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 café 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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