Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2016 scientific society talks in London blog post

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Storify has added an 'add all tweets' button - hooray

One of the reasons I've traditionally preferred Chirpstory over Storify is that Chirp has always let you move large amounts of tweets at once (50 at one go). I've just noticed that Storify now lets you move 20 at one go - I don't know how long this has been possible, only visited the site today.

Anyway this is the bit to look for, highlighted in green.



For big events with lots of tweeting I'd still go for Chirpstory - another advantage is that you can re-order the tweets so that the earliest is at the top. You can also easily remove duplicates (which can creep in if you go back and edit on the second day of the conference, for examp, adding in the more recently posted tweets).

More Twitter wrangling tools here: http://brodiesnotes.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/list-of-tools-for-finding-or-capturing.html

Thursday, 24 May 2012

How to get rid of white space / line breaks in Word

I seem to be on a Words / lines thing at the moment.

Right then, I had a 35 page Word document* which had many paragraphs each separated by four lines of white space (the equivalent of 'enter' having been pressed four times). One line suffices so I sought to find out how to quickly Find / Replace (Ctrl+H) the three extra linespaces with nothing (or I could have replaced four linespaces with one linespace).

@dianthusmed had the answer to my question
It works: ^l^l^l is the string to select three linespaces. The ^ is called a caret.

1. Press Ctrl+H to bring up the Find and Replace menu
2. Type ^l (SHIFT 6 on full-size keyboard and the letter L) three times into the 'Find what' dialogue box, leave the 'Replace with' box blank
3. Click the Find Next button to make sure it's selecting correctly and then Replace to replace - once you're satisfied that all is well click the 'Replace All' and smile as your 35-page document trims itself to 23 pages.

Thanks also to @zeno001 who offered suggestions too and this is also a useful read "Special characters you can use with Find and Replace in Word"

*Technically it's a LaTeX document that I'm viewing in Word. Ironically I can't compile the 'tex doc into a pretty thing to read because there are other files (bibliographies) embedded into the doc that it needs to run and I don't have access to them. So this was my workaround, but I like saving paper when printing.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Building the picture pipeline - free images for use in healthcare and medical research #scicomm #nhssm

Years ago I helped the then editor of our research magazine (Research Matters) find some illustrative images to go with short summaries of our various bits of research. I remember in particular looking for things that conveyed 'kidneys' to match the section on our kidney research.

There are some standard-issue visual tropes for kidneys, including pictures of actual kidneys (either photographs or drawings, including the urinary system), kidney-shaped metal dishes, kidney beans and even, if you're so minded, steak and kidney pies. 

12th March: Kidneys
It's worth clicking on this image and seeing the original image in Flickr as the photographer has added a really nice explanation of what it is that kidneys do and why they're rather important.
But the concept of kidneys can also be put across by images of clear water - after all the job of the kidneys is to filter and clean blood, and conserve things that the body wants to keep. Even the concept of a fuse might be used in relation to the role the kidneys play in blood pressure and how this can damage them. You might even get away with 'balance' in that our kidneys keep everything in order.

I found that being in the role of someone who picks the pics made me think much more laterally about images in general, which I'm sure is all to the good. Although we have a budget for the CHI+MED project that I'm currently working on, and I have bought one or two images from commercial image suppliers, I've derived a lot of enjoyment in looking through what Flickerians have made available through creative commons licensing. 

I've even created a Pinterest pin board of 'images that illustrate the CHI+MED project' - I wouldn't say it's gone viral but it has 21 followers compared to the average 8-12 that my other boards have acquired.

Exit  X-Ray Central

In the recent #nhssm (use of social media in the NHS) Twitter chat, which focused on the way that the NHS might use Pinterest, a number of people queried the copyright issue (I only use CC images, with appropriate accreditation that Pinterest automates). 

This reminded me of a question I've probably asked before which is - should we try and build up a 'database' (it could be a list of links and signposting, or a Flickr pool) of images that research scientists, people in medical research charities or the NHS (or any healthcare) can use freely in their documents, leaflets, websites, whatever - with appropriate attribution. It would be cool if people could also use it to request images too...

This probably already exists - where? I didn't find such a thing on Flickr (it might be somewhere else that I don't know about) so I have created.... drumroll...  Health, medicine and research images - it's a group on Flickr which currently has no images, but I shan't fill it with them yet in case someone comes along and points me to the already-invented wheel elsewhere on the web.

Going back to Research Matters I was delighted (and a bit amazed) to find a picture of piles of white paper which I could use to illustrate research grant applications, which at the time came in on paper (now all electronic). We actually took some photographs ourselves of the piles of paper created by making sure that each member of the research committee (who recommended projects for funding) had a copy of every single application under consideration, and used these in our own material. 

People working in a lab will be used to their boxes of pipette tips and the purple nitrile gloves, centrifuge machines, microscopes and blue-topped Schott glasses - they're part of the furniture. But images of them do a terrific job of saying "RESEARCH". Similarly if you work in a hospital you'll walk past the signage every day and one hospital bed probably looks like another, but I can't easily get hold of images that say "HOSPITAL" without either going to one myself or being lucky enough to find cool stuff that others have shared.

Pipettes on display  Storage bottles at Bioscience Center

So... please take pictures of things that you might think are fairly mundane, and share them on Flickr with a Creative Commons license so that others can use them. Make sure you give them relevant titles and tag them appropriately - the trick is to think of words that other people would use to search for them. I might search for 'kidney' but someone looking for pictures to illustrate their renal replacement service for a leaflet for patients might search for 'renal'.

Here's what I've found so far:

Free stuff
Flickr Creative Commons - Advanced search
This link will let you search all images licensed under CC and this one will let you search the smaller pool of images that are both CC licensed and may be used commercially. You will need to check with individual images what you can do with them (eg if you want to crop them to fit a smaller space etc, this isn't automatically permitted in every license so do check).

List of free resources
53+ Free image resources for your blog and social media posts Buffer (14 May 2014)

Public domain photos
http://publicphoto.org/

Not necessarily free stuff
Flickr groups - note that these images might not be available under CC licensing but there's nothing to stop you asking an individual photographer if you can use them. 
Other stuff

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Things that have amused me... deleting some old emails

I have a BT Yahoo account with over 16,000 unread messages. Much of these are duplicates (I have a tendency to send copies of things to myself, a virtual as well as a physical hoarder) so it's not as if I've been ignoring people's emails on an unprecedented scale.

But.. spring cleaning and all that. Some of them I've kept cos they made me giggle and so I might throw a few of the examples in here to share the mirth.



14 September 2005
This was in today's Metro.  I thought the last two words might be an inapposite phrase for an astrologer to use while complaining about something.
"As an astrologer, I felt I had to respond to Kevin Burke's suggestion to remove the horoscope column (Metro, Tue).  I don't like sports but I don't ask you to remove it.  He also claims we use the same techniques as psychics.  Really? If horoscopes seem generalised, it is usually down to space constraints."

Potentise-at-home: new business model for homeopathy

Edit: Now with money-back guarantee (see below)

Like many other homeopaths I'm delighted that the MHRA might be doing something positive to protect the good name of homeopathy. For too long it's been possible to bypass the excellent and extensive training that homeopaths receive and simply walk into a shop and buy a remedy. Buying powerful homeopathy pills without first consulting with a homeopath pretty much guarantees that the remedy you buy won't be properly tailored to you.

It looks like the MHRA could well decide to improve this ridiculous state of affairs by stopping the pointless sale of homeopathic remedies that have not been prescribed by a homeopath, thus returning homeopaths to their rightful place as legitimate healthcare providers, and the only people who can sell or prescribe the remedies.

The disadvantage of course is that an awful lot of people won't be able to get hold of homeopathic pills because there aren't enough places licensed to sell them.

I have an idea on how to get around this - Potentise-at-home.

I will sell homeopathy blanks (these are just sugar pills, with nothing in them) - of course these can be sold without a prescription because they have no medical claims for them. You will then go on to the internet and buy an mp3 file from me, switch on your speakers and place the sugar blanks in front of them for about half an hour. Tests in my laboratory indicate that energy transference takes about 10 to 23 minutes but it's best to allow the full half hour for maximum effect. No succussion is required because I've set the frequency of the sound files to match the equivalent harmonics needed by each remedy.

Money-back guarantee: if you don't find Potentise-at-home every bit as effective as your regular prescribed homeopathic remedies I offer a no-quibble, easy-reimbursement, 100% money-back guarantee. No fooling. (Thanks to @franoreilly for the suggestion).



Homeopathy 



This is a joke post (a spoof) poking fun at some of the sillier elements of homeopathy. I do not sell homeopathy or mp3 files.

When I made this post up I had no idea that some homeopaths were going to try and offer sound files for the Ebola virus. It can't actually work (in fact homeopathy doesn't work full stop, beyond placebo effects) and the homeopaths responsible have been firmly condemned, though sadly not much from within the homeopathic community.

mp3 files (or other audio files) cannot transmit healing energy to sugar pills. Moreover, diluting a solution to the point that there's no longer an active ingredient in there means that there's literally nothing in the remedy. Water doesn't have a memory of something that was previously there no matter how much it's been succussed (thumped on a hard surface) or diluted, it's simply quite implausible.

If you have any concerns about your health please speak to a real doctor and be very careful before handing over money to anyone claiming to treat anything with homeopathy (whether by pills, solutions or mp3 files). If they name any conditions in their marketing material you can report them to the Advertising Standards Authority for making misleading claims (the Society of Homeopaths agrees and has produced guidance cautioning its members against careless advertising).

"When you are putting together marketing materials, please be careful to avoid the following:
• Mentioning that you treat, cure, or can improve/relieve symptoms or named conditions either directly or indirectly. Suggesting (implied or otherwise) that homeopathic remedies have direct biological, physical effects on the body. This includes avoiding suggestions that homeopathic remedies help ‘boost the immune system’ or ‘stimulate the body’s healing mechanisms’ – we have no evidence to substantiate these claims, yet we often use these descriptions to convey the principles of homeopathic theory."


I also recommend this article on the harmlessness vs harmfulness of homeopathy when it is used (the pills are inert and therefore harmless but if you need medicine then using something 'harmless' can turn out to be very harmful indeed): http://www.badscience.net/2007/11/a-kind-of-magic/



Thursday, 17 May 2012

How to download @markgfh's Geek Manifesto (or any Kindle book) to your iPhone

I don't have a Kindle but I have noticed that I tend to read more and stare out of the train window less when I read things via my iPhone compared with books. Not sure why.

Mark Henderson has written a book I want to read called the Geek Manifesto about the way in which geeky types have already availed, or might avail, themselves regarding policy / political opportunities etc. Sounds good.


Here's how I downloaded it onto my iPhone 3GS running iOS v4.3.2 (it may be different if you've upgraded your software).

You will need
• An Amazon account (necessary)
• The Kindle app (free - I'm not entirely sure how necessary this is [1]
Note: the Amazon app is useless here as it won't let you download directly to Kindle!

1. Download the Kindle app from the app store for £0
2. Fire up Safari and log into your Amazon account, buy the Kindle edition of the Geek Manifesto book, it's ~£2-3 cheaper too, ooh.
3. Let the book download to your iPhone (it took less than a minute on 3G)
4. Open Kindle, read, giggle schadenfreude-ily at the bit at the beginning where the British Chiropractic Association get mocked.

[1] On downloading via Safari, Amazon said it would download it to Jo Brodie's iPhone and that it would appear on my homescreen. As it happened once downloaded it asked me if I wanted to go straight to Kindle which I did and there it was. Didn't find anything on my homescreen, but don't really care about that once I'd managed to download it anyway.

Initially I tried to download it via the Amazon app before I noticed it told me I couldn't (you may be able to do it on later software / update). What that app did let me do was save it to my wishlist, from which I then bought it once I logged in via Safari on the iPhone. Didn't really save much time but I thought I'd mention it nonetheless.

The Geek Manifesto cover on Kindle for iPhone
The cover, as shown on Kindle app for iPhone

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Is there a quick way of getting hold of an URL from Google search results?

Edit: 6 December 2012
I have found the solution. It is http://industrystandardsoftware.com/online_tools/converters/convert-serp-link-to-direct-location-for-copying-and-pasting.htm - hooray!

Thanks to the questioners and answerers at Stack Exchange
http://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/31028/google-copy-link-location-annoyance




I want to right-click, copy link for this hit in my search results, however the URL I end up getting back turns out to be this horror:

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CGAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.ukoln.ac.uk%2Fpatientsparticipate%2Ffiles%2F2011%2F09%2FWebPatientsParticipateSummaryReport.pdf&ei=D-WzT5fXBqqx0QXWq8DNBA&usg=AFQjCNEP6zfh7PL5u1uA98-T104jVwC6yg&sig2=8q8tEWz-_txUcMIXNbRrPg

I can see what it's meant to be from the link in green below, however there's a bit missing, denoted by /.../
It's possible to convert all %3A into : and all %2F into / so that  http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.ukoln.ac.uk becomes the more readable http://blogs.ukoln.ac.uk but is there a quick way of doing that?

I think I'm looking for a website where I can plug in the unwieldy horror above, press 'tweak' and it returns this nimble little URL below.

Here's the improved link created manually by swapping out the %2F etc
http://blogs.ukoln.ac.uk/patientsparticipate/files/2011/09/WebPatientsParticipateSummaryReport.pdf




How to get rid of lines in Word (Microsoft Word 2010)

by @JoBrodie, brodiesnotes.blogspot.com

Effing effing lines in Word. You put them in thinking they might break up the text a little. And so they do, effing it all up entirely and chasing you around the page.

How to get rid of the little bastards?
My method is below but a commenter below suggested using Ctrl+Q which you might like to try first:

"You can also use the magic of ctrl+Q this resets the paragraph formating. have something of text on both side of the offending line, select that and press ctrl+q ^^"
 
Highlight the area of concern and click on the Page Layout tab in the menu (File | Home | Insert | Page Layout). Swear for a bit until you spot the word 'page borders' in the 'Page background' section of the ribbon thing. Click on that and then click on the Borders tab on the left (you'll probably be on the default tab in the middle which is Page Border). Click the 'None' setting in the left and then OK. This should magically remove the lines. [See pictures below]

If you get into real difficulty the only foolproof way I've found of wresting back control from recalcitrant text is to copy and paste it into Notepad (try C:\Windows\system32\notepad.exe but if not it's Start > notepad [then press enter]) which strips the text of all formatting allowing you to start from scratch.

I use Notepad more than I use any other software programme, before transferring text to whatever programme I want to save it in. If it's really important stuff I tend to write it directly into Evernote and I press Ctrl+S very frequently to make sure I've saved it. Word has its own autosave which is useful but I nearly always start a document in Notepad.

Picture 1 is what happens when you create a solid line using the hyphens... you can use the option that appears just after you create one to nip future solid lines in the bud but for previously created lines see picture 2.

When you type a few hyphens - - - - (without spaces, I just put them in to make it look more like a line of hyphens) and press enter, a solid line is created. On the left hand side the lightning icon will appear and the option to permanently switch off the creation of border lines (highlighted) is the way to stop these lines at source.

Picture 2 is how to remove previously set lines.

Click on image to enlarge: 1. Select your text | 2. Click on the tab marked 'Page Layout' | 3. In the page layout ribbon that appears below the tab, click on 'Page Borders' | 4. Choose the left tab called "Border" (not the middle Page Border one which I am mistakenly showing you here, oops) then select 'None' and press OK.


See also
Other posts in the Word tips series...
 


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Similar spam emails wanting me to use their content - this could be a bit tiresome

I've received two emails this week that I now think are spam, although the first one I received didn't spark off any spam warnings - more that the person emailing me hadn't really done their homework. Now that I've received the second one (and checked with others on Twitter, and Google) I thought I'd post the emails here.

Generally, when faced with potential spam I copy and paste a line of text into Google, stick a couple of "quote marks" around it and search. Quite often I'll see that others have asked on forums and elsewhere about this particular bit of spam. It's not foolproof though.

I've written more about the tactics underlying these spam requests and guest blog posts here.

Once I got the second email I spotted that both of these have asked the question "I am curious if you are the person responsible for adding content to the following page" which brings up a fair few hits on Google.

Email 1, from Allison
Inquiry Regarding Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Hi Jo,
I am curious if you are the person responsible for adding content to the following page:
http://brodiesnotes.blogspot.com/2009/07/amrc-member-charities-websites.html
I am a recent psychology graduate who writes and contributes to an online project that explores the field of psychology and examines its many disciplines for the benefit of those pursuing degrees in psychology.
In this role I recently published a resource that dives into the lesser known field of industrial and organizational psychology and how business executives could benefit from an understanding of I-O psychology. I thought this resource might be of interest to you and I'm curious if you'd like to see it? Please let me know and I'll send it over for your perusal.
Thanks for your time. I hope to hear from you soon!
Allison
Believe you can and you're halfway there. - Theodore Roosevelt

Email 2, from Nina
Nursing Resource Project
Hi Jo,
I am curious if you are the person responsible for adding content to the following page: 
http://brodiesnotes.blogspot.com/2009/07/amrc-member-charities-websites.html 
If not, feel free to forward me on to the correct person! I came across your page during my research for a project for which I am contributor. It is a resource primarily aimed at health care professionals in a nursing capacity. Our mission is to be an objective, informative source of information for those in the specialized fast-paced field of nursing.
I would love to send over more details about this project and partner with you, let me know!
Thanks for your time. I look forward to working with you!
Nina
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln
My response to the first one explained the purpose of my blog and suggested that the resource might not be relevant, but the second was a bit more terse. I think the third will be 'yes, and no' ;)

Edit (13 August 2012)
Another crop have appeared, from the same person, sent about an hour apart.
An idea for a blog post: Food sustainability and security
Hi ,
I'm a writer for an online public health resource and I came across your blog as I was conducting research on the topic of food sustainability and security. Your blog post http://brodiesnotes.blogspot.com/2010_06_01_archive.html was very interesting and I'd like to contribute an article to your blog.
As mentioned, I'm interested in food sustainability and security in today's world. Specifically, I'd like to write an article about the effects of genetically modified foods on farmers, consumers, and in general the global world food supply.
Please let me know if you'd be interested. I'd be happy to discuss the article idea in more depth if you'd like more clarification on my idea also.
Thanks,
Charlotte

and

An idea for a blog post: Contributions of public health
Hi ,
I'm a writer for an online resource about the field of public health and obtaining a degree in the area of study and I came across your blog as I was conducting research on the topic. Your blog post http://brodiesnotes.blogspot.com/2011/01/diabetes-statistics-bookmarked.html was very interesting and I'd like to contribute an article to your blog.
As mentioned, I'm interested in the role of public health degrees in today's social, economic, and medical spheres. Many students who study public health today go on to work in a range of organizations, and I'd like to look at specifically the different contributions the field of public health has made.
Please let me know if you'd be interested. I'd be happy to discuss the article idea in more depth if you'd like more clarification on my idea also.
Thanks,
Charlotte



Edit (27 August 2012)
Another one of these has come in - I've said "Sure", largely because I want to see what happens and I'll post whatever she sends me (without the spam link(s) of course). A quick Google of her name or variant spellings and it's easy to see she's either managed to get posts on this topic Cuckooed into other blogs, or they know what she's up to and have written about her tactics more generally.



Email from Estelle Shumann
An idea for a blog post: The Frugal Online Student

Hello Jo,

I write for an online education website that is focused on providing information to current and prospective students looking to fulfill their studies online.

I read an article in The Atlantic a few months back that gave theories into why public schools are getting more expensive and it got me thinking about the high cost to value ratio for traditional brick and mortar schools.  In researching more on the subject, I came across your post http://brodiesnotes.blogspot.com/2010_06_01_archive.html. I would really love to contribute an article to your blog that discusses this disparity in further detail. What do you think?

Specifically, I'm interested in examining how decreases in government funding for public institutions has caused an unexpected rise in tuition costs and present your readership with reasonable, more affordable educational alternatives.

Looking forward to hearing from you.  Thanks in advance.
Since I'm collecting instances of spam emails I thought I'd add this one too, also received on 27 August 2012, although it's nothing to do with guest post requests. My email address is pretty findable so I suppose that's how they found me, but I'm still pissed off at having been added to some generic email list without any introductory explanation of how they discovered me. Peripherally relevant to my interests of course (health conferences) but they're from the US which is of no interest to me, so a reasonably large fail there on several levels.
"WEGO Health is looking to bring the patient & caregiver perspective to health conferences. 
As part of our ongoing mission to empower Health Activists, WEGO Health has launched the WEGO Health Press Corps - an offshoot of our Health Activist Speaker's Bureau - that offers members the opportunity to attend and report from health and social media conferences - without paying to get in!  
Sign up for the WEGO Health Press Corps and you'll be the first to hear about conference pass opportunities (and you'll even get the chance to recommend a few of your favorites conferences to us!).  You'll agree to cover the conference from the Health Activist point of view and in exchange, we'll provide you with free registration for the conference AND feature your coverage on our own social media networks! 
Join now: WEGO Health Press Corps [link redacted]
Know of a specific conference you'd like to attend?  Reply to this email and let me know!
Cheers,
Natalia Forsyth
Community Coordinator 
WEGO Health | 180 Lincoln St, Fifth Floor | Boston, MA 02111
This email was sent to: [my email address]To opt out of future WEGO Health mailings, please click here [link redacted]"

Edit 18 October 2012

From Nicholas Nielson (nicholas.nielson@gmail.com)
A Quick Question About Your Website
Hello Jo,

I stumbled upon your site while searching for blogs about Information Technology and noticed you had some knowledge on the subject! I particularly liked the post, 'Stuff that occurs to me: Has Twitter killed RSS feeds yet? Possibly not, but not working awfully well'. Currently, I am looking for quality sites like Stuff that occurs to me to help boost traffic to a website on web and data managment. One way I am able to do this is through the magic of linking and I would love to place a link within one of the older posts on your site (such as the one above). In doing so, I can promise that the new links and text would match the theme of the original post and would be placed seamlessly within the existing content.

You, of course, would have final editorial control and I'm open to any suggestions. Naturally, a link placement would also benefit me and I can offer to compensate you a healthy amount via PayPal. If you are at all interested, please let me know. This is a process I have been employing successfully for over a year and I will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Thank you,
Nick

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
-Mark Twain

Edit 9 November 2012

Well this is new - not an email sent to me, but directly to another blog I run over at http://scicommjobs.posterous.com which is manifestly a blog for science communication jobs. Here's a post from someone called Jess who, I'm just going to come right out and say it, is a bit of a moron:

A Website Question For scicommjobs.posterous.com

Hello,

I was wondering if you accepted any form of sponsored articles, blog posts or simple text links within your site?

I'm starting a new campaign over the next couple of days for my client who is a highly respected travel company and was wondering if you'd be willing to place a link within a relevant article on your site or any other travel related sites you may have.

I'd be looking to place as soon as possible and I have a large number of anchor texts available to choose from, some very destination specific.

Please let me know if this is something that interests you and we can go into more detail about what I am looking for.

Kind regards

Jess Stanbridge

Magic Page Media Outreach Assistant 

-----

Edit: 12 November 2012

Hey Jo,

Re:  brodiesnotes.blogspot.com

I have been working on a piece about the growing competition among companies to hire the most talented workers and I thought it might be something your site would be interested in posting.

The article hits on two main points:
There is a growing trend among companies to offer non-monetary benefits in order to attract young talent with high tech skills.
These new benefits may make life easier for employees easier, but the additional benefits are also blurring the lines between private and professional lives.

I would be honored if you would consider posting the completed article on your site and am happy to send you a full outline that provides more detail. Please don't hesitate with any additional questions you might have for me.

Thanks!
Emma Collins



-----
Edit: 21 January 2013

Hi there,

I'm reaching out to you because I was extremely impressed with the content that you have created on http://brodiesnotes.blogspot.com/2010_06_01_archive.html. As a writer and researcher in the education field, I sometimes find it very difficult to track down good web resources for prospective students and I found your site very helpful.

Do you have any interest in adding supplemental public health resources to your site that other students might find useful? It is a collection of OpenCourseWare that covers a wide variety of different topics and I think could be really valuable for your site's visitors.

If you're not the right person to contact, can you let me know who is?

Kindly,
Alexandra Campbell


-----

Edit: 2 February 2013

I delighted in the exspample below, which arrived as part of my work on the cs4fn project. Schools in the UK fill in their details on our form and we send them a magazine - occasionally, as you can see below, spam gets through and I weed it out. 
The reason that this one interests me is because I've never actually seen the raw text for 'article spinning' types of spam before. I guess there's some programme that can take this text and parse it into multiple versions of the same comment, so that they all look slightly different. I get loads of this sort of comment on my site, but it's interesting to peer under the bonnet for it. The curly brackets certainly suggest to me that some sort of automated coding thing will be going on to handle this text, but perhaps it's just people copying and pasting the relevant bits.
{Hello|Greetings|Hey there|Hey|Good day|Howdy|Hi there|Hello there|Hi}! I know this is {kinda|somewhat|kind of} off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this {site|website}? I'm getting {tired|fed up|sick and tired} of Wordpress because I've had {issues|problems} with hackers and I'm looking at {options|alternatives} for another platform. I would be {great|awesome|fantastic} if you could point me in the direction of a good platform. #file_links\zhu\ubb.txt,1,N]}|{{Hello|Hey there|Hey|Howdy|Good day|Hi there|Hello there|Hi}! This post {couldn't|could not} be written any better! {Reading|Reading through} this post reminds me of my {old|good old|previous} room mate! He always kept {talking|chatting} about this. I will forward this {article|page|post|write-up} to him. {Pretty sure|Fairly certain} he will have a good read. {Thanks|Thank you|Many thanks} for sharing #file_links\zhu\ubb.txt,1,N]! 

Edit: 28 March 2014
Subject: Re: Request for Guest Posting at brodiesnotes.blogspot.in - Reece Higgins from India is keen to write something on the blog.

On 24 Mar 2014, at 06:51, Reece Higgins wrote:

Hi Myself Reece Higgins,
I am truly impressed with your blog content. I can say that you created your blog very well. I am very happy to read your article here. I would like to propose my content on your blog as guest post with my website link. My content will be 100% original and it with unique content. So please let me know that if you are interested to accept guest posts I will ready to share my content. Waiting for you are reply.
Thank you
Reece Higgins

On Monday, March 24, 2014 12:30 PM, Jo Brodie wrote:
Sure, what's the website link? I assume you're familiar with the guest posting section of my blog...
 
On 24 March 2014 07:16, Reece Higgins wrote:
Hello Jo,
I am going to prepare an article on the topic "Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure and Jaundice". And I like to add my website link(http://www.essayguardian.com/) author-bio in my article. So let me know your reply to my request. Please accept my request and reply to my mail.

Regards,
Reece Higgins
 

On Monday, March 24, 2014 1:10 PM, Jo Brodie wrote:
Hello again

I assume also that you mean a different link anyway, as that one goes to a page about essay writing which is obviously not at all relevant to high blood pressure or jaundice. I'm sure there are plenty of good, evidence-based sites about hypertension or jaundice that I can link to instead.

Jo
 
On 24 March 2014 07:45, Reece Higgins wrote:
Hello Jo,

I include my website link in author bio only. Please allow me to do this. Please accept my request and reply to my mail.

Regards,
Reece Higgins
 
 
On Monday, March 24, 2014 1:22 PM, Jo Brodie wrote:
OK but as long as you understand that it won't be hyperlinked so there will be no page rank benefit in having it there. There will be no hyperlinks at all in your bio or text.

Are you absolutely sure you've read the guest posting guidelines on my blog? I rather suspect you haven't... I get an awful lot of these requests and I treat them as spam, but usually post stuff here or here.
Jo
 
On 24 March 2014 08:47, Reece Higgins wrote:

Hello Jo,
I guarantee you 100 % writing quality and unique content. Kindly allow me to include my website link in author bio part. Please come up with a positive reply.
Regards,
Reece Higgins

On Monday, March 24, 2014 2:23 PM, Jo Brodie wrote:
I have already said yes to your request, but note that none of the links will actually be hyperlinked.

As you are presumably confirming that you have read and understood where your content will be placed on my blog and how it will be framed... proceed ;)
But I strongly recommend reading the links I posted in my earlier reply if you haven't. I get a lot of requests like this and treat them all like spam, take note.

Jo

On 24 March 2014 08:56, Reece Higgins wrote:

Hello Jo,

Thank you for your support. I will send my article ASAP.

Regards,
Reece Higgins

 
On Monday, March 24, 2014 09:04, Jo Brodie wrote:
 
I am now convinced that you have absolutely no idea what my blog is about - please confirm that you have actually read this post http://brodiesnotes.blogspot.co.uk/p/guest-posts-its-pretty-unlikely-to-be.html

No-one who has read it would want their article added to it, I'm sure.
I post all manner of fake articles which try and link to commercial sites as a warning to others, yours will be no different.

Jo
 


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