January 19, 2006

Retardcapades, or, meddling with technology

Pourquoi le fuck has my blog all of a sudden changed to not show any entries on the main page? I tried to fix it and ended up having to restore all the default templates (I think), and it's still doing it. Something is strange.

This is what happens whenever I start trying to meddle with technology I don't fundamentally understand. There seems to be some basic problem, but since I don't understand what the problem is, I don't know how to target that specific problem in my meddling when I try to "fix" it. The end result is that I end up doing stuff that's the computerary equivalent of unplugging the DVD player, changing which cords are plugged into which holes, then replugging it and turning it back on and beating it with a wrench while alternately pressing "play" and "stop," all because it made a funny noise at some point. It's evidently not the way to fix the original problem, and it makes for a big fat host of other problems along the way.

For better or worse, though I have no concept of how various technologies work, I do have pretty elephantlike memory, so I can usually figure out exactly what I've already fucked with. This means that when "fix" A doesn't work, I know not to repeat that, so I keep trying to tinker with other variables and combinations of variables until I've made a big mess, at which point the only way to fix the whole thing seems to be the old beating-with-a-wrench-and-pressing-buttons approach, or, god forbid, asking for help.

Though it looks like there's shit-all going on on the main page, my approach might actually make my blog interesting to watch, if you agree with my context-specific meaning of "watch." I don't mean checking in periodically to see if I've actually chronicled some new moronic escapade or other. I mean hitting it at the right time to watch me try to "improve" something. If you catch it right, and refresh about every three minutes over an hour-and-a-half period, you can watch a lot of things change color and size, everything become invisible, half of the page temporarily return, the whole thing break, everything come back in a different form, break again, and then finally resolve into a half-working configuration that will limp along until the next time I decide something needs my intervention. It's fun.

Posted by katie at January 19, 2006 04:09 PM | TrackBack

Okay, well, goddamnit, now it's showing this entry. WTF, indeed.

Posted by: katie at January 19, 2006 04:25 PM

Sadly, I didn't tune in to see any of the wacky page layout hijinks. But I suspect I know what the problem is. If, under Weblog Config and then under Preferences, you have it set up to display, say, the last 7 days' worth of entries, if you haven't posted any entries in the last 7 days your front page will be blank. You can remedy this either by increasing the number of days or simply having it display a constant number of entries.

For a constant number of entries, try the following: go to Templates, and your Main Index, and scroll down the gibberish until you see the words 'div class="blog"'.

The next thing after that will probably be a tag in pointy brackets saying 'MTEntries'. If so, then instead of 'MTEntries' make it say 'MTEntries lastn="4"' between the pointy brackets. Just don't, in the process, delete the next tag that says '$MTEntryTrackbackData$'.

That should give you a front page that displays the last 4 entries regardless of how old they are. You can use whatever the hell number you want, of course.

Aaaand if this is something which you've already done, it didn't work, and I'm beating you over the head with elementaries instead of helping, the standard number of apologies applies.

Posted by: Dianna at January 19, 2006 06:00 PM

Jeez. Sorry. I should have said I suspect I know what the problems, plural, are. One is the above-described fix for your page. The other is your brain, which is wired for Literary Gibberish instead of Technological Gibberish. P, I'm afraid, EBKAC.

Posted by: Dianna at January 19, 2006 06:10 PM

Ya, Dianna's right. Your last post was on the 11th and it's now the 19th.

Posted by: gene at January 19, 2006 06:34 PM

so it's like watching paint dry, grass grow, but slower!

hey yr back on lj, c'est bon!

Posted by: Leigh Leigh at January 20, 2006 04:05 AM

Thanks for advice, Di and Gene. I must still be screwing something up though. I had originally found some instructions to that effect in the MT help pages, and tried it w/ no results. Just tried again with lastn="2", "4", and "17", variously, again with nothing. That's OK. I've decided that if it's going to go by the last 7 days and I don't like a blank main page, it'll just force me to update. Now I'm on to a new problem, which is probably so easy that it takes a serious troglodyte not to know.

How on earth do I set up links to other sites from my page? I am totally missing something, and since as it has been observed, I am back on LJ strictly for the purpose of keeping up on YOOOOUR blog, Miss Leigh, I want to have a fancy little link to it.

God, I am not made for this technological stuff. And what on earth is PEBKAC? Perennial Enmity Between Katie And Computers?

Posted by: katie at January 21, 2006 05:35 PM

You know, I like that one. It's pretty accurate and captures the mutual nature of the problem in a way not covered by what I was thinking of, which is the not-too-original Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair. Or possibly KEBKAC,HTP: Katie Exists Between Keyboard And Chair, Hence The Problem.

Links are also in your Main Index template. Open it up and scroll way down until you see (imagine pointy brackets instead of single quotes):
'div class="sidetitle"'
'div class="side"'

Whatever you put immediately after that will show up as a link. You know the HTML for a link already, I believe. Anywhere you'd like a carriage return (like between links or after the title), just put in a tag that says 'br'. After the last link, make sure you've got a '/div' before it goes on to say div class again (they put it in automatically, I think) and you should be all set.

I'm relishing being tech support (if you can't tell), because this is the one context in which I can actually do so. Usually it's me wailing for help or sulking while someone else does it for me.

Posted by: Dianna at January 21, 2006 09:24 PM

I love sulking while someone else does it for me.

No, really. It's one of my favorite modes of getting something done. Or, rather, it's one of my favorite modes of something being caused to be done, albeit not by me (the passive voice wasn't adequate there, so I had to resort to the passive-aggressive voice).

Posted by: katie at January 22, 2006 01:35 PM