Tag Archives: Ubuntu


In which The Author apologises for the
break in transmission and announces
an imminent change of location

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been for the last month or so, I can assure you that all is well. I’ve just been busy with various external matters, and I haven’t had chance to do very much online.
However, this might well be the last entry at this particular location. Ever since the people at WordPress decided to ‘improve’ the interface a couple of years ago, trying to write a new post has been like wading through treacle. They’ve added an ‘autosave’ feature, which seems to back up every time I take a breath; consequently, trying to type anything longer than about four words is punctuated by a long wait while the autosave executes. There’s no way to alter the settings, and I spend more time waiting for something to happen than I do actually doing anything.
(For the record, it saved no less than six times in the course of that last paragraph, and has already saved twice while I’ve been typing this fucking sentence!)
In fact, the whole new interface is a pain in the arse to try and navigate. Nothing is where you’d expect it to be, for a start. What was a fairly easy to use WYSIWYG word processor-style layout has now become some monstrous object, with pull-down menus which you have to remember to close before you can continue typing, and a whole host of pointless options (location, anyone?) which I’ve never had occasion to use and probably never will.
During the brief period after the introduction of the ‘improved’ layout, users had the option to switch back to the ‘classic’ layout if they wanted to. I’ve been using the hosted WordPress for my blog for over eight years. I don’t consider the old layout to be ‘classic’ – it was just so much better in many respects. It was faster, far more responsive, and didn’t clutter up the screen with menus which nobody ever used. Needless to say, soon after the transition the ‘classic’ option disappeared entirely.
As for the ‘improved’ layout – well, I’m sure we all remember what happened when a popular brand of soft drink ‘improved’ its recipe a few years ago.
Yes, that’s right – the sales plummeted!
Change for the sake of change clearly isn’t always a good thing.
I can only suspect that the ‘improved’ layout works nicely on a high-spec PC/laptop running Windows 10 with the latest version of Internet Explorer. As a recovering Microsoft user, I couldn’t possibly comment. One of the reasons why I switched to open source in the first place is that the software is written by users for users – in most cases. (See ‘Development Hell‘ for an example of what happens when that idea breaks down.) I don’t want to have to spend hundreds of pounds keeping my system up to speed with the corporate world’s latest fashions, only to have to junk it a couple of years later.
My system isn’t the world’s greatest, I’ll admit it, but it’s constantly updated and there aren’t any issues with obsolete browser plugins, add-ons, or software conflicts. That’s the only explanation WordPress were able to offer. Once you’ve eliminated the obvious, then the only conclusion I can reach is that the WordPress team have quite simply fucked up.
I’ve reported this issue several times in the support forums. Many other users have also complained about the autosave (which seems to have been configured with the short-term memory of a goldfish), so I know I’m not alone. The last time I raised a bug report was about a month ago, after it took me nearly three hours to post the previous entry. So far, nobody has even had the courtesy to reply.
So, boys and girls, I’m in the middle of setting up up a new blog elsewhere. The title will be the same, and the url will be almost the same, so you can find me easily enough. But I really don’t have the time or the patience to fuck around with WordPress any more.
Missing you already …

Out of Time

In which The Author wishes he’d enabled Safe Search

If you’ve read the earlier entry The Price of Upgrading, you already know that last week I installed Ubuntu 13.10 onto my Netbook. I’m glad to say that the upgrade went smoothly enough, once I’d found one of the few places in Aberdare with fast and reliable wifi. I needed to tie up a couple of loose ends on Friday, but they were small enough tweaks that I was able to do them in Aberdare Library. All my files and settings were carried over without a hitch, and the whole process took about three hours in total. If I’d been running Windows, I’d probably still be installing the updates on the updates.
It wasn’t until Sunday evening that I noticed that things weren’t exactly right. Have a look at this screenshot and you’ll see what I mean:

Screenshot from 2013-10-22 15:35:03

In the top-right corner of the screen, you’ll see today’s date and time. I like to have the time and date displayed on the screen, because if I’m in the Library I know how long I’ve got left to do whatever it is I’m doing. On Sunday evening, however, I noticed that the time and date were no longer there.
I decided it was probably something trivial, so I opened up the System Settings panel and selected Time and Date. I was rather surprised to see that the checkboxes were already ticked, so (in theory) the time should have been visible as usual. I wondered whether the upgrade might have disabled the normal feature – earlier releases had a ‘Hibernate’ facility, but it’s been dropped in the last couple of versions. I wondered if, as with Hibernate, I’d have to edit a system file in order to enable it.
If that was the case, it was time to check out the user forums. Being Open Source, any matters arising with Ubuntu get posted there, and they’re usually ironed out within a few hours. Someone somewhere will have come across the problem and worked out the solution long before you’ve had chance to run the upgrade.
I mentioned previously that Ubuntu releases always have weird names. I started using it when the current version was Lucid Lynx; since then, we’ve had Maverick Meerkat, Natty Narwhal, Oneiric Ocelot, Precise Pangolin, Quantal Quetzal, Raring Ringtail, and now Saucy Salamander. I don’t know who thinks of these names, but they’re pretty cool. In fact, when you consult the Internet, it’s usually enough to type the first half of the name into the search engine to narrow it down.
Here’s this month’s useful tip: Never type ‘Saucy show time’ into a search engine – especially if you haven’t enabled your Parental Controls first.
I’m not easily shocked, but some of those girls must be double-jointed…