WordPress Learning Curve

O.K. O.K. I haven’t posted for a while. I haven’t lost interest in health care reform, health care issues, or regulation of health care by experts who don’t seem to have spent much time in the trenches, but I gotta tell ya, I haven’t found WordPress to be nearly as user friendly as it’s cracked up to be. This from someone who has spent a bit of time testing the usability of technical documentation.

So I went about as far as I could on instinct with WordPress, but I realized if I was going to take advantage of all of the marvelous features of WordPress, I was going to have to take a bit of a sabbatical while I read the directions, aka, WordPress 24-Hour Trainer. Must have been successful because it is now in it’s 3rd edition.

I bought an Apple in 1982 when floppy disks were the norm and 256K of memory was considered honking good.  I have always been an Apple fan because I am not a nerd and don’t want to have to know much about what’s under the hood of what I drive.  I’ve been through my Apple [ ], (I skipped the Lisa) Apple IIcx, my Apple IIsi, my Quadra 750, my blueberry apple, my two notebooks (one mysteriously disappeared somewhere never to be seen again) , and my two laptops, my iMac half melon, which I still use for my trusty OS 9.2 applications. And of course, my current iMac all-in-one.

I have happily written, designed, and done the layout for professionally published books on my aged Apples.  In the days when I could change the battery in my own machine.  That was really the only maintenance apples required.

And yes, I have an iPad and I hate it.  Doesn’t act like an Apple.  And yes, I have finally gotten an iPhone, and I still can’t get my email to work on it.  It’s as hateful as the iPad.

The problem is that Apple anything is becoming so complex I cannot even change my own computer battery any more, much less find the files in the system folder to delete annoying reminder messages. And the operating systems are becoming increasingly intolerant of older Apples.  It’s a shame. I used my Apple Laserwriter Select 360 until I could no longer get the ink cartridges refilled, although I had to connect it to my network with Appletalk via a converter.

My first laptop would still recognize my Apple half-melon.  My second one will not.  The operating system is too new.  In fact, I actually updated the operating system on my first laptop, only to find that the update nixed out recognition of my Apple half-melon.  So I had to reinstall the original operating system.

I don’t like frequent updates.  I like things to work like they always have, and updates to software almost always do not.

Yes, I am getting to the point.  WordPress is certainly a much better program than it was eight years ago when I gave it a spin and abandonned the effort.  But it is still not software that is easy to use if you don’t like looking at code. And hey, in the latter days of the previous century, I did manually code my own web pages.  But like Apples, the common-person HTML beginnings have been upgraded beyond anything that a non-programmer would care to deal with.

So that leaves me having to deal with WordPress, which as user-friendly as it is, doesn’t have that early Apple cachet.  Yes, all these innovations to Apples, HTML, and WordPress have enabled users to do truly remarkable things with their blogs and web sites.  But what have we lost in this rush to add features? Accessibility.  Something that health care reformers have been touting as the new health care.  But the parallels with the rise of computer technology that the average person can master is writ large.

George Plumley’s WordPress 24-Hour Trainer is actually a well-written book, organized in a reasonable way for the beginner, In truth, I would recommend this to anyone who doesn’t find WordPress as user friendly as it’s cracked up to be.  My only complaint is that Plumley has a very tiresome habit of repeatedly telling me what a great program WordPress is. It may BE a great program, and there is a remarkable community of technical people growing and supporting it, but if you buy this book because you are frustrated with not being able to get WordPress to do what you want it to, you really don’t want to hear the mantra “great program.”

So, that said, I am trying to deal with WordPress and finding it about as use friendly as my miserable iPad. Actually, there are a few parallels here with health care reform.  In health care reform, everyone is talking about patient-centered care, communication between practitioners and patients, but the reality is this new new health care paradigm is about as user friendly as the newer Apples.  Which is to say, not very.

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