Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hymn Of The Big Wheel

Way back in 2005 my car got written off with me in it. It was, what I have to come to think of as the, "Granny on a Mission" event. She'd driven out of a car park and onto the road, and I was the 2nd and final car she'd run into on her 400metre drive home from the shops. I recall the noise of her engine, the impact and the noise it made, my car being up in the air and then my head ringing like a bell.

I'd called the emergency services from within my now wrecked car. I could see daylight through the passenger door frame and I was across the middle of the road with one side of the car front tilting downwards, some distance from where I'd been driving. I had no air bags fitted.
The Police Emergency Call Centre declined to send anyone out on my request, though the Police did attend later along with a Fire Crew to clean up the mess in the road. I'm not sure who else called and managed to convince them to turn out, but I eventually gave a statement, and there were several witnesses. The other driver had been whisked away by her family before the Police arrived.

I was not too badly injured, the Whiplash injury I'd suffered which occurred when my head hit the driver's side window, eased around two years later.

My car went to the Breakers Yard and I still miss it.

So, where is this little stroll down Memory Lane heading? .....

Fast forward to 2011, and someone who seems to have a long term grudge against me, made an attempt to use existing UK Legislation to try and drive me off the Internet. Last week I had the Police at my UK door regarding this Blog and my Twitter Page, following their receipt of a formal complaint about the content.

Quite interesting to view these two events side by side and speculate about what priorities exist for local policing today.

Thankfully common sense has prevailed and there is still a right to free speech where I'm domiciled. After all, this is not a commercial Blog or Website, it earns the owner no income, (especially true since my Google Adsense Account was attacked recently) and contains my personal views, thoughts and experiences in life.

If you don't like what I write, then the solution is simple, don't read it.

With thanks to Massive Attack for providing me with Title inspiration and keeping me sane.

July 2012 Yet another attempt has been made to drive me from the Internet. Same person and same details as the last time, more police at my door. Seriously considering shutting down all web places. Left feeling that it's a huge waste of Police time and resources.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Anatomy Of An Adsense Attack

As you my have read in this Blog, my Google Adsense Account has been killed off by an external attack. I really don't care about the Adsense revenue I've lost, and I can't speculate if this was a random Bot attack or a deliberate act by a vindictive person.

Behind every Bot there is a person writing the program. Sending in an Appeal to Google would be futile, I've read that no-one ever gets their revenue or account reinstated. I've also read that the person who organised this has done me a favour in the longer term, though I really doubt that my attacker had my best interests at heart.

I've been reading up on the antics on "Click Bombers" and "Click Bots" in an effort to understand how the attack was carried out whilst looking like it came from me. I was oblivious to the damage as I never saw the Ads, or paid attention to the income, as I never received any.

I'd made a Blog entry on the 21st June 2011, received no Blog visits on the 21st, and on the 22nd June my Blog received 52 visits from an address in Horsham, Pennyslvania.

All the Charts and analysis are by Google Analytics and belong to them.

As I use Google Analytics it's possible to view the emerging patterns. It's not possible to get the exact location pinned down as far as I can tell.

Much as I'd like to think my Blog is an interesting read, it's a little OTT for someone using Level 3 Communications services, to then click on my Adsense Ad boxes 69 times on the 22nd June.  Not only that, they were superfast at arriving, clicking the Ads and departing too.

Out of 80 Direct Traffic visits for June 2011, 44 occurred on the 22nd.

Another blip in Switzerland, the data shows that from Fribourg and Montreux areas, there were 27 visits, resulting in a Bounce Rate of 75%. The pattern for the rest of Switzerland is in single figures, as expected.

Of course I have no idea how the attack was carried out. Perhaps my Google account was hacked to gain access. Naturally I've changed passwords everywhere, just in case. I'll see what the next batch of Google Analytics data shows before taking any further action.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Life's Little Surprises

I've just seen my Google Analytics results for the month of June 2011 for this Blog. Rather a lot of traffic from one particular part of Switzerland. It's produced a big red blob on my traffic map. In a 14 day period, there were 16 visits from the Fribourg region of Switzerland.

Maybe my Blog is worth reading after all.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I've just had notification from Google Adsense that they have pulled my Adsense boxes and refunded the money I had earned over several years to their Advertisers. This they said was down to invalid click activity. It's not my activity, so this Blog page has likely come under attack from another party. I have a good idea who as well, but as it's so petty I can't be bothered to counter it, or launch a formal appeal with Google.

Well, I really don't care about Adsense, I never received a penny from their Advertising, so I've removed their poxy boxes from this Blog. As far as I'm concerned Adsense sucks, I've run the Ad boxes for years, and got nothing for it.

BTW Google, I don't see these Adverts I'm supposed to have clicked on  as I've used Adblock Plus for years :)

Onwards and upwards, free of horrid little adverts!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Marjal Peniscola

In Peniscola there is a freshwater Marsh directly behind the hotels on the seafront,  and it is a protected conservation area. The Marsh is fed by groundwater springs which form small lakes known as Ullals.

When these overflow, it forms the marsh. The area is managed by the building of drainage ditches which channel the excess water through the lower part of the town and out to sea via South Beach. The largest is the "acequia templera" or Templars Channel. Keeping the channel free needs a special sort of boat.

 The Marsh is home to the Valencian Samaruc which looks like a Goldfish, and is in danger of extinction. It's also home to another rare fish, the Spanish Toothcarp, known locally as the Fartet.

The heart of the marsh is now accessible on foot via a boardwalk. Visitors are urged to remain quiet while walking across and not disturb the many resident birds. There is a "hide" for birdwatching.

There is visitor information posted in several languages along the route. I'm guessing that the No Moped sign on the main map is aimed at local teenagers!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fruitcake and Frenemies

2 years ago I felt moved to Blog about an experience I'd had on Facebook, when someone I thought highly of, acted out of character, leaving me with a profile view consisting of 1 line of text. I'd thought it was an error, at the time.

Since then, I have been fending off angry emails from this man, raging at me for seemingly most innocuous comments made by me on a variety of public online forums. all of which he perceived to be about him. I have been driven off one skiers forum by him. His attacks are exclusively by email or forum message. Lately he'd resorted to threats, the "change that or I'll do this to you" sort of stuff. The threats had no effect on me, for example, I really don't care if he tells everybody that I'm rubbish at skiing.

All of this had left me a bit bewildered, as I'd no idea what I'd done to upset him in the 1st place, or why he was still really angry with me. I'd been concerned about the use of some photos of me on his website, which I'd downloaded a long time ago, and used on my Blog. They were used by me in accordance with the non commercial use copyright terms quoted on his Blog. The photos and links were on my main email address, until they disappeared, along with my ability to see his website to see what was wrong. I kept seeing "Not Found" messages.

My Blog now had holes in it and looked awful.

I thought it was maintenance, but then found my IP address had been blocked, a divert appeared to a BBC recipe for Fruitcake. Not good, even if it was a really nice recipe, which I tweeted. It got worse when a page of threats appeared, police, legal action, some data act or other, they were changing each day while I was still trying to find the images to repair my Blog.

I've archived the threats online using a Web Archiving service. Seems he was cross about me using proxy services to recover the photos of me that appear on his pages, which are now part of his commercial venture.
He's not asked my permission to use the images of me, but having seen where they are on his site, I did what I needed to and I'm not bothered about them. What else could I do, he'd blocked my IP address, and the last time I phoned him, he called me back and told me he wasn't going to talk to me.

I'd had enough of being silent about the continuing email abuse I've received so went public, as the page of threats had now accused me of being a stalker and downloading his photo a zillion times. It was this that tipped me over. It would appear that he has been stalking me online as I travelled around Europe this spring, well, whatever floats his boat I suppose. Personally I have better things to do with my time, but we are all different.

In case you are wondering no, it's not my style, and neither is he. It's possibly (so I've been advised) a Firefox Accelerator thing affecting his website every time I log on to my email. I've also been advised that there may be a Google Mail issue with the way their package treats his links as well. Maybe he's placed tracking cookies in mails to me,  he's certainly been closely following my online activity, which must be a bit time consuming.

I now have a new email address, so hopefully he won't be foaming at the mouth every time I answer mails from friends and family. In the meantime I've been busy removing all evidence of his mails, and all contact details from all my online places. There are many years worth to be gone through and destroyed.

One of his friends has now told me via my Facebook Profile that he'd wanted nothing to do with me, no friendship, no contact, nada, and this had been the case for a number of years.

The man who gave me the news was one of the folks I'd trusted when I'd asked for help to clear up the problem 2 years ago. He said he'd not known then. He did know how upset I was though, so just how long has he known, and allowed this to continue?

I'm left wondering just how far back this hatred of me went. Was it there when he gave me a Christmas card for my household 6 months before he did the FB thing. When he led me skiing off piste? Did I mistakenly place my trust in a man who did, and still does hate me?

It would certainly explain the tone of the emails. My last comment in reply to one of his nasty mails in November 2010 asked the question "I really don't know why you hate me so much?"

Now I know at last, I can look forward to opening my email package without trepidation.

Finding this out is actually really good news for me. It's his problem not mine, and now I know that it's nothing I did in the first instance to start the sequence of events. If he ever sends me any more hate mail, I now feel liberated to respond in the way I feel to be appropriate for the time and situation.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mostly Warm....

Skiing in April is always fun. It's often powdery, usually warm and quite social. It's about long lunches after powder filled mornings, peeling off the layers and sitting on restaurant terraces. Not every day is sunny, which is good, because that empties the slopes and covers the hills with powder!

Getting a table at the Buvette was not a problem that day
The cook at the Buvette having to work hard on his cigarette break!
The Salomons demonstrating just how soft they are!
Spooky sky
The L'Omen Rosso Avalanche from our lounge. This slide skilled 3 ski tourers.
Wishing he'd ridden his Thunders that day, and not some soft skinny Salomons
The Powder Virus
Plenty of fresh snow to play in off piste
Action in the 6Park Snowpark in Grimentz during April
Off piste with some friends. Lots of fresh snow and more low clouds!

Crossing a stream is a larger problem if you have short legs!
Getting onto the spring powder at just the right time of day

Late season small slab Avalanche high up the system

Enjoying a coffee break in the sunshine