Scribble that spam

akismet_statsSince I linked this blog to Facebook and Twitter at the end of December 2011 the amount of spam it has attracted has increased by two orders of magnitude.  Where does this spam come from?  The posts published to Facebook are restricted in that they can only be seen by my friends so this should reduce the possibility that Facebook is the source.  The same links are published to Twitter and are public.  The chances are there are bots out there scouring Twitter (and other sites) for new links.  A regular tweeter and fresh content is a gift to spammers and unless you have some serious protection on your side your life will quickly become all about deleting junk from your site.

This is where Akismet comes in – Akismet has done a good job of filtering out the 24,000 (and counting) spam comments and should be the number one plugin installed and configured when you start up your WordPress site.

However, some spammers are getting clever and are using sophisticated software (and humans) to generate plausible strings of words – see the 22 missed spam in the image – that get past the filter.  The fact that people can be eomplyed to hand-type spam highlights how lucrative it is for the spammers!  22 out of 24,484 is not a lot (0.09%) but if those comments were to be published then the 22 or more links contained within them would start earning pennies/cents/rubles for the spammer who have sold on the links from my website.

I am sticking with cross-posting to Twitter and Facebook at the moment as Akismet seems to be getting on top of things (see the month on month decline) through its self-learning and the dedication of the team of developers behind the project.

Unconnected black hole

According to a recent survey by the BBC, Newtyle is a veritable void of connectivity. Using Android devices to record mobile signal strength data was collected over a three week period. The resulting coverage map can be seen on the BBC site – If you put in a Newtyle postcode (PH12 8TU will do) you can see that the village is just about the only black spot on the map.  Do bear in mind that less than 50,000 people from across the UK took part in the survey and not many of them came from Newtyle.

mobile coverage map


We’ve moved into our new house and we are in the process of updating contat details, change account information and waiting for a telephone and broadband internet connection.  While there are plenty of other things to be getting on with, you realise how dependent on instant communication you become when the only mean of communcation is putting pen to paper or actually going to see the person you wish to talk to.

I had a look at the cell network coverage for Newtyle and it appears to sit right in the eye of the 2G/3G storm.  There is zero coverage anywhere within the bounds of our property and we are lucky if we get two bars of signal outside the front gate.  The answer does appear to be blowing in the wind sometimes as the signal can vary wildly.

Here are some maps from the major providers:

Orange 3G coverage
Orange 3G coverage
T-Mobile 3G coverage
T-Mobile 3G coverage
T-Mobile 2G coverage
Orange 2G coverage
O2 2G coverage
Vodafone 2G/3G coverage
Vodafone 2G/3G coverage