Old Dog, New Computer Tricks

In here, anything is possible…

I’m a technophobe. As in, you start talking about computer stuff and my eyes glaze, my heart races, and I start planning my escape. This is not a good thing when you live in a house with technogods who not only get computers, they build them. For fun.

When my daughter was a pre-teen she was bopping around websites and making art on her computer. We’re talking graphic design quality art. When I complained to my husband that she spent too much time on the computer, he assured me she wasn’t wasting time, but learning a valuable skill. I heard that argument again this summer when my son, who is just 14, spent his time building a server. Granted, I have no idea what that really means, but again my husband assured me it was a good thing.

He would know. When he was barely out of elementary school he was taking about apart computers to figure out how they worked and now spends his days coding video games.

That sounds like a special kind of hell to me, but he likes it and it keeps him off the streets and out of bars, so I’m happy.

In fact, I was very happy with my lack of computer skills until that tricksy Melinda VanLone and her devious pal Marcy Kennedy came along one day with a blog post about how we might consider a blog that is self-hosted. Say what? Hosted? Self? As in, ME?

Nope. No way. Not happening.

But those wily women, they put an idea in my mind and I couldn’t shake it. A few weeks later they even went so far as to post a blog giving valuable information on how to make the change. Argh! What were they doing to me? Didn’t they know I’m a complete technophobe? Phrases like, ‘Export your Data’ give me hives. Seriously.

The time had come, I realized, for me to learn a new trick. So I enrolled in a night class at the local community college for web design. Sure, I could’ve taken a one day seminar or even an online class, but for me, the slow and steady approach with hands-on learning is best.

The first night I arrived forty minutes late. I’m rarely late to anything and to be late to a computer class? I was totally freaked out. I had it in my head that class started at 6:30, even though it clearly said 5:30 on my calendar. My inner freaked out goddess was messing with me that night.

Fortunately for me, the only seat available was in the back between the three nicest people I could hope to meet. Pat, Colette, and DeAnna. Not only did they help me catch up, they know computers and have a good understanding of what we’re doing. Score!

The first week we dabbled with html stuff and last week we learned CSS. I’m proud to say I know what CSS stands for, and can even make a web page using it. Cascading Style Sheets in case you were wondering. I would show you the web page, but it, um, sucks. Seriously, it was about bubbles.

What does all this mean for the blog? Well, I’ll be moving soon, for one thing! All you fabulous readers who have subscribed to the blog will hopefully follow me and re-subscribe. I’ll let you know when it gets closer to the date. Am I going to do the new website? Heck no! In fact, the first night we went around the class introducing ourselves ~ I was the only one not taking the class for a graphic arts degree. When I said I was there so that when I had a web designer explaining to me what they were doing to my website I’d understand what the heck they were talking about, the class thought I was joking.

I wasn’t.

I might dabble with web pages, but I’ll leave my website to the professionals. Bubbles, people. It was (is) embarrassing. 😉

What have you learned lately that pushed you out of your comfort zone? Did you read Melinda and Marcy’s post and think moving to a self-hosted sight sounded daunting? Or did you read it and think, heck yes, I’m all over that!? We’re never too old to learn, don’t you think?


45 thoughts on “Old Dog, New Computer Tricks

  1. Yeahhhh!! Good for you darlin’! I think it’s fantastic to push yourself outside the comfort zone and dabble with the bubbles. Ya just never know, right?! And it is nice to have a basic understanding of how the web works, if for nothing else than to know what your designer is talking about. But also…just in case you stretch and expand and dabble a bit yourself. I am not expert either but I like knowing a wee bit and find it always a challenge and amusing to see what I can create.
    Self hosted is fabulous. I loved the post by Marcy and Melinda and think it’s AWESOME you are heading in that direction. I’ll DEFINITELY be subscribing…squeeee….

    • Thanks so much, Natalie! When my blog grows up, I hope it looks as cool as yours. I’m like you, I want to know a wee bit and dabble around, but maybe not take on the whole thing. It does make it easier knowing what people are talking about! Thanks for your continued support, it means the world to me.

    • Thank you, Melinda! Being able to talk to you about it at RWA really set my mind at ease and made the decision that much easier. I’ll never get it as much as you do, but at least I won’t feel like I’m floundering so much.

  2. You rock, Tameri! Awesome to take a risk and try something new, isn’t it? I’ve been self-hosted for just about a year now and I LOVE it. There are a couple things I miss now and again about WP.com (there have been some shiny new free themes that have come out in the last few months that still aren’t available on the self-hosted side), but overall, I love conquering my own little corner of the interwebs. Can’t wait to see the new site once it’s launched!

    • Thanks Lena! Those new, shiny things always get us, don’t they? I wonder if they’ll eventually be available to the self-hosted. Hope so!

      May I just say how gorgeous that new pic of you is? Well, it’s stunning.

  3. Pingback: Feeling slightly homicidal … « Patricia Sands' Blog

  4. How could we possibly consider NOT subscribing? Never, ever, EVER stop learning. It staves off boredom and keeps you feeling young! I think it’s awesome that you took that class! And I agree with your reasoning for it. I had two other websites self-hosted through GoDaddy and Yahoo Site Builder. It was super easy to do and expected wordpress.org to be the same. It’s so NOT! But wordpress is far more professional looking and has so many cool plugins and is better SEO-wise. Just make sure you know how to change your pages yourself so you don’t have to keep going back to your designer. Using a template for WordPress.org makes things a lot easier than building a site from scratch, too. Good luck, have fun , and can’t wait to see it!

    • Aww, you are so amazingly sweet! Thanks for the advice about knowing how to change pages. I think this class is going to give me the confidence to do exactly that. And really, that’s what it’s about ~ confidence. Thanks for all your support, Marcia!

  5. I’ve learned I need to budget extra funds — my computer guys now have their own ‘stash jar’ – I love these guys – they get me out of jams I get myself into. I did have to sign a promissary note that I wouldn’t throw my computer out my office window into the rose garden. The only think that keeps me from doing that very thing is that I have championship roses growing outside my window. I’m thinking about moving them to a safer location!

    • I love it! A stash jar for your computer guys. I’m lucky enough to live with two and their fees are relatively inexpensive. Cookies, pizza, maybe a nice back rub.

      Don’t move the roses! Championship roses, that sounds lovely ~ and like something I’d never, ever have. I don’t mean to, but I kill things. 😦

  6. I am learning every day! Last night I created some artwork in Paint for a contest!
    I hope you will continue to cross post here since I rarely subscribe to comments on .org sites because of the volume of email and I will miss our exchanges!

    • Oh is THAT what it is? I was just thinking what a pain it was again today that in order to subscribe to comments on some blogs, I have to approve them in my email account, then close out the new page, etc… I suppose it shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but it just seems like I do a lot of clicking some days. 🙂

      • One of my kids or me? Bwahahahahaaa! Maybe one of the kids, but not me for sure.

        I think I was told that it’s a setting the blogger has on their blog that makes it like that. It drives me absolutely nutty that I have to confirm comments. Then, when the blogger does reply, it doesn’t say who they are replying to, so if they don’t put my name in the reply, I have no idea it’s for me. That is definitely something I’ll be making certain doesn’t happen on the new site. I want it to be user friendly and not make you jump through ANY hoops to leave comments.

        Debra ~ that’s what I get from Coleen’s too. It’s a different format than WP.com’s, but at least it’s easy.

  7. Nope. I’m staying in my luddite cave growling and snarling at anything technical. My excuse?
    I’m writing and that comes before everything else. Except for family and sleep and chocolate and wine and…

    Great post!

    • Love it! Your luddite cave growling and snarling. Writing must come first! Since I’m lucky enough to stay home all day, I like the break this gives me. It’s nice to step outside my comfort zone to learn something new and relax my mind from writing.

      Ah, chocolate. Now that sounds delicious right now. I think I’ll make a cup of tea and grab a few pieces of dark chocolate. Excellent idea, CC!

  8. Good for you for stepping out of your techno-phone comfort zone, Tameri. That’s a huge accomplishment, as is recognizing your preference to leave hosting to the pros.

    I learn tech stuff on a need-to-know basis. As long as there are nifty hosts out there, I won’t become one. 😉 Your experience reminded me of my learning to swim (float and clumsy doggie paddle, really) in my mid-twenties. I learned that I can face my fear and achieve the seemingly impossible, but I have no desire to swim on.

    • Thanks August! I think having the techies surrounding me in the house makes it easier and harder to step out of my comfort zone. On the one hand, they are there to help if I have questions, but on the other hand, it’s just so easy to ask them to do it for me. Taking this class is empowering me to take some of the responsibility for my work and I love that. It’s also another way to be creative, which I also love.

      I would never have thought you a fearful swimmer. You have such an elegance and grace about you, I would’ve pegged you for a natural swimmer. I remember when you mentioned it at RWA I was surprised, but am happy to know that you at least are comfortable enough in the water to dog paddle. Having been a lifeguard for several years, water safety is high on my list. Too often it’s people’s fear of water that makes them drown. I wonder what else that is true of? Hmmm, this sounds like fodder for one of your awesome blog posts!

  9. “How could we possibly consider NOT subscribing?” Exactly Marcia!

    I am standing and applauding you Tameri! Wahoo girl! You can do this!
    I have been self-hosted since I started and love it! So much easier for everyone.

    “What have you learned lately that pushed you out of your comfort zone?”
    I am currently developing a commercial website. I have become a web-site designer. Who’d of thunk it, but it’s true.

    So congrats to you Tameri! Let us know when you move. And thanks for staying in touch! 🙂

    • Aww, you are so awesome, Karen! Whoa, you are a web site designer now? That’s great. Any sites you want to link to in case people are looking for a designer? Promote yourself! Congratulations on taking that leap and doing something unexpected.

  10. As a “techie girl” I am standing in awe of you, Tameri!! I have never — seriously, not even once — considered designing my own website because I get frustrated on the programming side. That being said, in today’s world, you really need to know some basic HTML as an author. I’m going to have to break down and learn it soon.

    I’m completely impressed and cannot wait to see what you cook up next!

    • Wow, thank you, Jenny! I look to you as one of the techie rockstars in my circle of friends. It’s actually way easier than I thought it would be. Probably because it’s very logical and that soothes the Spock in my. As wacky and spastic as I might be, I also have an orderly streak to me. Who knew, right? 😉

      I bet you would rock out awesome websites! Jus’ sayin’.

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you! And thanks for the mention on your blog today! I’m so proud of you for buckling down with revisions. I’m still a technophobe, but I’m tackling this phobia one code at a time. 🙂

    • Thank you, Emma! You know, when I started this blogging journey over a year ago, I never thought I’d meet so many wonderful people like you. It’s something I’m grateful for every single day.

      • I’m grateful for that too. It’s like an online family. My friends in “real life” don’t really get the whole blogging and writing thing at times, so it’s great to be able to talk to others who understand.

  11. You lost me at technophobe. I read that and went – huh? I am all that and more. I just didn’t know I was. See, I learned something.

    Whatever the question is, the answer is no. If it involves me doing something on a computer, the answer is no. If it involves changing what I already know about computers, then no. I just figured out how to blog. Actually, I just learned what a blog is. I’m still not sure I’m doing it right. Or why. But I’m doing it.

    Kudos to you though! Get out there and learn something. If nothing else you met some really nice people.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Hahaha! Too funny Patricia. You are where I was a few years ago. Literally. My husband wanted to buy me a new laptop and I said nope, I know this laptop and don’t want to learn anything new. So what did he do? Got himself a new laptop and gave me his old one. A Mac. I was a PC girl. Argh! I had to learn everything and it drove me nuts, but now I love my Mac. A little too much. Take it all in baby steps. Once you’re comfortable with your blog, maybe then learn something new. I still hyperventilate a little when someone sends me a Word doc and the stupid error message pops up on my screen. Then I take a deep breath and remember how to save it as a Pages file and it’s all good. Until the next time.

  12. I would be sooo lost in that class. LOL I’m proud of you girl. I will be calling my techie know-it gal if I have issues. You know I’ll follow you. 😀 Promise to follow me when I move? I have a date set for late October (I think). Just remember, I usually follow via RSS.

    • No way! You’d totally know what they’re talking about. I always thought you were a techie girl, too. I don’t even know what that RSS thing means, but I’ll figure it out soon enough. And yes! I will absolutely follow you. To the ends of the earth if needs be.

  13. I am so proud of you. Those nasty ladies sucked me in too but time was/is of the essence so I hired Steena Holmes to do it and I’m paying WP to move my stuff to the new site. the funny thing for me was that I paid for the site and then WP told me that I hadn’t signed up yet. so I called godaddy.com (my host) and asked what was going on. apparently paypal had remitted the payment to the host site on another account (I am the treasurer for my chapter and they use godaddy). So I had to work with them to get the finances straightened out. and me, an accountant in another life. go figure. they handled the techie stuff beautifully well and the financial stuff too, once we figured out what was wrong.

    so I had a laugh although it was midnight. but it’s done for now. good for you Tameri. I’m proud of you

    • Steena’s awesome and a good one to hire. I love what she did with Marcia Richard’s blog and can’t wait to see your new place!

      I’m so glad the finances got worked out. That would’ve made me a little nutsy since I’m not a good negotiator/dealer with conflict type person.

      Thank you so much for you kind words and your support. Always.

  14. Everybody knows you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. As probably the oldest dog among wanabloggers, that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. I have learned to make phone calls on my smart phone, though, and if you give me enough time I can even text on it.

    • I read your post and laughed, David. I felt like that when I got my new iPhone, but now I’m lost without it. That was weird about the battery, though. We have ‘dead’ spots in our house where the battery will drain to nothing in a matter of minutes. Again, weird. You might be the papa of the wanabloggers, but you have much to teach us, wise one.

  15. Tameri I’m so impressed that you took a class! I am not so techy, I tend to ask my husband to do that stuff. He usually wants to show me how to do it, but the problem is I seem unable to remember this kind of information. I mean I have to read the instruction booklet for my photo scanner every single time I use it! And I definitely didn’t know what CSS meant, still doesn’t make sense now that I know. 🙂

    • I always ask my husband and he almost always says, ‘It’s easy, you just…’ and that’s where I stop him. If I’ve learned anything from living with him, it’s that it might be easy for him, but it’s a foreign language to me. Any sentence that starts, ‘You just…’ means it’s going to take a diagram and four notepads to take notes on how to do it! I know what CSS means, but have no idea what it MEANS. If you know what I mean. 😉

  16. Tameri, you are awesome. I’m so impressed that you actually enrolled in a computer class. I just switched to self-hosting website and I am learning all the ropes. It’s a slow process and it takes up way too much of my time (read: writing time!), but it’s also fun.
    As soon as you are moved to the new website I will re-subscribe for sure.

    • Thanks Angela! Your new site is gorgeous! It is a slow process, that’s why I thought I’d get it all started now before I need it. That way I’m not jumping through a dozen hoops at the same time. Oh, wait. That’s already what we do, isn’t it? 😉

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