Techno Madness Woes – #WordPress Editor, #Facebook and Some Tips!

This is kind of a rant, but some good information for those of you who may be engaging with technical snafus yourself.

Mercury retrograde

 

I don’t know about you guys, but this Mercury Retrograde has been nothing but agro. Seems the tech gods are all over each other outdoing each other, overriding each other’s technology. And who pays for the madness, bloggers do for sure. I know about the tech snafus that have been plaguing me, and have heard the condemnations from others.

 

bitmo Tech update

 

I’ll begin with the ‘new’ Facebook layout – about hijacking my page as I knew it. And judging by the many bad reviews I’ve read along the way in my searches to ‘bring back the old Facebook’, I read lots of disgruntled complaints with others looking for their own fixes and sharing what works. About a month ago FB started their rollout of the ‘new’ and NOT improved FB. It’s stark white background. . . No, let me rephrase that – it’s blinding! Everything is moved around no headers show, and there is ‘apparently,’ an option where you can put the background in ‘dark mode’. But of course, when one day my FB screen suddenly went glaring white on me, I seeked help from a few writing friends who informed me they had the option to change the screen color. Nope, I didn’t, and after an hour of searching, I read that not everyone might get the screen option til later. Well, how about you leave my damn screen alone until you’re out of beta and forcing it on us? Just a thought. My eyes were sore after five minutes looking at the screen.

So naturally, I had to search for ‘there must be a way.’ I found a Chrome extension called Revert. I added it and presto! Old FB was back . . .until a few days ago. Then it was instant fade to white and the extension stopped working. After more searching around I found the alert Chrome had posted already saying that the extension won’t work anymore because FB has overriden the extension. But they left a hopeful message saying they were determined to come up with a fix. Waiting.

In the meantime, my gal pal Sally Cronin informed me about a little trick she’d been using to avoid the ‘white plague’. She discovered if you have a ‘group’ page on FB and you’re an admin on the page, and if you go to the page, there’s an offering to ‘go back to old layout’ for 48 hours. I’m on my 3rd – 48 hour refresher now, and Sally has been on it for weeks. We’re both hoping it keeps working until there’s a new fix.

Oh, and one more thing about FB – a notification popped up as my screen was morphing from old FB to shades of white, saying that by November 5th, FB will be taking away our titles on our ‘Pages’ – translation for authors – our author pages. So, our “Professional Skills”, will be removed from our Page. So what? Secret identities now? Lol.

 

If anyone wants to read the lowdown on all the tweaks Facebook has done, Lifehacker.com has an in-depth description with diagrams and all. 

 

Wordpress Woes

 

I’m self hosted, so I had – ‘had’ being the operative word, control over NOT changing over to WordPress Gutenberg Block editor. I added the ‘classic editor’ plugin when I heard ‘stirrings’ of losing the classic editor, so I WAS fine. But it’s like one guy’s technology must be superior to another’s again, like FB overriding Google Chrome’s ‘Revert’ extension, rendering it now useless. By keeping the classic editor, I had to find a fix for a temporary plugin to keep the other plugins playing nice until the code writer of my SEO program came up with new code to keep up with the WordPress big upgrade about a month ago. Crazy, and so much wasted writing time when you’re spending it Google searching instead.

And so yes, I’m stubbornly fighting off that new block editor, of which I have zero interest in learning. I just wish it wouldn’t keep interfering now with the way it will now no longer allow me to add line spaces. Yes. Our blogging freedoms seem challenged when we try not to conform.

I don’t have time to learn a new computer language. I’m already trying to learn proper Spanish (as opposed to the broken Spanglish I use in Mexico) using Duolingo, which I highly recommend btw, and that will be another post to come. But I digress, now, for my latesty discovery:

After the big WP update a few weeks ago, once again things weren’t working the same – mainly, my choice of line and paragraph spacing had evaporated. Lots of blogging friends have been complaining of weird shenanigans with their blogs lately. But the worst of it is putting together my Q & A interviews that won’t allow me to leave space  – and alas, I found the cure for adding my own spaces – two dots and white font!

After surfing around for fixes for hours one night, I discovered an easy fix for spaces. There were various methods offered that required code, and I’m not even going there. And finally I learned why I could no longer space my articles out the way I choose, it’s because of some glitches where the ‘new’ WP block editor is treating my writing page as though there are invisible assigned blocks. Kind of like it’s trying to bust in on my classic editor.

Say what? Enough of this crap! I took the easy fix – the one for laymen learning – hit enter at the end of a line then type in 2 periods – like this:  .. Then highlight the 2 dots and change the font to white (not purple like I’ve shown for demo purposes). Then hit enter and voila! A line space created. Want another line? Do the exact same thing. And it is for all these incidents and more that I highly recommend everyone PREVIEW your blogs before you post them. Amazing the funky things that show up NOT, like line spaces I have to fix – and of course, add lines.  Example again:  2 dots .., highlight them in white .. now they won’t show but they’ve taken up a line. Hit enter and repeat til your heart’s content.

Just Sayin'

 

And a word about word . . .

Word pisses me off. Every year they update the version and make it worse than it was the year before when it was already worse from the year before that. Microsoft, PLEASE stop changing the ribbon!

Okay, I’m done now. Thanks for listening to me rant as this mercury mania takes over my life. And I hope my findings may help someone else.

 

*I’ve added a note here to the original post. I wanted to mention to fellow bloggers that WordPress has also been hiding SOME blogs I follow regularly. First I thought, maybe a few have taken a week off, but no, they haven’t. I just popped over to the WP Reader and clicked on some of the blogs I follow but aren’t getting notified about. It seems WP has taken the liberty to ‘unfollow’ some of my favorite blogs! I’ve just re-followed. Check the reader for blogs you aren’t receiving notifications for and reset them!

 

Got a Facebook or WordPress woe you’d like to share?

 

©DGKaye

bitmo live laugh love

 

Updates to my Technical Madness and the Writing Muse

Well, it’s been an interesting week. After 2 weeks ago’s fiasco with my  burning through two laptops in one week and working on an old desktop clunker, I was elated to receive my new laptop a week earlier than promised! Woohoo! I’m on it now and what a wonderful feeling to be able to open a new page in lightning speed, rather than having to steam while waiting and wasting precious minutes for each new tab to open.

 

I’m so grateful for my new laptop, but it’s far from easy sailing yet. As we all know, setting up a new computer is like setting up the interior of our homes once we’ve newly moved in, and of course, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t create my own problems.

I made the HUGE mistake of loading my Dropbox onto the new machine before downloading my old computer’s files on with my backup disk. After downloading everything, there were 1000s of photos and files RE-downloaded into Dropbox where my storage space is very sacred. Let me tell you how NOT Fun it’s been spending my entire weekend doing delete, delete, delete as I went through every single file – worse than cleaning, even vacuuming!

Because the duplicate files weren’t enough in Dropbox, I found them in my documents, photos, even download files, taking up valuable storage space. OYE! What a mess! From the crash to setup, it’s been a royal nightmare. But it’s done now and I feel great having that same feeling I get when I get a new car, because, of course for us writers, having a functioning computer is like having wheels!

One caveat that didn’t thrill me about my new laptop, Microsoft has a great habit of taking over our computers. They also have a steep price tag for all their Surface laptops. I was royally pissed to discover that this NOT cheap machine has zero places of extra storage – no Micro SD card slot! It also is chinzty with minimal USB ports.

Now that I spent the weekend deleting, my mission is to find a way to get my stored files off my old SD card that was in my broken laptop. Sadly, the old laptop has caught the black screen of death pandemic so I can’t transfer to anywhere! My only option at the moment is to take out the SD card in my tablet and slide the one from my old laptop into there and see what I can do from there. Any other ideas would be much appreciated in comments.

On the upside of things, while searching for my Word doc folders, I came across the file for another book I’d planned to write 2 years ago, but because it’s humorous, and I wasn’t into writing a humorous book with it not being the best of times, I abandoned it and wrote another book, the one I’m now back to revisions in. I didn’t realize I’d written half a book already, lol. I started reading some of the stories, and I was cracking up at myself (is that a bad thing?), lol, which inspired me to start writing for that book again while in revisions for my upcoming one. I did that before – wrote 2 books simultaneously – Words We Carry and MenoWhat? -A Memoir. I don’t know about some of you writers, but I find it difficult to write in humor if I’m not feeling the love.

Thanks for following me on my Schleprock ride through technology.

 

©DGKaye2020

bitmo live laugh love

 

Technical Update – #WordPress – #Microsoft Hijacked my Laptop

Hello blogging friends, I just wanted to share my grievance with you. As many of you who visit here know, I try to read as many blogs as I can fit in every evening. I’m having a temporary problem with blogs these days – with ‘liking’, some sharing, and some to even write a comment. It seems the full moon once again has caused me SEVERAL  technical issues. Here’s the lowdown:

Early last week, my beloved Windows Surface finally stopped playing nice with me. Thanks to the hijacker Microsoft hijacking my laptop into forced updates that wouldn’t fit in my disk space left, and TOTALLY IGNORING the 50 gigs I have available on micro SD card, the gears wouldn’t stop spinning and wouldn’t even turn off. It’s been giving me trouble for a few months now and I’d been trying to hold out for end of August school sale prices to purchase another. So in the meantime, I pulled out another old Asus laptop I had and planned to use that until end of August. But after 2 days of using that one, I got the black screen of death and toasted that one too.

On Friday, after Thursday night’s blowout, I started my search for a new laptop (again the new Surface), only to find they were sold out everywhere in various stores in my vicinity, so I had no choice but to order online (grateful to find it on sale too) and have it delivered (usually a 2-day deal), and was told it would be delivered August 5th. This came as no surprise to me seeing as every store is sold out, which I attribute to Covid and moms and teachers buying up better quality computers, as well as students, seeing as this is the only way to stay connected to loved ones and the world and reliability with a better machine.

So, plan C while waiting is to work on my very old Dell desktop, which has given me nothing but grief. It doesn’t recognize any passwords, takes 5 minutes to load a page, and the grief goes on. This desktop also does not play nice with WordPress. I’ve lost the ability to ‘like’ your posts, and in some cases, I can’t use the share buttons, and for some self-hosted and WP premium plan blogs, I can’t even comment and I can’t retrieve notifications unless I go to someone else’s blog and click on the WP reader. I also have a tablet which I try to use in the evenings so I’m not secluded from the TV at night and it seems my tablet is possessed and turns on and off at random will and won’t load some blogs. OYE!

This desktop clunker is a back-breaker for me to sit at all day too. And don’t even get me started as I’m in the middle of revisions for my newest book and this clunker has an old version of Word on it that chooses to screw up my documents. I’m trying my best to use the old version to write posts on, but I don’t dare ruin my manuscript, so once again, I cannot work on my book until the new laptop arrives.

Out of curiosity, I emailed support to find out the exact day of delivery, as I discovered in fine print that my laptop will be delivered between August 5th an 14th!!!! I emailed them to beg for early release and was told it won’t be sent til August 14th!!!!! So I am screwed! Personally, I don’t even think this clunker will live that long. So I wanted to give you all a heads up in case you think I’ve abandoned your blogs, or I’m not reading them because you may see no likes or comment. Some of you have mentioned to me that you too were having problems commenting on my posts. For this I am sorry. I have done my best to fix what I can, but because my machine is acting prehistoric, I’m out of ammo. So please bear with me and know, if you don’t see me, I’m still around.

I think as an empath, and as my Fey sister Colleen Chesebro refers to me as an ‘energy witch’, I’m accumulating wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to much technical energy. What I really need is a technical break, and if this desktop dies out on me, that’s what I’ll be doing. Ironically, my trusted mobile phone still allows me to be on FB (hope I don’t curse it).

So, just know, I’m still here and fighting the tech gods daily. Thanks for putting up with craziness you may encounter on my blog.

©DGKaye

Duh!

 

Felony or Flattery? #Copyright Infringement and Content Scraping

I had a couple of non-fun-filled days chasing down copyright thieves. It seems to be a rampant thing these days as quite a few of us writers share with each other when we spot an author friend’s books for sale – somewhere they shouldn’t be.

 

Hugh Roberts mentioned in a post last week about finding his book on a site KissLibrary dot net and shared that he sent them a DMCA (the old cease and desist letter or further action would follow). No, I’m not going to highlight a link to them and give SEO the pleasure. Hugh informed me he saw all of my books for sale there too. Interestingly enough I could not find my books there and nothing came up when I put my name in the search bar. I commiserated with Hugh through email and he took a screenshot of the page where my books were, yet I couldn’t see them. I FBI’d the site for a contact to send a DMCA, and found it down at the way bottom of the page in small print, filled out the form and sent it off, but not before I did a little more sleuthing.

Their address was proudly listed on their front page – somewhere in Alberta, Canada. Was that why I couldn’t see my books but others could? Because I’m Canadian? I needed to dig a little further. I Googled up Domain Tools and clicked on the WHOIS, to look up the site owner. There I discovered a wealth of information, then copying the IP address and typing that into the IP Addresslookup  and found this little setup is actually  run from Russia!

It wasn’t so easy to send my notice because we have to include the links to the infringed material we’re accusing of stealing – Links I couldn’t see. So I got my Fey Sister, Colleen, to go to the site and type in my name. Sure enough she saw all my books for sale, but there was no way when I went to that link that I could see them! Well . . . I guess they didn’t know who they were dealing with.

Colleen clicked on each of my books at a time and copied each link to each book and pasted and sent to me. I had my back up evidence! I could see them listed individually. By the next day, my books were removed without even a reply from them.

That event took up half my day, then I proceeded to Google myself and found another site selling my books. That one was Thriftbooks dot com. There they were my books for sale. I’ve been told this is a resale site for our books. I personally, don’t appreciate seeing my books on a thrift resale site. This site was even trickier to find a contact person, but I’d learned from my investigations that if I can’t find the owners, I can send my complaint to the Host of the server. I went through the WHOIS again, which led me to find GoDaddy was their host. I then proceeded to the GoDaddy page and clicked on the bottom of the page “report abuse’ and filled out the form there and sent it off.

Oh, the day didn’t end there. About an hour after sending out notices, Colleen sends me a link to tygpress.com where many of us bloggers have our blogs stolen and displayed in plain day! The site is called tygpress.com.

If you find your blog posts violated on that site, this is where you need to go and report (many of us have already done the WHOIS search on them). Below is the link where anyone can send  a DMCA notice to.

https://www.digitalocean.com/company/contact/#abuse

 

BUT . . . before I could get this post out, it seems enough bloggers complained because as of yesterday afternoon . . .

Update: I found this on tygpress – now a 404 page apologizing for harvested content. I guess all the complaints really do work!

 

About free books 

Colleen, Hugh, and myself have come to the conclusion that the way these sites steal our books and sell them on their sites is when we give our books away on free promo. Both Colleen and Hugh found their only books pirated were the ones they ever put on free. As for me, I’ve had all my books on free at some point over the years, hence, all my books have been pirated on various sites.

Stealing an artist’s work is not right, it’s not legal, and it’s quite frankly disgusting. Like everything else in life, if we don’t stand up and speak out and call out the thieves, they will continue to get away with these copyright crimes. It’s important that we take a stand, call out these pirates publicly and send forth DMCA letters to have our work removed from the offending sites. Like I mentioned above, if a site doesn’t offer a link to fill out a DMCA, then we must go investigate the site owner through the WHOIS. It’s also a good idea to fill out Google alerts with our book’s names so that Google can send us alerts when they spot something with our names listed, so we can investigate.

In the meantime, I’m still waiting for replies from the DMCA notice I sent out to the thrift site, but I’m going to share some interesting links you can check out on how we can best try to protect our copyrights:

 

How to protect your blog from being copied

http://www.blogtipsntricks.com/2014/07/protect-your-blog-from-being-copied.html

 

How to find out if your blog is being ‘content scraped’

https://neilpatel.com/blog/content-scrapers/

 

Is your blog being ‘harvested’?

https://iidorun.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/please-read-your-blog-may-have-been-harvested/

 

 

I came across this helpful blog on how to file a DMCA

https://www.whoishostingthis.com/resources/dmca/

 

 

Hugh’s recent post includes information on what he discovered, and he’s included some helpful links to sleuth out copyright criminals in his post

https://hughsviewsandnews.com/2019/07/29/5-things-i-discovered-during-my-blogging-break/

 

Here’s more info on tygpress, it seems Godaddy was a previous host and now digital ocean seems to be the current host.

https://statuslite.com/domain/tygpress.com

 

One blogger even went so far in his post to create an image he began adding to every one of his posts so that when they were infringed and showing on tygpress, this image would display on the post. He kindly offered any bloggers to help themselves to copy and save the image. (I had planned on adding this to each of my posts, but gratefully, the site has been taken down.

 

 

copyright infringement

 

 

If you Google ‘tygpress dot com’ you will find a slew of blogger’s recent posts writing about and warning of this infringing site. All one had to do was type in their name or blog name and I saw so many of friend’s posts there.

It’s difficult to keep abreast on all the thievery going on in our cyber world, but one thing that’s helpful is making sure your copyright notice stands out on your page. I have moved up my notice on my top side bar and also including at the bottom of my posts now. For the not so daring infringers, these blatant notices may help to deter them – somewhat.

Please be proactive and Google yourselves every once in awhile. If we don’t stop this thievery on infringement one at a time, these infringers will continue to steal our work. And if you come across any suspicious sites, be a buddy and share on your blogs to give others a heads up.

 

Do you have anything to share with us here about anything suspicious you’ve come across?

 

©DGKaye

Copyright
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