What happened to this blog? Where’s the Duck Pond?

It’s too complex and bizarre a story for me to tell you all right now. Let’s just say that yesterday I was all set to shut down this blog for good because I was told all the old files with their comments had been corrupted. Luckily, this blog’s original designer, Sekimori, politely informed me that this was incorrect, and promptly helped me restore things to normal. Unfortunately, the Duck Pond was apparently zapped and I think we’re going to have to start over on that one. All my posts from the past 20 days or so are gone, but I wasn’t posting much anyway so I can deal with that. The thought of my having lost three years of work, with all those links I have out there, gone up in smoke… Suffice it to say I feel as if I’ve been to hell and back this week.

Meanwhile, it looks like I’ve been saved, and the site will survive. And to those who liked the wordpress site that was up for a few days, all I can say is that it wasn’t me. I had no inclination to post there, I felt no inspiration. You have no idea how close I was to pulling the plug on the entire thing.

Sekimori is upgrading this site and putting in the spam controls to keep it going. I can’t thank them enough for their responsiveness and professionalism. I still have the flu and things won’t be back in full swing for a little while longer. I’ll try to get the Duck Pond up and running again soon, but we’ll have to start it from scratch. This site will also have its own comment registration system, so I’m afraid you’ll have to re-register. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how this system works, and it might take a day or two for comments to be back up and running. (Working now.)

Thanks for bearing with me. After a full week of no posting and no activity, I’m proud to say my site traffic is at the lowest level of the past two years. Let’s hope we can build it up again.

The Discussion: 31 Comments

Comment test.

March 17, 2006 @ 8:32 pm | Comment

It worked. Thanks.

March 17, 2006 @ 8:38 pm | Comment

What a saga. So many ups and downs. Well, this format is prettier. Don’t fret about the site traffic richard, when you feel up to posting articles, the readers will return in their usual droves.
Hope you’ve recovered properly too.

March 17, 2006 @ 11:36 pm | Comment

you could get those posts back via google’s cache. i just looked here:

and there’s stuff going back to feb 27. yeah, you’d have to do a bunch of copy & paste and/or retyping, but it might be worth it.

regardless, i’m glad your problems are over. [crosses fingers]

March 18, 2006 @ 1:52 am | Comment

Glad to see things back ๐Ÿ™‚

Can I make a suggestion? Backup all your data. Now, and every few months. It’s very easy with just about any blogging setup (just dump the database to a file). I’m sure the guys who got your blog back can do it trivially easily for you.

Once you’re backed up the nightmare scenario it seems you nearly suffered can’t happen. I can only imagine how precious your 4? years of posts (and comments) is to you – you really should protect it.

All the best, David.

March 18, 2006 @ 2:45 am | Comment

Took about 5 minutes to sign in; not sure what the problem is, but at the time I’m confused about how many working siters you have Richard.
In the meantime, can anyone tell me if it’s true that all DVD shops in Beijing are closed because of something called the “National Day for Reporting Fake Products”? If that day has passed, why are they still closed? I was screwed at school because of this nonsense.

March 18, 2006 @ 2:57 am | Comment

Keir, you are now the second one oin China to have trouble with this system – I’m really sorry about that. I know WordPress is better and easier, but as I say in the post, I can’t just give this up.

I now have only one site, this one. Someone who was helping me with IT set up the other site to replace this one, but I wasn’t ready to do that, so this is it. The BBS was accidentally deleted and I am looking for someone to help me reinstall it, as I have the touch of death when it comes to IT.

One commenter in China wrote and told me he can’t get into the comments, that typekey sends him around in circles. If anyone can help him out, please share. Thanks.

March 18, 2006 @ 3:07 am | Comment

I am in China and had no trouble wending my way through the Typekey set-up exercise. I could not use my old name because this system doesn’t allow spaces.

March 18, 2006 @ 4:36 am | Comment

I give up. Just got this email from another China commenter:

I managed to login once to leave a comment with typekey. That one I got to work by registering with typekey and then hitting the back button to get back to your blog. This time, however, I can’t even manage to do that. It tells me I’m not signed it, so I click to sign in, and it won’t give me a sign in page. I’ve tried editing my profile on sixapart to include your blog. I’ve tried going to sixapart and getting logged in there and then going back to your blog – nope.
I have no idea how to get back and leave another comment. So, yes, if anybody can find the solution – please publish it as soon as you can!

How can I have so many headaches in one week?

March 18, 2006 @ 4:37 am | Comment

Out with the new, in with the old. Welcome back Richard.

March 18, 2006 @ 5:20 am | Comment

I’ve probably succeeded to sign in from China. Now I’m going to try posting this comment.รฃโ‚ฌโ‚ฌLet’s see if it’s OK or not.

March 18, 2006 @ 6:29 am | Comment

I did it! Somehow I allready had an account. Didn’t remember that, strange.

March 18, 2006 @ 8:35 am | Comment

Richard, don’t worry, we will all be re-building the site with you! ๐Ÿ™‚

But jesus, Richard, NO BACKUP for four years of work??!! That tells me you either trust computers 100% or you place little value on your work. Either of those conclusions are crazy.

You have apparently been receiving some spectacularly bad IT advice (at least pre-Sekimoto). Here’s a good rule I learned from years of working in IT: with free computer advice, you generally get less than what you paid for.

Hang in there, hope you are feeling better (physically and mentally)!

March 18, 2006 @ 9:19 am | Comment

Sorry about saying this, but….
Oh. My. God.

Right, that’s better.

March 18, 2006 @ 9:53 am | Comment

So, I was the China-based commentator that richard got an email from earlier today (see above).

I emailed the typekey support centre and explained my problem. They gave me the following advice, “switch to firefox”. So I did.

(That’s how much I love you richard! Though, in all fairness, I must say that some people had advised me to make the change before.)

In case anyone else is having the same trouble I was having, you can download firefox from here:

Sorry for causing you more 麻烦 (mafan) than you already had, richard.

March 18, 2006 @ 10:02 am | Comment

Fascinating article in today’s NY Times:
“Deep in China, a Poor and Pious Muslim Enclave”
In one of China’s most isolated places, the Dongxiang people are separated from the prosperity lifting other parts of the country….

March 18, 2006 @ 7:40 pm | Comment

Shanghai, I DID have back-up — I just didn’t know it. My hosting company and site designer had everything. There was a communications issue between me and….well, I’ll explain via email.

I hope everyone read Dish’s comment above. Apparently the situation is resolved with Firefox, and if you aren’t using it already, you should be. After a few minutes you’ll wonder why you ever used IE.

Dish, you caused me no mafan at all – you seem to have helped me find a solution, so thanks a lot.

March 18, 2006 @ 9:14 pm | Comment

Rich, havne’t been around so not sure what’s going on – but glad things are coming back to normal and hope you get well soon.

March 18, 2006 @ 11:47 pm | Comment

Glad to see you back. Have been getting snowed under with blog comment spam myself lately – particularly ironic, since I never update anymore – and am contemplating a move to some other platform myself.

March 19, 2006 @ 12:22 am | Comment

I’ve eventually managed to sign in – I hope. I had been trying the whole evening last night without much success. Thanks for the tip about downloading Firefox.

March 19, 2006 @ 2:34 am | Comment

Phew! I finally made it back here, out of the exile of Internet Explorer. It took me hours to download firefox. But all thanks and praise to the heroic Dish whose advice helped to guide the rest of us out of the labyrinth, with her version of Ariadne’s thread.

March 19, 2006 @ 3:36 am | Comment

Hope you get this sorted, rich!

March 19, 2006 @ 4:19 am | Comment

Firefox is the way to go.


I recomend that EVERYBODY downloads Switchproxy from the Firefox extensions website. It’s great for shuffling between public proxies, and you can also use it in conjunction with Privoy and Tor to cut right through the Great firewall for free.

March 19, 2006 @ 6:49 am | Comment

Richard, glad to hear that there in fact was/is a backup! ๐Ÿ˜€

I also encountered the comment labyrinth, and while switching to Firefox may solve it, I don’t think the problem is Internet Explorer. It looks to me like a coding (programming) issue.

You don’t need to switch to Firefox (although there are many good reasons you may wish to). If you cannot or do not want to change to Firefox (e.g. you are using a public pc), here’s how I got around it:

The problem (at least for me) occurs after I click on “sign in” at the bottom of the original post, and am taken to this question:

The site you are signing into requests that you provide your email address. Do you wish to share your email?

( ) Yes, share my email address and sign in.

( ) No, do not sign in.

If I chose “Yes”, I just loop back to the original post where I am told “you are not signed in”. I can click on “sign in” again, but I am just returned to this same question (quoted above). I wonder how many readers are lost in this loop?

The way I got out of it was choosing “NO, do not sign in”. This signed me in! I was taken directly to the comments screen where I could successfully post this comment.

I strongly doubt it’s Internet Explorer’s fault that choosing “yes” and “no” give you the opposite results of what you expect, looks like a basic design issue to me.

I suppose this information is useless, because anyone who can read this already got past this problem, but I’m posting it anyway in case it’s somehow useful.

March 19, 2006 @ 6:20 pm | Comment

You might ask Simon how to fix your duckpond forum issues. He had a similar issue with his forums a week or so ago and had to relaunch them.

March 19, 2006 @ 6:59 pm | Comment

Thanks for the tips, Slim. Why can’t things ever be simple? I’m sure this will discourage lots of commenters, especially newcomers.

Gordon, a friend has already re-designed the forum and it should be back today or tomorrow. And it’s spectacular.

March 19, 2006 @ 7:13 pm | Comment

ACB – thanks for the heads-up on Switchproxy. Are you aware of any good writeups of Tor/Privoxy? I have friends here who have them working great (on Linux), but I haven’t managed to get them to do anything except crash on my Windows box at work. Haven’t tried looking for a Mac port yet for my home computer.

March 19, 2006 @ 8:55 pm | Comment

A gentle correction of what Slim said, above: Actually, it IS Internet Explorer’s fault that they botched up the “yes/no” question which had so many of us spinning around. QED, Firefox doesn’t make us spin around the same way.

Ivan: ” Answer “YES OR NO”, Bill Gates, are you a dick?”

Bill Gates: “No.”

Ivan: “WRONG ANSWER, Bill! Don’t you know the difference between yes and no?”

Get Firefox.

March 19, 2006 @ 10:24 pm | Comment

Ivan, just because Firefox works where IE breaks doesn’t necessarily mean the problem is IE itself. It could also be a website code or design issue that affects browsers differently (a problem I’ve seen before). Without more information it’s not possible to say.

By your logic, solving a virus problem by replacing your Seagate hard drive with a Maxtor would demonstrate (QED!) that the Seagate drive was the problem. ๐Ÿ™‚

March 20, 2006 @ 10:09 am | Comment

OK, here’s my experience, which might/probably mirrors others’, but just in case or just to confirm:

1. In China, behind a university firewall.
2. Using IE.
3. Signed up with TypeKey.
4. Entered the “endless loop” as described in the comments.
5. Gave up.
6. Came back two days later.
5. Tried Shanghai Slim’s suggestion: Say “no, don’t provide e-mail address” when signing in with TypeKey.
6. Sent back to Peking Duck site with the following message:

“This weblog requires commenters to pass an email address. If you’d like to do so you may log in again, and give the authentication service permission to pass your email address.
and asked here for name & e-mail, along with the comment box.”

7. Filled out requested info directly on Peking Duck, wrote these comments in the box, and tried to post…

8. No joy:

“Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:
Registration is required.
Please correct the error in the form below, then press Post to post your comment.”

9. Back to TypeKey.
10. Back to the endless loop.
11. Try again starting with #6.

March 20, 2006 @ 10:19 pm | Comment

…and this time it worked.

March 20, 2006 @ 10:20 pm | Comment

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