Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blogger Is as Blogger Does

Man, for some reason, I thought moving the Rambler from one location to the other on my site would be easy. I probably should have taken a clue from what Google has chosen to name the process and specific software package they've come up with to make it all go - 'migration.' That's kind of a loaded term, don't you think? I mean, if it calls to mind flying thousands of miles a year just to get away from a little cold weather or if it makes you think of piling all of your belongings on a rickety mule-driven cart to escape the pogroms, there's really no usage of the word 'migration' that doesn't sound like a huge, peril-fraught pain in the ass.

Even given that Google's 'Migration Tool' leaves premonitions of the Rambler stuck in a muddy ditch on the side of a Siberian meadow, I went to take the plunge today. Of course, I immediately did something wrong (in fact, I'm kind of wondering now if this entry is going to publish!) - and it's only partly Google's 'fault.' As my understanding of just what a 'CNAME' is and what it does expands; it's a subdomain on the main site. And I thought that StartLogic (my host) set it up for me. And it does exist! But... the next step in the process is telling the subdomain to redirect to some Google something or other, and for that, I need to know which DNS numbers to enter for the main domain, and...

Uch. More and more, I'm thinking that I just want to use this opportunity to switch to WordPress. I'll still have to set up the CNAME and add a dedicated database, but I'm just getting super, super tired of Google's half-assed technical notes for all of this. Regular readers of the Rambler - if there are any of you left out there - are no doubt familiar with my growing general bad feeling about Google as a corporate entity. Even putting aside their questionable moral grounding, they'll always look poor in my eyes for the shambles that is their technical support. Look: it's fine that there's no-one to speak to, or no-one to email. I get it; you're giving the stuff away, so you don't feel the need to spend any money on helping morons use it. And I'd be fine with that if Google's technical notes and support sections for their various applications weren't such a labyrinthine tangle of recursive impenetrability. Where their help sections aren't under-informative, they're overwritten and poorly organized.

Case in point: the 'help center' for the FTP Migration Tool is some dude's blog. Written in first person, and only seemingly in answer to specific problems as they crop up. Nowhere is there even a simple, easy to navigate FAQ. The best they have on that front is a video showing the Migration Tool in action, narrated by the same dude, which makes it all seem sweet and straightforward but really glosses over some major technical details - such as how to set about getting Google to find the new subdomain once you've set it up.

As you can tell, I could seriously go on and on about this issue. And it'd be one thing if I'd just used Blogger for the Rambler, but over the years, I've used it for a lot of functions - always using the FTP publishing tool, of course - and now I have to go back to all of those sites and deal with the fallout from this.

I'm doing my first WordPress experiment with one such instance, the blog for Noah's site. Based on how that turns out, we'll see how I feel about just throwing the Rambler that way, as well. Stay tuned.


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