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.
I have been blogging, off and on, for twenty years now, and in that time I have used just about every kind of blogging software imaginable. In the 2000s, I tinkered a bit with Blogger and LiveJournal, and for a couple of years I maintained a personal blog using the Movable Type software, really getting into the customization of it. From June 2012 to February 2014, I wrote a Blogspot blog about a metaverse platform called Cloud Party, called the Cloud Party Bugle (sadly, Yahoo! acquihired the company making Cloud Party, and ended the project).
In 2017, when I started writing a new blog called the Sansar Newsblog, I decided to go with WordPress. There are actually two WordPress services. WordPress.com is a service that helps you build a website using the WordPress software with managed hosting, while WordPress.org is the source where you can download the software itself, which you can use to build and maintain a website on your own. I chose the managed hosting option and, by and large, I have been quite happy with my decision.
In February 2018, I renamed my blog to RyanSchultz.com, using a domain name I had purchased a decade earlier. One advantage of naming your blog after yourself is that, no matter what tangents I might head off in, I am always on brand! 😉
WordPress offers dozens of professionally-designed site templates, and I chose the clean and uncluttered look called Twenty Fifteen:
However yesterday, much to my dismay, I loaded up the RyanSchultz.com blog in my FireFox browser to see this monstrosity (see below). All of my serif fonts had been changed to sans serif, and even worse, my main blog text was rendered so small as to be almost unreadable! AAAAARGH!!!
In a panic, I rapidly checked how my blog looked on other devices and in other browsers. What is confounding me is that it only appears to be happening on my work computer; it displays correctly in the FireFox browser on my iPhone and iPad, and it also displays correctly when I use the Chrome browser on my work PC. Even weirder, when I go into edit mode on a particular blogpost, it displays properly, too!
This problem just popped up out of the blue, I have no idea what is going on, and I am NOT a happy camper. Yesterday afternoon, I did a quick text chat with WordPress.com tech support to see if they could troubleshoot the problem, but September is a very busy month for me and I had to log off and tend to more pressing matters than font display issues! They suggested updating FireFox to the latest version and I did—but it still didn’t fix my problem.
If all else fails, I might decide to drop the Twenty Fifteen theme and pick a different theme for my blog. After five years, this might be my sign from the universe to change things up a bit!
So I apologize if your view of my blog looks a bit wonky today. I am aware of the problem and I am trying to fix it! If you do see what I see in the second picture above, could you please drop me a line and let me know? Thanks!
UPDATE 8:44 a.m.: And, as mysteriously as the problem popped up, it now appears to be fixed! But please drop a comment or ping me on the RyanSchultz.com Discord if you should encounter it, thank you!
This is just a quick housekeeping note: my blogposts will be few and far between during the month of September! However, I will still be working with my co-producer and director, Carlos Austin, on the next couple of episodes of season two of the Metaverse Newscast (if you’re interested, you can watch episode 1 of season 2 here). Carlos and I have some exciting shows lined up for you!
The start of the Fall term is always a very busy period for me in my full-time paying job as a university science and agriculture librarian, and I hope you will understand that I can only do so much juggling at one time! Please rest assured that I will return to regular blogging once things are a little less hectic in my life. 😉
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!