Thursday, February 17, 2011

Internet Follies

Today got off to a weird start when I woke up from a dream about trying to transfer data from my home phone to my computer (because for some odd reason I'd been writing a book on my home phone), thinking it was Monday because I'd been at church yesterday. It took me a while to recalculate and recall that I'd been at church for choir practice, which made today Thursday. That's what all external markers seem to be indicating, so if I'm incorrect, please notify me immediately.

The weird comment spam continues. In fact, I'm getting more spam comments on my blog than real ones these days. A lot have been showing up for one particular post. There was one telling me it was the best argument they'd seen on that topic and they'd like to discuss it further via private message. Then there was one saying they disagreed with me and could back up their argument with evidence if I wanted to private message them. What truly controversial topic did I post on to stir up so much debate? That would have been the short post I made saying I was about to go visit my parents for Thanksgiving.

The weird thing is that I don't get what this spam was trying to accomplish. There were no links to anything, and in spite of the invitation to private message them, there was no contact information. I suspect a spambot ran into the LiveJournal comment system, where you can leave anonymous comments but don't get the opportunity to enter a user name that links to a user ID or web site, like you can with a lot of blogging systems. The user name for non-member comments is always "Anonymous," with no link. So all they did with this spam was waste my time and annoy me.

I'm also getting a lot of spam text messages on my cell phone, which really irks me because I get charged for each message (no point in having a texting plan when I don't text but once in a blue moon) and there doesn't seem to be a way of rejecting them or letting the carrier know it was spam. And I've been getting phone calls from a North Dakota area code on my cell. I don't give out my cell number to too many people, and as far as I know, I don't know anyone in North Dakota, so I reject the calls and they don't leave a message, so I don't know if it's telemarketers or a wrong number. It's all enough to make me want to pull the plug on the outside world.

In other Internet follies, I was invited to contribute a guest blog to a site recently. I was very proud of myself for getting it done several days early. Then the day it was supposed to be posted, I had a frantic e-mail from the person who'd invited me to contribute a post, asking where it was. I responded that I'd sent it the week before, and sent it again. Then I found in my spam folder a failure message (buried in the fake failure message spams) that had arrived several days after I sent the first message, saying that the recipient's server had rejected it. I didn't get a response after re-sending the post, and then a couple of days later I got another failure message (I was looking for it that time). So now I'm worried that this person thinks I blew her off completely, and I'm irked that I finally got something done well ahead of time and didn't get credit for it. The problem is that if your only way of communicating with someone is via e-mail and your e-mail keeps being rejected, there's no way to let someone know that you're trying to reach them and have done everything they asked you to do. So, if the people I was supposed to be guest blogging for see this, I really did write the post and I sent it several days early then sent it again. I'll try something else, maybe from a different e-mail address, in case it's my address the server hates (but I seem to be able to send e-mail to other people from that address).

Now I have a convention to get ready for this weekend. I'll be at ConDFW in Dallas, all three days. If you're going, you'll see me in the schedule you get at registration, and if you're not going, you don't care, so I won't post my particular events. For my reading slot, I think I'll read from the project that is currently on submission and that I haven't been talking about publicly. It's the same book I read from at FenCon, but it has been altered slightly since then. My voice is still a bit rough from my bout with the plague, so this could be an adventure. I just have to figure out something to wear since it will be too warm for normal winter clothes and my wardrobe is lacking in "in between."

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