Categories
Personal Technology

Late Adopter

I have an embarrassing confession to make.

I provide tech support to bloggers for a living.

Before that, my career was building WordPress blogs for clients.

But this is my first blog.

I don’t count the bare-bones, default-header-bedecked site that mainly consists of beginner WordPress resources, nor will we speak of the single-subject and now inactive, anonymously penned site on some other blogging platform that shall remain nameless.

This is my first blog.

The milestone has made me reflect on all the other technology I’ve embraced kicking and screaming much later than most.

In rough chronological order:

rotary phone
rotary 4EVAH!
photo courtesy of Clemson via Flickr
  • Touch-tone phone
  • Cordless phone
  • Voice mail
  • Cell phone
  • Laptop
  • Facebook
  • iPhone
  • Microwave

No, wait, I still don’t have a microwave.

I’ve…

…been giggled at by store employees (“You want a… phone with a cord connecting the handset to the base? Do they still make those?”)

…been glanced at surreptitiously with a mixture of pity and disbelief (my heavy white Macbook at a company-wide meetup where I was the only person with a computer over a couple of years old)….

…been addressed like I was completely insane, or perhaps just senile (Bell Canada: “Madam, are you quite sure you don’t have a touch-tone phone? We would be willing to take the $2.55 charge off your monthly bill but I highly doubt you are not using it.”)

…had my tape-answering-machine beeper stared in bafflement (a piece of technology so outdated and apparently un-memorialized – not even qualifying as hipster-retro, like the venerable cassette tape – I cannot find a single image of it on the interwebs)

…had my little retractable-antenna-topped Nokia and later my scratched-up iPhone 3 stared at and outright mocked (with affection, since these were my friends we’re talking about).

I wore it all with a badge of stubborn pride and irony.

But now, with the new blog, and the arrival of an iPad mini in the household this week, I feel a small sense of loss and sadness. Now I’m just like everyone else, you see.

Except for the microwave. There’ll always be the microwave.

Categories
Travel WordPress

WordCamp London Contributors Day

WordCamp LondonAs part of WordCamp London last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Contributors Day at Mozilla Spaces.

The day was a chance for WordPress enthusiasts of all stripes to pitch in and make the open source project better, whether it’s by testing bugs, coding patches, translating text, writing documentation, contributing to BuddyPress, or making WordPress more accessible.

In one corner of the main room, many of my colleagues from the theme team at Automattic were busily collaborating with community members to get the next default theme, Twenty Fourteen – already available on WordPress.com – ready for shipping with WordPress 3.8.

I decided to spend time with folks like me who have a passion for helping other WordPress users, so I went into the room adorned with a sign that said Support. Tucked away at a conference table, Michael Atkins (cubecolour in the WordPress.org support forums) led a lively band of folks who wanted to get more involved in the forums. We were later joined by my Automattic colleagues Jackie and Fabiana and collectively got pretty geeky about the ins and outs of WordPress support.

Michael had created a handy site full of tips and links. We shared our favourite tools and tricks, from time-saving text expansion apps (my fave is TextExpander), to essential screenshot and screensharing tools. One thing I forgot to mention that day is the Lazarus browser extension, a super-handy add-on which restores the content of a form field if you accidentally lose it. We discussed how to keep on top of the threads you’ve answered and how to handle challenging forum situations.

Aside from the nuts and bolt of support, we talked a lot about keeping a friendly and approachable tone in forum replies and being empathetic. While we may have been using WordPress for years and know all its ins and outs, it may be someone else’s very first time trying to make a post. If they’re not tech-savvy, they might be feeling completely overwhelmed and frustrated. One negative experience in the support forums can really turn off a new user, and they may never give WordPress another shot! As support-forum helpers we have the valuable opportunity to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Categories
Art Travel

London Street Art

On a recent trip to London, I went on a street-art tour with guide Karim Samuels. Having watched Banksy’s controversial Exit Through the Gift Shop it was really cool to see works by some of the artists in the documentary.