Friday, April 22

BLOGGER'S "HELP DESK" SLOWER THAN SNAIL MAIL

I wrote this post this past Monday, April 18th. In it, I described how having published my first post of the day via "Blogger," I was then kicked out of my site (in a manner of speaking) and could not bring up my blog again using Explorer, Firefox, or Netscape. It drove me nuts. I was out of commission and so were my readers!

Turns out, and for reasons I still cannot fathom, Blogger deleted a sizeable portion of my template's HTML and even though I was not editing my template! My only crime: clicking on "publish." Now there's a sin in the world of blogging. You see, "Blogger" wants you to become a technician, rather than a writer.

It was a frustrating, fitful experience, and made worse by a series of auto-replies from Blogger's so-called "Help Desk." Auto-replies are insults to one's intelligence, kind of like unmanned switchboards.

Well, guess what? Today, Friday, April 22nd -- five days after the fact -- and long after I did a template rebuild and got my blog back up, guess who comes to my rescue and this time around with honest-to-goodness pseudo-help from a real live person?

Drum roll, please! Yes, you bet: I received not one, but two emails today from the Blogger "Help Desk." It was like lifting your bleeding, sans-scalp head from the soil of the Great Plains to see the U.S. Cavalry riding into view, bugle blaring, long after Ward Churchill's kin had left you for dead.

You'll love this one:

Hi Bernard,

I checked your blog and it appears to be publishing correctly now. This
may have been part of a temporary problem that has since been corrected.
If this problem recurs please let us know.

Sincerely,

Graham

Well, Graham, it has "since been corrected" -- BY ME, ABSENT TIMELY HELP FROM YOU! And when it next happens, you know you'll give me the same lousy service I received this time, right? You know that! So don't lay the baloney on me!

The other is a gem as well:

Hi Bernard,

I'm afraid it sounds like you've fallen victim to a bug in our system
which occasionally loses template data. Your posts are still safe, but
unfortunately we were not able to recover your template for you. To use
one of our default templates, you can click the Pick New link on the
Template tab. This will let you publish your blog again while you recreate
your old template. We apologize for the inconvenience and we are working
on getting this problem fixed. However, it is always a good idea to save
your own copy of a template if you make extensive customizations.

Sincerely,

Graham

Well, Graham, not only do I save my template HTML periodically, just to be on the safe side, but as a Blogger user, I'm also obliged to copy and paste every post I write into Notepad before I publish, because Blogger has yet another "bug" in its plentiful bag of tricks that obliterates posts when you try to publish them. And, I should add, your new "Recover Post" feature (which is a "fix" to a persistent post-destroying "bug") doesn't work worth a darn either!

Seems anything that goes wrong is a "bug in the system," you folks are always faithfully working to fix the bugs (but never quite getting the issues resolved), and its obligatory for the customer to carry around, in a manner of speaking, his own toolbox, much as Model-T owners were obliged to do a zillion years ago when automobiles were first coming off the assembly line.

And isn't it nice of you to gently nudge us -- your customers -- in the direction of self-help, albeit in a bit of a patronizing, computer-speak sort of way. You're so nice, in fact, that the niceness slides off the end of the knife you're sticking between my ribs like butter dripping off of boiled corn-on-the-cob.

Using Blogger, Graham, ol' buddy, is tantamount to the "Mad-Hatter" ride at Disneyland -- you're always in the dark and you're never quite sure what's awaiting you just around the corner. Blogger is an E-ticket ride into the Twilight Zone.

Bottom-line, when something goes awry in Blogger, and it will most every day of your blogging life, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN AND LEFT TO FEND FOR YOURSELF. Even the "real replies" will read like auto-replies! Right, Graham?

Now, then, let's see if this will publish without making smoke curl out of my CRT or my systolic blood pressure rise above 200.