PSA: #WordPress – Whoring Out the Free Blogs

Yep, it’s official. Time to bend over Free WordPress Users, Big Daddy Pimp has shown up. We all know that the free blogs have ads on them but if you have an ad blocker you don’t notice. Big Daddy has decided that it’s time to take things up another notch however. Introducing, Native Sponsored Posts!

Yep, ADS are now going to full on posts inserted into our free blogs. If you read the above article closely, you see that right now it is just for WP’s use but they promise that eventually these sponsored posts will be available for use to others. So get ready to be gang raped by proxy.

And they lie their asses off about it on the official forums: My Website has been taken over/hacked by an ad. In particular, please note Quote ##3610590 by JerrySarcastic. He states that “As long as one post is published on the site, this sponsored post is not shown.” That is a complete lie and Jerry is an official staff member on the official WordPress.com forums.

I can testify that I have seen these native sponsored posts on extremely active, but free, sites. I’ve seen them at BookWyrmReads and EarnestlyEccentric. Unfortunately, I did NOT take a screen shot. Thankfully, and I have permission from Alex to use his address, I did catch a screen shot of what they look like at AlexonFilm.com. Alex, while using a dotcom address, is using a free wordpress.com plan.

The reason I’ve included this screenshot is because these “posts” are a moving target. They don’t stay there. They’re inserted and then randomly disappear. So you can go visit Alex’s site and chances are you’ll never see that post at all. I want a record because if anyone brings up the issue on the forums I fully expect Jerry and his ilk to backpedal and lie again.

I’ve deliberately used inflammatory language throughout this post. That is because I’ve only got words to use. Make no mistake, this isn’t some Call to Action, or to Boycott WordPress.com or to leave or to take ANY action at all. The truth of the matter is, there isn’t anywhere else you can go for free (and remember, if you’re not paying for it, you are the product). Over the last year WP.com has been actively and I might say, hostilely, doing everything they can to monetize their services and make using the free option as painful as possible. What this post is is a call to awareness. You need to know what is going on on your own blog and then make the choice what you’re going to do about it, even if that choice is to do nothing, like me.

I have decided to do nothing for now. But being aware of this, I’ve decided where my Rubicon is. If WordPress starts inserting posts sponsored anyone other than WP.com then I’ll have to leave the free plan. Whether I leave WP or just upgrade to the personal plan (ie, dotcom) I have not decided yet.

In closing, please give this a minutes thought and at least decide if this is an issue or not for you.

WordPress is Forcing Me to Double Dip (and that is disgusting and gross)

Starting sometime this week, possible last weekend, WordPress.com began forcing me to double dip. Double Dip on “likes” that is. Every time that I have “liked” a comment, whether on my own posts or on someone else’s, after about 30-45seconds, it magically “unlikes” and I have to hit the “like” button again for it to stick. How unhygienic and disgusting is that?

I might as well be making out with Corona-chan! And here I thought WordPress had the best interest of their users at heart. I mean, if they forced the block editor on us because they knew better, I’m really surprised they aren’t embarrassed to be encouraging such behavior during this time of pandemic’ness. Shame on you WordPress; I claim the Dishonor Meme against you!

I am doing my part though. Washing my hands between double dipping AND I’m wearing a mask. So don’t worry, those “likes” from me are completely hygienic and totally covid-free. No thanks to WordPress though. I’d go protest peacefully by burning down a few cities but honestly, I’ve got a Wild Mike’s pizza just waiting for me. Ohhh baaaaaby…….

Oh Hurray!

I just finished editing the blog (for today, not as in “It is Finished”) and have gotten 2007 done. This was a huge step, as 2007 was when I started recording the volumes of manga that I read alongside the novels, which meant that my numbers exploded on a monthly basis. With 2007 and up done, what I still have to do back to 2000 is much more manageable.

I’ve been working on this Project for the last 2 1/2 years and I must admit, there are times I wonder if it will ever get done. Then there are the times when something like the Block Editor happens and I wonder if I’ve wasted my time. Thankfully, little milestones like this keep me going. It is also a milestone in that I have now passed the 3400 post mark.

While the end of this project isn’t exactly near, it’s a LOT nearer than it was 2 1/2 years ago 😀 I guess I should probably start thinking of what my next blog project should be.

Anyway, this just felt good to accomplish this today and I thought I’d share. Cheers!

Bookhype – Exceptional Or Execrable?

I recently joined Bookhype when a fellow wordpresser left WP because of the forsaken block editor. It seemed the best way to keep track of what she was still reading. I’m usually willing to experiment on new book sites just to see what they have to offer. Who knows, maybe I’ll find another Booklikes (well, it COULD happen). You can find me HERE.

I have to admit, it’s pretty limited. I can add all the data I want and even like and comment but the notification side of things is almost non-existent. There is no way to be notified if someone likes or comments on a review (at least not that I could find). You can import your devilreads export file (which is what I did to get all the books I’ve read this year quickly onto Bookhype) so they do realize most people don’t want to start from scratch.

They do have a cool looking “stats” page with all the graphics I could ask for. The problem is, I can’t save any of them as pictures to use on my own blog. I’d have to screen shot, edit and then faff about and with all that work, I might as well make my own graphics. So close and yet such a fail.

It seems to be very Twitter oriented. I’m not on Twitter and have no intention of joining that cesspit, so that isn’t a plus for me.

I’m going to keep using this until at least the end of year just to see how it shakes out. If they don’t get some sort of notification system for the likes and comments though, I don’t see myself staying there.

Have you used Bookhype? If you have, what’s your experience been like?

Why I’m Working on the Blog

When I’ve posted about the fact that I am Working on the Blog, I didn’t think of some of the smaller reasons that have recently come to my attention. The following is one of the unexpected benefits of doing this fiddly kind of work.

I keep my reviews in a program on my computer called Calibre. It’s an ebook manager but has the capability of being a database for reviews. Instead of just using a spreadsheet, I use calibre so I can include covers, etc. Anyway, today I woke up rather early and decided to get another month from 2007 out of the way, so I began creating reviews. When I do this, I also double check what is on my blog against what I have in my calibre database just to make sure I’ve got the complete picture. 99% of the time they agree. It’s that bleeding 1% you have to worry about 😉

Sure enough, today was a 1%’er of a time. I was putting up the review for Down the Long Hills by Louis L’Amour and was copy/pasting my review and when I checked in calibre, my review there stated “no original review, here’s a blurb”. My guess is that I had a record of reading the book from my time at Devilreads but that the review got lost in the transition to Booklikes and when I tried to search my blog for Down the Long Hills, since it was in a monthly post and not it’s own, it didn’t show up. You wouldn’t believe how many books I’ve read, that are in my monthly posts, that won’t come up in a search. It is one of the reason I’m doing this. This time I was able to update my calibre library with an actual snippet. That is always a good thing.

All of this to pretty much say that today’s been a good day so far and it’s only 5am. It’s either going to turn out to be a great day or a really baaaaad day 😀

Happy Sabbath all.

Construction Continues

under-construction

If you’ve started following me in the last 6 months or so, and you get my posts by email, you might have noticed there are times you get a TON of emails. Short story, I’m working on Phase II of my Blog Construction plan.

Here’s the post I originally wrote in 2018 that goes into more detail than you really ever wanted to know. But it adequately explains what is going on and what to expect:

Bookstooge Under Construction

bookstooge (Custom)

Akismet – The Progenitor of Skynet

Over the last week, maybe 2, I have noticed a quite a few of my comments going into the spam folders of other bloggers that I comment on. I have also noticed an upswing in other blogger’s comments going into my own spam folder.

This is ALL akismet’s fault. And it highlights the reason why a machine can’t be trusted, nor should it be, to do a human’s job. It pisses me off because there have been several times that I’ve tried to contact a new blogger about something and I know they’ll never see my comment.

I’m just complaining because this month it seems like a lot of stupid little things are all coming together at once and causing nothing but constant low level stress. I just want to enjoy blogging again and things like this happening are making that really hard to do.

So I hope akismet dies. The End.

Need More Space? Bookstooge Has You Covered

Houston, we have a problem …..
….. I want more space!

Last month when I wrote the When to Dotcom post, my main issue was space. Given, I am only using about 18% of the free 3gb that WordPress offers, but big pictures eat away at that pretty quickly and I’m always looking to the future.

In the comments section people talked about various ways to deal with the space issue and Andreas gave a list of several options. I’m a prime member and a google member, so I tried out both amazon photo and google drive. Unfortunately, I have not been able to make either of them work the way I was hoping. For those of you who saw the original August ’20 Roundup & Rambling post, you might have noticed the big pix I usually put at the top that has all my book covers in a collage picture was missing or saying you needed permissions etc. That was me trying to use google drive.

Both google drive and amazon don’t seem to simply let you give out an url to a picture you’ve uploaded. It is all complicated “share this with these email people” etc. Or “set these permissions, blah, blah, blah”.

Then I remembered I had an old dropbox account floating around. So I opened that account back up and voila, I had another 3gb’s of space available. However, and this is what made the difference for me, I was able to use the dropbox links to host pictures here on WP.

I found several websites that showed me how to do it. Instead of linking to them, I’ll just post the info here so you don’t have to go chasing links down (and as we all know, links die on a regular basis). The following assumes that you have a dropbox account and have downloaded the dropbox app to your computer.


Dropbox
Right clicking a file in a drop box folder will give the option to “Copy Dropbox Link”. This will not link directly to the file, but it can be changed to link directly, which can then be used in the above import.
In order to get a direct link, replace http://www.dropbox.com with dl.dropboxusercontent.com and remove the ?dl=0.
For instance:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/72vf8e2f0qx6vw8/Milan4.jpg?dl=0
would become: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/72vf8e2f0qx6vw8/Milan4.jpg.


(Personally, I just leave the dl=0 myself. I don’t know the reason for removing it.)
Now, doing all of this means there are extra steps in adding pictures to your wordpress posts. But since I’m already creating a whole new process to write posts here on wordpress, another couple really aren’t going to make a difference especially if it means my space limitations are removed.

The other nice thing about dropbox is that you can get additional space for getting referrals. This is known as free advertising for dropbox. Whenever someone joins up for a free account (and the 2gb space), if they signed up using a referral link, they get an extra 500mb of space and I get an extra 500mb of space. Up to 16 gigs worth. And if they sucker convince someone else to join up with THEIR referral, then they both get 500mb. It’s just your classic “get rewarded for working for us” kind of scheme. I’ve used it twice, hence why I have 3gb instead of just 2. If you have any interest in joining up, shoot me an email and I’ll email you a referral.

I’m just glad I seem to have found a way that works for me to host pictures and increase my storage without having to pay. If you have found alternates that work well, let me know in the comments, would you? I’m always glad to learn things (well, ok, lets be honest, I am NOT, as my reaction to the forsaken block editor has shown) and if I can find a better way than dropbox, then I will. Personally, I would love to use google drive, as that has 15gb of free space.

Now, something to be aware of. Should dropbox ever cancel/close your account or go belly up or change or be taken over by aliens, or be ruled to be racist and full of hate speech by the EU, then there is the potential for the pictures you host there to become dead links on your wordpress site. That is right: D-E-A-D-L-I-N-K-S

Ok, this post has gone on long enough. Have a great rest of your day.


The Block Editor ….. Beaten into Submission?

I beat this block editor like a nun with yard stick!

After all my complaining about the damnably evil block editor, I sat down and worked out how to make it work for me. I’m going to outline, in excruciating detail, just how I create my review posts with it. Doing this has made me realize that WordPress is no longer a blogging platform.
* whole paragraphed removed due to self censure *
I’m going to outline how I used to write a review and how I do it now.

BEFORE:
1) Write the entire post in Open Office using my Review Template.
2) Start a new post in WordPress w/ Review Title
3) Insert my cover picture
4) Copy/paste my entire review from Open Office
5) Left align the cover, thus bringing all the text into its correct place
6) Insert my avatar at the end of the post
7) add tags
8) add date and time for scheduled post
9) hit “schedule” and voila, done!

AFTER:
1) Write entire post in Open Office using my Review Template
2) Start a new post in WordPress w/ Review Title
3) Insert a “Classic Block”
4) Inside the classic block, insert my cover picture
5) Inside the classic block, copy/paste ONLY the info part of the review (legaleeze through the Word count)
6) Left align the cover, thus bringing the info into proper alignment
7) Insert Spacer Block (at 20pt, the minimum)
8) Copy/paste the rest of the review into wordpress
9) Insert Spacer Block between the last sentence of the Synopsis and My Thoughts
10A) Insert Image Block at end of review
10B) Insert Avatar in Image Block
11) Insert Spacer Block between star rating and avatar
12) Insert spacer block between avatar and any additional links
13) Click on “Document” over in the settings on the right hand side
14) Select Category
15) Add tags
16) Open a new tab in my browser
17) Select the Google Calendar shortcut
18) See what days of the month have no posts and select one
19) Type in the blog title into google calendar on that empty day
20) Close tab
21) Add date and time for scheduled post in WordPress
22) Voila, done!

Wow! I guess I was wrong and the gutless, spineless code engineers pimps at WordPress were right! What a time saving, incredibly efficient way to write! Those 14 extra steps make my review look SO MUCH BETTER (no, it takes me 14 profanity laced extra steps to make it look the same as before!!!!)

I have tried using only the classic block, but it doesn’t honor double returns (double space) between paragraphs so everything looked like total crap. So I’m forced to kluge together this abortion of a process to simply keep things looking how I’ve had them. How, in anyone’s brain who is sane, can this be considered a step forward, a net positive, something good?

23 steps. To write a FORSAKEN review. My workload to write a review has more than doubled and I’m supposed to be happy and ok with that? I’ve just completely depressed myself. See you all tomorrow ….

Switching Back to the Classic Editor

I don’t know if this will work for everyone but it is worth a shot. If you have been switched over to the block editor against your will, see if this works to get back. I know that I have NOT been forced over to the Block Editor even though it was trumpeted all over my homepage that June 1st was the day it was going to happen. Whatever the reason, it hasn’t.

I use chrome so if you use a different browser things might look a tiny bit different in the pictures below.

 

Step 1:

Start a new post while being terrorized by the block editor. I personally authorize any use of force you feel necessary, all the way up the nuclear option. We will not be held hostage by damnable traitorous terrorists! Or self-important computer engineers with their heads up their fundaments.

Step 2:

Over on the top right, there are 3 dots. Click those dots. See picture below:

step1

 

Step 3:

Scroll down to the bottom and click on the “switch to classic editor”. See picture below:

step2

 

That should do it. I’d be really interested to hear from those of you who were forced to use the block editor to see if this works for you. I’m also including a link to the forums where you can voice your complaints about the block editor.  I’ve complained and I’ll probably go back and complain some more.

Complain About the Block Editor!

 

bookstooge (Custom)