Category Archives: Housekeeping

Dealing with attacks again

My hosting service let me know that evil hackers are attacking various parts of my blog. To address this, I’ve implemented “captcha” forms on various parts of the blog. Sorry for the inconvenience, but you’ll have to do some simple math before you post a comment. I’m also implementing other security measures — please email me if you run into problems.

Updating Web site security

This site, as is true of many Web sites, has been experiencing attacks for some years now; one such attack took down this site in early 2011. Believe me, having your Web site go down definitely sucks. Since 2011, with the expert help and advice of my Web hosting service, the security on this site has been continually upgraded. Among other measures, Wordfence has been installed on the WordPress installations, Cloudflare is in use, and the site was moved to servers optimized for WordPress.

And now, finally, thanks to Dennis at Deerfield Hosting, this site is using SSL certificates. SSL Labs now gives this Web site an “A+” rating on its SSL report.

Some things to look out for:

1. Dennis writes: “I have purposely limited the cipher suites available to deliver the site. Analysis and specifics here. Some people will and do disagree with doing that. Some visitors will not be able to see your site. I’ve looked at the stats and the numbers are very low, to the point where calling these cases very rare is accurate.” If you can’t see the site, you obviously won’t be reading this. But this is still a reminder to use up-to-date software. Also, one possible browser upgrade you might be interested in is the “HTTPS Everywhere” plugin for Firefox, Chrome, and Opera, available from the Electronic Frontier Foundation here.

2. This Web site should automatically redirect an “http” link to an “https” link, but there may be occasional problems. If you find such a problem, please let me know (so far I’ve heard from one Web manager who found this problem).

3. In a similar vein, I am updating internal links. Until I have finished doing so, some internal links may not work. Please let me know if you find one, and I will fix it ASAP.

4. Web geeks will be interested to know that Dennis also switched this site to HTTP/2. He writes: “Your site is now among the first sites on the Internet to employ HTTP/2, the successor to HTTP/1.1. Only about 2% of sites have this distinction. One of the advantages is faster site delivery. Page components are requested and delivered asynchronously over a single connection. More information here.”

Finally, I can’t thank Dennis at Deerfield Hosting enough. Most Web hosts these days just provide a commodity, and it’s great to be with a Web host that still provides actual customer service.

To clarify a little, software which will be unable to establish a secure connection with this site includes:
— Android 4.3 and earlier
— Internet Explorer 6-9
— Safari 5-6
If you’re reading this, your browsing software is reasonably up-to-date. Yay, you!

Blog makeover

I’ve revamped the appearance of the blog. It will display equally on well on tablets and smart phones as on a desktop or laptop. I’ve cleaned up the navigation, and moved it to the header. Links have been moved to a separate page.

These changes in appearance has mostly been prompted by outside factors. Tablets are rising in popularity, and I should have long since optimized this site for tablet users. WordPress has greatly improved its menu management, so I no longer have to rely on sidebar navigation. And search engines don’t like to see a blogroll on every page of your blog (because that’s what spammers do), so all links have been moved to a single page.

I hope you find the new design easy to use. As always, I welcome your comments or suggestions for improvement.

New weekly publication schedule

Starting today, I’m moving this blog from a daily to a weekly publication schedule. The immediate cause of this move was Apple’s January 19th release of iBook Author, an iPad application designed to make it easy for educators to publish textbooks and supplementary materials. Apple’s announcement clarified something for me: blogs are just one aspect of the revolution in publishing that is currently happening.

I love blogging — and over the past few years I’ve experimented with video blogging, photo blogging, audio blogging (podcasts), microblogging (Twitter), and of course text blogging — but I’ve been spending an average of two hours a day on my various blogging projects. I want to experiment with other kinds of new publishing methods as well: interactive textbooks, e-books, print on demand, and more. In order to carve out the time to experiment with other publishing methods, I unfortunately have to cut back on the time I spend blogging.

So I’ll be changing my publication schedule here to a new post every Monday. If something comes up in the middle of the week — e.g., if I’m at a conference — I may post on other days as well. But there will always be something new every Monday.

Blog issues resolved (I hope)

There has been some down time on this blog the past two or three days, due to problems with my Web host’s MySQL database that resulted in error messages like “Error — unable to establish database connection.” All problems should be resolved by now.

Old blog posts back online

I finally got around to restoring blog posts from 2005-2010 that disappeared in February of this year when the old blog crashed after being damaged by a malicious intruder. The old posts may be found at the old blog address —

There is no longer a redirect on the old address to this blog. Therefore, if you haven’t updated your bookmarks or your RSS reader, or if you’re following an old link, you’ll wind up at the old blog. So please update your bookmarks, etc.