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.

Busy Weekend but I love it.

Very seldom do the Birthdays get as busy and fun as this year’s. Father’s Day and my Birthday all rolled into one. To add to it, Yesterday which was Michelle and my 18th wedding anniversary, our Son (Austin) and his wife held a cookout and announced the sex of the baby. It will be a girl! We had about 20 in attendance at his house and some good eats.

birthday baby
Photo is my own


The picture isn’t the best as it was taken on my Droid Phone and uploaded to the Forum domain so I kept it at a lower resolution for easier loading. Now for today it will be my 61st Birthday (wow I know!) and Father’s Day all in one. Marissa is supposed to come over and has something for me she says. No matter how many times you say “Don’t get me anything”, they don’t listen, even after they have grown and move away.

What more could I ask for? Not much, it’s a great weekend.

Careful what you wish for…

The age old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” We have been wishing for rain for weeks. So hot and dry days on end. Well Wednesday late afternoon it clouds up and the wind blows hard. The rain comes down in torrents for about 2 hours. The first hour saw 1.61 inches in just 30 mins and then it eased off and the wind died down.

We turned in for the night around 10pm. At 12:30am we were jolted out of bed from a horrendous crash right outside the bedroom. A large Mimosa tree, that had apparently been growing at a 45 degree angle for years, gave up the fight against gravity and came crashing down partially on the 12X20 shop next to the house.

The impact punched a 2 foot hole in the roof but did not crush the shop.Talk about lucky! The landlord was great, getting out here by 9am and cleaning up the tree and repairing the roof.

Tree resting on shop. Photo is my own

Always something I suppose

Well, this is just about life in general today. Made plans to go get groceries tonight. Went out and the wife and I got ready to leave and the battery is so dead in the Durango, that the dash lights would not even come on. It’s been acting like it won’t keep a charge for the last 2 months.

I checked for a drain and can find none in the electrical part so maybe just a cell going out. I guess tonight it just decided to die on off. Better here in the driveway than in the parking lot somewhere. One of the kids are gone to get another battery for me. Nothing like $100+ out of the ole budget at the start of a new month.

The Durango has been a beauty though, bought in 2001 and only put 1 AC pump on it (got it from a parts yard free), one speed sensor ($25), heater fan and heater core ($200) while I had it open, replaced the computer once ($230),  and replaced a bypass hose on the engine ($20), Had the A-frame bushings replaced by an uncle mechanic ($450

Still, for 249,000 miles she has been faithful. The clear coat is finally peeling off in places and that makes it sad since the metallic red used to really catch the eye in her first days. I guess all good things have to have their time to end, and it will be a truly sad day when we trade or park the old girl for the last time. Until then… we keep on truckin’