Administrator

A little more month left than money in the Hatbox

Author: 

We're still short on the month's goal, and on paying ourselves, so if you can help out, it will be greatly appreciated.

If you won't have money until after the first, you could consider making a pledge at Patreon as those monies are collected after the 1st of the month. And our Patron page at Patreon is jumping. I've committed to posting new chapters of Fantastic Mars and Bian there at least three days before they post here at BC. In fact, chapter 5 of the Mars serial is up there now.

Hugs and thanks,
Erin and the crew

Use this link to send us a gift:

One-Time Gift

cat-in-a-hatbox.jpg

Recurring Gift
catpunkin.gif

We've Gone Cloud!

BigCloset has Officially completed it's Cloud-Transition!

This isn't a fully virtualized cloud for BigCloset, but more of a hybrid-cloud setup where we still have multiple physical database servers that are clustered together for replication and performance needs while the front ends, the bits that compile the data from the database and make the pages you know to be "TopShelf", are fully virtualized with Scalability, Stability, and Redundancy in mind.

Grandpa's New Ride in The Hatbox

 

Grandpa's New Ride

by Katie Leone

GrandpasNR.jpg

Grandpa has an old ride, ancient, a relic really; when he decides to change it for a new one, his grandson Scott jumps at the chance to join him at the auction. A fun sci-fi romp by one of BigCloset and DopplerPress's favorite authors.

TopShelf's 2015 Summer Vacation Getaway! Story Contest

 

Entry Submission Dates are from March 15, 2015 until May 22, 2015.

Voting on the Submissions should tentatively occur between May 24, 2015 through May 31st, 2015(midnight Pacific Time),
with the Winner Announcements on June 1, 2015.

The Prizes are: 1st Place $100 x 2, 2nd Place $75 x 2, 3rd Place $50 x 2.
(prizes subject to increase with notice!)

Emergency need for Hatbox funds

Author: 

We have a situation with a bogus charge, a large one, larger than our balances, on our accounts. The bank is working with us to straighten it out and the merchant who the charge came in from is co-operating and proactive, they had already canceled the charge from their end when I called them about it. But it may take days before we can again access the funds in our account. Meanwhile other charges will be coming into accounts that are empty.

Hatbox funds needed

Author: 

The results of our upgrade are good. Our analytics show that the site is faster (just a smidge) and that this is despite more people visiting and staying longer. We have a few rough spots to smooth out, I'm sure Piper will work out the minor problems now that we have the major ones solved.

We spent right up to the ragged edge of what we could afford on hardware in order to buy us another two or three years before we need another upgrade. This leaves us a bit tight for the month. We're not broke but it's close. :)

Tweaking Stuff... and Hatbox

Hi Everyone, Most the serious down times should be done for the time being. We've tweaked out most the BIG bugs and are just hunting down a few small ones. Some of these have existed for a long while but we've been unable to find them due to failing infrastructure issues.

As we go along outages should become less and less, while speed and overall reliability should increase.

Short of $$ at Month's End - Hatbox Funds Needed

The month's end has caught us a little short again with some unexpected bills for software and a forgotten bill or two. I've again used credit cards to keep us current but it would be nice to have some cash in hand for the weekend. - Erin

Below are Piper's comments on the upgrade:

Stuff Is Broken...

I know most of you are going to look at the site and be like "No shit Sherlock", but trust me when I tell you that you have no F'ing clue how broken shit is.

What we have now, is probably what you will see for the next couple days. My days are taken up by something else, but don't think I'm not putting my whole into getting BigCloset back up and operational, I am.

I did a lot of sleeping yesterday because after 38 hours or so, you need to sleep...

I will get shit straightened out, I promise but please bear with me while I do so.

-Piper

Merry Christmas to US!

Merry Christmas Everyone! Presents are here!

Well let me clarify, our 4 new servers are here!

I will be dragging a friend with me to do heavy lifting, but the servers are headed to the Datacenter in Bridgewater, NJ tomorrow.

Over the next several days I will work on imaging them and spinning up a database backup, and then transferring load to the new MySQL Cluster. After that I will work on building the new front-end cluster and move that live, and in the process I will be re-configuring the existing servers for Tertiary services.

Updates on Stuff and Things

Hey Everyone!

I just wanted to update on a few things.

There are several things going on at once. One is that we are being spidered by several sources and they seem to spin up bots just as fast as we can have them blocked.

Another is that we think someone is intentionally trying to keep us offline, and anyone that knows me knows I won't say that lightly.

So we have done several things to try and keep things up and stable.

Hatbox Story Contributions Needed

Author: 

This is different. :)

We're getting ready to launch a new and somewhat improved Hatbox as a repository of premium stories donated to us. For that, we'd like to have some new stories. I'm working on a couple myself. If you're interested in contributing stories to be read first as Hatbox Premiums, you can contact me or Cat Lochley via PM. Stories made available to Hatbox subscribers can later be published to BigCloset (for free) or DopplerPress (to earn royalties).

Hugs,
Erin and Cat

Phishing Scams

Caution: 

Author: 

I've been getting phony emails purporting to be from Docusign asking for my signature on a document. Problem immediately is we don't use Docusign; although we do send out documents for signing, we use a different service.

Also, Docusign's place on the web is docusign.com. These emails come from a website that is NOT Docusign.

Beware. At least one of the one's I received claimed to be an attempt at a money transfer which, if I had opened it, would probably have turned out to be an attempt at getting my bank info.

BEWARE.

Ripoffs?

These guys: http://forum.silicone-breast.com/viewforum.php?f=11 seem to be publishing stories from BCTS without permission. Everything here is automatically copyrighted in the name of the author so these guys are violating federal law. At least two authors have complained to me and I have sent a takedown request via the site's Contact Us link.

I am sure that several other authors are having stories posted without their permission. Have a look and send them a takedown notice.

Hugs,
Erin

SmallScale DDoS

Blog About: 

Author: 

This is just an FYI. We have detected, and are currently mitigating, a small scale DDoS attack against one of our VPS host nodes. Because this VPS host currently hosts assets for YourBigCloset it could possibly affect the performance of BigCloset as we host some of our VideoAds from YourBigCloset. This is just an FYI and we don't know if it has any relation to Bigcloset.

Hatbox update: My furnace died

Author: 

Update evening Dec 13: Furnace is limping along after $75 repair (thermocouple) but squirrel is old and toothless. Getting bids on more permanent repair or replacement tomorrow.

Update late morning Dec 13: We have received money and I have the furnace repair guy on the way. Thanks and hugs.

Update morning of Dec 13. We had $1.44 in one account, $7 in another, about $20 in a third, and less than $300 in an account that will be hit for $254 on Thursday. And my furnace just died.

Possible Downtime but Upgrades . . .

Hey Everyone!

This is just a note to let you know that we are getting ready to release some new features and upgrades to BigCloset. Some of these upgrades have been attempted in the past and broke a lot of our custom changes to the front page.

So it is entirely possible they will break again, but I promise you I will be working just as fast as possible to get everything working again.

Unfortunately while I've tried to put off these upgrades because of the havoc they may cause, they have recently become urgent.

Sephrena

Author: 

Because Sephrena is an important part of the community here, people should know that there is a situation involving her that may turn more serious or may be soon resolved. We're not comfortable sharing details at the moment but will try to keep everyone appropriately informed.

Hugs to all,
And especially Sephrena,
Erin and the crew

BigCloset Downtime

Hey Everyone.

I wanted apologize for the delay in getting the site back online today.

What happened is that one of our many elves happened to click a wrong button causing all of the "Author Taxonomy" to disappear. That may sound like an easy fix, of just rolling back the database, but in doing so we would have lost a couple new stories, and blogs that we didn't want to disappear.

October/November Story Challenge - Everyday Costumes

Time for a small story challenge before people get serious about the Christmas contest. The theme is Everyday Costumes and it's up to you what exactly that means. We've had a few entries, check them out by clicking on the tag in the header above.

Some suggestions:

A superhero's costume is altered by an evil tailor.
A crossdresser's wish comes true in an unexpected way.
Two people dress as each other for Halloween.
A character in a long running soap opera comes to life.
A special Halloween costume shop is run by an old guy in a bathrobe.

Sunday - Expect brief outages

Author: 

Piper will be tuning the intranet and switches connecting our various servers; so expect brief outages, probably lasting no more than a few minutes as she disconnects and reconnects various cables and occasionally reboots machines to activate new configurations. Please be patient and forbearing. :)

Thanks and hugs,
Erin

We're Off!

Author: 

While Piper, Cat and I will have our phones and laptops with us, none of us will be home for several hours. Piper and Cat will be at the server farm, installing equipment and getting things ready to move our servers into our new cabinet. I'll be goofing off at a friend's house playing boardgames and drinking coffee.

Zombie, Ninja, Pirate Spiders - Sept. Challenge - LAST DAYS

Some years ago I was running a tabletop RPG in which my players were exploring an underground ocean. They had their own ship and were attacked by another ship. The crew of the pirate ship seemed to be made up of human-sized spiders carrying cutlasses and firing muskets. Except some of them seemed to come out of nowhere and attack with nunchuks, sais and shurikens. And some of them seemed to be undead and unkillable.

During the course of the battle one of the players said, "Wait, wait! Stop! We're fighting Zombie, Ninja, Pirate Spiders?"

We're Broke - Operating Funds for BCTS Needed

Author: 

We're broke.

We need about $1450 by Friday, 17 September, or some people are going to be paid late.

It's the middle of the month. We have $141 in our bank accounts.

How to give to the support of the site is detailed in the right hand column under the heading The Hatbox and at the bottom of this blog.

We've had expenses associated with the upgrade to some of our servers but thanks to everyone who has helped us stay on top of things.

Any amount is appreciated and gifts are really the way we manage to keep doing this.

Spacing between paragraphs

Please put spaces between paragraphs and don't make paragraphs longer than 5 to 7 lines because reading on a screen is hard.

If you're using MS Word or other word processor, there are options that fake a space between paragraphs while viewing the file in the word precessor. Those are not visible when converted to HTML. You need actual blank lines.

Overdrawn - Hatbox money needed - Updated

Author: 

Keeping it simple, we need money to pay bills and I personally am overdrawn on my bank account because I have not been paying myself in order to pay BC bills. Anything anyone can send will be appreciated.

Update: We just got notice from our Denver hosting company. They are going to force us to upgrade the hardware we are hosting with them. So, we will have a onetime expense of as much as $1000-$2000 and our monthly $240 a month is likely to go up too.

Here's the usual info:

Use this link to send us a gift:

One-Time Gift

cat-in-a-hatbox.jpg

Use this link to subscribe through the Hatbox Membership page:

Subscribe

Checks can be made out & sent to:
Janglewood LLC
602 Higgins Ave
Suite 1 #283
Brielle, NJ 08730
USA

Thank You

May Story Contest: Rebirth Voting

The May story contest ended last week and the voting is still going on. Tonight I will take a snapshot of the current Kudos count for the contest entries and tomorrow will announce the winners.

1st Prize has been upgraded to a 1-year subscription to Hatbox.
2nd and 3rd prize are 3-month subscriptions.
All other entries will receive 1-month subscriptions.

Thanks, Everyone

Author: 

Right now, today, Sunday 21 of May, we have hit our goal for the month. Your support is much appreciated and I will update the sidebar tomorrow to show today's numbers.

Continuing gifts in any amount will be applied to next months goal and much appreciated.

Here's the usual info:

Use this link to send us a gift:

One-Time Gift

cat-in-a-hatbox.jpg

Use this link to subscribe through the Hatbox Membership page:

Subscribe

Checks can be made out & sent to:
Janglewood LLC
602 Higgins Ave
Suite 1 #283
Brielle, NJ 08730
USA

Thank You

Fools Rush In to April Story Challenge - Last Day!

{Refreshening this announcement} Time for a new story challenge (Not a Contest)! :)

This is for any story or chapter of a longer work based on the theme of "Fools Rush In" posted in the month of April, 2016.

It's just for the fun of it so there are no prizes but there will be a feature spot on the front page for entries, once we have a few. Any length, solo or serial chapter or whatever. Go for it!

Hugs,
Erin

Hatbox updated again

Author: 

Newest Update: We have about $1800 due Friday and we have less than $500 in our bank accounts.

Not completely unexpected but we got hit with a tax bill for $800+, higher than expected, and now Felix has to deal with the expenses related to Katie's death, about $1600, without Katie's income, and we want to help out.

Accordingly, we are going to increase the April goal for the Hatbox to $5000. Yeah, I know that's a lot and to be frank, we're not really expecting to make it but we just wanted everyone to know that that is what we are going to be trying to pay out of our own resources.

Here's the usual info:

Use this link to send us a gift:

One-Time Gift

cat-in-a-hatbox.jpg

Use this link to subscribe through the Hatbox Membership page:

Subscribe

Checks can be made out & sent to:
Janglewood LLC
602 Higgins Ave
Suite 1 #283
Brielle, NJ 08730
USA

Thank You

End of the Month; End of the Money

Author: 

It's that time of month. We have about 1700 due by the end of the week and we are about 400 short on our expected subscriptions and gifts.

Anything you can give will be appreciated and we have some new stuff happening that people will be finding out about soon. Piper has been very busy. :)

Here's the info:

Use this link to send us a gift:

One-Time Gift

cat-in-a-hatbox.jpg

Use this link to subscribe through the Hatbox Membership page:

Subscribe

Checks can be made out & sent to:
Janglewood LLC
602 Higgins Ave
Suite 1 #283
Brielle, NJ 08730
USA

Thank You

Hatbox and Monthly Expenses, Still Short

We're still about $300 short of this month's goal. And we got hit with an unexpected expense for almost that much, just last night. So, we're pretty much broke.

We have about $180. We owe about $1375 on Friday, though we can put a lot of that off. Shortfalls are made up by me, Erin.

So, if you can help, please do. The link for a onetime gift is: Hatbox and the link for a subscription is: Subscribe.

Upgraded!

Welcome to our NEW Home. Meet Ariel (DB Server) and Belle (Front-End). Both servers are Cloud-Servers, hosted outside bridgewater but we are still maintaining our Bridgewater Facility for the time being. Let me know if you notice any speed/performance increases or decreases as time goes.

-Piper

-- Old Message Below --

The Crush tag added to Contests

I just added "2016 February - The Crush Mini-Contest" to the "Contest" list which can be chosen when creating Fiction. This way, it will be easy to look at all the entries and check to see which ones you have read or haven't and vote on them.

Note though that Melanie and I have entries on the list but we aren't eligible for prizes. :)

Hugs,
Erin

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