Website Is Secured, Cap’n!

One of the pesky things about having an author website is that you have to maintain the thing and keep it current. A couple of years ago, I wrenched mine out of the 1990s and into the ever-shifting “present” by abandoning the simple html pages that I mostly understood, and adopting a WordPress platform that I only kinda sorta understood. The thing is that the old version was not mobile friendly, which meant it was hard to read on a smartphone. The WordPress version is uber-friendly, and let’s face it, looks a lot better and is easier to read on anything except maybe an Atari or Apple II.

What I didn’t do, though, was make it a “secure” site, meaning among other things, having an “https” URL instead of “http” and having that “[padlock] Secure” thingy at the beginning of the address bar. I don’t do any commerce from my site, so I didn’t think it was necessary. But in this, as in so many other things, I was mistaken. Google really wants you to have a secure site, and you can take a hit in the search results by not having one. So… all right, all right, all right, I’ll do it already.

The process seemed pretty daunting at first, but it turned out I only had to make a couple of small changes in my WordPress dashboard, and another on my hosting server control panel, to make my pages appear as “https.” Getting the padlock, though—that was another matter. A tech support call to InMotion, my hosting company, netted the information that every image that appears on my website has to have an address that begins with src=”https instead of src=”http. That’s a lot of images! (A website called WhyNoPadlock.com was very helpful in diagnosing the issue, by the way.)

At first, I thought this meant I would have to upload all the images again and place each one back onto each page. Aaahh!!! But that turned out to be unnecessary. What I did have to do was edit each website page in code view and type in the “s” everywhere I found src=”http. That was it! Didn’t take more than five or six hours, tops. For some reason, it wasn’t needed on the blog posts.

In the course of doing this, I discovered that I had some pages way down on my menus that I’d never actually put the content into! Oops. (Workshops and TV Show, I’m lookin’ at you.) So I corrected that, too.

Bottom line: We’re done, we’re secure, we’re good to go! Condition Green throughout the ship!

Website Moving to a New Cave

Website Moving to a New Cave

This website, and its sibling site WriteSF.com, have moved to a new home in the land of internet things. My host for the last twenty or so years, SFF.Net, is closing its doors, sending all of its inhabitants scurrying for new caves. SFF Net has been a major fixture in the SF community for a very long time, and besides being great people, they were known to authors with websites as being the people who never slept. You’d email them with a tech support question at virtually any time of day or night, and would get an answer back usually within the hour, sometimes within minutes. Plus, for years, they hosted my writing course for free, because it was aimed primarily at kids and they liked to help kids. I’m going to miss those guys a lot. Thanks, Jeffry and Steve!

So, with sadness, I embarked upon the job of looking for a new host. I’ve landed at InMotion, who offered a great price and were very helpful in moving my site over. That happened just today. As of this moment, the site is loading verrrrrry slowwwly. I’m sure we’ll work out the problem; at least, I hope we will. WriteSF.com is not yet working on its new platform, but I hope to get that fixed soon, also.

If you’re seeing this page, we’re 90% of the way there. Wish me luck for the last 10%.

Update: The site is still loading slowly, but writeSF.com is now up and running just fine.

New Website—It’s Aliiive!

New website for Science Fiction Worlds of Jeffrey A. Carver

 

My new, completely revamped website has gone live, replacing the old one at this same address:

Hah! You’re already here! Most of the previous content is still here, but presented in a much more readable way, especially information about my books. It’s a WordPress site, and fully responsive, which means it’s friendly for viewing on smartphones and tablets, as well as regular computers. I hope you like it! If you have any problems, please let me know. (There’s an email contact form under Meet the Author.)

Thanks and kudos to Abigail and Brian McMurray for their expert work in setting it up!

My blog is moving here to stay, as well. In fact, this will likely be my last regular post on the old site at Blogspot. (Sniff. G’bye, Blogspot!) I’ll be keeping the old blog alive as a backup archive, but all my posts from there have been ported over here, as well.

At the moment, the Subscribe to Posts function at the bottom of the page is acting a little wonky, but I hope to get that straightened out quickly. (The RSS feed should be fine.) I hope you’ll all subscribe! (But if it doesn’t work, give it a day or two.)

See you here often, I hope!

New Web Site Coming!

Over the last few months, I’ve been working away in odd moments on a new project. That project is a complete revamp of my website! Oh yes, this has been a long time coming. My current site (www.starrigger.net) has existed in essentially the same form since 1996. That’s a long time in dog years and people years, and in web years, it’s practically geologic.

Time for a change, you think?

Actually, what drove me to it, beyond a nagging feeling for the last ten years that it really was time, was the relatively new importance of making websites mobile-friendly. Google made it crystal clear: If your site isn’t mobile-friendly (meaning, easy to read on a smartphone), you can expect to see your search rankings suffer.

And so, my lovingly homebrewed-html website that has served me for so long, prepare to be put out to pasture. Or into the Wayback Machine, if you will. It’s not too late to take a final look—the new site isn’t live yet for public viewing—but it will be soon. The new one will be at the same URL, but will be on the WordPress platform, and will be way easier to browse on a phone, and for that matter, on a computer.

This blog will move to the new platform and will be at the same address as the website: www.starrigger.net. (The existing blog content will appear there, as well.)

Here’s a sneak preview:

Look for an announcement soon!

Back, Live on the Web!

posted in: web sites | 0

Verizon has finally fixed the problem (fingers crossed!), and my websites are back on the air! Yay!

That’s the good news. The bad news is, Google is changing their search algorithms for searches made from smartphones, and web sites that are not optimized for mobile viewing are going to be severely demoted in the search rankings. Mobilegeddon.

Yeah, that would be me. This blog, apparently, is okay. But my author page and my writing course are both in plain html, and I don’t know how to optimize them without rebuilding them from the ground up. Yes, I have been meaning for years now to make a transition to WordPress, because that seems to be the way to go. But who has the time? I have a book to finish! Augh. 

I know this is something I need to do, anyway–probably by hiring someone to do it for me. But when? I just don’t know.

Websites Still Down, No thanks to Verizon

Both of my websites have been down since last week, thanks to Verizon botching an upgrade to the connection between them and my hosting service, SFF Net. This affects both my author website at www.starrigger.net and my online writing course at www.writeSF.com. If you click either of those links right now, you’ll get nada.

I am just one of a large number of authors affected by this, and other Verizon corporate customers as well. The fact that this has been going on for almost a week now gives you a pretty good indication of how well Verizon takes care of its customers. (But I’m sure our business is important to them!)

This means if you happen to be reading one of my ebooks, and you get to the end, and find a link to see “more ebooks by Jeffrey A. Carver,” you can click the link all night, but you won’t see bupkis except for error messages.

Repair updates continue to stream at https://twitter.com/sffnet, offering alternately hope and despair. 

Hosting sites like mine is SF Net’s business. They must be about ready to fall on their swords. Don’t, guys! We’ll get through this.

Verizon technical support

My Five-Minute Essay on Hello Horatio

Hello Horatio is a brand-new website featuring a lot of short essays on this or that, with the common thread being an interest in saying something personal about the deeper meanings of life, and generally sharing our stories. The name Horatio comes from the line in Hamlet: “There is more in heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy.”

The unstated (at least so far) goal of the site is to encourage open conversations among people of faith, of different faiths, of secular faith, or of no faith at all—in short, to quit worrying about how we label ourselves or each other, and to share what we think about things that matter. I chose to share why I find science fiction to be such an important way of thinking about life and my place in it. It’s called “A Fine View of the Universe,” and here’s how it starts…

“A few years ago, a new remake of an old TV show hit the airwaves and created quite a stir. The show was Battlestar Galactica, and its arrival in the form of a four-hour miniseries signaled a creative breakthrough…” [read more]

I was a little startled to see that my daughter also has a piece just up, called “A Car Accident Rescued Me from My Wrong Life.” It starts…

“I’m so glad I got hit by a car…” [read more]

Surely that should get your attention. Take a look at some of the other essays while you’re there. They’re all short, and pretty interesting.

Websites Down, with a Little Help from Verizon

posted in: web sites | 0

On the off-chance you’ve tried to look at either of my websites* in the last day or so, you were no doubt disappointed. They’ve been down, thanks to something Verizon did somewhere near Dallas, Texas. And they’re still down.
 *My author website at starrigger.net, or my free online writing course at writeSF.com.

My websites are hosted by SFF.Net, which for many years has provided reliable email and web-hosting at a reasonable price to a sizable chunk of the SF community. One thing I’ve always liked about SFF Net is that if you have a question or problem, you can shoot them an email and often have a friendly and helpful reply back within the hour. For many years, they’ve hosted my writing site for free or for a discounted price, simply because the course (nonprofit) is written primarily for kids, and they like to help kids.

SFF Net in turn is linked to the internet through its connection to Verizon. And when Verizon made some change without warning, all of SFF Net’s websites went down, too. Apparently it was a pretty drastic (and destructive) change, because almost two days later, they’re still down–while SFF Net waits for Verizon to provide needed technical assistance, allegedly sometime today. (They’re keeping us updated via their twitter feed.)

So thanks, Verizon, for being right there to help when you’re needed! Uh-huh. But seriously, thanks, SFF Net, for being such a great hosting service. Even when lumbering giants trample over all your good work.