Monday, September 07, 2009


Here DD culls the comments from my recent el Reg piece on faults using Blogger and WordPress.

One of its basic premises is that 'help' with any of the applications always involves getting past the gatekeepers of doing nothing. That is, it's always your fault until you can prove it isn't. Along the way, you need a thick skin against the regular implication that you're inferior, delivered courtesy of the local passive aggressive volunteer IT help squad.

To wit:
Readers have probably already sussed that this approach to 'help' is one in which a problem isn't a problem if you're the only one complaining and posting about it. Let's apply it across the board for 'help' desks: "Well, sorry sir, but you're the only person who's complained about that today. Call back tomorrow, maybe the etiology will have improved and some others will have cried out, too."
So today we review some of the comments, submitted by common cyberspace types, those with a microscopic bit of stealth sociopath lurking in the genes.

"I really don't understand why people bother with these blogging services," writes Brian. "Is HTML really that horribly difficult to learn? And if it is difficult for you, aren't there a number of commercial applications that will help you with it?"

"I don't bother with any of the blogging services because I thought that all of them stank. I know how to write HTML, and I don't have any personal problem writing a page, and transfering it. I really think that it's less effort to write HTML by hand than bother with a blogvertising 'service.'

"Remember, they don't care about you, they care about their advertisers, who are paying the bills."

Let's deal with Brian's sniping, disguised as sophisticated concern over my blindness to the obvious, in two parts.

First, many people who use blogging applications know HTML very well. Often, they use it within the applications. Often they have spent years writing HTML documents and uploading them to websites, without using blogging applications.

Second, DD did this for years, starting in the Nineties with the Crypt Newsletter at NIU.EDU. It's on the Wayback Machine, which started indexing it around 1999. Many examples are here. The oldest have been there for a decade.

Good ol' Brian was probably around ten back then.

"Is Dick Destiny a porn star name?" asks Anonymous Coward.

"If it isn't, it should be."

Blimey! That's the first time I've heard such a question. This week.

Maybe those in the porn industry who rely on search engines to find DVDs would have liked it to be so, dummy. But I was here first, which you'd know if you could read a webpage at the root of the domain. Dick Destiny is mine all mine on Google.

Spoiled everyone's fun, did I?

Now you can go back to wondering how Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, didn't wind up property of the porn industry, too.

"I used to briefly run a Blogspot (see Blogger) name, but I no longer really see the point of a blog -- forums are more fun, and when you're a moderator, you can permanently pin and lock a journal thread of your own if you desire to," adds Pyros.

Pyros means he runs a small-time community blog where he kicks around those stupid enough to tolerate being under him.

And DD's blog is not run off Blogspot, a central point of the piece.

"Unless the [WordPress failure] happened within mere moments of the initial setup then yes, agreed," writes Jeremy2 with an edge. "It's been a while since I've played with WordPress ... but I'm pretty sure that when you log into the admin system after installation, it puts up a big red box telling you to delete the install scripts for (bloody obvious) security reasons ... I'm pretty certain that nuking/corrupting the DB doesn't cause the install scripts to magically re-materialise on the server.

"I've not much sympathy for people who ignore big red warnings about Bad Things and then complain that the Bad Things happen to them ..."

In this case, another reader steps in:

"Wordpress no longer prompts for removal of the install script. While it is obviously a good idea to remove the install script, I had to check if this was still good practice after noticing the warning was no longer displayed. My first thought was that the install scripts were being deleted automatically now - not the case.

"This kind of makes the 'Oh, it's so obvious, you deserve whatever you get for not deleting the install file' look a little like commenting from the ignorant rather than ivory tower."

Moritz writes:

"You can get rid of everything you don't want on your blogger blog, including the navbar / search bar, the favicon, even the blog post listing itself and only publish some 'gadget' boxes. You just need to switch to one the 'new' blogger layouts and play with the HTML/CSS."

Moritz cannot read right. Perhaps he is a fanboy of everything Google. FTP-published blogs done through Blogger don't do gadgets or 'new'. FTP publishing is glitched, which was the article's central thesis.

"If you ask me I'd imagine all of your Blogger FTP problems are probably coming from [using Yahoo]," adds Jason. "I've used Yahoo! hosting in the past and found it one of the most unreliable services I've yet to encounter on the interwebs."

Yes -- I know, I know -- all my fault for choosing Yahoo! Everyone who uses Yahoo! is stupid. [Fill in the blank with the name of the provider you use or work for] is better.

Another aim of the Reg piece was to illustrate the point there's no shortage of Lords of the Flies. Hang onto your glasses when seeking help. Watch out for the falling boulder.


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