Virtual version of Östhammars Poetry street on Google maps

Recently, the main activities of the Festival of Words in the small Swedish city Östhammar occured. A part of the festival was the “Poetry Street”, where quite a few short poems on the festivals theme (for the year 2014, the topic is freedom) were on display in the windows of various shops in the centre of the city.

Two of my own texts are included, but since I live too far away from Östhammar to see those displays myself, I suggested that we should back up with virtual version of the Poetry street. This way, anyone can visit the exhibition, without going to Östhammar. And the exhibition will still be around when the poems are taken down in the shops physical display windows. And, finally, the internet version can be useful even to someone visiting Östhammar, since s/he has the possibility to check that no single poem on display was missed!

First, I'll give a quick look at what the map looks like. It’s interactive. Try clicking on some of the placemarks, to see the included poetry! Continue reading

Create your first WP plugin to start using Google analytics, while excluding yourself from tracking

You know the situation: You make your wordpress site a little bit better every day. But: How many visitors do you have? Where do they come from? What pages are they reading? And how do they react to various articles and changes on your site?

Right, you need statistics.
One of the most convenient ways to get some statistics is to use google analytics. As with most other things, there are good and bad sides.

Screenshot excerpt: Real time view of events in Google analytics

Real time view of events in Google analytics

Continue reading

Fraudulent sales methods in Spain

A few days ago, we were targeted by a team of sales people, who use fraudulent and very aggressive sales methods when trying to convince people in Spain to move to another internet provider.

Phone scrren with call log, showing +1004 and +1565 Continue reading

Have you noticed door-opener-spam?

When you install a fresh copy of wordpress, the most popular blogging platform in the world, you´ll automatically get two plugins:

  • Hello Dolly,a small demo plugin, that can be deleted safely.
  • and Akismet, a cloud-based protection against spam comments.

Obviously, lots of people want to put links to various weird things on your blog, so they use bots that spray more or less strange comments all over the blogosphere. Akismet does a good job on stopping most of these comments from being published on your blog.

But not all spam is that obvious to an unaided eye. Here and there, the comment will look just nice. It may just carry a couple of generic words about what a great site you´ve got. And no links. So what´s the issue? Hmm. Most of these generically nice comments use another thing: check the URL of the blog author. It´s very possible that it points to some very strange page on the internet that you´d prefer not to publish (nor follow).

However, recently I´ve seen that some of these generically nice comments pass the check of Akismet, and wordpress ask me to verify them. So what does a spammer gain from saying a couple of nice words about a blog, without even including any links???

Yes, this got me thinking for a while.

But I think I know what this is about:
Most blogs have a setting, where comments will go public immediately, if the comment author already has written an approved comment before. So, if you approve this comment "Hello, what a nice site you´ve got here!" Then the same spambot will be back a couple of days later, and this time, it will publish tons of garbage on your blog, and it will immediately become visible to all your visitors.

OK! This is just a theory. But I don´t want to prove it by trying. There´s enough spam around anyway.

Shaping Windows 8.1 and adding Russian custom phonetic layout

I’ve been using Windows 7 for quite some while now. And I’m really happy with it. Even so happy that I continue recommending friends and family to go for Windows 7 when buying a new computer, if they’ve got any chance to avoid Windows 8.

But, a couple of weeks ago we needed to get a new computer for my wife. And this time, we didn’t have any choice. So a couple of hours later, I started my attempts to turn a computer with Windows 8.1 into a useful tool for work.

Bad surprise number 1: Windows 8 doesn’t really bother about the the difference between a laptop and a tablet. Continue reading

Adjusting Google Analytics analytics.js (Universal analytics) for meaningful blog statistics

I’m running a wordpress site, where we want to keep an eye on the number of visitors and their behaviour on the site. It turned out to be very easy to get started: Create an account in google analytics and 10 minutes later, you’ll be instructed to enter a code snippet within your head tags (This is the version served for so called Universal Analytics, where the file analytics.js is called.):
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),

ga('create', 'UA-xxxxxxx-x', '');
ga('send', 'pageview');

Since I use the very functional wordpress theme graphene, adding the code was very easy: there’s a special section in the theme settings for that. Continue reading

Getting through

So, you need to call CITC, the telecom regulator in Saudi Arabia?
The good news is that their contact number is nicely indicated on their website.
The nice news is that their number is even correctly reflecting the fact that the country added an extra digit to all fixed telephone numbers a few months ago.
The bad news is that the switchboard seems to be heavily overloaded. According to my statistics, I may end up talking to a switchboard operator only once in 30-50 attempts. But, since they use IVR with DTMF selection, I have to pay for every attempt…
But I keep on trying. :)

It’s there now… Follow-up on fibre optic

Hello all,

As you may recall, quite a while ago, I was complaining about problems of getting connected with internet through fibre optic cable.

It took several months. It turned out that the connection box that was already installed in the house, was incorrectly placed. So it has been replaced by two junction boxes, one on each side of the house. Whenever a flat is to be connected, they’ll hang a vertical cable down to either of these boxes (depending on which side of the house the apartment is located.) So, it’s solved now.

I would like to keep Google reader

In its offical blog, Google has announced that they are taking down Google reader from July 1st 2013.

The quoted reason is declining usage. I’m afraid that it can be tricky to monetize such a wonderful service without doing evil things. Oh, and a lot of people may be relying on Google reader without really realizing it. Many nice apps for following your favorite blogs and news channels are just nice front-ends to Google reader. Continue reading

Corporate Spanish MNP experience

I just saw an interesting article with things to keep in mind, if you have corporate numbers in Spain and want to use Mobile Number Portability (MNP) to move your numbers to a different operator. The article is in Spanish, though. It’s from July 2012, but I’m sure it’s still valid all way through. Here goes the link: Portabilidad móvil: ¿Cómo funciona?