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Friday, November 14, 2014

31 Flavors or Plug and Pray

If you have ever worked computer IT, tech support, or were just generally alive at any point throughout the 1990s, you know the phrase, "Plug and Pray." It's a spoof of the Windows' "Plug and Play" model of excellence it introduced with Windows 98. The promise was that all you had to do was plug-in a device and start playing with it - Win98 would intuitively determine the hardware and install the appropriate software and drivers it needed to work properly and, if they weren't on your machine, it would search the Internet and find them there - the reality is that it worked roughly 18.3% of the time. When it did work, I assume your evening was spent "playing;" when it did not work, your evening was spent sifting through dozens, if not hundreds, of support forums; downloading, installing, then usually uninstalling drivers and software; reading release notes; on and on.

Yesterday, I published an innocuous post about World of Warcraft. If you have some way of knowing, you'll see that I republished that post no fewer than about a dozen times. I did this because the paragraph formatting kept getting screwed for no discernible reason; literally every time I changed one paragraph, two more would somehow be negatively impacted, so I'd go back in and fix them only to publish it and find another paragraph had changed - ad nauseam. If you look at it right now, you will notice paragraphs with two and three spaces between them and others with nothing but an HTML tag.

This is the problem I have been fighting for months now between my Win8.x laptop and my Win7 desktop: Some things work on one but not the other, none of them work together, and none of them work as stated. Thus, I can only check my e-mail on one computer and can only design webpages on the other but, once published, I have to switch back to the computer on which I can't design pages to see how they look because that's the only one that views webpages properly...

Yesterday, I broke an online feed aggregator. No idea how I broke it, no idea when I broke it, I only know that it worked for a while until it no longer did and now it doesn't work at all.
To all those involved in designing, maintaining, and running that site... I'm sorry. I searched all over for a cookie with its name but, finding none, I now have to completely clear my cookies and cache, deleting all my settings for all the sites I use. That should take about an hour, maybe two, then I can start on resetting everything which should be another hour or two, and only then will I be able to determine whether or not it "fixed" the site I "broke."

So, if all this troubleshooting works, fantastic! I'll still have at least an hour or two into which I can try to squeeze an entire day's work. If it doesn't, then not only have I lost an entire day's work, I'm absolutely no closer to accomplishing whatever it was I set out to do in the first place, so I have to start all over from the beginning!

I am honestly considering a fresh install on both at this point. First, of course, I'll have to backup the data that's on them, so that should only take a week or more...

Copyright 2014, The Cyberculturalist

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