Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene
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Bloggers have been on summer holiday in Limerick, staying in UCH

August 16, 2009 By: ana Category: audio podcast, blogs, connections, preparations

We’ve been resting & recovering in Limerick with some Summer Music on the Shannon.

It’s been just like the Riviera. Crowded, hot, exciting and exhausting…

We’ll need a holday to recover from living with people from so many countries. Limerick has become a cosmopolitan place. Visitors from Canada, USA, Japan, Norway, UK, Spain, Italy, Kildare, Germany… and so on.

Like any hothouse there has to be a common language. It’s been music.

If you want to find out more about how hot Limerick’s been, try this link – when you have time on your hands.

We look forward to resuming normal service here soon – when we’ve recovered. Rest assured, we’ve been telling them in Limerick all about Kerry.

[One thing for sure, we hope Listowel Writers’ Week 2010 – the 40th festival – will be live streamed – broadcast live on the internet. After what they did in University Concert Hall, it should be possible…?]

Work in progress to maintain the blog…

August 05, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections

I’ve just deleted 200 comments – all spam.

I wish there was a way to highlight all the spam, so that I could simply press a button and vanish them all.

Perhaps saying anything about spam is unwise: might it draw spam here?

Patrick Stack is so stretched with other work that it may be a while before he fixes this issue.

Meanwhile, if anyone has any bright ideas on how I could deal with spam quickly, I’m listening…

Time to ban the spam

July 12, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: blogs

I’m getting rather tired of our Russian blog spammer “friends” at this stage. I’m not interested in what they have to say, more especially when I can’t read Russian either in cyrillic or latin script. I have neither the time nor the energy to chase down “nude photos of Angelina Jolie“, though I wouldn’t avert my gaze if one happened to pop up in front of me either. But I do take serious umbrage at spam with links claiming to lead to “nude photos of Angelina Jolie“, when in fact they lead to a malware site whose links download executable files (files ending in .exe) which no doubt harbour trojan horses and other nasty denizens of the cybervirus world.

I’m fortunate in that I can visit these sites to check them out without fear of contamination as I run Linux on my machine. Linux does not run executables with .exe extensions, unlike Windows which does, hence the vulnerability of the various Windows Operating Systems to viruses. Were I running Windows I’d be quaking in my boots every time I went online.

So, the time has come to ban the IP addresses of the offending Russian spammers from accessing this blog.

Posting is difficult at the moment

June 26, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: blogs

As I’m under fierce work pressure at the moment, I really don’t have any time to devote to blogging. And Paul O’Mahony is on holidays at the moment, which means that unless some of our readers would like to post, there won’t be much content going up for the next 10 days or so. Or perhaps Jeremy Gould will post something.
We will however get back to our normal output in the near future.

If I ever meet a spammer in person I’ll …

June 18, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: blogs, poetry, Reflections

… kick their teeth in, and that is a promise. I don’t mind the odd comment spam in Cryllic from some Russian with nothing better to do, but when we get flooded by rubbish from that bastion of rabid capitalism, the, in this case, not-so-good old U S of A, trying to sell everything from cheap insurance (automobile and home) to pharmaceuticals (a minority of which claim to increase the girth of one’s manhood) to College degrees, my normal sanguinity in the face of computer problems goes to white hot, and I have this overweening urge to shove their spam up their virtual rear ends which of course I never get to do as they remain untraceable apart from an IP address.

Now I know, as ever blogger does, that one of the downsides of blogging is that it brings with it the unwanted attentions of the bottom-feeding spammer scum (those self-styled “bulk marketing consultants“) which rarely amounts to no more than a passing, if daily, annoyance.
However, it does become a major problem when the number of spam posts dramatically increases making it nigh-on-impossible for the blog admin. (the person who oversees the proper running of the blog) to stem the tide of filth.

Some years back I suffered one such attack on my first blog and was forced to close the blog down while I searched for a solution. Not being sufficiently skilled at php coding at the time I could not implement any of the solutions I found on the web, nor could I afford to pay somebody else to do it for me. I kept a record of the IP addresses of the offending posts over a few days. The vast majority of the relevant IPs originated in China. So I banned entire ranges of IP addresses associated with China by adding them to a .htaccess file on the server. A bit extreme I know, but it worked!

Why am I telling you all of this? Firstly I’m writing it as an extension to Paul O’Mahony’s contention, in his Literary Festival in Digital Age post, that we writers ignore the tools brought to us courtesy of the Web Revolution at our peril. Secondly, because I love Web technology every bit as much as I love writing. For me the two are inextricably intertwined. There is a web site devoted to poetry written in or using the Perl programming language – Perl Monks. There has even been a Perl Poetry Contest. According to its inventor, Larry Wall, Perl stands for either Practical Abstraction and Report Language or Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister depending on his mood at any particular time!

Any good programmer, mathematician, musician, or indeed scientist will be familiar with the idea that a solution, formula, function, theorem, piece or proof must have beauty if it is to be considered great. The concept of coding as poetry has always appealed to me, ever since I first came across it in Larry Wall’s classic Learning Perl or it may have been Programming Perl. What matter which?

[to be continued]

If you put “blog of a literary festival” into Google…

June 12, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs

This is what you get.

Little time to post

June 09, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: blogs

My current inability to post is due entirely to a huge backlog of work: I’m up to my neck in php/mysql programming and only manage to surface for air on rare occasions. This is one such occasion.

Just to correct a possible misunderstanding…

June 09, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections, events, historical, organisers, participants, photographs, poem, poetry

This may not be technically a great photograph, but to catch these two rehearsing for the next series of “Strictly Come Dancing” was fabulous…

Audrey Dunphy & Rowley George…

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I was privileged to be there, sitting on the floor with Sony Cyber-shot 8.1 mega pixels.

In background, John Sheehan, one of the Dubliners, and a man whose name I don’t know. Unseen by the camera, is a large group of session ‘attendees’ and performers. It was a very public performance – what you could call a miracle of a session.

I’ll post more photos from it later today.

As Billy Keane said, this is “History”. There was no dancing coach. They just seemed to click.

We have “Tag Clouds” coming to this blog

June 08, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections, preparations, starting up

Like me, most of you won’t know what this means.

Would someone who understands the term “tag cloud”, please explain to us all what having “tag clouds” will mean?

What value to listowelwritersweekfringe.com are “tag clouds”?

Hyperlinks… Hyperwords…

June 07, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections

I spend quite a lot of time adding hyperlinks to posts.

Hopefully, this practice enriches the piece.

Does adding hyperlinks transform the piece?

Several times I’ve added a note to a post to say that hyperlinks were added by me, rather than the author. Adding hyperlinks isn’t a routine matter; it involves selecting a hyperlink from among many possibilities. You could argue it interferes with the author’s intention.

On balance I favour the view that it adds more value than it destroys. So I’m going to stop putting in notes to say I’ve done it.

Hyperwords:

Without “Hyperwords” I’d be lost: it would be too clumsy to contemplate adding hyperlinks. Hyperwords is one of the best inventions I know for the internet writer.

Unfortunately, I think it’s only available to you if you use Firefox.


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