Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 117 – How to Build Your Website without Hate, Violence or Weeping

Typical web developer
I learned something very valuable about website building over the last two days working on my website. It’s something that I have heard from “web developers” over the years but never paid much attention to because, well, we all know those kinds of guys. You know, I.T. guys, a.k.a., nerds, geeks and D&D players. Why would I pay attention to them?

But, now I AM them. Yes, the D&D part already happened back in 1979, but the web developer part was only a maybe, a possibility, even though I’d begun trying to build my own site. But now it’s official. I am one of them. Here’s why:


Now, you may be asking yourself:

1) Why does he hate I.E.?


2) What does that have to do with being a “web developer” and all that other stuff?

The answer to number 2 is number 1. Every web developer I know hates Internet Explorer. But I did not hate it, and therefore I could not be considered a web developer. But they hate it. All of them. And I never knew why. I used to hear them rail against it, talk about how awful it is, but to me it always just sounded like they were just being little butt-hurt whiners. “It works fine for me,” I would say to them when they tried to get me to switch from I.E. to Firefox or Chrome. “I don’t need to learn new stuff. I can open any website just fine with I.E.” And I could.

But they always insisted it sucks anyway. Argued against the logic of my own perception. Now I know why. Internet Explorer DOESN’T work with everything. And while it might open pretty close to 100% of the websites you try to visit, it sucks serious ass if you are trying to DEVELOP A WEBSITE.

So here’s what happened. I was trying to get the Facebook “Like” button to work on my web page. Everyone has that button on their site, so, being the sheep that I am, I want one on my site too.


Well, I couldn’t make it work. I tried. Lots of stuff. Several times. I went and got these things called “plug ins.” Not the stupid ones that gullible people buy to “deodorize” their homes. No, I mean the plug ins you can stick into a website (the Romulan part of it nobody understands) that will then make the website do stuff, or at least, that’s what they are supposed to do. They call them “plug ins” because of how easy it sounds to do, you know? Plug in. How hard is it to just “plug in” something, right? A monkey can do it.

No monkey.
Where was a monkey when I needed one?

Needless to say, I had to do it myself. I went through a bunch of these plug ins trying to get one that worked. I searched online. I did my research, read lots of boring-ass crap I hate. Found a “good” one. Watched the torturous “how to” videos for it. Went and dug out my passwords to all my various Internet gates and control panels that give me access to stuff they really shouldn’t actually let me mess with, and, after a lot of time and frustration… nothing. It didn’t work. So I tried another. Still failed. So I tried a third.


One of them put a big giant ass button on some of the pages, but that was all sideways and jacked up, jutting into the sidebar conspicuously. Nothing I could do fixed it, and despite searching for forty-five minutes, I couldn’t find any help on any forums anywhere.

Another one that I tried seemed to work. It looked funny, not like I wanted, but at least it was on there, so I almost thought I was okay. But when I tried to test it, to do a “share” on Facebook so you all could see the rapturous wit of my test post… I got gobbledygook on my actual Facebook wall. It didn’t share the post; it shared some funky chunks of code with margin settings and weird numbers. Pretty awesome, eh? Don’t you want to see scrolls of HTML numbers and Romulan language on your Facebook every time I post a new blog article? I know you do. (I can hear all the “unlike” clicks now.)

So anyway, I tried others that didn’t work too. It was annoying and pissed me off. I actually quit trying for three weeks. I tried to beg one of the guys from work to go look, a real Romulan, but Romulans are a snippy bunch, and they don’t like humans trying to mess with their secrets, so everyone blew me off. Bastards. (Yes, that means you Tomalak J. Stevens!!!)
Tomalak J. Stevens
But I showed them. I figured out why nothing was working. They spilled the secret themselves unknowingly, and it turns out that Internet Explorer is like Romulan kryptonite. And, actually, I have this blog to thank in part for the discovery.

A number of you (along with me too) have complained that you can’t post comments to this blog sometimes as “yourself” using the Google account—you get forced into a log-in screen that doesn’t work, and you end up using “anonymous” instead of your actual Google user profile. I know I had that problem, and I could never respond as “me.” At least not from home. I thought maybe it was because I had logged in from work and not officially “logged out” when I shut down my computer. So I tried logging out from work the next day, came home and tried again. Nothing. That’s when I realized, I use Firefox at work (because that’s what the work Romulans tell you to do). So, I tried posting again, this time on Firefox, and it worked. WOOT, problem solved.

In fact, switching to Firefox also fixed some problems I’ve been having with the “reply” button not working for Cris Ortega’s emails. I had been assuming it had something to do with her Spanish email client clashing with my American one or something. But when I tried it with Firefox, it worked just fine.

SO, realizing that I.E. is giving me trouble on so many fronts,, I decided to try one of those Like button plug ins that wasn’t working for me again, this time in Firefox. Poof, it worked. Where on I.E. I couldn’t get the second and third tabs to open in the plug in console, with Firefox, they all opened just fine. Click. Click. And the next thing you know, I had a Facebook Like button on my stuff.

So, now you know. If you want to build a website without hate, violence or weeping, don’t try to do any of it using I.E.

(website is at if you didn't know. Be patient though, if you go, it's still a work in progress.)


  1. The only way I'll ever be able to build a website without hate, violence, or weeping is to let my husband (the Romulan) do it. Otherwise, I'm screwed. I have to give you tons of credit though. You're a braver man than I. Of course, I'm a woman, but that's not really the point.

    Good job! Heading to your site now. Hoping I can like it without any problems.

  2. I came, I saw, I clicked the like button. Woo hoo!

  3. OMG your sketches are so funny!!! I had to shove a pillow in my mouth to keep from waking hubby with my raucous laughter. (Note to self: Don't read John's blog in bed).

    I've had my domain name parked at GoDaddy for-freakin'-ever. I know I need to build a website, but I just can't face it. I've already exceeded my frustration quota for the year trying to format "Enchantment" for print. So for now, Blogger will have to suffice.

  4. MoTown, you're lucky to have your very own pet Romulan. Most of us do not have that luxury (is it a luxury? I hear Romulans are more cranky than Vulcans, though not so bad as Klingons... all of whom can make websites though).

    LOL @ yourself, Jim Bonfield.

    Charolotte, while you may not have a pet Romulan like Motown, nor even a pet monkey, don't let my whining scare you off. It's really not that hard, and I do have to embellish these things to make them humorous. Occasionally frustrating, yes, it is, but all in all not too bad. Honestly the hardest part was thinking there should be MORE I have to do, so I kept being sure I had to be missing something, when I wasn't.

    (OMG, so I went to enter this comment in using I.E., yes, old habits die hard, and it wouldn't take, so I copied my comment, fired up Firefox and pasted it in... THE SPELL CHECKER EVEN WORKS IN THE COMMENT BOX. Jeeze, I didn't even KNOW there was a spell checker in the comment box using I.E. Just... wow.)

  5. Sorry to hear creating your website was so...strenuous. I am now one of your devoted camp followers, but when I tried to insert a picture in the designated face frame thingie, all I could find were some herbs from RIFT. Alas. Acorns and trees. Perhaps Lauren fell farther from the trunk and can set me up?

  6. Don't use Internet Explorer to leave comments. Use a different browser. LOL. Google "Firefox" or "Chrome" and use that. I.E. sucks (see my last comment, and this article itself really). Ur having the same problem I did I bet.

  7. lol!!!!

    I used to own a PC equipped with Internet Explorer. I had to debug the damned thing constantly, even with all the latest antivirus software installed, and every so often it would just upchuck and die for no apparent reason. The sidebar was also filled with crap that could not be removed even by MIT graduates, no matter what.

    So the man who keeps me around for reasons I still don't understand bought me a Mac, and I can't even get Internet Explorer if I want it anymore. Which I don't.

    It's true what they say: Once you go Mac, you never go back.

    I'm working on my future website now. For real... So my confidence is due to completely evaporate at any moment, and I really appreciate your example and your willingness to tell the truth about the process.

    BTW, awesome 'like' button!

  8. Well, I'm officially pissed off-well, confused, since I left a message earlier and the powers-that-be chose not to publish it. SOBs!
    What my pointless point was that all the books in your theme here have no titles on their spines, and I find that disturbing. Or is there something else going on?
    Paranoid in Peroria

  9. Hi Pam. I keep hearing that Mac love thing. I'm still not convinced. Heard a few people hating on the Mac decision, and hackers have discovered they exist, so the fairytale would probably officially end the moment I jumped on that band wagon. Or, that's what I tell myself to avoid having to learn something new. lol. As far as the telling the truth thing: why not, right? No reason to pretend I know wtf I'm doing, I suspect anyone who knows what to look for would see right through it anyway.

    Laurel, you weren't posting on I.E. were you? lol. As for the books, well, to me they look like a bunch of 70's era paperbacks, so probably 1/2 or more are touchy feely stuff that would probably irritate me if I knew what they really were lol. Once I get the book launched, I think I'm going to move out of this office and just blog on my website anyway. The comments functionality of this platform is pretty damn clunky anyway. All my books will have a title on them anyway :) (and a price lolol).