Moshe sports his SWLing Post gear

Moshe-SWLing-Post-GearMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Moshe Zaharia, who recently made my day by sending the photo above (click to enlarge).

I told Moshe that I’m pretty certain, he’s the first SWL in Israel to snag both an SWLing Post coffee mug and tee shirt!

Check out that Ben-Gal “Duet-Stereo” console radio–the same one he recently cleaned and repaired. What a classic! Love that backlit dial..

Thanks again for sharing, Moshe!

If you’re looking for some SWLing Post swag, check out our CafePress store!

SWLing Post email digest via Feedburner

EmailDigest

I’ve received messages from several SWLing Post email subscribers stating that they haven’t received email digests or announcements lately.

Our email subscription has been powered by the Google company Feedburner. Feedburner used to be the best RSS-to-email subscription service out there, but over the years, Google has all but dropped the service completely.  It appears their service is either not working right now, or is working inconsistently.

I’ve stuck with Feedburner over the years because:

  1. It’s free
  2. It’s simple to use (both for me and for readers)
  3. It offers options to have either an email sent for each post or a daily digest with all posts from the day

Most daily SWLing Post readers (we’re averaging almost 6,000 on average) visit the site directly; a large number also use RSS services to follow our feed.

I’ve been searching for alternatives to Feedburner. There are quite a few out there, but most have a complicated pricing structures based on both the number of subscribers and the total amount of emails sent. We currently send at least 35,000 emails per month via Feedburner.

I will choose a paid rss service, because I don’t want emails littered with ads from the service provider.

I have a personal goal to make any change like this to the SWLing Post an upgrade in user experience, so it may take some time to find the right solution. If you’re familiar with rss-to-email services, your suggestions are most welcome!

Anyway, thanks for your patience while I explore email subscription services!

SWLing Post comments…some getting lost in our SPAM folder?

Site-SPAM-CommentsThe SWLing Post has been online since 2008–plenty of time for SPAMbots to focus their attention on us! In fact, we receive a SPAM comment, on average, every 3 minutes! Way too many comments to moderate individually.

To fight SPAM, we’ve employed a number of strategies over the years including site plugins, scripts, and external applications.

It seems, though, that our SPAM filters are catching more than SPAM: they’re catching your qualified comments!  Several readers and contributors have contacted me recently and noted that their comments haven’t posted. I’ve had to search through the 4,000+ comments in the SPAM folder using their email address.

If you’re a regular on the SWLing Post and submit a comment, but it doesn’t appear in the post’s comment thread, please notify me!

Keep in mind that there are certain comments that are automatically moderated or sent to the SPAM folder:

  • Those from a new user (who has never had an approved comment)
  • Those with multiple links to external sites (a characteristic of much SPAM)
  • Comments with common profanity

If your comment is sent to moderation, no worries. There are a few volunteer comment moderators that will approve it within minutes or, at most, a few hours.

I’ll attempt to reset/reinstall our SPAM plugins/scripts in the hopes that this will keep our filters from being over-active.  In the meantime, please let me know if your comment doesn’t post, yet meets the criteria above.

Many thanks and apologies for the inconvenience!

SWLing Post, Number 2,000

SX-99-Dial-Nar

This morning, I noticed that we’ve crossed a small milestone here at the SWLing Post: as of this post, there are now 2,000 published posts in our archives.

It’s a bit incredible that it’s already been almost seven years since I started this blog. In the beginning, I had no aspirations for the SWLing Post to become a popular destination for shortwave and amateur radio enthusiasts; it was mainly a site where I could jot down things I found of interest to me and keep tabs on the radio and international broadcasting industry.  I was simply making my bookmarks and thoughts public, perhaps a little in advance of the social media outlets that now exist for shortwave radio and related topics.

A couple of months after starting the SWLing Post, I began using Google Analytics to track readership. I was absolutely floored to discover that, after a year or two online, I had about 200 pageviews per day–meaning, our website guests were reading about 200 pages/posts of information per day! It seemed surreal.

Each year–indeed, each month–that number grew. Now, it’s hard for me to believe the site has about 5,500 daily pageviews.  Per month? We’re up to 167,000. As of today, here’s what Google Analytics gives for our monthly figures:

SWLingPost-Numbers

The thing is, these numbers continue to grow.

Best of all, what does this say–loud and clear!–about these “dying” radio shortwaves, about this old and washed-up medium of communication–?  It says to us:  interest in this hobby is far from dead, but rather, is still alive and well…and perhaps even growing.

And the very best part about hosting the SWLing Post? The community it’s created.  So:

Thanks to everyone who makes this possible–to all of those who create guest posts, to those who comment, and to those who help other readers; thanks to those who participate in and moderate the chat room.  Thanks to the readers who follow, to the SWLers who listen, to all those who care about radio.  Thanks to you all…for the camaraderie, the coffee, the chance to enjoy the growing company of so many readers and fellow-listeners from all around the globe…I am now, and will remain, most humbly grateful.

And to extend my thanks, I’m looking into hosting a forum here on the SWLing Post which should allow for even more interaction within the community.  So, yet again, allow me to say:  Stay tuned!

There’s even more to come.

An easier way to comment on the SWLing Post

If you’ve ever commented on the SWLing Post (or almost any other website, for that matter), you’ve no doubt been challenged by a CAPTCHA code before your comment could be published. The CAPTCHA system saves this blog from hundreds of bogus comments each day so it’s a necessary tool.

For those of you not familiar, CAPTCHAs look like this:

CAPTCHA-code

While the CAPTCHA code above is relatively simple, many are not and require several attempts before you can prove to CAPTCHA that you’re a human and not a SPAMbot. In this sense, CAPTCHAs can be rather annoying.

How to get around CAPTCHA on the SWLing Post

If you’re a regular here on the SWLing Post and would like to comment without a CAPTCHA moderation, I can register you for a subscriber account on the SWLing Post. I’ve made it so that CAPTCHA will skip any SWLing Post account holder who is logged in at time of comment.

Because of SPAMbots and Malware, I don’t make registration open to the public; I manually create each account.

If you would like an account, simply email me with the following info:

  • Your preferred username (a one word name, callsign, etc.)
  • Your valid email address
  • The make and model of your favorite radio (just a test to make sure you’re human! SPAMbots rarely listen to the shortwaves.)
  • Optional: your personal website URL (if you have a blog, etc.)
  • Optional: your full name (only if you want your name to show with your comments)

I’ll assign you a password which you can change later.

As soon as I create your account, you’ll receive a short email with your username, password and the URL to log in.

You’ll need to be logged in to the SWLing Post to avoid the CAPTCHA code, but I think it’s a much easier and quicker way to comment.

Again, if you would like to register, simply send the info above via the email address on my Contact page.

The SWLing Post is upgrading servers

(Source: Google Analytics)

(Source: Google Analytics)

Dear Readers,

If you notice a little downtime over the next few days, it is because
we are in the process of moving the SWLing Post (and all of
SWLing.com) to a new, upgraded server.

Over the years, readership has grown at an incredible rate, and I am
most grateful. Your encouraging comments and personal stories fuel
this blog in innumerable ways.

The upgrade is mainly in response to the increased traffic here on the
site, as well as to implement security measures that should help with
recent attacks from abusers in China who actually attempted to bring
our site down. (No kidding!)

This morning, I glanced at my Google Analytics statistics. In the past
thirty days–which has only been “average”–SWLing.com has had over
78,000 pageviews and over 15,000 unique visitors. Wow! These numbers
do not include the 200+ readers who view the SWLing Post via
Feedburner and other RSS readers. As many of you know, we also have an
active Kindle subscription base, whose numbers increase monthly.

So I’d simply like to say, Thank you! And thanks for your
patience.
I would have never guessed back in 2008 when I
began this hobby site, that it would have such an interactive
readership. Going forward, I would like the site to become even more
interactive–so I welcome even more of your stories, your photos, your
recordings, and your thoughts on radio and international broadcasting.

Our new server is faster, provides more bandwidth, and even better
overall support. Though page loads have always been fairly quick,
they’ll be even quicker now. Our upgraded bandwidth gives us even more
room to grow–a necessity, based on the current upward trend.

In the near future, we will begin to invite sponsorship from selected
radio retailers and businesses. Ads from sponsors relevant to
the hobby will be chosen and appropriately placed. We promise,
however, that our site will never be cluttered with
irrelevant, obtrusive ads–no pop-ups, nothing gimmicky–just
industry-related and hobby-related business and services. Our goal is
to simply make enough to support The SWLing Post over the long-haul,
and to showcase businesses that invest in and support the wonderful
hobby of shortwave radio. We also welcome direct donations from
readers, who can support us in any amount here.

Again, thank you all for your incredible support–and, especially,
your considerate comments and emails. The radio listening hobby can
feel rather solitary at times, but you have built community around
this site, and it’s particularly inspiring to realize that this club
of listeners is growing.

Thank you,

Thomas

SWLing Post Update: Good news–comments are now open without registration

...well, at least your comments...

After being approached by a few readers, we have decided to lift the requirement to become a registered user on the SWLing Post in order to post comments. Now you can post comments without the added hassle. If you’re interested,  the reason we implemented this requirement in the early days of the blog had to do with the enormous amount of SPAM comments we received daily–literally 40+ per day! It was simply taking too much time to filter and SPAM plug-ins were (at that time) not up to the task.

So, feel free to comment!  We’d love to hear from you.