Archive for November 2013

Comments on diet – or at least, a way of eating

November 30, 2013

“If you eat potatoes you might as well eat candy. Potatoes contain glucose units in a chain, which is converted to sugar in the GI tract. Such a diet causes blood sugar, and then the hormone insulin, to skyrocket.”

This quote appeared just over a month ago, and reminded me that it has now been over a year since I changed what I eat. And, if you have seen the cycling pictures of me recently, it was a very beneficial change. Now, officially I have changed to a (mostly) Paleo diet – although that term is controversial for some experts – except there are some things that I cannot give up, so not strictly Paleo. Being lactose intolerant, I have been drinking lactose free milk for a fair while as well, so I guess that I have not had a ‘standard’ diet for a long time – but it is the removal of most bread/rice/pasta from what I eat that has allowed me to slim down. Not owning scales, I can’t tell you exactly how much lighter I am, but I have definitely dropped inches off most of my body – which is very welcome!

The other totally surprising part of this is that you don’t worry about fat on meat – obviously, you don’t go looking for fatty cuts of meat, but you don’t have to check that everything is fat free. I half-expected this to negate the weight loss, but I’ve still trimmed down. And guilt-free bacon and eggs is wonderful, too.

So – this is the first of a series of quick blog posts that I’ll do about the changes I’ve made. Are you going on a similar journey? Is it working for you? What changes did you make? Please add your comments below. Thanks.

Another crop of spam examples – don’t get caught out

November 22, 2013

Well, every so often, I go through my emails specifically looking for the latest crop of spam to show you – so here’s the latest group!

spam1

spam2

spam3

The one above is very similar to this one:
spam4

spam5

My first hint that this one is spam is that I don’t have a NAB credit card.
spam6

Then I looked at the full header details and was curious about this original IP address that it was sent from:spam6a

Which turns out to be Cyprus – very unlikely to be sending NAB emails from there!
spam6b

If you have any other good examples, please take a screenshot (without clicking any links!) and add them as a comment below.

SEO

November 15, 2013

Recently we have spent a lot of time working with Search Engine Optimization.  We have a very busy client site that suddenly has dropped dramatically in its ranking with organic search results, and it really matters.  So we have been trying to figure out what went wrong.  Its results are by no means awful… just awful compared to where it was.

SEO involves a lot of snake oil… and some of the SEO specialists out there are pretty much snake oil salesmen.  SEO these days mostly means trying to do well in Google searches.  There are still other search engines out there, but  Google is the big one.  And the way the big G scores sites changes from time to time.  What Google tries to do is return the most relevant search results, and the most relevant results should be pages containing the search terms that are current, frequently updated, often linked to and so on.  So the easiest way to get a good search ranking is to have that sort of site.  I think this cartoon sums it up rather nicely.

There are some external ways to get a better search ranking.  Some of these are pretty dodgy.  You could for example hire a bot network to hammer a site with page requests.  I think Google is on to that one now.  And that is the problem with that sort of approach.  There was a scandal a while ago where  YouTube tightened its view counting algorithm and people artificially inflating the count so as to make money for pay for view sites were complaining about it as if they had been robbed.  Seriously – YouTube figured out that anyone visiting a site for 5 thousandths of a second probably was not a real visitor.  Go figure?

We don’t know a huge amount about the Google algorithm.  We know the sort of things it likes… and the sort of things it’s designed to look for.  We know some ways to influence its results… some of which are ok and some of which to put it mildly are morally questionable.  For example we know that spamming  a site will up its ranking – for a bit.  And there are a few other pretty dodgy techniques.  And we know that some time a couple of months ago there was a major change that hit one of our sites pretty hard, even though that site seems to deserve a pretty high ranking.

With Plone sites typically we add a module called SEOptimiser which allows control of most on site SEO issues.  In its automated mode this module does pretty well.  And manually it allows us to put the code in the same places as if we were editing the HTML directly, (although Plone only has generated HTML that it shows to the world… not real HTML).  This was a Plone site…  and so recently I have manually spent a lot of time doing keywords for 51 pages, and optimizing descriptions and doing the other things that are supposed to help Google and thus improve rankings.

Another trick is to add a sitemap to help Google trawl the site.  Of course this site already had a sitemap.  Building one is pretty much due diligence in setting up SEO.  But one of the changes I made to this site is to install a sitemap building module (that we will use in future on all Plone sites).  It’s capable of building mobile device specific sitemaps too which is  a nice feature.

What we are supposed to do of course is make the site more relevant and interesting and linked to.  That’s really the secret.  Google looks for high quality relevant and current results.  Giving them exactly that is the best policy.  This one is a bit of a problem, however, as it does meet all those criteria – yet still has taken a bit of a dive.  The mysteries of SEO.

Overwork is no good for us – or our customers

November 12, 2013

Having just published a blog post that I wrote last month, I am reminded that there is more to life than work!

This is also helped by the fact that I got out for a bike ride twice last week, then went away for a long weekend of music and relaxation. On top of that, we are (weather permitting) going to listen to more music tonight.

I was fortunate that I had reached a good point to rest in my major current client work, so it was not so dramatic that I was off email for a couple of days. This means that the time I took to relax and recharge did not impact on my customer service – no problems with customers allowed me to relax even more.

So – how is your work/life balance going? What do you do to ensure that you can keep working well for all your customers?

Australian Masters Games – Track Racing

November 12, 2013

Perfect Notes spent a wonderful day in Geelong, supporting friends who were racing.
Another_podium

Yet_another_podium

Margie_on_podium

John_Paxton_on_podium

John_Paxton_medal

John_Paxton_getting_onto_track

John_Paxton_after_award

This is one that never got posted when it was created – back in October!