Like many people of my age, I am largely self-taught when it comes to technology. When I was at school I absolutely refused to do typing classes because the worst job that I could ever imagine having to do was being a secretary. Little did I know that despite my puny resistance, I would end up using a keyboard all day, every day and even now stare jealously at colleagues whose fingers can flash across the keyboard producing text while they look me in the face and have a conversation.
A series of temp jobs exposed me by force to word processing programs and like many people, I largely learnt by trial and error. My abiding memory from this time was the experience of trying to get the program to do what I wanted and then finally working out that I needed to switch my approach and look at the task from the computer’s point of view.
On Friday I had this happen again. As we are about to take a large group across the country, I thought it might be an idea to create a blog to allow for some longer form news than tweeting will allow. We head out on Tuesday and from then until Sunday night, there will be more content than I can probably cope with.
Last time we just posted to social media but I thought this time around, I would expand the form, post a daily diary entry from the event and post the links to Twitter for those that wanted a slightly deeper experience. As I try to keep work out of this blog, I went about setting up a new one.
Actually it turned out I did not have to as I had already toyed a few years ago with the idea and set up a blog using WordPress which was still waiting for me. Once I had remembered the log in, it was then just a matter of setting up the masthead image and getting settled on a theme – which was a little tricky as I wanted something that would cope with photos and text and nothing was leaping out at me from the selection of freebies.
After a series of frustrating trials, I sort of worked out how to set the menus up. I sure it is really easy when you know what they are talking about, but I never quite understand the menu for menus, so to speak. The real bump I hit was that Chrome was trying to be uber helpful and sign me in to Fifilab even when I was trying to work on the other blog. Crash after crash happened, even when I was logged out of Fifilab. I knew there had to be a way to add the second blog to the first, even with different associated sign ons, but try as I might I could not see it. If I went to ‘add a new site’ WordPress prompted me to create a brand new one, if I googled ‘manage multiple sites’ I got results about Jetpack and installing things on servers.
I don’t have a server.
After an hour of swearing at the PC – something that is technically futile but nonetheless satisfying, the penny dropped. I was thinking as a user again, approaching from the front end instead of the back. I didn’t need to add a blog to a user, I needed to add a user to a blog. Once I had made this shift in thinking, it became perfectly clear and it took me a matter of seconds to add my Fifilab WordPress account as an admin on the other blog. Immediately, I was able to control both sites, using whichever identity was relevant and it worked both on the iPad app and on the PC. Even Chrome was happy and stopped crashing.
So now I am set up with two sites to run for the next week. My temptation is to write a few posts ahead on Fifilab and schedule them for posting as I am a little worried that I am going to be up all night writing if I don’t get a little jump on the deadlines. The idea of Fifilab was to write something everyday but if I am writing elsewhere is that OK?
Either way the fun all starts next week and I am all set up and ready to go. My only consolation is that next week on the other side of the country, at least I will be three hours ahead, which may just give me the edge.