…and the horse you rode in on!

I’ve been having some pretty wonderful problems with my website recently. The biggest one happened last Friday when I went to create a new category for the next story and nothing happened.I tried doing it the longer way (opening up the “Manage Categories” section instead of just typing in a new category when I create the first new post) and…nothing happened. I’d type out the name, click on the button, and nothing would change. It took me about three to four hours in all to figure out the problem and “fix” it by going through the WordPress message boards and downloading a plug-in that solved the problem for reasons I still can’t explain.

It’s weird. I never interact with the actual code underlying my website. I’m aware that it’s there, but I never go into it and mess with things. I’m always a few layers up, using the user-friendly program WordPress that transforms that code into easy to use pages. Sort of like how (I’m guessing for most of you) you don’t actually write code when you want to type a letter or paper or whatever, you open a word-processing program that lays everything out for you in a much easier to understand language. But it’s all code. That’s what’s weird. All of it is code. Underneath this program is code, sometimes under that is more code, and then under that are ones and zeroes. And it terrifies me sometimes to think that I, at heart, don’t have the slightest idea what’s driving this website. None. If I came across a real problem I’d be helpless and would have to bring in someone to fix it for me. It’d be like if it were three-hundred years ago and my printing press broke down, and to fix it I was expected to have advanced knowledge of the atomic structure at the base of the metal components making up my press.

Maybe. Or maybe three hundred years ago printing presses were looked at by most people as pretty mystical devices, with their gears and wheels and what have you. I’m not saying I know exactly what goes on inside a printing press, but after a few minutes I think I could pretty handily walk through a more basic model. But maybe the average layperson three hundred years ago, when looking inside a printing press, would see pretty much what I see when I look at the code of my website. Pure voodoo. And maybe in three-hundred years web code will be so basic a tool that most people will have a pretty decent grasp of it and could, in a matter of hours, figure out what’s going on to a pretty large degree and fix any problems…like the way I could tell that the giant broken gear in the corner needed to be replaced if I were a time-travelling printing press repairman.

Anyway, the huge upside with technology is the amazing amount of things you can do with it, like this website which I think is pretty neat. The huge downside is the more amazing the technology is, the less likely you are to understand it. In short, the more something can make you say, “Ooooh,” than the louder you swear when it breaks.