Archive for the ‘Website Information and Maintenance’ Category

An Interesting New Blogger

I just added anoth­er blog­ger to my blog list. “Down the Stair­case” is the Tum­blr blog of, well, I should just let the writer intro­duce herself:

Greet­ings! I am Natal­ie, a fresh­man at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty, and I have cre­at­ed this blog for those inter­est­ed in hypnosis/hypnotherapy to come togeth­er and dis­cuss relat­ed sub­ject matter. 🙂

In just a few short months, she has writ­ten sev­er­al inter­est­ing posts and I am fol­low­ing her reg­u­lar­ly now. Check her out.

Life, and All That

Its been quite a while since I post­ed. There are many rea­sons for that, the most impor­tant one being Life. I have been much too busy to take the time to prop­er­ly write posts, and some­times too busy even to do more than the reg­u­lar site maintenance.

I was busy cre­at­ing my own per­son­al web­site, which not only includ­ed con­struct­ing it and set­ting up the Word­Press plu­g­ins, but also writ­ing the plu­g­ins to per­form the func­tions for which the avail­able plu­g­ins were inad­e­quate if not entire­ly non-exis­tent. I was busy writ­ing pub­lish­ing fic­tion, of which more is men­tioned on my web­site. I was also work­ing, part time but at least work­ing. And final­ly, I was busy with fam­i­ly mat­ters. All of these things are still ongo­ing and will con­tin­ue in the fore­see­able future.

How­ev­er, I have the time and the impe­tus to do at least some post­ing at this time. I decid­ed to give myself a tablet com­put­er for my birth­day, in large part as a bribe and encour­age­ment to go over to the local exer­cise place on a reg­u­lar basis: there I would be able to watch videos of my own choos­ing instead of the adver­tis­ing-laden and ‑dis­tract­ing tele­vi­sion. This also allowed me the abil­i­ty to down­load and read dig­i­tal books, so I scoured the Guten­berg library for books on hyp­no­sis and mes­merism and loaded them into the tablet. I already read some and I plan on post­ing about them in the near future.

There will be oth­er posts, oth­er mate­r­i­al that I encoun­tered over the past year that will be sub­jects for new post­ings. Stay tuned!

About My Absence …

Yes, it has been more than a cou­ple months since I post­ed last, and there’s a rea­son for it.

Well, sev­er­al reasons.

My last post was way back at the end of August, at a time when I was prepar­ing to work on a series of PSA-relat­ed videos for a pro­duc­er friend of mine. The whole sto­ry is told in the post in my pro­fes­sion­al blog here, but the short ver­sion was that soon after I vol­un­teered, I went from edit­ing to active­ly shoot­ing the mate­r­i­al, with the assis­tance of a good friend and his video equip­ment. The edit process took up just about the entire month of August, inter­spersed with some research, leav­ing very lit­tle time left over to car­ry me through into the fol­low­ing months.

Then, instead of writ­ing more blog posts, I was writ­ing oth­er stuff. Among my writ­ing projects:

  • First and fore­most was the release of my first offi­cial Word­Press plu­g­in, Uni­code Char­ac­ter Key­board. It was a long process, as the last sev­er­al weeks of devel­op­ment con­tained a con­stant stream of inno­va­tions and addi­tions until I final­ly decid­ed I need­ed to stop dick­er­ing with the code and just release it. That was a cou­ple of weeks ago and I’m already deep into the first revi­sions. This process included: 
    • Upgrad­ing my web devel­op­ment plat­form to Net­Beans (I had been using Home­Site which was bought up by DreamWeaver which even­tu­al­ly got bought up by Adobe) and wish­ing I had done so much, much ear­li­er. Also installing Tor­tois­eSVN in order to inter­face with the Word­Press Sub­ver­sion con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem and dis­cov­er­ing it also plugged into NetBeans.
    • Set­ting up and trans­fer­ring my com­pa­ny web­site (here) because the Word­Press plu­g­in sub­mis­sion process requires some­place to find the plu­g­in to review it before accept­ing and releas­ing it.
    • Blog­ging about some of the var­i­ous issues relat­ed to writ­ing the Uni­code Char­ac­ter Key­board plu­g­in and blog­ging about my video busi­ness and oth­er video relat­ed sub­jects that caught my atten­tion, all of which can be found here.
  • Sev­er­al chap­ters of and a host of sup­ple­men­tal mate­r­i­al for a pos­si­ble YA SF nov­el, in a future civ­i­liza­tion that make heavy use of psy­chic abil­i­ties for many com­mon func­tions, includ­ing inter­stel­lar trav­el (tele­por­ta­tion) and telepa­thy. One of the cen­tral char­ac­ters is a pow­er­ful telepath who has par­tic­u­lar expe­ri­ence in bypass­ing tele­path­ic shields and using a spe­cif­ic tele­path­ic abil­i­ty to put her tar­gets to sleep.
  • The start­ing chap­ters and some addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al of what might turn out to be a tril­o­gy set in the Paizo Pub­lish­ing Pathfind­er RPG cam­paign world. Once I get more infor­ma­tion about the cam­paign world and fill out a lot of the details I just might sub­mit it; oth­er­wise, its a back­ground study of the cen­tral char­ac­ter, a kit­sune enchantress. I got the idea from see­ing the race described in the cam­paign source books and if I can’t play the char­ac­ter (I’m still try­ing to locate Pathfind­er cam­paigns local­ly) then I’d like to write about her.
  • Notes about a poten­tial man­ga / web com­ic based on the con­cept of a maid cafe where the wait­ress­es are all super­nat­ur­al beings. Three of them are of note: a suc­cubus, a kit­sune and a vam­pire, all of which have hyp­not­ic abil­i­ties. (It some­one wants to pur­sue pub­li­ca­tion, I would be glad to dis­cuss it with them.)
  • A pos­si­ble short sto­ry (inspired by a piece of art here) about what was described as a “Sci-Fi Suc­cubus” which sparked sev­er­al scenes and a pos­si­ble plot but no real sto­ry as yet.

(And is any­one else see­ing a pat­tern with the main char­ac­ters in my fic­tion writing?)

Plus, I am, as always, job hunt­ing. I have at least start­ed my reg­u­lar (but part-time, alas) jobs with the Allen Coun­ty War Memo­r­i­al Col­i­se­um and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants so I’ve had lit­tle con­cen­trat­ed time in which to do the nec­es­sary research and writ­ing to pub­lish each week. Whether I will be able do so in the future remains to be seen, but I am hope­ful to get­ting back to my reg­u­lar schedule.

Spam Storm!

Over the past two days, the blog here has been under the effects of a spam storm. Over 200 spam com­ments were blocked and ulti­mate­ly delet­ed in that peri­od, the most in all of the his­to­ry of the blog. All of these spam com­ments were designed to pro­mote just one web­site, a blank page designed to dri­ve clicks to a ran­dom har­vest­ing site.

Its hard to fig­ure out whether there was any kind of intel­li­gence to the storm: the spam was quite easy to detect, as there were only two or three dif­fer­ent com­ment text blocks in use. They all also used much the same pitch to attract clicks to the har­vest­ing site, a rather come on toward blog own­ers to increase their cash­flow return from the blog through the use of a tech­nique that I won’t men­tion by name because I don’t want it to show up in web search­es, which is also why I’m not list­ing the har­vest­ing web­site, either. It was also pret­ty appar­ent that at least one of the text blocks was by some­one with a lim­it­ed knowl­edge of Eng­lish, whether just by lack of edu­ca­tion or if Eng­lish was not their pri­ma­ry language.

How­ev­er, to cut down on that spam storm, just so that I don’t have to keep clean­ing it out of the queue because it always gets caught, I have turned on the require­ment that only reg­is­tered mem­bers can com­ment. That should­n’t be a prob­lem as the reg­u­lar com­menters are already registered.

By Way of Explanation

Why haven’t I been post­ing for the past month or more? It was because the blog was cracked and much of the behind-the-scenes oper­a­tions were unavail­able. Add to that, I was too busy with oth­er things to make much of an effort to get it resolved until very recently.

The blog got cracked because of a secu­ri­ty issue that I thought was tak­en care of, one that crack­ers tried sev­er­al times to take advan­tage of in the past, and they final­ly found the crack some­time after April 1st. What hap­pened then is that a rogue file was added to the main page and oth­er files added to the theme direc­to­ry, all for the spu­ri­ous pur­pose of pro­mot­ing fake online phar­ma­cies. Remov­ing the files from the front page with­out remov­ing or replac­ing the files in the theme direc­to­ry broke the admin­is­tra­tion sec­tion of the blog, until I replace the theme files with a pro­tect­ed copy.

Now things should be back to nor­mal. I expect to be back on a reg­u­lar sched­ule with a new post on sched­ule next weekend.

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