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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See, people, I am not that bad ;) I am just 58 percent geek: 58% Geek

(Yet I need to say "did you ever solve a complex computer problem while in the shower" is a mean catch question and a geek dead giveaway that I stepped right into ;) )

(Thanks for the link, Kai!)

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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. is now part of -- 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 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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Yesterday, I registered with LinkedIn and sent out a few invitations to people I know who also have an account.

Sadly enough, LinkedIn didn't like my name, Frédéric, quite as much as I do, so the invitation emails ended up being signed like this:

I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. -Frédéric

I reported the bug and hope they fix it soon. For now, I replaced my "é"s by regular "e"s but of course they are only half as nice :)

Sorry for the inconvenience to everyone who though "who the heck is that?" when receiving my email.

(Thanks to Brandon and morgamic who told me about the problem.)

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So, for my international audience who would like to see once how nice my home town is, here's a little video made by a local musician. Very nice and entertaining too. Enjoy.

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Pretty cool: The new Fiat 500.

Not cool: Having a "designed for MS Windows" logo next to the cigarette lighter.

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Today, I decided to give my blog a new look -- mostly because I was tired of the old, white, colorless layout. After a little while, I found a nice one in the Wordpress theme directory (so, props to the guy who designed this :) )

Old (left) vs. new (right):

This blog’s old look This blog’s new look

If you find something not working, or you want to let me know that the new layout sucks even more than the old one ;) feel free to leave a comment.

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Today, Wordpress managed to make me cry: I realized that there were 100 comments stuck in the moderation queue and Wordpress had decided not to send me emails about that anymore. I didn't notice, because the comments of the people who most commonly give me feedback did show up on the page immediately, so I just thought I didn't get much feedback :(

Moderation Queue

I moderated all of them through now and I sincerely apologize to everybody who commented and never found their comment online. They weren't lost, just stuck in the queue.

I am going to fix the problem and promise to pay more attention next time! Thanks! :)

P.S.: As a positive side note: Everybody who I just moderated through will not have to wait for moderation the next time anymore, I think.

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Diamond Lock, CC licensed on flickr by mfshadowToday I upgraded my blogs to Wordpress 2.1, since I hadn't updated them in a little while and I didn't find the time until today.

While the upgrade worked well (and it apparently comes with quite a few MySQL optimizations and other neat features), I realized that my admin pages which I serve via HTTPS now had a "broken key" symbol: All URLs inside the page source code were unencrypted HTTP now, probably because they are now not build relatively to the page URL anymore. Bad side effect: I couldn't upload any files for blog posts anymore since my login cookie didn't work for HTTP (which is not a bug but a feature, obviously ;)).

At first I tried to change the "wordpress URL" in the options to https://... which worked, but that ended up also serving the CSS files and feeds and such on the public page as HTTPS -- leading to unnecessary stress on my little server and, much worse, to a certificate warning for every one of my users who happens not to have imported the CACert root certificate (which, quite frankly, is almost everyone).

After a little research however I found the Wordpress Secure Admin Plugin which is infinitely easy to install and does exactly what it should: It makes sure all URLs in the admin interface are HTTPSed, re-enabling me to log into my blog encryptedly. It also encrypts the login cookie now, reducing the risk of session hijacking.

Another Wordpress plugin on my "must have" list.

(lock picture source: CC by-nd licensed by mfshadow on flickr)

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Yesterday I read about an "involuntary web service" by google that lets you create rounded corners on the fly, such as this one:

Google-generated rounded corner

A very neat and nice way to create rounded corners without spending too much time with the Gimp or so. (That's probably why Google did it in the first place).

Another neat web service came to my mind later that day. It does not exist yet but I would love to find that somewhere:

Apple iTunes mirror effect

A mirror effect like this one used by Apple in iTunes (underneath the actual photo). As far as I know for Mac OSX programmers there is an API that does that and therefore this effect is extensively used in some OSX applications.

That would indeed come in quite handy at times and I imagine it would look quite nice in people's blogs. Another idea would be the auto-generation of drop shadows for images.

Does anyone volunteer to write a script? :)

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