Site Updates

Folks,

Just a quick note.  I just updated a bunch of plugins and completed setting up the new CDN.  I’m now going to make the change in our DNS entries to support the new CDN configuration. This should be transparent to everyone, but I wanted to mention it now, before I do anything. I will give this post a bit to be read before I pull the trigger.

I re-enabled the inline Edit Comment function, let’s hope it behaves.

On a non-site topic, the new iOS 12 seems much faster on my 6s+ as well as on the family iPads. I haven’t yet loaded it on my old 5s, but I hear tell that it’s zippy even on that ancient hardware. Apparently, Apple’s focus on performance was successful. Huzzah!

Have a good morning, everybody!

 

ETA: Sorry to hear about the A/C, John. I’ve not yet faced that dreaded event, but had to put a new roof after only three years owning a house (and that after like $2000 on repairs and patching in the prior 8 months which made it hurt even more).








Tech Issues Update

Folks,

After Monday’s drama and subsequent changes in our DNS server address, most folks can now access the site. This is progress from when it was roughly 0% for a few hours mid-Monday, but is still not ideal.

Although most folks who might want this update cannot read the site, hopefully this info will trickle to them.

 

The changes I made to the balloon-juice.com domain were roughly at 3 pm Eastern, Monday. Once those changes were made, they must propagate out to the internet to ISPs, corporate networks, etc., and this can take up to 48 hours. As of this morning, I’m still getting reports of people unable to connect via one connection, but successful via another. For example, I had an early-morning report from Indiana where the work computer is fine, but the home connection is unable to find the domain. Another one a bit later this morning was from overseas – using a local connection failed, but using his US-based VPN was fine.

 

Hopefully, the dust will settle from this a bit later today and it will be another painful memory. Once I have 12 hours with no reports of this lingering issue, I will rebuild the site’s CDN (Content Delivery Network) setup to increase the site’s speed and reduce your download time. Currently, I expect that to be Thursday afternoon. It will not be disruptive as this will entail adding some things, not moving things, and those who are slow to receive the changes will just see the current, non-CDN, setup.

 

I’ve got some things to take care of today, but will be back later.

 

Open Thread

 

(about the Featured Image – the conversation seems to be changing)








A Quick Explanation

And..we’re back.

Folks, we’ve had a few issues today relating to the change from our old CDN to the new one. A CDN makes the site faster by storing lots of the content you download (pictures, code, formatting, etc) in multiple places across the world. This means that you get a fast copy of non-changing stuff served from this more-local source along with new content from the server such as comments or new or edited posts.

 

So, sorry for the issues – things should settle down. I wasn’t touching anything today, this was more of a side-effect from some settings I should have changed before it became an issue. Their system allowed some slop and so I was sloppy. My apologies!

 

Open, non-site-related Thread!

 

ETA: The site will be a bit sluggish the next 12-24 hours until I rebuild the CDN setup and get it working again. I wanted to let the dust settle before I take another step!








Rambling Open Thread

I’m tired. It was 100000 degrees today again, and the humidity was horrible. It just sucks the life out of you. Tomorrow is another long day because I have to head up to Pittsburgh to take Lily to chemo (three weeks just flies by). But at least she is still alive and super happy, and, as you can see, right where she is supposed to be as I write this:

I think I am going to take the people at PVSEC some tomatoes tomorrow. Who doesn’t love tomatoes?

I’m also rushing to get everything done before leaving for the beach next Friday (and if one more asshole mentions the fucking tropical storm trying to put the kaibosh on me I am gonna cut someone). Just so much to do and so little time.

I spoke with Alain the other day and we put the brakes on whatever site changes he had in mind. Other than maintenance and maybe fixing the edit function, we’re not doing anything for a couple weeks. I’ve spoken with a couple of the older (I don’t mean age) commenters who offered to help with the front end stuff, and we are looking for a targeted roll out of around October 15th. Two priorities are a solution for the video ads and the comment system, but there is a bunch of other stuff that needs to be fixed and changed. As I was telling others, I would love nothing more than to go back to 2007 and have this:

But we just can’t. With so many different mobile sites, etc., it’s just impossible. The other reason things are such a pain in the ass is because I refuse to use offsite commenting. I do that for some very real reasons. This website is an archive of us. Our interactions, our conversations, our thoughts. We’ve gone through too many personal emergencies and life events for all those to just disappear, and that isn’t even going into all the funny things people have said. I want it to stay that way, and I can not guarantee the safety of comments on an external site. The other reason is because I will refuse to comply with any requests from the authorities to give up usernames, emails, and ip addresses. That’s just not going to happen.

So, it limits us in some ways.

The other problem (for me, at least) is replicating the problems some of you encounter. I had my boot drive crash the other day, replaced it, and had a clean windows install. I installed malwarebytes, which is always the first thing I install, then downloaded chrome, firefox, safari, etc. I then checked Balloon Juice with clean installs of them all, reloaded and refreshed multiple times, and I never got an audio ad. I never got an ad stretching outside the borders.

That doesn’t mean I don’t trust you that it is happening- my own brother got an audio ad last week and texted me. It’s just it makes it really hard to address when you can’t see it happening or replicate it. And I know how annoying it is. Fucking CNN with those god damned autoplay clips drives me god damned mental. So I am working on it. I don’t want you all having a lousy time here.

At any rate, we’re going to fix some things and upgrade some things and you all will have a say, but it just isn’t going to happen right now. Alain has a lot of shit going on, I have a bunch of shit going on, and it will take a little time.

So that’s that. Have a little faith in me, I give you my word I will not fuck this up. I love this shitty little website as much as you all do. And I just realized I forgot to turn the damned sprinkler off.



Site News Before The Holiday

Folks,

I just wanted to give you an update on the new site progress. tl;dwr*: It’s been slow going but will launch soon.

In more detail, I’ve been working on a number of necessary back end improvements, reducing memory load on the server and in your browser. I’ve also been tweaking things with the new theme and working on a number of to-do’s. With the very valued help of Major Major Major Major, we have some new and/or improved things coming soon as well. Exciting!

So that all said, I’d planned to get the launched before the holiday but this was overly optimistic. A lot of my time and attention the past two and a half weeks has been sucked up by estate and related legal/accounting duties as well as lots of time spent driving to and fro. That stuff is mostly in order so I feel pretty safe saying that the new theme should launch late next week. I have pushed back my escape to nature until it’s launched for a few days and the initial dust has settled.

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

Open thread

 

*  too long; don’t wanna read








Site Update: Let’s Hope Today Is Better!

Folks,

Fingers crossed for no more issues to pop up today. Yesterday’s horrible site availability was caused by a swarm of bots from Russia and China. They were persistent, but our valiant hosting company took care of them. So far today, things seem to be ok. There are still some mysterious issues that I’m researching that were coincident to the swarm, so there may be more hijinks to come!

I did remove the new inline “Edit Comment” function for now because I suspect it was related to these mysterious issues. Over the next 24 hours, I’ll see if I can bring it back online, once things are calm for a stretch.

Besides that, I’ve got lots to do today and won’t be around in comments. Have a great one!

Open Thread








It. Never. Stops.

Folks,

Quick tech note and Open Thread.

There are some bots attacking our server right now, so performance will be wacky until they are gone. Our hosts are on it, in fact they informed me!  I am also working on some DNS issues. This may also make the site a bit twitchy here and there, but hopefully that will smooth out.

Development on the new site is slow work as this theme is a new environment, with lots of very different yet similar capabilities, and with a very different structure. It’s learning as much as it is making it do what I want it to do, and that takes time and reflection.

Yesterday I turned off the text-focused mobile site for some good reasons. I realize that for some of you, bandwidth is an issue and the mobile site was great for you. My hope is to have a video-ad-free option that you will be able to access once the new site is launched. Until then, there’s not much I can do.

The great news is that Major Major Major Major now has his own server to support some custom BJ functions like On The Road (and other contact/picture submit functions). So we’re working on improving things and getting things back to a normal state.

Some good news is that my back is continually improving, and my pond cleanup tasks yesterday didn’t hurt or exhaust my lower back muscles. I find trying to do tasks like that is a gamble, but the trendline is clear – I’m getting stronger and have much less pain. I  temper that with the knowledge that it will be months before I’m back to where it was.