I won’t be at Worldcon (and other updates)

It’s time for Worldcon and this year it’s in San Jose, just down the road. While I haven’t gone to a Worldcon in many years, I thought this might be one to get to, especially since two of the GOH’s are some of my favorite authors (and people): Spider Robinson and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.

Then, a few weeks ago the Con Committee did a few stupid things in a short period of time, and justifiably got yelled at by many, including me. They reacted very appropriately, though, and accepted help to fix the programming problems, and I think they handled it about as well as possible, excluding not making the mistakes in the first place, which, well, happens.

But I’ve decided I’m skipping Worldcon this year, for a simple reason: time. I’ve been in a big time crunch juggling multiple projects at once, and I am finally surfacing from all of that, but I still needed to make a decision: do I go to Worldcon, or do I grab my camera and go out and take some photos and go birding?

Cameras and birds won. So if you’re hoping to see me at Worldcon, sorry. Please enjoy it and the San Jose area. I’d like to be there, but I only stretch so far, and I haven’t used the camera in literally months. Time to get back on that horse.

Vacation coming

I’ve hinted about this on Twitter, but Laurie and I have scheduled a trip, and I’m sure this surprises you, we’re headed into Oregon. It’ll be after Labor Day (but hopefully before the rain closes in), and we’ll be making stops in Newport, Astoria, Portland (so we can travel the Gorge and visit Ridgefield NWR) and then home through Klamath Falls, so can do some pre-scouting for a possible trip this winter. If you’re in that area and want to try to get coffee or something, let me know and we’ll try to figure it out…

The estate work is done!

As most of you know, my mom passed away in 2015 and I was named executor of her estate. Her lawyers and I estimated it would take us about a year to clear out all of the details. That, unfortunately, didn’t happen. But I’m happy to say that we finally have finished it up and everything is done.

We ran into a glitch, that involved a 20 year old typo, a failed bank, a CD with the wrong name on it, and a current bank that happily admitted to what should be done but also unwilling to actually do it until forced, we spent almost two years trying to get one of the saving’s accounts unlocked and dispersed. We finally did, but not until after hiring more lawyers, taking a petition to the court, and having a judge declare me as the proper person to be handed the money. Which, after getting the court order, they finally did, but not without a bit more discussion about whether to honor the court order they told me to go get. Fortunately, sanity won and the money has been released and disbursed to the proper people.

I’m not going to mention the bank involved, mostly because I’ve got mixed thoughts on this: I fully understand the hestitation to make special exceptions even when you know that’s what ought to happen; but I’m also frustrated that someone well up the management chain wasn’t willing to push the button and get it done. Although in fact, a bunch of people at the bank wanted to, but literally two or three people in the approval chain wouldn’t and couldn’t be persuaded. So it took us 18 months and a few thousand dollars to get a piece of paper telling them to do what they knew should be done. Oh well. I also realize this was a really weird case that I’m not sure is fair to tell people to avoid the bank, because it’s really, realy unlikely to happen to anyone else; part of the problem was the chain of things that happened really was something nobody at the bank had ever seen before, and that complicated finding solutions.

And, from what I can tell, if you count up all of the man-hours the bank spent arguing with itself about the problem and figure out everyone’s billable hours, the internal cost to the bank in lost manpower fighting among themselves cost them well beyond the actual amount in the account. So they actually cost themselves a chunk of money by being unwilling to solve the problem easily. For me, that’s enough karma.

But now it’s done, all the paperwork is in a box in the garage, the lawyers are paid, and I don’t have to worry about it any more. And that makes me happy, and one reason why I’d rather not turn this into a thing online that might create other stuff I have to worry about. It’s just time to move on. (That said, the bank is well aware that all of this investment money was moved out of their grasp to other institutions, so they’ve lost that business – even though I continue to use them as my consumer bank, where the amounts are small enough to not worry about doing that to someone else next time…)

Fixing broken links

Having completely scraped to the bare walls and rebuilt from scratch my Smugmug site, rebuilding it as a “pure” portfolio site, there’s a side effect to doing that. Every freaking picture on every freaking blog post on every freaking page of the blog died, because a side effect of the rebuild meant every image URL changed. That means I needed to find and fix (or delete) every single one of those links on every page on the blog.

When I fired up my link tester (I use Integrity, and quite like it) the number of broken links on the site was – a bit over 600.

Guess what I did over the weekend?

The total number of broken links on the site as of today? Zero.

But I do have to say that the grind of updating all of that is not how I prefer spending my weekends, but… it’s done and I don’t have to think about it again.

The things I do for all of you so that you don’t run into things like blog postings with broken images. But you’re worth it.

Screwing up your search presence

And speaking of finding out you’ve broken stuff, while I was working on all of this, I realized I’d created a problem for myself – at some point I made a change so that the site represents itself as chuqui.com instead of www.chuqui.com (although both work), and I realized that this was a problem, because the Google search system and their webmaster registration setup still thought it was www.chuqui.com, which messes up how Google ranks pages and decides which ones to prioritize in organic search results.

Which I think explains why I’ve been seeing my organic search traffic dropping the last few months, until it’s more or less hit zero, and why was a complete mystery to me, until this weekend.

So I got to spend a couple of hours sorting this all out and updating all of the info in the Google systems, and now I think it’s correct, and now, I hope, the search engine will start thinking fondly of me again, and bringing random strangers to my site again to read the wonderful and educational stuff I’ve written here.

oops. but it’s funny how what seem to be simple decisions can have weird and major side effects you never think of…

(update, 8/14/18 mid-afternoon: yup. I got notice from the Google that the site was now being registered into search, and I’m already seeing organic search traffic starting to hit the site again. I clearly shot myself in the foot via good intentions here)