Ten Years Of Blogging

Today is this blog’s tenth anniversary. 3,653 days (thanks to leap years) if you’re counting. This is my 5,948th post. You have commented 23,949 times. It really has become “My Permanent Record.”

Back in 2003, blogging seemed the thing to do. Today, Facebook is the more logical way to open your life to the world. It didn’t exist in 2003. Mark Zuckerberg was just a sophomore year at Harvard!

I’ve lost count of exactly how many pages this blog has served, but with 949,537 reads over the last year, my best estimate is around 6,000,000. That’s a big number for a personal site, especially one that was never mentioned on TV.

I didn’t set out to blog every day. That just happened. Obsessive? Probably. It takes discipline I didn’t know I had.

Hopefully there aren’t too many days when it reads like I’m blogging to fill an obligation. I’m sure there are some.

I’ve written about plenty of personal shortcomings, but this blog is mostly a sanitized version of life. What you read here is always true, just not always the whole truth. I don’t write bad or embarrassing things about friends or family.

Most people who start blogs never considered it requires writing! That’s why so many blogs die after the first entry. If I had thought the problem through, it wouldn’t have happened. I happily believed my writing ended when school ended.

As it turns out, I love writing. Total surprise!

I especially love rewriting. That was even more of a surprise. Every entry gets rewritten at least three or four times before going live.

Without Peter Sachs there would be no blog. In 2003 Peter was running an ISP in New Haven and deeply involved in the online world. It was his encouragement and technical expertise that got me started. Thanks, Peter.

With our move to California this promises to be an interesting year. I plan to blog all of it.

Don’t go to sleep yet, there’s more Geoff Fox to come.

Drowning In Comment Spam

Comments ‹ My Permanent Record — WordPress

Having a website with comments means fighting a tireless battle against spammers. They want their url mentioned online because that’s how Google decides who’s important and who ranks first for any given keyword search. The spammers are persistent.

I use a double barreled approach. There’s Akismet, from the same people who write WordPress itself. It identifies characteristics common to spam, then just throws those comments away.

Until today I was also using WP-SpamFree.

A week ago what was a garden hose of spam became a fire hose! The rate of spam comments probably didn’t increase. More likely some spammer just found a new way to look human enough to penetrate my defenses.

Tonight I swapped out WP-SpamFree and replaced it with Anti-spam. I like Anti-spam because its method of trapping spammers seems foolproof.

Spammers send out thousands, maybe millions, of comments every day. This is automation at its most destructive. The spam bots look for forms and are armed with enough answers (names, email addresses, comments, etc.) to get a message in.

Anti-spam adds two questions to each comment form. Then, using javascript, it hides them so humans won’t see the questions. Bots avoid javascript. It slows them down. That lets them see the questions you don’t!

Answer the extra two questions, you’re a spam bot! Foolproof (they say).

I hope it works, because right now spam is driving me a little nuts. Akismet alone blocked 26,340 spam comments last month! I hear you knocking, but you can’t come in.

Why I Still Write A Blog

I just posted an entry with six fall photos. If I would have put them on Facebook more people would have seen them. It wasn’t that way when I began.

My blog started 7/4/03. There was no Facebook. Social media was hatching, but slowly.

Few think about blogging anymore.

The problem with Facebook and the advantage of this blog is my ability to search and recover. All 5,638 (including this one) blog posts are known to Google.

Many times someone will ask a question and I’ll remember I wrote about it and send a link. That’s tough to do on Facebook.

Yes, Facebook has a timeline and you can go back, but it’s cumbersome to use.

Is everything Facebook has really accessible? Is there the ability to search old entries by text? I don’t see it.

So, I continue to post in my blog and hope to attract readers as best I can. Times have changed.

Have Blogs Lost Their Reason For Being?

Some people see the little links I put on Facebook leading back to posts like this and never think to click! I’ve had people click the Facebook “like” button or even post a Facebook comment within seconds, long before anyone could have read my thoughts.

Before I click of the button which allows a new entry on this blog a page appears loaded with stats. It shows how many people have read and commented and how many pages I’ve published. I’m a few short of 4,400 pages tonight. Scary.

When this blog began there was no Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr. Blogging was new and cool. Hey, I was once new and cool! Tempus fugit.

A question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately: Have Blogs Lost Their Reason For Being?

Nearly every day I struggle whether to put something here or on Twitter or Facebook. It’s a tough choice. Sometimes I divvy things up but it seems so arbitrary.

Some people see the little links I put on Facebook leading back to posts like this and never think to click! I’ve had people click the Facebook “like” button or even post a Facebook comment within seconds, long before anyone could have read my thoughts.

In the 140 character universe these entries are too long. Often my subjects are too complex. Does anyone need to spend four or five minutes learning what Geoff thought?

I’ve considered shutting this bad boy down. The only thing keeping me from doing that is here I’m master of my own domain–literally, not in the Seinfeld sense. I do own this domain! And of course I hold onto the archives.

Posts on social media are transitory–here today, gone tomorrow. I like that incorrect guesses I made seven years ago are still here.

So the blog stays… at least for now. I continue to consider my options.

Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter have their advantages, but are they really better?

My Blog’s Seventh Anniversary

I have pounded out 4,255 additional posts. You have commented 6,838 times! I’ve lost track on my pages read but it’s well over 3,000,000 now.

On July 4, 2003 this blog appeared for the first time. It was a disjointed seven sentence entry.

Since then I have pounded out 4,255 additional posts. You have commented 6,838 times! I’ve lost track on my pages read but it’s well over 3,000,000 now.

Though the home page gets the most action, with over four thousand entries in Google much of the blog’s traffic is from people stumbling upon things I wrote years ago. Yesterday I received two new comments on an entry about 60s comedian London Lee! The original post was written in 2006.

My friend Peter Sachs helped set up my blog on day one. It was run on MovableType which was considered the premiere blogging platform. Now it runs on WordPress today’s premiere blogging platform.

I haven’t yet moved to WP Version 3. I’m scared of breaking it! Blogs are more fragile than they should be.

I try and blog every day. The last time I missed was years ago when I was in Las Vegas and sick enough to have a doctor make a house call to my hotel room!

There have been days when my entry wasn’t posted until a few minutes before midnight. Maybe I shouldn’t write when the only reason I’m writing is because I said I would?

I always try and tell the truth, but this blog isn’t the whole truth. I sometimes leave out things like private family matters, work related issues and anything embarrassing about a friend or relative.

I write to be read. I genuinely appreciate the fact you’re reading this.

Thanks for stopping by.