Blogging about blogging: Block editor in wordpress

WordPress, written in PHP, is the lingua franca of the blogging world.

This is a mini-review about the new block editor in WordPress. The block editor is a new feature with this full-version upgrade in the WordPress blogging environment. Block editing is thought of in such grand terms by the WordPress programmers, that they have called it Gutenberg, after the first printing press. It replaces a more conventional editor, which has not posed me a problem in the past, and thus I see this editor as an attempt to fix things that were never broken.

When I write a blog article, my subject matter takes clear precedence over the tools I use. I do not wish to spend hours learning new ways of creating articles (which were already being created with the “old” tools and posing no problem) when really I ought to be concentrating on my writing. I am sure my audience, and most audiences, don’t care about what tools I used to edit an article; they just want to do a bit of reading and browsing.

My use of the editor caused many things to break from its first use. I had lengthy articles turn into a pea soup of words and images where the structure was broken. This, apparently, is due to a broken plugin I have somewhere, or something like that, I was told by a forum moderator. I disabled some plugins, and tried to get in with the “new mindset” that this new block editor is supposed to encourage. I look on with suspicion things which cause features to break which were not previously a problem.

In this new environment, all articles are thought of in terms of entities called “blocks”. As I understand it, a paragraph, a section of text, an image and a video, can all be separate blocks. Each block can be moved about, and edited separately. This is not well-implemented, as I had encountered toolbars pushing text out of the way, changing the visual quality from the way that it would end up when you read it. Toolbars would also have buttons turn up in strange places, and sometimes, I was not given the option to edit the code to add such formatting as text color, since the button allowing it was missing. In other cases, I would get multiple toolbars (toolbars would not disappear when I left a block), some HTML code would not be properly parsed, and instead bare HTML code would be shown in visual mode. Sometimes it would correct itself after some jiggery-pokery with the mouse and some buttons on the toolbar, but overall I found it tiresome, and symptomatic of a system that has not been well thought-out.

As a result, I have done what many bloggers have done, and disabled Gutenberg and gone back to the conventional editor that was there before. This feature, however, is a plugin, rather than part of the codebase. The plugin has a simple enough name: “Disable Gutenberg”.

I have never considered other blogging platforms, since Worpdress does the job so well, but I have heard more than once that other platforms have arisen that have newfangled ways to put a blog article together, such as Medium and Ghost. This apparently caused the world’s largest blogging platform (WordPress) to fear for its dominanace, and, consequently they needed to cobble together some new tools that would make it relevant to new bloggers deciding on what platform to use. The bug in the old code is not rooted in the code itself, but in the insecurity of the coders who program the platform. To anyone who is already blogging using WordPress, this is irrelevant. We don’t care about Medium or Ghost, we only care about writing our articles. It also on principle, should be irrelevant to most of the coders, who are largely volunteers on a huge open source project, and are mostly unpaid. I believe WordPress makes their money from owners of web servers who act as host to WordPress blogging environments such as GoDaddy, and I would imagine they don’t want to lose those accounts. So the rest of us who chose WordPress are made to suffer for a conflict that does not really involve us.

If you are out of topic ideas …

People who need a quick idea or have writers block and have to write a blog article (maybe they do it for a living), would probably consult another blog where the wrter provides some slightly-inspired-but-okay ideas where you can make the most of the suggested topic, or change it into something the writer wants.

I was not aware of some websites which do one better. Some websites run a page that is nothing more than a blog topic generator. I was intrigued. Some websites generate these short lists for a fee. A free sample at one website (who will remain nameless to prevent embarrassment, since they are one of those places that charge a fee) allowed me to enter three keywords. OK. So, I went to a news tramadol 50mg buy online site, and chose three keywords that caught my eye: Brexit, flap, and death. The results were hilarious: “10 things your competitors don’t want you to know about death” was one topic that stood out in my mind. Another was: “10 Signs you should invest in death”; or what about: “8 Best blog articles about Flap”? There was one good one in 10 suggested — perhaps someone can write: “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Brexit”.

I have never been all that great a fan of blog topic suggestions by others or of blog topic generators. I tend to write when I think I have an idea. I then write and see where it takes me. Something about these generators go against the grain for me.

In Memoriam: Gene Wilder, at 83

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The much-memed image of Gene Wilder in his role as Willy Wonka in the 1971 film.

Today, it was reported that actor and meme victim Gene Wilder died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at age 83.

I’ve looked up some things about the meme from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Turns out that the image is from a scene where he reveals a little bit of his chocolate manufactouring process to some enthusiastic children. A few years ago, social media made a meme of this image, attaching condescending statements on all possible topics, in what became known as the “Creepy no fax payday loan buy tramadol Wonka” or “Condescending Wonka” meme. A “Condescending Wonka” twitter account garnered half a million followers, even though the account had little else going for it but its name.

Don’t forget however, that Wilder had appeared in some of the biggest comedy movies in the 1970s, many produced by Mel Brooks, such as Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein; and he also appeared in the Woody Allen comedy Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, but Were Afriad to Ask.

Mel Brooks, Jim Carrey, Ricky Gervais, and Russell Crowe, among others, each sent their regards within minutes of the sad news, via Twitter.

Sounding off on the end of CanCon and the CRTC

I guess with the recent decision to axe all cancon requirements for daytime programming in Canada, the CRTC is crawling toward its own irrelevance. Let’s not be naive, Canadian culture is that much more weakened without the protection it partially enjoyed from American influence. With much less Canadian culture left to protect, and with Canadian voices now playing a smaller role in Canadian media, the CRTC really has less of a job to do these days.

To be more level here, one needs to be reminded that the CRTC kept the Cancon requirements for prime time. In addition, the CRTC cites the fact that television must now compete alongside streaming video, and the world-wide web for quite possibly the same viewers who listen and view “content” from just about anywhere and everywhere.

If I watch a video on YouTube, I am usually not aware whether or not the video is Canadian content or not. Sometimes there are clues, and sometimes the video is so famous that its country of origin is unmistakeable (Gangam Style, anyone?). There is a certain amount of reality to the CRTC’s concerns. My viewing habits have made much of what the CRTC is doing to make me more part of Canadian culture, irrelevant. But then, I don’t really know for sure, because to be honest, I don’t really check whether the video is CanCon before I see it. Same for websites.

We feared the encroachment of American culture when we set up the CRTC. Back then, radio and TV were the only games in town. Now we have the Internet, and the prospect of entertainment and information being viewed on all household and personal devices. Not all of that is American. I would say most of it is. After all, the USA is the heart of Google, YouTube, Yahoo, NetFlix, and AOL. The other players are not quite so big. Also, the USA accounts for an outsized proportion of the Internet traffic in the world. While 43% of a country’s citizens on average use the Internet, in the US, it is more like 87%.

I would like to think that I get “world” culture when I go online, but I watch British, American and Canadian documentaries, and usually British or American-produced videos on YouTube regarding phenomena in science or math. My online mailing lists consist of Candians and Americans mostly. I wonder now if having a “Canadian voice” can be said to mean anything these days? It used to mean a way to air “my” concerns with “my” voice. Others living in my country would do the same thing. And in sum, it would turn out that our concerns would be distinctively different from concerns across the border. It is healthy to know our common concerns as a culture.

The CRTC needs to be reminded that we must hear ourselves or be lost in the cacophony of other voices that are not our own. That is the only way we can have more confidence sharing our dialogue with the rest of the world, taking pride in our identity.

SJ: New, improved and updated

This blog has been flaky since an incident happened which caused this blog to be relocated to another server. However, After about two solid days of work trying to fix much of its brokenness (especially the audio/video), things are pretty much all fixed. There are still problems whenever a link to a video for streaming best place to buy tramadol doesn’t work, and I need to fix those. But most of the A/V files seem to display and be heard. Other blog plugins are also being fixed and improved upon, to enhance your reading experience.

Here is a video to test the “Add Media” functions in the editor:

The questions of our ‘net denizens

From time to time one gets curious about the most popular questions on the minds of people on the ‘net.

If I enter “why” in the Google search, depending on the letter that comes after, I get, through autocomplete:

  • Why be happy when you could be normal
  • Why does Facebook suck
  • Why fighting should stay in hockey
  • Why? For the glory of Satan, of course!
  • Why girls like bad boys
  • Why hashtag
  • Why hipsters are annoying
  • Why jailbreak Apple TV
  • Why Jesus
  • Why Jimi Hendrix is the best
  • Why Justin Bieber sucks
  • Why Kakashi killed Rin
  • Why Kanye West is a Genius
  • Why Lululemon
  • Why men cheat
  • Why married men cheat
  • Why milk is bad for you
  • Why Mio is bad for you
  • Why not both
  • Why nice guys finish last
  • Why Nintendo power is ending
  • Why Nunu Why
  • Why Pepsi is better than Coke
  • Why powerful men cheat
  • Why pixar movies are all secretly about the apocalypse
  • Why stop now
  • Where is Chuck Norris
  • Where is my mind
  • Where do bad kids go
  • Where are your gibes now
  • Where is bigfoot
  • Where can I buy cards against humanity
  • Where do cool things happen
  • Where did God leave his shoes
  • Where was Justin Bieber born
  • Where does Kate Middleton shop
  • Where does Kylie Jenner shop
  • Where is my droid
  • Where was Micheal Jackson born