Archive | November, 2011

Entering Armenia

I’ve never lived in a country where English isn’t spoken, not even Alabama. The closest I’ve come is, I’ve eaten in Chinese buffets, where the waitresses are all Chinese girls with maybe 50 English words to their names (not counting their names, which are not “Vicky” or “Margie”, like it says on their nametags), and I’ve asked whether or not to tip them.

However, working in a proprietary software is analogous to living under a foreign tongue. Especially, one as perversely documented as WordPress.

I’ve given up attempting to modify WordPress’ basic “2011 Theme” into something useful to me, and have imported the WooTheme known as “Canvas”. There’s hoke, here. Oops – I meant ‘hope’. Replacing “2011” with “Canvas” was instantaneous. I’ll say that much. And there’s other nice nuances.

WordPress makes all “Canvas”s controls immediately available.  However, maybe I should have kept “2011” in place just a tad longer. I’m not sure what will happen re: previous posts. That’s why there’s two here, so that I can learn what will happen to the other one.

Alas, that may not tell me much. Yesterday’s post is now further down the scroll. That’s swell. But I want to know what’s in store by 2012, when I have 35, or 2013, when I have 350 posts and an archive to consider.  “2011” had an archive already set up. Does “Canvas”?

Of course, I could learn by doing, if I could import the 126 blog posts from www.freedmania.blogspot.com. I scrupulously followed the directions, which are so simple a Neanderthal wouldn’t even have to stop scratching himself to follow them, and merely succeeded in proving once again that Any Statement That Begins with the Phrase, ‘All You’ve Got To Do’ is a Lie. The only true part of it is that you’re going to do it. Whoever’s talking is going home.

By the way, a measure of the ungainly non-intuitivenes of WordPress is the fact that I’m blogging about it at all.  This space should be filled with the vitriolic good humor so easily inspired by Newt Gingrich, or maybe wry wisdom to offset the boorish hopes of the detatched who want Occupy Wall Street to look more like “occupy the Columbia U’s President’s Office” of 35 years ago. The fact is, other than the three day weekend spent eating, I haven’t done or looked at anything other than this goddamned “plug-and-play” thing for close to a week…

Well, it’s not All WordPress’ fault. I’m ignorant of the most basic “social network” fats and practices. I don’t know what to “link” to, or what RSS is used for re: a blog. That stuff’s on me.

But: I want to put a column of links in the right-hand column of the landing page. I’d like some control over fonts. I need some guidance on handling comments, and a sign-up mechanism for readers. I’d expect that documentation sitting out in plain view somewhere near at hand.

Well, maybe it’s in here somewhere. I had to send out for a hard hat and a miner’s lamp. Fortunately, you can get almost anything on Amazon these days. Stay in touch. I’ll see you all in a couple of days.

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This is a test. Take 2

Had this been an actual post, you would find it seething with attitude and rolling on the floor with laughter. None of that here. Well, maybe some attitude.

WordPress is a bitch. The documentation is some of the most demeaning ‘kindness’ I’ve ever encountered. I can only hope it serves as a filter. If I was actually the idiot they’re addressing, here’s hoping I would have given up after “We’re sure you” and abandoned this wild and impractical ambition to expose my “ideas” to a ravening public. But, maybe not.

Their documentation is written like most schoolbooks, with a lengthy, friendly persuasion piece about the intrinsic value of blogging. Presumably, this is so their customer – the “rabbit” – will remember he/she has voluntarily assigned hself the task of blogging, and collaterally the task of making it ‘look good’, Since this isn’t high school, a rabbit is allowed to hire whatever help hshe can afford in that regard.

Actually, this being the real world, the rabbit can hire someone to think profound thoughts for hier, write better than hshe could ever dream of, and basically ghost the whole thing. But that’s another post, at another time.

This post is solely to provide copy for the eventual task of layout. It’s all I need instruction in. Being not a moron, I knew, going in, that I would have to think, compose and write the whole thing. In fact, it’s what I came here to do. I’m not a good graphic artist, but I’m good enough to play with blocks. Building a website’s not like building a house. Using an interface to move around textfields, images, etc., though, is analogous to digging a foundation with a backhoe. If all you’ve ever used is a pick and shovel, someone’s got to show you what to do with all those levers.

For instance: I wrote one of these already. A block of copy, that is, suitable for devising layout (I can’t call what I’m doing “designing”. I just can’t.) I didn’t know how to save it, though. Didn’t know enough to scan the page and look for the “Publish/Save” module, off the upper right corner of this textfield. And I didn’t take the precaution of saving the text, either. Silly me.

Beyond that, I’ll have to deal with “Categories”, “Tabs”, “Hyperlinks”, and probably other stuff, all requiring instruction re: the interface. Since this is where wordPress includes that information, I have to follow their mad logic, or build my own breadcrumb trail through their docs.

Actually, I think they wanted me to deal with “Categories” first, before even writing this.. I wouldn’t ever have thought of that order of procedure. In writing a blog, first you write whatever comes into your head or your gut, then you classify it for posterity. No?

“Categories” first. Maybe this is what they teach you in journalism school. Nobody tells me anything. For all I know, this is the very root of all my troubles – why I’ve never been a successful writer. I’ll do it.

Well, I’ll save this draft first, and learn about drafts, too.

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Hmm. One draft per post. That being the case, I’ll keep the text editor open, too, for those nuggets that are too precious to lose, but don’t seem to scan very well.

Meanwhile, I’ve sorted out the Categories issue far enough to create a couple and assign this post to one of them. I could assign it to several, but I’m not duplicating any documentation here, no matter how cheesy it may be.

Tags, too. No biggie there.

I still have profound questions regarding Categories, Tags and search engines. I’ll deal with those issues after this thing looks cool.

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 For two hours now, I’ve been trying to import the 126 posts I made in Blogger.  The Blogger Importer plugin has been plugged in.

The third and last line of the instructions says, in a casual and friendly way, “The first thing you need to do is tell Blogger to let WordPress access your account.” Do you know what this has instructed me to do?

You do?

Could you tell me, please? Because I haven’t a clue. I thought perhaps a textfield would open, and I would type in the URL of the WordPress-enabled site. Or, perhaps, a speaking tube would extend itself from my flat screen and I could talk directly with Blogger.

“You will [then] be sent back here after providing authorization.” When I wasn’t sent anywhere, I slowly trudged back across the flat screen myself.

Since I hadn’t found a way to convey to Blogger my vital message, and consequently hadn’t been sent back, I there was only one visible choice. I clicked the button marked “authorize”. Hell, I figured. I’m an author. Why not?

O, I can’t stand it… the upshot was, no files ever transferred. I’m going to get a beer. I’ll look at the layout tomorrow.

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