Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tech Wars, Mostly Internal

I'm in the midst of a battle with technology and my identity as an intelligent but, yes, somewhat tech-averse person. I'm trying to figure out how to give another website, for which I am responsible, a facelift. I may be tech-averse, but I'm not beauty- or grace-averse, and this thing could use some of each.

It's running on a WordPress platform, long reputed the most friendly and popular - yet professional - of our most likely allies. I wanted to believe their claims that installations, updates, and backups would be fast and easy: five minutes!  Get started in five minutes! I have been dismayed to find that - in my case at least - this was not going to be accurate. Sigh.

I'm not starting from scratch - though one of my strategies is to set up a fake site to practice on, simulating what I'm after until I can do the same to the real site. But even setting up a new, clean site (it has to be self hosted) has revealed to me that once again I don't know what I'm talking about, that I don't have what I need, e.g., access to a server.

The site to which I refer - now the host of some 200 posts - was set up for me by a friendly, tech-savvy person while I was on sabbatical. It's just that I can't figure out how the darn thing works, at least not beyond a certain point. I finally asked my buddy - hesitating because now he's on sabbatical - how to get at the server so I could make backups (as WP advises) as well as upload a fresh, new theme. He writes: "Yes, sorry, forgot about that. Since we have [three other websites] all running on that server, I don't think that you want to mess around with it."

I think this probably means, "We don't want you messing around with it." Given my evident lack of skill, this may be a very wise restriction indeed. Somehow or other, though, it must be overcome.

The best of all possible solutions, as I see it, would be finding away for someone-who-is-not-me to handle such matters (under my direction!) Too good to be true?

What do you avoid? Do you ever wonder if this a matter of wisdom and boundaries, or shirking and laziness?

It's possible I will have to strap on my sword and slay this tech dragon, myself. Or, to use a more constructive metaphor, tame the beast.

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