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 google.com as its web site and a hotmail.com 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

Sunrise at Bass Harbor

After a whirlwind visit with Jerry and Bonnie, and before we visited with Rodney and Jill at their home in Manset, I had a few moments to savor the early morning light and decided to capture it (with my trusty SONY camera); I’m only an amateur, so some of the shots are not in focus and I don’t really know how to take advantage of all the bells and whistles, so these shots will never win any prizes. Hopefully, in spite of all those caveats, you will get some sense of how beautiful this little corner of the world can be early in the morning in October.

Update [1 Mar 2015]. The following part of the post applied to the original wordpress.org plugin (which does not work on this wordpress.com site); I am currently working on a wordpress.org companion site and will make this gallery available at some time in the future.

The pictures are displayed here with the NextGEN plugin. Toggle the link below to cycle between watching the slide show or viewing the pictures individually by clicking through them on your own schedule.

[nggallery id=1]

This is my first attempt to show pictures in a gallery with WordPress. The pictures were exported from iPhoto (giving me JPEG images less than 100KB each). I will need to continue working on my NextGEN plugin learning curve; there are ways to associate names and descriptions for the individual images, etc.

[published on 24 Oct 2010 and backdated to match the events and images]