Guest Post on WOW’s Friday Speak Out

Please check out my guest post on The Muffin – WOW’s Friday Speak Out – 

When Others Have More Faith in Your Writing Than You Do

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Join the conversation. Talk to me or tell me your story. I’m all ears.

 

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Mayhem in the Cow Pasture

Stock Up/ Picjumbo

Okay, maybe the title is a bit melodramatic, but then it seems appropriate given the craziness everywhere else. Anywhoo, that’s another topic for another day; let’s move on.

No the mayhem to which I refer is all on my WordPress blog. You may have noticed over the last couple of weeks, some changes taking place in the Cow Pasture. Here’s why and what’s been happening. I’m sharing this because if you have a WordPress blog, you may be seeing some of the same behavior or glitches.

Have you noticed any of the following?

  • Your blog pages loading slowly.
  • Blog freezing when you’re trying to post.
  • Page insight analysis shows a drop in speed. This tool, it identifies ways to make your site faster and more mobile-friendly.
  • Strange strings of code showing up in your blog posts.

At first, I thought it might be my computer. So, I did all the appropriate checks – no malware, no viruses, nothing from my MAC seemed to be causing this. The biggest and most mysterious issue I discovered, were pages of code attached to my blog postings. Here’s a portion of the code (usually at least two pages long) and what it looks like. Rest assured this is a photo copy of the code.


I notified WordPress Support, and we’ve been on the hunt for the cause for weeks. In the meantime, their recommendation was for me to go through 520+ posts and delete the strange string of code, manually! For the love of God! Seriously?

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s a time sucking demon and here’s the catch. On occasions, it reappears after I’ve deleted it. Can you say, lost in a circle of hell? So, for whatever reason, revisions it appears (whether a word or paragraph) can trigger this code. It has taken at least 3-4 engineers from WordPress working with me to try to figure this out. I’m not sure we have, but among the causes so far (we think) include:

  • links
  • Revisions
  • And, in particular, images from Pinterest.

A definitive cause has not been discovered. So, for the time being, I’m on a scavenger hunt looking for this damnable code that’s hiding in plain sight in over 520+ posts, pages, and images.

Other issues have been identified Page Insights, as well. Which explains each problem and how to fix it. However, this creates, even more, confusion for me. 1) it all looks like jibberish; as do the instructions, and 2) WordPress does not give us the option to add plugins (which might be helpful) unless you’re at the business level. As a result, WordPress has told me they’re responsible for correcting this stuff. Really? These are typically the issues Page Insights will identify.

  1. Remove render-blocking JavaScript
  2. Optimize CSS Delivery
  3. Leverage browser caching
  4. Minify JavaScript
  5. Enable compression
  6. Minify CSS
  7. Minify HTML

I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent going through my blog making sure every image is optimized, compressed, and deleting the rogue code. A couple of suggestions and helpful resources I’ve found to date are:

For image optimization/compression: 

  1. ImageOptim – offering a downloadable MAC version as well as a WEB version and supports JPEG, SVG, anim GIF, and PNG.
  2. Compressor – 4 file formats supported – JPEG, PNG, GIF, SVG.
  3. Compress JPEG – Supports JPEG, PNG, PDF’s.
  4. HTML Compressor – which I’ve just discovered and will get back to you on its effectiveness.

Long story short, the Cow Pasture with much love and attention, is healing. However, should you encounter a post with a missing picture or other, please be patient – WordPress and I are working on the problem.

I recommend should discover the same code in your posts, please notify WordPress support. Additionally, if you have experienced something similar or have answers or suggestions, please let know.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Join the conversation. Talk to me or tell me your story. I’m all ears.

Another Great Tool for Writers

We’ve all used Google maps to get from point A to point B, but have you ever considered using it as a writing research tool?

Neither had I,  until reading the guest post on Writer Unboxed by Camille Di Maio.  

Remembering details is not my strong point. My brain seems to have more holes in it than a sieve, and my memory is worse than a gnat’s life span.

I didn’t inherit the sense of direction gene, either. I’d get lost in my driveway. So, as you can imagine, having access to the right tools can make all the difference. It’s the same when writing.

Whether the location and setting of your novel are imaginary or based on a familiar place, details do matter.

Think about the things you can do with Google Maps – Visualize streets, intersections, terrain, transit routes, lakes, and rivers and you can see all of it via satellite, live, or in 3-D. Now, we’re talking!

Let your imagination run wild; happy researching and be sure to check out Camille’s post, Google Maps the Writing Tool that No One Knows About

 

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Join the conversation. Talk to me or tell me your story. I’m all ears.

What’s Your IP Address?

ipa
One thing is for sure, when you’re in the midst of a long-term recovery, you will get bored out of your mind. Top these circumstances with 2-3 days of snow and ice – someone is going to break the rules. Did I mention – me? To say I’ve been stretching the doctor’s instructions bit is an understatement.facebookhomescreenimage
Pardon my digression; the squirrels are playing havoc with my brain.

Back to the point of this post. Do you know your IP address IP (Internet protocol)? It is a unique number for your computer and links to all of your online activity.

It’s how a Macy’s ad, with the very thing you’re shopping for, just happens to show up on Facebook or other sites you might visit. It’s how Google and other search engines track what you like – through algorithms and your IP address. And, it’s how hackers find us – not that we’ve heard much about hacking lately?

More to the point, it’s why a suspect’s computer is confiscated and turned over for a forensics examination, following a crime.  “Your honor, may I present Exhibit C into evidence. This will show that the defendant completed a search on, how to choke someone, undetectable, poisons, how to break a person’s neck, and how to get away with murder, no less than 200 times.”

You get the idea, but why do you care? Well, knowing one’s IPA is also helpful when determining if your computer or the information within has been compromised. For example, in 2005 my identity was stolen online. The culprits were tracked through an IPA to Amsterdam – a mega site for stolen identities. And just today, I attempted to sign in to Facebook. A message appeared:

“Your account has been locked due to a suspicious login attempt.”  They provided the time, IPA, and location (Charlotte) of the incident. “Was this you? “They asked.

I wasn’t certain, but it prompted me to investigate. I got things straightened out, not that being locked out of Facebook was of concern – it wasn’t, but that’s a subject for another day.

If you want to find out more on the topic, as well as your own IP Address, check out these resources:

  1. IP 101: The Basics of IP Addresses
  2. What is my IP Address.com
  3. How a Hacker Might Exploit Your IP Address
  4. Computer Evidence Recovery
  5. Internet Defamation

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Join the conversation. Talk to me or tell me your story. I’m all ears.