We Now Return To Your Regularly Scheduled Program

Well, that was interesting.  Late last week, I started getting a flurry of emails, tweets and comments on Facebook letting me know the blog was down.  Naturally, I read these messages while I was working in downtown Nashville and couldn’t do much of anything to address the situation.

I called our internet provider later and was informed that the blog was suspended because someone was trying like crazy to hack it.  Can’t say I was too surprised.  Over the previous few days, I had received a bunch of the emails that are automatically generated when someone requests a password reset for WordPress.  If I don’t respond to the reset request, the password isn’t changed, so I didn’t worry about it.  But someone out in cyberspace obviously wanted to hijack the site.

It would be dramatic and self-flattering to assume I pissed off some dietitian or vegan group bent on revenge, but my guess is that it was some random jackass choosing a random site to hack.

Our internet provider cleared the suspended status and updated the site to the newest version of PHP, which (so I’m told) has better security.  That was the good news.  The bad news is that after the upgrade, the site looked like this:

I considered telling people it was my White Album phase, but thought better of it.  After several emails and back-and-forth phone calls, someone in tech support figured out that the blank screen was the result of my WordPress template being incompatible with the newest version of PHP.

Well, no surprise there either.  I chose that template in 2009 when I started the blog.  The tech guy looked up the template and told me the developer has long since abandoned it, and it’s not optimized for tablets and smart phones anyway.  Best just to choose a new one that’s still being supported.

So over the weekend, Chareva and I looked at various templates and chose the one you see now.  We were able to install it without any issues, but couldn’t get a header graphic to show up no matter how many times we tried uploading it.

Several hours and countless curse words later, Chareva found an article online that described a series of troubleshooting steps.  After following those steps, we finally got the header graphic (which is new, as you’ve probably noticed) to show up.

The remaining issue is traffic, as in we apparently get too much of it for the shared-server plan we have with our provider.  When we exceed the traffic limit, the site becomes unavailable until the traffic declines.  The tech explained that while it could be legitimate traffic, it could also be a case of the site getting hit over and over by robots.  He told me to download something called the raw traffic log and do some Google research on how to interpret it.

Yeah, way big fun, dealing with web stuff.  This is why after dabbling in web programming a few years ago, I decided I’ll never, ever become a web programmer.

Anyway, we’re back up … more or less.

 

 

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47 thoughts on “We Now Return To Your Regularly Scheduled Program

  1. Dianne

    Welcome back. It’s a handsome header graphic, but truly, if I were to come upon it “cold” I might conclude that this is a site for kids and not explore it much.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      That’s something to consider. I’ll see what my artist thinks.

      (Update …)

      Chareva thinks you make a good point. We appreciate the constructive criticism.

      Reply
      1. Michael

        I agree about the New header, not much to catch a newbies eyes or interest. Not being able to see the posted date of the blog entry until I open it is kind of a put off as I follow you consistently and scan the date on your entry page to determine if the post is newer, Thanks for all you effort Tom. It is much appreciated.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I’ll check the template settings. Some of what does or doesn’t appear can be configured.

          Reply
  2. Stephane Duchesne

    Well, look on the bright side, I think this update to the looks of the site is for the better! 😉

    Unfortunately, using WordPress is like painting a bullseye on your forehead and is sure to attract hackers. That’s the price to pay for ease of use I guess…

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      We were due for an update, especially since the old template wasn’t designed for tablets and phones. So in a way, the hacker did us a favor.

      I did some research on how to read the log, as the tech guy suggested. There were several hundred entries pointing to three IP addresses, with log details that indicated hacking attempts. I got those three blocked. I suspect there will be more in the future.

      Reply
  3. Kathy in OK

    I absolutely agree with Dianne. Those of us who are regulars don’t care what’s up there, we’re here for the content. But if you’re trying to reach an ever larger audience, that may not be the best choice. Sorry Chareva 🙂

    I really miss you when you’re absent – nice to have you back. Sorry you had to go through all that.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I shared the feedback with Chareva. She also agrees Dianne has a point about what message the graphic sends to newbies. So she’s rethinking it.

      Reply
  4. Firebird7478

    Now that that is sorted out…Why did the vegan cross the road?

    To tell a person on the other side that they are vegan.

    Reply
  5. Linda

    So glad to see you back, I don’t always agree with you politically but we’re certainly on the same page as to low carb eating, etc. In addition, was glad to learn it was your site and not my laptop giving me problems. I had another site giving me grief as well.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Well, it would have been more convenient for me if your laptop was the problem, but no, we had technical issues to work out. Still have one or two to go.

      Reply
  6. Chareva

    OK people, thoughts … is the new header still too childish? I’m trying to find the right balance between the site’s content (science, the farm, nutrition, humor etc.) and promoting the new book. Thanks for the feedback.

    Reply
      1. Kathy in OK

        Chickens, Yes! Where you’re talking about food (at least sometimes) dead things might turn off some of the queasier audience members. Just sayin’.

        Reply
    1. Kathy in OK

      Careful what you ask for 🙂

      IMHO ……

      Tom belongs in the center. After all, he started all this.

      Lying scientist doesn’t do anything for me, but I know the point you’re trying to make. Maybe the “load of bologna” below Tom’s pic makes the point?

      Maybe if you scale down the kid’s graphic it wouldn’t seem to overwhelm the header. It just seems oversize.

      The My Plate & Food Pyramid bother me. It’s just messy, like an odd-size font. Maybe each one separate with the red circle over it?

      You’d never know it from this reply, but I really do like your work.

      Reply
    2. Lori Miller

      I laughed out loud when I look at the header because I get all the references. I’m not sure if a new visitor would know what’s going on. It’s a picky point, but a sans-serif font might fit better with the rest of the lettering.

      Reply
    3. j

      Hello. I like the fathead logo (with Tom’s pic, and tag line below) on the left as you have it now. Also like the fathead kids book pic on the right as you have it. If possible, perhaps the book pic could be a separate link to your kids book section (http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/fat-head-kids-club/) .
      So, to me, the left and right look solid. However, the content in the middle (the 4 pics) is not working for me. Maybe to cluttered..? Perhaps something simpler or smaller would work. Perhaps nothing at all (for now). Or try removing the farm/trees photo, because I think the solid green banner really needs to span across the entire header background uninterrupted.
      You might consider having a separate link which shows farm pics and life. Maybe under an ‘about me’ listed under the ‘about the film’ link.
      Good luck

      Reply
  7. Keith Dick

    Mild criticism/complaint: I miss seeing the entire post on the home page.

    It’s not a big deal, but if you happen to be collecting opinions on that detail, there’s mine.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I prefer seeing the whole post as well. Chareva likes seeing several posts per page. I’d like to hear what other people think.

      Reply
      1. j

        Could also try, if using several posts per page, to allow a preview of an entire paragraph or two instead of only a couple sentences. Might be more engaging to visitors, especially new ones, and entice them to click the ‘read more’ button. :3

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Unfortunately, the summary view is what it is. I may just go back to showing the entire post. I preferred that, but thought Chareva had a point about seeing several recent posts on the first page.

          Reply
      2. Kathy in OK

        I prefer the whole post, but I’m here every day so that’s all I need. I go to the previous post to see any late replies, but that’s usually it for me. Didn’t the old format have a list of recent posts somewhere visible but not intrusive?

        Reply
      3. Ed R.

        When all is said and done, it’s the content that matters. Design wise, I think I’m with Chareva on this one.

        Reply
        1. Walter

          Unfortunately some people can be reasonably rational on all but one subject or a few subjects. Of course if there is money or social pressure involved most people can be hacked.

          I once translated “Cherche la Femme as “Follow the money”. One of my more literal correspondents had no sense of humor.

          Reply
  8. Renee

    Lots of “Truther” sites and natural news sites were hacked last week along with Twitter and YouTube channels being banned for “hate speech, malicious content, etc.”. Basically anyone not toeing the official “whole grains and vaccines” are good for us or #MAGA #Draintheswamp and #QANON

    Reply
      1. Walter

        Is not the standard dietician advice hate speech?! It certainly killing people in large numbers. It’s also genocidal in that it targets people who cannot handle carbs. This is actually genocidal because it targets phenotypes rather than cultural or social groupings.

        Reply
  9. Emi11n

    If you’re asking for artsy-fartsy opinions, I think the fathead logo(and your face) are too small. They should take up about a third of the banner and be the largest image because that’s what you want viewers to see first. I’d take out the picture of Marty metabolism because only habitual readers will know what he is.

    Reply
  10. Stephen T

    I think you’ve upset the vegan hackers!

    The comments appear at a much more convenient size for me to read.

    Reply

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