I must admit, I am moved that so many people have taken the time to contact me, and to make sure everything in my life is going well, that nothing sinister has happened, and that I have not completely disappeared from the Internet. I can put many minds to rest: everything is fine. I have had many things which have occupied my time over the last weeks, both with my work and with my life in general, and many decisions have had to be made about the future, about the direction that I wish to go in over the coming years. That I have neglected my web log is something I regret, but I felt unable to devote the necessary time and concentration of late. Hopefully things will be much quieter now, and everything will return to its normal routine.
Photo Source: Julien Sabardu – Creative Commons
My absence has as much to do with political matters as with anything else – although a rest from some things was definitely well worth taking – and the changes which are likely to occur in Europe over the coming months, or years. As many know, my publishing business is registered in England, and the English, if not the rest of the country, have decided to turn their backs on the benefits of European membership and go their own way.
For my small business this creates something of a dilemma: is there a future for English companies in Europe? Or, to be more precise: is there a future for European companies which are registered in the United Kingdom in Europe? It is a question which I cannot answer at the moment, I only see many European companies, especially the banks and other financial institutions, weighing up their options and tending, or so it appears to me, toward a move away from the former financial capital. The tax problems I could have, since I pay my company taxes in Germany, have not yet been addressed, but could come fast and furious and leave no room for manoeuver. So I have been concentrating on this aspect in between my normal reading and researching, writing and living.
The answers are not easy to find, at the moment, but many would agree it is better to be safe than sorry, and that is my opinion too. I have no problem with taking risks, but only when I am sure the chance of coming out on top is greater than all other options. So I have begun the laborious process of moving, and am inundated with paperwork and problems others have not yet come to consider.
As all know, my web log is very important to me, and so it is still here, and will remain here, and I will write here now and then with news, with views, with whatever comes to mind. And regain, I hope, the wonderful interaction between readers, surfers of the Internet and myself which has been of such value in the past.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
Many people visit this blog, sometimes it surprises me just how many. Roughly speaking, it’s about five hundred, sometimes seven hundred every single day. Surprises me because I’m not here all that often, no matter how much I promise myself, no matter how many ideas I have for a post, and there are many, many ideas. With so many visitors, it comes as no surprise that I also get messages sometimes, not so many comments on the posts themselves, but messages sent through the comments form. Mostly asking whether I need SEO help, silly things like that, from companies who have a worse SEO record than I do.
More than anything, the number of visitors can probably be reckoned to the work I put in, over the years, pushing my blog out into the open, on the Internet. It’s a good feeling, having so many here. Some of the messages, though, are not.
From: Robert [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: hi you look sexy
I want sex with you
I wanna see photos of yourself naked
Nice sexy legs
And I often wonder what the point is. I mean, does anyone get anywhere by sending such a message? Do people really meet up and have a life happy-ever-after when someone sends such a message? Do comments of this nature wake up some primeval interest in women and make them want to strip off, lay themselves down and open up everything for the sender?
I don’t think so.
At the same time, I don’t think the messages will ever completely disappear. The anonymity of the Internet, although everyone can be traced when the searcher is dedicated enough, has the right resources. I’ve done it before, for other things. I could do it again, if I could be bothered. But why should I want to? This message says plenty to me about the person who sent it, mainly that it’s the exact kind of person I’d never want to meet, never want to be near. Much like, I can well imagine, every other woman on the Internet, whether they come into contact with such messages or not.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
Several hundred people, myself included, will have noticed that there was nothing to see here for about thirteen hours yesterday and through until the early hours of this morning. The site was available on and off but, officially, completely off-line. Why? Well, from my point of view because of an extraordinary amount of traffic which overloaded the CPU.
I say from my point of view because those in charge of the server – and I don’t mean me as webmaster – seem to feel that there was nothing out of the ordinary at all. That, at least, is the response I got by mail when we telephoned and asked them to check what was happening. And that response came about ten hours after we called in. To say that the worker on the telephone was totally disinterested is only part of the problem, he asked us how we knew that the site was suffering from extreme traffic; information which is available on the configuration page of the host themselves, and easily available to him. The graph showed an increase of traffic from a normal of about 50MB to a constant high of about 4GB. Not the sort of thing that you can easily overlook.
Image Source: Javier Aroche – Creative Commons
What he didn’t pass on to the techs – who should be in the know, one would have thought – was that I was getting a constant 500 error – internal server error – and a report that the CPU was overloaded, and a report that Port 80 had closed down, making the server unavailable for the outside world.
The answer I received, based on the lack of information this worker passed on, was that the host had recently changed the accounting system for traffic – all internal traffic is now included in the end sum. This change took place on 4 July, which was not yesterday. The problems began at nine thirty yesterday. And even if the internal traffic is included, a jump to 4GB?
I think not.
We are now back, as you can see. Hopefully it will remain that way.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
Those who know me, know that I do not do television. I do not own a television, but I do, to my shame, have a television app on my phone. Sometimes I sneak a little peak to see if there is anything exciting happening and, as I am sure you can guess, I am usually disappointed and wonder why I bothered, why I even keep the app on my phone.
This evening was one of those times when I chanced a peak, and it gave me a good reason why I shouldn’t do such things. I have probably turned an entire nation against me forever.
Photo Source: Matthew Wilkinson – Creative Commons
I tuned in to the football match between Wales and Portugal. Not for long, just a few minutes. In fact, it was from the forty-eighth minute through to the fifty-first or so. For anyone who was watching the match, these times will tell the whole story. Prior to and following these times there were no goals in the match. None whatsoever. The two goals Portugal scored came within these few minutes, so just as I tuned in, and than out again.
So to all the people in Wales who were watching the match and hoping for a different end score: I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
The last two weeks have been an absolute mudslide of news about major changes, or potential changes, to the political and social world. You just need to take a glance at the presidential campaign in the USA to see how far things can go, with threats, lies, counter-lies, facts and fictions dominating the news headlines. Everyone, it seems, has the chance to have their say, and no one is holding back. In the UK it has been much the same, although the results are already in and a democratic decision appears to have been made. A massive turn-out at the polls, and a result which has caused problems for half the population in that their democratic right to vote has been exercised, and it didn’t come out the way they envisioned. In the US people are still trying to sort out who will be allowed to vote and who, amongst the millions of citizens, will be forced out by one law or another.
The UK, though, has made its choice and decided to recommend that Article 50 be enacted, and the entire region be removed from membership of the European Union. Now the mudslide is turning into a mud fight, and it is getting dirty and, sadly, vicious. Those who led the fight to leave the Union are now leaving behind all responsibility for the aftermath to others, and those others are still unnamed. Democracy has taken its toll, and the reckoning will be very expensive indeed, in both financial terms.
Photo Source: Frankieleon – Creative Commons
What has emerged is a slaughter reminiscent of the Somme, an anniversary which also fell during the last fortnight, where thousands went over the top, and very few have survived. Going over the top in this case, though, was not against a clear-cut and obvious enemy, but against neighbors, friends, business partners and members of otherwise close-knit families and communities. Unlike what happened following the military battle of the Somme, the leaders are backing down, resigning as quickly as they can, backing away from the promises they made, the facts they claimed and the reality they have created.
The United Kingdom, if it can still be called that, is not what it was, and it is unlikely that it can be rebuilt. The limited trust many had in their politicians and the mouthpieces of political parties is gone for the time being. Not a single person has been able to say what will happen next, not a single party has a plan for the coming years. And yet the referendum on staying or leaving the European Union is not a closed subject, the result is only a recommendation for parliament. The remaining politicians still have the chance to discuss, to evaluate, and to come to some form of consensus; whether the United Kingdom leaves the European Union or not is still not decided. What it will cost, financially, is still not certain.
Perhaps, now that the dust is settling and the instigators have shown their true colors, those remaining will take the facts and weigh them up in a civilized and orderly fashion, and present a case and a plan for the future. It is only a Perhaps, and can only be a Perhaps, because we have already seen what a few individuals can do, how much havoc they can cause through propaganda and distorted national pride. It remains for those who are prepared to work towards the future to clean up the mess created by those who should be relegated to the darkest corners of the past.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
So, you’re a bit short of ready cash and someone makes you an offer you can’t refuse. Do I need to list all the problems with this?
Attn: Dear Sir/ Madam
Our Organization, Project Support Consortium is a Middle East Loan Funding Organization based in Qatar. We offer Loan from USD$100, 000.00 to the tune of One Billion US Dollars (USD$1 Billion) to companies, Organization, Individuals, etc. Who are seeking funding for their Real Estate Development Projects such as Hospitality projects, Commercial Properties, Gulf Courses, Water Parks, Civil Engineering Projects. We are financed by his Majesty Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani Royal King of Qatar. We also provide Loan funding for environmentally friendly Projects such as Renewable Energy Projects, Erosion Protection and Control Projects.
We offer Loan with low interest rate. Our interest rate will be fixed over the whole repayment period. The loan and the interest after the first year are the basic for calculation of equal monthly or yearly payment of principal and interest. All our terms and conditions as regards to our loan will be listed fully in our MOU which will be sent to you for your study and review.
If you are interested, please contact our Project Consultant, Mr Ahmed Hossam. (email@example.com)
Mr. Ahmed Hossam
(Project Consultant Qatar Project Support Consortium)
And then there’s the strange sender mail: Mr. Ahmed Hossam [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Hungary? Believable? I think not.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
I have no wise, philosophical thoughts for today, it is much the same as any other. The weather is bad; it isn’t the weekend (yet); I haven’t checked my post; She is working. And I am looking forward to another normal day with my nose in my books, my pen scribbling countless notes, my mind full of ideas. This, I guess, is the way it should be.
Photo Source: Romel – Creative Commons
Except that I have set myself a new target and that involves putting the notes I’m making into a final form and getting this last task out of the way so that I can concentrate on new-old things. Coming back here and writing regularly is one of those things, getting out and seeing the world again another.
It’s going to be a good day.
Love and Kisses, Viki.
So, here I am, sitting in front of the computer again, going through the logs to see who has been where and try to make some sense of it all. It’s something that I do regularly, not just to see what other people are looking at, but also to see what some people are trying to find and break in to. It’s all very well looking at a pretty blog from the front and checking the figures in the back, but you need to see where the weaknesses are as much as the strengths. And that goes for your writing as much as for security.
If you’ve done it right and your security is in place and working, all you get to see is a batch of 404s.
Even security, though, can have its problems. Nothing is 100% secure, otherwise we wouldn’t have so many security updates to download and install. As they say, make something idiot proof, and someone else will make a better idiot. The same for security.
Image Source: Fabrizio Van Marciano – Creative Commons
One of the programs that I use is 404 Redirected, and this piece of software, while fine for checking facts and figures, is starting to become something of a worry for me. The program isn’t working as it should, and that despite a couple of updates in the last week. Nothing serious, as far as security is concerned, but not clean. By clean I mean that it doesn’t do the full job as advertised: clearing out all the logs is a no-go at the moment. So I have forty-nine pages of logs showing where people – or bots – have not found what they were looking for, and each page has twenty-five entries. Not many, by some standards, but more than I want. I’ve cleared all of them already, checked them through, blocked the attackers, tried to delete the records.
What do you do when there is a clear problem? Contact those people who make the application and give them a bug report. Except.
Except that I’ve done that, and there has been no reply, no change. No improvement. The problem is still there, and the software has been updated twice. Perhaps drawing attention t it through a more open, public notice will bring about change. I hope so, because the program is good, when it works.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
We all have our own ideas about who is the most hated person in the USA, and for many reasons. For some it is those who have been convicted of crimes – especially rape and murder of children, or bankers – or who have been let off by the courts. For others it is politicians, regardless of color. Despite the heading to this post, I’m not going to follow this path and detail why one person should or could be more hated than another, tempting as it may be.
Screenshot Source: Salon / Twitter
Nor am I going to bring any comparisons to former world leaders – European or otherwise – as some people already have. Such comparisons are, in my mind, worthless. Rather, I’d like you to look at these two photographs. One is outright called The Most Hated Man, the other could well be in time to come.
Just look at the photographs.
Screenshot Source: Independent US / Twitter
Compare their arrogant smiles, and you will understand where I draw my similarities from.
Undoubtedly there are many others, but such a title can only be given once in a lifetime, and it is a difficult choice. Let us hope that the one, who has already committed crimes he is now answering for in front of the judiciary, is not replaced by the potential actions of the other, who could be in such a position next year that his crimes – depending on your point of view – far surpass those of the other. At the moment we only have words. Hopefully they will never, ever, be put into practise.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
Reading a book, at least as far as I am concerned, is one of the sexiest, most enticing attractions imaginable. I will often see someone reading, before I look at the person themselves. My interest is awoken by the site of a certain level of intellectual achievement: I mean, who reads books in public today? Those who know that they don’t need to worry about their looks – whether they are ugly or beautiful – but want to concentrate on themselves, on their inner person.
What happens, though, when you’ve just finished that latest work on Sartre (Sarah Bakewell’s excellent work comes to mind here), and there’s no chance of getting a new book? How can other people know that reading is your thing? Clearly you need to make a different fashion statement – and books are as much of a statement as you can get since they are rarely ‘fashion’ but a permanent feature of a well-ordered and intelligent world – and clothing, one of the other things people look at first, is one solution. Bookish fashion? Well…
Screenshot Source: Buyolympia
I suppose some might drop down so far that they consider buying a Reading Is Sexy shirt. Fine by me, we all make choices, good or bad. Except…
Here it is, the original shirt as featured on The Gilmore Girls.
This particular style of shirt is no longer available (they don’t make the cap-sleeved version anymore) so we have none left.
Unfortunately, we aren’t able to make the shirt in this particular color and style anymore. So we’ve completely sold out of it.
This item is no longer available for purchase.
Hopes were so high, only to be beaten down… back to my books.
- Viktoria Michaelis.