Thursday, May 17, 2018

Blogger rants about Blogger

I'm not Andy Rooney, but I'm feeling cantankerous and curmudgeonly these days and, like the late Mr. Rooney, I'm not afraid to tell you about it.

The immediate cause of my grumpiness is Blogger. Not a blogger, mind you, not some individual spewing his or her opinions into a largely indifferent Internet, but Blogger the blog publishing service that has been a Google brand since 2003. These guys:

Generally, I like Blogger. From 2006 until this afternoon, I've put up 2,667 posts on Page One of this blog and (since 2008) another 459 (this is post #460) here on Page Two. Blogger is in my price range -- free -- and it has been fairly easy to use. Despite the fact that I'm no 'techie', I've been able to insert photos and graphics and embed videos and customize my text -- it's not WordPerfect, mind you, but it's not bad.

However, lately, Blogger has made my blogging life miserable -- and today provides a perfect illustration.

Over the past 10 years I've covered Cook County judicial elections in some detail. I've got some substantial archives built up. Put it this way, if there is news about Cook County judicial candidate Joan Smith, and I want to do a post, the first place I look for background is my own archives. Until recently, I could put Smith's name into the search box on my "All Posts" page -- something you don't see -- and, presto!, I'd have every post I'd ever done in which her name was mentioned.

Recently, though, Blogger messed this function up. Now, searches only go back four years or so. Well, Smith may have run unsuccessfully for a subcircuit seat in 2010; that datum might be relevant to my current post. She might have been appointed to a seat in 2012; I'd have a biographical sketch in the post about her appointment that I could update for my new post. But Blogger's search was no longer producing these results.

The first time I noticed this, after some time-consuming work-arounds, I dutifully pressed the "send feedback" button (see below) that resides in the lower right hand corner of my screen when I create a post.

I sent my feedback -- hey you've made it impossible for me to properly search my archives! -- and resumed my daily activities. I didn't expect to hear back from anybody at Blogger -- and I didn't -- but I harbored some small hope that my concern might be addressed and my search function restored.

It wasn't.

Today I wanted to pull up information about persons receiving appointments -- I knew I had a lot of background in my archives on at least two of the three appointees -- but all the stuff I wanted predated 2014 and so was left out of the search results. Once again, I figured out how to work around my problem -- but it took a lot of time that I shouldn't have had to waste.

Blogger has no customer service number -- no 800 number for bloggers to call -- and I suppose I understand that no one would be eager to volunteer to field calls from little old ladies who can't figure out how to publish videos of their adorable kittens playing with yarn. Or from 'political theorists' living in their mothers' basements who would just accuse the call-taker of being in on the conspiracy anyway.

But an email address might be nice. So there could be a paper trail. And maybe even an eventual response from an actual human.

I did try and peruse the "Official Blogger Blog" to see if I could puzzle something out. I learned more changes are coming -- but I can't tell if they'll create new problems for me -- I don't think so -- but nothing about why the internal search function was rendered useless.

I could push the send feedback button again, of course. But, as Einstein didn't say, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I probably won't hear from Blogger now either. But my grousing about this has already made me feel better. And maybe someone from Blogger will see this -- something about 'spiders' searching web pages -- and fix the problem. Which is all I really want anyway.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Time to clear out the Page One candidate sidebar

The March primary is pretty much ancient history at this point.

However, as I've done in the past, I'm preserving this list of 2018 candidate websites for archival purposes.

Several of these candidate websites have already been abandoned, even repurposed. But some of the candidate websites will stay up, anticipating 2020. Some may just stay 'live' because the fees have been prepaid.

No matter why they remain, interested persons (i.e., prospective candidates and their likely core supporters) can browse these sites and harvest ideas for their own campaigns to come.

Call it "research," if you like.

Without further prologue, then, here is the list:
Meanwhile, the Page One sidebar will be pruned so that only those few candidates who face contests in November will remain.