It's Alive!

July 1st, 2010

Sorry for the unscheduled hiatus.

All posts, comments and tags have been restored. Assuming that the site doesn't explode when I press the 'Post' button, I can now turn my attention towards:

  • Fiddling with this theme;
  • Tidying up the sidebar;
  • Working out how many of the plugins I had in my old installation I really want to reinstall;
  • (Most importantly.) Posting some content again.
    I've got a lot of posts that I drafted while the site was offline, so I'll be going through them later today to decide which ones are still worth posting.

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F*ckw*t Spamming B*st*rds!

June 6th, 2010

I discovered a few hours ago that my WordPress install appears to have been infested by spammers. The front page displays OK, but following what should be on-site navigational links – particularly when using the on-site search feature – sometimes redirects the user to various sites selling C**l*s and V**gr* and the like.

It's not clear to me at this moment whether the problem lies in a trojan PHP file, a rogue plugin, a hacked .htaccess file, something lurking in the MySQL database or some unholy combination thereof: whatever the cause, I won't be posting again until I can fix the problem.

I'll almost certainly have to take the site down completely at some point to clean out the underlying infestation and reinstall everything from scratch. Thankfully, I do have backups of my content, so no posts or comments should be lost.

I can but apologise for this interruption in normal service and ask regular readers to watch the front page for updates.

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October 25th, 2009

Just a quick note to say that posting is likely to become even more sporadic than usual over the next few days/weeks as I'm having severe connectivity issues with my internet connection at home and it's unclear at this time when (or how) they'll be resolved.

Watch this space…

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January 20th, 2009

As you may have noticed, the site has been offline quite a bit over the last 48 hours. This is due to what I can only describe as a horribly botched server migration by my web host. Although they are now claiming to have fixed the most immediate problems and to have plans to reconfigure their infrastructure to prevent a recurrence of the problems of the last couple of days, I'll believe it when I see it.

All of which is to say: normal posting will resume once my web host can keep this site up for more than a couple of hours at a time. If the site goes down again, please be patient and try again in a few hours.

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Comment moderation

December 14th, 2008

There have been a few problems with comment posting over the last few days, with some comments being marked as spam incorrectly and at least two commenters reporting error messages when they try to post. I've rescued the comments in question from my spam bucket, but until I can identify the root cause of the problem I need to make some changes around here. Diagnosing the problem hasn't been made any easier by the fact that my web host has suffered intermittent down time this weekend, making it harder for me to spot what's going on between the welter of 503 errors I keep getting when trying to access the site.

As of earlier this afternoon, I've disabled Spam Karma 2, the WordPress plugin that I've been using to deal with comment spam since shortly after I switched to WordPress. Clearly I can't allow the F*ckw*t Spamming Bastards to have their way with my comments1 so I've turned on comment moderation.

What all this means, unfortunately, is that until I can either fix the problems commenters have reported over the last few days or find another automated comment moderation system that I can live with the posting of legitimate comments may will be delayed, sometimes by several hours. I can only apologise, and promise that I'll do my best to keep up with the comment moderation queue.

In the meantime, if anyone posts a comment and sees any strange error messages could they please email me and let me know the wording of the error message, or simply post a comment reporting the error.

  1. While I've been typing this post nine comments have been posted, every one of them spam.

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Spamming Bastards!

May 29th, 2008

I'll not be posting anything for a day or two, and the site may appear to go offline for a while. I've just discovered that for at least the last couple of days my WordPress installation has been hijacked by spammers who have inserted their clients' links into the footer of pages at this site and into my RSS and Atom feeds. I've found some of the code they inserted into my site, but not all, and it's clear that I need to undertake a root and branch cleaning of the site to eradicate this crap.

Unfortunately, I wont have the time to do this tonight and due to the pressures of other commitments I probably won't have time to do this tomorrow night either, so it'll be Saturday at the earliest before I post again.

Don't be surprised if my site disappears for a while pending my coming up with a long-term solution.

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Theme problem

May 25th, 2008

Regular visitors will have noticed that the site looks very different this morning. I was tinkering with my usual theme and something went horribly wrong, so until I figure out why grey-incite self-destructed at the press of a button1 I'll be using the default WordPress theme.

Edited to add: Problem resolved. For some reason the style sheet was saved as a zero byte file, so after a quick restore-from-backup followed by a couple of minor style sheet edits to tweak one or two settings it's back to normal service.

  1. By which I don't just mean that it started looking odd: I tried saving one minor change to one line of the style sheet and WordPress suddenly decided that the entire style sheet was gone and dumped me in a screen full of database errors. I'm glad I downloaded my latest set of database backups within the last 12 hours.

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New look

February 9th, 2007

I haven't got any links to post today because I've spent my evening experimenting with different themes for the site. I think I'll stick with this one, called Gray Incite, for a bit, but I've got some more tinkering to do this weekend:

  • There's too much wasted space in the page header.
  • I want to tinker with the font sizes for some page elements, such as the date displayed for each entry and the Comments and Category block that follows each post.
  • I'm not wild about the styling of hyperlinks: the theme defaults to no text-decoration at all, so you can't even tell there's a link there unless you roll your mouse over it. I changed that to an underline, but I don't like the way the underlining of the post title clashes with the line that separates the title from the post content itself. I'm toying with making links show up as bold, or possibly using a change of background colour to highlight them. Or perhaps I'll just create a different CSS class for links in post titles, so that they don't get underlined but other types of hyperlink do.

If anyone comes across any problems with the layout please leave a comment or just email me.

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Temporary outage

January 26th, 2007

If you tried to access the site over the last couple of hours the chances are you saw all sorts of bizarre error messages or half-formatted versions of the page you requested.

I decided to upgrade to WordPress 2.1 about three hours ago, only to discover to my horror once I'd already deleted a whole bunch of files that my chosen Secure FTP client couldn't cope with uploading non-empty subdirectories. (At that point I could have just restored from the last full backup without losing any content, but I'm stubborn about these things: once I'd started, I was going to finish the damned upgrade no matter how long it took.) I ended up having to upgrade my installation one empty subdirectory at a time, then fill every subdirectory with the correct files and folders, so the process took a while.

Anyway, everything has been reactivated now and at first glance I can't seen anything acting broken. If you come across anything that's not working please either post a comment or (if the problem is stopping you from posting a comment) email me and I'll get right on it tomorrow morning.

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Linky Love

December 4th, 2006

There's plenty of fine reading to be found in The List of The Best Blogs of 2006 That You (Maybe) Aren't Reading. Nobody will get something out of every single site on the list, but I'd be amazed if anyone who reads my site regularly wouldn't find at least a couple of sites worth following on that list.

I've added Pruned, History of the Button, Corpus Obscura and 3quarksdaily to my feed list; regular readers will have the pleasure of watching me pilfer links from every one of those sites for weeks to come.

[While I'm on the subject of linking to worthwhile sites, I'm acutely conscious that this site has been lacking a blogroll ever since I switched to WordPress. The primary reason – other than my laziness – is that I have yet to find a completely satisfactory way to automate the process of transferring my feed reader's subscription list to my sidebar. There are a couple of solutions that will render an OPML file and turn it into a sidebar list, but they can't cope with those sites without an RSS or Atom feed that I pick up using a Ruby script that integrates them with NetNewsWire. Seeing a list like this makes me think I really ought to redouble my efforts, because there are all sorts of sites I read every day/week but don't often post links from and I should give them the credit they deserve.]

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