Challenges

Screaming through my keyboard

This is a rant.  It is unashamedly a loud complaint.  If your fancy doesn’t run towards vitriol today, I suggest a different bat time and a different bat channel.

I wanted to check my bank balance.  Not a big deal, right?  People do it all the time.  I was doing it from my desktop.  Not a mobile, tablet, gaming station or through the television.  Just a straight up desktop.  Open a browser.  Type in your user name and password.

And then silence.  Not even an error message.  It just sat there.  …   …   …   … for a long time.

I get that websites need maintenance, so I didn’t worry.  I closed the browser, did something else for about 5 minutes and came back.  Same result.  There was an indicator at the top that they had updated their browser experience and would I like to try it?  Oh sure, maybe that will get me in because ALL I WANT TO DO IS CHECK MY BALANCE!

Nope.  Same result.  OK, new website design, probably working the bugs out, so I wait about an hour.  You guessed it.  Didn’t work.

Next step – Contact Us.  Cool, there is a chat function.  I know some of you are thinking, I bet that didn’t work either, but you would be wrong.  A window popped up and a person (or AI), who self-identified as Michelle asked how they could help.  When I described my problem, Michelle said, “Hmmmm.  Maybe try a different browser.  We support all major ones like Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

“Michelle,” says I, “I am using Edge, the default browser with Windows 10.”

“Oh,” says Michelle, “We’re not compatible with Edge yet.”

browser-icons

Back in the day when George (this is a whole different story) was encouraging me to learn HTML so I could write a website which he had volunteered to do, one of the huge checks before publishing was browser compatibility.  The student needed to verify the website was accessible on anyone’s computer before it was any good to either the user or the originating organization.  Check ALL browser compatibility before you publish.

Apparently this mantra has been lost.

Whether students are no longer taught this in the US or in the countries where H-1Bs call home, the problem is huge.  Yes, big organizations generally still do this.  Can you imagine Amazon inserting pop-ups saying, “I see you’re using Safari.  To use our system, please download Firefox.  Amazon does not work with anything but Firefox”?  Yeah, no.  That would hit the Bezos bottom line with a resounding thud.  Money aside, one of the hallmarks of Amazon is their customer service, hence regardless of your browser, unless you’re still using one from the early 1990’s, you can order anything from a pancake spatula to medieval chain mail using whatever browser floats your boat.

My husband and I refer to “just use a different browser” as the phenomenon of lazy developers who check their gmail on their iPhone.  It’s what they do, so of course you do too, right?  No, I don’t.  It makes me irritable that they feel it is their right to dictate how I use my computing power, so I’m going to be hashtag shaming lazy corporations, and I’m going to name names!  For the record, I don’t plan on taking prisoners.

Back to the bank.  When we opened the account I asked if there was a Windows Phone app.  Friendly bank manager didn’t know and also didn’t call to find out.  Nonetheless, we opened the account.  No Windows Phone app, and yes, this was before Windows killed off the phone.  Sigh.  No mobile deposits.  It will be the drive down and deposit scenario.  We got used to it, until today.  What use is a bank that I have to drive down to CHECK MY BALANCE, all because a developer is too lazy to check browser compatability?  Actually its usefulness is diminishing by the second.

Yes, I could load a different browser, but if I do so it will be because I see a need, not because you’re too lazy to write for everyone out there in Browser-land.  Also of note – it will be a very cold day in a very hot place before I purposely put anything Google on my machine.  Yes I realize the irony of WordPress using Google analytics, and me choosing WordPress for this blog.  I did not download it to nestle nefariously in amongst my data however.

Is this bank an isolated incident?  Nope.  Last week I went to reorder my business cards only to have the website have undergone an upgrade, rendering my ability to access my saved designs void or indeed to even start all over.  Again, if I would just use Chrome or Firefox, I wouldn’t have any problems, I was told.  I had to have a nice man on the phone do my order for me at his end.  You begin to wonder, why have a website at all, if this is what a portion of your customers have to do?

For the past year, each time I open a Contact Management email system our neighborhood uses, I am informed that, We see you are using Edge.  We recommend using Chrome or Firefox to be able to have access to all the abilities of this site.  ARGH.  For a year and half it has said that.  Even if they all had a 2 month extended lunch hour, perhaps in a year and a half someone could have gotten around to it.  Note  – we are cancelling our service with them.  I’m sure they’re not quaking in their boots because our $165 will bankrupt them, but if enough people get fed up, it might make an impact.

Because this is ostensibly a food blog, I will post an appropriate recipe here, and begin the list of shame following.  Please feel free to add your own to the list of lazy web designers in the comments section.

I can't be bothered, try eating at McDonalds instead

1 egg

1 piece white bread

1 tsp butter

Boil egg in water to desired doneness.  Put bread in toaster and leave in till desired browness has been achieved.  Spread butter on toast.

Remove shell from egg and smear or slice egg on toast.  Season to taste and enjoy while warm.

#LazyWebsiteDevelopers Hall of Shame

as of date of publishing, to be removed if they get their act together

KeyBank
Constant Contact
123print.com
Nextdoor.com

Challenges

A small stone

Rose and Xubie June 2011I have written about my friend Ava, who raises grass fed beef and lamb.  If you’ve read anything I have written about her, you know that she cares passionately about the health and well being of farmed animals, and runs her ranch firmly on those ideals.

In January a large portion of their livestock was seized and Ava and her partner Ross were charged with animal negligence.  They have not been to trial or had guilt established, but a special prosecutor brought a civil case against them, seeking forfeiture of their animals.

I will let you read about their case in her own words, but know that I am posting this because the implications for Ava’s ranch are dire, but equally important, are the ranches and farms of hundreds of other small agriculture producers.  You see, if any of the specious charges stick (which all the evidence points to them being innocent), case law is established and will affect ranchers both large and small.

Why are they going after Ava?  Because, most importantly, small ranches do not have the financial wherewithal to weather an extended legal battle.  When SmallRanchA throws their hands up and allows for a default judgment, it is a much easier victory than having to go after TexasSizedBeefProducts, Inc, who have legal defense teams and huge budgets.  The default judgment then allows attorneys to go after Bob’sSmallRanch and then Sue’sSmallGoatFarm and Herb’sLambandPorkPlace, using the law obtained because SmallRanchA couldn’t put up an adequate fight.

So is this an isolated incident and Ava is really actually a habitual animal abuser and worthy of 50 lashes and hot boiling oil?  Absolutely not.  This is happening all over the country to small farms and ranches to the extent there is an activist group which has formed to publicize and fight the growing attempts by [insert villain here] to shut down small agriculture.  Farm to Consumer Legal Defense fund (http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/) is involved in thousands of these cases, and I applaud their efforts.  They are able to help, but only so much and only so quickly.

Right now, today, Ava and Ross are waiting on the judge’s decision on the forfeiture hearing.  The judge has indicated they may have to put up a bond for their animals which could be as much as $100,000.  They have already exhausted everything they have to get this far and are urgently asking for help.

Will you be a small stone, helping David to take on Goliath?  Any contributions help.  The pledgie site went up yesterday and there is already over $1500 pledged for their fight.  Will you help?  Anything is appreciated.

Will you also pass this on to your social media contacts?  We need a groundswell of people who value the hard work small farmers and ranchers put in, so our food is wholesome and nourishing.  If there were 100,000 people willing to give $1, the goal would be met.  If they were willing to give $10, we would only need 10,000!  It’s a worthy goal, it’s attainable and it is URGENT.

Read Ava’s story/donate here:  https://pledgie.com/campaigns/29403

Ava’s blog is here: http://raparadiseranch.blogspot.com/  She hasn’t updated it in a couple of years, but it shows her heart and conviction on well raised animals.

You can connect with her on Facebook:  Ava Denton

Alcohol · Beverages · Challenges · Vegetables

Just when you think you’ve got it figured out

burdock rootWe have started getting a farm box.  The boxes come from a farm a small amount of distance from us, who utilize the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) method of providing good food to those interested.  Once a week a “share” of the farm is brought to our drop off point, none of which was selected by me, and let me tell you that has been a fun eye opener!

At the grocery store, I have my tried and true “normal” vegetables and other than the jicama which my grandmother taught me to love, it’s a pretty bland mix.  Enter the mystery box of vegetable goodies.  On at least 2 occasions I have had to call my sister, who has been receiving farm boxes for a couple of years, to describe to her what it was I might be trying to ingest.

“Lynn,” I would ask, “I’m just working on an Asian soup and I started peeling the ginger from the farm box, only it doesn’t smell very gingery.  As a matter of fact, I’m not sure it is ginger.  Any thoughts?” Continue reading “Just when you think you’ve got it figured out”

Challenges · Cheese

If you were stranded on a desert island…

Wallace and Gromit go to the moon for cheese
Cheese, Gromit!

When I was young, I was fairly certain of 2 things:

1. I was really displaced English royalty; someone lost at birth who would be ultimately restored to their rightful place in aristocratic society.

2. I could easily be Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Both of these notions had their roots, of course, in literature.  I was The Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy of Frances Hodgson Burnett  and Laura from the author of the same name.  It’s easy to lose one’s grasp on reality when a good narrative tickles your fancy.  That is the standard for excellent literature – the ability to move you to a different place, time or situation.

As an adult, I think I have given up my hope that I’ll have tea brought to me by servants who curtsey.  Yup, pretty sure I’ve abandoned that notion…..  Sigh, a girl can dream, can’t she?

But as to the Little House in Bellevue, that one remains firm.  Yes, I have  in earlier days raised chickens, my sister made me a bonnet, I drink raw milk and get my meat from a local rancher and doggonit, I’ve fulfilled another LIW (Laura Ingalls Wilder) goal.  I have begun making cheese! Continue reading “If you were stranded on a desert island…”