Tag Archives: srilanka

Spam, trackbacks and web statistics

Some would say that it can only mean that I have far too much time on my hands. I claim that I’m merely interested. As is often the case, the truth maybe somewhere between the two. But the fact is, I do like to keep an eye how many people are visting ZX81.org.uk and what they’re looking at.

Tea Leaf, Sri Lanka
Tea Leaf, Sri Lanka
Sometimes people get here by the least obvious route. For example, most months I get a few hits from people searching for the words “my website.” What are they hoping to find? Are they expecting Google to figure out what they mean by “my”? Or is it just that there are an awful lot of very bored people just searching for random phrases?

There are also some oddities, I think anyway. My most popular picture is just of a tea leaf! (From when I was in the tea growing region of Sri Lanka.) It’s basically just a standard record shot, and even has a horizontal line across the middle where the lab scratched the negative. Not my greatest photograph. Some day I’ll invest the time to clean it up in Photoshop.

I figure I get a number of disappointed readers when they hop onto my site after searching for “Cuba girls.” I don’t know, maybe they are looking for girls chatting while leaning against a rusting old American car but somehow I suspect not. (This image from my time in Trinidad, Cuba.)

Girls chat in the street, Trinidad, Cuba
Girls chat in the street, Trinidad, Cuba
Most comments, it turns out, are not from “real” people at all. It was depressing to learn that most of my “readers” are just computer programs, and not very intelligent ones at that.

For a few months now I have been using the Akismet spam filter which has been doing an excellent job of removing such messages before you or I have to see them. I recently decided to bolster this with Paul Butler’s JS SpamBlock, which means that if you don’t have JavaScript enabled you may have to enter a random number when you post a comment. If you do have JavaScript enabled — and if you don’t know what I’m talking about you probably do — then everything should Just Work. In return I have seen my comment spam drop from around five thousand a month to virtually zero.

While I’m talking about changes you might see, I have also installed Imthiaz Rafiq’s WP-PDA which allows ZX81.org.uk to be readable on a PDA or smartphones web browser. Seems to work well from my phone.

Sri Lanka, 2001

Sri Lanka (nee Ceylon) is famous for its tea and Arthur C. Clarke, but, as I found out, there’s much more to it than that!

We started in Negombo, a beach resort a few miles away from the airport, moved round to take in the ‘Cultural Triangle’, down to Kandy, Adams Peak and a tea plantation. Finally, we headed to Unawatuna, a beach resort near to Galle (and the England – Sri Lanka test series) and then back to Negombo for the last night. We made plenty of stops along the route.

A combination of a new camera and the beauty of the place meant that I took as many pictures in Sri Lanka as I took in Georgia and Thailand put together! Here I present the highlights.

Click the small pictures below for a full size version.

All these pictures were taken on my Canon EOS300, mainly on Fuji Superior ISO400 film. I ran out of film towards the end of the trip so the last few are on Kodak Max (ISO400).

The same pictures that are on Kodak film have white lines down the middle. They are scratches on the negative that appear to have been put there during either developing or printing. I’m tempted to name the guilty company…

If the pictures have piqued your interest, there are a few web sites that you might want to visit:

  • The Lonely Planet guide is usually worth consulting.
  • If you prefer hard-copy (much more portable than your laptop!), you can buy a copy from Amazon (UK or US).