Thursday, August 30, 2012

Red Ball ~ Up and Running!

Now that I had mastered the art of the little red ball, you'd better believe I had Bugbones covered in 'em. (Bugbones, remember? That was my first site. Well, second, if you count that short-lived 'forum' I tried). I had links, and I had red balls up and running. I was up there with the best of them. Here and there in Bugbones, and sometimes on Southern Muse, I still find vestiges of that redball gif.

Placing the Red Ball Gif

Oh, Lord. If making the red ball gif took six months off of my life, I hate to think what placing the red ball gif did to me. Cracking the "img" code was like deciphering the Rosetta Stone, or so I thought. (I hadn't got to tables, yet). "Img align left," "img align center," "img align middle" "text align left"... the answer had to be in there somewhere. Was it image placement and text alignment that forced me to finally give in and order one of those "dummy" books? I don't recall. I did learn that if I didn't want my red balls floating a good two or three inches away from my centered text line, I had to master the art of tables. Tables, just so I could place my little red balls. And mentally butting heads with left brainers who wanted Internet to go back to being just plain text. I sometimes wonder if they weren't right.

Red Ball Gif

Asides aside (why do I feel like Tristram Shandy?) I am trying to get back to my original purpose, which is a history of my interaction with this thing called Internet. I left off about a year ago, in August 2011, just about the time I had documented my long-ago creation of the Southern Muse blue-banner logo. But even before the logo, I left off bemoaning my trials and travails as I begot my red-ball gif. How many hours of my life did I give over to the creation of that redball gif? Two shareware art programs, in addition to the standard Paintbrush that came with Windows... Call me nothing, if not determined. In the end, I had my red ball gif. It wasn't bright, it wasn't garish, it wasn't swiped from another web page. It was a nice, soft red, of my own making. Now came my comical attempts to place the red ball gif. I mean, it wasn't enough to have a red ball. I didn't want them floating around arbitrarily. Red balls had to be out beside the links. That was a law of the 1990s. I think I read that somewhere. Okay, maybe it wasn't a law, per se. But I do recall an article that said that the red ball was to the '90s as the smiley face was to the '70s. All my hard work for a cliché.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oh no, Google...

Didn't take long to see what the downside of Google would be, after CEO changes. An ugly pop-up ad on that nice, beautiful, clean, white Google Search screen...  :-(

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Distractions, Diversions, and the State of Being Sidetracked

Somewhere along the line, I got side-tracked from my original purpose of starting this blog. Well, I had dual purposes, but one of them really was to create and maintain a history of my adventures in computing. It was to be a personal history of the Internet, from an amateur user's perspective; not technical, not particularly useful to the world at large. Just a place for me to puzzle and vent and ferret out the whats, whys, and whens of my own entry into web publishing and my experiences and challenges in learning about the Internet. In a way, it's the only real 'blog' among my blogs, as it is intended to be a web 'log.' I made a pretty good effort, there at the beginning, to backtrack and figure out exactly when I got my first email address, when I created my first free site, when I bought my domain name, and when I started Southern Muse. It wasn't all that easy, but it was doable. Following the paper and ion trail was kinda fun, really. It did get complicated. I'd write a post and then recall, 'now wait a minute ~ before I did this, I must have done that.' And 'that' would turn out to be a doozie of a side track, a veritable book to be written. Procrastination is my byword, so... at some point, I just started writing history on the fly, keeping a log of what's going on now. That doesn't mean I'm not going back to finish what I started. I still have to tell about the forum. I still have to tell about the big betrayal ~ the day that dumped our forum. That was the whole point. It's therapy.

Southern Muse: the Prospect of Moving a Site

Now it might seem, in my posting about Marissa Mayer and Yahoo, that I had some driving interest in keeping up with the CEOs of Silicon Valley. Although I sometimes recognize their names when I hear them, I couldn't tell you which is which, usually. I have to do a quick look-up to make sure that Steve Jobs and Apple are practically synonymous and that there was another Steve, too (Wozniak). Bill Gates/Microsoft ~ that one, I can remember (though often with distaste). Don't get me wrong ~ it's interesting. I just don't keep up. My only reason for searching Mayer was the most selfish motive of all: Will Yahoo, as we know it, continue to exist? Will they keep Y! webhosting alive, or will it go the way of GeoCities? Will I have to move Southern Muse? See, I told you it was selfish. Now, I probably don't have three faithful readers at Southern Muse. Even my old friends and family sometimes say, "Oh, you have a website?!" (This after ten-plus years). Well, maybe I exaggerate. Most of my family are familiar with my site. But I try not to SPAM people about it. Sure, I have a few readers ~ or, at least a handful of people who hit the surface and bounce off like a flat rock skipping across a pond. So, why I insist upon keeping the site, and worry about maybe having to move it ~ go figure. I've invested some years and some dollars in creating it and maintaining it. In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. It's the hobby (or vice) that took over my life, to the detriment of all other hobbies and passions. Ever a challenge, it still needs work. But, for what it's worth, I am proud of it, and I do want to keep it. With luck and prayer, I can keep it at Yahoo. I'd sure hate to have to move it. The idea of it makes me shudder...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Of Marissa Mayer and Yahoo and Google

Reading of Yahoo and the potential acquisitions that new CEO Marissa Mayer may make, I begin to hope that Yahoo may perk up and yodel again. Yahoo is one of my old favorites, and besides, I'd probably let my long-held Y-hosted site die an agonizing death instead of trying to move it, if Yahoo's hosting crumbled. Selfish of me, I know. But here's another thing or two that occurred to me, while reading all this stuff. Google didn't promote Mayer, said several articles. 'Why, why?' they asked. It took several more articles for a glimmer of an idea to seep into my brain. One article called Mayer the user-friendliest component of Google. Now, there's the crux of it, I'll bet. 'Don't be evil' was Google's old motto, but it seems to me, of late, that 'Do evil, but on the sly' might me their newest, truest. There was Google Buzz, Ad tracking, and Google Plus. And there was that accusation that Google was putting it's own product results closer to the top than competitors. Maybe Mayer objected to Google's new kick, of putting Google interests over user interests? Maybe Google wants Mayer elsewhere. Dunno, could be... If so, that's a plus for Yahoo.

Ghosts, Phantasms, Customer Service...

So, Yahoo customer service does exist. Heretofore, I had thought that this was a figment of Yahoo's own imagination. I just spoke to a tech. Like the M&M in the Santa Claus commercial, I may just faint. Perhaps the problem was that I was using the wrong help screens. I was searching for help using the Yahoo Mail tutorials, rather than the Yahoo Business Mail tutorials. Apparently it makes a difference. Either that, or the new kid on the block (Marissa Mayer) made them reinstate customer service. Whatever the case, after hours of searching through that interlocking maze of tutorials, I found myself within the business-mail pages and there, upon my screen, appeared that elusive phone number. I called, and voila! Immediate assistance. The Yahoo tech was polite, knowledgeable, and helpful. She fixed a problem (partially of my own making) that had caused me much frustration. I really do hope that Yahoo regains their standing in the world. I've used their hosting plan for a long time now. It works for me! It's three a.m. on the east coast. I go to bed now...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jegsworks, Edgecast, and Flux

What do these have in common? Very little except they belong to the world of tech. Of the three, Jegsworks is about my speed. The others, I just visited out of curiosity. Don't get me wrong, I was highly impressed. But they're wa-a-a-y out of the realm of anything-I-might-conceivably-ever-need. Highly corporate, I guess. is interesting enough to make me want to know more. Don't ask me how I found it. Well, okay, here's how. I had just let LastPass log me into Tumblr. As I connected to Tumblr, I noticed the URL of an Edgecast page flash by in Firefox's status bar (where I usually see ads and re-directs). Curious, I popped over to Edgecast to have a look. The page is slick, commercial, and professional. They offer a patented technology that lets you feed your pages up fast without changing a line of code. It looks expensive, and there are no prices given (you know, if you have to ask...) There's very little info on the site ~ just links to PDF downloads. You'd have to fill out a contact form, so I passed on that. Interesting, though. They say they 'integrate Google Pagespeed at the edge' using Google's front-end optimization (FEO). I have no idea what that means. Perhaps the company uses server-side includes or something like. Edgeworks offers hosting, among other things. Is the speed-up service only available for hosted clients? Dunno. Anyway, I suspect this site was meant for someone else's eyes ~ maybe Donald Trump's. Speeding up your site without changing a word of code! Man, the idea sure makes me salivate! My guess is that Tumblr is hosted there. Quirk: Visiting that page must have made me look like a pro and a corporate wallah. The next ad I saw on my blog was for '' [Ah, 'This is what makes time travel possible: the flux capacitor!' Beam me up, Scotty.] I went there ~ Flux site ~ not by clicking, just by noting the URL. It was a site for streamlining and automating tasks for corporations. Once again, way beyond my means or needs. The upside of all this is that while I was trying to remember how to describe that URL that flashed by at the bottom of my browser, I searched enough dumb-butt terms that I found 'Jegsworks.' Finally, a site that understands what I need: really, really basic technical info. Jegsworks: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101. Yeah, I like it!

Rel.: Build your own Flux Capacitor:

And a nod... thanks for the quote! Source:

Backups and Power Outages

How come every time I sink my teeth into a computer project, the power goes out? Sigh. Twice tonight. Our power has been rather unstable since a big, freak windstorm that knocked the power out over much of the county a few weeks ago. They got the power back on pretty quickly, then, but it must have done some peripheral damage. Now every time there's a little thunderstorm, out goes the power. It takes me back to the olden days, between 1970 and 2000 or so. There was only a single transformer that served our road, then, apparently, and the power blinked off at least once a day, I'd say; and way more during a storm. (Three blinks and it was out for the duration). Some years back, they put in a second transformer, I presume. After that, the power was pretty darn stable for a few years, only going out during wrath-of-God style thunderstorms. Sometimes, not even then. I guess we're back to the way it was, at least for awhile. This is thrice in as many days that we've lost power, albeit briefly. I was transferring files to a flash drive and to SkyDrive, and planned on blogging any interesting genealogy tidbit that I ran across during the project. This, as a clearing of my hard drive in advance of another much-needed website overhaul. Life as we know it, since the Internet came along...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Making Favicon Display in Blogger

I did it! I made the big, orange "B" go away. I made my Favicon display in Blogger. I'm not sure who to thank for this, because in clearing my cache and history, I ~ well, cleared my cache and history. The irritating thing is, I kept having to look this thing up over and over ~ there seemed to be a step to the "fix" that I couldn't remember. I had my Favicon showing in three different blogs, on my main website, and on a couple of less important sub-sites. Still, every time I opened a new Blogger blog, there came the orange "B," and it wouldn't go away. Nearly every site said, "Use Blogger-in-Draft Favicon tool!" Well, I did that, obviously. That's an easy one to catch. I also tried some of the more tech-y ones ~ going into my template and adding a line of code here, there ~ wherever the tech said to put it. Adding the favicon was the easy part. Getting it to display when I visited my site ~ THAT was the impossible thing. Here's the combo that worked for me: I cleared my cache, cookies, history, browsing history ~ everything Firefox allowed except for "site preferences." Then (without visiting blogger and letting that infuriating orange "B" back on my screen) I manually added my blog URL to my Firefox Bookmarks toolbar. I clicked on the bookmark, went to my site, and voila! "B"-less it was! Now my nice little fossil-fish Favicon is displayed nicely as a bookmark and on the browser tab. Now, I don't know if it'll go away should I delete the bookmark. I don't think so, because I have a couple of un-bookmarked blogs that display the Favicon quite nicely. There you go, and many thanks to the blogger ~ whoever she was ~ who told me to "favorite" my blog in I.E. (haven't tried it in I.E., but whatever I did worked in Firefox).

Yahoo Curves and FTP Woes

Yahoo just threw us a curve. Seems they are moving to FTPS. All current hosting accounts must buy, beg, or borrow a third-party tool for uploading files. They pointed us at Filezilla and others. I took a look at Filezilla. Shudder, shudder... another tech nightmare. I'll probably go with CuteFTP again. You know... "the devil you know," &c. It'll have to be CuteFTP Pro, because "Lite" and "Home" don't seem to offer FTPS. I did have a foolish, cheap-skate moment when I considered dragging out my old disk to see if I could save a penny by loading my old 2.x version and then upgrading. Actually, I did drag out my old disk, circa 1999. It sure was funny to see that old, old Yahoo email page. I was registered under a now-defunct email address, through a now-defunct company. Wasn't using Southern Muse's email yet because ~ well, duh! I didn't have it yet. That was Muse's starting point. That's why I bought the FTP. Turns out, the disk didn't include the actual program, just a registration number. On the other hand, Globalscape did have links on their site for downloading old versions ~ which was uptown of them, I think. I mused upon the idea of downloading 2.x and then upgrading ~ but decided that some cheap is too cheap. It might open me up for no telling what security risk. I did some research on forums. The gist of the advice (what I could understand of it) was that CuteFTP would probably only upgrade to about x? versions ago, then would go no further. I'd end up having to buy the new version anyhow. So, Yahoo, I'll have to lay out some cash. Ya-a-a-HOO! Ummm, I guess it'll be more secure. But why give us so little time to transition?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tumblr and Yahoo

Tumblr is turning out to be a good thing. I love it that I can blog on Tumblr and feed clean text updates to my Southern Muse pages. Wow, automatic updates to Southern Muse ~ something I've craved for years! I could've used Southern Muse Journal, my blog, but Blogger labels on post pages don't do as well as static pages with changing content. (With Tumblr, you can't even tell it's a feed!) Formatting is less than perfect, but it isn't horrible. I've done two blogs on Tumblr. One is a frivolous, fun site; the other is a genealogy blog, and I can see that it's going to get lots of wear. I'm going to kill two birds with one stone: clean out my computer and share lots of bits, pieces, photos, and scraps of genealogy that I've collected for 25 years. Yahoo (host for Southern Muse) may have a way to do clean feeds like Tumblr, but if so, it requires more knowledge and technical expertise than I have.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Weebly Hosting

I've tried several hosts now. So far, Weebly gets my prize for ease of use and quality of tools available. Now, if you've read any of my posts, you'll know that 'ease of use' is a biggie with me. Don't make me learn algebra, folks. I'm just sick of it. HTML basics are bearable, but anything beyond that... algebra! Now, Weebly has let me build two full-featured sites and put my own domain on them... FREE! So far, I'm sold. I do want another site, a Favicon, and a couple of other things I can't do without premium ~ so I'm all set to buy into their plan. It's pretty reasonable. They seem to have the hobbyist and small-business person in mind. I was able to use my own photos and graphics, which meant I could wipe out those generic templates (which, by the way, weren't so bad ~ not nearly as icky-slick as most). I was sorely tempted to use one of their template images. Yes, even as Graphics-Control-Freakish as I am, I liked that photo of the path leading into an autumn park. Nice! Now, the techies among you might not like Weebly. Neither will the HTML purists. (I tried to be one. I just failed miserably. Besides, W3C kept raising the bar, dangling that carrot, dropping that anvil on my head... ummm, well, you get the picture.) Granted, I have relaxed some of my rigid requirements for web pages. I want my own layouts, but... finally, I've accepted that perfect layouts are not requisite. They're iffy anyhow, since people will use different devices. Weebly has some nice, tight layouts to offer. I can't be sure they'll dish up right on every device; but then, neither does my old site. Weebly's WYSIWYG editor is so much better than the others I've tried. It's built around drag-and-drop widgets that fit nicely into place. It's a little sticky to use ~ but whose isn't? I had fewer problems than with any other. Their DNS tutorials actually make sense. Weebly's GoDaddy-specific tutorial did make better sense before GoDaddy went to such great lengths to hide their DNS Zone Editor; but if you ever do find GoDaddy's Zone Editor, it looks exactly like the screen shots that Weebly provides.

I did say that I might try GoDaddy as a host. I just can't bring myself to do it. Their hosting plan is more expensive than Weebly's, and the 'free' tools they have for site building are extremely limited. My biggest fear? What if I 'buy in,' and find that their paid site editor is as limited as their stinky free editor? I can see why GoDaddy wouldn't want to give you a fully functional site for free (though Weebly pretty much does give you that). GoDaddy's afraid they wouldn't sell any hosting plans. My advice to GD: you'll catch more flies with honey, folks. If you can't provide a real, fully functional free site, at least provide a site builder that lets me build one for testing. Well, maybe they did. Maybe that slick business card with no place to even put an 'Enter' button is all their editor is capable of. I shudder to think...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We Own the Web...

For non-techies, the WYSIWYG editors gave us a ray of hope. I found out right away that SiteBuilder and similar tools were sticky and complicated. They were easy to break. Once broken, they weren't always easy to fix. Yahoo used SiteBuilder (I think). Sometimes, what I saw wasn't what I got. There'd be big gaps between sections, maybe. (I was still hung up on the idea of designing a tight, but clean, "layout.") Not only was "what I saw" not what I got, but what I saw wasn't what other people got, either. My site still looked way different on different machines. This about drove me crazy. It wasn't that every little aspect of it had to be the same. Little tiny style differences wouldn't kill me. They might keep me awake at night, and thus shorten my life, but they wouldn't kill me. What bothered me was that my site varied a good bit from one machine to the other. Sometimes it just looked horrible. I went back to HTML right away, but it was never satisfactory. Tables were the only way I could control margins, and yet w3c and others were screaming, "Don't use tables! Tables are not meant for layout!" I didn't even understand what they meant, back then. I mean, everybody was using tables for layout. If they weren't for layout, what the heck were they for? (Oh, like scientific tables? Elemental tables? Geological tables? That kinda thing? Bor-r-r-ing!) Anyway, I couldn't understand how all these other sites managed nice, clean, brochure-or-book-like pages, but I couldn't do it. And meanwhile, all the tech gurus out there were warning me not to use WYSIWYG, not to try to control style, not to create any broken code. I mean, essentially, they were saying, "Shut up and go away. You don't belong on the Web, and you don't have a right to say or design anything. We are the techs and we own the Web!"

Easy? Or just another cPanel in Disguise?

Seeing that everybody and their mother seems to have a website, I figured it must have gotten easier after all these years. Silly me. I've discovered that all these sites are built the same way: Glossy, slick, classic, or downright ugly front page, with cPanel under the hood. When Amateurs like myself got into the site-building game, companies had to make it look easier to make a web page (not that they actually did make it easier). Back in the day, I wondered how webmasters built sites that let other users share space, or even buy in. I was both envious and hopeful. For awhile there, I thought it just couldn't be done unless a person could write copious amounts of code, all on their own. I began to suspect otherwise. I've read enough now to know that lots of cheap hosts are just resellers who put their own spin on a webpage, while utilizing their papa host's cPanel. I don't know if you'd call them SpinOffs or Para-Sites. What I mean is, they buy a hosting plan with, say, ComplexHost, set up a home page entitled "EasyHost," and give you links to a fraction of the tools that ComplexHost offers. This could be an okay thing. As a beginner, you may not need, or know how to use, all that stuff that ComplexHost has to offer. The downside is that you're paying about as much for EasyHost as you would for the other, yet getting half the tools. Even worse, you may just be paying to look at EasyHost's front page. Once hooked, you might find yourself right back under the hood, in cPanel, wondering which monkey wrench to use.

GoDaddy's Instant Page Changed My IP?

It strikes me as ironic that I made the same mistake again, after all these years. I did just what I said I'd never do: bought names from one provider, and bought hosting from another. I did it because that's what everybody said to do. Of course, most of the people saying that are these SEO-minded, get-rich-quick schemers who want to park a bunch of ads. Buy lots of domains! they say. Buy them on GoDaddy and host them elsewhere! Nothing wrong with that, if you know what you're doing. Obviously, I'm one of those people who don't; and there are many, many like me, for I found literally hundreds of me, my Doppelgangers, crying like week-old noobs on numerous forums: Wah! GoDaddy hijacked my domain. I can't move my site. Wah, wah, wah! It's not that simple. GoDaddy gives you that old, familiar, ugly cPanel, all defaulted to workable IPs. They leave it entirely up to you to mess with their default IPs at your own risk. They provide lots of tutorials. And other hosts (Weebly, Google) give you tutorials telling you how to redirect from GoDaddy. But since GoDaddy's whole site seems to be in the process of redesigning itself to suit people like me (tech illiterates) half of the instructions in their tutorials (and in everyone else's tutorials) tell you to click on .... some button that doesn't exist. I've spent a lot of time on their site trying to find the Google Webmasters Tools icon, the Webhosting button, the Whatever thingy. Those things have migrated. GoDaddy's entire site is now devoted to selling cheap hosting plans along with cheap domain names. I *think* that might be why it's so hard to find the button you're looking for ~ they're not going to make it easy for you to click on "Somebody Else" as a host.

For the record (and it could change tomorrow, so do some massive searching before you plug in any IP from Clueless, here) these were the IP numbers that were used for my A Record on GoDaddy:

Default (GoDaddy Shared Servers):
InstantPage Server:

I haven't a clue as to whether those are good, bad, or indifferent. I still don't know whether the problem had to do with shared servers, or just my redirecting after the fact. I suspect it was the latter. I probably just did things in the wrong order. If I had it to do over again, and if I were going to have one registrar and another host, I wouldn't do it with the same domain. I'd use something like "" for my static page and I'd build my site on a different, but slightly similar name (not a sub-domain): say, "" or "" Yep, that's what I'd do. Hindsight ~ what a concept!

InstantPage Server vs GoDaddy Server

InstantPage is on its own server, you see. At least, it's on a different server than the shared server on GoDaddy. I think that many people on many different forums broached this subject: some of them ranting, some of them whining, and some sounding resigned. The problem is, I just didn't "get" what they were saying. I do now. (Nothing like experience...) That's probably of very little importance if you go that route from the beginning: build your site on GoDaddy using InstantPage. That has its own drawbacks, I'm sure, and it would be just as much a problem if you did that and tried to change later. Anyhow, GoDaddy kind of lures you into buying multiple domain names. "Lure" has negative connotations. I mean, they are giving you a bargain, and you do get what you pay for: domain names. It's like buying a handful of sticky file labels with your file names on them. Now you've got to find a place to put them. That's gonna cost ya. It will cost in time, money, and heartache. You have a handful of labels. You don't have a file folder to put them on. You don't even know where the file cabinet is.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

InstantPage and Redirect Error

InstantPage wasn't quite instant, mainly due to browser interference, as I said. In the end, I did manage a quite pretty, simple site, with a big photo background, a widget showing the title, and a navigation menu. It seems to be a requirement that the only text on the front page is the title and description. I don't think there's anyway to put a link or blurb right there on the front page. Fine! I was as tired of those one-button pages that say "Enter" as GoDaddy must be. Still, that was my original intent, though I had planned on something more creative than "Enter Site." My workaround was to include a motto or blurb in my photo, though I will be at the mercy of browsers which resize the window and maybe smash the widget on top of my "text." Those were the problems with the wash and wax. It was the mayhem going on under the hood that caused my next problem. I didn't know it, but when I clicked on the InstantPage link, it changed an A record. I didn't know this until I went back to the "main" page I'd built at Blogger. Now, this might have been obvious to someone in the know, that you can't have a static page at GoDaddy and link subdomains of the same site to a hosted page at, say, Blogger. I didn't think so either, but their phone tech had assured me that building a front page with InstantPage would not affect the site I'd already built at Blogger and planned to link to it. My thinking was that I could get rid of the ad-covered landing page that GoDaddy placed as the parking page of my second-level domain ( when I'd registered my domain name. I had already redirected my "www" sub-domain to Blogger. I thought perhaps I could use GoDaddy's starter page to put an entry page at Well, the tech said I could [*mystified*]. (Do I sound like Tom Hank's mama in Apollo 13? Was that movie before you were born?) Now maybe this would have worked if I had not already redirected my subdomain to Google Blogger, pointing the 'www' at my blog.

GoDaddy's InstantPage Thingy

So much for praising GoDaddy. It looked easy there, for a second. Silly me. GoDaddy has a starter page for each domain that they sell. It's all part of the trend of making registrar and host sites look simple and navigable to newbies and tech-impaired, while serving up adequate complexity under the hood to the techies among us. (It think we all know where I belong in that mix). The starter page can barely be said to "start" your site. It's a business card. The background is customizable and can be a photo background. The site does allow for several pages, so that's good. The page editor on that InstantPage® tool is pretty limited, but it could work. It was a problematic to use, with interference from the browser. One browser (Firefox) blocked access to the FTP, I guess. I couldn't upload a photo. The error was generic ~ unknown or unspecified. Thinking it was something I'd done, I spent several hours tweaking and re-editing photos, trying different formats, getting rid of transparency, compressing and checking file size, and changing the dimensions. Finally I opened a support ticket. (I'm not a support-ticket kind of girl, I usually avoid those things). Meanwhile, it did occur to me to try a new browser. I tried Internet Explorer. IE! Oh, groan, groan. The next few hours were dismal, dismal. IE did let me upload a photo, but it returned an ugly security error on every page, growling at me with each one. Och! That horrible growl. I continued in IE ~ I don't know why. A better course of action would have been to save the photo in IE, close the browser, and go back to Firefox. (Well, I'm sure you techies would say, a better course of action would be to install Linux!) I finally got the page saved, but then came the next horror: a DNS redirect error. It's tied to that InstantPage® thingy, so don't go away...

Friday, July 13, 2012

GoDaddy, Weebly, Blogger, Tumblr (Comparing)

I had a good post planned, but due to an exasperating number of petty pet peeves that happened to me yesterday and today, it went straight out of my head. Since I'm here, I'll give the latest update to my right-brain attack on the left-brain, algebraic world of creating a web page. Everybody said, go to Tumblr, kids are lovin' it, yah, yah, yah. So, I set up a silly little fun blog at Tumblr. I'm likin' it okay and thinking it does have possibilities. But Tumblr leaves it up to you to figure out how to edit those standard templates. No help there. Naturally, they want to sell their $50 premium templates, but I'd still be in the same boat, not knowing how to tweak the code without breaking it. Gotta tweak that code, mercy! 'Cuz if I can't make it "my" website, why bother? But, I'm having fun with the Tumblr blog (Vesta Higginbottom, in case you're just dying for it; no link, I'm not overtly plugging). Meanwhile, I've got a simple site up on Weebly, and certainly am not unhappy with it. It's limited, yes... but easy as pie. Now, I'm looking into GoDaddy, to which everyone says, "No! No! No!" Here's what I've learned so far. Phone-tech support was actually quick, polite and helpful ~ quite unlike what all the forums had warned. I also found that, contrary to the warnings being shouted by megaphonish bloggers, GoDaddy's DNS zone editor is not really a bear-trap. It just feels like it at times. My skeletal site, registered at GoDaddy but hosted elsewhere, is not chained to a block wall in some bleak dungeon, but is proudly displayed to the world at large. Yes, their ad-covered parking page, or landing page, was hard to get rid of; but that's because I didn't really know how to get rid of it. I had to be stepped through the process. Here's the deal: there are so many, many things to do and places to navigate on GoDaddy (and on every registrar, it seems), it is just confusing. Can't be otherwise, I guess. Sometimes I get maddening glimpses of a GoDaddy interface or intro page with "Launch" buttons, that looks easy and straightforward. But then I never can find it again. Dang their navigation! Ah well, what else is new? I did manage to set up email (MX-whatever); change my A-name and C-name records; set up a quick entry page with Website Tonight/Instant Page (albeit with a couple of glitches). True, I had to read a blue-million tutorials to get that done. I understand that GoDaddy's home page has to be navigable to geeks and newbies alike, but maybe they could stick a big, red "Easy" button up there for newbs, let them skip the GoDaddy Encyclopedia. I'm still open to the idea of GD hosting. I will say this. Once you identify and find the right GoDaddy tutorial for your needs, it is pretty easy to read. I have not yet tried their paid hosting. If I do, I'll start by sticking my little toe in the water... just some itty, bitty, not-too-important domain. Maybe buy in for six months or a year. Hard to say. Of all the hosts so far, Weebly has been the easiest. I'm still loving Blogger ~ just wish they'd give me a static page to go with it. Between the three (GoDaddy, Weebly, and Blogger), I've managed some fairly complex-looking sites. But I still haven't found that magic bullet...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Devil and the DNS

Yesterday. Sigh. Where shall I begin? True to type, I waited till the last minute to check into the verity of the DNS-Changer virus (2012's equivalent of the Y2K thingy). I'd had the fear tucked away, a faint glimmer at the back of my mind, waiting for its chance to wend its way into the actively working part of my brain. But it had a long line of more pressing thoughts in front of it, so it patiently waited, passive thing that it was. Now, I know what you're thinking: "You got hit by DNS, neener, neener, neen-er!" But you're wrong. I assumed I would, and the DNS is the devil if it's not working properly. By the time I came around to trusting that the DNS-ok site wasn't, itself, a scam, and went there ~ the site had already shut down. But it didn't matter, for if the DNS devil had struck, it'd be too late for me, and I'd just be fried. Time for a new PC anyhow.

Now, also true to type, my main brain was focused on bigger things. Me and my tunnel vision (my TV and I) were focused on site building. I typed on till midnight. I was hard at work building a blog, organizing its pages, linking my sub-domains, structuring the links, and, yes, writing the posts; for I am known as a multi-tasker. It won't do for me to go about a thing the simple way. Gotta be complicated. Now, with half-a-dozen open web pages, including Blogger's builder, several files, and Notepad (three unsaved bits of a post, well-written, I thought) ~ the last thing I needed was an old-fashioned power outage. But, there you go. Right in the middle of my intense concentration and type-o-rama (my fingers were flying) ~ CLAP! The screen went black. While I was page building, a storm had been building outside, and our nearby power line was the recipient of its wrath. (Dang the dang pine beetles, there's hardly a tree left standing on the mountain. The only thing holding them up is our power lines). I find it highly ironic that I was by-passed by the DNS devil, only to be humbled by an old-timey, Huckleberry Finn, wrath-of-God thunderstorm. So, I felt my way downstairs in the dark. One consolation: I found it rather gratifying, in a hot-chocolate-and-midnight-feast kind of way, to tuck myself up in a cotton blanket, point a flashlight at a paper page, and proceed to indulge in an old-fashioned, tea-and-crumpets, Miss Marple mystery. Some things never change.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hold That Thought

Ummmm, hold that thought.

Okay, the parallel between these two pages (above) should be self-explanatory. But it probably won't be (since my thinking seems to be unique); so...

That first article just tickled my funny bone ~ but it was also unexpected. The author of it did seem to consider the question with some seriousness. The second page (which I'd finished just a couple of seconds before finding the first) was the working scratchpad of my attempt to design a page using Amaya, as well as my attempt to explain the experience of using Amaya to design a page. I found the first while searching for more information about the subject of the second (how to use Amaya).

The very sad thing is that, when I uploaded my page on Amaya, I discovered that I had, indeed, already completed another page using that page editor ~ and only two weeks ago. What does that say about my memory? Well, I knew I'd played with the editor. I just didn't recall making a finished page.

It's nearly 4 a.m., and this won't make sense to anybody but me.

C'est la vie.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

DuckDuckGo: New Search Engine

Having a little fun with DuckDuckGo, a new search engine I just learned about. I had searched Google for "unfiltered search results" (kind of ironic, if you think about it). So, I found this DuckDuckGo, which promises to let you escape the search bubble and find all the stuff that Bing and Google have kept hidden from you. First off, let me tell you ~ I love the little duck! What a cutie, cutie, cutie! And perhaps I did get unfiltered results... Anyhow, I got a lot of results, and that's something. The results were different than the ones from Google and Bing. I must say, though, the results page made me flash back to old Jeeves (now All of the results looked suspiciously commercial, which kind of reminded me why Google gave us filtered results in the first place. But the results were relevant, sort of like early Jeeves, before the butler got to be such a greedy pig. A search of a particular city on DuckDuckGo turned up real businesses in that city, not the sell-a-rama that used to come up on Jeeves (or the, ahem, the plethora of broken links that Jeeves retched up after the Y2K crash, which goes to show that favoring paying sites might not be the best idea for configuring a search engine). Bing seems commercial, too. Well, hey. Go figure ~ it's Microsoft. I haven't compared Bing and DuckDuckGo to see who does what, but I'd say the little Duck guy is worth checking out from time to time. Get to see the little duck, anyhow. Besides, I might want to see how my sites compete in unfiltered search... get my drift?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Success with GoDaddy

Having maligned GoDaddy not too long ago (because their DNS manager had gotten harder (yes, harder), I now have to say that I had a bit of success in setting up a couple of my domains. I don't know why it's so difficult. I think GoDaddy saw my multiple domains and stuck me into the "advanced" manager. Go figure! No doubt GoDaddy is meant for techies who know what they're doing, and those techies need lots of complicated stuff to make really fancy websites. But I'm tech-retarded. I just want to try different plans. To me, the DNS manager and Zone Editors still seem tricky. I really had to play hide and seek to find and set up email. I still had nagging doubts about the changing of A names and C names. GoDaddy had some great tutorials, as did Weebly and Google. Once I had the hang of it, changing an A name and a C name wasn't so bad. GoDaddy does do the 'big sell' on their hosting and other plans, but they don't prevent your changing hosts (as some bloggers claimed). One thing's for sure: buying a domain is a heck of a lot easier than managing one once you've bought it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


You know... what's more disturbing than downtime is that GoDaddy seems to have changed their entire DNS interface. Ch-ch-ch changes. The whole thing looks much harder than before. The learning curve is an understatement. Ever seen the W Road up there on Signal Mountain? Yeah, that road. The curve really is a "W." Same here. Forget everything you learned yesterday (and I do mean, literally, yesterday). Today, you gotta relearn it, a whole new way. And now all those tutorials out there (with screen shots) no longer match the screens you see on GoDaddy. They're really pushing hosting these days, so the whole thing may be designed to make it harder to map your domain names to some other hosting site. Can't be sure of that, but ~ looks like a duck; quacks like a duck... We'll see. It's always a scary thing to deal with a whole new interface, unlearn and relearn everything. That, too, seems to happen just about the time you hand over your wallet. Just Murphy's law, I guess. You bought it yesterday; today it's broke. Or, in the case of all things Internet: "upgraded." (Translate: broke).

Par for the Course?

I guess it's par for the course, in the world of website hosting... GoDaddy has gone down for scheduled maintenance, or so it says. Nothing on their blog mentions a scheduled-maintenance period. But this I know, scheduled maintenance seems to happen at those crucial times when you really need to get into your account. Scheduled maintenance never happens when you're just wasting time, surfing the 'Net, playing a game. It always happens just about the time you hand over your wallet. See ya, bye! Scheduled maintenance. Maybe it's just that time of day. Lots of times these websites do maintenance at odd, late hours. Let's hope things look better in the morning. Oh... it is morning.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

John and Yoko Farming Beef

And another thing. Only since the advent of the Internet have we felt compelled to waste countless hours in the trivial pursuit of seeking out trivia ~ seeking the meaning of obscure song lyrics and the like. Take for instance I Do the Rock by Tim Curry. One verse of that song always puzzled me:
John and Yoko farming beef
Raising protein quota
Sometimes they make love and art
Inside their dakota
Rodney's feeling sexy
Mick is really frightfully bold
Me, I do the only thing that'stops me growing old
I do the Rock
I do the Rock Rock
I do the Rock Rock Rock 
Now, the other references weren't that obscure: Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger... pretty obvious. Edith Sitwell (from a previous verse) I'd heard of, and it wasn't hard, from there, to find "Satchie" (Sacheverell Sitwell, her brother). Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, I already knew.  "Baby" (Babe) Ruth, Knute Rockne, and O.J. were easy enough, as people who "wack" balls with great velocity ~ albeit O.J. is more famous, now, for wacking people. Likewise, Solzhenitzin, Nietsche, Einstein, various celebs, and world leaders posed no problem. I didn't bother to look up every ref, I got the drift of it. But somehow, John and Yoko just weren't associated with the farming of beef in my mind. The Dakota, sure; but "farming beef"? And "raising protein quota"? Was it a strange reference to child-getting, I wondered? Checking several sites that analyze obscure or unintelligible lyrics, I found that most of them included the song, but none had answers, or even guesses, about its meaning. Searches for John and Yoko and "beef" or "protein quota" all led to sites that mentioned the song, but had no insight into the lyrics. I learned that the Lennons bought a farm in Virginia and thought that I'd solved the mystery. But looking further into it, it didn't seem to be that kind of farm. It was an historic estate, not a cattle farm. Continuing to search, I found that John Lennon did a song called 'Beef Jerky.' Aha! I thought. But no, it was an instrumental. The one string of lyrics (Beef jerky, beef jerky, beef jerky) provided no enlightenment, and I did find a site which mentioned that Tim Curry dropped that verse in one live performance. Also, oddly enough, I found a father-and-son team, John and Sean Lennon (of no relation, apparently, to the famous ones) who farmed cannabis. And I found a Vanity Fair parody, in which a 70-year-old John Lennon (had he lived) went bounding about a dairy farm with pails of milk.

Not one to give up (and this song nagging, as it did, every time I thought of it), I kept plugging away on Google. And finally, voila! Something clicked. I began to find references to Yoko Ono's investments in cattle, references to a "$250,000" ($250K) cow, and various opinons as to Yoko Ono's genius for investing (or lack thereof); for she was (or wasn't) brilliant as John Lennon's financial manager, and made investments in cattle and organic farming. Thus, the most likely solution to the odd lyrics? Either Michael Kamen or Tim Curry picked up a stray tidbit from the entertainment news of the day.

So, here are the clues that led to my conclusion: 

From Beatles Photo Blog came a forum conversation betwixt "Alex of Bronx," "Tammy," and "Jo." Alex mentioned the Virginia farm, but Tammy and Jo provided my first clue about a $250,000 cow (somehow tied to Yoko Ono). Subsequent searches on Yoko, investments, and $250K cows turned up this: 
While Ono managed John’s money, John becomes a house husband, devoting his time to baking bread and raising his son Sean. John and Ono became worth hundreds of million of dollars, partly because of shrewd investments made Ono, who made a fortune in New York real estate and with dairy cows.
                                                                                                          ~ Facts and Details (Japan)

Ono became Lennon's business manager, and invested his money in real estate and organic farming. 
                                                                                                         ~ John Lennon, from Simple Wiki

His personal fortune was estimated at $150 million by the fall of 1980, before his death; most of his investments were in real estate and organic farming. (Tarot reader John Green asserted in Dakota Days that Lennon's actual fortune was far less, and the rest was hype on Yoko Ono's part.)
                                                                                from What Was Lennon's Net Worth 

And finally, this from a Yoko fan (perhaps her only):

Yoko, by contrast, was and is financially brilliant.  In All We Are Saying, she compares investments and financial transactions with chess.  The woman made millions for the two of them off of investments in cows.  Cows!  Dammit, I want her handling my money, too!
                                                                               from article on

So, regardless of the verity of any information found, the "fact" of the $250K cow obviously got about among Yoko fans, critics, or the general public. And for me, I've solved the mystery of the "John and Yoko farming beef" lyric, at least to my own satisfaction. And yes... we spend w-a-aaa-ay-y-y too much of our life seeking out the significance of obscure song lyrics...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Still Struggling...

I'm still struggling with some of the technical aspects of setting up sites, mapping domains to them, and all that. I always have questions, and they're not always answered by the help section. Slowly but surely, I plug away at it, and am getting another site set up. But even now, my old site could use an extensive overhaul. I just can't do it. Just doing the main pages is hard enough. I mean, I had the danged page w3c compliant, and already, that has changed. I don't think I changed anything. And the page is not completely to my liking. Either I misunderstood certain aspects of HTML 4.01 Transitional, or I understood it, but cannot do what I need to do. Table widths. What, you can't use them now? Or do you just put the width elsewhere, such as within the "colgroup" tribute. I don't want to be doing this at all. I'd rather have WYSIWIG. When I've used those in the past, though, they've either been buggy, terminally slow and sticky, or quickly out-dated and obsolete. You know, those horrid broken pages that worked just yesterday. Or was that ten years ago? I forget. I have spent w-a-aaaa-y too much of my life trying to be w3c compliant. The 4.01 instructions are rather terrifying, by the way. I can't even understand the sentences. Heck, I can't even navigate the outline. I downloaded Amaya today. Not terrible, so far, but not pleasurable, either. Another one of those editors where you have to know the code to use the code. No drag and drop, that's for sure. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Having Done The Deed

"Well, that wasn't so bad," she said, having done the deed. That was before she heard the whistling sound of a two-ton safe hurtling through the air, aimed right at her head. Actually, the safe hasn't fallen, and may not. As it turns out, the instructions for managing DNS and changing a cName record are much more horrifying than the actuality of changing a cName. GoDaddy provided some decent, easy-to-follow instructions for setting up a first alias ~ the "www" alias. Their instructions for adding a second subdomain were more confusing, but I think they were explaining a slightly different scenario than what I wanted to do. I saw other lost souls asking "my" question, but none of the answers hit the nail on the head. My intuition (after reading 100 forums) told me that it should work exactly as it did for setting up that first alias, "www." One guy, "Nitecruzr," had posted instructions that seemed to match my uneducated guess. I was beginning to suspect that a mistake wouldn't be permanent ~ If I messed up, I could delete the record from cPanel (I hoped). So, I went to cPanel, chose "add new record" (cName), pointed it to "" ~ and mapped it to the same host I'd used for my first alias: Then I went into Blogger and used the advanced settings to set the subdomain name for that second blog. Simple. Just had to trust this unknown "Nitecruzr," ditch the complicated instructions, and take the plunge. It seems to have worked. Right now, my subdomain name does point to my second blog. The only confusing thing now is that I have two blogs with similar titles. I'll have to keep 'em straight.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Fearful Geek Looks Under the Hood...

Flash back to the year 2000. Then, I was agonizing over whether to take the plunge and invest in my own domain name. Looking back, "invest" is a poor choice of words. "Splurge" might be a better one. Buy a gold brick. But "invest" I did, and for twelve years now, have been the proud owner of an obscure little site that struggles as I do. Southern Muse is now filled with a big pile of pages, interconnected in a fairly disorganized way. My idea for Southern Muse was way too broad for a first web site, or almost for any website. Some of the subsections would do well to have their own site. So, twelve years later, in an effort to divide and conquer, I found myself in the same position: agonizing over whether to buy a domain. And yes, I bit the bullet. I bought one. Not one, but several. And (sigh) much to my regret, I find that the industry of domain registration hasn't changed that much. Oh, the Web has changed. It boggles the mind to see how far web design, blogging tools, CSS, Flash, scripts, and all the other things have come. But the world of domain-name registration is as horrifying as it ever was. It seems a fraudulent, deceitful industry. Registrars have learned the art of selling, there's no doubt about that. Their front pages cover a full range: begging, pleading, boasting, arm-twisting, flirting, and occasionally professional seeming. Ah, but underneath that front page! Horrors. All roads lead to Hell. Professional? Sweetie, you haven't found out what products and services weren't included in that deceitful oversell. You haven't tried to dial that much-touted but non-existent 24/7 support hotline. Cheap? Ha ha ha! Don't be delusional. Shopping carts are for filling. Yours will quickly fill up with add-ons you hadn't thought necessary, but suddenly realize the scary implications of not buying them. Easy. My dear. Have you gotten a look at cPanel? Domain registration, transfer, and web hosting, my friend... those devices were devised purely to inflict torture. They are still housed in the swampy, stagnant, backwaters of some Tim Burton-cum-Steven Kingish sci-fi nightmare. We never should've let the Web be created by children who grew up reading Swamp Thing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Dreary World of Missing Drivers

I've decided to dust off the old blog for this one. Tonight, I'm pretty proud of myself. I searched for, found, and installed updates and drivers for two devices and three browser plug-ins all by myself. The missing ones were causing my PC to be unstable. It only took seven hours, twenty searches, six-to-ten websites, six or seven downloads, three installers, and two wizards to do it. I didn't curse or cry, I was that determined. I feel like Annie Sullivan, when Helen Keller finally folded that napkin...

Maintaining an old computer is worse than maintaining an old Ford. In fact, I liked my old Ford. I can't say the same for my old computer.

The Ford was a '72 LTD. I can't even say what the computer is. According to the System Info, it's an MSI. I've been calling it an AMD ('cause that's what's on the label). Call it a sooner or a mutt. One thing's for sure, it's a dinosaur.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dinosaur Humor & Siderail to Varityper...

Clearly, I got sidetracked. Eight months since a dinosaur blog post, and I thought I'd let someone else do my talking today. I found this blogger by accident, but was amused at his updated take on outdated icons. Outdated by decades, apparently, and soon to be non-recognizable by kids...

Hanselman: The Floppy Disk Means Save and 14 Other Old People Icons...

Yeah, I used one of those big, black, eight-inch floppies once. (More than once). It really was floppy, too. I was always worried about creasing one (never happened); and getting a magnet next to one (sadly, did once happen). My machine of choice (or rather, of necessity back then) was a Varityper phototypesetter (4500, as I recall, and stepped on up to the 5400). Had little film fonts--hence, "photo" typesetter. Uh huh, it used film to develop fonts on photographic paper. But Varityper was uptown--it used film discs! So much easier than stretching celluloid on a reel-to-reel, as on the old Compugraphics...

Varityper on Facebook:!/pages/AM-Varityper-Phototypesetters/93607261216

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Temporary... oh, so temporary

Interrupting the previous train of thought... I just posted (elsewhere) a post about ephemera, and how paper seems to have taken over my life. How so, in the day of the grand white screen? Why, oh why, haven't I filed everything in the electronic file bin? Ah! This electronic beast of so-called permanence, it seems, is in itself temporary. Computers crash, websites fade, dashboards disappear, software upgrades, interfaces change, corporations merge. I cannot find my blog, I cannot find my dashboard. My database, wiped out at the drop of a hat or a sneeze, all by some silent, faceless entity, which this moment, perhaps, has decided to merge, or disband, or go bye-bye in whatever form or fashion pleases them; barely a blink, a nod, or an email ~ leaving me and my ephemera to fend for ourselves. But supposing, just supposing, I could trust today's host to be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Then I'd still have to digitize my ephemera to save it. Photos, papers, cards, scraps: files cabinets and bins and baskets full: these things, I have. But to scan them, to transcribe them, even to make brief extracts, would take another lifetime or two. So, this Lord of all Human Knowledge, this Information of the big "I," this electronic file cabinet ~ this wonderful, much-touted savior of humanity, the computer, the Internet ~ 'tis all merely ephemera. And so it goes...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Moldy Old Blogs

Ah, moldy old blog, here am I, wiping a thick layer of dust off of the old blog-orama, and finding, already, changes, changes, changes. Behind the scenes, Google has redone the whole blog interface, and my poor brain, grown crusty like an old, dry sponge, must once again dampen itself with left-brain thoughts and locate the tools which allow me to talk to myself. If I could just reach that oil can... Tin Man... ah, there we go. The rust loosens. I now find that the "post" option, that handy little tool, has morphed to an orange button. And there I had gotten so used to ignoring orange buttons. Funny how the eye sees not that which it would not see. But, the button being found, and as I now look over this confusing mass of changes, I find that I'm going to like this new interface. And so, we progress into 2012...