smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Spit & Polish)
Well, for good or for ill - We've made the jump, as it were. Yesterday, Baron put in his "two-week" notice at work. I put that in quotes because it's actually longer than 2 weeks. He wanted to hang around long enough for one of the other co-workers to get back from Vacation. We both are looking forward to this and are terrified all at the same time. But when it looks like Baron can pull more money in via commissions that he can from the day job - it's time to make the jump.

The biggest scare? My medical which just keeps piling up. I mean we've known Baron wanted to make this jump for some time, Murphy's Law, it just so happens to occur just as all my medical appoints are coming around. Insurance helps but ... Yauzers! One full head dental X-ray set ($90.00 out of pocket), and Optometry in the same week. lol.

I ended up dropping $300.00 for new lenses today because my eyes are changing focus points rapidly. According to the doctor, I need two sets of glasses now, progressive bi-focals for general use/driving and desk glasses. The amount I just paid were for the progressives. I'll be getting a uber cheap set of desk glasses via Online, since they don't have to be so rugged with extra coatings for glare and such.

Good news is that my allergies and general sickness are keeping in check this year so far. Yes, I'm feeling this allergy season (it's a whopper), but am holding it together better than previous years. Because of that I'm getting sick and taking downtime less and less. It is a serious improvement in the long-run and I am very happy for it.

I, myself have been doing a lot of small, but ever present, business things to keep them off Baron's desk so he can just work on art. So far it's working out. Accounting, website work, paperwork and filings, business to business communications, ect. Oh, and I'm still working on my own stuff too, just not direct commissions atm. If you wanna check out my WIPs for my new project, they are slowly becoming available over on Patreon if you wanna check them out, for a small fee.

I'm currently setting up for printing 'To Kill a Dragon' as floppies. I'll be holding off printing them until after the last issue is available digitally from ComiXology. And when will that be, you ask? I have no freak'n clue. As it is, all four will probably be posted up on Comics Plus before ComiXology at this rate. Comics Plus, however will be posting #1 on the 6th and each issue, once per week, following. I really like working with the Comics Plus guys so I was happy to get 'To Kill a Dragon' up there too. Just took a bit longer since they are more hands on than ComiXology.

I also plan on having an update to the SM-EW Comic Easel <3 S2member plugin for WordPress next week. WordPress rolled out a new version last week, and I'm a little behind in testing it for compatibility. Should be no issues, but it's gotta get done. Also talked about about admin updating on the Radio Site (since that is way too big/complex for Elin/Joe/Will to deal with). Once I get a couple more things worked out on SM-EW, I'll be reworking their site to get it more mobile-friendly, and updating programming to take advantage of newer coding. They will still be responsible for post updates, not I. It will take a while to get to this however, but I should be on it by mid-year if all goes well.

One thing I have discovered about myself recently, is there is three of me. You know how [livejournal.com profile] haikujaguar describes herself as three separate individuals (Artist Jaguar, Business Jaguar, and Marketer Jaguar) when it comes to the mental states you have to be in to accomplish different jobs? Well, it seems I have three of my own, Artist Smudge, Business Smudge, and Programmer Smudge. The trouble is, Artist Smudge and Programmer Smudge ... hate each other's guts with an unbridled passion and will not exist in the same room at the same time. With Programmer Smudge being much more in-your-face aggressive (when it comes to programming, I seem to have anger-management issues), poor Artist Smudge gets kicked to the curb. You so do not want to be around me when I'm programming. Needless to say, I'm having to re-juggle my schedule to make sure I can have Art Days and Programmer Days and neither the twain will meet. Fortunately, Business Smudge co-habitats with both so at lest I can balance that a little bit better.

Funny how the brain works.

Anyways - I think that's about everything for me rambling. Wish us luck!
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Spit & Polish)

Mirrored from Smudge Marks & Engel Werks.

My new plugin, SMEW Comic Easel ♥ s2Member, is now available on the WordPress.org Plugin Directory. It's designed to let you integrate Comic Easel with s2Member for drip feeding of webcomics. Free to use and enjoy!

Because the comic weasel said so!

Comic Easel

smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Spit & Polish)

Mirrored from Smudge Marks & Engel Werks.

Here's a quick little plugin I'm currently poking at for WordPress that I think many web-comic peeps will find handy. Requires both Comic Easel and s2member. This is getting close to a release state, however it is still beta.

SMEW-comic-easel-heart-s2member-v0.1.4

=== Comic Easel <3 s2member ===
Requires at least: WordPress 3.0, Comic Easel Plugin, s2member
Tested up to: WordPress 4, Comic Easel Plugin, s2member

s2member integration for Comic Easel for drip feeding of comic posts. Will let subscribers 'preview' comics for specified times before opening up to the wide world based on user roles. Will also allow different size images to be displayed based on user roles. Only works on Single Posts.

Known Issues: This plugin currently breaks Image Maps and Light Box use inside of Comic Easel. It is recommended you do not use this plugin until the next revision of both SMEW Comic Easel <3 s2member and Comic Easel if either of those two functions are necessary for your site.

Upcoming: Adding a backend setting UI to change things such as the custom post type slug name. Fix for the Image Map and Light Box issue coming with next revision of both SMEW Comic Easel <3 s2member and Comic Easel (will require both). Add descriptions to Settings page.

Update:

v 0.1.4 - Fixed the comic display so that it would correctly display/interact when 'Comic Easel'->'Clicking the comic goes to next comic' is active. Removed add_action via Frumph's wonderful suggestion. Changed timestamp creation to fall more inline with WordPress standards.

v 0.1.3 (internal release only) - Added the ability to set image size via membership level. Currently hard coded to the 4 basic membership levels that come standard with s2member. It can be wonky since it can be set in any random order, so use with caution.

v 0.1.2 - Fixed bug where variable was feeding into wrong function.

Wow- not even 48 hours old and I find my first bug! Basically, the name was causing WordPress to try and update the as if it was Comic Easel. Not helping. So I renamed the plugin slightly to include the studio's abbreviation, SMEW, at the front. The link above has been updated with the newest version. If you really want the older version, I have it listed below.

SMEW-comic-easel-heart-s2member-v0.1.2
SMEW-comic-easel-heart-s2member-v0.1.1
comic-easel-heart-s2member-v0.1

smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Spit & Polish)
So - after telling the spambots to go die.die.die. the site sped up, albeit not by much. After all that, it was still not able to update and would time out at the server. So, for a 3rd time, I contacted tech support from the hosting company.

One phone call later and the conclusion to try moving the site to a new, less crowded server was tried. And it worked! It is now, screamingly fast, as it should be.

So now I can stick a fork into this problem and call it done and move onto the next.
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Spit & Polish)
To update folks on website issues:

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] edg, I was able to finally see what's been going on with the site and why it's stupid slow. It's being slash-dotted by spam bots... to a section of the site that doesn't exists.

When I took over the site from a previous admin there was a forum there that, frankly, was poorly maintained and was well beyond compromised. Oh and none but the spambots actually used it. So, first thing I did was rip it, it's database and anything even slightly associated with it and sent it to the great electronic trashcan in the sky. No more point of entry for hacking - that should clear things up, right? WRONG!

Apparently WordPress intercepts any 404 page error to display it's own page. And since the server is actually serving something (and not just an error) the spam bots are all "Oh! There's something here! We should KEEP HITTING IT!", and have spread infinitum. Oh, and because they are ONLY hitting the non-existent folder on the site, their hits don't show up on my hit counter, even though a WordPress page was served. I was blind to what was going on, thanks to that. No wonder DreamHost was throttling the site. Good LORD! ~.~

So, once we determined what was going on, it then became a question of properly blocking them. I first opened up my .htaccess and put in blocks to two of the biggest network offenders, then added a proper 404 error output to anyone trying to access the offending folder. I really hope this will work. But it'll take a couple of days to have to spam bots realize there is nothing there and move on. Cross your fingers.

I really wish there was an automatic way to say "if someone tried to access [offending_non-existant_folder] more than once, BAN THEIR ASSESS!", but so far, no love on that one.

I also went and tried to find a way into the back-end that would let me see what's going on. And, at least for live traffic and failed logins, I found one: WordFence, and anti-hacking plugin for WordPress. I have been using it over the weekend to help me smite with the biggest BANHAMMER I can get a hold of.

I really hope this clears up soon so I can do more basic maintenance, like, oh - updating the site. Frankly, if this doesn't clear up I really don't see a reason to keep the site open anymore. All this spambot throttling has pretty much driven our users away. What's the point of having a paid site none can come to due to extreme slowness and timeouts thanks to all the spambots?

Man, I really hope that's not going to be the case.
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Spit & Polish)
Okay - So, one of the things I've been doing is occasionally building WordPress sites. And I've kind of gotten descent at it. But I have this one site I maintain that is... let's call it a 'trouble child'.

It is slower than molasses in the Montana Winter, to the point that I can no longer update it without the server timing me out. I have been fighting this for a long time now. I *think* I've even talked about it here. I have talked to my hosting provider, but they keep saying the same thing: According to them, the site is being pounded. Their solution? - modify the .htaccess and add a robots.txt file, to tell spiders to go away and remove all hot-linking to the site. Which I have done. But it's not working. At all. And hearing this for the fourth go around when it's not working is, well, beyond frustrating.

I am literately at my whits end here and am asking for help because, this is frankly beyond my skill set. I may be a good artist, and a decent, basic programmer, but I am really far from being a server admin with suspenders.

So, what do I need? A new direction on which to talk this issue.

What I don't need - telling me, or offering, to rebuild the site from the ground up using [insert personal baby program/service/webcode/DB here]. The site is build with WordPress with Php5.x/MySQL. That will not change.

If you have any ideas or want to help out with this programming puzzle, please, please, please post a comment below or shoot me a note.

Thank you!
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
Been working my ass off lately, but not doing what I want to do. Blargh.

Been getting BMI ready for upload for download distribution. This is taking a lot longer than I'd prefer. Mostly because I keep having to backtrack on my work. I also need to get Trouble Express ready to go too. But I am very unhappy with the scans I did for issue 3 and am wondering if I need to re-scan the entire lot. Alas working on getting new stories ready to go for Radio Comix website. Which of coarse means more scanning.

On top of that - I am doing the stupid, suicidal thing of writing my own theme for WordPress. Mostly because I am sick of fighting with ComicPress, and I have issues with Easel and how the base theme is handled. I know just enough programming to get myself in real trouble. So off I go. The theme will most likely be for my own, personal use and not made available to the web community, mostly because I don't want to spend the rest of my life supporting it.

When that is done, I should probably write a plugin that will X-post to FA and DA, but that might be beyond my programming skills.

And on top of this is Project Garefowl which I really need to get moving but everything else keeps getting in the way.

And this is why I am grumpy and not really talking on the internet. ^.^

Back to work for me.
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
Today is the day of bad allergies. I was suppose to go horseback riding today, but that's been nixed as I feel unsafe to drive out to the ranch. So I'm working on work.

Right now, I'm working on two major things - getting Radio Comix CSS set up for the last version of ComicPress 2.9.2 as well and working on the Sinfactory Comix site. With Copper_cheetah's help, we were able to fix the .htaccess issue, but I have since determine I'm going to have to rip out the install there and reinstall a non-MU function site. The current visible site will remain unchanged. This is all happening on the back end. It it still grumps me that I have to rip out a month's worth of work and start over. Feh.

Nose to the grind stone- it won't fix itself. Maybe after some ibuprofen though.
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
So I've been beating against WordPress/ComicPress for the past couple of days and have come to the conclusion that's it's too buggy to use for now. As far as I can tell, this is all on the ComicPress side of things.

So what have I been stonewalled with?

1. Images not displaying on the backend in the manager
2. Image file names being converted to html escape code and corrupting the images in the process
3. Comic images not syncing up with posts when imported in from previous versions
4. New CSS calling for images, but never displays them (in menu bar)

While the WordPress MU install is freak'n nice for controlling multiple users and sites form a single install, right now, it's just too buggy for me to do anything with. So it's back to the same ol' nested installs for me.

I just hate wasting time like this only to give up, when I could have spent that same time doing something more productive.

Feh.
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
So I've been upgrading my personal site. And I think I broke it. everything is displaying properly but my actual gallery. At this point I must walk away until until later.*

*later will be defined as hearing back from the bug-forums for the blog-program, or me breaking down, ripping it all out in a week and starting fresh, whichever comes first.

Also note, I'm actually not too upset over this. It's annoying, but not upsetting mostly because I figured what I was doing would probably break things. And it did. I fixed most of the breakage on my own, just this last spot of trouble that I can't seem to get over is in my way. I'm using my personal site to test things before I take it live at things like Radio. Seemed safest.
smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
One of the things I’ve written recently for WordPress/ComicPress is a little plugin/widget called, aptly, Featured Comics.

Featured Comics Plugin/Widget

Featured Comic is a small sidebar widget that lets you scan a link category, then “feature” a random link inside of the specified category on the front page. Supports images, update times and rss-feeds for current links.

To use, set up your Link Category that you want scanned, create the link to the comics, including images, rss-feed, artist’s name in the Description field, and update times in the Notes field. Activate the Plugin, go to your widget controls and move the widget to where you would like it in your layout. Set the category you want scanned, select your options on what you want shown, and optional background image url and optional background color #code, hit save and your done.

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smudgedragon: watercolor of dragon cleaning its magic pearl (Default)
smudgedragon

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