Archive for February, 2009

Miao Diary (Chapter 4 – Final)

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Previously: Chapter 3

(Remember, if you don’t see any text in the dialogue bubbles, you’re seeing the cached preview page. Refresh the image.)

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I hope you all had fun reading Miao Diary!

Miao Diary (Chapter 3)

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Previously: Chapter 2

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Next: Chapter 4

Miao Diary (Chapter 2)

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Previously: Chapter 1

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Next: Chapter 3

Miao Diary (Chapter 1)

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

As Sunday nears and the final installment of Miao Diary approaches completion (only 3 pages to go as of this writing), I will be reposting the previous chapters for great justice.

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Next: Chapter 2

Miu Hiiragi

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Manga Tsukiyo no Fromage, by Tinker, begins with the male lead, Miu Hiiragi, dreaming that he’s on a date with a girl from the dating sim he was just playing.

Is it just me, or is he a little on the girly side? And although “Miu” may be one of those Japanese names, like “Tsukasa” or “Kagami”, that can belong to either a boy or a girl, because of my limited exposure to Japanese names, I immediately associate the name “Miu Hiiragi” with a little girl. Maybe even with twintails.


When little sisters attack

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Coming this spring from J.C.Staff is First Love Limited (the katakana reads “Hatsukoi Limited”, but they do use the English words “First Love Limited” in the manga).

It’s a complex (in both the “complicated” and “to have a complex” senses of the word) love comedy adapted from the manga by Mizuki Kawashita, best known in the USA for Strawberry 100%. It’s fanservice shonen but not a harem story; each boy or girl is the object of affection of only one or two suitors and there are almost as many male leads as female leads.

So here’s a scene from First Love Limited: the attack of the little sister.

And then, you know.

In unrelated news, here’s another preview for Miao Diary’s final installment. No relation to First Love Limited, I just didn’t want to make two posts. 11 pages completed out of 18. I’m posting this today because I’ll be out playing Magic the Gathering tomorrow. Still, release date of 01 March will be maintained.

Looks familiar

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Miao Diary: Chapter 4, Part 2 (Final)

Number of pages: 18 (Yes, I had to bring in more pages for proper closure. There will be a total of 106 pages.)
Pages complete as of this writing: 5
Release date: Sunday, 01 March 2009

Does this mean I win?

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Although ExoByte and Fetjuel both alerted me to it, it took me a while to see for myself because I submitted my entry to this contest under my old email address which has been decommissioned. Here are some other entries. What do you suppose are my chances of winning?

Click for larger image.

I’ll have the preview and release date for Miao Diary final installment up later today as promised, but first my mother has asked me to read her doctorate thesis (144 pages).

A darker and more dangerous place

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

So based off of Christopher’s advice in the last post, I went and set up the WordPress plugin to make the database backups automatically and have them emailed to me, once a week. I also kept my promise to always have the latest version to minimize vulnerabilities and updated to WordPress 2.7.1 (backing up manually first, of course). To be honest, I was starting to get annoyed with all the people giving me advice. I wanted to say, “Leave me alone! I haven’t had a four-hour span alone at my drawing board since the hack. Don’t you want to see Miao Diary get done? Why can’t I just draw in peace? Right now there are three posts on the site and all of them are about the hack!”

It was at that time that I remembered what happened in Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. Pursued by the soldiers of the empire as well as a hungry earth spirit, Prince Chagum has to undergo self-defense training from Balsa, the spearwoman who has sworn to protect him. In the climactic battle, when Balsa’s attention is drawn by a powerful enemy, what he learned from Balsa allows him to survive without her direct protection. Times have changed and I can’t just draw in peace. There are people out there who will vandalize an innocent and unprotected blog for no other reason than it is innocent (relatively speaking, of course; my projects, although modest by lolicon standards, are seldom innocent) and unprotected. I have come to the attention of those people and I have no choice but to learn how to protect myself.

So I have no right to get mad at those people who are offering advice. This isn’t the unsolicited, opinionated advice that Steven is so strongly against. These people are doing it because they want to help me. So I have to do the right thing and take their advice as I stumble through my first attempts at protecting my website. I may be almost 29 years old but I’m still a child when it comes to stuff like this. I’ve made some big mistakes already (the biggest being erasing the folder and database before determining the nature of the hack) so I have to do what I can to not make things any worse.

So what more advice is there? Should I spend the money to have the hack analyzed? Should I learn how to collect site access statistics (with like, say, Google Analytics), ban people from my site, or block ranges of IPs? Should I learn how to back up my database without the use of the plugin? When will I know when I’ve done enough and can get back to my work? I don’t want to have my operations paralyzed from fear. That’s what terrorists and hackers want to happen. I want to go back to the days when all I had to do was draw, scan, and post and never worry about hackers or the safety of my site. But it seems those days are gone, and I have to deal with it.

To all of you who have been offering advice, thank you. You make me want to tear my hair out, but I know it’s because you care.

(Now to sneak in a few hours of drawing before the next wave of advice. Hurry! Hurry!)

Recovery report

Monday, February 9th, 2009

For certain definitions of “grown”

Today I called my webhost (Lunarpages) and got to talk to a person (unlike over the weekend, when all I could get was a recording.) They helped me fix stuff. Here’s the results:

Images: Every image I ever posted was intact, except for the lighthouse banner. The hackers didn’t get into any folders besides the /heartscontents one, so no work was needed.

Permissions: The hackers had changed the permissions of the files in the /heartscontents folder so that I couldn’t overwrite or delete the hacked files. The Lunarpages tech restored my permissions and I was able to get rid of all those files and replace them with a notice.

Email: I couldn’t send or receive emails from addresses for a while. I got messages like “550 verification failed” and “send limit reached”. I was suspecting that the hackers had turned my email into a spam-sending robot, but that probably wasn’t the case. My email capabilities have been restored, but I’ll keep using my Yahoo address as my primary email and as the email of this blog. Those who have been trying and failing to email me can try guuonearth (at) yahoo (dot) com. It worked for one of my friends who was having trouble reaching my old address.

Database: The database is recoverable (they could restore it from backups), but it would cost $75 per hour.

It seems like I could have made a full recovery if I was willing to pay for it. Big props to Lunarpages for actually keeping regular backups of both the database and the files. If Heart’s Content had important business data, I’d be glad to hand over that money for the recovery. Unfortunately, I’m cheap, and I also like the chance to start fresh, erasing all the mistakes I made during the almost two years that this blog has been operational, and promising never to repeat them. Every post on the old blog has been read by its intended audience during the time that its information was relevant. I’ll only restore the posts I have to, such as the Miao Diary ones.

For some reason, the old blog isn’t worth $75 to me. If I had lost all the images as well, then maybe I’d think about it. Apologies to Author (who was so kind as to send me a text file of the blog posts from his reader) and everyone else who lost their links to Heart’s Content. For the community’s sake, I can and probably should do something to recover the lost blog, but for some reason, I who am normally diligent can’t seem to be bothered in this case. Maybe it’s because I would rather spend my time creating, rather than restoring.

The end of Miao Diary and the start of a new project

Come this March, upon finishing Miao Diary and taking care of some old debts like the Ravnica series, I’ll be a free agent. People have started asking me if I want to illustrate their project next.

The last collaboration I worked on was never completed.

I’m in demand probably because I’m at an odd skill level where I’m good enough to stand out from among the beginners, but I’m not yet good enough that a company would hire me or people not named Stripey would buy my full-color artbook if I made one. (Case in point: if I offered commissions for US $5 per hour, which is below Washington State minimum wage, none of my readers would be willing to pay.)

So people who think they have a project that suits my taste enough for me to work for free have started pitching their work to me. If they can offer me enough enjoyment such that it would be the only payment I need, then my skill is enough to make them happy. After I finish the Ravnica project (there are still two main characters left to design as well as one of the old characters who needs to be redesigned) I’ll have to decide which offer to accept, or whether I would just work on a project of my own creation.

But that’s not my concern right now, because finishing Miao Diary is my priority. I promise to repost Miao Diary in its entirety when I complete Chapter 4. There will be a preview and a release date announcement this Sunday, 15 February.