Thoughts, Musings, News About The Site And My PhotographyIf you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please email me on artcore-cafe (at) outlook.com and I will try to answer. If you don't see any recent posts, hit refresh (F5)!
Flying All Over The Place6th September 2021 17:17 I had a month in Lima, doing so much shooting that I had to buy a new hard drive (raw files off my Q2 are enormous!). Then I spent 3 weeks travelling all over the USA - sadly my proposed shoots there didn't come off, but I saw a lot of baseball and attended to some family business. Finally I had the nightmare flight from hell home from New York courtesy of the remains of Hurricane Ida, I was literally a day late... Anyway, from the point of view of the sites, I have a collosal amount of new material to process, God knows when I will get it all done! 10 new models and 4 old ones! Joha, as usual, was a star. Here she is with a friend of hers called Luisabel.
Well It's Been A Wild Few Weeks6th August 2021 19:39 After a week in isolation in Lima, I have shot pretty much every day! If it all goes to plan, by the time I leave next Sunday night I will have shot 10 new models, and 5 old ones - with several shoots for some of them! Here's the delightful Deya Vu, from her second ever shoot :)
Sorry About The Down Time20th July 2021 15:32 I agree, it's not good enough, and I am discussing it with the webhost. There seems to be a hardware fault on the server, but it comes on top of the performance issues. They need to do better, and I need to make sure they do!
Well, It's Been A While16th July 2021 14:52 For the first time in over a year I am flying tomorrow! I will be going to Peru & the USA for 6 weeks. I have family business to attend to and will also be doing a lot of shooting :) Most members won't have been around pre-Covid, when I used to travel a lot. Because of time differences & flakey internet in some locations, it is possible that updates will be at funny times. They will arrive eventually, and I will be keeping an eye on the system.
Video Settings13th July 2021 10:24 As you can probably tell, my real skills are as a photographer. I'm kind of learning about video on the job. I've been concerned that my video files are absolutely huge, but I hadn't worked out how to make them smaller without reducing the quality of the video. Well, I signed up for a month on a very high quality porn site (just for research, you understand) and had a good technical root around looking at the videos I'd downloaded. I can now produce videos that are indistinguishable from the originals, but about half the size. You will have old style videos until October as they are already uploaded, from then on they will be smaller. I just wish I had worked this all out before doing the huge re-upload of the whole site earlier in the year!
Nearly Fixed23rd June 2021 10:49 The performance issue isn't entirely fixed, but it is a lot better. I've removed the captchas on the various IP addresses that were hammering the site with ripping software. I will see how it goes - if it causes problems I will reimpose them.
Sorry About That16th June 2021 09:56 The whole webhost was down for most of yesterday. It does occasionally happen. If it had been down for more than a day I would have gone through all the members and extended them (I've done that before). Anyway, it's back now! They hope to fix the switch that is causing the performance issue today - but they've said that before!
Step Back A While14th June 2021 17:32 An old friend is very seriously ill, I have to do some stuff to help her out. I probably won't shoot for the next month or so... I did a load of shoots over the last 3 weeks, so there is plenty to process. Don't worry, you will still get all the scheduled updates :)
Let Me Explain4th June 2021 09:39 There is an ongoing issue in the data centre. They are working on it - I'm not thrilled by this, but there isn't a lot I can do about it. This doesn't affect the speed of the site, but it does affect the capacity. Normal manual access is fine, but the sites won't cope with people running site ripping software at the moment - these can make dozens of connections, all downloading zip files & videos at the same time. My experience is that people who use this software aren't really accessing the site for their own use, they are just downloading everything as quickly as possible so that they can upload it to pirate forums, so I don't exactly have a lot of sympathy. When I spot these types of connections I will have to impose a captcha on that IP address to keep the system running. If necessary I will block access. Update 8th June 13:10: The webhost has promised to get it fixed this weekend - then again, they promised me last weekend too! Let's hope!
Site Performance26th May 2021 09:20 Sorry, the site is running slow. Yesterday there was a problem with the uplink at the data centre. They fixed it late last night, but now a switch has broken. Hopefully it will all be sorted today... Update 19:33: It seems OK now. Not helped by someone with badly configured site ripping software that was making hundreds of connections. Dimwit.
That Was A Bit Better7th May 2021 18:50 I had my third shoot today, and finally things are coming together :) I had a disastrous shoot with Rachelle several years ago (not her fault, you can find an edited version of the story somewhere back in the blog). This time we shot at Neon Dreams, and it all felt natural again! Well, apart from forgetting to take the paperwork...
Getting Started Again17th April 2021 16:32 I just had my first shoot for 5 months, with Louisa Lu. I have to say, it was all very stressful! I am going to organise a couple more easy shoots with girls I know well to get back into the swing of it. I had forgotten how difficult this photography is! Oh, and... Hit Refresh! It's a real pain I know, but if you don't see an expected update, just hit Refresh - the update is almost certainly there, it's just that your browser has cached the old version.
Moving On2nd April 2021 08:49 I have improved things a little, and our failing fraudulent friend appears to have given up for now. I removed the captcha for USA users. I have had to add address fields to the ccBill payment pages. I won't have access to this data, but it will be used for further validation of the credit card details you enter. A small pain, as always the rest of us are inconvenienced by a few dickheads.
There's Always One31st March 2021 20:12 Sorry to USA users that you are having to fill in a captcha in order to access the site at the moment. Some disgusting little cunt has spent hours over the last two days trying to access the site with fake credit card details. I'm blocking IPs and emails as fast as I can. Seriously Scott Butler, Daniel Holder, Joe Gray, Daniel Hawkins, Robert Britt, Daniel Vanderburg or whatever your real name is - you have spent about 12 hours trying to save yourself $20. How fucking pathetic. Who do you think you would be stealing from anyway? I'm not a major international business, just a guy doing some photography for fun. Even if you do get in, I will block you as soon as I see you.
5... 4... 3... 2... 1... We Have Liftoff!20th March 2021 11:01 As you may have guessed, it has been a nightmare! Since Zombaio stopped making payments last April it was been one damned thing after another, and has cost me a fortune. But, finally, here we are :) A faster server, better & more responsive software, a much smarter looking site and, last but not least, a professional billing company with much greater functionality in ccBill. Infuriatingly I can't offer recurring subscriptions to just Artcore's Cafe (you really don't want to know why!), although I can offer a joint one for all sites. To make up for this, I have set up 3 & 6 month subscriptions. Well, we didn't quite make Wednesday, but you are now free to join Artcore's Cafe once again! The first 100 members can enter the coupon code ARTCORE25 for a 25% discount on all single & recurring memberships. If you have previously been a member (and you gave me a real email address!) you will be receiving an even better offer in the next few days. Obviously everything is very new. I have tested it all, but nothing survives first contact with users unscathed. If something doesn't work, email me and I will fix it as soon as I can.
Nearly Nearly Nearly Nearly There!15th March 2021 21:37 You see the gnat? You see it's todger? No, you can't. That's because it is really really small. It is a measure of how close we are to getting going with ccBill. All I have to do is test recurring memberships. No, I don't have to wait 30 days for a renewal! I set up a special secret test price which renews every day. If it works, we may be live by Wednesday! The only thing is that I need a lie down after all the testing this morning.
Nearly Nearly There!11th March 2021 21:22 All the sites are entirely over onto the cool new format :)))) And.... Yay!... I just got credit card approval from ccBill - all I have to do is integrate with them. I have been warned by some other webmasters that this isn't easy, but what did I spend all those years writing computer programs for if not to get this sort of thing done!
Making Progress... Slowly2nd March 2021 08:04 OK! We are now over onto the new server, finally and irrevocably. I mean that, if we have to go back again I'm going to find something high to jump off. We have managed to get the membership database running! Yay! The new version of the website is looking good, I am plodding back through the members areas doing the upgrade. All (I use that word advisedly) that remains is for ccBill to get credit card approval (which may take a while, it is normally done on brand new sites which are by definition a lot smaller) and then get the integration with ccBill done. When that is sorted I am planning a big relaunch.
Stuck Again25th February 2021 14:14 I've been stuck with the server for a couple of weeks. I decided to stop publishing the updates as the members have all expired anyway! Not happy. By the time this message appears we should be back on course. I have been told that I need to get credit card approval for the sites again (it doesn't carry over from Zombaio) so there will be another delay anyway! I will use the time to get the new format of the website as good as I can. Right now, I really like it :)
Nice New Look3rd February 2021 08:44 You may have noticed that the site looks completely different. You may need to hit "refresh" to get the full effect on a lot of pages, caching is a nightmare! The new software is much faster, and is "responsive" - that means it works on all different screen sizes, so I can now use the whole of the screen on a pc :) So far, I have just done the public areas of this site and the Cellar. Next I will do the public areas of the kitchen. Then the members areas, which are much more work. I've also worked out this better blog format (still tinkering!) which I will try to get done at the same time. Anyway, I hope you like it!
One Giant Leap30th January 2021 12:32 We have the new server working! In fact, you are right now looking at Artcore's Cafe on the shiny new server! The long nightmare isn't quite over. We still need to get the member database installed and set up the backup procedures - and, of course, get ccBill set up (and that won't be easy!). Still, we are finally making progress! Update 3rd February. Going backwards again. The new server still has the wrong version of php on it. I don't believe it!
Zombaio Is Bankrupt28th January 2021 14:39 Zombaio have been declared bankrupt. They shouldn't take any more payments - if they do your credit card company will take the money back immediately! So, no new memberships and no renewals for recurring members. I've not been getting the money for months anyway... I am have stupid problems with the new server - we can't get ftp to work which means that, although I have a copy of the websites running on it, I can't publish any new material on it and can't get the membership database running. It's driving me nuts! Let's hope we get it working soon.
Upgrade Problems21st January 2021 10:19 It's getting really annoying now. We still haven't got the new server running properly, they can't get the webservice to start. I'm running out of ideas... I have had to stop new memberships - there is no point in letting people join as I'm not getting any payments from Zombaio, and the more members there are, the more complicated the migration will be. I've also temporarily pulled Artcore's Shows as we are using the domain for testing. I will keep publishing the updates, and hopefully will get migrated to the new server, and to ccBill, in the next few weeks. Update 22nd January: Yippee! We've got it working. Hopefully everything will be moved over by Monday, and I get the membership database set up in a day or two after that. ccBill here we come :)))))
Hardware Upgrade8th January 2021 16:24 We will be doing the migration to the new server over the next few days. There may be periods where the site goes down, and sometimes some recent updates may briefly disappear. Let's hope it goes alright, then I will finally be able to migrate to ccBill and get some money coming in :)
Plans For The Future3rd January 2021 10:54 Yes, it has been a weird time... I have plans, and will be busy for a long time, even if I can't go out and shoot! 1: I'm in the middle of a major hardware upgrade on my own computer at home. 2: We are building a new server to host the website. This is so that... 3: ... I can dump Zombaio (who owe me over $2000 and are showing no signs of paying) and switch to ccBill. 4: Then, a huge job, I am going to completely redesign the website. The current software isn't "responsive", which means it isn't capable of determining what type of screen it is being viewed on and displaying appropriately. That is why it only has 3 thumbnails in each row, and on a pc only takes up the middle of the screen - so it would work reasonably on a mobile. The software has moved on a lot in the last 7 years, and it is time for me to move with it! It will require a mammoth upload. I must be mad :)
Happy Christmas, Such As It Is25th December 2020 14:05 A nice, rather old, picture of Luna :) I didn't really plan on sitting here at home on my own for Christmas, but none of us have a lot of option right now! I haven't even seen Su for 10 months :( I've been missing some of the other girls in my life too! Let's hope we get free again soon. If you're on your own this Christmas, do your best to enjoy yourself. I've just eaten a huge dinner!
Coronavirus Update 418th December 2020 16:45 We are still in lockdown. In fact, the area I live has just been put into the highest tier. I am waiting a vaccination - due to health issues I am in a relatively early group to get it. I won't be shooting, except maybe in a studio after Christmas. I have enough material to keep publishing, but I really miss the shooting! In fact, right now, I really miss my life :(
Hardware Upgrade4th December 2020 18:28 We can't get the software upgrade to work, and have finally decided to build a complete new server. This will cost me quite a bit, which is a pain as the reason I'm doing it is that I need to change billing systems as Zombaio haven't been paying me recently! Anyway, there may be some service interruptions over the next 2 or 3 weeks while we are migrating. Update 18th December: The engineer is having to self isolate as his brother has covid. God knows when we'll get it done!
Absolutely Terrible News23rd November 2020 16:41 I've just been told the heartbreaking news that Galina M was drowned a few weeks ago. She wasn't just a beautiful model, she was a beautiful spiritual person. I'd say she was one of my favourite 2 or 3 models ever. I had only shot her twice, but we had plans to meet up again - if it hadn't been for the virus we would have done. There was a real spark working with her. I'm looking at all the photo sets and movies we made together, in fact I published a set only yesterday. All the girls on here are pretty, and most are sexy, but every so often you get someone really special. She loved what she did, it wasn't just for money. As she said on her Instragram profile, "Just a woman enjoying life". I have decided to carry on publishing her material as planned, it seems appropriate. However, I won't use it for advertising. RIP Galina Fedorova
Software Upgrade30th October 2020 15:26 We have a compulsory software upgrade to do, either Sunday or Monday. There may be a short downtime, longer if something goes wrong! Update 5th November: Well, that failed :( Now the town where the webhost is located is in a full Covid lockdown, so we don't know when it will be done. It doesn't matter to you, but it's a pain for me as I want to change the billing system and I can't until the upgrade is done! Update 22nd November: We will be having another go tomorrow.
Coronavirus Update 327th October 2020 18:21 As you will have seen if you look at the Schedule page, over the last few weeks I have been shooting again. However, the pandemic seems to be taking hold once more. We are still in the lowest tier where I live, but I'm not sure how long this will last. I only have one shoot scheduled right now, I still plan on doing this but I will be in contact with the model beforehand. Apart from that, it's back to shutdown! I have plenty of material, don't worry, even several new models. Let's hope we get a vaccine soon, I really need to travel again!