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Our buyer's surveyor has just visited. I didn't time him, but if he was here for more than 15 minutes, including hellos and attempts to engage him in small talk, I'd be surprised.
So I hooked up this nonce thingy, to try and knock out the comment spam I've been seeing. My assumption was, based on the spam coming in from a variety of IP addresses at different times of the day, that the spam was automatically submitted by a bot. Popping in the nonce in would stymy the bot, and so that spam would go away.
But I was wrong. There are people out there spamming by hand, presumably for pay, because I'm still seeing comment spam. I think there's some kind of semi-automated system feeding up the pages to spam, which is why I only see it on one particular entry, but it does seem like an enormous waste of effort. Theirs and mine.
Is there some sort of common theme to the content of the spam? Is there an algorithm around that can do nebulous aggregate of word content, then you can dump anything that, say, has a spam index of over 90%?
But, as you say, an enormous waste of effort. Perhaps a period of manually removing their bullshit will encourage to move on to pastures new?
Oh bugger. They're using a telepathic Vulcan force field that pushes stronger the more you resist... Quick Jez - enter a calm meditative state and think nice thoughts.
A trip to the online pharmacy may help for tranquilisers.
Slightly unbelievably, I've had to implement an anti-comment-spam mechanism. I've gone for the nonce approach. If you could add a comment here, we'll find out if it still works for you non-spamming types :)
( does that count as a comment spam? )
Drawn 8 November 1990, during the first term of my final year at university. That was a Thursday, when there wasn't much on the telly. I thought it was a bit of an obvious joke, but it became something of an underground hit in the biology department. Perhaps biologists like obvious jokes?
The bank confirmed the mortgage yesterday, and the surveyors are on their way. The bank gives them five days to turn it round, so they've got to get their skates on, I guess.
Applying for a mortgage seems a rather capricious business really. You can never tell what's going to make a difference or not. Past experience suggests that, because we work for our own company, most lenders won't even look at us and those that will want to charge loads of money for the priviledge. Consequently, we're going for the same mortgage we have now: an offset mortgage from our bank. Offset means that any credit balance on your bank accounts is put against the mortgage owing, reducing the interest accordingly. For people like us, who's income comes in slightly irregular largish lumps it works pretty well.
The extra wrinkle we put on top of that is a reserve. That's an extra lump of money over and above the amount you need to actually buy the house. It sits there until you want some or all of it, then you get the cash and your mortgage goes up by that amount. Cheap pre-approved borrowing, basically. It costs nothing if you don't use it, and it's significantly cheaper than getting a conventioal loan.
Yesterday afternoon, Chris the junior underwriter rings up and asks about the reserve we've asked for. It's unusually high and he wondered what we were going to do with it. Stupid as this sounds, I don't know for sure. I ventured a couple of things (rewiring, for instance), but it rather depends on how we find things once we've moved in, coupled with my billables. No point borrowing if you can't afford to pay it back after all. He didn't sound convinced. He then asked me if Nattle was "also known as" Dr Higgins, since his search had revealed an "undisclosed credit" in that name. I wasn't sure what that meant, but finally worked out it was her John Lewis store-card (ooh, hark at him! posho!).
He tone of voice implied the whole business was in the balance. I asked him if this stuff made any difference, and he didn't know. It was all up to the senior underwriters. He even dropped his voice slightly when he said "senior underwriters", to make them sound extra spooky and powerful
We filled in the application over the phone and were not asked about what we wanted the reserve for or whether we had any credit cards. What else might we or might we not have been asked about? How significant could the absense or presence of a particular piece of information be?
Perhaps this chap was just showing a bit of initiative, picking up a slightly unusual application. Maybe he was just a pedant or trying to impress his boss with the quality of his i-dotting and t-crossing.
He rang back within an hour to say everything was approved. The mysterious and shadowy senior underwriters must have considered our application for, oh, almost as long as it took to fill the form out in the first place.
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