The last three weeks has seen a series of blog problems and a hiatus of new postings. Now the last of these problems are being straightened out and I and my colleague Victor are getting back to serious writing. Here is what happened and where we are now:
1. Having accumulated some 360 posts and a thousand comments, the blog ran out of allocated space in my web hosting service and no longer accepted any new postings.
2. After significant prodding the web hosting service installed an updated version of the Blog software and ported our historical blog content to it. This worked to increase our space but had two serious unintended consequences.
a. First, the move attracted the attention of web comment spammers who started bombarding the blog with spam comments, as many as 260 a day. This required launching a war on spam which I believe is now won, See the blog entry Spam update. If there is a remaining problem, I will take additional steps. If you are a reader and have a problem with a legitimate comment, please e-mail me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
b. Second, past blog entries ported to the new software started to show up with Strange characters in blog posts. The character mapping used in the blog conversion was faulty. Obvious fixes applied by my hosting company did not work. A loyal reader of this blog, Abhijit Mhapsekar has been extremely helpful in providing me with fixes that have so far taken care of 95% of the problem by correcting for the most frequently-found misinterpreted characters. Abhijit and I have spotted a number of other instances of misinterpreted characters and are in the process of correcting for those as well. Also, a few past entries show up now with double line spacing. However, all past blog posts remain essentially readable.
3. These technical glitches have consumed much of my time so there have been no substantive new blog postings since May 23. This situation should change soon. I am working on a new posting which will be an Update on cell reprogramming and induced pluripotent stem cells which should be available in a day or two and I understand that Victor is also working on a new post.
Thank you for y our patience during this transition period. Despite these issues at least a dozen new legitimate blog registrations are coming every day and blog traffic continues to increase with an average of about 2,000 unique users accessing an average of 1.7 blog entries every day. Here is to the long haul, both for increasing human longevity and for increasing the life of this blog!