M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, April 01, 2003  

The Joke’s on Me

I’ve been spending the last few weeks trying to figure out what I was going to do in the way of an April Fool’s-related entry today, but sadly I am stumped. Everything I was able to come up with seemed either so obvious or cliched it didn’t seem worth the trouble. Plus I generally update late in the afternoon, which means that around half of the people who read what is ostensibly my April First entry will be reading it on April Second, and playing an April Fool’s joke on April Second is something I consider punishable by death. So that’s out.

Fortunately, the universe is taking care of the whole April Fool thing for me.

Astute readers who checked in last night between 10:30 and 11:30 Central Time may have noticed something a little unusual about Velcrometer. Namely, it was yellow. I’ve got nothing against other bloggers who want their blogs to be yellow, but if I were one of those bloggers, I’d have had the yellow in place already.

Here’s what I think happened: I was tweaking my Blogger template—updating some links and so forth. One of those new links was to a site whose name I won’t mention. Basically it’s a loose network of sites. Its members have a little icon somewhere on their pages, and when visitors click on them it links to another randomly selected site from that network. Once in a while that site is mine. I’ve been feeling kind of guilty because I’m a member of said network, but I don’t have that icon, which means I sometimes get traffic that I haven’t earned, even in the sense of having posted an dinky little icon in my blog.

If my theory is correct, the karmic books are balanced now.

Like I said before, I was making a few minor changes to my Blogger template, including adding that little network icon in my Links section. And then the bottom dropped out of my world.

The first time I tried it, my entire page—links, template, text, and all—was replaced with what looked like an FTP log. I had no idea whatsoever how to fix it. For me, FTP is all but synonymous with WTF. For a while, Blogger acted as if I didn’t have a template at all. Then, when I tried to republish, I started getting random other people’s templates masquerading (badly) as mine. It was if the randomizing function had gotten free of its cage and now, instead of merely linking to different sites, it was dressing up my blog in their clothing. This, I didn’t need. I have enough trouble running this site without some rogue scrap of JavaScript hurling a lump of dadaism into the mix. For all I knew, the randomizing might go even further and suddenly drop me in front of a Commodore Vic 20, or into Uzbekistan. And if that stupid randomizing feature turned me into Salam Pax, there would not be words to describe my customer dissatisfaction.

Eventually, after a dozen or so attempts, the thing came back around to display my template, although it was displaying an earlier form of it. Apparently it wasn’t enough to screw with my design, such as it is; I also needed a little uncontrolled time travel to contend with. I cycled through a few more times, stitching my little online corner of the space-time continuum back together as best I could. With my skills, it was like trying to repair a silk shirt using a staple gun. Now you see that little “Done, but with errors on page” message at the bottom. And my archives have disappeared and continue to resist every one of my efforts to republish them.

Fix it? How? If I had the first clue about web design or HTML coding (and also if I weren’t incredibly cheap), I wouldn’t be using Blogger in the first place. I’d have my own domain name.

Ah, but what about The Velcro Company shutting down my attempts to register Velcrometer.com? Why would they let me do that now? Well, that’s actually kind of moot at this point. When they put the kibosh on my domain name, they didn’t know that Velcrometer already existed in its current form. And I didn’t tell them. But now they’re onto me; a Google search reveals that I wasn’t as low profile as I thought. So now I have to stop posting under the Velcrometer banner altogether by the end of the week. Plus they’re claiming that everything posted under the name Velcrometer is their intellectual property and they’re not required to compensate me for what essentially was “work for hire.” I think I can fight that part of it, but not with my archives in limbo. Corporate bastards with their highly paid legal departments. Now I’m going to have to start over, with a new name. I’m leaning towards wackyfuntimes.com. What do you think?

Okay, so maybe I just pulled a teeny April Fool there. Just the last paragraph, though, I swear. If anyone knows how I can get my archives back, let me know, yeah?

posted by M. Giant 3:12 PM 0 comments


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