Wednesday, November 02, 2011

On blogging

My first attempt at blogging in over a year did not go as smoothly as I would have liked. After finishing up my piece on getting back to blogging, I in turn spent an hour trying to format the post to conform to other older posts. It seems that since May of 2010, blogging technology has changed. Now blogger has a spiffier, modern dashboard with tracking (so long, sitemeter) and a simpler FCK Editor for posting content. Gone however, is my standard font, Lucida Grande. Plus I ran into a lot of trouble pasting in text from Word or Google docs into the post editor. Despite the template asserting that all text should be white, the post I put up last night appeared in black -- very hard to read against a dark gray background.  Subsequent attempts at posting the same content wrecked the template even further. After about two dozen attempts, I got the post formatted appropriately a little after midnight. It used to be so easy.

I am considering updating NOMENCLATURE’s template to something newer, to facilitate posting. I always liked the old custom template, but seems as though Google has moved beyond this format, and is not offering much support for the old dashboard or Lucida Grande. This makes me sad, but at the same time, I realize that I have spent the last two to three years trying to drop anchor against the on-raging current of progress. My involvement in social media is pretty much non-existent. Though I possess a Twitter and Facebook profile, I rarely make even a ripple on those networks. My favorite social media outlet, blogging, is now an antiquated platform suited for folks stuck in 2006. Am I stuck in 2006?

As technology advances, I find myself becoming a warped, frustrated old man, clutching my clamshell cellular phone, snapping measly 1.4 MP pics and being able to send them absolutely nowhere, tapping out T9 text messages to folks who are expecting FaceTime(TM). As I sit with five people at dinner and look around to find each one separately on their smart phones, I make a snide comment about not embracing the newest form of communication. I do not post my location; I do not network; I am not the mayor of any place. I wear this like a badge of honor. Am I a retro snob? When will clamshell cell phones be considered retro? Is listening to the Counting Crows August and Everything After on a CD Walkman retro?  Are minidiscs back in yet?

I used to be into new stuff, up to day on consumer electronics. In college, I wrote articles for the Daily Kent Stater about how I wanted an iPod for Christmas. I am not proud of that article. It had no staying power. People called me out on it after I wrote it, as they should have. I got the iPod Classic for Christmas that year, but back then it was just called the iPod. It was not yet retro. People would say, “At least you got your iPod,” or “Hey, the article worked, you got an iPod.” This embarrassed me.

Back then, a friend of mine, J.B. Dean, approached me about another article I had written, this one about a Megabus trip to Chicago (“Chicago on a Dollar”... look it up). He took me to task for name dropping the iPod in the article. On the sidebar, there was a photo of me made to look as if it was taken with a Polaroid. Scrawled on the border of the photo, in a script font as if I had written it: “Listening to Jets to Brazil’s Perfecting Lonliness on my iPod.” J.B. did not like the mention of iPod. Rightfully so, for it did not add to article. It was merely a product plug. I shrugged off the critique by saying that my editor was responsible for the artwork. But it sparked a conversation about materialism, about how much that little $300 hard drive that plays music meant to me. How much it means to all of us. J.B. asked if I planned to buy each iteration of the iPod as it emerged all down the line until the bitter end. Shortsightedly, I said that I intended to have enough money to afford the new ones when they came out. He laughed and shook his head, for I had reaffirmed his assertion that society at large feeds into the cyclical machine spitting out new peripherals.

Ironically, that iPod was stolen months later from a coffee shop in Kent, while I was out of work and flat broke. Being a recent college grad then, a new one would not be in the cards for quite a while. Once I found that elusive well paying job as a corporate news release editor, one of my first major purchases was of a new iPod. It looked roughly the same but had more bells and whistles, a slimmer profile and much more memory. I still have the thing to this day but do not listen to it much anymore. I have not upgraded to the iPod touch or the iPhone. “My phone still works,” I say to my wife when she asks if will buy an iPhone. I hold out my scuffed and tarnished cell phone as if it is a battle scar, an unsightly thing but something I am stubbornly proud of. One day the phone will cease to be practical. It will either break or the wireless company will stop supporting it. At what point do I stop waiting for the other shoe to drop?

This is why I have decided to update NOMENCLATURE’s template. Google is phasing out support for this model. If this blog breaks, I am out of luck. I need to be more proactive and engaged towards technological progress. Will I rush out tomorrow for a smartphone? Not likely, but I will think about it some more.

Stay tuned for a new to this blog, coming in the next couple of days.

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