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Wounded. Frustrated. But Not Defeated!

It’s been just over a week since I started the move from my old sub-domain site on Blogger to abearsrant .com. I thought assembling a new barbeque was hard but it’s a walk in the park compared to this.

It started with acquiring the domain address. The domain was available so I decided to buy and register it. I chose an all-in-one domain and host service that was recommended by Blogger. Because A Bear’s Rant is based in Canada and payment was with a Canadian credit card, the provider used a Canadian e-processing company which, of course, couldn’t process my Canadian credit card.

Let me repeat that, my friends. The provider used a ‘Canadian’ processor to process my ‘Canadian’ credit card to avoid happening what actually did happen.

I’ve used that card to purchase things online both internationally and in Canada without issue but somewhere between the provider and it’s processor, there was an incompatibility. It was early in the process so I assumed that contacting the provider’s helpful tech support would quickly sort things out and we could move on.

You’d think with all the miles on me that I wouldn’t still be that naïve but apparently some of us never lose our faith in our fellow man (or woman).

I submitted an email request for assistance in processing payment, they sent me an email reply with a new time-limited offer for web hosting. I replied that I appreciated the offer but it wasn’t much good to me if we didn’t sort out the payment issue, they sent me another offer. After too many emails, I gave up and went to another provider to register my domain.

They turned out to be uber-efficient and within minutes had not only registered the domain but had also successfully processed the payment…….twice.

I decided not to use this new company as the host for my site figuring I couldn’t afford to be paying twice for everything they did so I went to a provider recommended by a colleague in Florida. They had a decent price for their service, processed my payment within minutes (and only once) and it seemed like sunny days were here once again. I had my own URL and a host for the site which meant, that after singing a couple of verses of Koombyah, we could move.

Tech support happily walked me through the process of migrating the content of my old site to its new home and that became  Phase 2 of technological chaos.

For the first two days, nothing happened. I mean that quite literally. Nothing happened. I had the content from my old site. I could see it in WordPress but it wasn’t on my new site. That necessitated contacting tech support twice more only to be told that the transfer process took up to 72 hours.

“You don’t understand,” I tried to tell them. “The transfer process is completed. I have the content; it’s just not on my site.” I was told to be patient and thanked for contacting tech support.

On day 3, I contacted tech support again and told them that their 72 hours were up. I had my content and wanted to know why it wasn’t on my site so that I could start working with it. A nice young man on the other end of the phone said he would look right into it and he did.

He came back on the line to advise me that somehow, they had inadvertently pointed my site to the wrong URL; a URL that doesn’t actually exist. Oops! He went on to apologize (they’re all very good at apologizing except for the first company which is only good at emailing new offers) and then told me he would fix it. He was as good as his word and now my site pointed to the correct URL and my content could be seen in all its misshapen, lost formatting glory.

What a dog’s breakfast!

To this point, the process had been akin to hiring a moving company to pack and move you only to have them screw up the quote and the invoice and then take your furniture to the wrong address. Fortunately, they finally showed up and dumped everything in the new living room complete with broken furniture and crunched boxes. But I had my stuff and  all that remained was unpacking and arranging. Right?

Wrong! Let me tell you a little bit about WordPress (WP), the software that powers this site.

WordPress is rapidly becoming, if it isn’t already, the number one software for building web sites, especially blogs, or so I am told all over the web by its devotees. Like most software, it has gone through many versions and the nice folks over at WP are constantly working to upgrade their program and fill it with all kinds of new features.

Apparently they’ve been so busy working on this that they missed the fact that about 15 years ago, we entered a new era in software called WYSIWYG; what you see is what you get. In other words, we live in an era of point, drag and click not HTML/CSS coding for non-programming users.

To be fair, much of WP does provide a working environment with various menus but the programmers seem to have been randomly divided up functions without much consideration for the relationship between them. Perhaps they were recovering from a heavy party the night before when they did this step in the software’s development.

Either that or they think that spending hours trying  to find what you’re looking for in their menus and reading WP forums when you can’t just adds to the adventure but I have a different word for it; a few choice words to be exact.

Since getting started on the design and build of the new site, I’ve seen menu items come and go without warning, format changes that weren’t programmed by me, colours I can’t remove, navigation-type errors that were resolved back in the 90’s but which seem to elude WP plus a host of other frustrations that necessitated doing almost every operation three and four times. I’ve downloaded and installed plug-ins that disappear or don’t work, had widgets go wandering off into the ether and some pages decide for themselves to break from the site’s format and come up with their own unique look. This made it necessary to divide my time between online research, bugging my friend in Florida for assistance and far too much trial and error for both of us.

So  here’s what really threatened to make my head explode.

My particular domain host has more than 7 million clients just like me. Some are much bigger, some smaller but we all share the same thing in common. We own a domain and need someone to host the site. My host is one of many which means there are hundreds of millions of other sites out there, many of which are blogs that came from places like Blogger.

What I just did isn’t new. It isn’t even close to being new for that matter. It’s old hat and yet the experience has been like it was the first time for them as much as for me. This stuff is what they do day in and day out. It’s their job and one of the core functions of that job is to point the web site to the correct URL and they couldn’t even get that right.

I’m not picking on my provider. I dealt with three companies, all very large and all equally flat-footed when it came to their part in this process. It should have been easier for all of us than this. The world is in pretty bad shape when a tech luddite like me is figuring out stuff that even tech support missed.

As for WordPress, I suggest they open a blog on Blogger and reverse engineer some of the point and click elements from Blogger’s menu. It might wake them up to the fact that you shouldn’t need an engineering degree and a case of beer just to navigate and use their software. I’m not trying to use their technology to prepare for the invasion of Iran, I’m building a bloody blog which is little more than an online newspaper and newspapers in one form or another, for those of you who may not be aware, have been around since the invention of hammers, chisels and a flat piece of rock.

Wounded, frustrated but not defeated, we are nonetheless up and operating; not smoothly, mind you, but almost.

There are still some issues with the site (if you hadn’t already guessed from my mood). The post archives only work sporadically. Sometimes they show all of the posts for a month, sometimes just one. If you visit another post in the archive, the only way to get back to the front page is to click on the picture of the bear in the upper right hand corner. (Don’t ask)

We still haven’t migrated over the followers of this blog but we’re working on it and ask your indulgence and patience. We hope to have that sorted out this week. This means those of you who subscribed to receive notification of new posts by email won’t be receiving them for a few more days. The whiz bang plug-in that’s supposed to do that…….doesn’t.

I’m sure most of you have noticed that the headline for this post is rose-pink and seems out of character for the colour theme of the new blog. I have no idea why it is rose-pink. We’ve programmed it to be yellow. Apparently WP doesn’t know why it is rose-pink either but we’re all  happily working on it.

On the bright side, I can write again and that is the only reason I’ve gone through this. There were dark moments over the past ten days but I got through them by reminding myself that if I didn’t give up, I could write when it was all said and done. Writing for me is almost as good as Maggie’s lemon meringue pie; not quite butalmost. Nothing is as good as Maggie’s lemon meringue pie.

Maybe I should have had Maggie handle this.

 

 

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© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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  • http://abearsrant.com thebear

    I don’t have a problem with the brave new world, just with anything that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.

  • JT

    Poor Bear. Welcome to the Brave New World & all who sail in her.