I have been tearing my hair out since last night, when I noticed that my blog, which normally looks like this:
Suddenly started looking like this, with all the fonts wrong:
Now, I am very picky about my blog, and this is the kind of thing that drives me crazy! I spent half an hour in live text chat with a WordPress support person early this morning, and it turns out that I had to turn off two plug-ins I regularly use with Firefox, Privacy Badger and uBlock Origin (which I use to block trackers on most websites as I surf the web).
Privacy Badger is a program from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). It’s a browser extension which stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web. If an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser. uBlock Origin is an excellent, free-and-open-source (FOSS) ad content blocker, available for several of the most widely used browsers, including: Chrome, Chromium, MS Edge, Opera, Firefox and all Safari releases prior to 13. I can recommend both programs highly, but I sometimes run in trouble (like I did yesterday evening and this morning), when something stops working or doesn’t work properly, and I forget to check to see if either Privacy Badger or uBlock Origin is the source of the problem.
So, if you are visiting my blog, and it looks like the second picture instead of the first, try turning off uBlock Origin or Privacy Badger (or both) if you have them installed. (There are other ad blocker plug-ins like Adblock Plus, which might cause the same problem. I no longer use Adblock Plus, because I find uBlock Origin to be superior in every way.)
As you might have noticed, my formerly feverish pace of blogging has slowed to a glacial crawl lately. There are a number of reasons for that, among them the fact that I am extremely busy with my full-time paying job as an academic librarian, where among many other projects I am juggling, I am working on a project to set up a virtual reality lab in one of my university’s libraries.
But another reason is that I am tired. Bone tired, after almost three years of pandemic living. I also turn 59 this month, and I have had my fair share of health issues (Type II diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, obesity, etc.). Because I have these underlying health issues which would put me at risk of a severe case of COVID-19 if I were to become infected, I have basically upended my former life in an effort to stay safe and healthy.
I am quintuple-vaccinated, I still practice elaborate social distancing wherever possible, and I wear a facemask when I am indoors in public spaces. I have a rule I have not broken in almost three years now: no indoor restaurant dining! (I do meet up with friends during the summer to enjoy some outdoor patio dining, however. Obviously, that’s not an option the rest of the year, up here in wintry Winnipeg!)
Thankfully, my employer (the University of Manitoba) is listening to the scientists, and still has imposed an indoor facemask mandate on both its campuses for this Winter term—a lone island of sanity in my city, I fear (of course, healthcare settings like hospitals and my doctor’s and dentist’s offices still require masks).
I really only leave my apartment to go to work, visit my parents at their life lease condo across town, and pick up my prescriptions at my local pharmacy (where tomorrow I will be getting my Pfizer bivalent booster shot!).
I have also gotten into the habit of ordering my groceries online via Walmart, then picking them up Sunday mornings between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m., when it is not busy. They load up my car, while I stand and watch (masked of course), and I drive away; it works well, and I see no reason to change it. During the last three years, I have set foot into a grocery store exactly once.
Anyway, long story short, I’m not sure where I’m going right now, and how this blog fits into everything else that I’m doing. So I am going to take some time to figure things out. In the meantime, there won’t be very much blogging, I’m afraid.
When I do have something to announce, I will let you know! Thank you all for your patience.
At the time, this blog was called the Sansar Newsblog, because that was the only metaverse platform I wrote about. Over time, I began to expand my coverage to include many other social VR platforms and flatscreen virtual worlds, and on February 10th, 2018, I changed the name to the RyanSchultz.com blog.
One of the advantages of using your real-life name as your blog name is that you can go off on tangents, and because it’s you, you never go off-brand! 😉 And so, in addition to “news and views about social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse” (as the tagline for this blog states), I have written about artificial intelligence, the crypto/NFT space, and notably, my experiences during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past five years, my blog has become more popular, and I have even been interviewed by publications such as The Globe and Mail newspaper and New Yorker magazine. I’ve also been a guest on several podcasts about the ever-evolving metaverse.
In 2018, I set up a Patreon (from which I earn a small amount of money, enough to cover my WordPress.com hosting costs), and I also set up my Discord server, which now boasts over 685 members representing any and every metaverse platform!
In retrospect, creating the RyanSchultz.com Discord was one of the smartest things I have done. I have made so many new online friends who are also keenly interested in the metaverse! I rely on them to alert me to news and events happening on the various social VR platforms like VRChat, and in the flatscreen virtual worlds like Second Life. Honestly, I get half my new story ideas from them, and I thank them! And I believe that the members of my Discord are the single best team of metaverse bullshit detectors on the planet! 😉
Some statistics from five years of blogging:
2,553 blogposts (which works out to 1.4 posts per day, over 1,827 days)
Over 1,280,000 blogpost views (my busiest month so far has been January 2022, with over 40,100 views!)
Over 720,000 blog visitors from all around the world (top ten countries in order: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Australia, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Brazil, and Spain)
Over 1,500 comments!
Over 450 blog subscribers via email or WordPress
My Top Ten Most Popular Blogposts in 2022:
Please note that, for a few months in 2022, I did test out Patreon patron-exclusive blogposts, but I have since decided that it’s not worth the hassle (also, Patreon has changed its rules and that particular plug-in no longer works in WordPress unless I upgrade from “Patreon Lite” to “Patreon Pro”). Accordingly, I have now unlocked all my previously-restricted blogposts, and you should be able to access and read all of them. Please note that all these blogposts are safe for work, even the ones which discuss adult or sexual topics.
While my formerly blistering pace of blogging has slowed somewhat this year, I do plan to continue reporting on news and events in the ever-expanding and ever-evolving metaverse, and the many companies who are building it!
Because I have been occupied with my full-time paying job as a university librarian these past couple of months, I have fallen behind on my monitoring of what’s been going on in the many social VR, virtual world, and metaverse platforms I write about on the RyanSchultz.com blog.
So I have been out of the loop (and trying to get up-to-date) on the recent news about NeosVR, and the now-public dispute between the company’s CEO and the rest of the team, involving NeosVR’s cryptocurrency, called NCR. I have been madly bookmarking and reading everything that I could get my hands on over the past three days, and at this point, due to the large volume of information I have to sift through, I will probably be writing up a series of blogposts, instead of just a single blogpost, starting sometime next week. I do realize that because of my position and experience, I might be the best-placed person to write up something about this dispute!
But with that position and experience, I also have a responsibility.
I have learned (the hard way) some hard lessons covering corporate disputes and controversy in the past on my blog (notably the series of layoffs at Sansar), where I realized that I wasn’t just a blogger—I’m a reporter, and what I write has real-world impacts on the metaverse platforms involved, and the companies that build them. You could say that I have become somewhat battle-hardened. This means that I have a responsibility to my readers to be as accurate and as neutral as possible, while still having an editorial viewpoint (after all, the tagline of the RyanSchult.com blog is “News and Views on Social VR, Virtual Worlds, and the Metaverse”).
So, I plan to dot all my i’s and cross all my t’s before I publish anything about the NeosVR situation, and I will also try to incorporate a variety of perspectives and opinions, using direct quotes of source material as much as possible.
TL;DR: I am very well aware of what’s going on over at NeosVR, I am actively researching it, and I plan to write up a series of blogposts about the dispute, probably starting later next week.
P.S. Of course, I have many other story ideas in the hopper, as I usually do (for example, the response of the AltspaceVR community to the removal of the central gathering places like the campfire by the company). I never have a shortage of things to write about lately, there’s just so much happening! Stay tuned 😉