Tag Archives: Blog

Major Downtime

The last couple of days have been frustrating for the Chiriquí Chatter Website.

The site has been up and down several times and I do not know what the problem has been.

However, it does show that I have mellowed over the last 11 1/2 years in Panama. When I first started blogging in 2003, if the site did not function, I stressed out. Now, I just say “if it is up it is up and if it isn’t then it isn’t.” Kinda like other things at my age.

I would feel better, if I understood the problem, but I am not going to lose any sleep not knowing.

For the loyal followers, if you want to know the current status of CC, you can view the Chiriquí Chatter Status Site.

Chiriquí Chatter Host Outage

Over the last several days, CC has suffered several periods of down time. As soon as I realize that the site is not up, I submit a trouble ticket. I also post a notification o the CC Status Site to indicate that I am aware of an outage and am working on fixing it.

This morning, when I got up CC was down and my monitor site showed that it had been down for 4 hours at the time I submitted a trouble ticket.

The CC Status site is designed to show the last 24 hours of operation and also acknowledge that the site is down if I am aware of it.

The total outage for July 19 was about 19 hours.

CC Outage Today

This afternoon CC was down for a little over 3 hours. My WebHost sets a Bandwidth threshold to prevent a hacked website from running wild. Since last December, this site’s traffic has grown at a very high rate. Linear, but still faster than in past months.

So far in March, CC has 2 1/2 times as much traffic as in December. I guess that is good news. I have no problem with my Host setting limits that are reasonable. I have been hacked before and it is better to catch it early.

In this case it appears it is just growth pure and simple. As soon as I contacted my host they upped the limit.

Thanks to those of you that took the time to send me an email. I normally know when the site is down, but I was away from the house when it went down.

In case you are interested, I do keep a status site where I record known problems. The first entry in the site shows the activity for the last 24 hours.

Information – Maybe Needed – Maybe not

I have noticed, from reviewing CC blog statistics, that some readers may not understand the link back feature in this and other blogs. For example, I noticed that on today’s post called Happy Valentine’s Day that only 1/5 of the readers actually read the poem.  When I write a post and it relates to another blog post, I will reference the other post. It may not be obvious to those that are not familiar with blogging or are new to the Internet.

An explicit reference might be written like this, Click HERE to read Chiriquí Chatter Blog Tips. The word Click followed by HERE leaves little doubt of what the reader should do. What may not be obvious is that HERE has different colored letters is because the word HERE contains a link back reference to the post on Blog Tips.  Notice that the cursor changes to a hand when it is above HERE.

If I always wrote “Click HERE” for a reference link, then it would be difficult to miss the other information. However, having to write those explicit instructions for each reference alters the way in which a post is read.

Because of that, I often just embed the link within the sentences and the words in a different color can be clicked to go to another area of the blog or another website. I probably do this more than explicitly writing Click HERE.

A good example might be posts I have done on restaurants. Many times I receive emails or comments on secondary restaurant posts asking for the directions to the restaurant. I try to post the directions to a new restaurant in the first post I write. In future posts, I don’t give directions, but somewhere in the post I will refer back to the original post which has the directions. Not only is it easier for me, but if the directions need to change, I have only one location to change and not multiple. Color me lazy.

The bottom line is if you see different colored words in a post, they probably are references to other related information. Often the information in the referenced post may be more important than the post it is being referenced by.

By the way, I recommend reading the comments and also commenting. Comments are your opportunity to share information related to the post. Comments improve any blog. My opinion or experience may be different than yours. Courtesy is always appreciated.

I prefer that the comment pertains to the post. If you want to tell me something not related to the post, don’t use a comment. My email is on the first page of the blog on the right side.

A Short Note About Hyperlinks

I discussed how a blog works in the Blog Tips Area.

However, as a result of the post, about my daughter and her approaching event, maybe I should make a special effort to clarify how I hyperlinks work so you will recognize them when I use them in posts.

Hyperlinks are used in blogs and many Internet media sources as a means of referring you to another article. When a hyperlink is in a blog post, you can recognizing it because it will be a different color. Sometimes it is obvious because I write “Click HERE”. Sometimes it isn’t. Not all different colored words are hyperlinks, but once you understand how I write, you will recognize them.

Often, if I visit a restaurant for a second time, I may refer back to the original post because that post has the directions to the restaurant. I am a bit lazy and don’t like to write the directions multiple times. Also, If I make a mistake, I only have to correct it in one place.

Wikipedia uses hyperlinks a tremendous amount. If you are not following the hyperlinks in many posts you will completely miss the end of the post or not understand anything about the post.

With that in mind, you may want to go back and reread my daughters announcement.

While I try to practice safe blogging, sometimes I am more careless than normal and I confuse a few of my readers. I guess you could say I impregnate them with the wrong idea. Sometimes it is on purpose because the devil made me do it.

A Milestone Reached

Actually the milestone was reached a long time ago, but due to changes in software, life changes and other restarts, this is the official milestone event for Chiriquí Chatter as recorded by WordPress. Whew! Too long a sentence, but I am excited.

Sometime today, Chiriquí Chatter will cross the 2 million (2,000,000) views boundary.

When I started this blog, in 2003, I did it to have an easy way for my kids in the U.S. to know that I wasn’t pushing up daisies yet. You know what I mean. It was a way to show that the ole dog still had a little howl left in him.

There was a period of time when the blog went into hibernation and even the ole dog wondered “what the howl” was happening. In 2005 CC came back online as .net since someone had taken .com that CC had been using.

It has remained up since then, well most of the time at least. Don’t want to tempt fate.

Depending on what is happening, CC is viewed by between 20,000 and 40,000 people a month. On average CC is getting more than 800,000 hits a month. Of course a lot of that is search engines and some idiots looking for a place to hack.

I still get a kick out of looking at the two maps on the right side of the page showing the locations of actual visitors. The first gives a little animated view showing where current visitors are. The second gives information on the distribution between countries.

When I was contemplating CC, I wrote this poem. It still fits.

Poems have always been fun for me and one of my favorite poems was a “TexMex Mexican Food Damn, I would like some right now!

CC has been and continues to be an important part of my life. My kids still know I am not pushing up daisies.

There have been several moments in CC that have really made me feel good.

I was trying to think what I consider the one post was that I look back on with the fondest memory. I have decided it was the one where I was able to connect a father with a son that he never knew he had. While I did remove the contents of the post, I did write a poem about it.

To those that have stuck with CC since the first, I thank you.

To those of you that just came today or recently, remember that the most important thing about this blog is your comments. I have always felt that the comments provide more information than the posts themselves.

Comments are also sort of like a report card. The more comments received, the better the grade.

As of today, CC is working on its three million visitor milestone.

Was It Really That Hard

I know many wonder why it took so long to get CC back on the air. Yes, I do take backups. With backups, it should be a rather easy task to just restore from a back up and go.

Well, apparently the initial break-in occurred several months back and then was activated just a few days ago. My backups showed that the infected modules were there also.

When I noticed that the problem had been here a while, I decided to take a longer look and find out my greatest source of security breach. I have several more things that I should do to harden my security, but I am going to work on that a bit at a time.

One thing I found out was that an old program (Coppermine) I had initially used to store photo albums was way out of date and was one entry into the system. I decided to remove it along with all of its contents. If you look at the album tab, you will no longer be able to see photos from 2003 to 2007. Continue reading Was It Really That Hard

Chiriquí Chatter is Back On-Line

OK. I believe we are ready to give this a shot. Sorry for the extended time offline. I am not through with my investigation, but I think it is worth seeing if the site will stay up.

If anything acts funny, or a particular post directs you to a foreign site, I would like to know about it.

As best you can, describe the problem you see and any post address that might appear to have a problem.

I think this has been the longest outage Chiriquí Chatter has suffered since it has been in existence. I am sure this won’t be the last attack, but, with each attack, I learn a little more.

Beware – Hackers At Work

Today, I got hit with a pretty significant HACK attack. The hackers changed several settings in the WordPress program. It forced me take the site down for almost two hours and to reset all passwords for my Host admin and for WordPress.

I found several WordPress programs that had been changed to direct readers to the hacker’s site. I think I have backed out all of the hackers changes and put the original code back in.

It is a dangerous world out there and the more hits a site has the bigger target it becomes. CC is not all that big, but I guess someone thought it was worth going after.

If you find anything that appears broke, let me know. I am hoping to go back to doing something I want to do now like get my new iPhone set up.

Blog Not Accepting Some Comments

I have had a couple CC readers write me and say that they have been unable to fill out the comment form. Since this has happened more than once and by more than one person, I have to believe this is a real problem.

Comments are coming in, so it is not an absolute problem. I have no problem entering comments and have done a couple tests using different browsers and all comments have been entered.

I have WordPress configured to hold all comments for new email addresses until I authorize them. After the first comment has been authorized, then all future comments will be displayed immediately.

I have to assume this problem is either a WordPress problem or a browser problem. To eliminate the possibility that it is a browser problem, you can try a couple things. One, you can try a different browser. If it works on the second browser, then it most likely a cache or cookie problem with the first browser.

To try it on the original browser, I would try clearing cache. You will have to search your browser’s options to see how to do that. You can google for cleaning cache on your browser and there will be help.

If that didn’t help, them try clearing cookies.

If it will not allow you to comment with a newly installed browser, I am stumped and open to suggestions from anyone who can comment.

Also, if you are having problems of not being allowed to comment, drop me an email so I can see how widespread the problem is.

UPDATE: It appears that all known problems have been resolved to Cache, Cookie or temporary problems. I only had three people notify me of real problems and those seem to have gone.

However, if you post a comment and it doesn’t appear I would still like to know. Remember that the first time you post on this site, the comment will be placed in a review queue. This is to prevent Bot Spammers from posting on the blog.