Sep 162009

Lately I have been debating the merits of Blogger vs. WordPress from the point of view of one who knows little about web technology, i.e. myself.

Blogger pros include all kinds of funky little settings you can play around with, like comment functions and notifications, and the ability to download free templates (or, if you are awesome, which I’m not, design a template yourself or fins out what the cost of an ecommerce website is and start from there) and use them, also for free. Downsides include not-so-friendly user interface and no stats page.

WordPress pros: friendly user interface and the stats page. Downsides: if you have a free account, you can only use the templates they let you use – no messing around with your blog’s appearance unless you pay.

And there is one drawback they both share: it is very difficult to find a template that doesn’t use sans-serif fonts. I hate sans-serif fonts. They’re hard on my senescing eyeballs. My total cheapness means that I can’t do anything about that in WordPress anyway. My total ignorance of code means that even though I could change this on Blogger, I don’t know how.

Also, although you can convert a Blogger blog to WordPress, you cannot, apparently, convert a WordPress blog to Blogger, which means that if I went apostate, I’d essentially have to start all over again and hope that the people who read this blog care enough to get the new feed address or whatever.

(Am I displaying my lack of tech savoir-faire well enough?)

Does anybody recommend Blogger over WordPress, or vice versa, and have any advice to offer me in my dilemma? Or should I just gird my loins and fork over the ten ‘credits’ WordPress demands in return for versatility?

(And please, no anti-Google screeds. I’m not a Google fanatic but I’m afraid Satan’s corporate corruption has already tainted me, in that some time ago I went Google Mail and I’ll never go back.)

iPhone: tool of the patriarchy or friend to women everywhere?

 sexism: alive and well  Comments Off on iPhone: tool of the patriarchy or friend to women everywhere?
Apr 212009

iControl Her:

Tired of telling your woman over and over how to please you? Weary of self-repetition and downtrodden by the futility of your Stepford-wife ambitions? Never fear; your iPhone will boss your woman about so you don’t have to.

Have you ever wished to have a remote control for people? This application offer this mythical remote and by pressing a button on the remote, it will say the words for you.

Feels like and operate just like a remote and you can have so much fun with it.

Updates will be posted weekly.

Future update: Ability to record your own voice over a button. The possibilities are then ENDLESS! Buy now and enjoy the free updates as they become available.


Note to self: The male mind explained, at last! Now I realise where I’ve been going wrong all these years. I must throw off this pesky habit of autonomy before I permanently ruin my chances to catch me a husband.

[Hats off to Twisty.]
Feb 092009

I am famous amongst a small circle of adherents for neglecting to top up, refusing to answer, failing to charge, and forgetting to carry my mobile phone. It is one of those old-time jobbies with a green and black dot-matrix type screen, and does not possess any picture-taking, mp3-playing capabilities or other fancy gadgetry. I also do not have voice mail, nor do I answer text messages. That small circle of adherents knows that the best way to contact me is by sending an email, which, although I check ye olde inbox regularly, I will not necessarily respond to in a timely manner.

This is because I like being alone; I enjoy the pleasure of my own company; and I do not like being reachable at any moment of the day or night at someone else’s convenience. Selfish? Perhaps.

But I achieved my formative years in an era not long distant but certainly before the advent of such technologies as email, SMS, instant messaging, and the iPhone. I learned to amuse myself outwith the presence of other human beings and developed a keen enthusiasm for self-analysis and introspection.

Think about it: when was the last time you were on a train, plane, bus, or date and didn’t either (a) fiddle with your communication device of choice, or (b) witness someone else doing same?

And most of the people reading this blog will be adults, who know what life was like before wireless technology connected us all. Imagine being a teenager! They have no memory of such an existence. I witness this every day, usually when one of my students’ mobile phones blurps during a lesson. ‘Who could possibly be unaware that you’re in class right now?’ I enquire. ‘Oh, it’s just a text,’ they answer; ‘it’s for me to read later.’

This recent elimination of alone-time from the western lifestyle is the subject of an excellent essay in the Boston Globe, flagged up by the much-underrated West Virginia Rebel. The author argues, without any tiresome Luddite hatred of progress, that our capacity never to be alone does not necessarily eliminate loneliness.

I do not think it can be a good thing that there are entire generations of people being brought up without the ability to appreciate solitude or the joys of their own mind; much of the growth that brings about emotional maturity is achieved during those hours we spend alone with our own thoughts. By failing to acquire this skill, are the younger generations denying themselves the pleasure of contemplating the deeper mysteries of human existence?

[I say all this, of course, as a confirmed evader of unplanned communication, but there is one piece of modern technology I despise being without, and that is my iPod. A couple of weekends ago on a train journey to London, I realised I had forgotten to charge it, and the usually-pleasant hour-long journey became a hellish nightmare of undesired eavesdropping into other people’s conversations. The mobile I could drop down a privy without a backward glance, but give up the iPod? Never.]