The webcomics blog about webcomics

Did I Say In Transit? I Meant Twelve Hours Of Being Jerked Around By The Travel Gods

I particularly enjoyed the post-midnight my time dressing down by the ancient (dude seriously looked like he was in his late 70s) flight attendant when I asked a question that he deemed impertinent. I bet he’s practiced that Respect ma authoritah speech in his head daily for the past five decades. And then when I got to my final airport, I still had a 45 minute drive to the hotel nearest the client location, in fog, on a night with lightning arcing overhead, on a route that the GPS assured me was completely normal but which for one memorable stretch lacked pavement¹.

So while I wait for my brain to adjust and these calories I was finally able to obtain to actually work their way into my system, some quick notes for you.

I got an email last week asking if I knew what was up with the suddenly missing Bug Martini by Adam Huber; it wasn’t just the person that wrote in, it was down for everybody and they feared Cartoonist Suddenly Disappeared meant something dire — quitting to herd sheep, abducted by lizard people, the possibilities are pretty much endless when it comes to cartoonists that go dark unannounced.

A quick run by Huber’s twitterfeed revealed something rather more prosaic (and frustrating):

@BugMartini Just a heads-up: Seeing some DB errors on your site.

Yep. Thank @bluehost . They can not keep my site running and support has been no help at all.

At this point I just want my site to be up long enough to tell everyone to just read my strip on Instagram or Twitter.

Owning your own website sucks. I’m spending tons of money to have a site that constantly goes down.

While other cartoonists like @SarahCAndersen wisely use multiple social media platforms that are far more stable and free.

Huber’s got a point about the state of infrastructure for webcomics in the modern day, although there is a counter: when you get free services, you’re the product and you have no say over things. The Patreon clusterfucks (plural) of 2017, the massive overreactions in the wake of FOSTA/SESTA of services companies to disassociate themselves from anything that might even hint of adult content, and the like means that they aren’t the panacea some might see them as.

But then again, if you are jerked around by a free service, at least you aren’t paying for the privilege:

And now @bluehost has suspended my account while the person I hired was working on fixing it. Wonderful. Website ownership is so fun.

I hired someone to fix my website. I’ve been trying all morning to get Bluehost to just ALLOW her access to my site so she can fix it.

It seems that Huber’s host is one of about 80 that have been (mostly quietly) bought up by a holding company and which are subsequently shifted to a business model of grab up everybody you can and if some go down, oh well. After some tech problems I had in the past year, I was not entirely surprised to see my host (at the time) on that list; my favorite part of them was when you click the link in your account to get a contact number they direct you to a page with no contact information (other support click sequences lead in a circle).

So yeah, not a surprise that a lot of people are (or are heavily considering) shifts to a Tumblr infrastructure, which means that a clever coder could offer a service to get around the biggest obstacle — migration. The inability to trust any infrastructure you don’t entirely control yourself means that what we consider to be an archive may be in for some shifts.

Or, again, an opportunity. I happen to know about some trusted folks within the community that are brainstorming a new solution for back end — hosting, CMS, and more, built to the specs of people that have done this for a looong time. As one of the principals told me, tell you soon as I’m getting paid.

Spam of the day:

Do DlRTY things to me, #xksql

The picture of the young lady that accompanies this spam is on all fours and, as Randal Graves once observed, I think you can see her kidneys! But what caught my eye is that random tag that uniquifies the subject line: #xksql. Now I’m pretty sure that whoever sent this is really into another Randall mis-using the Structured Query Language in hot, hot ways.

¹ I think GPS needs an option besides Fastest and Shortest and Avoid Tolls, namely If I Crash On This Road And Am Dying Somebody Will Discover Me Before Next Week.

While I am on my famed French lunchtime break, I will add that while Tumblr fancies itself a social media site, they allow you to use your own domain. So while they can jerk you around to some extend (Tumblr has had its porn crackdowns too, for instance), at least you’re no longer in charge of making sure your site’s software is up to date or responsible for securing your site in general, you benefit from a shared infrastructure that can absorb traffic peaks, etc. … and all the while they are not in control of your audience since the domain name can redirect to a new host of your choosing at any time. And it’s free (modulo domain name registration fees, of course).

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