Sunday, December 23, 2007

Luddism

It's the time of year when one tries to deal with unfinished business. Do nasty little jobs one has been putting off. Starting with a clean slate looks so good.

One thing I have been putting off is updating the website. Just before I went to Morocco I tried to post an ad which Mellel had taken out in n+1; Dreamweaver claimed that I had no home page specified but it was not clear what it wanted in the way of a home page so I sent Johanna a 5am e-mail asking if she could upload the attached image instead. She was able to do this, but the page did not make clear that the book had not been published, simply excerpted in n+1, so I got lots of e-mails from people keen to buy the book. So here was this bit of unfinished business, cleaning up the website so that the homepage made it clear &c &c.

I kept putting this off. Today I told myself not to be an idiot. Don't be a coward. Just do it. Do it. COME on.

So I opened Dreamweaver and opened the relevant page. Placing and formatting the bit of text which was to link to n+1 was actually MORE fiddly than my worst fears, which is saying something, but after about 4 hours of trying things out, checking them in the browers and trying again there was something that looked good on all browsers. Good. So I copied the updated page to the server, and on typing in helendewitt.com got a page which had a menu and the instruction: n+1. Submit Query. No picture. Bad news.

I tinkered with the page but got nowhere. Best just to leave it, perhaps? I clicked on a menu item and got a 404 message, Page Not Found. So now the whole website was down. Johanna is once again having a look at its directories. Update, Johanna has restored it to its former state. And we will meet and clean up directories. Poor tired head. Try to be sane.

2 comments:

Jenny Davidson said...

Oh dear, you are reminding me of a whole host (no pun intended) of stressful things I have been putting off also. I got a domain name in June, and a Myspace page for my new novel, thinking it would be plenty of time to worry about what to do with 'em, only now it's 6 months later and I haven't done a thing except pay money for hosting I'm not using! ARGHH! Not to mention more pressingly I have failed to set up my new computer (thus laboring in computerless work office for about 5 months now) or to submit any of the thousands of dollars of expense receipts that I can legitimately get reimbursed for in REAL ACTUAL MONEY THAT I CAN SPEND! Oh dear, now I am going to have a minor nervous breakdown--this does not even include the massive amount of grading that I must more urgently finish in next 36 hrs! STRESS!!! Hang in there, anyway, we are all in more or less the same boat I expect...

Ithaca said...

jd, yes, always horrible to have a hosting service one is not using. one worries about getting locked in with a website that doesn't do the job. I was trying to find out whether Movable Type would make life easier, since they claim to offer WYSIWYG website builders, but I couldn't get it installed on my server without an upgrade and there was no guarantee that MT would actually be better.

The website I've ended up with has been much more trouble than the results justify, but it would really have been better to have anything at all in place early on. That probably isn't as true for you, because people have ways of contacting you (through the blog, through Columbia) that do not depend on the efficiency of your publisher. I found that journalists had tried to reach me and been told to get lost by my publishers; if I had had a website (or blog) up and running my publishers wouldn't have had that power.

Hope you survived the grading. If you do have thousands of dollars in unclaimed expenses I do hope you can bite the bullet and do the paperwork.