again, as usual, so now it’s off to sleep. I hope you had a good day, too!

Boulder at Shore Path
Boulder at Shore Path in a Fierce Wind

Adding a New User to my Blog

I finally figured out that Invite only asks whether you want to start your own blog. In Chapter 12 of my Teach Yourself Visually WordPress book, I learned how to add a user to my blog. And I just discovered this morning (on sandboxesrus) that this functionality is different (and less robust) on .com than it is on .org. So I have added my wife as an editor to this blog (because I can) and as a contributor to sandboxesrus so we can get to the bottom (or to the top, to mix my metaphors) of the learning curve. Once I have this figured out, we can finally get Healing Pathways back on the rails.

Update [1 Mar 2015]. Reviewing this post today I noticed that the link for the book no longer works. Reviewing the book, I also noticed that it is rather dated. So here is an image of the book I mentioned (the first edition) and a link to the current version of the book (the third edition). See my blog post for today [1 Mar 2015] for the book I am currently using to refresh my knowledge of WordPress.
TeachYourselfVisually WordPress_wp

Season’s Greetings

With the Winter Solstice nearly upon us, I would like to just wish everyone listening a happy holiday season. This is a really good time of the year to take stock and look back over the year that is ending. Savor the precious moments, ponder the meaning of your particular specific existence and gather your strength to move forward into the next year. My wife caught the spirit of the season perfectly in this photograph taken today.

Twinkling Deer and Wreath
Twinkling Deer and Wreath

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving Day

Turkey and Trimmings
Turkey and Trimmings

Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, we are sure to have a very enjoyable holiday this year. Turkey is not the only way to celebrate; eat what you like! Visiting friends and family is a wonderful way to share the day and to make it memorable. I’m posting this today because I have a feeling that things are going to be a bit hectic on Thursday.

Thank You with Thread

We had a lovely surprise package arrive at our door this week. What a nice way to say thank you. We were a bit surprised to see them so soon (we just assumed they would take longer). I hope the towel fairy won’t mind if we say thanks in this post. They have already been pressed into service.

Don and Gale Towels
His and Hers

Photographs at the Senator Inn

Gale and I decided to have lunch on Saturday at the Senator Inn in Augusta (at Cloud 9). We had heard that they were hanging pictures from members of the Capitol Area Camera Club, so we asked the waitress if we could speak with the person responsible for managing the pictures. As luck would have it, there had been a recent change in management (Roger Bintliff has recently become General Manager) and we were introduced to Aaron Lachance, who offered us the opportunity to hang three of Gale’s photos at the front desk!

Gale's Three Pictures at Front Desk at Senator Inn, Augusta, ME
Gale Davison's Pictures at front desk at the Senator Inn, Augusta

I returned on Sunday with business cards for the pictures and took this picture (with Jason Wentworth posing at the front desk in front of Gale’s photographs) to share with you. Incidentally, the meal at Cloud 9 was fabulous (and their reputation for great service is well deserved).

Learning the Lessons of Spam All Over Again

It seems that I have fallen for it again. Every once in a while, years ago, I would admonish my relatives for replying to emails that were clearly of dubious authenticity (at least they could have checked with Snopes first). But I took a sucker punch to the head with this new WordPress blog before I added the Akismet plugin.

I have gotten several legitimate comments to my posts, but apparently I had some trouble screening out the bogus ones. If I am overreacting, perhaps the true human author will respond to this post and clear things up. When I first created the blog, there was a Hello World placeholder post (which I decided to keep as part of my learning curve). Several of the comments are from me or someone I know (or the placeholder comment from WordPress). But on 27 Oct 2010 I got a comment from Suchmaschine (which turns out to be a German web search engine); I thought the language was a bit awkward, but knowing no better, I approved it. I thought perhaps the author was just being very sarcastic. Later on, I noticed that comments from friends and family actually had meaningful names and email addresses that I could easily recognize. Suchmaschine listed as its web site and a email address. I got a comment from Italy, so I thought nothing more about it (because that one actually had a link back to an Italian web site that seemed to match the information of the comment).

At about this time (with the site up for about a week or so), I finally had a chance to notice the Spam page for comments and took a look at them. This was a true revelation. On 24 Oct 2010 I published my Sunrise at Bass Harbor post (backdating it to 12 Oct, the day after the events discussed and the day after the pictures were taken). I got some feedback from Sichere Geldanlage 2010 on 26 Oct and wrote a separate post about the K-Meleon browser mentioned in the comment [Browser Rendering Issues]. Chip Bennet actually started to research the issue. But I am now coming to believe that this may all be just spam!

Example of Clever Spam
Example of Clever Spam - K-Meleon browser issue

I haven’t contacted the author of the NextGEN plugin yet (and I think I will wait a while until I clear up this whole spam mystery). It turns out that there is quite a lot of spam coming out of Germany (and most of the spam seems to have a hotmail account connected to it). One more example (this one was caught by Akismet and appears to be a reply to Sichere Geldenlage 2010):

Spam Replying to Spam
Spam Replying to Spam?

Clearly I have a ways to go on this learning curve. If I get reliable answers to these mysteries, I will post them here. [On 10 Nov I noticed another interesting connection between the spam comments: same IP address.]

Same IP Address, Different Names
Same IP Address, Different Names

We’re not in Kansas, any more, Toto!

As a life-long Democrat, you can imagine how I feel this morning. Or even yesterday morning. Today is a new day, of course, and we will all have to learn the new political calculus. As a public servant, I will continue to look for ways to provide value for taxpayer dollars. I am hoping that with the campaign behind us, we can roll up our sleeves to work for the people instead of for the egos of politicians. That remains to be seen, but so far the public utterings are encouraging locally (if not nationally). Here in the beautiful State of Maine we have a big challenge in front of us; I hope we can meet the challenge sensibly.

And I hope the president will use this opportunity to find a way to bring effective relief to our national job deficit problem; perhaps he can devise a way to stop helping out the wealthy (who surely don’t need any more help at this point). I think this election, at least in part, reflects anger about helping out banks while people lose their homes and their jobs. I’m not sure what the world would have looked like with a banking system in shambles, but if we don’t figure out how to solve the housing and unemployment problems, fixing health insurance (and keeping the banking system afloat) will turn out to have been just another band-aid.