ADVENTURES IN SITE -BUILDING AND THE MENDACITY OF TECHNOLOGY

RADIO2

Bah !! Humbug!! Am I alone in being nostalgic for switches and buttons and simplicity? Simple human interaction even?There was a time when you knew where you were with technology as it was. A radio ; a record player; a car.. You had levers, switches and buttons. It’s like the discovery that a simple lead pencil was the best piece of kit and the most useful when in a space -capsule or trying to write in the gravity of the moon. The bloody pencil worked when everything else went to hell on a handcart. The pen refused to work and the ink floated out of it into the scrubbing vents…Did I just make that up? You know what I mean. Life used to be a simple stress-free affair a few years ago .It seems like only a blink to me when you put the vinyl on the turntable  and clicked the switch.Or you turned the radio on with a solid clunk and spun the dial to your favourite station and there you were. Then there were cassettes . you just snapped them in and of course , most of the time they worked effortlessly, were cheap and produced reasonable sound quality.Better than that, you could actually see them working.

  Now you need a computer to fix the computer.If something goes wrong with your car, the mechanic plugs it into the computer to see what he has to do to fix it . Sometimes the computer doesn’t like that and won’t tell him anyway and you can see the money being counted behind his eyes.

Today it was my bank account.Somehow I’d bought something online and the wrong card went through the Paypal system depleting that account of  available funds. It was probably my mistake or maybe something happened automatically.Who knows ? Who would you ask?The end result was an account unknowingly and  surreptitiously bleeding me dry in the background.I decided to top up that account from another one and of course when I did , I was still in the red. The money I’d just lodged didn’t show up immediately.It works  only when it suits the bank, eh? Then I got my car park ticket at the supermarket  stamped for free parking because I’d bought enough wine to merit a freeby .What happened when  I loaded my card into the machine ? Right first time …pay up !! What’s that all about ? Why bother getting the card stamped if the machine is going to charge anyway? Of course  there’s no arguing with a machine or technology.

It’s always the same , with the new technology, isn’t it? The very moment you get something sorted out and working smoothly , someone comes along to throw a spanner ….er “upgrade” into the works. Recently it’s been my WordPress web site.

Let me put it like this.Everything  was working perfectly well until some genius in the background decided to change it a little bit which threw everything else into chaos. It’s taken many years to get to a stage of ease and happy proficiency with computers and especially with building a web site .Time was when the entire computer was one mystery unfolding into the next one . Dial-up instead of fast broadband made for learning patience beyond the call of duty . The noisy acrid squall of the dialer giving way to the mind-numbing wait as files slowly uploaded like water dripping uphill slowly. We wanted so much for this system to work that we were prepared to prostrate ourselves before the web developers whims.We bled patience , waiting for a result.

Then there was the language of site -building …all that HTML coding to get to grips with. “HTML FOR DUMMIES”  certainly helped and a plethora of computer magazines  with answers to every question only to be forgotten as something new arrived..I was getting to grips with the FTP protocol of uploading very slowly ,when finally, someone cracked it with a simple  Build  As You Go process of prepared templates and an easy editing facility which allowed non-techie folks to forget about the mechanics of the site and get on with the stories they wanted to tell. My son- in -law steered me towards WordPress.org and then  to WordPress.com. At last I could build a perfectly adequate site for free , with the freedom to expand it in any way I wanted. This has worked fine for a few years until this latest tweak was issued.

Suddenly things wouldn’t edit with the same ease as before and I struggled for two days trying to figure out why until I discovered that many other site users and bloggers were having the same, unholy fun. The new tweak has been referred to as the  “beep beep boop” page editor ,because a page with this words  appears when you have to alter a page  or build a new one.

After much searching and questions on the WordPress forum , I finally discovered  a new extension for my web browser called  “Tampermonkey” which, by some insane background magic, re-directs my web editor back to the old nuts- and -bolts one that worked so pefectly well in the first place …in the distant  past.

So paddykool is back in business for another spell….but not without a fight.Bring back buttons, I say!!!