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I. Am Losing. My Mind. 10 comments

Some loyal and valiant readers will recall that I bought a watch in April that I loved. I don’t much care for loving “things” but this watch, as soon as I put it on, was mine. It was “me”. Sturdy, solid … a bit shiny.

Perhaps my readership will not remember me acquiring the watch as it was a quiet little love affair I was having with it that I got very noisy about when it ended. The watch disappeared. Lost? Stolen? Misplaced? Gone for a long walk out for milk? Hard to say. I’ve turned my apartment inside out looking for it. Gone.

After months of mourning, and watching sales, I finally took a deep breath last week and replaced the watch with a very very similar watch. Same make. Similarly sturdy, solid, shiny. My affections were immediately tranferred.

I showed my new watch off, imagining permanence and stability. I showed my students, who tired of me glancing at my phone to check the time, making me seem like a very distracted professor indeed.

Unlike other parts of my life, I’m a one-watch kinda girl. I only need one. It has to be “the” one. In watchdom, I am monogamous.

I clearly remember seeing the watch in my locker last night as I was getting dressed after working out. I remember putting it on and hearing the satisfying click of the watch band snapping into place.

This morning … gone. I have looked everywhere and I am on the verge of being late to depart to campus. Gone. I’ve looked EVERY possible place. Every pocket, every surface, every drawer it might have fallen into. I have called the gym and no watch was turned in last night, just in case my memory is truly faulty.

As I have said before, I DO NOT lose expensive things like this. This is not a $1.99 K-Mart special. I am a careful person, especially with things that matter to me.

WTF is going on here, other than the universe toying with my watch affections …????

TypePad’s Loss … WordPress’ Gain 5 comments

Well, after almost two weeks of pulling my hair out and getting nowhere that I wanted to be, I've pulled the plug on my TypePad account and am self-hosting WordPress. I'm thrilled … WordPress is slick, "problems" are easy to solve, it looks great and gives me (almost) total control. I just started things up yesterday afternoon and am already farther ahead than I was yesterday. Lots more work to do and no time to do it today, but here is my latest work in progress. I have a different look in mind eventually … but the current template will do for now.

(with apologies to karen and others in the six apart universe … )

Five Reasons TypePad Lost My Business:
Interface too hard to use. It feels like one of those things that is intuitive for the people who built it and can visualize the relationship between the structure of the GUI and the architecture … but it is NOT easy for folks who did not participate in its development.

Results poor. No matter how much the various "help" menus assured me I could do this or that with the design, it never quite worked out as it should. Or as I would wish it.

Promised functionality not delivered. Come on. I signed up for TypePad years and years ago, for free I think, under a completely different alias. For reasons beyond my understanding, when I upgraded my old account and started to add folders of content and different blogs, the original folder structure and naming conventions stuck and my new material NEVER appeared anywhere that could have a domain mapped to it. Come on. This isn't rocket science, it is Networking 101. Folder structures. Naming conventions. Pointing. Addressing. Get with the program people. This is what you are supposed to know how to do. Furthermore, widgets promising this or that functionality never worked, nor did they ever really "look" right when placed in the sidebars.

Customer service … too little, too late. I was assured yesteday, after many days of not hearing from anyone and me pleading for information, that they were "working on" the domain mapping problem and would have it fixed "within a week". A week?!? I'm at the second highest level of membership, this has been a stupid problem since day one, the entire crux of why I'm doing this blog switch involves me being able to map specific domains to specific locations … and you are going to take almost three weeks to let me know whether or not this is even possible?!? When your own bumpf assures users that it is "a breeeze"? What other delights await?

I'm paying for this? Given all the above, what exactly is it that I'm paying for? At the second highest level of membership?

I will say that TypePad made membership cancellation easy and they sent me a survey that allowed me to communicate all this effectively and, I hope, constructively. But, as of mid-afternoon yesterday, I'm a total WordPress convert. I'd been afraid of the self-hosting option as being possibly too complex for me, but it turns out that it is pretty damn easy. And I'm already paying for the privilege so this is actually "free" for me.

I feel like my blogging self is almost back on track now after being lost in the wilderness. Hurrah! 🙂

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The End is Nigh 4 comments

Of my grading, that is. I can see the light, faintly, at the end of the tunnel.

I have so many posts planned. Tags to include … weird doggie nicknames, doggie-talk, memes, taking stock, old blog, pluralism – Canadian style, middle-aged mixed media mash-up, and confronting the enemy.

Marking / grading is a much more emotional experience – for me, I suppose – than one might expect. My classes are small and (supposedly) at a graduate level. This past term, I taught two classes to the same group of 16 people, so I got to know them pretty well – or so I thought.  I designed each of these classes to have the following at the end:

  • term project (due in either the last or second to last class)
  • in-class assignment (group work, timed exercise)
  • final exam

Times two. So that is six major sets of rather involved stuff to mark.

It is hard to describe what it feels like to teach a group of students, to get to know them reasonably well, and then to have them hand in plagiarized work on their final projects and, in a few cases, the final exam – a portion of it was take-home. In some cases, the work handed in by student A still had student B's name on it.

It feels a bit like getting kicked in the head. With this group, I have turned myself in knots to try to get them to understand project management. They have two textbooks, software, customized powerpoint slides AND the summary slides provided by the textbook publisher, each other (esp. for the group work) and me, twice a week. Every teacher feels their subject is the most important, of course. The beauty of learning project management – philosophically – is that you can apply this framework to ANYTHING. To completing schoolwork, to cooking a huge meal for many people, to managing IT projects, to building a house … very useful, transferable skills. After all the resources I've put before them, the practice, the lectures, the hand-holding through the software step-by-step, the individual tutoring after class … the response of eight out of 16 students was to either provide material to other students, or to hand in the materials provided by other students.

Sigh. Feels like pissing in the wind somedays.

I have one set of final exams left to grade, a discussion board to evaluate, and peer evaluations to compile. Then the marks get entered and I can start cooking/baking like a mad-woman for Christmas. Oh, I have some furniture to paint, too.

It is a beautiful day here. Not sunny, but very warm. Spring-like. Someone didn't get the memo about Canada and December. It is warm enough for me to have my windows open and get an exchange of air in here. My dog had a marvelous time in the park, cavorting. We had an extra long walk. One of the other dog people in the park said she saw crocuses (crocii?) coming up in her front yard.   I hear birds chirping outside. Sounds … hopeful. A good way to approach the final batch of grading.

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