I downloaded a new plug-in for my blog Wednesday, a little something called Jetpack from WordPress.  I’d seen other sites with a traffic bar showing visits, and I wanted one.  The urge to know, not necessarily who, but how many people are reading your stuff runs deep.

The first day of its existence was both gratifying and slightly disappointing.  So far this morning, no one has come to visit.  Oh, well.

But I ran almost immediately into a snag last night.  I received the notice on my task bar of an update for Jetpack, so I dutifully clicked it—

—and promptly lost the whole thing.  It informed me that the upgrade failed and the plug-in had been deactivated.  I couldn’t find it in my list of available plug-ins, so I tried to reinstall it.  Which it also would not let me do.  It kept informing me that the folder already existed.  But I couldn’t find the folder in order to expunge it, so I was locked out of downloading the new version of Jetpack.

Not to worry.  I found something else very much like it, but with fewer features—which is fine, I only wanted the stat function.

This has happened before.  With maybe two exceptions, every time I’ve changed my blog theme it has been because an upgrade has been offered and when I accepted it, it trashed my files and I lost my theme and had to go get a new one.  This is most annoying, because an inevitable consequence has been that attempts to reinstall the trashed theme result in the “you already have this” message, which bars me from having a theme I really like.

I have sworn off accepting upgrades.  The only ones that work (knock on particle board) have been the WordPress upgrades.

I wouldn’t mind so much except there’s this little reminder on my task bar when I have one of these pernicious thingies waiting and I feel annoyed and irritated because I can’t find a way to just say No to them and make the reminder go away.

If there is one thing about the computer age that is one of the most irritating and cost-inefficient—and hugely expensive for business, I might add—it is this continual upgrading.  I know progress is important, I know things get better with work, I know improvements are made all the time, but damn, give it a rest!  I wonder how many people not directly involved realize just how much systems upgrades and changeovers cost in terms of time and lost productivity.  Even a tiny, tiny enterprise like mine, one guy writing stories.  Hours have I wasted when finally forced to change a software system or configure a new machine or learn a new template.

The other day I complained about MicroSoft Word.  I dislike Word.  I’ve been using WordPerfect for almost 25 years and for my money, WordPerfect 5.1 is still the gold standard.  Simple, intuitive, did everything I wanted or needed.  Why fuck with it?  But I am now on Version 11.

The problem is, the publishing industry operates on Word, which is not nearly as easy to use or intuitive.  And there are translation problems converting WP to Word which annoys my agent.

Also, I am still using Windows XP, which seems to be a very stable platform.  (I still wonder what was so wrong with Windows 98—please, no litany of its sins, it was a rhetorical comment.)  I am told we are now up to Windows 8 and some day I will be forced to junk my current machines, buy all new, and learn a new system.

Give it a rest.  I mean, seriously.  I know we have to keep the economy going, but this is ridiculous.  It is not the same as the automobile industry.  You can still drive a ’38 DeSoto on today’s roads, and having learned to drive that you can, with one or two minor adjustments, drive a brand new car.  Your old model does not cease to function because the new upgrade won’t allow it to interface with other drivers.

Still.  I manage.  I’m just cranky.  This is not Luddism, do not for a minute think I am anti-cool tech.  But I also do not have a cell phone*.  What I resent is the overcomplications involved in getting “up to speed” with what it au courant.

I have to go back to work now.  At least English doesn’t go through upgrades that require us to learn, from the ground up, an entirely new language.


*Yes, it’s true, I have no cell phone.  Donna has one, but it was purchased exclusively for emergencies when she took a job in West Jericho.  I refuse.  When I’m not home, you don’t have to reach me.  This may sound selfish, and I agree to an extent, but we managed quite well being “disconnected” for significant parts of the day.  I realize eventually I will have to cave in, but for now I will not participate in the Tech For Tech’s Sake culture.  You want to talk to me, send me an email or leave a message on my answering machine, I’ll get back to you.

Published by Mark Tiedemann

One comment on “Stats”

  1. I kinda half-remember WP5.1, but was using WP6.1 for the last 10 years-until 3 years ago when the office where I work switched to Word. There are things you just can’t do in Word, because it doesn’t allow you the fine-grained control of both input and output that WordPerfect allows, but I’ve found enough similar features that I can do my production typing almost as easily. Word’s styles function is more customizable than initially appeared. I hate how Word does internal references (e.g., footnotes are really broken in Word; tables of contents are tied to use of styles and you have very little control over how they appear on the TOC page). I still use tables for formatting because Word’s column definitions (using section breaks) mess with how Word does headers and footers and other stuff I need. And it’s just not as keyboard friendly as WP ever was, it’s very mouse-focused.

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