Housekeeping

Slow-to-no blogging for the next month or so

So many half-finished drafts of blog entries (about 5 or 6, I guess), so little time. And, eh, I just noticed that I didn’t post anything at all for the month of August. And I am very much behind in replying to emails and feedback posts. No excuses, just apologies.

Currently feeling a bit swamped by teaching and by other writing projects. Hope to get back to the blog in October.

Email troubles

I’m having trouble with the email account that is associated with this website (mcmoran at ottawavalleyirish dot com).

I’ll have to sort this out with tech support, but in the meantime, if you want to contact me by email, please use my gmail account. It is the same as the above, except that gmail replaces ottawavalleyirish (so: mcmoran at gmail dot com).

Sorry if the above, replacing the “@” and “.” symbols with words “at” and “dot,” is a bit confusing, but I’m trying to avoid the spambots.

You can also contact me with this form:

Apologies for slow replies

I’ve been ignoring this blog lately while I attend to other commitments (teaching a couple of history classes; helping to run a local history museum; doing that “parental involvement” thing…).

If you’ve emailed me in the past month or so and I haven’t yet replied: I apologize. I haven’t forgotten you! I’m just a little bit overwhelmed by end-of-semester grading, and by the need to, for example, bake pumpkin bread for “Colonial Days” at my son’s school.

I hope to return to the blog (and to the emails sent by blog readers) within the next couple of weeks.

Blog Issues

It’s been months since I’ve had time to blog (these days, work and family leave no time for family history). And I am very much behind in responding to emails.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited this blog for the first time since who knows when, and was surprised (and by ‘surprised’ I mean ‘shocked and dismayed’) to discover a strange and nasty problem with the site. Long story short (I couldn’t tell the long story if I tried: I’m not conversant in the language of MySQL): I thought I was going to lose the entire contents of this site. Horrors! Thankfully, the wonderful tech support guys at LivingDot (my blog host) solved the problem and got me sorted out. Relief! Gratitude!

By the way, I’m sure I must be every tech support guy’s nightmare: “Er, Hello? I have this problem that I can’t really describe, and I don’t know when it started or why, and also I’ve lost one of my passwords. Will you please fix it for me?”

So the main contents of the blog are all still here, thanks be to God and to Saint Anthony. But I’ve lost (or mislaid, let’s say) a couple of features, and have encountered a few new glitches:

  • Fonts: I subscribe to Adobe Typekit, which enables subscribers to use nice-looking, professional fonts on their websites. But I seem to have lost/mislaid the relevant bit of code, and my blog has reverted to some default fonts that I don’t quite love. Not a big deal, but an annoyance that I will have to fix.
  • Annoying Hyperlinks: For reasons that escape me entirely, my site now has some ugly and distracting InfoAtoms hyperlinks on highlighted text which I swear on my life I myself never, ever highlighted. On the front page, for example, “family history” and “genealogy” are now highlighted in double-underlined blue. Eh, what? I don’t want random words that I type to link to ad-laden and possibly dubious sites: so cheesy! Is there a plugin (which I never willingly nor consciously installed) which I now need to disable? Must check…
  • Surnames: My Surnames page is now empty. I think I sort of know what the problem is, but it will no doubt take several hours to fix.
  • This or That: My front page “This or That” feature (mostly linking to articles/blog posts of interest) has disappeared. Again, I think I sort of know how to fix this, it’s just a matter of finding the time.

Plan to fix the above in the next few weeks, and hope to return to regular blogging by early December.

Blog Break

Slow blogging these days as real life intervenes. I’m still checking email, but response may be a bit slower than usual.

Back to (semi-)regular blogging in a few weeks, I hope. In the meanwhile, I recommend Lumbering Songs from the Ontario Shanties, put out by Smithsonian Folkways. The clips of O.J. Abbott are especially worth listening to. More on O.J. Abbott in a later entry —

When the techno-clueless blog…

…they have email problems.

Well, that would be me. Techno-clueless, I mean.

I have an email glitch that I should probably attend to before going up to Ottawa for Christmas. Basically, I cannot get into the email account that is associated with this website. When I try to log in, I get a cryptic message (well, cryptic to me, because I’m techno-clueless) about “duplicate headers” (“Duplicate headers received from server. The response from the server contained duplicate headers. This problem is generally the result of a misconfigured website or proxy. Only the website or proxy administrator can fix this issue”). Can a website fix its own issue? I have no idea what this means. I think I need a “proxy administrator” (whatever that means).

For the time being, all email sent to my ottawavalleyirish dot com address is being forwarded to my gmail account. Which seems to be working, but: this temporary measures dates from only about two days ago, when I finally discovered the problem. If you sent me an email last week, before I realized I had a “duplicate header” problem and before I then set up an automatic forward to gmail, I have not read your message, and cannot read it until I (or my website, or my ‘proxy administrator’) have fixed the issue. But if you re-send your message, I should receive it through my gmail account.

Site Changes

After struggling for too long with the lack of support for Movable Type blogs, I’ve finally moved to WordPress. I expect I’ll be playing around with design and appearance, and it will no doubt take me a while to figure things out.

Summer Blogging Break

It’s time for my annual visit to Shaw’s of Perth:

shawsofperth_advert.jpg
Advertisement for Shaw’s, Perth Courier, 10 August 1928.
I’m sorry to have missed “the biggest, broadest, and most commanding sale ever held in Perth;” and I doubt they’re still offering Duchess silk for 98 cents per yard. But the current Shaw’s of Perth (no longer owned by the Shaws of Perth, by the way) has a really nice kitchen shop.
When I return to the blog, I’m going to post some stuff on the RC priests and parishes of the Ottawa Valley, along with more information on Irish naming practices. 

Back up Your Online Genealogy Data!

Or: do as I say, and not as I did. 

What I did was to fail to back up my site. My old (private and password-protected) family history website, that is. Oh, I still have the information (in gedcoms, files, notes, photocopied documents, and so on), but it’s scattered all over the place. And I lost some of the brief (and sometimes not-so-brief) narratives that I had written, and which I now have to rewrite from scratch if I want to publish them here.
Most annoyingly, I lost my account of how James Lahey killed his brother-in-law Daniel Lahey by hitting him on the head with a block of wood, leaving James’s sister and Daniel’s wife Catherine Lahey a widow with numerous young mouths to feed. It was a shocking act of violence, and a family scandal the effects of which reverberated for several generations at least. As a child, I heard a version (not entirely accurate, but accurate enough, as it turns out) almost a century and a half after the fact, and it left a powerful impression on me. So I think this one is worth rewriting.
But I should have backed up my original account, of course.