Sunday
Jul182010

« Digital Hell »

Oh. I have a love-hate relationship with Wordpress. Every once in a while when it comes time to upgrade the thing, I get into stuff that is pretty over my head. Add to that that I am creating a new site for Jubilee Economics Ministries, getting their podcast programs going (four episodes in the can now—subscribe in iTunes here), and it has drawn me back to a digital environment that I enjoy only to the extent that I can get something done. And when one is in database hell, it actually gets a bit scary. I've never really proven too good at backing things up, and I do get in a panic when it comes time to do such work. Somehow, I've kept Wordpress working for me since early 2006 or so when I dove into it. I just upgraded this week to version 3, and while doing so, I also took advantage to move its location within my server, so that it functions as the site's root. (The address now really IS http://tapkae.com and not /blog with a clumsy redirect.) Anyhow, WP is sensitive to this stuff and I am bound to blow it sometimes and have to call for help. This time around my server company has not been as helpful so the site took a half week vacation.

Anyhow, all this new work is being joined by other projects: some web work for James Howard Kunstler (home page is based on an earlier version I did, but he kept the graphic banner) and his new book The Witch of Hebron. (I also did the front page for his last book, World Made By Hand. This book is a sequel.) The Jubilee Economics site is planned to be another WP site, and I am looking forward to getting them a far snappier site both for visual sake, but for function's sake mainly. They really deserve some good presence on the web, and WP is the way to get their stuff presented. I am digging on WP3 as an easy-to-configure thing, making menus a lot easier, and other bits that I have fought with have become a lot more bearable, or even easy. But I have to make up for a fading interest in web design in the last few years. I sort of let the social media thing pass me by, in part because of a genuine interest in easing away from digital friendships in favor of in-person relationship, but also that my machine has been aging all along and slowly but surely, various things that make web use fun and interactive have slowly decayed. Last year it was Yahoo Instant Messenger, MySpace and YouTube that all began to be glitchy and then completely unsupported. Other bits like embedded movies and stuff that plays on the latest version of Flash players or even Quicktime players just don't show up. It drove me nuts to go to the Apple site and find that even THEIR media player was not supported on THEIR machines, old as mine is. Damn, Apple, if you want to sell people on your new stuff, shouldn't you make your video ads and tutorials playable on old machines so those of us who are using ancient tech? Sure, I have a 2003 model that does plenty of stuff pretty well, but the web is a place of abandonment for me! So I have been looking at new stuff.

And then after the business of scanning the new Apple output for the last year or so, sometimes checking in on a shop like Crywolf, and then more hand-wringing as I weigh how much digital life I want to lead, I finally threw down for a refurb iMac 27" last week and am eagerly awaiting the thing upon my doorstep. Of course this means more hunting for programs (some at great expense, others nice and cheap), and if I hope to do audio, then I will need a new Firewire based audio interface, at least enough to do the two-track podcast recordings, and perhaps a version of Logic to be the main audio program. But, I guess that having my old computer for six years is a long time to stretch it. I've had the means to buy for a while, but last year was the year of the bikes. Right now I'm wondering how much use this present machine will get. For a while, it sort of has to do what it does for me as a recorder and editor in Pro Tools and Peak; Photoshop editing; Dreamweaver and web work; direct disk-to-disk copying on two drives. But so many other things are ripe for updating. Kelli's machine actually died earlier in the spring, so she might get more time to use this for her fairly light demands, and that might stall her getting a laptop. We shall see.

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