Housekeepingby Matthew Innis |
Underpaintings has been online for quite a few years now, and during the time it has been around, well, a bit of dust has accumulated in the corners. In most cases, a little bit of dirt can’t hurt anything, but sometimes it can be catastrophic , especially if it gets in the wrong nook or cranny (like when you live with a cat and all of its stray hairs somehow get sucked into the fans on your computer causing it to overheat – yeah, I’m looking at you Clemmie).
At Underpaintings, the first sign that dust was gumming up the works were some images that stopped appearing in the posts where they were originally published. They hadn’t disappeared per se. They were still on the server, but had become “shy” about making appearances on the website. Later, certain strange character string substitutions started appearing in all posts after a certain date. Em dashes, double spaces, and various accent marks were all translated into other symbols (e.g. double spaces became “Â”s). When I contacted the site developers, they addressed this issue and fixed it . . . sort of. The weird character substitutions were still there, but now they only appeared in posts before a certain date. When I asked them to correct this new problem, they suggested it would just be easier for me to redo 10 years of posts than for them to fix the issue. I balked at the recommendation and began looking for other developers. Though I had found mention of other sites having similar problems, none of the developers I contacted said they could correct the situation. In fact, they were all flummoxed by it and each said it was the weirdest thing they had ever encountered. While I continued to add new posts, I kept searching for help with the older ones, but found none.
So now, after failing in that search, and after also failing to convince the website to spontaneously heal itself, I’ve decided that my only possible courses of action are, A. live in denial, or B. redo 10 years of posts. As tempting as A is, I’ve decided to go with option B instead. This means it’s time for me to do some housekeeping.
Over the next few months, my plan is go through older posts and remove the weird character artifacts. While doing this, I will also be addressing the images, either correcting the ones that have gone “shy,” or replacing them with larger and clearer versions. In some cases, I will even be adding new images to the posts. At the same time I do this housekeeping, I will continue to add new content to the site. Hopefully, this will make the site experience better for everyone, and make it easier to update the site in its entirety sometime in the future.
Now back to my dusting.