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Definition of a Blogger: Unpaid Alpha-tester OR: For Want of a Button a Blogger Was Lost

April 28, 2010

I plead with WordPress engineers so my readers don’t have to. Or maybe I do this just so that I can blog and my readers can read my blog without more frustration than is due from doing such things.

Case in point: WordPress comes out with the slideshow feature. It’s a terrific thing — or it should be. But it takes time to load, only about a minute and a half with my 8 GB processor and high-speed broadband, but probably longer than that on my mother-in-law’s dial-up. She probably went to the library to view our anniversary slideshow.

Of course, a slideshow loading should not freeze up anyone’s computer. In fact, a reader should decide for himself whether or not he chooses to load the slideshow. A reasonable person might think that a slideshow could show up on a blog’s homepage just sitting there, waiting for the curious reader to click it on. But no, WordPress has a demonic code that sets the default for the slideshow to be on when the home page is opened. And there is nothing I can do to change this.

I wrote to WordPress, describing the problem, and received a friendly reply: just hover your mouse over the slideshow and the start button will appear. :-)

Thank you. Yes, there is a start button; but you have to wait for the slideshow to load before you can turn the slideshow off — and then, why bother? Let it run! It’s already frozen your computer loading! Or so I said, nicely, to the Happiness Engineer with whom I was corresponding.

Initially, I resolved the problem of the ever-loading slideshow delaying readers from reading new posts on my homepage by changing templates. The template is the visual stuff of a blog’s appearance. Inuit Types, the only template I found that I could use, has no visually redeeming features, but it truncates posts so that the slideshow would not appear on my homepage. At least now, the slideshow would not load and cause delays until the reader clicked on the post title and went to the slideshow’s permalink. At least my homepage could load immediately, without waiting for the slideshow to load. The disadvantage to the Inuit Types template, however, is that no photos will ever show on a homepage. If I post nothing but a photo as a post, only the title will show. The reader can click on the title and see the picture. Wow. That’s way too much trouble and way too little aesthetic. So I did another bypass.

I reloaded the entire slide file onto a new page, linked the page to the original post, and removed the slideshow from the original post. Now, the slideshow is on its own page for you wonderful patient people who care to wait while it loads. And I have a new template that lets you see pictures on my homepage again. It isn’t perfect, but hey, I’m a free blogger and I just Alpha test this stuff quietly and for free, and figure out bypasses so I can blog in spite of all the amazing new developments from our innovative friends at WordPress.

I just wish the friendly helpful happiness engineers would look at the end line, where the bloggers and readers live. Then maybe I could think about things to blog about besides blog maintenance and repair.

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One Comment
  1. Vic permalink
    April 28, 2010 11:03 am

    And maybe the Happiness Engineers could take a glance at the wonderful Hodge quote on your sidebar under “Toward a better universe.”

    Hurray for the return of opening pictures!

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