Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Update...

How are you guys doing? As for me? I have a lot to update you guys about and to tell you. I have a story for you! First things first, if you read the news daily and know what Photobucket did, then you already know. Or if you have visited my blog since last Friday...you know just to drop by and see how we're doing over here. Then I am sure you noticed my blog looked like crazy town!!! Let me start at the beginning. Where I left ya'll last. See last Thursday... I mentioned to you guys, I was looking forward to the weekend. Frankly last week was quite busy for all of us in our family and we all needed some rest, so we were all looking forward to the weekend. I also mentioned the next day, Friday I had an extremely lengthy hair appointment. To get my hair straightened. Because you know how... humid Japanese summers are...and with my natural thick wavy hair...if I don't get it straightened every 3-4 months. I start to look like Side Show Bob (from the Simpsons) if I don't get it done. So last Friday was a regular Friday. Nothing really to tell really. I made a fast breakfast for the kids... packed 2 lunches for my kids to take to their respective schools. And I vacuumed downstairs, swooshed the downstairs toilet. I checked on the cubed beef that was in the crock pot since the night before. See, I knew I would be gone all day Friday and well...we needed dinner... plus it had to be super easy since I was going to be out all day, so I skillet fried the lean beef and then threw it in my crock pot with water. So, a nice beef stew was perfect. I did run upstairs take a quick shower, threw my makeup on real quick. and got myself to the hair salon. I asked for the straightest hair possible, they already know that, lol...and the teeniest tiniest trim ever. They did that. They gave me iced coffee. 2 massages. And I am now done hair wise, until mid September. Noboru was meanwhile home enjoying his day, with his drone in the backyard and keeping an eye on my beef in the crock pot. I ran home. Didn't get online. I just had enough time to grab a bottle of jasmine tea out of the fridge. And go and get Bran from the train station. I was about 6 minutes early. And so, I sat in my car and decided it was a good time to flip quickly through my emails. Two girl friends emailed, 1 in Japan and 1 in my home state. I made a mental note to reply as soon as I got home. One email from a family member. One email from Gap, lol. And 1 that looked like junk. Hmm, how come it didn't go directly into my spam folder? It was from Photobucket. I quickly clicked and spot/scan read it...because frankly I thought...this isn't for me. It's junk. So here I am reading....TOS (terms of service) rules have changed. Yada yada yada. They no longer allow 3rd party hosting, blah blah blah. I am wondering...what in the heck is 3rd party hosting anyways? Like seriously! Sounds weird. So, here I am spot reading again....yada yada yada. And it said...3rd party hosting I. E. pics on blogs, forums, Ebay. I was just about to delete... but it said...blogs. Hmm. Yes, I do have a blog. So, I am now wondering if this is legit...as in real. If so will this affect me at all? I'm not alarmed at this point at all. That came much later. Bran gets in my car. I smile and ask him about his day while driving to pick up Noah from school immediately afterwards last Friday. Now I have both kids in the car. Somehow though....this Photobucket email is gnawing at me a bit. Noboru and Bran had a plan to go to the barber ASAP, after Bran got home. So, as soon as I pulled into my parking space. Bran and Noboru leave to get haircuts. Noah is doing his homework in the kitchen and his hair grows tons slower than Bran's. I now throw the beef stew into a pan on the stove. And go quickly back to my home computer to reread that email from Photobucket. Little known fact. I do not keep my pictures on Flickr or Photobucket. I also do not keep them on my computer either. I keep my pictures in an external hard drive. I also have a backup for these on my private google drive or whatever that's called. However...I remember the amazingly nice lady who created my blog, did upload my blog pictures via Photobucket. So, the email after I am sitting down at home. Sounds serious. So, I go to my blog, for the first time of the day. Oh and I received this email around 1:36pm Japan time last Friday. First time I ever got a single word from Photobucket. No communication about this before this. So, I go to my blog and it looks insane! As in...looks absolutely bananas! It looked like this, pictured up above. I now had these hideous big huge black squares. Asking me to upgrade my account. I got no advanced warning. They just did this. And now it looked all completely eff-ed up! Okay so now...the panic sets in. However...I still have supper to do. I still have regular life... going on here at my house. So, I go to the kitchen. Noah is quietly doing his homework. And I am cutting my vegetables. I am angrily cutting mushrooms. Angrily peeling potatoes and angrily dicing up onions. Noah asks me..."What's wrong mama?" Bless his heart. I said..."it's not any of you, I'm upset because a company where I had beautiful pictures of you and your brother at the top of my blog, which is called my header are completely jacked up.  I used to see you and Bran... every time I'd visit my blog and I'd smile and now I just see chaos and big huge black boxes. I'm angry because they gave mommy absolutely no notice at all. If they were going to be fair...they could have emailed everyone June 1st and say...attention everyone at the end of June you will no longer be able to host your pics on here for blogs, Ebay, forums etc. I just feel it was very sneaky and underhanded." Noah said, I don't think they sound very nice and I said, I agree, they apparently aren't very nice at all. So, I made up my mind. Not to bring this to up and drone on about it to the kids. They lightly knew about the Photobucket problem. And did go and check my blog, a couple times during the weekend. I Lined Noboru at the barber and told him. This picture here is what my blog looked like last Friday. 

#2, it didn't just happen to me. It happened to millions of people worldwide. We had a nice dinner Friday. And after supper. Noboru opened up his laptop to find out some info. And I opened up my computer too. What we found out. Is most techie boards were *strongly* urging people to move their pictures from Photobucket immediately. So, that was the best thing I did. I was able to move my header and all the bits that make my blog...my blog, Friday after supper. I read the next day Saturday. Photobucket was now locking the pics and not letting anyone move or have access to their pictures anymore. Which is just nuts. I am just glad that I moved my stuff Friday ASAP.  Because I was fast enough... they didn't even get a chance to lock my stuff down. And my stuff is not locked down even now, but I can't link from there. But so many folks...their stuff is locked. Next, I checked and read the new TOS (terms of service) 3 times. And I wouldn't have minded paying a little fee for the benefit of using their place. However, only their most expensive plan is allowing 3rd party hosting. And that is $400 US. That's 45,000 yen for you in Japan! To get the privilege to do 3rd party hosting on PB, you would have to give them $400 US every 12 months. There are mass amounts of threads and this is a screenshot of 1 person saying..."The amount they are asking for just seems unreasonable" Yes..I agree 45,000 yen, every 12 months. Is extortion. It's high way robbery. It's blackmail. Especially for the ones whose pics got locked. Lucky I got mine off last Friday. 

You can read the words right here, someone talking about their accounts being locked. Yes many did get their accounts locked and their pictures are being held hostage, so to speak.

Another person screenshot-ed what her blogs says...the big ugly black square. And she did indeed say $400 a year. It went from free to 45,000 yen a year. That's insane. That's beyond insane actually! 


This is an actual brilliant article and this guy is right...Photobucket did break image links all across the Internet. And all last weekend the effects were still rippling. Even now there's still ripples from this. 

See what that brilliant man above wrote.... And he's 100% right...saying the worst part is...see the 2nd line..."users were apparently given no warning" He's absolutely correct. They just did it with zero notice. And they only emailed everyone AFTER...after they made every one's links no longer accessible. 

You should see the tweets PB is getting on Twitter. And rightly so! This person is a rockstar for saying what everyone else was feeling! "This doesn't answer the question why you went from free to $400/year with no warning" And the person below that comment chimed in...Again they too can't get over they gave no warning. And frankly...I can't get over that fact too. To have such disrespect and disregard for their customers. Just to break a link. Rather than give someone a 30 day heads up. Hell...even a weeks notice... would have been fine. You know....my plan last weekend? Was to rest and recharge my batteries. Like I told you guys...we still have about 3 weeks of school still. And the kids are fried. I'm fried. We're all frazzled and ready for summer break. Or at least a restful weekend, ykwim. And to start my weekend last Friday like this?! I mean...really? Even if PB were to say they were sorry right now...and they took it back and now you can keep pics there and link back. Forget it. The trust is totally gone. How could you ever trust them again after that? I couldn't. 

This was such a sad Tweet to PB. You gave ZERO notice and you ruined 178 of their Ebay listings. You are extortionists. You are EVIL. You know what...I'm just a mommy blogger. I write from my own perspective in my little town in Japan. I love my blog as a keepsake for my children to look back on... when they're older. It also is a way for my family in America to keep up to date with me. And a way for Noboru's fam in Osaka to keep up to date with us too, they also read here too, which makes me happy. But...there were people like this person...who genuinely make their living on Ebay. And those people were the most hurt! They gave none of us *any* notice. They just made our links void. And basically jacked up a whole bunch of peoples weekends. So...that's my story. And that's why...if you went to visit me on my blog last weekend to just say...hey Gina, what's up! That's why it looked nuts! I'm sorry guys. It's not something I had any control over. It was just one of these absolutely sh*tty things that happened. And I was one of the millions affected and who was left to deal with the aftermath. And to pick up the pieces. 
This is my external hard drive. I keep an external one... because computers crash all the time. Mine hasn't. But my last computer crashed about 10 years ago and all my pics vanished. Luckily for me...my husband was able to rescue the pics and move them to an external hard drive. So that way...if my computer ever should crash...my pics would not be affected at all. And of course they're all backed up online. In a private storage where I pay a small yearly fee for that service. 
 I made it a point to have a normal Saturday and normal Sunday last weekend. At 9pm each night, is when Noboru and I started to fix things blog wise. But I didn't want my kids to have a lousy weekend because of what PB did to my blog. I wasn't going to let them affect us... in that way. And they didn't. Saturday morning, as soon as the rest of my family woke up... I still made strawberry pancakes with whipped cream and strawberry toppings. We also had strawberries in the batter too. My kids love these strawberry pancakes, we have enjoyed these 3 weekends in a row. : )  

We also watched Beauty and the Beast Saturday night. We all loved it! And we watched Star Wars The Force Awakens with popcorn and snacks too, Sunday afternoon. I made supper every night. An easy one. And washed every one's uniforms on Saturday.

So now here's more info on my blog. And what things and problems we faced. #1, I am a firm believer that everyone/person on this earth has a talent or a strength. You know what I mean. Things folks are good at. For example. My kids excel at swimming. They're native English speakers which is pretty common and run of the mill in the US, but it's actually amazing since they live here in Japan. I am good at makeup. I know makeup. I know what's hot. What's not. I can talk for hours about makeup. Help you pick out makeup. May be a weird thing to excel at. But hey. : ) I'm also a fairly good cook. Granted, I'm no Gordan Ramsey. But, I do pretty good. My husband has many many talents. He's very good at lawn care. He has a green thumb. He's kind. He's the kindest person, I have ever met. I digress. But...I am not computer savvy. HTML, coding? Ha! I decided about 9 years ago I wanted to make my blog designed with my kids in mind. I hired a brilliant and amazing lady. She made me a custom blog. I am very positive and happy most of the time. I love my life here in Japan. Love my husband and kids. And I wanted a bright happy colorful blog to reflect that. Not insane. But happy and chipper, for sure. She made it exactly perfect. I couldn't have imagined a...more fitting or more perfect blog that reflected my cheerful family. After she made my blog, I never spoke to her again. Because I was a client. Not a friend. But, I was super happy. At the time, she had no access to my pictures that I had wanted to use for my header or the pics along my side bar. And I should have emailed them to her and I mentioned if I could email them to her. But she asked me to make a photobucket account, that way we (her and I) could access them. And she said once my blog is finished, for me to change the password so she wouldn't be able to access them again. And so that's what we did. Again...I do not know much about making blog designs. Why she decided to 3rd party host my images on PB versus placing them on my blog directly. I really don't know why she chose that. And again I didn't know enough about it at the time to even ask So Friday night, I emailed the woman who made my blog. I had lost all her information. But lucky for me... she put a square/link/button on my blog, so I quickly clicked that. And she's long gone. Her website is defunct/no longer alive. I found her email and that is no longer active either. For all intense purposes, she no longer exists. Which sucks because she was the most awesome helpful. Fast computer savvy lady, ever!!! I really really liked her. So, I contacted another person who could fix it and who is in business. But she couldn't fix it until Monday. Given it was Saturday morning Japan time, Friday evening US time...and this was before the house woke up (husband and my kids were still sleeping when I contacted her in America)....and again...my blog looked bananas. I wasn't sure I wanted to wait that long. Because my blog looked THAT bad. It was a real mess.

Noboru told me Saturday evening. After he researched for a few hours. He told me. "I actually think, I can fix this" Again, Noboru had absolutely zero previous knowledge about html or coding either. But he learned. He's smart as a whip and he said it's not actually very hard or complicated at all. And while he did most everything. I too, have since uploaded my entire blog twice since Saturday. But Noboru gets 99.999% of the credit. He asked me to copy the code that makes my blog...my blog. So, I copied the html of my entire blog. I emailed it to Noboru's laptop. And from there, he created his own TEST blog. It's all private. But he downloaded my blog down there and started switching out all PB links and manually started putting them down to my blog directly. He put my header on my blog directly. It is not hosted by any 3rd party. And he started going through each html line by line. Code by code. Switching. And then he would email me back the new version and I would manually put it back on my blog. Yay ,me....for being able to do that. Considering I am not a techie type person at all. And as of Sunday it looked so so except the area where I write was white, it's usually yellow. And last night...we both stayed up until 11:30pm and he found the part on the html that made it yellow. And got my labels back near each side bar pic. I'm not about to make this post a mile long. But...it's honestly just reality. It's truth. And it's the DISASTER...that we were left picking up after PB did that to millions, including me. Is my blog back to 100% right now? Umm, absolutely not! However...considering you have 2 people who knew nothing about coding and html and we were able to bring it back from the brink of death... to even this point...is sorta badass!!! Sorry...but this time..I am gonna toot my own horn. If you only knew what a disaster it all was since last Friday...then you will understand. A lot of folks in internet-land are still jacked up. Still a mess. I'm lucky. I'm lucky in that...I'm married to a man who is my very best friend and who will always jump in to help me out...if I need it. And I will always do the same. : ) Anyways...blog is not 100% yet...but it's getting better each day. I just wanted to touch bases with you. I am sure most of you do...did read the news and knew what was happening with PB. So that's what's up. : )

Anyways...we had Noah's observation day today too. Noboru, Bran and I went. Today is the 4th of July. I did make a coconut cream pie for dessert. And we're having a lame dinner tonight...it's just cream stew. And that's only because I was gone at Noah's school for a good chunk of the day. But...we are BBQ-ing this week. Maybe tomorrow. Anyway...that's enough for now. Hopefully...I didn't write a book. But, I wanted you all to know what's up. And now you do. : )