Back, But Not Quite Back

Well, I am back from my holiday week by the sea, and delighted to report that I am smiling! The weather was perfect; nice temperatures combined with blue skies and a sea breeze. The one shower we encountered was when we were driving back from somewhere, and it only lasted for ten minutes.

All in all, the perfect English seaside holiday.

Ollie enjoyed his change of scene, and made new friends too. He even got to sample a special canine ice cream, and there will be a photo of him enjoying that in due course. As we have been to that same place on four previous occasions, there will not be many new photos other than some of our accommodation, and Ollie relaxing.

But returning home to a house left closed up for seven days means there are jobs to be done, so I will not be back to blogging until next week. Meanwhile, I have had to delete hundreds of emails and post notifications, so apologies for not being around your blogs. However, I will do my best to reply to all comments left during my absence, and will get on that starting from Monday.

My thanks to everyone who continued to read this blog while I was away, ensuring that I had steady numbers of views even when I wasn’t around.

Best wishes to you all, Pete.

Follow Invitations: An Open Letter

*** Update! Just got another one! This it what the email looks like***

You’ve been invited to follow¬†Social artist!

Monis has invited you to follow Social artist.

You can accept the invitation by clicking below:

Accept

I recently posted about the sharp increase in being sent ‘Invitations to follow’. Those WordPress-generated emails that go something like this.

“Rudeblogger 123 has invited you to follow their blog”
Then there is a box marked ‘Accept Invitation’.

One day, the same person sent me one of those no less than four times.

I am not going to repeat eveything I wrote before about why I consider this to be rude. I will just add this, for the attention of anyone considering using this feature to send me a request.

I WILL NOT FOLLOW ANYONE WHO SENDS ME ONE OF THESE, EVER.

I hope I have made it clear now?

Just back, not even trying to catch up.

Hello everyone. I made it back without incident, despite now being officially one year older.

I got the PC working eventually, (that’s another story) to discover that I had close to 100 posts to catch up on. That is never going to happen, so I have deleted them all, and started from scratch this afternoon.

Apologies to everyone for missing your posts, but even just a short time away, and I was inundated.

As for my serial, there will be another episode later tonight, or possibly tomorrow.

Because of panic-buying caused by the virus scare, we have to go out to try to find some food for the rest of this week.

I hope everyone is doing well, and that nobody has fallen victim to Coronavirus 19. Fingers crossed that our blogging community is not affected.

They are recommending here that we self-isolate. My normal life is self-isolation except for walking Ollie, so I might be alright.

Fresh Start

After all my issues with WordPress today, they finally sorted it out, and even admitted that it was them. So not me, nor Microsoft then.

But by the time it got sorted, I had to take Ollie out, and then drive down to town to the cinema, to see ‘1917’.

I am just back, and found over 60 posts listed in my email. I am never going to be able to catch up with them, so have just deleted them all, I’m afraid.
I will do my best to answer all your comments on my posts though.

And there is no episode of “Home About Six’ today, either. Apologies to those reading that.

I will have a fresh start tomorrow morning, when hopefully WordPress will be stable.

Best wishes to everyone, Pete.

Blogging on a Tablet

This is a blog post about nothing more than blogging, and having to do that on a small device after years of using a PC.
With decorating going on, using the small office room is not an option today.

So I have retreated into the living room, and for the first time, I am attempting to do my blog and emails using a Tablet, specifically the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Going from a bright 24-inch monitor to a so-so 10-inch screen is a big jump for me. And having to use the irritatingly sensitive keypad device instead of hammering a keyboard is very frustrating. I make endless mistakes, even more so as the device keeps using its own suggested words, instead of those I wanted to type.

Over the years, I have realised that many of my fellow bloggers are happy to use ‘pads’ to write their blogs on. Some even use mobile phones, which sounds incredible to me. The tiny print on Tablets and phones is at the limits of my failing eyesight, so I take off my metaphorical hat to those of you who manage this every day.

Until the painter is finished, this will be my only blog post today.

Then I will return to the PC, and count my blessings.

Goodreads

Many of you will be familiar with this company. I know that some of you take the book-reading challenges, and write about them on your blogs. I checked it out, and found that I could leave book reviews, choose my favourite type of genres, and receive suggestions for books I might like to read.

That sounded pretty good, as it is also free of charge. Since I have been determined to read more, after buying the Amazon Kindle Fire, I concluded that joining Goodreads might be worthwhile. So I created an account, using the app on my Kindle Fire. I soon received confirmation, along with some suggested titles, and an invitation to participate in a challenge. (Which I declined)

Early days, but it looked like something I would come back to in the future, and might make some use of. Either way, I didn’t see how it could do any harm. Two days later, and I have started to receive emails from them, advising me of new followers to my profile, others wanting to read my reviews. I thought this was strange, as I haven’t posted any reviews, but I checked one out anyway, by clicking on the email sent by Goodreads.

I was surprised to discover that the woman in question claimed to be a ‘Chef’, and was looking for ‘good sex’. There was a link to her private contact page, which of course I didn’t click on. A few more arrived, all with nice profile pictures, and a variety of ‘occupations’. Each offered something different, from ‘Private contact’, to ‘Hook-ups’, or access to ‘More photos’. I know better than to click on any of their links, but I wonder if others might be fooled?

After all, it comes from a literary site with a solid reputation, (owned by Amazon) and on the surface may seem innocent, if you don’t read the ‘small print’. I am not suggesting Goodreads encourages or facilitates this. It would appear to be outsiders using the ‘follow’ option to facilitate contact with genuine members.

But sadly, it seems like the scammers have found yet another way through, making me ever more convinced that this stuff will never end.

A Beetley Power Cut

On Tuesday the 16th, we have been informed of a ‘Planned Power Cut’ that will affect Beetley. If it goes ahead, we will have no electricity from 9 am, for the rest of the day. (Duration unknown) With this in mind, I am planning on getting out for the day, and eating out too, somewhere that still has electricity. We will have no heating or cooking facilities, no landline phone or Internet of course, and if it is as dark as it is today, the only option would be to read by torchlight, huddled under a blanket. I could take the rare opportunity to spend the entire day in bed, but I have a feeling that Ollie will not be happy if he doesn’t go out.

Now I know this is of little consequence in the grand scheme of things, but I thought I would let you know. If the power cut doesn’t happen, then it will be ‘normal trading’ on my blog. But in the event that they go ahead with it, then I will not be able to comment on any of your posts, reply to those on mine, or check emails. I could use the Internet on my mobile of course, but give the size of the screen, that’s not going to happen.

So if I disappear tomorrow, just be aware that I am not dead. (Well I hope not)

An unexpected break

We went to visit some of my family at their holiday let in Suffolk, and ended up staying for a couple of days. Naturally, I had nothing but my phone, so couldn’t keep up with the blogging. Thanks to those of you that asked after me, and apologies for the delay in getting back to your comments, reblogs, and your own posts.

I returned to well over 200 emails this afternoon, so it will take me a while to wade through them.
Back to ‘normal service’ soon.

Best wishes to you all, Pete.

Followed sites and WP glitches

Despite a thorough reset of all my settings for followed sites, I am still not getting the correct notifications from wordpress.

Just to let you know that I am not ignoring any of your recent posts, but I now have to search for them by going to your sites directly, or hoping that they appear on the Reader.

I had hoped that WP would have sorted out all these glitches by now, but they seem to have put me into some sort of naughty box, where nothing is as it was.

I will do my best to keep up with all your latest posts, but bear with me if I seem to have disappeared.

Internet marketing: More evidence

We must have all seen it. Make any search online, and pretty soon those pop-up advertisements will appear on your email sidebars, or on other websites that you frequent. You will likely receive emails from suppliers of those products too, as well as all those ‘buying suggestions’ from the likes of Amazon.

There has been a lot of discussion about the topic of Internet Privacy recently. I think it is safe to assume that there has never been any. The ubiquitous ‘Cookies’ know their stuff, and everything we do is tracked, down to the most obscure search. Have a look at your Spam folder on WordPress, for example. When I bought some toys for our grandson, the Spam started to include offers for things like stair gates. After I searched online for wood stain to be used on exterior woodwork, I received many Spam emails about new fencing, garden gates, and spray-painting devices.

I suppose it comes down to the old adage that if you are doing nothing wrong, then you have nothing to fear. The problem is, what is considered to be wrong? When I do research on ISIS or other organisations for a blog post, does that flag me as a terrorist suspect? If I look into the rise of Nazi Germany to get background for a short story, do I become associated with the Far Right? Once we log on to our computers, write emails, blog posts, or do any Internet searches at all, we open up the inner workings of our minds to anyone who cares to look, or to buy that information from others.

Some people believe that by using complicated software, they can conceal their activities from the ‘seekers’. They also use non-Microsoft platforms, and never use search engines like Google. They have ‘encrypted’ emails, and even go so far as to subscribe to redirected servers, in the hope of hiding their location. Trouble is, we all need one basic tool to access the Web. A phone line. Once you plug that into the back of your router, you have no control over what is monitored on it.

So, stop worrying about it, I suppose. It is intrusive, it can be annoying, and not unlike someone being able to have installed an implant in your head. The only way to avoid it is to unplug your computer, and throw it away. And it doesn’t seem likely that we are going to do that, does it?

On a lighter note, you may recall the two posts I published earlier about The Beetley Bra?
If any of you doubt that the Internet is monitored, look no further than the email I received today.