We’re back to, “Keeping up, with the Joneses”

What is it today, with all the Internet platforms trying so hard. I get wanting to stay competitive, but it’s like they are afraid of, losing a moment to someone else. Everyone wants to provide a multiple experience. Whatever happened to, “If you do something, do that one thing well”. Blogging should be blogging. If you want to create a software for website building, then create one, but don’t try to squeeze it into your current product, that is already a stable success.

For many years, WordPress was the go-to for blogging. It was just comfortable, and easy to grasp. Then apparently, panic set in that they would be “one-upped” by someone else, so a mad rush was made to outdo the competition. In just a very few short years, a blogging platform has turned into a website building platform. Hardly resembling a blogging experience. Not to just bash WordPress, because I have some bones to pick, with my forum software below as well, but it is frustrating to those that want to blog, being pushed to the side for commercial interests. Sadly, sometimes that rush for fame and fortune leads to ruin.

Remember the antivirus programs of yesteryear? They were great at one thing, security. Then, to chase the dollar, they decided to get into adding various utilities for optimizing your computer. Buying up smaller companies/utilities that were good, and incorporating them as a suite. They became so bloated, that they couldn’t even do their primary task well. The few that survived, have gone back to the one thing they do well, and foregone being a suite.

The allure of one-upping the competition

WordPress, is not alone in the “over doing” arena. My forum software, over the last few years, has changed to chase the commercial interests. I started out with a software called IPS (Invision Power Services), a great software, that you had to learn, just like WordPress. If you wanted something extra, you had to learn how to insert code clips provided by others to get what you wanted. Then the fever hit. As the platform grew, the allure of one-upping the competition arrived. They worked feverishly to bring better things. At one point, we were getting updates several times a month. If you had a theme you used, or some add-ons, they were usually trashed by the new and improved update. We had to wait for those that had developed the items, to re-code them to work again. Only to have them broken the next month. What became fun to build things for, now was nearly a full time job, just to keep them working.

You will pay a price

Some might see where this is going. Developers, that enjoyed doing things for free, became frustrated. They started charging for add-ons, or themes. The free section of themes has gone from 40-50 in the last four years, to maybe four. The widgets have dwindled. Now, if you want something like a theme or add-on, you will pay a price for it, and then a maintenance fee every six months, in case updates break something. A theme can cost you $20-$40, with a recurring 6-month fee (usually half the price of the item) to keep it up to date. The same with the widgets or add-ons ($10-$60+). Why? Because IPS has also started chasing the “website look”.

The business plans of these companies, such as WordPress and IPS, defy logic. Yes, you can become great, you can rake in big money, but at some point it will be at the expense of losing users, then the revenue takes a hit. Apparently, this is happening to IPS, a once great forum platform. This year, out of the blue, the support center cost went from $25 per six-months, to $45 per six-months.

Killing off their original user base.

Support is fine, but if you’re smart enough to run the software after about a year, you seldom have to call on support. I haven’t had to use support in the last 3 years. But, and here is the catch, they only provide security updates, and software updates, if you have the support plan. So we jumped from $25 bi-annually, to $45. Plus, everything you want to enhance your forum comes with a pretty good price, and bi-annual fee. They are, essentially, killing off their original user base. I don’t begrudge the bi-annual fee for security and upgrades at a reasonable fee, but a $20 hike is just a bit on the rough side.

Let’s hope developers or WordPress that make our widgets etc., never truly get money hungry, like my IPS forum platform.

Comments, always welcome.

Dear WordPress. Please stop mucking around with a great product!

Okay, 5.9 just landed on my site. I thought that the introduction and changes with blocks and the Gutenberg editor were hard. Wait till you see this mess. I just wish, that WordPress, would stop trying to one-up everyone in the blogging world. WordPress, for many years, was a solid, simple, enjoyable blogging experience. In the last few years, they have made it complicated, and no longer a blogging platform. It has devolved into a webpage builder.

Now, with the landing of 5.9, which I had to force a reinstallation of it, to get it to show the new features, many of which still aren’t showing. It has turned into a “developers” tool. It wasn’t enough that we had a webpage builder foisted on us with blocks and new editor, now we have more tools that most of us won’t need or use. Not only that, but it looks as though they had developers build this new version, instead of bloggers. If you’re going to maintain and improve on a blogging platform, then for heaven’s sake, get blog developers that actually use the platform for blogging, to make your new upgrades.

The above is a screenshot of my new post editor. This new option has shown up on the left side, under “patterns” which are actually templates, you can pick headers, banners, text, gallery images from an outside gallery they are going to provide. Basically, a list of templates to make a page. All you have to do, is replace the text, and or the images. I can do that already with the block editor that I finally learned to use! That’s not blogging! It’s building a webpage of static items.

Apparently all the new features, such as a new drag and drop theme editor (which I will never use) hasn’t installed on mine, nor the new images section. All I have, so far, are the so-called “Patterns”.

Confusing is an understatement. Please, WordPress, leave things alone and let bloggers be bloggers. If you must muck around with something for webpage builders and developers, make a separate product for that, and stop ruining a once former leading product.

Let me know in the comments, if your blog has updated, if all the new options are working, and what you think of them. Me? If another platform ever develops a community section, as we have with WordPress, where it’s easy to find other bloggers, I’ll go to it. I don’t have time nor patience anymore to be a test subject. -Ron

Comments, always welcomed.

Update to add video:

Not sure how to title this.

Forgive me for the idiotic title, but I honestly couldn’t come up with one that wouldn’t embarrass me. It seems, my esteemed doctor has finally taken the time to notice something. He is a great guy, but like many doctors now you see his “assistants” and not him. Apparently, he noticed something in the recent myriad of blood tests they take, when they’re not trying to find phantom things to charge my insurance for.

It would seem that due to the medications I’m on, and my mileage and age (69 next month), that perhaps my Arnold Schwarzenegger chemical (Testosterone, there I said it), is nearly non-existent. Normal levels are 12-13 according to him, but mine is .8

After some Q&A I learned this can cause all sorts of problems such as concentration, extreme tiredness, moodiness, loss of muscle mass, and lack of interest in the world as a whole. Nice of them to finally find something possibly connected to my multiple reports of these symptoms to them, instead of listening to them tell me what they think I may need to be tested for. I’m betting that is why I have no desire to do many other things like blog, come up with good content, go places, and unable to concentrate once I sit down at the computer wanting to think of something to post. I used to come up with fairly witty and fun posts in the past, but for a year now thoughts have been like an empty landscape with the occasional tumbleweed drifting by.

I’ll start treatment the first of the month, so hopefully, I will get motivated once again to blog, with actual formulated content. That is if my eyeballs don’t fall from their sockets, or an arm falls off from the side effects. I haven’t bothered looking into them, as I don’t even want to know. It’s rough when you start to do something, then your brain and body just say, “Nah, give us a moment and this feeling will pass.”

So here’s hoping for energy, brainpower, and a drive to do more things this Summer. Thank you all for being a part of my blogging world. -Ron

Almost the end of 2020. Will we make it?

I hope this post finds all of you on the recovery side of Christmas. It was a relatively quiet one for us, the kind I like where you’re not in a gathering of many people you don’t know or recognize. Too many time we celebrate Christmas, and the majority are friends of the kids, or cousins thrice removed that you only see once, when it’s time to feast.

This year, we didn’t have to follow that crowd since the mother-in-law passed (rest her soul). In the past, her side of the family who are involved in the drag-racing circuit, would host a Christmas feast, and we would have to take her. It was more of a redneck event. People getting too much Christmas spirit in a bottle. Ex-husbands bringing their new girlfriend, or whatever title everyone gave her. Who the HECK invites an ex to a family gathering, especially when they are not on good terms. Someone would feel sorry for Bubba Redneck, and invite him. One year, they had the bright idea of hosting the Christmas gathering at a local bar/lounge. We refused to go. Later we heard of the 70-year-old granny table dancing. Too much excitement for me.

Michelle and I sat and sipped hot chocolate, watched the fire in the fireplace. Earlier on Christmas Eve, we had gone to Steven’s home for some snacks. It was just 5 of us there, then two guests of Steven’s came by. Nice quiet gathering. No drunks, ex-whatevers, no cover charge!

We had the tradition of watching Lampoons “Christmas Vacation”. Everyone quoted lines along with Chevy Chase in the movie.

Here’s hoping, 2021 will be a smoother year. Bless you all, and happy blogging!