Technology. Bah! Spent the whole of my day wrangling yesterday and had to involve Tech Support in the end. Sigh.
Let us start with the easy part: I made a Twitter account for Two Snails and also a Facebook Page. I am not at this stage expecting to do a great deal with either of them other than maybe to push out notifications when the Two Snails blog is updated. I am keeping the Twitter following to useful sources in the RV and Motorhoming world – it’s not going to be a very personal account.
Yesterday also saw an attempt at knuckling down to wrestling the Two Snails blog into useful and attractive shape. Koken being Koken, things did not progress quickly. I have a great deal of work to do and am still thinking about moving the blog onto a self-hosted WordPress site, if Mr L will let me do that. He would really rather have no truck with WordPress on his server but it is so much easier and quicker to use that I may have to pressure him. Our comms when on the road will not allow for lengthy bug-ridden sessions, methinks.
A word about servers: we have long bought our hosting from Dreamhost, a cheap and cheerful service that has not been without its drawbacks. Some time ago, Mr L supplemented Dreamhost’s services with a Virtual Private Server. He sells space to his Cumulus customers for their own sites , also moving sandaysoft.com and later, a couple of my sites from Dreamhost to this VPS, mainly in the hope of faster response times. Results have been mixed and there have been embarrassing times when the host company has demanded immediate action on some of WordPress’s more extravagant moments.
This blog has not worked very well on the VPS. For reasons that I failed to comprehend I no longer received alerts when Comments were made or for other events that I should have liked to know about. I thought WP was broken and one day they would fix it with an update.
Well, in the course of events yesterday I had cause to remind Mr L of this WP behaviour, which had previously been mentioned on more than one occasion. He poked around the back door a bit and found that his server configuration was wrong , fixed it, and hey presto my blog now sends out alerts once more! Yay? Not quite Yay, as we followed the logic through and realised that some of my email addresses have not been working properly for some months now. Email may have been evaporating. You see, if you move a domain to a server that isn’t running a Mail Server, well, email just doesn’t happen. Tech Support never created a Mail Server because he did not want the hassle of running one…
Email is now repaired and functional, we think/hope/trust that all addresses are working in both directions now – thanks mainly to good old Google (yes, I know, funny that, eh?) and (*shock* *horror*) a subscription to a bulk mailing service. Service is not great and incurs delays meaning that back and forth email conversations going through this route will be stilted.
My abject apology to anyone who has tried to reach me in recent weeks and wondered why they did not receive a reply. Gremlins it may have been but they were introduced by my own stupidity in requesting a move of servers without actually thinking that one through.
Still with the servers: Mr L is considering buying space on a dedicated server, having found a way that seems to offer more/better for less $. I am watching progress with rapt attention but will bear in mind any side effects on mail if and when I move servers again.
May I confess that my work on Koken and Two Snails was entirely of the faffing variety. I updated the About page and added a couple of personal About pages, sure, and tidied up some thinking on the structure… tried out new templates… but did I actually update our travels? No. I think I’ll get to it soon. I did learn some things about how Koken works and am feeling slightly more positive towards it.
Overall I have concern about how I can keep in touch after the landline and broadband go next month. I’ll muddle through whenever we have good signal and bandwidth remaining so you might expect more frequent updates at the beginning of a monthly cycle, sporadic service as the facility runs out. I certainly will not be “doing” Facebook other than to push out notifications: Facebook would be a complete waste of bandwidth. WordPress and Koken may prove to be far too fiddly when I do not have a proper keyboard and mouse – I won’t know until I try but it may well frustrate too much.
I also need to bear in mind that when we chose our pitch for this winter we failed to check signal strength in that location! We have no idea whether we shall be able to use the Internet from our home base or not. How could we do that! Madness.
So, here’s a question – what if I reverted to some old fashioned methods and sent out a weekly email newsletter (plain text, of course! I might be able to dictate that more easily than I can type on a tablet) with maybe a couple of jpegs attached. What if folks who are actually interested in what we are getting up to let me know and I added them to a mailing list and used this new bulk mailing service to push ’em out. Would that work all round? Would it be better than radio silence for weeks on end? Would you want to subscribe? Supplemented by blog updates as and when the technology allows, of course.
Should I Podcast? I think we can forget any ideas about Video as we’re going to be economically restricted and plan only to top up £15 a month on the data SIM. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. The thing is, we are clueless. We have never had to pay for our own bandwidth and do not even know how much we use. So no idea how far our £15 card will take us each month. None at all.
I’m hoping that Feedly will economically keep me up to date on the blogs that I read but how do I keep up with friends who only do the Facebook thing? Maybe they could reply with an old fashioned letter or email reply to the newsletter if it happens.
No photos today, I was far too busy with the IT wrangling yesterday to get my camera out at all.
ADDENDUM: Speaking of Photos and thinking about efficient sharing and reducing use of Bandwidth, I had thought that a single upload of images to Flickr would be the best option. Then I saw yesterday’s news about the Yahoo sale. Right. I shall need to return to that particular drawing board. Will I still Blip? I hope so. Maybe I’ll reduce the size and quality of my uploads though.