Fine tuning – New galleries added and some potential problems fixed

Time to start fine tuning the site along with performing occasional updates. The most boring part of the work is mostly done.

5 galleries of Jwildfire images are finished. Their thumbnails aren’t very attractive and are too dark but the images are very nice, in a different style of both UltraFractal and Fractint. I also found around new 70 Ultrafractal images that weren’t posted in the galleries of the old version of the site, these would be added to the UltraFractal galleries here after I finish the JWF ones (almost done, I think there are just 2 or 3 more galleries to be added). These images need to be edited as well. I think these were done in another computer and I’m not sure if their parameters were saved. I also had some problems editing galleries and menus (so confusing!) but I think it’s fixed as well.

Also when I found these images in the old backups of the site I also did some virus scan just out of nowhere because I remember getting some reports of problems in the site from the old host once (they apparently cleaned it and moved all the infected files to a folder named something.old but I never checked what was going on as they said it was “fixed”). In these old backups there were over 400 files infected with some kind of Trojan, all files of a certain stats plugin (a famous one!) which I don’t use anymore and had stopped used there as well since these reports. I remembered about it when browsing something in Google looking if my pages were being indexed etc. and there was this report that “1200 pages were not indexed” (how so? I never had that many pages), pages that weren’t part of the site at all and seemed to be just ads or popups or stuff loading other URLs etc. I hosted a forum in my site a long time ago and some other site, these might have been the actual infected files as phpBB is a common target for attacks, but these sections were discontinued since 2008 or something, but I still had a backup of all the databases – the hacked files weren’t the databases, though, and the database used here is entirely new.

Apparently the new version of the site is fine as nothing was really transferred over from the old site to this new version, I just used the same images but these came from another clean version I had made in larger sizes, so they might be safe and clean.

The traffic to the site has been minimal so far but I think it’s expected, it’s just a month since it was restarted. It will be a long process to be noticed again, and people don’t really pay attention to websites anymore more than they do to social media pages. What is funny is that my Jetpack plugin still keeps track of the site since the first installation (I guess Google Analytics does the same), and when I reinstalled it it came back with the numbers and stats of the old version plus all from this one (30 visitors so far…)… there were over 70,000 visitors to the site since the very start… at some point there were 1500 visitors in a day… I hope it will get back to that visibility soon, mostly when I start posting tutorials and articles about fractals in general instead of just images.

Regarding the images you’ll see here

About the images: I never liked to participate in any contests, challenges or anything like that in any fractal community I’ve ever been to. I almost never tweaked someone else’s image. I hate doing it in the same way I don’t like to have my images tweaked, which is why I don’t share my parameters and or never participate in these tweak challenges. After being a member of a few mailing lists, forums and groups/communities through the years, some for a little more time than the others, I found after a while that all these became a bit boring after some time (I find it very odd that a community in Facebook for example have 30K members but just about 10 images are posted every day, and always by the same people). They all suffer from problems which I won’t describe here and I left most of them because of the general behaviour of participants of these places – you are often tempted to make images like these that get more attention, even if these aren’t your favourites or your style. I joined these places mostly to learn new techniques, look for tutorials when the softwares are too complex to learn on our own, and maybe apply some of these tips to my own images if they are interesting to my “style”, and also to occasionally display my own creations, not to participate in competitions.

All images on my site were created by me from scratch – sometimes using tutorials as a starting point, which is something different than a “challenge”, which has a theme, or a tweak contest, but most of the time it’s just from scratch trying something randomly or repeating something I already liked previously. There are millions of images that look much more interesting than mine, for several reasons. But I try as much as I can to not be influenced by any of these and copy/repeat these styles and techniques, even the most basic one layer images with traditional Mandelbrot sets or very complex images using hundreds of layers, transparencies and other available effects. And, to do that, I need to stay away as much as possible from these groups and getting from them mostly the most significant things they (sometimes) have to offer: the instructional ones. I don’t consider myself a professional artist, I make fractals as a hobby. I don’t want a medal or a prize, If I ever was asked to have my work exhibited or used somewhere else, it was because people found my work – here – and liked it and contacted me. If you like my images as they are, thank you. One reason that made me give up and get really bored with fractals was when I was almost doing that, making images to get appraisals. This time is long gone, but I have to be careful, it’s tempting to be trapped in that stuff again.

Also, my images never have any kind of “classical” post-processing, except in a very few occasions (a slight sharpening, cropping, etc.) but these are minimal. This is quite controversial, some already consider any image already post-processed even if you just add a watermark, but that’s something for another discussion. My images will also never be AI-enhanced adding these kitsch effects (maybe if AI ever comes up with something useful and really helpful, that’s another story). I tried something using AI to a couple of my fractal animations (which will appear in another section of the site soon), but they are interesting for no longer than a couple views. They’re predictable, boring, and as I’ve said, certain types of AI don’t have any interference of the artist at all.

Ultrafractal galleries are finished!

This is probably the updating part that would take the longest, but it’s finally finished. 17 galleries with 20 images each. The funny part is that the last gallery, the 17th, has 17 images… kind of a fractal repetition issue?

The newly tweaked images done after 2022 will probably have their own galleries, or maybe the tweaks will be added next to their original images. There are many more images to be tweaked. I stopped updating them some time ago because it was becoming tiresome, repetitive and boring.

I’ll leave these Ultrafractal images behind for a while, and I’ll add something fresher to the site first. Some of these old images are from a very bad creative period where I was making images just for the sake of it (it’s explained in some post somewhere here), most of them don’t attract me anymore and probably will be replaced by others or just excluded.

The next step will probably be the JWildfire galleries, and maybe then a link to the fractal animations I did and posted on Youtube. Then the Mandelbulbs… but I’ll take a short break now.

Back to work after all these issues, without any glitches… so far!

Apparently the worst issues with the server and plugins are “fixed”, I can go back to the update process again. Almost all the galleries of Ultrafractal are done, 14 galleries with all the images uploaded and 10 fully finished, with image descriptions added. I think I figured out why some galleries wouldn’t update, it was because of wrong characters in certain image descriptions. I will tweak the CSS of the galleries later after they’re uploaded, there are some bits that need to be adjusted like the font colours.

I had an idea about the updates: there are some images that I still don’t like after this second filtering I did for publishing the new site, for several reasons. They might be removed from the galleries and probably will be replaced with some of these new images I did in the “tweaking” project.

No rants this time – it doesn’t help. I’ll keep the site in this hosting even though it’s pure shit. I won’t pay a fine for something that is not my fault. If I move later (and I’ll probably do that), at least the pages are already updated.

Houston, we have a problem (again!)

OK, I’m typing this on Sunday. Tomorrow, Monday, I’ll wait for the support of the hosting company to contact me to see if they can really fix all the issues in their service and if I can get a refund, I’ve been hosting with them for less than a month. If they can’t fix it and I get an immediate refund (or ANY refund), I’ll leave this hosting ASAP and will move to another company. As the site is still at the very beginning process of rebuilding, there won’t be much work to be (re)done and it’s best to leave this host now before it’s too late. I tried all I could on my side, it’s mostly their fault. Since the beginning.

Edit: The hosting company is still shit, they want me to pay a fine if I cancel. But… the image plugin I am using that was having problems had an update today and for some unknown reason… it is working fine now, even allowing me to add more than 15 images to the galleries (was it the plugin or the server? I think it’s both). The overall configuration page is working and everything seems to be working so far. I added 5 galleries of Ultrafractal images, which I didn’t bother to edit because of these errors, but I’ll do that later today. I’ll keep with this shitty hosting then until my plan expires, as I refuse to pay a fine for their mistakes. The other gallery plugin still didn’t work, though, it’s deleted now. And it’s a famous one…

Edit 2: I spoke too soon. Now it’s having some hiccups again. I created a new gallery with 20 images today and it’s not refreshing or updating… go figure.