Akismet, Office for iPad, Social Media icons & Under the Egg

How to defeat blog spam on WordPress

UnknownThanks to all the ‘commenters’ out there who want to help SLISbits lose its butt fat, increase its stamina and purchase Louis Vuitton products. SLISbits appreciates the concern about its perceived need for Nikes, Zithromax and greater bust size.

This is a blog about many things — librarianship, apps, education, library-themed tchotchkes, sometimes even furniture. But never is it about weight loss, medication or genital enhancement.

So, how to keep the flotsam and jetsam off the site? The best thing we’ve found to screen out comment spam is Akismet . Since adding this to the site last month, spam has decreased from upwards of 2000 per post to 0. That’s right, zero! As in none, nada, zil, zilch, zippo. If you want less comment spam on your WordPress site, give Akismet a try.

How spam works
Why do people send spam in the first place? Not just to be annoying, but because it can make them a boatload of money. At least in theory. How Stuff Works explains. In short: It’s free to send tons of emails. If only a few people bite, a person still can make more money spamming than he would at a day job.

MS Office 365 for iPad

ZA104222371MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) became available for iPad in March. While the apps are free, they are viewers only. To edit or create new content one needs to have a subscription plan for MS Office 365. There are several subscription options. Information on three of the most popular options follow. In addition to Office, each of the described options includes 20 GB of OneDrive cloud storage and 60 Skype world calling minutes per month.

If you’re a full- or part-time college student (at an accredited institution), faculty or staff, you can get MS Office 365 University. It costs $79.99 for 4 years and lets you run Office on two devices (computers, tablets or one of each) and multiple smartphones. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook, and — for PC only — Publisher and Access.

Outside of academia there are two popular choices. Office 365 Home costs $99.99 for one year (or $9.99 per month) and lets you run Office on five computers, five tablets, and multiple smartphones. Office 365 Personal costs $69.99 for one year ($6.99 per month) and lets you run Office on one computer, one tablet, and multiple smartphones.

Check Amazon and other places for discounts. Amazon currently has Office 365 Home for $67, a 33% discount. See Microsoft’s Compare Office Products charts, and iMore’s Microsoft Office for iPad review: Yep, it’s good  for more.

There are other stats in this short video, but none more noteworthy than that. Take a look at Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh) by Erik Qualman, ‘creator’ of Socialnomics. He has more recent versions of stats, but this is our fave.


images-1Social media covers a lot of ground — social networks, bookmarking sites, social news, media sharing, microblogging. The lawn of that ground is littered with a slew of social media icon buttons.


These icons are important identifiers and in the design world, there is a whole niche devoted to their design. Somewhere there is a designer (I like to imagine him in Stockholm) at this very moment obsessively sweating the details of the precise shape, font and color saturation for the perfect icon button family.

1013-icons-12My imaginary designer is not the only one. There are a staggering number of sites that deal solely with this topic. A good one for free icons is Vandelay Design, which also offers advice on website themes, design, etc. Vandelay Design’s icon button style selection includes (but is certainly not limited to): Cute, Shaded, Polygon, Simple, Flat, Simple Flat, Wood Textured, Sketch, Elegant, Long Shadow, Vintage Stamp and Old Bottlecap (Images courtesy Vandelay Design). Another source is February blog post 125+ Best Free Social Media Icons Buttons by Lisa Zickler at Designrazzi Web Design Magazine. Speechless … We’re really just speechless. Until our heads stop spinning, please click this basic button to follow our Twitter feed @SLISbits.


Unknown-3Books that feature libraries, librarians and/or librarianship in a positive light hold a special place in my heart (and bookshelf). The latest on my radar in this vein is Under the Egg, a first effort by Laura Marx Fitzgerald (2014; Penguin/Dial; ages 8-12, grades 3-7) billed as “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets Chasing Vermeer.” That’s about right.

The ragtag protaganist is 12-year-old New Yorker Theodora Tenpenny. In addition to a mysterious directive from a dead grandfather, a (possibly) Renaissance painting, a new friend, Monuments Men, the Holocaust, a nutcase mom with an expensive tea habit and backyard chickens, the book features tattooed NYPL librarian Eddie and Center for Jewish History archivist/records researcher Goldie, who make Library & Information Science look, if not quite sexy, at least valuable.

The book includes such gems as: “Freshly minted MLIS at your service.” (p. 86 ); “Are you ready for a Dewey Decimal avalanche?”(p.88); and “‘So, you are sort of a research … specialist, right?’ ‘You got it. MLIS, Master’s of Library and Information Science — with an emphasis on information.’” (p.89)

“Goldie and Eddie had found a table away from the action, where they murmured sweet talk about archival storage and database management.”  — Under the Egg, p. 232

Though there are a few too many convenient plot points and a device at the end that tidies things up too neatly, it was a fun, fast read; a great primer on Renaissance art symbolism; and a nice love letter to LIS.


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