Apr 302018


Like everything your bleary eyes perceive on a desktop computer or a portable device, No Clean Singing resides on a machine. We rent space on said machine from a web host, initially on a server we shared with strangers and eventually on one dedicated exclusively to our own putrid creations. Over time, the database that stored those creations became clogged with digital gunk, the kind of gunk that caused the machine to lose its mind from time to time, resulting in outages until the mind could (temporarily) regain some clarity.

In addition, the theme we’ve used since Day One, i.e., the software residing in our machine home that provides for the “look and feel” of the site, was abandoned by its developer. Even before that, I resisted updates to the theme software due to anxiety over the possibility that the updates would result in unwanted changes to the appearance and functionality of the site, which I had so painstakingly customized. This created a ticking time bomb, destined to go off on an unknown future day when some update to the WordPress software that’s fundamental to the existence of this blog would break the theme into tiny non-functioning pieces. And there were other problems.

Unfortunately, although I’m the guy who created the site and is responsible for its day-to-day care and feeding, I’m self-taught when it comes to its “back end” operation. I know just enough to be a danger to myself and others, and don’t know nearly enough computer science to solve any of the problems identified or alluded to above. So, after eventually getting tired of living anxiously with my fingers crossed, I finally did something smart. I hired an expert.



That expert, whose name is Skye (and whose site is here), has been working off and on for many weeks now, down deep in the plumbing of our machine home, cleaning out the cruft, polishing the pipes, and doing other things I could only describe in similar metaphorical terms because I really don’t understand most of the details.

He has succeeded in dramatically reducing the size and bizarro-world nature of the databases, which should reduce if not eliminate the site’s downtime, and hence reduce the time I spend in chat rooms with representatives of our web host who usually are of no help at all.

Skye also discovered that although the developer of our theme did abandon it years ago, devoted and computer-literate fans of the theme recently picked it up, dusted it off, updated it, and have been supporting it on a continuing basis. And so he installed the latest update, learned how to use it, and configured it so that the look and function of NCS wouldn’t change dramatically.

But some changes did occur. For example, you might have noticed that the style and color of the font used in the text of our articles has changed, subtly. That wasn’t intentional — probably some default setting in the theme update that Skye didn’t notice and didn’t re-set to the old style and color. My initial inclination was to go back to the way things used to be, but the feedback I’ve gotten on the changes has been positive, so at least for now, I’m leaving everything as is.

Skye also converted the site from HTTP to HTTPS, both for security reasons and to eliminate the off-putting warnings that many browsers are now displaying when you try to visit a site that uses HTTP. For those who may not understand the difference, here’s what The Font of All Human Knowledge tells us:

HTTP Secure (HTTPS) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) for secure communication over a computer network, and is widely used on the Internet. In HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted by Transport Layer Security (TLS), or formerly, its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). The protocol is therefore also often referred to as HTTP over TLS, or HTTP over SSL.

“The principal motivation for HTTPS is authentication of the accessed website and protection of the privacy and integrity of the exchanged data while in transit. It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks. The bidirectional encryption of communications between a client and server protects against eavesdropping and tampering of the communication. In practice, this provides a reasonable assurance that one is communicating without interference by attackers with the website that one intended to communicate with, as opposed to an impostor.”

There are other changes in the works beyond those summarized above. For example, Skye will eventually do some things to optimize NCS for mobile devices, so that it reformats itself when viewed on handheld or tablet devices in a way that’s easier on the eyes and the fingers.


I wish I’d been smart enough to hire someone like Skye a long time ago. Just for my own peace of mind, if not for your pleasure, it has been money well-spent, even though the site returns no money to fill the deeper hole in my pocket, and (by design) never will.

I know that many of you, unlike me, are very computer-literate. And i’m sure that many of you, whether computer-literate or not, have opinions (good or bad) about the way the site looks and works. And so I’ll close this post by inviting anyone who would like to share problems they’ve encountered with the site which haven’t been addressed (as described above), or ideas for improving its appearance and functionality, to leave a Comment.

I can’t promise I’ll act on any of your ideas, especially when it comes to the site’s appearance, but I’ll at least consider them. And now seems a good time to do that, since I’ve got someone helping me who actually knows what the fuck he’s doing.




  2. Ask Skye to fix the RSS feed when they have time please.

  3. It sounds like you are very much (and very nobly) trying to keep the site commerce-free and yourself free of any monetary conflicts of interest. But I don’t think anyone could possibly hold it against you if you started a gofundme to help cover ongoing hosting/ storage/ maintenance. Alternately, let us know how to find you at MDF or other upcoming bacchanals so that we may buy you all the beer you can drink.

    • Thank you man. I make an indecently good living at my fucking day job, so I can afford the NCS overhead, and spending the money on this feels good. I’m all about the feeling good. 🙂

      • Can I “like” this somehow?

      • Also, as an artist and frequent, many-years-long reader, Ive had some ideas about some new, yet simple (and within a range of slick to decrepit) graphic ideas, if you ever wanted to update it, I would love to help out.

        • As you know, things change around here at the pace of glacial drift, but I appreciate the offer and would be interested in your thoughts. My e-mail is on the “Contact Us” page.

          • 😛

            To be clear, I have no criticisms of the current motif. Its dark and grimy with lots of skulls. Zero complaints. I just, as a metal enthusiast and creative type, have pondered such things here and there. I wonder if there isn’t something extra spicy that could work out. At the very least it could be an interesting exploration.

  4. Everything looks good. The only issue I’ve had is that the next/last post navigation that used to be at the top and is now at the bottom seems to be missing the next post option on most posts.

  5. Was surprised to see the change. Good in a way although I wish the size of the fonts were a bit larger than this.

    Also that reminds me. Wasn’t there a time when this was all green skulls? and before that something else. That was fun too.

  6. Change your appearance imperceptibly, and then point it out so that it is now perceptible? How dare you?!

    But, aye; good job, sir.

  7. Huh… and I thought the computers running the site were powered by a room full of slow lorises on spinning wheels. I like the changes though – whoever said Arial couldn’t be kvlt?

    • The lorises are a bunch of lazy fuckers except when they get their blood up and try to escape the compound in order to inflict mayhem on the neighborhood. I have a strong suspicion that they’re somehow behind the intermittent outages at the site. Skye may have to single-handedly fight a running guerrilla war with them.

  8. Google search box’s whiteness in the head of the side bar is annoying for me.

    Please add this in your site’s css file for the time being (until your web designer do his job). this will suit your site:

    button.gsc-search-button.gsc-search-button-v2 {
    /* Permalink – use to edit and share this gradient: http://colorzilla.com/gradient-editor/#f00505+0,f00505+23,b70303+71,ad0303+100 */
    background: #f00505 !important; /* Old browsers */
    background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #f00505 0%, #f00505 23%, #b70303 71%, #ad0303 100%) !important; /* FF3.6-15 */
    background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #f00505 0%,#f00505 23%,#b70303 71%,#ad0303 100%) !important; /* Chrome10-25,Safari5.1-6 */
    background: linear-gradient(to bottom, #f00505 0%,#f00505 23%,#b70303 71%,#ad0303 100%) !important; /* W3C, IE10+, FF16+, Chrome26+, Opera12+, Safari7+ */
    filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.gradient( startColorstr=’#f00505′, endColorstr=’#ad0303′,GradientType=0 ) !important; /* IE6-9 */
    padding: 8px 30px !important;
    border-style: none !important;

    .gsc-control-cse.gsc-control-cse-en {
    padding: 10px 0 0 0 !important;

    table.gsc-search-box td.gsc-input {
    padding-right: 5px !important;

    .gsc-input-box, .gsc-input-box-hover {
    background: transparent !important;
    border-color: #333 !important;

    .gsib_a {
    padding: 3px 2px !important;

    .gsc-input {
    background-color: transparent !important;

    .gsc-control-cse.gsc-control-cse-en {
    background: transparent !important;
    border: none !important;

    • You know what? It annoys the shit out of me too. And skye’s not crazy about it either. I think you might have just saved me some money too… so THANKS!

    • add this for curbing the button reaction:

      .cse .gsc-search-button-v2:focus, .gsc-search-button-v2:focus,
      .cse .gsc-search-button-v2:hover, .gsc-search-button-v2:hover {
      box-shadow: none !important;
      background-color: transparent !important;

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