Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Optimized

Good heavens. I have been optimized.

 For the last month or so Blogger has been threatening me with a new format. Well, they probably didn’t see it as a threat. They saw it as an Opportunity! See all the new features! Look at all the improved layout! Notice how much more you can do now! You can make your blog do tricks! It can look like different blogs to different people, if you only click this toggle button! Or unclick it. Whichever.

And once again, we are back to the Engineer’s Problem.

Engineers look at gizmos and ask, “How many things can I get this to do?” They want flexibility, capacity, energy. They want a box that can solve all of the world’s problems, fix a tasty meal and tuck your children in bed at night, and they want it with four buttons that need to be pressed in varying combinations and patterns because more than four buttons is aesthetically displeasing.

I look at gizmos and ask, “How can I get this to do what I want?” This is a very different question, with a much more straight-line sort of answer. This is one of the many reasons I did not become an engineer of any kind. Not understanding circuit diagrams despite hours of explanation also figured into that decision.

I had been given the opportunity to “upgrade to the new Blogger interface” a couple of years ago, back when they introduced the last new Blogger interface. I tried it, and decided that it was indeed more flexible, capable and energetic but that those very qualities were a hindrance to me actually getting it to do what I wanted, which was to make blog posts.  Fortunately they had a Back button on the whole thing, so I went back to my old unimproved interface and was happy.

There doesn’t seem to be a Back button this time around.

And getting this post into the proper format has been a neat trick, since my old work-around of pasting Word documents into the HTML editor and then switching over to the Compose mode (to avoid all the formatting tags that Word began to introduce several Blogger upgrades ago) seems to be working extra well these days, to the point of removing all formatting entirely - even paragraph breaks.

Joy.

Eventually, I suppose, I will figure out a way to make this new system do what I want, and perhaps later I will even figure out a way to get it to stop doing what I don’t want. But this hardly seems like the upgrade or Opportunity that Blogger insists that it is.

And fairly soon I am sure the Facebook Borg will assimilate me into Timeline.

Keep those good times rolling, yes indeed.

11 comments:

Random Michelle K said...

I don't use blogger, but I wonder if their changes have to do with compliance rather than trying to make things NEW! IMPROVED!

A lot of older sites were build on semi-compliant code--with the advent of HTML5, web designers had to rebuild entire sites from the ground up to match compliance, in which case, you're never going to replicate exactly what you had in the first place--especially if it was created with non-compliant code or flash or workarounds.

Just a thought from someone who has done web design.

(Facebook, on the other hand, doesn't have that excuse for their near constant fiddling.)

David said...

You know, I would be more forgiving if they would just say that and stop pretending they're doing this for my benefit.

It's a free service. And in any situation where I'm getting something of value for free, I understand that I am the product, not the consumer.

But I think a little straight-forward "here's why we had to do this - oh, and you may come out ahead with this if you try to see it as an Opportunity" would have gone a long way.

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

I have posted on my Blogger blog in a while, but I use the Blogger Dashboard to read a lot of blogs. They upgraded me... again. And when I tried to tell them what was wrong with it, because they did ask, Google Feedback locked up Firefox. Locked up Wordpad. Locked up Windows XP TASK MANAGER for gosh sake's and finally crashed Windows XP and rebooted without even a blue screen. This during FINALS WEEK.

Yeah. Not impressed.

But... click on the gear wheel and you can still switch back to Old Blogger... at least temporarily.

Dr. Phil

Eric said...

The new interface did have an option under the menu dropped-down from the cog icon for an old interface; I'd look and see if it was still there, but my Dashboard page is now threatening me with "The old Blogger interface will be removed in the coming month," and I'm afraid if I switch over now I won't be able to switch back again.

Crap.

The new Blogger interface sucks. I filed a complaint about it. Useless, I know, but it made me feel good for about five minutes. Yes, it's free, and that takes away any right to complain. But it's also annoying. It isn't more functional, it's actually harder to use than the old interface, which is uglier but has things arranged where you'd look for them and puts them in little boxes with their own scroll bars and such so you don't have to go all the way a mile down a page to see what you're looking for.

I am an unhappy panda.

Megan said...

I have been having a hell of a time commenting on Blogger sites lately. I'm not at all sure this will post. I BLAME THE CHANGES.

I use post-by-email to post to my only active Blogger site, so I hadn't seen the back end until you mentioned it and I logged in to check. Huh. I'm not sure what I think.

David said...

I will likely stick with this new interface, since they seem to be removing that option soon anyway. I did find one positive - I can now scroll through old posts and see how many specific hits each one has gotten. I don't know if the old one did that.

I still am curious as to what I'm going to do the next time I have a long Word document I want to paste in.

Why do people feel a need to optimize what already works fine? And if there is a reason, such as Michelle suggests, why don't they just say so?

Color me annoyed.

vince said...

Michelle, when commenting, Blogger is HTML 4.01 Strict, when being viewed, it's XHTML 1.0 Strict.

While there are a lot of advantages to to HTML 5, it is not a locked-down standard, and it seems every browser has its extra-special way of doing things even better. And don't start me on CSS3.

I'm sure Google is trying to make things better, but I would bet that they have few outside beta testers who are just average users to test the new code before going live. Thus the problem with things not working, as well as the problem with changes that don't make users happy.

Rufus Dogg said...

I used to fight changes like this tooth and nail, hanging on as long as I could. Change is bad. But at some point about 2 years ago or so when the last Facebook change came around, I just change over to the new format as soon as it becomes available. Why fight something you have no control over? The best thing you can do is just have the serenity to accept those things you cannot change. Or go buy your own server and bandwidth if you want more control (not you-you, the generic you) .... but most of what I used to fight against, turns out most people really do not care about or even notice.

BTW, blogger really sucks if only because their commenting system is so bad. And then tying everything to Google+ (oh, yeah, it will happen as an exclusive.. yes it will) is a bit goofy too, but... aw, who cares.. it's just Internet....

David said...

I don't fight Blogger, since I know very well I will lose and that they're providing me with a free service (which doesn't mean that I don't back up everything I post here on my own computer, since that which can be given freely can be taken just as freely).

But I don't see any reason to shift from what I like until I have to.

And speaking as the subject of this experiment that Blogger's running, I'm not thrilled by the new changes. I can either get used to them or leave, but either way it is my sovereign right to complain and so I shall.

beatrice in Paris said...

Janiece has a feature where you can subscribe to her blog by email. I don't see one on yours. Am I looking in the wrong place?

David said...

Bea, I have no idea. I suppose I could look to see if I have such a feature.