This Should Be More Obvious, But…

April 16, 2010

Okay, I’ve had a little trouble getting all the kinks ironed out in crossing the blog over this week. 

Not design kinks, technical kinks.  The kind of kinks that leave the vast majority of my readers behind and erase a year of blog building.  The kind of kinks that have made me cry at night like a tiny diaper baby.  In a funny way, it seems this week has taught me just how much I sometimes idolize my blogging.  Just not funny in a “ha ha” way.

I love blogging.  But I hate the technical stuff.  The problems were significant enought that I’m posting from the old blog today.  The last few days were just a tease.  I’ll be back there soon…I hope.  Just not yet. 

I’ve been getting plenty of help from some great people.  But I just don’t think web design and programming is nearly user friendly enough.  A guy like me who doesn’t know what he’s doing should not be able to burn down his website with a few keystrokes.

This whole experience got me thinking about all the things that are unnecessarily complex and irritating to me.

Three Things that Should Be More Obvious

Web Design
When everything goes by initials, you know you’re in trouble.  Note to web developers: CSS, XML, RSS, DNS, CNAME: none of these are words.  Words are those things that, you know, normal people communicate with.  I’m still amazed at how my television displays pictures that flew through space.  So speak English, please. I suddenly feel like a grandmother, whose still afraid she’s going to “break” her computer by clicking the wrong thing.

I hope you never have a technical problem with your blog.  Because you will likely scour the internet or your hosting service for help.  You’ll come to their “help group,” which is made up of hundreds of people with the same problems, and no one to help them.  I think it’s a social experiment to see if a bunch of clueless halfwits can actually bumble their way to the answer, kind of like putting monkeys at typewriters and seeing if Shakespeare eventually is written.

If you’re lucky, some nerd will have written a three sentence “help” page to answer your question.  Problem is, he’s still talking nerd-speak with abbreviations and everything.  Gee, I’m sorry your itty-bitty pinky-winky fingers were broken and you could only type abbreviations!  There’s always a button at the bottom that asks “Was this helpful?”  Is that a rhetorical question?

Getting the Chik-Fil-A sauce
I would’ve liked to have been the first to discover this one.  I’d feel like Indiana Jones.  Time after time, I’d go to Chik-Fil-A, squirting ketchup on my sandwich and fries like a mere plebian, completely unaware that a magical stash of seasoned mayonnaise lay just out of my reach behind the counter, under heavy guard by the cashiers.  They don’t advertise it.  You have to know it’s there.  Only when you ask for it in your nicest voice, do they begrudgingly dole out just enough of a dollop to eat with your meal. 

What are they hiding it for?  Is Chik-Fil-A going to go under if a few people take some extra sauce?  Do they hide it for our own protection, knowing the excessive home stockpiling of Chik-Fil-A sauce could cause a condimental disaster of Chernobyl proportions?

Whatever the reason, my joy of being handed my first packet of Chik-Fil-A sauce was just a little tempered by the idea that they owed me a refund – for all the meals I had eaten sans sauce.

Old Movie Plots
I like watching old black and white movies.  Not because I understand them, mind you. 

I mean, wow.  Back in the heyday of Hollywood, there was no handholding when it came to following the story.  Everyone talked as fast as Clark Gable, and if you couldn’t keep up, well that’s just tough.  It’s a real shock after been spoon fed plots that can be told in their entirety via movie previews.  My feeble brain just isn’t ready for it.

My wife oftentimes will make me pause a movie, and ask me to recap the plot, and I realize that I have no idea what’s happening.  I’m just staring at pictures.  But I’m enjoying myself.

The best old movie line (that I actually understood) was Katherine Hepburn in African Queen saying, “I never dreamed that a mere physical experience could be so stimulating!”  Indeed.  They don’t make them like that anymore.

At least those movies are better than those made in the 70s.  Even the good ones (of which there are few) overcompensated by making everyone talk slower and extending every running time by 45 minutes.  Dog Day Afternoon: too long.  One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest: too long.  The Godfather: too long.  Yes, I went there.

Okay, those of you who weren’t left behind earlier this week, you’re probably expecting the results of my big blog giveaway.  Well, I’m extending that until I actually get everything ironed out and everyone can actually go visit the new site.  (Don’t worry, you’re still entered to win.)  Let’s just pretend this whole week didn’t happen. 

In the meantime, what seems like it should be more obvious by now?  Diaper changing?  Taxes?  “Lost?”  Rubik’s cubes?

One response to This Should Be More Obvious, But…

  1. When it comes to doing Web Design and all that, I agree its all too difficult for most people to deal with. Heck, I develop software for a living and WordPress confuses the hell out of me sometimes.

    I’m not sure what your hosting situation but can I suggest SquareSpace? I don’t work for them, I’ve just used there stuff before and its GREAT! (give it a shot, free trial….no CC required as well).

    I enjoy the blog and would hate to see content disappear because of technical reasons.