posts tagged with 'under the hood'


We had to update to PHP 7, and it broke the blog. Updates to the back-end are ongoing.

some changes

So it's been a while, but our blog looks different. Maybe acts a bit different too: it's now at plain old instead of (or as well as... both work now). Also some other things. Some parts might not work right yet; let me know if anything seems strange or missing. And look forward to plenty of unannounced small changes in the future!

a quick note on comments

We love getting comments on this blog, so I want to apologize to everyone whose comment might have been held up while I checked to see if it was actually written by a human. That should only happen once; if you use the same email address in the future you'll get the satisfaction of seeing your wise and/or clever remarks pop up immediately under our own. I wish that the world were a more innocent place and that I didn't have to set up any sorts of roadblocks to the free and instant exchange of information, but I also enjoy this blog more when it is free of any mention of erectile dysfunction cures, designer handbags, and teenage lolitas. Except, I suppose, when I bring up those subjects to try and get a cheap laugh. So comments must be moderated. Sorry!

comment verification

As you might have noticed, a few spam comments slipped through my defenses lately by posting under the names of trusted commenters. We can't have that! So now the machine is using email addresses for verification; harder to spoof by accident. As before, if I know that you're a human you'll have your comments appear right away, and this time you'll also be able to change the name you comment under—as long as you use the same email address, of course. I apologize that everyone will have to wait for moderation on the first comment they post... but if you just leave a note right here I'll get you added to the list and you'll never have to wait again!

(And of course, we won't use your email address for anything or share it with anyone or whatever; in fact, you don't even have to use a real one if you don't want to. We want our paranoid readers to feel welcome too!)


boring administrative news

We switched web hosts overnight. It was rather easier than last time, due to good planning (and, you know, just general intelligence) on my part. Some things still might not work quite right; I'm working on fixing what I know about as time allows, but feel free to point them out to me, as I might not have noticed: general intelligence only gets you so far on four hours of sleep.

Also, people with mail at might have to get in touch with me to get a new password; in no cases could I remember the old ones.


administrative notices

Two things:

First, it has come to my attention that Leah's last post was the 2000th published on this blog (the extra 34 in the entry number were tests or accidental duplicates that have since been deleted). Woohoo! Once again she wins the big showy award. I have more posts than her here... why is it never me?!

Also, I have temporarily made it so we have to approve comments before they appear on the page. Something must be done to stop the flood of spam. Frequent commenters, though, may rest assured in the knowledge that you will be allowed to continue posting unconstrained by any delays... as long as you don't change the name you're commenting under. If you think you should be on that list and you get the "your comment is being held" message, send me an email—in fact, do that if anything in your commenting experience is not to your satisfaction. Sorry, and thanks for your patience!


winter blues

Blue links on the blog, that is, for the new year. Maybe it'll bring some snow. Hold down "shift" and reload the page if anything looks odd. If it still looks odd complain to me because I did something wrong. Or you just don't like my design; I'd like to hear about that too I suppose.

The new look also sees the appearance of Zion, finally, on the little cartoon of us up there above these words. True, he's only a head and hand in Leah's arms at this point, but you have to start somewhere. By the next masthead update he'll be walking!

And as an aside, let me apologize for all the comments spam we've been getting, especially to anyone subscribing to the comments feed (I think it's actually just me, so that's ok). It's not even like we're getting spam for cool products or really dirty porn or whatever; no, it's "dyson vacuum parts", "estate planning", "neck pain treatment"... "KOSHER BEEF JERKY" (capitals in original). I guess the internet is getting old, just like the rest of us.


why do they even do that?

We've been getting a lot of comment spam lately; I'd apologize to everyone who subscribes to the comment feed if I weren't so sure it was just me. It makes me wonder who's behind this stuff, and how they rationalize it. Because basically, there's no upside for anyone: it makes the spammed blog look bad and drowns out legitimate conversation (in our case that's mostly between Leah and me but you know, the principle), and it also makes it harder for everyone to find what they're actually looking for on the internet. Do the spammers feel like they're doing evil but it's ok because they're doing it cleverly? Do they justify it by actually hating the internet and everyone on it? Do they feel that it's just a job and try not to pay too much attention? I'm honestly curious.

I've been deleting the spam comments as I see them, but there are large portions of the day when I'm not in front of the computer so they can build up a bit—though nothing like way back in the Moveable Type days. So I did some actual work and made it easier to delete comments in bulk from the blog. Whew. So nobody get out of control and comment too much, or I might think you're spamming. Keep it down to two or three comments a day, please.


missing post update

The lost posts from the first half of the month are back, as are your wonderful comments. Yay. The photos from that period are still missing, but will be restored presently. The only thing is that the post and comment IDs have changed, so if you happen to have bookmarked or linked to any of them (haha, as if) you will need to update those links.

As to what happened in the first place, I'll tell you someday over a beer. It's too hot and frustrating to go into it now!

trials and travails

So I've been having a bit of a difficult time over the past couple days. Obviously, the website has been having problems, and that's been a great trial to me; aside from how much I missed communicating with all of you via these pages (or, more commonly lately, watching Leah communicate) I also use to record all sorts of things you don't care about: the weather, books I read, what's going on in the garden, and things like that. We had some really interesting weather the last few days, and I couldn't write it down... and now I don't remember it! Even worse, while things are now up and running again the site has apparently been reverted to how it looked on June 1 or 2, so all the updates we made since then have disappeared.

I was initially pretty sad to lose the blog posts, but then it occurred to me that they're all still there in RSS readers the world round—and, most pertinently, in the two RSS readers on my computer here. Even better, all your comments were also saved, though in that case I think only on my computer; I believe that I'm the only person anywhere in the world who subscribes to our comments feed. So even if the hosting company can't get their act together to repair the damage (I'm giving em another 24 hours or so), I'll be able to replace the missing posts and comments.

I was especially frustrated by the timing of the outage, because I've been putting my personal website on job applications, but I consoled myself with the knowledge that no one is reading those applications anyways (see the opening sentence of this post).

On top of all that, my bicycle was stolen from my workplace on Monday. I walked out at the end of the day and boy was I surprised to find it missing. Many people did many nice things to help console me in my loss—most usefully offering to lend me bicycles, more bicycles that I could ever hope to ride (and now I can say I've ridden a real single-speed; thanks Janice!). While not really holding out any hope that I'd ever see the poor machine, my prize possession, again, I went through the motions and filed a police report as well as making some very attractive posters designed to guilt the thief into giving the bike back to me, should he happen to return to the scene of the crime and see one of them.

Well, today the site works and I got the bicycle back. The thief rode it a couple miles and then dumped it in the woods, probably frustrated by the incredibly poor tuning on the derailleurs and the lack of adequate brake response. The police claim to have found it, but since I know for a fact that cops never go into the woods (proven at the afterparty following Leah's senior prom) it must have been someone else that stumbled upon it and reported it to them. Nevertheless, they were very kind and I was happy to get the call that I could come down and retrieve my wayward machine. Everyone asked me if it was damaged at all when I got it back, and I told them that it wasn't any more damaged that it had been while still in my possession.

So anyways, that's two things fixed at least in part (although I'm still looking into other hosting companies; not only did the recent difficulties not fill me with confidence in our current host, we're also continuing to have some problems with our email). They say things come in threes; maybe I'll finally get an interview somewhere next? Please?