The continued absence of the ‘reblog’ button from WordPress blogs seems to be causing a good many problems. Until the issue is fixed… which we are assured that it will be when they figure out what is causing it… there are a couple of things you can do if you wish to reblog a post.
Use the Press This button
Press This is found by default as one of the sharing buttons on all WordPress.com sites…unless the user has disabled the function manually. Simply click the button and a new window will open that contains no more than a link and a title, looking something like this:
It is enough with which to share the article, but not very interesting as a post… especially if the title doesn’t tell you anything about it!
You still need to add categories and tags, and schedule the post and you can also cut and paste an extract of the text from the original article.
Alternatively, you can install Press This on your bookmarks menu. This allows you to ‘reblog’ from any site, including self-hosted blogs and other online sites.
Go to my sites (top left of screen) – scroll down to WP Admin > tools >available tools…then scroll down to drag the Press This bookmarklet to your bookmarks. To use the feature, highlight a section of text on any page or article, press the Press This bookmark and it will create a new post for you to tag and schedule.
For those with multiple blogs, you will need to install a separate bookmarklet for each blog to which you wish to post reblogged content.
If that all seems awkward… which it is in comparison to the reblog button, but which takes moments in reality, you can create a post as you normally would, then cut and paste a short extract from the post you wish to reblog, add a redirect like ‘continue reading at joeblogs.com‘ and a link to the original article.
It took me a while when I first started blogging to work out what a pingback actually was… it is just a link that alerts the author of the reblogged post that you have shared their content.
To create a link/pingback – highlight, select and copy the entire web address of the article in question, which will look something like this:
Right click with the mouse and select ‘paste’ – this brings up a ‘settings’ box. Click the pencil icon, then the cog icon and click ‘open in new tab’ then save. Link and pingback are done. They should look like this:
Given the furor over gay marriage, it should have come as no surprise that there would be hysterical outrage over the legalized joining of humans with their favorite device, animal, mineral, or plant.
As soon as the technology became available, millions of teenagers raced to fuse with their cell phones, nerds with their computers, aviators with fighter planes, animal rights activists with their favorite vanishing species (leading some to wonder if this will not signal the death knell for many species) and tree huggers with large forests. Fundamentalist Christian groups — never imagining the far-reaching implications of this law — scrambled to get out of church and on the street.
“Clearly,” stated the Reverend Righteous P. Indignation, spokesman for the Church of the Ridiculous Assumption, “This is not what God had in mind. Although the Bible does not specifically mention marriage — or fusion — with non-human things, this can’t be right in His eyes.” Indignation’s statement was greeted by catcalls, neighing, bleats, beeps and a goodly amount of shrill ringing.
Many, mirroring the human yearning for the freedom of flight have chosen to form a union with some kind of bird. Eagles were most popular, with geese, swans, and other water fowl close behind. Racing enthusiasts have become horses, often with the rear end as the dominant segment while bookies have chosen chainsaws and jack hammers.
Corporations have hustled to reinvent themselves in light of a weirdly altered target audience, communications providers from television to Hollywood have made efforts to reconfigure everything from seating in stadiums to snacks at movie kiosks.
The potential impact on major sports has not yet been calculated. Some prefer to be a ball and others a bat, so to speak.
Only Walmart, ever sanguine, merely widened aisles in super-stores.
“We never care what customers look like,” said a spokesman. “If they look or behave like sheep or cattle, as long as they pay at the register, everyone is welcome at Wally World.”
People today talk nostalgically about a time when you always dealt with human beings on the phone and not computers. We believe that humans are responsive to our specific questions and take an interest in our unique situation. Therefore they can give you individualized help and service, which we assume is superior.
I’m not sure if that idealized past ever really existed or if we have collectively re-imagined this happy time in our history. I know that disembodied voices on the phone attached to living people have generously and graciously helped me negotiate bureaucratic nightmares in bygone days.
Today, I don’t know whether to be happy or scared when I hear a human voice on the other end of the phone. At least with a recording, you can still hope that when you finally find a real person to talk to, they will straighten everything out. Here is the incident that triggered this rant.
My husband’s father died and my husband wanted to cancel his deceased father’s car insurance. He talked to a lady and told her that he wanted to cancel the policy because his father had passed away. The woman said she couldn’t do that. When my husband asked why, she said that you should never cancel a car policy because if his father ever drove his car again without the insurance, he would be fined. My husband patiently explained that there was no way his father would be driving again.
“How can you be sure?” the insurance lady inquired.
“Because he is dead.” My husband replied, trying not to yell. That should have ended the conversation with a win for my husband.
The phone lady’s response was Kafkaesque. “Oh!” she said. “Then I’ll have to talk to my supervisor.”
People on the other end of corporate or bureaucratic phone lines today do not seem to have the same great track record that we fondly remember. Maybe people don’t care as much about other people unless they are communicating with them via Twitter or Facebook. Maybe people don’t take pride in their jobs as much these days. Maybe people just aren’t as smart or knowledgeable as they used to be.
Whatever the reason, I used to automatically ask for a representative to help me when I had to call an institution of any kind. Now I give the computer lady a shot and if that fails, then I resort to a human. Artificial intelligence might not be that bad after all, if it is actually intelligent.
But one good thing did come out of the discussion with the car insurance lady. It gave Tom and I the idea for a piece for our audio theater group VoiceScapes Audio Theater. It’s about a guy calling the cable company to cancel his dead father’s cable account. It’s called “Till Death Do Us Not Part.” It’s very funny. And very true.
Technical writing was new. In 1981, it didn’t have a name. I was a pioneer. I didn’t chop down forests or slaughter aboriginal inhabitants, but I went where no one had gone before. Breaking new ground was exciting and risky.
The president of the group was named Micah. He was the “money guy.” Micah knew less about computers than me, but wielded serious clout. His money was paying our salaries, rent, and keeping the lights on. The definition of clout.
As the day approached when the team from IBM was due, it was time for me to present the materials I had created with Ruth, a graphic artist who had been my art director at the failed newspaper I’d managed the previous year. (This was well before computers could generate graphics properly.) Ruth was amazing with an airbrush. I’ve never seen better work.
The presentation materials were as perfect as Ruth and I could make them. I had labored over that text and she had done a brilliant job creating graphics that illustrated the product, its unique capabilities and benefits. And so it came time for the pre-IBM all-hands-on-deck meeting.
Micah didn’t like me. His dislike wasn’t based on anything I did or even my disputable personality. He didn’t like women in the workplace. I was undeniably female. As was Ruth. Strike one, strike two. At the meeting, he looked at our materials and announced “We need better material. I’ve heard there’s a real hot-shot in Jerusalem. I’ve seen his work. It’s fantastic. We should hire him.” And he stared at me and sneered.
Onto the table he tossed booklets as well as other promotional and presentation materials for a product being developed in Haifa at the Technion. I looked at the stuff.
“That’s my work, ” I said.
“No it isn’t,” he said firmly. “I’ve heard it was created by the best technical writer in the country.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “Me.”
He was not done with humiliating himself. He insisted a phone be brought to the table and he called his friend Moshe in Jerusalem.
I’d worked for Moshe. I had quit because though I liked the man, he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. I had a bad-tempered, jealous husband — something I didn’t feel obliged to reveal.
Moshe gave Micah the name of The Hot Shot. It was me.
“Oh,” said Micah.
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t have to. The deadpan faces around the table were perfect examples of people trying desperately to not laugh. Micah wasn’t a guy you laughed at, not if you wanted to keep your job.
It was a moment of triumph so sweet — so rare — nothing else in my working life came close. I won one for The Team, for professional women everywhere. It felt good. It still feels good. We sold DB-1 to IBM — and for those of you who know the history of databases and how they have come to rule the world, the rest is history.
Today, considering the mass of protests by women against the men with many arms who think having a penis makes them extra special — Hah!
“Holy shit,” I said to no one at all. “That really HURTS.”
I was referring to my back and left hip (aka “the good one”). It was early. Although morning often is accompanied by stiffness and pain, I don’t normally wake up with quite such a jolt.
Rolling slowly out of bed, I tried to remember what I’d been dreaming about. Something about cats made of smoke and a clothesline that was part of a computer game. And a shrink who offered to scratch my back, but couldn’t find the right spot.
I took a couple of Excedrin and a muscle relaxant, rearranged the bed and tucked myself in for a few more hours of sleep. The phone rang. Of course.
I looked at the caller ID. It showed a local number. This in no way meant it was an actual local call. Scamming technology often shows local numbers on my Caller ID. Yesterday, it showed that Garry was calling me, except he was sitting next to me on the love-seat.
I answered the phone in what has become my typical surly morning greeting: “Who are you and what do you want?” There was no response. A bit of crackle on the line, but no voice. Not even a recording. I hung up. More accurately, pressed the OFF key.
I get a lot of these “nobody there” calls and I wonder what they are trying to find out. What could they possibly want to know? No hidden treasure in this house. That was my second epiphany of the morning.
I don’t expect a ringing telephone to herald a call from a friend. I don’t even expect it to be a return call from someone with whom I do business. I expect all calls to be a scams, survey, sales pitches, or an attempt to collect money from someone who doesn’t live here and probably never lived here.
Almost all of the calls I get are recorded messages. I can’t even insult the caller or his company. That used to be the only positive side to these endless, meaningless calls from semi-anonymous people. Even that small pleasure is gone.
I have utterly abandoned good telephone manners. Telephones are not a way to communicate unless I’m making the call. Otherwise, it’s annoying and intrusive — another attempt to steal our personal data so someone can hack our accounts, steal our identity, or scam us in some other yet to be defined way.
I can’t make them stop calling because they never call from the same number twice and the number that shows on the Caller ID is fake. There’s nothing to report. NOMOROBO dot com has considerably limited the volume of calls, but nothing entirely eliminates them. Somehow, they get your number. When I ask how they got it — assuming there’s someone to ask — inevitably they tell me they got my telephone number from a form I filled out “online.”
Except, I never do that. I rarely fill in forms of any kind — and never ones which require a phone number. I also tell everyone I don’t have a mobile phone.
I actually do have a smart phone. I just don’t use it.
As part of the day’s epiphanies, I realized how technology steals pieces of our lives. There’s nothing wrong with the technology. It is neither good nor bad; it is what it is. It’s what people do with it that’s can be life-stealing. Those People have ruined telephones for me, probably forever.
Unwanted telephone calls may seem a minor detail in view of the many awful things going on in our world these days, but I can remember waiting with pleasant anticipation for the phone to ring. It wasn’t that long ago.
The big story a while back, or at least one of them, was a false missile alert that went out to the people of Hawaii saying a missile strike was imminent.
Not surprisingly, a lot of people freaked out, ran around in circles and hid under their desks. It took about a half hour for news to come out that it was a mistake.
What was also not surprising, at least to me, was how many people ignored the warning. They looked at the alert on their cell phones and went “Nah, gotta be a mistake.” And they were right. It was a mistake. It was supposed to be the weekly testof the EBS, the Emergency Broadcast System. Some poor schlub pressed the wrong button.
And in the poor schlub’s defense, it was easier to do than you might think. The system is on a computer. There’s a pull-down menu that has two selections, right next to one another.
So of course, the computer said, “Are you sure?” and he hit “Yes. “Which is not surprising either. It’s a brain thing. You see what you expect to see. You hear what you expect to hear.
The real question is, what idiot set up that program? For something this important, you should have to at least go to separate screens to for each choice. The back-up responses the computer makes should be a little more robust.
This is how the program should respond to you pressing option 1.
“Are you sure?”
“Are you really sure?”
“Really, really, really sure???”
“You do realize you’re about to scare the shit out of millions of people, right?”
“For Christ’s sake, stop looking at porn on your phone and pay attention to me! You really meant to press option 2, the TEST button, right!?”
The EBS system has been around since 1963. We’ve all grown up listening to weekly tests on the radio and TV.
This isn’t the first time an accidental alert went out and nobody paid much attention to it. When I was in college during the 1970’s I worked at my college radio station, WVHC. Back then we got our news from teletype machines.
When a really important story broke, the machines would start dinging like a slot machine that just hit the million-dollar jackpot. You were supposed to drop everything and run to the machine to see what was going on. I was working one weekend at the station, doing a live show. I was there by myself. Suddenly the teletype machine went crazy. I ran to the machine and read the copy. It was an EBS “White” alert.
What was that?
Well, there were three alerts back then. A “blue alert” was a test of the EBS system. When they sent that out, you had to play the “Blue alert” tape cartridge. It basically said:
“This is a test, and only a test, of the Emergency Broadcast System. In case of a real emergency, you will be informed of where to tune to get more information of the actual emergency. Again, this is only a test.”
Then you would hear an annoying tone that was supposed to activate automated radio stations. Or something like that. I always thought it was just put there to be annoying.
Then you had the “White” alert. This announced some kind of “national emergency”. We never knew exactly what that was.
And then there was the “RED” alert. That was the one where there was an imminent nuclear strike, and we had 15 minutes to kiss our asses goodbye.
I can’t tell you what the “White” and “Red” cartridges said because they were sealed in envelopes above our broadcast console and we were NOT ALLOWED TO EVER OPEN THEM! Unless of course, we got the alert which told us to do so.
So, when the “White” alert came over the wires, I looked at it, and at first, I went “Wow, now I get to hear what the “White” cart says!” And then I went “Nah, someone just hit the wrong button.”
I went back to my show. It became a big story the next day. But not for the reason you’d think. It turns out, nobody paid any attention to the alert! Radio stations all over the country looked at it and they all went “Nah, someone just hit the wrong button.”
The government was very upset. They should have been relieved.
I’ll never forget one day back when I was Program Director for the radio station. I came down to the studio. A freshman was on the air. He’d just finished playing the “Blue” cart. When it was over he looked at me, very seriously, and asked,
“Tom, if there was a nuclear war, do I really have to stay down here and play the Red cart?”
At first I was going to say “Yes, it’s your patriotic duty as dictated by the FCC and God Almighty that you spend your last moments on this planet warning your fellow citizens they’ve got moments to live!” Then I realized he would probably not get the joke. Sometimes my humor is subtle.
Instead, I said “Dude, you do what you gotta do”. He was so relieved. Freshmen are adorable.
I grew up during the height of the cold war. In grade school, we had regular “duck and cover drills”. In some, we would have to duck under our desks when our teacher suddenly yelled “DUCK!”
And at least once a month we all had to leave our classroom, go out into the hall with our coats and sit cross-legged against the wall with our coats over our heads.
We were not allowed to sit next to a window. Why? Well, if you were sitting next to a window when a nuclear bomb went off, the flying glass could put your eye out! I’m not making that up.
I will never forget one day, when I was in sixth grade, we were doing our drill when one of my classmates stood up and started shouting: “What is wrong with all of you? Why are we sitting here with coats over our heads? If a nuclear bomb goes off, we are all going to be vaporized in seconds!! This is stupid!”
And just like that, like the moment when your cousin tells you Santa isn’t real, it dawned on all of us: “Wow, that makes sense.”
Needless to say, much crying, hysteria and gnashing of teeth ensued. The Principal was not amused and tried to suspend the child for pointing out the obvious. Fortunately, she didn’t succeed.
Does the EBS system make any sense?
In the case of nuclear war, not really. Do we really want to spend the last 15 minutes of our lives crapping our pants because we know what’s about to happen? As far as the “White” national emergency alert, there has been one time that it should have been used.
No, not that. I’m referring to September 11th, 2001.
Not one radio or TV station played any kind of alert that day! WTF?
We baby boomers grew up with the potential threat of total nuclear annihilation. It was part of our daily lives. Deep down, we never believed it would happen. Even after the Cuban Missile Crisis, which was the closest mankind came to ending it all, we didn’t believe it could happen.
Lately I’ve been reading posts focusing on how civilization is disintegrating because of technology. How we’ve lost our privacy, obviously because of social networking. The prevalence of fake news on the Internet that so many morons take seriously has had a lethal impact on our lives. We worry that the loss of language and relationship skills by people who living on mobile phones will eliminate intimacy. And finally, my personal favorite paranoid fear, that mobile phones are scrambling everyone’s’ brains and are secretly responsible for the epidemic of worldwide stupidity.
It should only be that simple.
I’m not convinced we had any privacy to lose. Unless you were a recluse alone in a cave, you live with and near other people. Who know all about us. A lot more than we wish they did. You sneeze while your neighbors says “gesundheit.” Have a fight with your spouse and everyone knows every detail the following morning.
Gossip is the meat and potatoes of human relationships. Call it networking or whatever you like: we talk about each other all the time. Privacy is an illusion. It was an illusion a couple of hundred years ago.
The big difference now is you can use your computer or phone to tell total strangers everywhere in the world all your personal business. Be grateful that most of them could care less about you and your personal nonsense.
Revealing everything to everyone is a choice. Voluntary. No one makes you do it, yet so many people feel the need to expose everything. Publicly. We care a lot less about privacy than we say we do. Maybe we want to protect our bank accounts and credit cards, but otherwise? How much do you care who knows what’s going on in your life?
As herd animals, we are nosy. How lucky that knowing our neighbors’ business doesn’t require technology, just eyes and ears. For broadcast purposes, a mouth works as well any other device.
OLD PEOPLE DON’T USE MODERN TECHNOLOGY — NOT
Is technology more important to young people than old people? I am told “we” resist new technology. I recall thinking along the same lines when I was young and stupid. Young people underestimate their elders.
People my age have not rejected technology. Rather, we embrace it with enthusiasm. Technology has impacted us more than any other age group. Computers give us access to the world, let us to remain actively in touch with scattered friends and family. It helps us know what people are thinking. Digital cameras with auto-focus compensate for aging eyes. Miniaturization makes more powerful hearing aids so that people who would be condemned to silence can remain part of the world. Pacemakers prolong life; instrumented surgeries provide solutions to what were insoluble medical problems.
Technology has saved us from early death and from losing touch.
We can watch movies whenever we want. Old ones. New ones. We can see them in on huge screens at home with better sound and cheap snacks … plus a convenient “pause” button. Virtually everyone has a cell phone, use electronic calendars and a wide range of applications to do everything from post-processing photographs to balancing bank accounts. My generation consumes technology voraciously, hungrily.
Unlike our kids, we don’t take it for granted. We didn’t always have it. We remember the old days and despite nostalgic memes, most of us are glad we don’t live there.
We can’t all repair a computer, but neither can the kids. They merely know how to use them. My granddaughter was using a computer when she was three, but she has no idea how it works. Most of her friends are equally ignorant. For them, technology is not a miracle. They don’t need to understand it. They feel about technology the way we felt about electricity. Turn it on.
Does it work? Good.
No? Call the repair person. Or grandma.
CONVERSATION – THE LOST ART
I wonder how kids who don’t have conversations will manage to have relationships. Not that we were perfect, but at least we knew how to talk. The ubiquitous availability of social networking gives kids the illusion of having lots of friends … yet many of them have no real friends.
I don’t want anyone to give up their electronic goodies … but it would be nice if there were more direct communication, human to human. I have watched groups of teens sit around in a room, but instead of talking, they send texts to one another. Yikes.
All of us have gotten a bit lazy about relationships. We send an email when we should pick up the phone. We pick up the phone when we should make a visit. Nothing electronic that can replace a hug. Just a thought to ponder as you enter a new year.
STUPID IS AS STUPID WAS AND EVER WILL BE
Stupid people were always stupid. They always will be. People who believe nonsensical rumors have always existed. And there have always been nonsensical rumors for them to believe. Remember: before we had Internet rumors, we had plenty of regular, old-fashioned rumors. They didn’t travel as fast as they do on the Internet, but they got the job done.
The problem isn’t computers. It’s people.
THE GOOD OLD DAYS WEREN’T SO GREAT
The good old days weren’t all that terrific. There were good things (especially if you were white and well-off), but plenty of bad stuff, too … and we never took care of much of that business.
Ugly stuff. Institutionalized racism. A gap between classes even worse than now. Real oppression of women. If you think we don’t get a fair shake now, you would never have survived growing up in the 1950s. Help wanted ads in newspapers were divided by sex. We had to wear skirts to school, even in the dead of winter.
We’re going through a rough period. I am counting on it coming to a natural end in the foreseeable future — like, during my lifetime. We have a lot of unfinished issues. The wheel has rolled around and now, we ARE going to deal with them.
The basics of human nature hasn’t fundamentally changed. We have a kind of cruel savagery embedded in our DNA. I doubt anything will erase it. Will we evolve to the point where we are truly civilized? I don’t know. I hope so.