Short-term solution

A while back, I set up a CIDU Facebook account in the event we ever needed an emergency home.

I think we’re there: maybe I’ll find a way to upload images to WordPress, or maybe I’ll be able to move to a new service, but for now we’re down. And WordPress, like many companies, is using COVID as an excuse to virtually eliminate customer support.

There are eighteen posts already queued, and they should go live as scheduled. Other than that… Facebook might not be a good alternative for a lot of people — it isn’t a good alternative for me — but for now it’s what we have.

I posted a new CIDU to the page (https://www.facebook.com/Comics-I-Dont-Understand-902130259961463/): let’s see how that works.

https://www.facebook.com/Comics-I-Dont-Understand-902130259961463/

37 Comments

  1. The one upside is that this time, if the web site implodes, I should be able to salvage a lot more than I did last time (whether for a new site or for the Facebook page).

  2. I don’t have, and won’t have, a Facebook account. Perhaps that’s why I can’t see any way to comment on that comic on that page.

  3. I’ll take any solution that you can come up with, as long as it doesn’t involve me re-connecting with Facebook. Heck, I would prefer e-mail + Usenet over Zuckerberg’s cesspool.

  4. Does this tutorial help?

    https://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-use-the-new-wordpress-block-editor/

    Blocks are content elements that you add to the edit screen to create content layouts. Each item you add to your post or page is a block. You can add blocks for each paragraph, images, videos, galleries, audio, lists, and more.

    Here is what we will cover in this Gutenberg tutorial:

    Using Gutenberg – The new WordPress block editor
    Creating a new blog post or page
    How to add a block in Gutenberg
    Working with blocks in the new editor
    Saving and reusing blocks in Gutenberg
    Publishing and post settings in Gutenberg
    Plugin settings in new editor
    Adding some common blocks in Gutenberg
    Exploring some new content blocks in Gutenberg
    Bonus tips on using Gutenberg like a pro
    Adding more blocks to Gutenberg Block Editor
    FAQs about Gutenberg

  5. This is an idea that won’t work for all comics, but couldn’t you simply post the URL to the image in the very first comment of each thread? They wouldn’t be visible on the main page, but they would be visible as soon as the post is opened. For instance, if I can still post something like this, you could too:

  6. Why do computer websites and software remove functionality? It makes no sense. You can’t be the only wordpress blog that posts pictures. This must have screwed up an enormous number of blogs.

  7. Could you maybe clarify the actual problem?

    Your stuff isn’t that technical, consisting of basically a picture and some textual commentary. I know WordPress still does that, because have done it.

  8. I posted this elsewhere, so I don’t know if you saw it, but regarding the wordpress changes, when posting a story/images, if you look to the right below the headline, there is a plus sign, move the curser over that area, it should show up, it will allow you to upload an image, you can also use the paragraph tool to add text.

  9. Like Arthur and Kilby, I don’t have and refuse to have anything to do with Facebook, so if it indeed comes to that, I guess it’s “So long and thanks for all the fish, er, all the laughs” time for me. (I’ll check back now and then to see if any other solution has at the last minute presented itself.)

    It’s been a lot of fun, and am sure it will continue to be for the survivers. Thanks for hosting.

  10. P.S. Actually, I do have a Facebook account: I use it as a “tar baby” to accrete all the annoying invitations that I kept getting from (mostly) relatives and (a few) friends. However, I log in there at most once a year, and I would prefer not to have to change that. Every time I do, I discover that the interface has become even more annoying. The important thing would be to make sure that the feed is readable without having to log into the Facebook system. That works for Berkeley Breathed’s page, so it would probably be possible to do for CIDU, too. I think I can live without commentary for a while, until the WordPress issues get sorted out.

  11. As I said on another post, all interface upgrades are worse than they are replacing. I use Firefox specifically because it has a drop-down address bar where I can see my most used sites. And every time they update Firefox, they want to get rid of that feature…the only feature that makes me want to use Firefox.

  12. @beckoningchasm: speaking as an interface designer, that’s not a requirement. I will be immodest and say that I have dramatically improved interfaces in my career. You just have to distinguish between “cool” and “usable.”

  13. Sometimes I’ve felt like the last person in the world who doesn’t have a Facebook account. It was a much more common feeling in the past, when Facebook was more ubiquitous; maybe less of an issue in the last 5-10 years, now that other alternatives have come up, and also as the move to boycott Facebook has grown. But still, it’s interesting to see that so many long-time CIDU readers also don’t (or at least don’t regularly use) Facebook.

  14. Ignatz asks: Why do computer websites and software remove functionality? It makes no sense. You can’t be the only wordpress blog that posts pictures. This must have screwed up an enormous number of blogs.

    They haven’t done anything like that, actually. They’ve instituted a new editing tool system, including changes to the default format of many posts. Like a bunch of new “templates” I would have said, except that the term “template” already has a technical application in their system.
    But many of these new default formats include images, and there are several ways to upload them before or during the process of editing a post. As you say, obviously they shouldn’t take that away … and didn’t.

  15. Edit to my 12:32 PM : And that is done as Tom Falco explains above, starting with clicking on the green [I think it’s green..] plus sign.

  16. @beckoningchasm and @CarlFink — I’ve settled into using Google Chrome for most of my browsing, but do use others for some circumstances. Firefox does have one feature I can’t seem to find or activate in Chrome or Opera. And that is saving downloads to different locations on the local filesystem based on the website address I’m saving from.

    I’m not talking just about the “Ask me each time” setting — all three have that, as a choice in place of using “My downloads” or the browser’s own download area, whatever, but static. The issue is where it starts out looking when you have “Ask me each time” set. Chrome and Opera do something like starting out by offering the same folder you last saved anything to in that browser. Firefox instead offers the same folder as you last saved something to from the same web host as you are at now.

  17. I’m another anti-FBer. Hope you can figure out where WordPress hid the stuff you use…they (in a broad sense of they) seldom remove functionality immediately, they just hide it a few levels deeper. I have a WordPress blog but I never use it so I’m no help with how.

  18. @ Mitch4 – “Firefox … saving downloads to different locations on the local file system based on the website address…
    Thanks for resolving an issue that has been confusing me for quite some time. I thought that (very convenient) feature was a peculiarity of MacOSX; I hadn’t realized that it was built into Firefox (or in this case, in TenFourFox).

  19. I suppose it’s rather self-centered for me to say it – you have many other fans so a few of us never-Facebookers probably aren’t persuasive – but if you move to Facebook I won’t follow. I don’t have an account and don’t plan to, for personal ethical and privacy reasons.

    I will again suggest that you seriously consider installing your own copy of your favorite WordPress version right on your own server, so you have total control over its internal functioning and updates. It really isn’t that tough to do. You would need to sign up for your own virtual server at a webhosting service. The size and cost of the server would depend partly on your traffic.

    You’d upload the software to your host with an ftp client, create a database with your virtual host’s control panel, follow the online WP directions to connect the database and set up the software, and you’re flying.

    If you can get a database backup from your current site, I’d say that there’s a good chance that you can restore it to your new database if you haven’t gone back too far in WP versions. Or you can just start fresh and post a link to the old post archive on wordpress.com.

    You can still download old versions from WordPress, all the way back to version 0.71 of 2007. Just look for their “releases” page. They will no doubt screech dire warnings about security hazards if you use an “obsolete” version, because that’s how they play the game, but a little caution is all you really need.

  20. @Le Vieux Lapin in principle that is a great solution.
    But I’m not sure if you’re aware of some historical circumstances that likely make it unappealing to CIDU Bill.
    (Also I will offer a minor technical variant to your advice.)

    The history to be aware of is encoded in the server hostname “godaddyandthesquirrelmustbothdie”. Before moving to hosted WordPress, the ComicsIDontUnderstand.com server was on pretty much the sort of rental server host you discuss, under GoDaddy.

    So the situation is kinda “Yes, but that has been tried — and resulted in catastrophe”. There’s room for thinking the problem might be laid at the doorstep of GoDaddy service and contract attitude, and need not happen at other, better, hosting providers. But there is also the “once burned” factor.


    The technical sidenote is about the steps where you mention downloading to one’s personal pc (from say WordPress.org or another archive) and uploading to the rented server. Often that is not necessary, if the hosting provider supplies enough tools.
    They may provide scripts that “magically” will do the downloading, installation, and updating of packages they know clients are likely to want. (Tho probably not superseded versions. Hmm.)

    Or better yet, as part of the package they can provide something like SSH access to a command line interface, on which one can ftp the packages and initiate the installation.
    Either way, the point is that you effect communication between the rented host server and the software source archive, and never need to go thru your own pc (except as the workstation from which to admin this).

  21. @ “size and cost of the … rental server
    The dirty words have been spoken. I’m willing to accept that my freeloading on Bill’s personal social hobby will inevitably result in an incremental increase in his server traffic, but the buck has to stop somewhere, and up to now it’s always been at Bill’s checkbook. However, if putting CIDU onto a reliable server is going to cost real dollars, maybe it’s time for a kickstarter project.

  22. I agree. I pay $10/month for a directory and have 1000s of websites, photos, movies, graphics, etc. thereon. I don’t know if that’s a good price or not, but I’ve had the same company for over 15 years without any issues (knock on wood, or plastic, or whatever’s handy).

    I think Patreon would be a more logical place for revenue for Bill, or thru PayPal monthly donation, rather than Kickstarter, which is more for soliciting for a one-time project. I use Patreon for Claytoonz and Keith Knight, Paypal for Dan Piraro and a few others.

  23. Interesting what in-moderation delays (or other linearization effects) do to the apparent path of an evolving conversation. As this screenshot from the notification emails makes clear, Bill’s “I’ll check that out, thanks.” was in response to Peter’s link about the classic-editor plugin, not to later discussions of rental hosting with diy software management.

  24. Meanwhile, those of us who do not eschew Facebook are faced with a similarly imposed and disliked design change. I have been submitting suggestions until now no longer allowed to.

  25. Mitch, I appreciate the history lesson. You’re spot on: I haven’t been here long enough to know the background.

    I only have my own adventures with hosting to go on. Those entail a couple of less-than-optimal initial experiences with operations that are long-defunct, then mostly positive ones since 2005.

    You’re also right that most web hosts provide WordPress installation scripts. Typically they’re a couple of versions behind, which might be just about right for this situation.

    But even if one were to take the more indirect approach of downloading and uploading the version of one’s choice, WordPress just isn’t that big. Version 4.9.15 packed into a zip archive is 9.1mb. Version 5.2.7 is 11.6mb That size might double when it’s extracted from the archive to be uploaded. Even on my torpid ADSL, that’s about 45 seconds or a minute to download, and maybe 8-12 minutes to upload.

    Nevertheless – I’ll let the subject drop. My apologies for broaching it again.

  26. @ Le Vieux Lapin – Please don’t apologize for mentioning incredibly relevant details. Your input is valuable. The difficult trick that we are all trying to facilitate is to come up with a solution that is not just technically (and economically) viable, but also one with which our favorite moderator will be comfortable and able to manage.

  27. @ Mitch4 – Seeing that name translated into English reminded me that “alter Hase” is a German equivalent for “old hand” (in the sense of “venerable participant”).

  28. Since I am reading the site backwards from September 8, I know that the matter has been resolved.

    I am also am not a Facebook user- though I have an account – but having said that – if you ever did have to switch to same – know that “Cassandra Maile” who is user will be joining your group. “Cassandra” and I normally check our accounts once a month to keep them active but she would be glad to check the group for me on a regular basis. (Why Maile? Because if one’s last name is Mail they are not allowed to have a Facebook account.)

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