Going Dark

Just Above Sunset is going dark for now – until there’s a new way to post the columns. That’s it. The technical reasons follow, for the geeks:

The systems issue is that since March 2007, until today, it was possible to compose a long-form essay offline, in Microsoft Word, with the ability to move big chunks of text around, to make things flow logically, and the ability to set font and font-size and font-color in a consistent style and format and all the rest, and then use the Word blog function to transmit the finished column across to WordPress. All that stopped working today, and the WordPress people say it may not work ever again, as Microsoft didn’t keep up their improvements to their system, so the two systems won’t talk to each other anymore.

There’s no obvious workaround. Writing a long and complex essay on the fly in their simple little “add a new post” box is impossible – these things are never written in the fly – and the formatting functions there are limited too. There is manually converting a finished long-form essay into HTML code each evening, and then dropping that into a text box there, but that would be a daunting daily task. This short post was written in HTML of course.

In short, the platform wasn’t designed for the long-form essay. There was a way to post those anyway, and now there’s not – maybe. We’ll see.


About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.
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15 Responses to Going Dark

  1. oh nooooooooo…..where else do you publish? i’ll link up to you there…

  2. Alan says:

    I have no other platform – yet. Working on that now.

  3. smithgrier25 says:

    Say it ain’t so!!!! I get so much information and brain food from your column. Who do we yell at? Microsoft or WordPress? Just because so much of the world wants everything in microbytes doesn’t mean we all do! That’s like saying, well just about everybody likes happy meals so we won’t be offering steak or lobster anymore. Why to I feel like one more system just dumbed down?! I thought longform blogs were supposed to be the wave of the future. This just isn’t fair. Okay. I’m finished venting. For the moment, anyway. Thanks for all your work in the past. It’s been much appreciated.

  4. John Le Pouvoir says:

    Well, hell, that’s too bad. I’ll miss reading your blog while I marinate my brain in coffee most mornings. Keep the pictures coming; I enjoy those, too. Hope to see you in the ‘burgh this Sept.

  5. Joyce says:

    This is such sad news; reading your blog has been one of the highlights of my morning!

  6. Cheryl Askew says:

    I only wish I were a computer geek somewhere that could get you the tools to continue as I really value your discernment of issues we face each day. Please get back to us soon!!!!

  7. Jenny says:

    Short form comment – bummer.

  8. BabaO says:

    I find that I am in a day late with this.
    Your commentary has been both thought-provoking and a source of insight for me. I will miss having it. It is an unhappy day when we learn that some kind of corporate neglect or a planned obsolescence has caused a perfectly good system to wear out(?) and fail, denying readers of more intelligent thought in a few minutes than a TV, generally, provides in weeks.
    I sincerely hope that the problem can be remedied.

  9. Dick Bernard says:

    Smithgrier25 stole my line “say it ain’t so”! I’m glad Joyce weighed in. She is the one who introduced you to me three or four years ago, and in turn she was introduced to you by someone else. And I know you have quite a few “lurkers” because I pass on your work quite often. Thank you.

    Just waking up to see “Just Above Sunset” in my inbox (it usually arrived somewhere around 2 am Central time, and I get up about 5 or so) made the day ahead a good one, regardless of the “daily dismal” which you capsulized so expertly.

    My own blog is on a WordPress platform, so we’re in the same “family”. I write on a Mac with word processing by Microsoft Word, and just a week ago I spent an irritating, aggravating, several hours trying to install the latest Microsoft edition on my computer. So it goes. Right now I’m trying to figure out what to say about Paris…. Trying to do a mini-Alan.

    Good luck with getting back on-line, and enjoy the vacation from your daily exercise in writing the “book” of current events in the world around.

    Thanks for all your good work.

  10. mgwarnken@aol.com says:

    I personally hope you find away to continue. I have enjoyed, and shared, your thoughts, research, analysis and style….whoever you are!

  11. Russell says:

    Trust you will beat the technical problem. If you need some capital — ask. I’ll send some money and I’m sure others will. Your daily work is indispensable.

  12. Alan says:

    The issue isn’t money. Even hiring a super-geek won’t fix this – it’s structural, and a dispute between two corporations. But I think I have a workaround – it will just add an extra hour of work for me each evening, adding formatting code. Over the last few days I’ve built a small HTML library of what I need… I think. I’ll give it a go Sunday evening. But thanks for the offer.

  13. Randy says:

    Crap. You currently put in more effort than most of us deserve. Ultimately I hope you find a solution that reduces your workload instead of increasing it.

  14. Alan says:

    I’m afraid it will be a lot more work, manually coding in HTML – to do what used to be automatic – but I’m retired, I guess I have the time. And I’m a retired Senior Systems manager, my last career of many. So be it.

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