Letter to N.O. readers

Glad I held off until this evening to post on the blog issue as we covered a lot of ground today and the thing’s in better perspective.

The issue

The problem, as Chuckles said from the beginning, is one of space … but not completely.

There were a few things going on.    Firstly, mine host [server admin] is on an unlimited package and found, for him with his various commitments, this was more efficient than going the server route himself.

1&1 is the provider.   

What was not said upfront by them was that there really was a limit to space but 1&1 assumed no one would approach that limit and as we were doing so, they were in a bind.   To compound this, they had introduced a new top package, which summarily dropped this one down the pecking order.

At this point, I’m going to step back from any direct accusation of 1&1 but someone who had access to every site the host hosts had inserted a line of code, not at source, but elsewhere, which corrupted php files – all of them, on every site and in every forum.   This takes it out of the realm of limited space and into malicious action by person or persons unknown.   I’d call that criminal action.

NO was one of the victims.  What was happening was that conflicting messages were being given.  For example, a plug-in would install fine and the files would be in the homepage but the header was wrong and so WP refused to recognize it and wouldn’t activate – that was one of the things happening.   And it was happening the same way at various sites nothing to do with NO.

It wasn’t so much the fault of WP, though their latest version space requirements are ridiculous for a blog – it was that a code writer had taken advantage of that.

We think the site is now clean and can go back up sometime in the future but before then, mine host is making some major changes at a level beyond the blog and so NO has to wait for those.   That also involves substantial outlay on his part.

One of my questions was Dearieme’s music.   Rest assured it hasn’t been lost, it’s just hibernating for now.   So it’s not as dire as first thought and there’s a solution in sight.

WordPressdotcom [this site]

Meanwhile, the site we’re now on is the issue.   Actually, it’s a quite workable site for the authors as we have both Compose and HTML modes, other functions work – the only problem is people commenting – free WP gives many readers a hard time, as has been apparent and for which I apologize.

But really, it’s the only technical issue.

Beyond the technica though there is a broader concern for me personally, not for anyone else.   You see, if I wrote a post at NO.com, Google would pick it up and put it on page 1 or 2 sometimes within an hour.  NO.com was on many aggregators, linked to in many places, on some blogrolls.   And there is no redirection notice at the site now to come here.

That took years to build up and whilst for anyone linking to NO.com, to them it might have been just an incidental thing, for me the aggregate of all those links meant a lot.   You might term that “goodwill” used in the business sense.

By moving over here to NO.wordpress.com, all that has been lost and the process has to start from scratch again, with the help of some SEO.   I’ve carried about 250 visitors across but have lost hundreds through this change.   Last I looked, it was running at around 60 views per hour in terms of physical visits but in terms of RSS reads, it’s a few thou  per day which have been lost.

Someone asked well why did I not just go back to Original NO, which was already within the system, whereas no one knows this NO.wordpress.com site.

Another asked why I don’t have a redirect page at NO.com instead of the stock 1&1 page.  That one gets into the realm of socially complicated.   Won’t go into that one for now.

Bloody Google

Google are becoming increasingly impossible and Blogger are Google.   They’ve been progressively removing functionality from me, telling me I must upgrade my browser but I can’t – the browsers Google wants me to have won’t recognize my version of Mac.   So I’m stuck.

And like a naughty boy who won’t do as he’s told, this morning they made their next move – gmail no longer loads but returns to the promotions page, which does have a gmail link … which returns to the promotions page.   I had a way around this using a double link but even that has gone now.

However, they do provide an html version of the page and it does load, so I do see emails.  What they have done though is remove all folder functionality, i.e. if you are Rossa and send an email, I used to read it and file under Rossa.   Spam went to Spam, Trash went to Trash.

Now what’s happened is that Google, in their wisdom, providing no folder functionality, have kindly taken all the Trash and Spam, including that permanently deleted going back years, and have dumped it all in the single Inbox, with “move” function disabled.

Ah, you say, easy-peasy.   Just click in the tickbox of the top email line you want deleted and use Ctrl Shift at the end of your list, press delete and hundreds at a time are deleted.

They’ve removed that functionality of Ctrl Shift.

OK, not lost yet.   At the top of all the boxes on the left, there’s one “master’ tickbox which, if you click it, selects every email on the page.  Google have removed that box, which is why I tried the Ctrl Shift method.

OK, manually then, one box at a time.

You know that most tickboxes have a margin for error in selecting, i.e. if you miss the box proper by a few mm, it doesn’t matter – it will click anyway.   They’ve removed that and you must place each tick dead centre in each small box.

Think you’re getting the general idea.

Google are not my favourites just now.   In fact I’m actively seeking a way to extract myself, e.g. desktop email such as The Bat! used to be and many other ways.   Trouble is, Original NO and other sites, inc. my books, are all on Google Blogger.    Sure I have hard copy of the books but the principle is the matter.

Now what pees me off about Google most is that I have  always been a loyal bunny – I threw myself into them and everything I had was Google, everything gelled and was OK.   Years ago someone flagged my blog and that could have been anyone – an enemy, someone who didn’t like a post, whatever – and what did Google do?   Warn me and say they were investigating?

No, as many know, they summarily shut down the blog and then did an investigation in their own time.   Guilty until proven innocent.   1&1 do this too.    This stinks.   I left Blogger for my main website and took up NO.com, as you know.

Now this with Google is one step too far.   So, I’m exploring radical solutions, e.g. an Icelandic server, other search engines, deleting my accounts.

Bottom line

NO.com could well be back and the domain is still mine.   It could be sooner rather than later.   However, at least to the 26th of this month, NO will be at this site here.


8 responses to “Letter to N.O. readers

  1. James, where to start?

    Someone or someones at your host and 1&1 are pulling your chain. For a start space should not be a problem if the virtual server is set up properly and given enough resources – I doubt if the site takes up 1GB all up database engine included – and if it is a real physical server in a data center….

    The PHP problem sounds as if they were using an out of date unpached version of PHP and if they were doing that I would assume the MySql server was/is out of date and unpached, so leaving themselves open to an sql injection hack – which is what the problem sounds like [I am willing to bet the code causing all the PHP problems is something left over from hackers trying to harvest e-mails and passwords.

    Regarding Google. I assume that the browser you use has the ability to spoof the user agent which should keep gmail happy and bring back all the things you are missing – if it was yahoo! mail! then it would be a different kettle of fish. It is either that or you need to get a dedicated e-mail program that bypasses the need for a browser and if you get one that will allow a Bayesian spam filter then you will have it made.

    Since I don’t know the whole story much of the above is informed speculation but should give you something to chew on.

  2. Ivan, that might well be so – someone taking the amber fluid – but I am not in a position to know who. You’re a techie and know these things, I’m an end user and it’s not my field. Therefore I’m beholden and can only go on incoming advice from people who seem aficianados. I’m relying on their goodwill in this and not some agenda they might have.

    I have thoughts on it but can’t express them for that same reason.

  3. ivan beat me to it:

    I’ve encountered the login business elsewhere – I have another email account which I use whenever WP bugs me….

  4. Agreeing with both Ivan and microdave on this one.

    Also 1&1 should be tackled on the service they said they would provide and have not!

    The teething issue of logging into free WordPress is annoying. But this is only a problem for people who have WordPress blogs, no-one else should be affected.

    I have worked out the problem with my link not working on on my preferred WordPress profile.

    i had previously relied on my Gravatar profile which you don’t have enabled.

  5. Not being that techie, but with Blogger/Google a long time, forgive the simplicity of my questions, but on just the browser issue:

    By browser and Blogger/Google, did you by any chance mean upgrading your IE browser to v10 as Blogger flags you to do, every time you log in from an older browser?

    Because I get the same message and can’t upgrade either, or it will cause conflicts with my work screens, anything older than v8 – and if I continue to use IE in the old version, pictures will not load and text will not align correctly, so I open Mozilla for my blog use, IE for work.

    A second question – did you, at any time, update to Google Chrome recently, even in trial with your Mac?

    Because saying as little as I should publicly about it, I CAN tell you that Detroit spends hours, every day, uninstalling Google Chrome off their office systems though they’ve been advised not to – for some reason, at least on their workstations, it causes conflicts with many of their programs and a simple uninstall does not uninstall Google Chrome – he has to get into the registry often to get it all off.

    As for the other issue of space and code, he’s not here at present to read this, but he has said all along, some changes must’ve been made to your code recently for it to be so unstable – but it doesn’t have to be foul play, James – could be someone adding a patch incorrectly or an upgrade not performed correctly – an accident.

    At my old job, I had techs remote in all the time that screwed things up without meaning to that another would remote in and have to fix, but it wasn’t done intentionally. And sometimes, the next tech couldn’t or wouldn’t:

    “You must have a virus or a hacker” is the non-battle cry of the lazy tech 😉

    Then again, it might be a sales tactic for you to buy a new package?

    (Microsoft/Windows does that all the time – though Windows 8 isn’t very compatible, but that’s what they’re hoping for – buy new everything 😉

    Lastly, are you certain you didn’t make any changes to the template yourself in code mode? (That’s what blogger uses, at least on mine). Once I tried to simply make some sidebar videos smaller and I accidently typed one extra character in the template code and you couldn’t see the entire post afterwards lol. I decided never to try that again, a little tech knowledge can be dangerous.

    And with that, I leave it to others who know far more than me about these issues 🙂

  6. All good questions. My own changes to the template was one of the first questions – I copy the CSS whole whenever I change colours so only the hex code and pic changes but they are straight substitutions.

    As for Chrome, I can’t because it requires 10.6 and mine is older. Sounds like a lucky escape at this end.

  7. Aaaaghhhhh !!!!!

    I would pull my hair out in frustrated rage, but I have a full head of hair and at my advanced age it is the only thing going well for me.