Apr 2012

The theft of time - in praise of my iBuddha

There is an entity inside every computer ever assembled whose sole object is to steal your time. I regard him as a sort of Buddha and he is represented for me by a small cast iron figure from Hyderabad who sits by my Mac. Perhaps I should refer to him as iBuddha. iBuddha is a huge source of consolation at times of computer stress. Computers do tremendous stuff, but from time to time they rout your timetable with illogical problems. I get genuine relief when I’m grappling with computer-, or should that be iBuddha-, time theft in acknowledging the fellow, yes, you’re getting my time but we both know that I’ll achieve my object in the end. He sits there placidly, with his smile and his fat belly - there must be lots of calories in time.

So it was with loading my iPoxy web site. The reloads should be easy now but they aren’t, no doubt to the satisfaction of my rotund friend. I doubt if he cares about meta-tags and banners and search engine optimisation. He doesn’t mind how he gets his time.

Starting this iPoxy web site

I know approximately 2.6% of what there is to know about computer stuff. Doing a web site falls somewhere in the other 97.4, so faced with needing a web site to promote my books, I also needed a plan to simplify the process. Luckily the solution existed in the world of the Mac. I already had an Apple MobileMe account to provide space in the Cupertino cloud to host the site. Apple have some simple software, iWeb, which comes with the iWork suite that already sits on my iMac. I had just taken out a year’s Apple ‘One to One’ membership, which provides unlimited advice and tutorials at Mac stores. What could go wrong?

Well, firstly, I discovered that Apple has discontinued iWeb. No matter, I thought; not wanting to waste time I’d use it anyway - the site must be up quickly to support the books, and even if not the latest version, the penultimate iWeb must be okay. So... along to the Regent Street Apple store for some One to One help in constructing a site. “Sorry, we’ve discontinued iWeb and I’m not trained to support it.” Uuunngghhhh.

Luckily, iWeb is as easy to use as claimed, 2.6% easy, and I cobbled together a passable web site on my gorgeous iMac. Now, at last, the upload. Uuunngghhhh again, Apple is replacing MobileMe with iCloud, which doesn’t provide the space for a web site. iFrustration. It would make no sense to use the final months of MobileMe, I reasoned iReasonably, only to have the upheaval of changing to another host. So I found a host, HostPapa, that sounded comfortingly paternalistic. Lots of good stuff written about HostPapa on the web, so the vendors got the money I thought I’d save using MobileMe.

The upload instructions on HostPapa refer to a simple button in iWeb that automatically does the uploading. What could be iSimpler? Hours of to-ing and fro-ing and helplines disclosed that the impossible-to-find upload button doesn’t actually exist in iWeb 08, the version I have. Uunnggghhhh once more. As I write this, with my 2.6% iDread, I know that there is a potpourri of disordered bytes in HostPapa that went up when I strayed into 97.4%-type techie processes to try to get the iWeb-constructed site up. These rogue bytes will likely come back to iHaunt me and will probably take hours of to-ing and fro-ing and helplines to be eliminated before I can replace them with the current well-ordered site bytes.

Well ordered site bytes? With any luck, yes. A certain amount of web trawling has led me to the Mac-centric web design software called RapidWeaver. Lots of good stuff written about RapidWeaver so it got the money I thought I’d save using iWeb. My initial experience has been mixed, but the beginner’s tutorials have got me this far. Weaver it may be, but, at first at least, it hasn’t been the other thing.

However, if you’re reading this you’ll know that I’ve cracked the upload business, and that though I’m much the poorer both financially and in terms of time, I’ve got the darned site iUp lad into the HostPapa cloud.