Techno Madness Woes – #WordPress Editor, #Facebook and Some Tips!

This is kind of a rant, but some good information for those of you who may be engaging with technical snafus yourself.

Mercury retrograde

 

I don’t know about you guys, but this Mercury Retrograde has been nothing but agro. Seems the tech gods are all over each other outdoing each other, overriding each other’s technology. And who pays for the madness, bloggers do for sure. I know about the tech snafus that have been plaguing me, and have heard the condemnations from others.

 

bitmo Tech update

 

I’ll begin with the ‘new’ Facebook layout – about hijacking my page as I knew it. And judging by the many bad reviews I’ve read along the way in my searches to ‘bring back the old Facebook’, I read lots of disgruntled complaints with others looking for their own fixes and sharing what works. About a month ago FB started their rollout of the ‘new’ and NOT improved FB. It’s stark white background. . . No, let me rephrase that – it’s blinding! Everything is moved around no headers show, and there is ‘apparently,’ an option where you can put the background in ‘dark mode’. But of course, when one day my FB screen suddenly went glaring white on me, I seeked help from a few writing friends who informed me they had the option to change the screen color. Nope, I didn’t, and after an hour of searching, I read that not everyone might get the screen option til later. Well, how about you leave my damn screen alone until you’re out of beta and forcing it on us? Just a thought. My eyes were sore after five minutes looking at the screen.

So naturally, I had to search for ‘there must be a way.’ I found a Chrome extension called Revert. I added it and presto! Old FB was back . . .until a few days ago. Then it was instant fade to white and the extension stopped working. After more searching around I found the alert Chrome had posted already saying that the extension won’t work anymore because FB has overriden the extension. But they left a hopeful message saying they were determined to come up with a fix. Waiting.

In the meantime, my gal pal Sally Cronin informed me about a little trick she’d been using to avoid the ‘white plague’. She discovered if you have a ‘group’ page on FB and you’re an admin on the page, and if you go to the page, there’s an offering to ‘go back to old layout’ for 48 hours. I’m on my 3rd – 48 hour refresher now, and Sally has been on it for weeks. We’re both hoping it keeps working until there’s a new fix.

Oh, and one more thing about FB – a notification popped up as my screen was morphing from old FB to shades of white, saying that by November 5th, FB will be taking away our titles on our ‘Pages’ – translation for authors – our author pages. So, our “Professional Skills”, will be removed from our Page. So what? Secret identities now? Lol.

 

If anyone wants to read the lowdown on all the tweaks Facebook has done, Lifehacker.com has an in-depth description with diagrams and all. 

 

Wordpress Woes

 

I’m self hosted, so I had – ‘had’ being the operative word, control over NOT changing over to WordPress Gutenberg Block editor. I added the ‘classic editor’ plugin when I heard ‘stirrings’ of losing the classic editor, so I WAS fine. But it’s like one guy’s technology must be superior to another’s again, like FB overriding Google Chrome’s ‘Revert’ extension, rendering it now useless. By keeping the classic editor, I had to find a fix for a temporary plugin to keep the other plugins playing nice until the code writer of my SEO program came up with new code to keep up with the WordPress big upgrade about a month ago. Crazy, and so much wasted writing time when you’re spending it Google searching instead.

And so yes, I’m stubbornly fighting off that new block editor, of which I have zero interest in learning. I just wish it wouldn’t keep interfering now with the way it will now no longer allow me to add line spaces. Yes. Our blogging freedoms seem challenged when we try not to conform.

I don’t have time to learn a new computer language. I’m already trying to learn proper Spanish (as opposed to the broken Spanglish I use in Mexico) using Duolingo, which I highly recommend btw, and that will be another post to come. But I digress, now, for my latesty discovery:

After the big WP update a few weeks ago, once again things weren’t working the same – mainly, my choice of line and paragraph spacing had evaporated. Lots of blogging friends have been complaining of weird shenanigans with their blogs lately. But the worst of it is putting together my Q & A interviews that won’t allow me to leave space  – and alas, I found the cure for adding my own spaces – two dots and white font!

After surfing around for fixes for hours one night, I discovered an easy fix for spaces. There were various methods offered that required code, and I’m not even going there. And finally I learned why I could no longer space my articles out the way I choose, it’s because of some glitches where the ‘new’ WP block editor is treating my writing page as though there are invisible assigned blocks. Kind of like it’s trying to bust in on my classic editor.

Say what? Enough of this crap! I took the easy fix – the one for laymen learning – hit enter at the end of a line then type in 2 periods – like this:  .. Then highlight the 2 dots and change the font to white (not purple like I’ve shown for demo purposes). Then hit enter and voila! A line space created. Want another line? Do the exact same thing. And it is for all these incidents and more that I highly recommend everyone PREVIEW your blogs before you post them. Amazing the funky things that show up NOT, like line spaces I have to fix – and of course, add lines.  Example again:  2 dots .., highlight them in white .. now they won’t show but they’ve taken up a line. Hit enter and repeat til your heart’s content.

Just Sayin'

 

And a word about word . . .

Word pisses me off. Every year they update the version and make it worse than it was the year before when it was already worse from the year before that. Microsoft, PLEASE stop changing the ribbon!

Okay, I’m done now. Thanks for listening to me rant as this mercury mania takes over my life. And I hope my findings may help someone else.

 

*I’ve added a note here to the original post. I wanted to mention to fellow bloggers that WordPress has also been hiding SOME blogs I follow regularly. First I thought, maybe a few have taken a week off, but no, they haven’t. I just popped over to the WP Reader and clicked on some of the blogs I follow but aren’t getting notified about. It seems WP has taken the liberty to ‘unfollow’ some of my favorite blogs! I’ve just re-followed. Check the reader for blogs you aren’t receiving notifications for and reset them!

 

Got a Facebook or WordPress woe you’d like to share?

 

©DGKaye

bitmo live laugh love

 

My New #Microsoft Surface Pro 3 with #Windows 10

pro 3

 

I recently got a nice gift from my hub; something I’ve been wanting for the past year – a new Microsoft Surface Pro 3, 12 inch laptop, complete with the new Windows 10 operating system.

 

I’d been wanting a smaller laptop that offered a more compact size, could be used as a tablet, and that worked with lightening speed with a great SSD hardrive, that could be great for multi-tasking. I’d say it’s like a portable desktop that weighs just under two and half pounds with the fabulous detachable Bluetooth keyboard.

These laptops don’t come cheap and I’ve been keeping my eye out on them at various stores for the past year, waiting to see if there would eventually be one on sale.  With a sticker price that I found shocking of almost $1100, and that was without the $159 keyboard cover, the $59 stylus pen, the $69 Office Word software, the $59 Bluetooth mouse, or even the 13% tax that would then get added to that large number, bringing the total to just around the $1700 mark, I find that steep. I wasn’t prepared to spend that kind of money on a laptop I wasn’t in need of, but thought it would sure come in handy for traveling or even just taking it with me in a large purse anywhere I’d like to.

I read tons of reviews from many tech and geek sites about this machine to learn about the pros and cons, and it’s been getting predominantly great press. Since I was in no hurry to buy one, I kept my eye on sales, expecting the best ones to come just before school started or perhaps Christmas.

Tech review

Recently, I’ve read a few blogs from other writers who were using an older version of Windows, from XP to 7 to 8 and 8.1, who had opted to take advantage of the time limited free upgrade to Windows 10 that kept popping up on their screen for a free download. The feedback wasn’t so positive. Apparently, changing your current operating system to a newer one had messed up a lot of files and sent many people running to their local geeks and repair shops. This scared me enough to decline the free upgrade on my not so old desk and laptop installed with 8.1, which I cursed the day I got them, but have since fallen in love with.

When I remember back to all the computers I’ve had, I was happy with all Windows operating systems I used, eventually. My first desktop had Windows XP. My first laptop had Windows 7. I wanted one while Vista came out and heard nothing but problems, so I waited it out until Windows 7 came along. When I finally had to lay my old desktop to rest, the new Windows 8 was out, and I was forced to join the ranks of many unhappy users. From the time I ordered that slim-lined desktop until 3 weeks later when it came, Windows 8.1 was already out. The word was 8.1 was way better than 8, so I installed it on my desktop. I was not a happy camper learning a very different operating system with 8.1, and I cursed that baby for weeks, in frustration of having to look all over the place to get where I needed to on the screen. Many people complained about 8 and 8.1 and the charms on the sidebar and all the tiled metro apps on the middle of the screen. But I was enjoying the touchscreen aspect of it, and after a few months I loved it and then got a new laptop with 8.1, which is my current laptop for the past year and a half. After hearing a lot of horror stories from writers who’ve upgraded to Windows 10, I didn’t even want to try it. I’m one who prefers a new system to be out for awhile before I’ll think about buying it, so I can get some feedback.

 

Yes, that's my reflection in the screen.
Yes, that’s my reflection in the screen.

 

As I kept my eye on the Surface Pro 3 and school time was approaching, my favourite home shopping network was offering a one day special on it, pre-installed with Windows 10. Although I’d have preferred to wait for the kinks to get ironed out with Windows 10 before buying a laptop with the new system, I was a little more comfortable knowing that the new operating system came already installed and that I wouldn’t have to upgrade and screw up any existing files. This beauty was on sale for just under $1100 complete, with all the added items and software I mentioned earlier as extras, plus tech support for one year, plus on a monthly payment plan with no interest. It was like Christmas for me!

Microsoft says this new system is similar to the Windows 7 that was loved by many. I find it a little like 7 and 8 combined. The desktop apps are now back in the bottom left corner where the start menu is once again. Little mini tiles will also open to the apps you use most, but your desktop and icons are all clearly visible, and of course the touchscreen capability is a great thing to have. The hybrid laptop/tablet has a full-size data  port to plug in other devices, and a space for a micro SD card to add more space, should you require it. The screen is vibrant and pages load quick. The camera is 5mp front and back, giving it the ability to take nice pictures and not distort your face for selfies and Skyping. The keyboard is backlit and even though smaller than a regular laptop, my fingers don’t feel like they’re going to hit the wrong key because of its size. I personally hate the trackpads on all laptops because I always seem to hit it while typing and it does weird things to whatever I’m working on, so the Bluetooth mouse is perfect as I shut off the trackpad and don’t have to use up a data port for the mouse.

A Word about Word

My package came with Office 2013. I can honestly say I don’t plan to write my books with this laptop, but I need the program in order to read existing documents in Word and Excel. I’ve been using Word 2007 for years and I love it. I’m used to it and not interested in the last two updated versions. Another thing about my Word 2007, an never-ending licence came with my Windows 7 laptop years ago and I’ve been using it on every new computer since, without having to renew the program annually. So when 2013 licence expires next year, I’ll be putting back my 2007 version on my little buddy.

It’s only been just over a week since I got my new hybrid. It didn’t take me more than a few hours to learn the ins and outs and most of its capabilities, and set it all up. So far, I have to say I’m quite impressed with it, even though I found myself missing 8.1 a few times with it’s search feature in the charm sidebar now gone. For some untechier people, I should think Windows 10 should be easier to operate than 8 or 8.1, especially if your coming from Windows XP or 7.  I’d have to say that buying a new computer with Windows 10 pre-installed would be less of a hassle to users than upgrading a current system, especially if it’s an operating system pre Windows 8. And if you’re not in the market to be buying a new machine in the near future, maybe it’s better to wait until this new system has been out for awhile before upgrading. Keep in mind, Windows 8.1 came out very shortly after 8, so there may be a 10.1 before we know it.

I’m no geek, but I thought I’d share my experience about the new Windows 10 and the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Have any of you had any positive experiences with Windows 10?