Thursday, April 26, 2012


Blogger, in its wisdom, has seen fit to change the interface for posting. The explanation: the usual blather about "the completely new, streamlined blogging experience that makes it easier for you to find what you need and focus on writing great blog posts." Through unfamiliarity with the new streamlined super-duper 3-D turbocharged look, I found myself unable to make a small change to the sidebar by editing the template, got flustered, and must have made a wrong turn. The old template disappeared in a puff of smoke, leaving what you see now.

As time permits I will see if the old template is recoverable.

Without excusing my own undoubted carelessness, I have to say Blogger's making a tossed salad out of the old familiar way of posting is typical of one of the curses of our age: endless "updating" and "upgrading" to no purpose. Nothing about the cooler-than-cool interface makes posting any easier; as far as I can tell, it's just the same stuff rearranged. You have to waste time figuring it out and developing new habits.

They used to call this "planned obsolescence," a term usually applied to automobile design in the simple old days. What we have now in excess is planned technological obsolescence. Recently my office upgraded to the new version of Word, with the old drop-down menus replaced by a scroll bar at the top and various functions located in different menus. The new Word isn't better; it isn't worse; it's just change. Spare change. Meaningless change.

Things are in the saddle and ride mankind, Emerson said. He would have understood planned technological obsolescence perfectly. The nerdy techno-freaks who keep re-programming stuff get their kicks from the technology as an end in itself. They can't imagine that 95 percent of their customers simply care about the technology as a tool, don't want pointless new features, and particularly resent software revisions that offer no real-world benefit.

If I can't resurrect the old template, I guess I'll have to start with one of Blogger's and tweak it myself (like I did last time). Meanwhile, please forgive this abominable-looking thing.



green mamba said...

As usual, you are eloquent and on the mark. I notice this pointless change on Facebook, which I was once somewhat intrigued by but which now is simply a headache with its constantly changing features and format.

Rick Darby said...

Green Mamba,

Now that Google (which owns Blogger) is a big name on Wall Street, it is developing the typical hardening of the arteries that plagues corporations once the initial spirit of invention wears off. Blogger seems more and more designed to sell advertising on the blogs, as well as trying to appeal to a segment of the public dazzled by technology per se.

I hope to get the previous livery restored, or at least tweak one of their standard templates enough to satisfy my design sense, but what a pain.