I finally finished the book I started reading a month ago: Chill of Night by John Lutz. You can read my review at MyListens.com.
I began the book a month ago, after finishing several other books in the series, when a hard drive failure brought down several of my websites, including this one (which was not a blog at the time). I’ve spent the last month turning this site into a blog and redesigning the new MyListens.com Book Reviews site.
I’m now caught up on the 2 series I’ve been reading by John Lutz: The Night series and the Frank Quinn series. Overall, it’s been like reading the same book over and over. If John Lutz cannot come up with something different, I think I’m done with these series for good.
One of the book groups I belong to has organized a Fall Classic to encourage members to read (or re-read) a classic novel. This year it’s David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I think I’ll participate, so that’s the next book on my agenda. I’ve never read it, but I liked Great Expectations, so I have great expectations that I’ll like David Copperfield. Watch for another blog post about that one.
Actually, this is not a new website as such. It’s a pre-existing site given a slightly new look under a brand new domain. This book review site was formerly a part of GlobalCyberCity.com. However, GlobalCyberCity.com is a long and clumsy name to type — I wanted something shorter and simpler. Plus, GlobalCyberCity.com did not seem to “catch on.” It didn’t draw many visitors or participants. The only section that received much attention at all was the book review section, and that was mostly because I used it regularly myself.
I love to read — listen, actually. Because I’m blind, I “read” audiobooks exclusively. And I read a lot — at least 1 to 2 books a week, usually. I’ve learned over the years (as I get older) that I forget what some books are about, or even forget that I’ve read them altogether. So, I created this book review database to help me keep track of the books I’ve read and my thoughts about them. Since I was doing this for myself anyway, I decided to make this database available to others, both to read my reviews, and if desired, to add their own reviews/comments. Anyone can read the reviews, and if anyone wants to post their own reviews, all I ask is that they register to provide their name and email address. I require this only to avoid abuse — I do not share the email addresses or send unsolicited email to them.
Given all of this, I decided to close GlobalCyberCity.com and move just the book reviews portion of the site to a new, easier to type domain. It was difficult to find an available domain name related to books, though. However, given the fact that the vast majority of books reviewed on the site were read/heard as audiobooks, and given that many people make a distinction between “reading print” and “listening to an audiobook,” I decided the available MyListens.com domain would be a suitable name for my book review website. I don’t mind if members of MyListens.com post reviews of books they’ve read in print, because hopefully, they will be available in an audio format for those of us who are blind.
So, I’m pleased to announce the launch of MyListens.com and invite you to visit, browse, and even register and post your own reviews. Hope to see you there.
This is my second favorite holiday of those we generally celebrate here in the United States. The costumes, the candy, the masquerades, the “ghost” stories, and most of all, the absence of organized religion, all contribute to my enjoyment of this holiday. Although Halloween is believed to have arisen from the Celtic celebration of Samhain, it’s celebrated mostly as a secular holiday nowadays.
Did you know that in Ireland and Scotland, turnips were traditionally used for carving jack-o’-lanterns? Pumpkins were used here in America because they were larger and more readily available. You can read about this and much more here in the Wikipedia article about Halloween.
I like pumpkin, especially when baked into pie, bread and muffins. A pumpkin spice latte is also a yummy treat. I’ve eaten some pretty delicious pumpkin ice cream, too. Of course, it’s the “pumpkin spices” that I really like. Caramel apples and caramel popcorn (made into popcorn balls) are two other foods traditionally associated with Halloween that I enjoy.
I despise commercialization of any holiday, but at least it’s not a main focus of Halloween as it is with Christmas and some other holidays. Commercialism is impossible to avoid in our society, but I’m usually able to ignore it successfully with Halloween.
Halloween is a holiday that has traditions and celebrations for all ages. It’s a celebration for celebration’s sake without any deeper meanings or hidden agendas. That’s what I like best about Halloween.
I’m well beyond frustrated! I own a domain (eMissives.com) and operate
a website on which I host a number of double-opt-in mailing lists. To clarify, double-opt-in means that one must request to become a member and confirm that request by replying to an email confirmation. In other words, list members choose to receive messages from the list — the messages are not unsolicited.
Recently, I transferred the website to a new server and received a dedicated IP address from my web host. This means that all email sent from my domain comes from my IP address. The purpose behind this was to make it easier to identify abuse should any occur — a very unlikely situation given my circumstances, but I was attempting to be responsible.
Since the time of the transfer, AT&T WorldNet has begun blocking all mail sent from my dedicated IP address. I have followed the links given in their bounce messages and submitted unblock requests per their instructions without any success and without any response from them whatsoever. This is what is causing me the most frustration. I cannot find any way to enter into a dialog with AT&T in order to learn exactly why they are blocking my mail. The closest explanation I’ve been able to find is that they state they will block IP addresses if it appears (to them) that a high percentage of the mail traffic from that IP address is spam. I have not found their definition of spam or just how they decide whether mail is spam. I’m guessing that they must be assuming that any bulk mailing is spam, even though much (maybe most) is not. And certainly not bulk mailings from double-opt-in mailing lists. However, I have found no way to explain my lists and justify the bulk mailing to them. And I’ve not found any way to learn from AT&T just what they are receiving from my server that is triggering their action. It’s not fair — neither to me nor to the AT&T customers that want to subscribe to lists hosted by eMissives.com.
If in fact this is what is happening, it is very likely happening to other mail providers which means that AT&T customers may not be receiving some legitimate email they may want to receive — not just from eMissives.com, but from other sources as well. I think customers of AT&T WorldNet should be aware of these practices and understand that AT&T is removing the customer’s right to choose what is and is not spam. Again, I cannot find any way to discuss this with AT&T, but I can only guess that if confronted with this situation, AT&T would simply suggest that their customer go sign up for a free mail account elsewhere. They’re not interested in making their service work properly.
So, if you’re an AT&T customer and have an email address with one of the following domains, you may need to use a different address to subscribe to eMissives.com mailing lists. I have confirmed that Gmail does not block messages from my IP address. In fact, I cannot find any other major provider that is behaving this aggressively. It appears the following domains are the only ones blocking mail from my domain:
Since I just spent the past 3 days Installing, configuring and learning about WordPress, I thought it fitting that I make my first review about it. Considering the fact that it only took me 3 days to pretty much get my site the way I want it, I’m impressed. If I had hand-coded this site to do what it does now, it would definitely have taken me much, much longer.
First, I want to thank the helpful members of the BlindWebbers YahooGroup. Geof Collis’s
Tips on How to Make WordPress Admin More Accessible to Screen Readers
helped me get started.
I chose to use a template with a sidebar, but at first I was confused because there were some widgets in the sidebar even though the widgets section of the dashboard showed it as being empty. One of the BlindWebbers list members suggested that I needed to add a widget to the sidebar in the dashboard and that solved my problem. Once I added a widget to the sidebar in the dashboard, the “default” widgets went away and only the widget I added showed on the page. Whew!
The only other thing that caused me to run in circles for a while occurred when I added my contact and list subscription pages. A form appeared on each page for visitors to comment on the page, something that doesn’t make sense for those pages. I could not find any way to disable that. Again, a BlindWebbers list member advised me that the “Discussion” checkbox needed to be checked in the screen options for pages. I turned this on and what do you know? There was a checkbox for me to disable comments on those pages.
If I had been aware of the above 2 tips, I’d have had my site up even sooner. Hopefully, those tips will help save you time.
It turns out that the only file I needed to modify was the footer in order to incorporate my copyright. Otherwise, everything was configurable through the dashboard, including searching for and installing themes and plugins. WordPress is one of the most “turn-key” site builders I can imagine. I highly recommend it.