The revival of mirabilis.ca

So, there were no new posts on mirabilis.ca for rather a while.

I’ve been thinking that I’d like to return to blogging regularly, and have been debating between starting a new blog or reviving this one. First I set up a new blog, but didn’t make it public; it was locked down and I was the only one who could see its content. I posted stuff there for a while, as a test. Would I find things I wanted to blog? Would I get into a blogging habit again? Yes and yes, as it turns out.

While thinking about a new blog vs this one, I posted The current mystery of mirabilis.ca – partly to ask a question about some hacker’s attempt to break in here, and also to see if any of you were still around.

Well, bless you. Some of you patient people have kept mirabilis.ca on your RSS feed list all this time. Thank you to Dennis, Marja-Leena, Todd, Bananabob, Mal, and Nancy for commenting on that post.

So I’ve decided to revive this blog. I’ve imported the test blog posts I wrote in that other place, which is why there is content here with dates in May – yet posts you haven’t seen before. If you’re interested, take a look at the May 2015 archives, or just scroll down the main page of the blog until you get to something you’ve read before.

I’ve restored the contact form, and will probably tweak a few things here and there.

If you’re only interested in one kind of content (history and archaeology, say), remember that you can browse by category (see sidebar links) or subscribe to the RSS feed for whatever category of posts you like.

And so! On we go.

The current mystery of mirabilis.ca

A strange thing has been happening with this blog: somebody is trying really hard to break in. Every day there are far too many attempts from a wide range of IP addresses. I’ve taken a number of steps to reduce the number of login attempts that are even possible. But what I wonder is…. well, why?

I run other WordPress sites, but none are targeted the way this one is. My best guess is that some hacker is looking for a site that has been around for a long time, and seems not to be active. So, hacking such a site would mean the ability to put up a bunch of content that would seem legit to a search engine, and maybe the blog owner wouldn’t notice at all. Does that sound logical? Do you have any better theories?

At any rate, I thought I’d see if having a recent post – this one – would make the site less attractive to the hacker who has targeted it. Maybe if it’s clear that this site hasn’t been abandoned after all….?

It’s been years since I’ve posted much here. I’m thinking of changing that and blogging regularly at mirabilis.ca, but it’s still a matter of some debate for me. For one thing, would any of my old readers even notice? Does anybody check in here anymore? Is mirabilis.ca on anybody’s RSS feed?

Monster icons in the comments

(See update at the end of this post.)

A while back I mentioned that Mirabilis.ca supports gravatars: if you’ve created a gravatar image, it will magically appear next to your name when you post a comment here, or on any other gravatar-enabled blog. That’s why there’s a flower beside every comment I post: that’s my gravatar. (For now, anyway. I’ll probably change my gravatar one of these days.)

So what happens if you post a comment and you don’t have a gravatar? Until now, a mystery man image has been representing you.

Well. That’s awfully boring, so now we’re using monsters instead. If you don’t have a gravatar, a monster image will be auto-generated for you, based on your email address. That way you all ought to have monsters of your own. Want to see your monster? Post a comment here, and your monster will show up.

If you like your monster, you’re set. If you don’t like your monster, go create a gravatar, and then your gravatar will replace your monster.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

Update, June 2015: Mirabilis.ca no longer uses gravatars. Or monsters, for that matter. The monsters may return one day, but I’m less keen on gravatars. I don’t like some of the things that gravatar.com does in terms of user privacy, that’s why.

Back soon

We’re going off on a little adventure, and will be away until Monday or Tuesday. If there isn’t any new content here in the next few days, assume that I can’t find a free wifi connection, or that I’m just too slothful to blog when away from home.

In the meantime, please enjoy this amazing video of a crab riding a giant jellyfish. I wonder if the crab wanted to be there and loved the ride, or if it was all a terrifying mistake.

Mirabilis.ca RSS feeds — working ok now?

Today Todd added a comment to a recent Mirabilis.ca post, Just so you know. Todd wrote:

I’m having trouble receiving any RSS feeds for anything after this post. Has anything changed?

Well, yes — a few days ago I upgraded to the latest version of WordPress. After reading Todd’s comment, I went off and checked the RSS feeds for Mirabilis.ca, and found that most were totally broken. Argh. Sorry about that.

Anyway. I think I’ve fixed it all now. The following RSS feeds should work fine:

Are these feeds working ok for you now?

(For those of you who don’t know what RSS is about, here’s an introduction.)

Re-arranging the site

You may have noticed that things are somewhat scrambled around here. Some things are worse: I’ve lost the entire archives from January 2006-2007. Argh! Some things are better, though — perhaps you’ve noticed the odd new feature here and there?

At least I have the pleasure of cancelling my account with Dreamhost, where I used to hosted this site. That’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time.