Tech Problems

I’ve spent most of another day trying to get my WordPress websites migrated to another host. I like these kind of computer challenges. There is something satisfying about using technology at a deeper level than the common point and click (referred to by computer geeks and techno nerds as ”grunt and click”).

On the other hand for those like myself who like to peek under the hood, but who are not full-time web masters, systems administrators, or database admins, sometimes the trial and error nature of computer problem solving seems very grunt and click. This is the nature of computer science. There are many variables, any one of which can pose downstream bugs and problems.

I realize that the world of computers is a pseudo-world of pseudo-perfection for me. 

What do I mean?

Just this: In the real world, or RL (short for Real Life), messiness and imperfection is the rule. Orderliness, predictability, and precision control is the exception. Many things are broken, or at least seem to be so. I almost sunk into a state of nihilism over this reality as a much younger man because at heart, I am an idealist. This world is not a kind place to be one of those. Nothing is ideal in RL. 

So, years ago, I turned to computers to fulfill my craving for utopian idealism. My first Macs for Dummies Book by David Pogue was a marvel. I was amazed at the simplicity of the original mac operating system. This was back in the days of system 7 on a Performa 538 machine. I liked that in the computer environment, I could use my pointing device, the mouse, to select a digital object and then I could ”act” on it. Noun > Verb. Object>Action. Very, very satisfying. So, to make a word or a block of text bold, I simply selected it, then, once selected performed the bold action either by selecting that action from within the Edit menu, or soon with keystrokes.

Wouldn’t life be grand if everything was Noun>Verb? Or, perhaps not.

 It wasn’t long before I got into world-builder games like Civilization or Age of Empires, or Sim City. Computer worlds where I can be god and create the exact world, empire, or city that I want. And basically, things just work. Those kinds of games, especially if they involve a hint of historicity and a tech tree to learn and climb are my kind of digital heroin.

That craving for a niche of perfection is why I enjoy just messing with computers physically, too. I’ve installed RAM, hard drives, swapped out video cards, and all sorts of things like that. When you’re done, it’s almost as satisfying as when I was a remodeling contractor.

And of course I’ve obsessed over computer games, scripting, programming, database design, and all the other ways I’ve wasted copious amounts of time in front of a keyboard. I’ll let you in on an embarrassing secret: I played the online game Forge of Empires so long (and so well), that I achieved the 3rd place ranking on the US server. And friends, that really is embarrassing.

Many people play video games because they are more interesting than their real lives. They can achieve more, do more, be rewarded more. At least in the midst of it, the obsession to create the perfect computer world feels that way. 

Of course, that’s not true at all, once you step away from the screen. Still, computers are supposed to work. Software is supposed to be an emotionally rewarding experience precisely because of its  predictability. When it doesn’t work, it is frustrating!

For me, a computer problem is like a grain of sand in my brain. I can tolerate all kinds of imperfections and messiness and brokenness in RL, but if my websites won’t load, or if I keep getting a glitchy Reminder notification, or anything like that, I hate it! In the overall scheme of things it’s no biggie. But computers are supposed to be a corner of life that works predictably, that I can control, and that responds to my inputs for the results that I desire. 

It’s the only part of life where I don’t feel too silly to indulge my idealism. So, c’mon tech support get my sites up and running so I don’t lose that, too. 

I just fixed the problem! Thank you Google. Thank you WordPress support forums. Thank you God for giving me a mind to be able to pick up a problem and look at it, and manipulate it like a Rubik’s Cube until I can find a way to fix it. After hours on the phone with half a dozen professional techs, I found a way to use cPanel and phpMyadmin to manually disable plugins, locate the MySQL server IP address, edit my wp-config.php file, and voilá!

…and I’m able to keep my blog posting streak going! Feels good. As close to ideal as this RL gets.

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