The falling leaves, and other parts

Alexander Hamilton was the most significant immigrant in early US history.

maple treeYou can blame Jaquandor for much of this post. A bit ago, he linked to this lovely poem about an old maple tree coming down.

I don’t think I pay attention to the trees, or nature generally, enough. A few months ago, a huge branch fell from our tree, a maple as it turns out, in the farthest part of the back yard. The massive branch, too heavy for me to move, barely missed the shed, but it turned into an accordion our compost container.

Just recently, the branches have been removed, and the tree is now clipped, but still massive. The last time said the tree was trimmed, we were told it may need to come down altogether in a few years if the clipping doesn’t help it regenerate. That’d be too bad, for it provides great shade.

Meanwhile, nearer to the house, an oak tree has sprung up. It wasn’t even there when we moved in in 2000, and we didn’t plant it, but it is thriving nonetheless.
***
Also, Jaquandor did one of his random Wednesday Conversation starter questions. To wit:

“Should we get rid of the dollar bill in favor of a coin?
“And what changes would you make to US currency in general?”

Yes to the dollar coin (which Americans seem to have rejected). This still bugs me. The US Mint continues to make the Presidential dollar coins, four each year. 2015 brings Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson, which I’ll buy in November from a vendor at thrice face value because they are no longer distributed to the banks.

Take Jackson off the $20 bill and put Harriet Tubman on it.

Leave the damn $10 bill alone; Alexander Hamilton was the most significant immigrant in early US history, he was a founding father, I attend what was his church (albeit a different building), AND they’ve made a cool, hip hop Broadway musical about him. (The junior senator from our state agrees about Hamilton and the $10.)

Someone else suggested getting rid of the penny, which cost way more than its face value to mint; I’d be good with that as well. Canada has one dollar and two-dollar coins, as well as no more pennies, which pretty much ensures that the United States will maintain the status quo.
***
When I visit Blogger blogs to make comments, usually for ABC Wednesday, I HATE the setting by which one has to verify one is not a robot by picking all the steaks, or salads, or whatever. The pics are small enough that it is really a hassle.

And it’s worse when the instructions are in, e.g., French. I had to pick out the “boisson”, which, oddly, I remembered from high school French as some sort of drink, but still.

I also hate the ones that ask me to do a math problem, and the word numbers are in, German. I guessed it was four plus two, but it’s likewise a pain.

Blogger fix: making Arthur happy

No more reliving my typos and grammatical sins immortalised in filenames!”

bloggericonArthur posted an item one day last month on his AmeriNZ blog, which is on Blogspot/Blogger. Unfortunately, there was a typo in the title, a mistake he (and I) know intellectually (too/to), but sometimes the fingers aren’t so smart.

Someone pointed out the error, and while he, like I, appreciated the correction, I think it was very irritating to him. He replied: “Grrrrr. Fixed now, but it will forever remain in the file name and that fact will always annoy me. Of course.”

I don’t know exactly how he stores his files, but I did learn something a while back by trial and error. “Actually, I do believe you can change the file name by reverting the post to draft, then reposting,” I wrote.

This seemed to make him happy. “It worked!! OMG, OMG, OMG—no more reliving my typos and grammatical sins immortalised in file names. Where’s the “extra like” button on FB? Thanks! Now, could you fix our weather, too, please?”

Heck, if I could fix his Kiwi weather, I’d fix ours first.

Incidentally, since now that my main blog is in WordPress and my Times Union blog always has been, you might think this would not be an issue for me, but since my blogs for NY SBDC (work), the NYS data center (we are affiliates) and the Friends of the Albany Public Library (I’m president of the board) are all on Blogspot, I still operate with that service as well.

Since I’m in a techno-blogging mood, I want to suggest that when people get a URL they want to link to, either in a blog or especially an e-mail, they should look for ways to shorten it. I get Daily Kos in my Bloglovin feed, and a cartoon I looked at had a URL of http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/12/16/1352285/-Cartoon-Bush-reflux?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dailykos %2Findex+%28Daily+Kos%29.

The ways to shorten the URL are usually after a question mark (?) or hashtag (#) or ampersand (&). So if I delete everything in the above URL from the ? to the end, I get http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/12/16/1352285/-Cartoon-Bush-reflux, which links equally well.

I am reminded of something Eleanor Roosevelt said about wanting to feel useful. Now and then, I do.

Meta: the case of my missing blog

What was MUCH more upsetting was what would not be retrievable: about 170 items in some form of draft, including at least a couple dozen blog posts that were complete, but unpublished.

RogerDuckWhen I went to the dentist to get a cavity filled back on the morning of Wednesday, April 16, I knew I’d feel pretty crappy afterward, so I took off the whole day. That afternoon, I tried to get rid of an alarming amount of spam – 770 and growing every minute – caught in the Akismet, fortunately. Eventually, though, I couldn’t access my blog at all.

I had suffered an outage earlier in the month; the vendor said it was 18 minutes, but I believe it was longer. The NEW problem, though, was for what turned out to be 15 +/-2 hours. I knew at least a few people noticed that my ABC Wednesday link was not working.

This got me thinking: what if the server never came back up? I wasn’t particularly bothered by the loss of the items I had posted over the last nine years.

The first five years still exist at my old Blogger blog. My current blog exists on the Wayback machine, at least through February 8, 2014. Some of my recent blog posts I posted again on my Times Union blog. There would be loss, but it would be minimal.

What was MUCH more upsetting was what would not be retrievable: about 170 items in some form of draft, including at least a couple dozen blog posts that were complete, but unpublished. THOSE I could NOT get back.

This prompted me to restart my shadow blog at rogerowengreen.wordpress.com. I’d initiated it after I decided to give up my Blogger blog, but it wasn’t as pretty as I thought it’d be. Frankly, I didn’t think I could copy from a WordPress blog to another WP blog, or maybe that wasn’t an option five years ago. I figured out how to copy my entire rogerogreen.com blog to my rogerowengreen WP blog, despite the size maximum for such a transfer having been exceeded. Yay, me!

Now I compose in rogerowengreen WP and then copy it to my main rogerogreen blog. This is a bit of an annoyance, especially when I have to make corrections, but it isn’t as much a pain as trying to recreate a few dozen posts from scratch.

This also addresses the issue of what will happen to my blog when I die. As long as WordPress is allowing for free blogs, I guess it’ll reside there for whatever time we have before the electrical grid goes kablooey.

One last thing: I’m still generating a ton of spam in Akismet, several hundred every day. I used to look at the items in my spam folder when it was a dozen or two daily, but now it’s onerous. So if your comment didn’t make it to my blog – and it’s been years since I’ve blocked one – it probably got caught up in the electronic junkyard.

Blog site down; I’m so annoyed

What happens to the blog when I die?

For some reason, the company that has provided service for this blog since May 2, 2010, stopped working on July 10, 2013, at 11 a.m., EDT. I went to the web guy’s website and found it (and his wife’s site) was also down. I have had pretty good luck with the company to date; I never was offline more than 10 minutes in the past.

What’s bugging me, though, is not just that the site was offline for over six hours, but the fact that I had not set up a current backup system. Oh, the first five years of this blog are available at my old Blogger blog site. And I DID create an echo site, rogerowengreen.wordpress.com four years ago; I just never actually followed up on this.

The service being down has prompted me to finally post there as a backup site going forward, and, as time permits, back four years to May 2, 2010.

This actually also addresses another issue I’ve thought about, which I may have mentioned here: what happens to the blog when I die? Assuming – a big assumption – that WordPress will continue to provide a free blog service AND that they don’t start deleting blogs that have become defunct, then the backup site will be my blog beyond the grave. Or something like that.
***
Sad that Cory Monteith, 31, of the TV show Glee died from an overdose of heroin and alcohol. His character Finn Hudson will have to die as well, but will it be in some noble fashion, when the show starts shooting later this month? Or will they let Finn’s death be an object lesson to the fans?

Technologically impaired

Blogspot I’ve used so long that I have actually figured out some of its idiosyncrasies.

I have a love/hate relationship with techies. In my experience, 60% of them are condescending twits who seem to relish making people feel as though they are idiots. Worse, about half of them, I’m convinced, don’t even know what they are talking about.

Then there are the good guys. One in my office helped me discover that the podcasts I had played were eating memory on my hard drive. He showed me where it was stored, and better, how to empty my recycle bin.

I don’t think of myself as particularly adept at technological stuff. The highlight of last year, from a pure techie viewpoint, when I was able to solve Ken Levine’s problem with Blogspot; see the comments.

Blogspot I’ve used so long that I have actually figured out some of its idiosyncrasies. For instance, when you get comment captcha letters and numbers that are unreadable, you can click on that circle near the box and get another set of letters and numbers. Often, letters too close together – I cannot tell the difference between mn and nm, e.g.

One of the ABC Wednesday team has noted difficulties going to some sites. I’ve noticed that I have much better luck visiting Blogspot blogs using Firefox or Google Plus, rather than Internet Explorer.

Facebook continues to confound me. One day, I got one of those notices of places I’ve supposedly been to recently. Two of them were in places in Illinois, in 2010 (that’s “recent”?) that I’ve never been; the last time I’ve been in Illinois in 2008.

I complained, on Facebook, about Facebook asking me how I was “feeling,” as though it really cared. Someone responded how wonderful FB was to keep in touch with others. That wasn’t what I was addressing; I was talking about that faux concern for my well-being.
***
A few tips for the clearly incompetent non-profits using social media.

There is a clash in WordPress 3.5, where the page-tag will affect the scheduled post results. So that YouTube video or similar item you’ll need to publish in real-time, rather than a schedule.

There was a story about a female child pornography suspect. The story didn’t make me laugh, but a comment string did.
Commenter: This seems a bit… not BoingBoing.
BoingBoing: I’ll let you know when we decide to take editorial direction from random guys on the internet.

Another online encounter that tickled me, also based on tragedy. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote about the death of a photographer killed in a vehicular accident while trying to stalk singer Justin Bieber. Ebert, surprisingly, referred to the young man as a paparazzi; I was the first of a few people who noted that paparazzi is actually the plural of paparazzo. Another commenter wrote: “Mr. Green, Poparazzi is gourmet popcorn popular in Texas. Would it then be grammatically correct to call a single kernel of their popped corn a poparazzo?”