bookmark_borderDear Comment Spammer

To the lovely people who have left some comments on my blog recently, and who may be wondering why they haven’t appeared.

It’s because you have a URL that takes me to a completely unrelated product website.

That and it’s obvious that you’ve not fully read the blog post in question.

I realise you are, probably, getting paid for this, and my hope is that having received no referrer links from this website, you’ll realise that there is no point in continuing to leave comments here.

Besides, of the 14 people who read this website, few would really want to click through to the weird mix of product websites you purport to represent.

Please don’t take any of this personally, but please just sod off!

Ohh, and have a very Merry Christmas!

bookmark_borderOn blog comments

I always get excited when I see an email in my inbox with a subject line that starts “WordPress:…” as it means someone has commented on one of my blogs. Such a simple delight I know but hey, you take pleasure in the little things I guess.

Sometimes that delight is instantly crushed when I realise it’s a spambot that is trying to add a comment containing a link to either some ‘enhancing’ pharamceutical, a flirty comment from a hot chick, or just complete nonsense accompanied by a phishing URL.

However there seems to be a rise in the number of “real” spam comments these days, and that is hugely disheartening. These comments are left by, it seems, real people who have taken a fraction of a second to search, for example, for “Olympics” found my blog post from a couple of years back and added in a perfectly unoffensive comment, with a link to their specialist Olympic Boxing in 2012 website.

And in a weird way that, to me, is worse than any automated spambot. The fact that there is (again, it certainly seems that there is) a real person that has left the comment makes the whole thing feel tainted and dirty.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hugely precious about this blog but really, this new development in comment spam is just ugly. But then it’s always the few that spoil it for the many.


Ahh the internet is full of simple pleasures, like Wordle.

Give it the URL of your blog, a chunk of text, or your username and you get something like this (click for fullsize, requires Java):

bookmark_borderRedirecting Question

Note: This is a techie question, all those not interested, look away now.

(and no, I’m not doing very well at the whole ‘staying away from the blog to be productive thing…)

That nice man wot writes Hydragenic came through for me (apparently he would ‘not be defeated’, he cracked it second time round).

I’ve added the following line to my .htaccess file on the domain:
RedirectMatch 301 /index.php/(.*)$1

And now when you click this link (which points at the domain) you’ll be properly redirected back to this domain (

I received an email the other day. It was a nice email, the very kind I’d hoped my 404 page would generate.

The problem is a simple one. I moved domains a while ago, so some of the links that still exist point to my old blog URL (which is still live but is no longer a blog).

Following one of those links (from I think) will take you to this URL. Which is currently displaying a 404 error message.

To get to the correct page, all you need to do is edit the URL, replacing “gordonmclean” with “onemanblogs”. Simple.

So why the hell can’t I figure out how to write the appropriate .htaccess commands to get it to do that automatically.

I don’t want to redirect everything, only anything that has “/index.php…..” in the URL. Shouldn’t be THAT hard, right?

Well I’m stuck. So, dearest technical interweb friends, help!!

bookmark_borderSpot the difference

I’ve changed the name of this blog, well the banner image, from Informationally Overloaded to One Man Blogs. As no-one has mentioned this I presume no-one has noticed but there was some thinking behind this (and hey, you know me well enough by now that I have to analyse it a little, right?).

1. I know it pisses people off when I change things here, be it the title of the website or the URL that brings you here. I quite enjoy this so I try and change things once a year or so to keep you on your toes.

2. Most of the people who read this blog are web savvy enough to be overloaded with information at some point or another, so the title felt a little brash; MY information overload is more than YOUR information overload? Quite obviously it is not.

3. The simple fact is that I am not, and wasn’t really ever, overloaded with information. Yes I subscribe to hundreds of RSS feeds but I don’t feel compelled to read them all, and I’m reasonably good at keeping on top of the important things which allows me to quickly dismiss all the other stuff if needs must.

So there you have it. And no, you don’t need to update your links, although there are a few of you who STILL insist that my surname is McClean. It is not, it has one (small) c, like this: McLean. If you are one of these people, then I doubt this plea will make a difference but hey, a man can dream, right?

So there you have it.

What? Slow blog day? How very dare you!

bookmark_borderWeb apps are not products

Matt Haughey is, amongst bloggers, pretty well known and respected. He recently wrote up his thoughts on weblog applications and, as they mirror some of my thinking, I thought I’d expand on this theme here.

The title of the post, Bottom line, all weblog apps suck in some way, was borne of frustration and outlines a few points which, reading between the lines, boil down to the same kind of thing.

Few web applications are at the point they could be considered a product.

Matt talks specifically about weblog applications, one of which I use to power this site (WordPress). I do a little web design in my spare time (there’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one) and have a similar working pattern as Matt; create template then drop in the code required by the weblog application, then tweak, tweak, tweak. I share his bemusement at the way Movable Type is configured, and I definitely agree with him when he says:

My ideal blog engine company would hire some seasoned blogger and technical writer to be a documentation czar, keeping docs up to date when new versions are launched, produce screencasts for introductory users, and provide complete documentation at a stable URL that applies to every version of the product. If an outside site does a better job of collecting and offering templates, a documentation leader should recognize that and link to them in highly visible places. There doesn’t seem to be anyone internal at these companies fighting for the users to make sure they can keep being informed about how to best use the product.

All of my knowledge of WordPress, Blogger and Movable Type (three of the biggest weblog applications) comes from tinkering about in the code, trial and error, and random Google searches. Sometimes those searches will take me to the website of the application, but more often than not they take me elsewhere to someone who has solved my problem already, or has a good solution that could be adapted to meet my requirements.

The information is a far more important to me than the weblog application, particularly as most of those meet my requirements and, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this website, the supporting information becomes the differentiator which will sway me one way or the other.

Let me repeat what I said previously:

Quite simply, products include documentation, support and training, and tell a cohesive story to a potential user. A story that says, yes this product will do X, Y and Z, and if it breaks we’ll do our best to help fix it, and we’ll support you as you learn to use it throughout the lifetime of your relationship with the product (and, therefore, the company).

The really good thing about this situation is that there is an opening here, a wide gaping hole into which a willing technical writer could leap. Most of the weblog applications are open source and would welcome you with open arms. The role Matt outlines is a huge one, but is perfectly within the reach of most technical writers. You know, if I had any spare time I might just try to get involved…