Coffee heat rising

Update: Blog migration project

Between you and me and the lamp-post, I spent most of yesterday fiddling with computers instead of working for the taxpayer. The project to learn WordPress and move Funny over there is coming right along, and in theory I could claim it’s sorta like work, because my EA (editorial assistant, a.k.a. her Sanchita Panza to my Doña Quixote) and I have conceived the idea of creating a blog for our office on the university’s intranet, which happens to use…yes! WordPress! So it’s all stewing together in the same pot

Worked…played…whatever I was doing until after midnight; then up at 5:00 a.m. for the usual round of chores and racing out the door. Labored like Sancho’s mule! But I learned a lot, figured out which posts to copy into WordPress, learned how to insert images (not as easy as it looks), found out some strange things, learned some HTML code (d’you know how long it’s been since I took an HTML class and decided I just didn’t want to know that?), and actually read an entire learned article on feminist epistemology for Our Beloved Employer.

WordPress is so, soooo different from iWeb. If only all the kewl things about each could be amalgamated into one fantastic blogging program. It is, for example, extremely cool that in iWeb you can drag & drop or copy-and-paste Sancho there into your page and he will appear online as he appears in iWeb. But it is also extremely cool that in WordPress you can type in a caption and voilà! the cutline appears below the image, unlike the one I just built in a textbox, which could appear…oh, just about anywhere on this page. We shall see after I (don’t) post it to the Web.

How kewl is it, though, that WordPress works with LaTex? OMG!!!

Apple sent out a groveling e-mail to its paying customers, promising that things are now so much better. Dollahs to donuts when I hit publish I will again be told that iWeb failed to publish, and again a visible but static page will appear online

The new young guru in my building at GDU, BTW, is an Apple acolyte (is that an Applyte?). He was surprised that I had managed to change the language for my Dell laptop’s log-in routine to Arabic. I suggested it was a terrorist plot to blow up GDU’s president, the Raven. He said, “Nevermore!” After some fretting around, we figured out the best way to approach the Arabic invasion was to crash the system, duck for cover, and then reboot. It worked. One shock treatment and Dell speaks English again.

At any rate, the kid couldn’t understand why I would feel any sense of dismay toward the beloved Apple. I offered to pay him to untangle the mess MobileMe has made of my system. He ducked for cover again

In another few days, I hope to complete the iWeb-to-Wordpress migration. Annoyingly enough, our office is getting some work in-house, dead of summer or no, and on the side I’ve fallen behind on a client’s project, so I will be reduced to working for pay. But as soon as the switchover is done, you should be able (I hope) to access it at a URL. I do hope.

An open letter to Steve Jobs

Okay, Apple has just about won. I’m in tears and I’m ready to give up. Why on earth would you do this to your customers?

When you made your great migration from to MobileMe, you trashed my blog, which is something I write to every day and which gets about 1000 hits a month. Some posts get four times that many hits in a day. Not that it’s the end of the world, of course, I mean it’s not an earthquake in China, so I guess we have to keep this in perspective, but it’s still making me cry.

After spending the ENTIRE FLICKING DAY dorking around at the Apple store yesterday, buying an OS upgrade that I didn’t need or want, and waiting OVER EIGHT HOURS for the seven required downloads to happen, I STILL can’t publish through iWeb. Every time I hit publish, I get the “error in publishing” message. It publishes the post I’m trying to put up, but it won’t let anyone post comments. When you click “add a comment,” you get that GD “Welcome to Mobile ME” screen. So my readers get an ad for your new service, not an opportunity to comment on my posts. Thank you so very, very much.

More recent posts don’t even show the “add comment” link.

The internal links are corrupted, especially in the “Archives” section.

I have been run around Robin Hood’s barn by your people. The staff at the Biltmore don’t even bother to answer the phone. I got through to someone at Chandler-it would consume half a tank of $4.30/gallon gasoline for me to drive to Chandler!!!!!!!-and she made an appointment for me at the Biltmore, dropping me into a madhouse of frenzied consumers who feel they can’t live without your latest toy and who must have it right this minute. She also erred in saying that since I wanted my money back for the subscription I now can’t use (it won’t accept my Quicken backups, either) Apple would upgrade my computer for free. Ohhh nooooo! Not at all! So I got a good gouge at a moment when I am so broke I can barely afford to buy groceries. Your manager gave me a 50% discount, but 50% of “I can’t afford it” is still “I can’t afford it.” Thank you thank you thank you.

You have lots of instructions on your MobileMe site. Most of them are incomprehensible — I haven’t the faintest idea what they’re talking about. After pondering through several pages, I realized that nothing there seemed to apply to the problem. I was told that after I finished jumping through yesterday’s endless flaming hoops, my system would work. Period. “Plug and Play.”

Can you fix my iWeb? If you can’t, will you please be truthful about it? If this can’t be fixed and I have to close my site, I want a refund of the hundred bucks you “automatically” charged to my credit card for a month ago.

While my computer will still publish (barely), I’m posting this complaint on my blog. May 7,000 people read it and copy it to their blogs! May StumbleUpon, De.lici.ous, and Digg all pick it up at once!

Kindly tell me, in words that I can understand, what I need to do to get iWeb to publish in your user-unfriendly new environment and how I can get my Quicken to back up to your unreachable new servers.
* * *

To my readers–

Well, my friends, it’s beginning to look very unlikely that my computer will ever regain enough functionality for me to continue this blog. Tomorrow I will try to post the Carnival of Money Stories, and I guess after that it’s good-bye.

It was fun while it lasted. Best wishes to you all!


Well, I’m off the air.

Apple has decided to decommission, a service for which I was “automatically” charged another $100 a month ago, and migrate all the data on those servers to a new service, adorably called “MobileMe.

Yech! Steve: spare us the cutesiness.

And spare us the hassle. The reason I bought a Mac specifically was to get around the endless updates and security panics and virus-checker gum-ups and ever-shifting anti-malware programs served up to us daily by Microsoft. For naught: the Mac has been downloading software updates-to Safari, iTunes, and Intel security-for almost two hours and still has a ways to go.

But today’s supreme annoyance is this elaborate migration, which has taken down my Website and may have brought an end to my blog. Turns out you must have the Leopard operating system to operate the new, and I only have the Panther system. (ohhh aren’t those names cu-u-u-u-u-t-e?) So how do I get access to the $100 service I just paid for? Shell out some more cash for a new OS.

When I expressed my rage about this to one of Apple’s service folks, she arranged to get me a free upgrade to Leopard (something that thrills me not, since I’m told it gums up the works just as surely as will loading an upgrade from XP to Vista into a PC). She also arranged an appointment with an “Apple Genius” to get the upgrade done and to try to get my blog back online.

That will be next Sunday. I’m told this process will take upwards of an hour and a half. Remains to be seen whether it works.

Not that I don’t appreciate the “free” upgrade, you understand. But today is Thursday. Sunday is the 13th, three days hence. On the 15th—a workday!—I’ve committed to do the Carnival of Money Stories. How, really, am I gunna do that in two days, both of which I’m supposed to spend at a paying job?
Well, if I can access the submissions, I obviously can write them in Word, do some but not all of the formatting in Word, paste into iWeb, and then finish the job after the weekend. We are talking hassle here, major hassle.

This may be even more infuriating than the BS I’ve been through with Microsoft over the years. Maybe. Possibly not, but it’s very, very close. I will say the newer versions of Office are enough to inspire plots of terrorist attacks on Microsoft HQ. But Mac’s versions of Word and Quicken are already so aggravating that if you haven’t blown up MS or Intuit over those, you probably never will.

And how can I describe the love-hate relationship with iWeb?

It is, in short, software for tyros. Blogware for hobbyists. Playware, not real software. It’s fine for displaying a few photos to your extended family, but very weak for daily blogging. SEO? What is that? “Senior Executive Officer”? The iWeb program is hopeless for search-engine optimizing, because unless you are techie to the extreme, you can’t break into the code to add the HTML snippets needed to get yourself registered with outfits like Technorati and Google.

The program does allow you to enter snippets to make buttons, but about 90% of the time they don’t work. I can’t, for example, create a StumbleUpon button. Well, I can, but it looks pretty bizarre, and “functional” is not a term I’d grope for to describe the result. I can’t move the PF Buzz button to a place on the page next to the list of tags—if I do, it stops working. I can’t put an RSS feed button on every page-it resides on the index page and only on the index page. But if you select one of iWeb’s photo templates, on those there’s an RSS feed on every page. Gee, thanks, Steve. And I dare not-oh, I do mean dare not!-subscribe to Feedburner. God only knows what that would do.

I am so angry at being made to jump through these hoops—and with such perfect timing!—I could bite! This is stupid, unnecessary, and a GD nuisance. And I’m disappointed to the stage of fury at the cheesiness of programs billed to be superior to Microsoft programs. They’re not. Not by a long shot.

The next computer is gunna be an $800 PC.

1 Comment left on iWeb site

It does seem supremely lame that Apple migrated you to MobileMe without being sure you had a system that was compatible. I don’t know if .Mac is (was) technically aware on an ongoing basis what version of Mac OS you use, but it stands to reason, and they could have been smart enough not to migrate anyone who would break without warning. I’m not sure what the alternative would be, but they could at least have given you a chance to migrate elsewhere if you needed to.

But the rest of this stuff? Having a computer is just about the opposite of simplicity and frugality. In fact, to achieve anything resembling computing peace of mind, simplicity and frugality need to go right out the window. Here are a couple of examples:

Broadband would make those system updates download in a reasonable amount of time. Windows wouldn’t be any better in this respect. For that matter, neither would Linux. All the major operating systems are pushing big updates out to the installed base on a regular basis.

Panther is two major versions of the operating system behind. I realize you’re not the sort who gets jollies from a computer for its own sake, and that’s fine, but in general you would experience fewer crises of this magnitude if you were to keep up with the Joneses. Running Panther today is like running Windows 2000.

As far as iWeb goes, well, given that you’re aware of its limitations, I’m not sure why you torture yourself with it when there are so many free blog publishing solutions out there on the web

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 – 12:49 AM

New! PF Buzz

Check out the new social media site, Personal Finance Buzz. The creation of Moolamoney‘s Pinyo, it focuses on PF stories, “made by a personal finance blogger for personal finance bloggers.”

It’s handsomely organized, with forums, a blog, and a bunch of options. Don’t fail to visit, sign up, and participate.

Why no ads on this site?

Funny about Money is beginning to see more visitors. Hits run from 20 to 50 a day-more right after a heavy-hitting carnival.

Apple’s iWeb, which I’m using to create this blog, accommodates Google AdSense. But for the time being, I’ve decided not to try to monetize Funny.

First, I’m not sure there’s anything to monetize. The site needs a lot more traffic to generate hits on ads.

Second, to get that traffic, I apparently have to do things that don’t work easily with iWeb. The program is not very user-friendly: all those devices that simplify and automate various bloggy functions also work to tie the user’s hands. For example, I can’t access the heading to enter the code required to get registered with Google or with Technorati! Nor, it appears, with StumbleUpon. Technorati says you can put the HTML snippet on the index page, but when I do, it’s invisible to Technorati’s spider. Breaking into the code is no easy matter. Since I’m not very techie, I suspect it may be best to leave adequate enough alone.

Third, I’m earning all I need right now to pay my bills and build savings. I don’t really need a third income stream, and even if I did, this does not look like a device that’s worth the effort. While some bloggers claim they’re earning upwards of $40,000 on their sites, they appear a) to be very technologically inclined and b) to be working at it many more hours than I can afford to spend. More typically, bloggers remark that their sites bring in $50 to $150 a month. I can earn more than that in a couple of hours of freelance editing.

Fourth, speaking of many more hours, I’m already spending too much time on blogging. Writing posts and cruising other people’s blogs is so relaxing and entertaining that I lose track of how long I’m sitting slack-jawed in front of the computer screen.

And finally, writing and playing with Funny about Money pays for itself in entertainment and stress relief.

If and when the site starts drawing more traffic, I’ll revisit the advertising question. But for the time being, Funny is ad-free: de mi casa a su casa.