Friday, April 24, 2009

Should have at least bought myself dinner first

As anyone familiar with this blog knows, I am not really computer-savvy. I'm not technically "afraid" or "intimidated" by computers and technology, I just want them to work -- properly -- without problem or complication or glitch. Ever. Because I can sail along fine for months on end and as long as things are working, I'm happy. But the minute there's a hint of a trace of a problem with anything tech-related, the minute my computer does not do what it is supposed to (and normally, what it's been doing just fine for years) I flail about and moan and whine and wail like a two-year old in dire need of a nap. It's not pretty, just ask Blaine, the unfortunate soul who usually bears the brunt of my tantrum frustration.

I started Kendrie's Caringbridge site in November of 2003, so about five and a half years ago. I started this Not Quite blog in December of 2006, and have been slowly (v....e....r....y....) slowly trying to get all the old CB entries copied and pasted over, so that everything is in one place -- a process I find tedious and boring and slow and dull as anything and well, you get the picture. Which is probably why I haven't made more progress.

For a brief period, I was all raz-matazz with borders and graphics and music on the site, but over the years, as I've gotten lazy streamlined my style, the only thing I've continued to share are photos. I should probably be more internet safety-conscious about putting so many pictures of my kids online -- isn't this the very thing Oprah preached against recently? And goodness knows I've listed our last name enough that it's way too late to go back now and try and pretend to be all anonymous ... plus, to be honest, I don't have the creativity or energy to think up cutesy little online nicknames for my family members. We are who we are, and I put us out there, names and photos and all.

Anyway, blah blah. What was my point?

Oh, yeah. I share photos because I like to. I like seeing them on other people's sites, and as long as I continue to feel comfortable with it, I plan to continue sharing them here. I love that some of you feel like you're watching my kids grow up and are kind enough to care about my kids, even online.

I've been using a Yahoo Geocities site for the entire five and a half years, primarily problem free, to store my pictures and link them to my blog. I pay a small fee per month for "x" amount of data storage and "x" amount of data transfer usage and for the most part, once I figured out the process, it's been great. First I download my pictures from my camera to my computer, then I have to use my photo editing program to resize them to fit the blog. Then I use the Geocities Easy Upload program to get the photos to my Geocities storage site, then I use an html code-link-whatever-you-call-it to place the photos in my blog. There's no doubt an easier way to accomplish this, but after so many years, I have it pretty streamlined, it doesn't take too long, and I am content with the process.

Or should I say, WAS content.

(yeah, that's right. another long, tedious post where I bitch and moan about computers and computer service technicians and life in general ....humor me, please)

The only problem I have is sometimes I go over my allotted amount of data transfer usage each month, depending on how many hits my site gets, and how many photo-heavy entries I post. When that happens, all my pictures turn to little red x's until the month resets itself. It's annoying, nothing more, but when I got notice last night that I was fixing to exceed my limit -- again -- I thought perhaps it was time to finally do something about it. So I followed the Yahoo prompts to "buy more data transfer" ...... and signed up for their web host program, which provides unlimited data storage and unlimited data transfer. Sweet, huh?

Um, no.

I went into my Geocities account this morning to make sure it had been credited the additional amounts (because Lord knows they charged my credit card immediately for the entire year) and it hadn't. So I called their sales department, which promptly transferred me to the tech support department, where I had an estimated hold time of 34 minutes, and would I like to push "1" for a call back from the next available representative, why yes I would, thank you very much.

And when he called back, the conversation went a little something like this:

Yahoo Customer Service Tech Support Guy (heretofore known as YCSTSG): "Hello, how may I help you?"

Kristie (heretofore known as person who should leave well enough alone when it comes to her computer): "Yes, I have a question about a web hosting upgrade I purchased last night ...."

YCSTSG: "Yes, go ahead ..."

K: "OK, so. I have a Geocities Plus account that works great, but I was exceeding my data transfer usage on a regular basis, so last night I followed the prompts to get unlimited usage by upgrading. But when I checked my Geocities account just now, it's still showing I'm about to exceed my limit. Why wasn't my account credited?"

YCSTSG: "That's because your new upgrade site, with unlimited storage and unlimited transfer -- congratulations, that's awesome! -- is separate from your Geocities account. In fact, we've phased out the free Geocities accounts, so this is definitely the way to go."

K: "But my Geocities account wasn't free, it was a paid service. I don't want to *change* it, I just want to expand it."

YCSTSG: "I'm sorry, that's not an option. You have a new site now and will need to store your photos there."

K: "Ok, so what about the two freaking THOUSAND pictures I have stored at my old Geocities site? What happens to them?"

YCSTSG: "Well, eventually, they'll disappear. So I recommend transferring them all to your new site."

K: "Hmmmm. OK, let me think this through for a minute, since I'm not really as tech-savvy as you ...."

YCSTSG (appreciative chuckle)

K: "If I transfer the photos to a new site, the url for each picture will be different, no?"

YCSTSG: "Yes, but you have UNLIMITED storage so it doesn't matter!"

K: "But! It DOES matter! Because if each of these two thousand photos is coded or embedded or whatever you call it in my personal blog with a url link to the OLD site, won't every photo in my blog disappear when the address changes? Turn into a little red x permanently?"

YCSTSG: "Well, yes, there is a chance that will happen. Or you could just go back and change the addresses in your old blog entries."

K: (starting to feel a bit of panic now) "No, that's not an option. There are two thousand of them --- I can't possibly go back through five YEARS worth of entries, line by line, changing url addresses for two thousand pictures ..... "

YCSTSG: "May I access your Geocities account?"

K: "Of couse."

YCSTSG: "It looks here like there are only 1,756 files, so not quite 2,000 ..... plus there is a chance the old address might still work after you transfer them over, if your new account links to your old account. That seems to happen sometimes."

K: "So technically not 2,000 EXACTLY, thank you Mr. Less Than More Than, but still. I'm not doing it, or taking the chance they won't transfer over. Cancel my upgrade, please, and leave me at my old level of usage. I'll just risk going over sometimes."

YCSTSG: "Weeeeeelllll, here's the problem. Once you've upgraded, if you decide to cancel and go back, you'll only get the Geocities Free version, and your pictures will be gone."

K: "But I didn't have the free version, I had a paid version."

YCSTSG: "Yes, but you'd have to go back to free, then start over with a different upgrade, and none of your photos would be saved."

K (seriously, getting panicked right about now): "But they're right there, I can still see them in my account!"

YCSTSG: "Yes, but if I cancel your web host upgrade, you will lose everything."

K: "So let me make sure I'm understanding this. Because I upgraded and got a new site, none of my old addresses are any good anymore, and *possibly* my photo-links, all 1,756 of them, will no longer work. But if I *cancel* that upgrade, which I ONLY bought in an effort to fix this minor problem, I definitely lose all my photos, am I understanding this right? I will lose FIVE AND A HALF YEARS WORTH OF PHOTOS, ARE YOU KIDDING ME????!!!!"

YCSTSG, finally beginning to see the light: "Yes, I see what you're saying, but that's right."

K (near hysteria): "And so now the only way to fix my NEW problem, which, again, I only have because I was attempting to correct a teeny tiny minor problem, why the hell couldn't I leave well enough alone, is to transfer my photos to my new site and then manually change 2,000 addresses, one at a time???? Is that what you're saying to me???? So basically I just screwed myself, didn't I? I tried to do a simple, good thing, and buy a little more transfer, and it completely backfired and now THERE'S NO WAY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH TO SIMPLY REWIND AND GO BACK TO THE WAY THINGS WERE?!?!?!?!?!"

YCSTSG: "Um, well, that's correct. But the good news is you have unlimited storage and usage now!"

At which point, I am embarrassed to say, I burst into tears on the phone and the poor man had to wait for me to compose myself, tissues and nose-blowing and all.

He tried to reassure me that because my photos were still showing up yesterday, even after my new site was up and running, that was a good sign that maybe they did actually link over (although he made no promises what might happen come the end of the month when my old account expires ....) Then he tried to walk me through downloading a free file transfer program so I could easily transfer the photos over -- but it didn't work. So while he was on the phone with me, I searched high and low to disable my firewall, hoping that was why it didn't work. And then even after I disabled my firewall the file transfer program STILL wouldn't work --- and at this point I had been on the phone for over half an hour, and I started crying again.

Because, DUDE. I realize this blog, and Kendrie's Caringbridge site, aren't exactly Noble Prize worthy literature. I acknowledge they're not going to set the world on fire, and that starving tree monkeys in the freaking rain forest could care less .... But they're MINE. And I'm conceited enough to be proud of them, and vain enough to acknowledge that throughout the past five and a half years, I have spent a LOT of time uploading, resizing, uploading again, and linking all 1,756 photos, to share with everyone who so kindly comes here to read.


Of course I wouldn't lose the photos themselves, I have everything backed up on CD. But anyone clicking ANY previous journal entry, beginning from day one in November, 2003, until yesterday, including ME, will not see a single picture, unless his "maybe, hopefully they'll link over" prediction comes true. I feel as if one of the most important aspects of the blog (or at least one of the parts that is the most special to me) the photo-journey of Kendrie through her leukemia treatment, and the photos chronicling of the past five years of my children's childhood, will be ..... gone, just gone. The entire blog will be ruined, in my eyes, with those photos gone.

So then I started crying a little more.

First it was that quiet, frustrated, suffering in silence kind of crying so the person on the other end of the phone doesn't know. But he was asking me questions, about did I have another firewall, and had I considered just starting over with a new blog, and how really, the unlimited storage and transfer was great, and maybe it wouldn't be as bad as I thought .... Honestly, I couldn't even answer him I was so upset. So then he thought I must have hung up (or perhaps laid the phone down in order to go somewhere and slit my damn wrists) and he was all, "Hello, hello? Are you there?!?!"

Ultimately, he felt sorry for my sniveling self, because I could NOT get the transfer program to work, no matter how many different things he told me to try, so he offered to do the entire thing for me remotely, right then and there. So I let him, even though it took another half an hour on the phone. Also, knowing full well that although having the photos on the new site is a step in the right direction, it's still not going to alleviate the problem when the old site is shut down and none of the addresses work anymore.

And I'm sorry this is so technical and boring to anyone who doesn't understand what I'm talking about, although really, those people probably quit reading thirty minutes ago because seriously, nobody gives a shit except me, so if you're still reading this AT ALL, thank you for indulging my techno freak out temper tantrum.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go look at those pictures of Brayden some more. Because I have a sinking feeling they will vanish when my month is over, along with every other picture I've ever put on this blog.

Then I'm going to go pout about it some more.

Computers suck.

The end.


Love Being a Nonny said...

Oh, I don't even know what to say. Call back and talk to like a manager or the owner or SOMEONE who can fix this. RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!

Lucy and Ethel said...

I'm so sorry about this mess!!! I could easily replace your name with mine, not only because I've found myself in similar tech-savvy-NOT situations on more than one occasion (when the VERY simple 'upgrade' ended up requiring a mammoth, tedious fix... if I was lucky), but also because I have panicked over losing pictures, especially the few decent ones we were able to get of our baby before he earned his wings.

Saving stuff to CDs doesn't bring a lot of relief to me because I remember when supposedly good (NEW) zip disks with tons of valuable info refused to be 'recognized' at whim. I now have so many backup CDs of stuff categorized in different ways, I'll never find anything, but at least it's saved. I think.

The anxiety over what will happen to the pictures when May arrives will dwarf anything Y2K provoked! And this SEEMS like such a relatively easy thing for a tech pro to fix. Somehow. GRRRR....

Prayers for angel intervention are headed your way!!!


The Foster Home said...

I feel your pain, and I have a computer geek, uh, I mean computer whiz for a husband and he doesn't even want to look a computer when he gets home. So I am with you on hating computers =)

Andee said...

I would be freaking out too! I also love to look back on older posts of my girls and see how much they have grown, changed, etc. You could go and print up each page and bind it? Then you'd have all the pictures?

All I can say is good luck!

Anonymous said...

Praying they "link" kinda sounds IVF'ISH right?

The Running Girl said...

I hope you get it all figured out. I'd be frustrated as well.

kd said...

I can feel your agony, and I don't even keep a blog, or scrapbook, or even a half-ass cheap photo album (loser-mom). I only finished the first kid's baby album and I still want to cry with you. Call back and talk to a manager - there's got to be some way to get around it. I can't believe it's that cut and dry. Good luck!!!

Jane Copes (Professor Sepoc) said...

Oh, and I just had a happy few minutes yesterday looking at lots of your photos. They really made me happy, and I have never MET you!

Kendrie's CaringBridge site got me through many dark days in my own tour through Leukemia Land (diagnosis 5/03, bone marrow transplant 8/04) and beyond. This community is incredibly important to me, and tech folks just don't get that if they think it is all about URLs and FTPs and BVDs.

Hope it all works out. Jane

Gram said...

I know that computers are supposed to be wonderful tools that make our lifes easier and for the most part that is true, but I have never completely trusted them...which is why I have hard copies of almost everything that is stored in my computer, so if I misplace something - I know it will turn up sooner than later.

sportzmom said...

I would be freaking out too! If you have another couple hours to spare, you might try calling back to speak with another tech. There has to be a way to make it work...Good luck!

jean said...

I'm sorry for your frustration - I would be right there with you. Could you pay a high school or college computer geek (that really likes this computer/blog stuff and UNDERSTANDS it) to transfer and re-link all of your photos (all "not quite 2000" of them)? Just an idea...

Dianna in Louisiana said...

Ughh.... Uggghhhh.. UGGGGHHHHHH!!!
That stinks Kristie! Hope you get it taken care of.

Stefunkc said...

I started out reading this and laughing but the farther I got...I started crying right along with you. If you think there's anything that Shawn could do I would gladly send him over free of charge. I lost about 2,000 (maybe not exactly) pictures when an external hard drive crashed and I feel your pain.

Anonymous said...

Oh Kristie -

What a drag! I understand your frustration. It seems like there has to be something that can be done. I will keep my fingers crossed that at the end of the day - the link will continue to work.


Anonymous said...

Oh Kristie -

What a drag! I understand your frustration. It seems like there has to be something that can be done. I will keep my fingers crossed that at the end of the day - the link will continue to work.


leeanne said...

Wow Kristie. That is just messed up and wrong! Seriously?? In this techno world we live in, this really happens??? I'm thinking maybe he doesnt know what the hell he's talking about. Probably new at the job and blah, blah, blah. (I'm relating this to our phone calls to Windstream internet tech support. Exact same problem ALL the time and different answers or 'solutions' every single time!!Oh, and btw, I HATE Windstream!!) I'd call back and try to get the tech support manager or someone like that. Good luck!!
P.S.I'll keep reading no matter what, cuz I love your blog and the way you write!!!

Anonymous said...

Totally frustrating!

Diane in Cincinnati

Alisa said...

yuck- hmmm- maybe you should have a cupcake. They make things all better.
Really- I hope that the transfer goes better than expected. I agree, all this technology drives me crazy!

Trish in Leesburg, VA said...

I think I would still be crying if that happened to me! I live in fear that my photo albums on facebook and myspace will disappear along with the blogs on myspace. :(

nfarbotko said...

I'm a long time reader/lurker and I wanted to let you know that there is a website where you can publish your blog into a book. I publish mine yearly in case of something like this. It was only $35 for mine, but I only do a year at a time. If you want me to look up the name of the site when I get home from work, shoot me an email through my profile!

René S said...

Of course we're still reading. I always wonder where common sense went in business today. Why doesn't the tech person who WROTE this new program realize the problem this COULD cause and figure out a way to solve that problem before anyone experiences it? Isn't that why computer people earn the big bucks? And, why is it unpredictable that some people's files transfer but there is not a guarantee. Isnt' this a COMPUTER! I mean, it doesn't have feelings about the pictures, so there must be some code or protocol some where telling it what to do! REALLY! Basically, I"m sorry. It stinks. I love seeing your pictures. Having just started a blog in the past year - though I've found it hard to maintain - I'm wondering why you used an external site intead of the option through blogger to upload pics. No comfort to you, I know, but I'm wondering if I've missed something obvious about the blogger pics. I hope you have a great weekend with pictures that continue to appear!

Pam D said...

I'm sorry, Kristie. Seems like everything is changing (like, email accounts?), and I know that panicked feeling of losing everything, be it pictures, email address book, etc. I would definitely call back and try to get someone else before you accept what the first guy said as solid truth. I've gotten great techs that really know what they're talking about, and others that blow smoke. Verify what he told you before you hit total panic mode. I truly hope he was wrong and that it will all work out.

Becky Smith said...

I SO understand your panicked feelings.

On my blog too, pictures are incredibly precious and like you, I spend ridiculous amounts of time taking the shot, editing the shot, uploading the shot, arranging the shot; in fact, getting pictures to the blog is the next thing to having a full time job.

I can't emphasize how strongly I feel your pain. And I'm not saying that lightly. I REALLY do.

And I love your writing. And your pictures.

So go have some chocolate.

Even though you're supposed to be on a diet.

Here's wishing for you picture miracles!


Cathy said...

Very frustrating and sad. You have every right to vent about it.

Anonymous said...

OH, you are right, computers do suck...I really hope that everything stays just as you want it to...both our computers are very old and I fear on the verge of their very own melt down so my free time is spent backing up everything I was too lazy to do from the beginning in an effort to save some of our pictures/work!! Feeling your pain.
Good Luck.

Kris said...

Oh that is frustrating indeed. I am tech savvy and that would just drive me bonkers. The good news is you shouldn't have to change the code for those almost-2,000 links one by one. If you keep the same file structure for your photos you should be able to do a global search and replace on the geocite specific info and replace it with the new yahoo information. For example, say your old photos are linked like so 'http://geociteurl/oldsite/photos/family' you can do a search for 'geociteurl/oldsite/' and a replace it with 'yahoourl/newsite/'. As long as you keep the same folder structure in the new place as the old place, ie, this part: 'photos/family' you'll be golden. Does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

I was just getting ready to post the same thing, but Kris beat me to it.

When the pictures are transferred from the old site to the new, is the info at the end of the url string the same? If so, a global replace is the way to go.

If you are confused about how to do this, you can email me at

Deb in Largo

Anonymous said...

I don't even know how to hook up my camera to my computer to do that switchy-over thing....that is why I have teenagers.

But I do recall a couple of years ago crying to the dumba$$ at Comcast that could not decipher my bill that had been wrong for over 4 months. Frustration....

I know someone out there will be able to help you. They can send a man to the moon but.... :o)


Mamasita said...

Oh honey, I am so sorry. I would have been crying too.

Good luck. We will all pray to they cyber gods on the last day of the month.

Renee said...

I kept reading and I feel sick for you.

Anonymous said...

My husband who got his MBA with a specialty in IT, HATES computers and thinks they are the doom of society b/c we rely on them so much (me included!). I am with you on hating computers. Luckily I take so few "good" pictures that I still print out all the ones that I like and put them in slip photo albums. At least I have "those" without needing a "compatibile" device to look at them. All I need is eyes and yep, I still know how to make those work! The thousands of other photos we try to back up but we are like other people here, and we hope we can get them back if ever needed, one day. UGH, why is it so complicated???

Claire in tX

Cate said...

That just sucks.

Anonymous said...

major suckage.

debbie said...

I've loved seeing all 1756 photos and hope all works out well. I, too, have cried on the phone dealing with computer stuff (and IRS stuff, banking stuff, family stuff, well you get the drift) Good luck,
Debbie E
Peachtree City GA

Amy said...

You have every right to cry, pout and rant. Geocities must be run by the same folks who own my cell phone account. Anytime I make a modification, I'm suddenly sucked into a black hole in which I have another 2 year commitment and there is no going back.

jojo said...

OMG, I haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about but I am so sorry to hear it. Take care...;D

Anonymous said...

Oh no! That totally sucks and I simply cannot believe it cannot be fixed. What the heck?

Aviva said...

Oh noooooooo!

I feel for you. I don't have any suggestions, but I feel for you.

Anonymous said...

I'm SO sorry you have to go through this mess. There's GOT to be an answer out there. When we were building our house the last thing we had money for was to develop rolls and rolls of film (this was 10 years ago), so I saved them up in a gallon-size Ziplocc bag. I had 38 rolls of film in there. (Just had to be technical, in case Mr. More-Than-Less-Than would read this and argue that I didn't quite have 40 rolls.) Wouldn't you know it, that bag of film apparently got tossed and there's this big gap in the captured moments of my kids' lives. They were two and five at the time, and I'm still sad about it.

Surely God knows something about computers. I'll talk to Him about your issue.

Claire in Indiana

Helen said... I think that is the site the other person was referring to. I haven't used it yet, but plan to do it this year.

Anonymous said...

I most definitely feel your pain. a family friend of ours left us with a completely wiped out computer that would no longer work except to play solitaire games. Lost thousands of pictures and papers. And all he was to be doing was adding extra memory to our computer...yeah...

Anonymous said... know I feel your pain! You have heard a tantrum or fifty from me over computer woes and I am so less technosavy than you. Sounds like that searchythingy is a great idea...or Jean's hiring yourself a teen (or training your pre-teen)! But if you are like don't want solutions, you just want it fixed, right now, because it should work because you did the right thing, and for us to tell you that computers suck! Sollutions are for another day (post tantrum)! xo Kim

Kelly (MN) said...

that totally sucks!!! i would feel the exact same way as you do!!! and how can he be "possibly, maybe, they might transfer..." oh thats reassuring! ahhh... i hate things like this.

theothermother said...

If he was a really good guy and properly sympathetic, he'd come to your house and sit at your computer for a month or ten and fix it for you.

Five hears ago, everything you said would have gone over my computer-illiterate head, but now I get it and I would have been wailing so I totally commiserate.

Lea White said...

Oh wow, that is just so frustrating! We upload our photos in blogger by simply clicking on the little icon that allows you to add images and I understand that it automatically uploads it to Picasa - so we don't have to paste URLs and stuff like that and have never had to purchase extra storage (okay maybe I don't quite have 2,000 photos on our blog - don't actually know).

It is scary to think that things can just disappear like that.

Lea White

Katie said...

Oh I'd be beyond upset by that... if anything ever happened to Hunter's CB site I'd be devastated. Hm... thinking now I should copy it all and back it up somehow too. How are you doing that??

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

Oh, I want to cry for you! How awful!