Blogging blues: SSL, php, fatal error

I’m a guy who likes to blog. I’m the guy who HATES having to deal with the technobabble that the task entails. I noticed that the backside of my blog was running slowly. Sometimes when I tried to schedule a post, I’d get an error message. My provider wrote:

“Our monitoring systems show that one (or some) of your user accounts may be making your web hosting account operate inefficiently. We noticed you’ve frequently hit the memory limits of your shared hosting plan over the last couple weeks. When this happens, our system automatically stops web processes which could be negatively impacting your server’s performance. This means your visitors may see errors or be unable to access your website at all for brief periods of time.”

I was given the option to leave everything as-is, optimize my website (for which I didn’t understand the instructions), or upgrade to Virtual Private Server and spend a bit more. I asked a fellow blogger what I should do. Among other things, he suggested that if I were still on an older PHP (5.x), jump to 7.0. If you don’t know what that means, well neither do I.

I did that. I also did the SSL free certification for https, though I’m not sure why. Immediately, I received a Fatal error on my page. I undid the SSL.

The technical support folks disabled the blog counter, which they identified as the problem. Blog working, but there’s no sidebar! No search bar or links or way to get to 12.5 years of my posts. This made me terribly… well, DEPRESSED. I mean, the blog isn’t just the last item I wrote, it’s the body of work. There were some back-and-forth written messages with suggestions that did not change anything.

Finally, a week later I called their support guy. The solution? “It looks like the site ‘sidebar’ and counter plugin may have not been
working correctly due to them not being compatible with php 7. Once we switched your site back to run on php5.6 your counter and sidebar has
been restored.” Thanks, John!

But all of this work not only reminds me how weak I am in certain areas, it was a real drag on my finite time to actually write blog posts. At least it was fodder for one.

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Outside the comfort zone: Ask Roger Anything

Arthur, the Kiwi-American, wrote about blogging recently, prodded in part by an article I sent him. One of the takeaways is that bloggers spend more time on a typical blog post (up 39% from 2014 to 2017) and as a result, posts are published less frequently.

I shared the survey with this local blogging collective, maybe a dozen and a half folks who either presently or formerly blogged at a certain metropolitan newspaper, plus selected others. As I wrote, cheekily: “I love being in a collective! It’s so early Xian, or Soviet.”

It’s designed to be a safe place to kick around ideas, maybe gripe about the inevitable blog trolls we inevitably get. (Although I almost never get them here, I’m pleased to note.)

We answer questions about our writing process. “What inspires you to write about in autumn?” I asked if any of the others write ahead like I do. Well, no. unless a vacation is planned or one is crafting a fictional piece as part of a larger whole.

Someone posed this question: “What was the first time you wrote about something OUTSIDE of your comfort zone? I.e., something in which being a blogger inspired you to try something different?”

I can’t say for sure, but it was almost certainly something that one of you posed during what I call Ask Roger Anything, probably concerning race.

This is the time when youse folk get to inquire anything of me, and I must respond, generally within the month, to the best of my ability, obfuscating only when really necessary, which has not been as frequent as I would have thought, truth to tell.

As always, you can leave your questions below or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine, but you need to SAY so; you should e-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to remain unmentioned; otherwise, I’ll assume you want to be cited.

The intrinsic value of blogging


For Ask Roger Anything, Arthur the AmeriNZ asks a couple meta questions on blogging:

I sense that (like me) you also believe that writing has intrinsic value for the writer, even without any financial reward. What’s your take on those who dismiss blogging (for example) done without any pay? Similarly, why do some people also have to belittle bloggers who DO make money from their blogs? Is there any validity to those criticisms in your opinion?

Some people dismiss those who write without pay as fools. But there are very many well-known folk who blog either for nothing or for PayPal tips. Initially, I blogged to write about the Daughter and JEOPARDY! But it was also a sense of addressing my feeling of powerlessness in the midst of a Republican administration engaging in a war of choice that I thought was unjustifiable. I wasn’t sure I would actually write about it, but I COULD.

Now I blog because I pretty much have to. It’s therapy. All the crap going on and I can vent a little. At the same time, I have found it a useful reference tool for my own existence that I’M likely to forget. AND it is my vehicle to have dialogue, in a way Facebook simply cannot be for me. Something I wrote about my grandfather or Spaulding Krullers I can find again. Moreover, OTHER people find it and comment on them, occasionally years after I wrote the pieces. This gives the exercise a sense of being less ephemeral.

Bloggers who get money are considered as not “pure” by some, not of the “tortured artist”. But in that piece you linked to about New Zealand, it mentions a professional travel blogger with thousands of hits. Do I wish I had thousands of followers? Some days, yes.

But my reach on the Times Union newspaper site was far greater than it is here; guess which one I all but gave up? It was too much grief, too many schmucks; it wasn’t worth it.

I’ve gotten offers to do advertisements, and I’ve resisted, so far. If something is really in my wheelhouse, I might change my mind, but I’m not cashing the check just yet.

Why do you provide links to YouTube videos, but not embed the videos themselves?

Initially, I was afraid that it might be taking up too much bandwidth and would load too slowly. But mostly, it’s pure aesthetics.

This is an odd phenomenon I’ve only seen on Blogspot/Blogger blogs (yours, Mark Evanier’s), sometimes, the videos appear to be under the wrong description. If I reload, it rectifies the situation, but it’s distracting.

Also, the videos make the posts appear too long for my taste. And when a video, almost inevitably, goes offline, it leaves that pale gray box that I always find looks slightly sad.

Incidentally, I was looking at a post on SamuraiFrog’s Blogspot website on my tablet, and a post for which he merely provided the link, rather than the embedded video, the video showed up anyway. Doesn’t always happen, but it interested me.

David Brickman’s return to blogging about art

brickmanMy old friend David Brickman “has been an exhibiting artist, art critic, and curator for over 30 years.” I knew him best as a very talented photographer. He used to review art and related topics at a local newspaper. Then he blogged on his own at Get Visual on a wider array of topics, including film reviews, from January 2009 until early 2012, when, much to my sadness, he gave up the writing.

Now that he’s settled in Continue reading

Circular question answering New York Erratic

happinessrunsAnd in an act that defies logic, I am now answering questions that New York Erratic answered for me, even though I gave them to her, based on questions Lisa posted, and which Dustbury also answered… Oh never mind.

1. What is your dream vacation spot and why?

It would be a place by water, preferably running water, like a river or a waterfalls, because I love water; maybe it’s the Pisces in me. It would be neither too hot or too cold. Maybe Continue reading

The Return On Investment of leaving blog comments

brainWayne John wrote in June: “Well it’s been about 2 months since I’ve written my little ‘I’m back’ post, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about writing something here. I have, in fact, written a number of posts that I simply haven’t made public.”

Now he has a different, more monetary reason for some of the non-production. Still, many bloggers will relate to this:

There is one decision that I’m making though, and that is to stop being so damn hard on myself.

I haven’t posted anything because I have been striving for a level or quality that is simply not achievable on a consistent basis. With each post I write, I try to make it “Epic” or “value filled”, and while those are great marketing buzz words, I simply don’t have time to write a post of that nature each and every time.

I’m sure you don’t expect it either, so why have I been so damn stuck?

It’s all me. I strive for perfection. Add to that a healthy does of OCD and nothing gets done.

To some degree, that even happens to me, the guy who blogs day in, day out. I want every post to be “value filled.” Continue reading

June Rambling: Hal Holbrook; Marimba Queens

pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)

pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)

My denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) voted for marriage equality at its General Assembly this month. “Ministers will be allowed to marry same-sex couples in states where it is legal.”

On the other hand, Freedom and Faith Coalition’s Road to Majority conference had an Obama figurine in the urinal.

CBS News Sunday Morning did a piece, Born this way: Stories of young transgender children. The ever-interesting Dustbury on Gender Confirmation Surgery.

Writer Jay Lake worked closely with Lynne Thomas, an Illinois-based librarian… to ensure that all his blog posts and essays would be saved for posterity. “Though this is a relatively uncomplicated task for his blog content, which he unambiguously owned, it gets problematic when you wade into the legal rights of preserving your social media presence. ‘You can’t just download Facebook content into an archive.’”

A cartoon from 2008, and still apt: A Concise History Of Black-White Relations In The United States.

Mark Evanier on O.J. Simpson trial nostalgia.
Continue reading

Almost on the BBC

bbc-radioI had written this blog post on March 28 about the Adagio, attributed to Albinoini, which also appeared in my Times Union blog the same day. On the latter, I received this comment on April 4 at 7:30 a.m.:

Dear Roger,
I’m making a programme for BBC Radio 4, Soul Music about Albinoni’s Adagio. This series looks at those pieces of music that never fail to move us.
I would love to know more about your choir mom.
Please would you be kind enough to email me with your number so we might have a chat.
With many thanks
Lucy

ALSO, I had written this blog post on April 2 about Marvin Gaye, which again appeared in that day’s TU, and generated THIS comment, also on April 4, at 9:02 a.m.: Continue reading

Meta: the case of my missing blog

RogerDuckWhen I went to the dentist to get a cavity filled back on the morning of Wednesday, April 16, I knew I’d feel pretty crappy afterwards, so I took off the whole day. That afternoon, I tried to get rid of an alarming amount of spam – 770 and growing every minute – caught in the Akismet, fortunately. Eventually, though, I couldn’t access my blog at all.

I had suffered an outage earlier in the month; the vendor said it was 18 minutes, but I believe it was longer. The NEW problem, though, was for what turned out to be 15 +/-2 hours. I knew at least a few people noticed that my ABC Wednesday link was not working.

This got me thinking: what if the server never came back up? I wasn’t particularly bothered by the loss of the items I had posted over the last nine years. Continue reading

Blogging revolution #9

9-page-headerNine years of blogging, every day; nine trips around the sun. This is remarkable, or remarkably crazy; the line between the two is paper thin. There were weeks this past year when I could write only one or two posts. It was almost never out of a lack of content ideas, but rather a lack of time. Then there’d be an outpouring, usually at 4 a.m., when my mind was swimming with the thoughts I wanted to write.

It’s rather like the pushmi-pullyu of Doctor Doolittle Continue reading