All content on this blog from Tim McGhee has moved to the Tim McGhee Substack, and soon, Lord willing, will be found only on that Substack.

Friday, September 18, 2020

More online dominoes could fall

The world is not ready for an IPv6-only environment. My employer confirmed as much today.

So, I signed up for Xfinity. Comcast is notorious for making it difficult for people to leave. Even after they leave, and your account is no longer active, it still lingers in their system. You can't just “sign up for new service,” because you're not entirely new. Their phone system gets particularly confused by inactive customers. Eventually you hit 0 repeatedly and wait for it to say, “Let me get someone to help you,” which is what you wanted in the first place.

You're new enough to get new customer pricing, but then once you sign back up, any contact information you had on your old account is held hostage until you call to get it released. Such calls seem to defeat the point of having online promotions for people to sign up online.

I got a first-hand view of how the algorithms play with the deals, too. The current promotion that's somewhat stable is 200 mbps for $39.99 a month. 300 mbps had some wild swings. Early in the process it was offered for the same price as 200 mbps. Refresh the page, and the price went up. Refresh again, and a 1-year contract was required for that speed.

I could get by with a 5 mbps plan. I'm not streaming or gaming. Even online group video meetings don't necessarily need a massive pipe to be functional.

This is really just a holdover until T-Mobile finds a way to let me use its network my existing Sprint plan(s).

Then there's Blogger. While Google has been rattling the sabers since July about the new Blogger, it didn't become the only option for me until today. I have several blogs, and now two of them have only the new editing user interface.

I'm glad I got a lot of things done on one link-heavy blog before the change took effect. I put together a short post about a vote yesterday, and it was a tedious experience. I did, however, begin to understand more of the thinking behind the changes.

As they said when they originally offered the option to test the new site, they were to trying to make it more mobile-friendly. What that really means is less mouse and more touch. While more clicks are a pain and counter-productive, more taps are less of a big deal if you're using a touch screen. Our fingers move on a touch screen with less precision and more speed than a mouse.

With the new Blogger, adding links is almost as simple as the old Blogger if you switch to using a touch screen after you paste in the URL. Helpful to know. It's still lacks a lot of the flexibility the old interface had for how one uses the keyboard for anything beyond just the text itself.

The HTML editor is still very yuck. If you compose in the rich text window, the HTML is an unwieldy single line of code. Sure, it's colorful, but it's no help at all for editing. Even basic things like finding the place where you want to add the jump code are much harder to do. I can empathize with those who feel like if they're already on the edge about blogging anyway, this could push them away altogether.

I still have just under 200 days of writing to go on my original commitment. I'm still contemplating taking the rest of it elsewhere. We'll see.

While I get that the world of technology is becoming increasingly mobile, writing is still just that: writing. Unless one is using the dictation feature, it's still something one does with his hands, even if it's on a keyboard. The new Blogger interface has forgotten that. It's still hard to see how these “improvements” are being implemented by someone who actually uses Blogger to write and manage what they've written.

It would be nice to have some stability in things right now, but it seems everyone has spent the summer working on new ways to better work their product for their finances, and it's all hitting at once this fall. This is true of tools I use to gather, access, and publish material.

The Good News is there is a Savior who can bring us peace beyond understanding even when there is no peace all around us.

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