Saturday, June 18, 2011

Some Spiffying Up :)

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm doing a little bit of moving things around again, trying to make the blog function a bit better.

Most obviously, I've now divided my blog list into two sections - the Friends I follow regularly, and converse with in the comments and/or off-site, and the blogs that I read but don't really interact with under Blogs. Hopefully, as time goes on, I'll be able to add more entries to the Friends list, but I am thankful and honestly surprised that I have met so many wonderful stitchy people in such a short time, and wanted to highlight those special ladies ;)

On a less happy note, I've had to add a stern Copyright warning down at the bottom of my sidebar. Initially, I was going to put it further up, but I didn't want such unpleasantness to be a main focus. Please note that this warning is not for fellow stitching bloggers, and if anyone is interested in linking to content or reprinting articles, I'm open to all requests (just e-mail me!).

My problem lies in the sickening discovery that some of posts have been lifted, title and text - without my name or my website - and reprinted on a few so-called 'aggregator' blogs, which are little more than spam-bots that roam the Internet and collects bits of text to steal and post. These bits of texts, often from far-flung and far-different sites, are then posted on the 'aggregator' site to attract search traffic. The goal of most of these sites is to sell junk, or to spread viruses, or to attract high traffic and therefore move up in search engine rankings.

Eglantine Stitchery does not endorse any of these third party sites or the products, information and services they purport to sell, and I wanted to put up some text indicating that I do not consent to having my content aggregated. The text that is pulled is taken out of context, often 'translated' into broken English, assembled out of context (parts of sentences or paragraphs without the rest of the text), and not credited to the original source.

And I am upset that most of these sites can be harmful, selling dubious goods and sometimes spamming visitors or giving visitors viruses. So please be careful when visiting any third-party site, and know that Eglantine Stitchery is in no way associated with such sites, and unfortunately cannot protect you from harm that may occur to your computer or yourself.

Additionally, if you should come across any of my content on such sites accidentally (some look and function like legitimate blogs these days), please let me know by sending me an e-mail or leaving a comment. Fortunately, the search algorithms change fairly frequently, so the stolen content - especially since ES deals with rather commercially insignificant stitchy things - turns over fairly frequently. Still, it is very unsettling, and I urge all stitchy bloggers to keep an eye out for stolen content by searching their blog title or post titles occasionally.

Back to happier news! I have finally figured out how to make and post those neat little project progress bars under my Work in Progress (WIP) and Finish In Progress (FIP) projects! Thanks to Meari's Musings' How-To info on Progress Bars, I discovered the Yarn Tomato Percent Bar Maker which is a wonderful site!

For my FIP progress, I downloaded the Ready-Made set in Green, and had no trouble unzipping the files. For my WIP progress, though, I wanted something to echo the yellow roses in my banners, so I made my own set. It was very easy, and only took a few minutes. There are literally hundreds of colours available, so you can make custom colour matches to go with your blog's background and graphics!

Furthermore, if you're a Blogger blogger who uses Picasa Web Albums like I do, uploading is much easier than the instructions given for the third-party storage site Photobucket. Go to your sidebar, select Add Widget and then choose the Photo Widget. Browse to the bar you want to use (say, the 25%). Upload (and this is quick since the files are small). Then move your new Widget Percentage Bar in your sidebar widget list until it is beneath your WIP or FIP. Repeat as many times as you need! How neat is that, hey?

As you move further along, just go to your Progress Bar Widget, select Edit, remove the current image and Upload the new progress image (say 50%), all in the same window. This time you don't need to move the widget - unless you wish to - as placement stays the same! I think this little tool is very neat, and it's something I look forward to using, even though my estimates aren't all that scientific *rolls eyes*. For example, you may notice that my Monarch Stitching Tools are ar 25%; that's because I'm thinking roughly of four different tools, and have finished only one to date (the Scissors Fob). So it's not going to be super-precise (at least where I'm concerned, lol) but it's nice to have a general idea ;)

I will be trying to update the Free Patterns section soon, and will be making a few other minor changes. I'll be posting up a real stitchy update ASAP.

Until then, Happy Stitching!


Karen said...

Now I'm wondering if my blog content has been used like that. It's a horrible thought!

I've seen the WIP bars on several blogs and have always wondered how they worked. Sometime, when I have some spare time I might try to add them, but it sounds difficult if you don't use Picasa... we'll see. In any case, it's something to think about. :)

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Karen - I dearly hope not :(

Like I said, I discovered it by accident, and it was like a slap in the face, especially since there's really not much you can do about it.

You can search by your blog title, but that generally just brings up the pages you link to and the blogs you follow and that follow you. I read a recommendation to search using a post title that's a few days or weeks old - not so new it hasn't yet been picked up, and not so old that it's already been dropped - and see what you get.

Be very careful of viruses though!

It may be better not to know *looks frustrated*

Re: The WIP bars - I'm willing to help! It's really not too bad. I used Picasa because it's the default photo storage program for Blogger. It took me weeks to work out that every time I uploaded a photo, it was automatically copied into a Picasa account (set up with the blog, evidently) in order to appear on the blog (!).

If you didn't know you had Picasa, don't feel silly ;) I really don't know why they don't tell you that up front, but whatever *rolls eyes*. If you're using another photo storage system, the instructions at the Yarn Tomato site for Photobucket are pretty straight forward and should work with pretty much any storage program. If you want a hand with that, let me know :)

Meari said...

Thanks for the useful information about the photo widgets. I didn't know that! Glad you found my post on progress bars helpful. How did you ever find out about the 3rd parties scamming your posts?

Aurelia Eglantine said...

You're very welcome :) If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Thank you very much for your wonderful How-To section; I'd been admiring progress bars for a while, but never knew how to go about making/using them until I found your helpful article!

RE: the stolen posts - I found out accidently. I didn't see anything unusual in my blog Stats, because most of these sites didn't include a link back to me.

I simply had the idea to try searching my own blog title one night, and one site (the badly translated post, #2) came up, much to my surprise and dismay. I then did some research on aggregator blogs, and found out that post titles are better to use as a test, as most of these sites don't even credit the original source and so won't have your blog title on them. From what I read, it's best to use a post title at least a few days to a week old and no older than a month, as the web-bots need time to steal your work. Although some of my stolen posts from March are still up, so it's not a sure formula, sadly.

Rainy Day Crafter said...

Eeek, thanks for the warning about the stolen posts - how horrible though! Part of me wants to check for my own posts, but then another part would rather not know!

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Rain Day, I totally know what you mean! On the plus side, these are all random (I like to think) results of a very bad aggregator search algorithm. When researching this, I've actually come upon stories of people who have started blogs and then stole others' posts and put them up as their own (and, in several cases, got awards for "their" writing!) and that would be much, much worse.

Honestly, I feel lucky now that although my content was taken (and badly mangled) at least it has obviously been stripped of context, and is not being passed of as someone else's work! *horrific thought*