[caption id="attachment_2563" align="alignright" width="150" caption="CC by-sa licensed by twicepics on flickr"][/caption]Over the recent weeks I've got frequent blog spam along the lines of:

Hi. I just noticed that your site looks like it has a few code problems at the very bottom of your site's page. I'm not sure if everybody is getting this same problem when browsing your blog? I am employing a totally different browser than most people, referred to as Opera, so that is what might be causing it? I just wanted to make sure you know. Thanks for posting some great postings and I'll try to return back with a completely different browser to check things out!

(emphasis: mine)

Not only does my blog display just fine in Opera (yes, I checked), I get even more bogus comments at times claiming that my blog looks horrible in Firefox, of all browsers. Dear spammers, now you're just making fools of yourselves.

The main thing identifying this kind of comment as spam (other than the bogus claim that my blog doesn't render correctly in non-Internet-Explorer browsers) is the URL these comments come with. Usually, they promise a "free" iPod, MacBook, car, house, airplane or ride to the moon (exaggeration: mine).

I wonder how many bloggers actually publish these, thinking it's well-meant advice. :(

Photo credit: "Spam" CC by-sa licensed by twicepics on flickr

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Just recently, my fiancée Tara joined the blogging community with her first own blog called "Domaine de Tara".

Domaine de Tara

She started off with a nice little article on the hunt for American-style brown sugar in Germany. It also includes a yummy recipe for baking Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies which -- in spite of the sugar-related difficulties -- turned out more than delicious.

Her future posts are likely going to be about food (both her passion and profession) and German strangeness she's just bound to stumble across every once in awhile... :)

Feel free to visit her blog, say hello, and maybe even subscribe to the RSS feed. Have fun!

The photo is from a trip we took to Provence, where a winery coincidentally carries my fiancée's name.

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Das Internet hat viele Vorteile. Zum Beispiel, dass jedermann ganz einfach veröffentlichen kann, was er gerade so denkt. Natürlich hat es auch Nachteile. Zum Beispiel, dass jedermann ganz einfach veröffentlichen kann, was er gerade so denkt.

Und so gibt es ab und an Kommentare wie diesen hier, unter einem meiner Artikel über Paris Hilton, der sich aufgrund seines provokativen Titels dauerhaft zu den meistbesuchten Artikeln dieses Blogs zählen darf:

hey peris ich finde dich toll aber wen du deine nackt bilder fileicht mir schigen würdest das were schön danke ich libe dich

Ich weiß, was ihr jetzt sagen wollt: Wer nach einer entblätterten Hilton googelt, schaut auch RTL... -- und angesichts der tadellosen Rechtschreibung ist das vielleicht gar nicht so weit hergeholt. Aber seht es einmal von der positiven Seite: Die medizinische Sensation, dass ein Reiz auf dem Weg vom Schritt zur Tastatur nicht im Gehirn vorbeikommen muss, liefert einem handelsüblichen Medizinstudenten bestimmt genügend Material für eine Doktorarbeit. Und das ist doch auch schon mal etwas.

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An unfortunate typo in a configuration file left this blog completely without images for a little while. Apologies to the readers who may have been confused by that.

Now, fredericiana is back in all it's glory :)

On a side note, I am actually glad how nice my blog still looks with images "disabled". Still, I am glad everything is back to normal now.

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As only the most attentive readers may have noticed by now, I redesigned my blog. It's been a while since I have done that, and the former layout started to bore me a little.

So I went ahead, got myself a template from freecsstemplates and tweaked away. It wasn't a Wordpress template, so there was quite a lot of work to do, but I am quite pleased with the outcome.

Gone: The old design.

There are a few advantages of the old vs. the new layout. First, more room for more awesomeness: The articles used to be only 500 pixels wide (and that was already stretched from how the old layout came out of the box). This one has 575 pixels, plenty of space even for bigger pictures.

"New car" scent not included.

Second, due to the famfamfam icons I built in it should all look a little neater and be hopefully quite intuitive. Just for fun, I also added "magazine-style" quotes, just like the one you see on the right.

At last, my comments now differ visually from everybody else's:

I hope you like it. Oh, and if you find anything out of the ordinary, let me know!

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We are interrupting our program for a shameless plug for... ourselves:

Wow, some time during my last few posts on this blog I crossed the 1000 post mark :)

This means, since its opening in early 2004, this blog has entertained (or bored, which I hope not) you with some 20 posts a month on average. Not bad, is it?

(I need to admit, lately it's been a little less than that, but very soon I should have more to talk about again :) )

All right, so much for the shameless plug. Now, carry on.

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It seems to me like some people have a little too much time at their hands: I recently notice a bunch of hand-crafted spam coming in to my blog, mainly as comments to the famous (infamous?) cake article.

The comments look something like this:

Hand Crafted Wordpress Spam Some hand-crafted wordpress spam, notice how the comment makes sense but the supplied URL is quite apparently promoting spam content.

Interestingly, most of these comments actually link to pages that promote some sort of shady pyramid scheme. Looks like these people desperately surf the web searching for well-visited blog posts and drop spam in there -- by hand.

Yet, even if they manage to get through comment moderation, they are not likely to squeeze any "search engine juice" out of it, since Wordpress marks commenters' homepage links as nofollow by default.

And though I would like to tell them they can save their keystrokes and that they are wasting their time (and, more importantly, mine too), I can probably drop that, since chances are, none of these people will ever actually read the blogs they are spamming...

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A while ago, I asked my German readership if they would mind me merging my German and English blog together. For time reasons, my blog output wasn't as high as would be reasonable to fill two blogs with, and furthermore, I often had trouble deciding if I wanted to blog something in my English or rather my German blog.

Merge SignFact is, most of my German readers can read English (and don't mind doing so either), while the opposite does not apply.

The German readers (and the English-speaking ones who also understand German) said they wouldn't mind, and encouraged me to do so.

Yet, until now, I didn't find the time to actually do it. Today, I finally merged my two blogs into one, (of course not entirely without problems, I'll blog that in a little while too), and to cut a long story short: Here are the changes that count for you, dear readers:

  1. fredericiana.de is now part of fredericiana.com -- all requests to .de get automatically redirected to the appropriate .com site.
  2. If you have subscribed to the German feed, please update your feed reader (even if the redirect works fine for now, I can't guarantee that fredericiana.de will always stay a straight redirect to the .com site).
  3. If you have subscribed to a specific category only, please adjust your feed URL also.
  4. If you cannot or do not want to read one of the two languages, I suggest you filter by the German or English category on the right hand side, respectively (especially when using a feed reader!). Then you should not see the stories anymore in the language you don't want.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any comments, or if you notice any unexpected behavior, or whatever else you may have for me, please do not hesitate to leave a comment. Thanks!

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