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Beware! Sitemeter is injecting ads into your blog

Do you have Sitemeter on your blog to keep track of the visitors? If yes, time for you to get rid of it immediately. It is redirecting your visitors to ads without your permission.

Back then when I was on Blogspot, there was no in-built analytics available to capture the visitor information. After trying out couple of site counters I settled with Sitemeter. As I moved from Blogspot to WordPress, I decided to retain the Sitemeter so as to keep count of total visitors and page loads. After the migration I started using WordPress Stats and then the Jetpack plugin along with Sitemeter. As on old habit I go through my blog stats once in a while just to check how my blogs are faring. And on one of those days where I was going through the blog stats, I observed that there was a higher number of outgoing link hits for the same domain – vindicosuite.com. My initial impression was that it might be from one of the comments left out by my visitors. But as the days went past, the number of hits kept on going up and every time the complete URL was different. Enough information to raise suspicion and I resorted to Google. It didn’t take much time to find out that Sitemeter is redirecting the visitors via ad pages (Sources here and here).

sitemeterI’m running Sitemeter counter on my blog. What should I do?
I would recommend you to remove the complete code which you have placed on the blog template. If you are on WordPress, use Jetpack instead and for Blogspot you’ve got in built stats information.

Book: Ramayana, The Game of Life – Shattered Dreams

Ramayana, The Game of Life – Shattered Dreams by Shubh Vilas
Ramayana, The Game of Life – Shattered Dreams by Shubh Vilas

Recently I got hold of the book ‘Ramayana, The Game of Life – Shattered Dreams’ by Shubh Vilas. ‘Shattered Dreams’ is the second book in the ‘Ramayana The Game of Life’ series, after ‘Rise of the Sun Prince’. The epic Ramayana never seizes to amaze me every time I read, listen to the stories or watch it in a video format. Different styles of narrating the stories, from different point of views, the sub-plots and sub stories – I can reread, listen again or watch it again any number of times. So with that curiosity of finding something new, I decided to read ‘Shattered Dreams’ even though I had not read the first part.

‘Shattered Dreams’, the title of the book gives a bit of hint of the part of Ramayana covered in this book. Shattering everyone’s dreams except two (Manthara and Kaikeyi) in Ayodhya, the book is an emotional journey. The book starts with Dasharatha deciding to crown his eldest son Rama as the next king as he feels unfit to rule the kingdom because of his old-age. The first chapter describes about Dasharatha’s announcement of coronation of Rama and eventual celebrations and preparations. The second chapter deviates from the happening place of Ayodhya to Ravana, talking about his growth in terms of power and defeating the kings wide & far. The next subsequent chapters come back to Ayodhya where the world turns upside down. With Manthara’s evil plan succeeding, emotions change from happy & fun to dark & sad. This second book concludes with Rama going deep into Dandakaranya along with Seeta and Lakshmana, after turning away Bharata and rest of the family to reconsider his decision of exile.

Shattered Dreams is not like a regular novel which can be finished in one go. As the story progresses, there are many sub-stories with hidden messages in them. Plus the footnotes gives a detailed explanation on different life lessons which we can incorporate on our daily life. Shubha Vilas has done a commendable job in terms of this gem of an information.

Do I recommend this book to others? It depends on who the reader is. If you are someone who is reading Ramayana for the first time or would like to read it as regular novel in one go, then I don’t recommend this book for you. You will feel the narration a bit slow and stretched, with lots of details in each and every scene. But if you have read or know Ramayana and would like to take away something new and/or want to practice it, this book is for you. Treat this book as a daily dose of medication, take in bit by bit and enjoy the tidbits.

As per the Indian mythology, do you know how the peacock got those colourful feathers? From whom & why? Read the book to get to know about it. :)

Note: This review is a part of the Book Review Program by BlogAdda.

Interested in reading my take on few more books? Click here to read them.

The Strava Artists II

Little did I know I was bumping into a tip of iceberg when I wrote about the Strava artists couple of months ago. Tip of the iceberg, that’s what I can say my earlier post is. I realized I’ve hit a jackpot when Bret Lobree shared a whole lot of Strava art. Here you go, bring you a second set of Strava artists.

Space Invader by Jeremy Thorsness (http://www.strava.com/segments/6467914)

Space Invader
Space Invader

7-11 by Bret Lobree (http://www.strava.com/activities/66408041 – created on July 11th)

7-11
7-11

One more by Bret Lobree – Nyan Cat (http://www.strava.com/activities/99770600)

Nyan Cat
Nyan Cat

This is how Chris Phipps wishes Happy Halloween (http://www.strava.com/activities/92459614)

Happy Halloween
Happy Halloween

And Bret responds with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the dead) (http://www.strava.com/activities/92569030)

Day of the dead
Day of the dead

And finally a cup cake by Bret (http://www.strava.com/activities/96028009)

Cup cake
Cup cake

Finally it will be unfair if I don’t mention above Bret here. He is the current San Francisco Strava Ambassador and if that doesn’t make you rise your eyebrow, he has ridden on all the roads, I repeat *ALL* the roads of San Fransisco city! Checkout his Tumblr page detailing his rides – http://rideallofsf.tumblr.com.

There were a lot more Strava art, but I decided to pick only better ones. Do you have done any artwork on two-wheels? Or have any plans to do one? Give me a shout. :)

NaNoWriMo: 5K not 10K

Beginning of this month I set out to participate in NaNoWriMo, but shorter version of the goal instead of writing a novel. My shorter goal was to write 10,000 words in posts on the blogs instead of the original of 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo. When I look back at my progress, I only managed to cross the half mark of my goal (slightly over 5000 words).

Here are the posts that are already published (couple of more are in the pipeline):

On the travel blog –

On Avalokana –

The main reason why I didn’t reach the goal was, there were as many as 18 days that I didn’t write a single word. That means I managed to write 5000 words in 12 days (that’s an average of 416 words per day – which is way more than my planned average of 333).

What next? I am going to repeat the same goal for the month of December and I’m keen on improving the numbers compared to November. Target this month is to reduce the number of 0 words days so that I get closer to the target. :)

Prajavani uses a photo without permission

Update 6 (Final – 25-Nov 12:30PM): Finally I’ve received a cheque from The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd. Amount mentioned in the cheque is very nominal – probably that’s the amount they pay for regular contributions. Happy with how this incident went & thanks everyone for all the help and support.

Update 5 (9-Nov 04:00PM): As committed, Prajavani has printed a correction in today’s weekly supplement saying the photographer’s name was missed out in last week’s article. Image here.

Update 4 (3-Nov 10:00PM): Based on the phone discussions, I realised the weekly supplement in charge has not seen my FB posts & tweets – though Prajavani was tagged in both the places. I sent him a detailed mail with links to FB, twitter & this post mentioning that “I’ll keep updating this post with the updates based on the progress until the issue is brought to a logical closure.”

Update 3 (3-Nov 12:30PM): Managed to reach the person in charge on 3rd attempt. Even before I could complete my story, he apologized for not seeking permission. He has offered to send me a compensation for the photo – I didn’t discuss/ask the amount, probably a nominal royalty paid. As for the correction in next week’s article about mentioning the credits – he mentioned he has to check with the editor, no commitment on this.

Update 2 (3-Nov 11:50AM): I left a comment on the online article mentioning that photo has been used without my consent. And now I see that the comment is promptly deleted by the admin! Way to go Prajavani!

Update 1 (3-Nov 11:00AM): Tried reaching the person in charge of the weekly supplement. First attempt at 10:40AM – line busy. Second attempt at 11AM – he is not available at his desk. I’ve given my contact number to the person who received the call explaining the situation.

——————————

Yesterday’s daily routine of flipping through the news paper was delayed to the evening as I was out of town for couple of days & returned only in the evening. When I moved to the Sunday supplement of Prajavani, an article (specifically a photo in that article) caught my attention – a statue of Nandi at the top of Shivagange hill. I opened my blog post which I had written in Jun 2006 with few photos – my hunch was correct. I spent the next 20 minutes to compare both the photos to be certain that it indeed was my photo. The photo used in the column ‘Mareyali hyanga’ (ಮರೆಯಲಿ ಹ್ಯಾಂಗ) written by Pavitra Shetty was mine.

With no contacts on how to proceed, I shared this information on my Facebook page & also on twitter, and I’ve got contact details of the weekly supplement’s person in charge. I’m planning to call them sometime later today to discuss on this matter.

What am I expecting from them:
* Compensation for the photo that was used without my permission
* A correction in next week’s article – mentioning the photo credits

Photo of the weekly supplement:
Prajavani - photo used without permission

Screen-grab of the Prajavani’s article:
Prajavani

Screenshot from my travel blog – click on the image to go to the page:
payaniga