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.)
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!
One of the things I love about hosting a blog on WordPress is that I can review my statistics over time, to see which posts are more popular and which ones aren’t. I have completely given up on my ability to predict which ones will fall into the first category, and which ones will fall into the second! A blogpost I dash off in a hurry without much thought can blow up on me, while a second one I slaved over and post in high expectations goes pffft! It just happens. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So, on a whim, and to get a better sense of what’s trending overall, I ran some stats today on my 12 most popular blogposts over the past 365 days (Feb. 16th, 2021 to Feb. 15th, 2022). I do hasten to assure you, gentle reader, that all links in this list are safe for work, so don’t be afraid to click on them 😉
The Dirty Little Secret of VRChat: Hidden Adult Content – I am endlessly bemused by the fact that it is still, far and away, the most visited blogpost on my blog, with 72,351 visits over the past 365 days, which works out to almost 200 views per day, mostly because it is usually the top result when people search Google for “VRChat sex” or “VRChat adult”, or something similar…and I hate to break it to you, people, but you are not gonna find NSFW worlds in VRChat using the Google search engine!
Well, it would appear that sexual/adult content and activities are perennially popular in virtual worlds and social VR, regardless of platform (#1, #6, perhaps #9, and most certainly #10 on this list).
Trend 2: Lists of Metaverse and “Metaverse-Adjacent” Platforms
Secondly, people seem to be looking for comprehensive lists of metaverse platforms (#2) and what I like to call “metaverse-adjacent” content, i.e. non-combat, open-world platforms like Fortnite Party Royale and The Sims (#11). Of course, the line between the two is becoming ever more blurred.
It would appear that there is lots of interest in my big-picture look at the metaverse and all the companies busy building it, so I intend to make both of these tasks a top priority, once things die down a bit at my full-time paying job as a university librarian!
Trend 3: Second Life Is Still Popular!
As I have said before, I never expected to become a prolific Second Life blogger, but it’s clear that my coverage (with a focus on Second Life steals, deals, and freebies) continues to be popular with my readers, and among the most-viewed content on my blog. While it may seem weird to write both about 18-year-old SL and then switch to writing about much newer platforms, I see everything as part of a seamless, whole history of the metaverse.
Of particular interest, I note a lot of traffic to my posts about both free and paid-for Second Life mesh heads and bodies (#4, #5, #7, #8, and of course, #10!). Therefore, I will continue to provide that coverage, and I may restructure my now-sprawling blogposts about free and inexpensive male and female mesh heads and bodies in SL, to make them easier for people to navigate…but only after I tackle the long-delayed reorganization of my metaverse list, mentioned under the previous trend!
Finally, people seem to value good, step-by-step instructions on how to do things in SL, like rename your avatar (#12), so I will be continuing to write up more blogposts in that vein.
Trend 4: Blockchain-Based Metaverse Platforms Are Becoming Ever More Popular
I notice that my step-by-step instructions for getting started in Decentraland (DCL) is an increasingly popular blogpost, even though the instructions may already be a bit dated (#4). As I have mentioned recently, DCL and all the NFT metaverses are seeing a huge surge in interest (and in financial speculation!), ever since Facebook rebranded itself as Meta, and Mark Zuckerberg announced that they would become a metaverse company.
And, as promised, I will be writing about all these platforms in 2022:
Although I have mentioned and written about a number of virtual world/social VR platforms on this list which DO incorporate blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), please note that I have, up until now, tended to focus only on those projects which ALREADY have an actual working platform, where you can create an avatar to visit and explore NOW: NeosVR, Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, and Somnium Space. I have not really written much about projects which have yet to launch, because frankly so many of them are vapourware!
However, given the current burst of enthusiasm for all things blockchain/crypto/NFT and metaverse (particularly after Facebook/Meta’s repivot to become a metaverse company in October 2021), I will endeavour to expand my coverage of such platforms in 2022.
And I remain highly concerned about the number of poorly-thought-out NFT metaverse projects (and frankly, just flat out scams) that seem to be proliferating by the day. I will also be writing a lot about that topic in the next 365 days, I suspect.
Trend 5: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Spaces in the Metaverse
My blogpost about LGBTQ spaces in virtual worlds and social VR (#9) is becoming more and more popular over time, an indication that queer people are actively looking for community in the metaverse. Therefore, I will write more articles about that, too!