In the middle of moving, haven’t unpacked yet.

Moving in blog terms that is, to . Kind of feels like I haven’t unpacked yet. I’ll have a tidy up over the next few days I reckon. Add some links back in, neaten up the sidebar and suchlike. Then I’ll start thinking about themes. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me, I’m doing the same on several blogs at once. Still, it’s easier now they’re all in one place.

News about this weekend, I’m driving for the first time in about, ohhhhh, two decades. I’m going go-karting at the Oxford Stadium (where greyhound racing and speedway are held). It should be a good laugh, I’m just hoping that my vague skills in console-based racing at least mean I don’t crash too much. I’m certainly not holding out any hope of winning, just to enjoy it and get a good bit of driving in. Slightly nervous about it, but also looking forwards to it.

I’m a bit averse to the driving thing. Strange as I love watching motor-racing, just funny about driving. Part of me doesn’t see the need, I can get about on the bus just fine in town, and I don’t have to shell out for all the things that go with car owning, but part of it is just being scared of driving. Need to get over it, if we have kids in the next few years, I reckon I’m going to need a car at long last.

The Google Reader keyboard shortcut I like the most

If you’ve been using Google Reader for a while, you probably know about using J and K to go forwards and back through stories. Well this is what I use, along with the list view, to read a lot of stories at speed. I audition them for my attention, if they don’t grab it, I’m onto the next. There is one more shortcut though, that I like for this purpose. The humble U.

U removes the list of folders and feeds on the left-hand side of the reader, giving all of the screen space over to the actual stories themselves. I normally tend to view all, rather than view folders individually, so it lets me see more of the stories in one go to make my value judgement without having to scroll. To get the list of folders and feeds back, just tap U again.

Is comment spam on the rise?

On one of my blogs I’ve had a massive rise in comment spam that has got around my Akismet plugin in WordPress. They aren’t published, as I manually moderate all comments, but it is still a pain. Now my other blogs (on a different host) are fine, so it could be they’re stopping the spammers before they get to my blog. The other possibility is that this problem site has webstats installed in the same directory, and I was reading recently that this is a big lure for spammers (the hits get listed in publicly available webstats without being approved in the blog itself, and it helps their sites visibility).

So I have a couple of solutions available to me. I’m going to do this over a few days out of interest, so the first thing I’m going to do is remove the webstats package (I use analytics now anyway). Leave it a couple of days, see if it dies down. If it doesn’t, there are a couple of WordPress plugins that bounce spam traffic, so I’ll try one of those.

Has anyone else noticed this rise in comment spam?

Hey Now!

Last night ended up as a Larry Sanders marathon. I’ve been taping them on my Sky+ box, and decided to watch a couple, and just couldn’t stop. Brilliant stuff, some of the best comedy writing there is. It got me wondering why there aren’t more shows on this level. I got to thinking about Garry Shandling’s take on Extras (when he was interviewed by Ricky Gervais, he suggested that the way in which Gervais handled race and disability was pretty lazy and obvious, and that there are more sophisticated ways to handle such topics). I feel that Shandling has a right to be smug in Gervais’ direction, as in Larry Sanders he wrote a far superior office comedy to The Office. It’s meant to be about a talk show, but most of it is based around the office relationships, universal stuff. You’ve got his producer, Artie, who is one of the most incredible characters in all of sitcom, evil and thorougly likeable all at once. In face, most of the characters shift positions, are good and bad in many different ways. Larry can be funny and superior, or weak and needy, sometimes from scene to scene. The one constant is that Hank will always lose, no matter what happens.

I think it’s that depth that is key, you get an overall sketch of what a character will behave like, but you can’t always depend on that, sometimes they let you down, or act beyond themselves, but without being someone that doesn’t fit within that overall sketch. Perhaps the problem with a lot of sitcoms is that the overall sketch is all you ever see of all bar one or two characters, they have to sit within that all the time, and it is a rare moment they will change. That could also be down to the difference between English and American sitcoms, in that the latter have a lot more episodes to play with.

I guess I’m trying to think of a situation or location where I could mimic that depth more fully, not copy it, but somewhere where characters could have room to grow.

Moved feeds to Feedburner

I’ve finally got around to moving all my feeds for my sites over to Feedburner. I’m hoping that in the not too distant future, I’ll be able to hook that up to my various Google accounts for Analytics and Adsense, amongst others. I’d also recommend using their WordPress Plugin, as it redirects feed traffic over to Feedburner, and thus gives you more complete statistics for who is accessing your feeds.