Waiting for a flight at Hamburg airport early last week I sat down at an internet terminal and was about to drop a coin in before the nice man sitting next to me said, “take mine, I have to go and there are about 25 minutes left on it.”
I thanked him warmly and sat down in his place, immediately typing lettershometoyou into Google to see if I could find Adsense ads on my blog. You’ve probably heard that they’re out there, lurking on every wordpress.com blog. It’s the price you pay for free hosting, and no amount of whining is going to get wordpress to take them off short of your paying them to do so.
Problem is, if you’re logged in to wordpress.com you never get to see them.
So every once in a while I slip into the skin of Joe Regular Blog Lurker to try to find out how Google is making an even greater mess of my blog. Do they stick ads for jock itch powder next to posts about my mother-in-law? Blurbs for psychiatrists next to write-ups about psychos? Tart up my skiing posts with pitches for helmets and handbaskets and other crap I have no use for?
The list of hits Google chucked up had me scrambling for my camera. Not for what they said, but for the public terminal’s net-nanny warning label:
At first I thought they were referring to my blog. After all, even if there are no trojans waiting to ambush the unsuspecting visitor, there is a ton of stuff here people might find harmful. Fake news, accounts of deception and outright lies, denunciations of crap, transcripts of discussions with an underage female child concerning condoms, naked girls in newspapers, death and more death. I don’t know why I haven’t already been hauled before a judge as a menace to society.
Then I realised the warning was all about WordPress.com. How could it not be? The link is to wordpress, not lettershometoyou, which only appears in the description.
Maybe it was just a forewarning, because a few days later I and millions of other unsuspecting WordPress.com bloggers logged on to find our blogging universe turned inside out without so much as a ‘”hey guys, guess what? Big changes coming up tomorrow at 4pm Pacific Daylight Saving Time.”
Did someone at WP central hit publish instead of save by mistake before turning out the lights for the weekend?
I’m sure after a few months this will all die down and we’ll wonder what all the fuss was about, but in the meantime wordpress.com probably is harmful to your computer. Judging by the number of pissed-off entries on the forums, I’m surprised there hasn’t been a youtube video posted of someone throwing a laptop out the window frisbee-style in frustration. I don’t care what it looks like, merely uploading an image, for example, has become a mind-numbing chore, a multi-stepped process where once a couple of clicks sufficed.
This in an upgrade? Sure the savvy bloggers using wp.org had a go at it for a while, but given the huge drop in skill level between those bloggers and duffers like me using wp.com, didn’t they think to test it on a few hundred of us wp.com users who’d never seen it before? They could have run a little sneak-preview contest, choosing a hundred or so bloggers to run it through it paces for a month just to iron the kinks out.
Hell, maybe they did test it out on no-brain bloggers like me, I don’t know, but the way it was released reminds me of the time I bought a new desktop from Dell a few years back. The monitor was a new flat-screen model from the Korean firm LG, back when flat screen meant the surface was flat. The rest looked like an old-style monitor.
Anyway, the first one they sent didn’t work, so I sent it back.
The second one arrived three days later. It didn’t work properly either, so I sent it back, too.
The third one arrived a few days after that, and it didn’t work either.
So I phoned up Dell to complain – not for the first time – and asked them why they couldn’t ship me a monitor that worked. Their response? We can’t test the monitors as they come in, we just ship them along.
Fair enough, I said, but can’t they at least have someone switch it on at the factory? Twist a knob? Tweak a button?
Nööö, too expensive. It’s cheaper to ship them halfway around the world and have the consumer do the testing.
© 2008 lettershometoyou