X is for Xtra, Xtra – read all about it!


XThis is the newz according to Julz!

Readers of this blog may have noticed I have a campaigning streak – I’m not sure what you think about it, but its in my genes!  When I was doing blogging101 in January, we were asked to pick a prompt, and write a post around it.

I chose “Never Surrender, and I wrote about my Dad.  You are welcome to click on the link and read it.  At the time I was feeling a little awkward about publishing a series of posts about the “cock ups” the Royal Mail were, and still are, making – and wasn’t sure whether I should keep them up.  Writing that post convinced me I should, however silly it made me look – smile.

I thought I would use this last week of the A-Z Challenge to write an update of the results – or not – of my little personal campaigns.

me messing around with a picture of postboxes

messing around with a picture of modern postboxes

I am vehemently against the privatisation of Royal Mail – as are may other people who rely on it.  Shares were offered at the end of 2013 and the price was far too low, which resulted in the ‘company’ ending up in the hand of the money men, who are simply interested in reselling them for a quick profit,  and not interested in providing a good service for their customers!

The public service had served us well since 1840, when the first postage stamps were issued – costing just one penny.  They are worth a lot more now!

Privatisation and the need to make a profit, has resulted in the loss of previously stable jobs, and a very unhappy staff.  Worse, the people now running it, have never worked within the system, but have been drafted in from other industries, so they know nothing about its traditions and how to make workable changes.  They have messed around with the pricing structure for the last couple of years, and made major mistakes.

close up of notice - last collection on saturday - 7 am, weekdays - 9 am!

close up of notice – last collection on saturday – 7 am, weekdays – 9 am!

It was a silly thing that got me started on this complaint!

I went to my nearest post box, to post some small orders, one Saturday morning at around 8 am, only to find that, without prior warning, there was a notice saying that the only collection on Saturdays would be at 7 am – ie I’d missed it!  Saturday collections have been at noon for EVER!

Worse, as I was on my way to Asda, and passed another post box, I stopped to look at the notice there, and it still said 12 noon, and the post box at Asda said 9.15am!  Even the guy who runs the local Post Office knew nothing about the change when I asked him!

There followed a series of encounters with Head Office, who were as obfuscating as they could be, and with the local Sorting Office, where I got laughed at.

Even sillier, I finally found out that the notices had been put up but the changes hadn’t happened yet!  

You can follow the series of posts I wrote HERE if you can be bothered to – its a long read – smile. (You will have to scroll down to the bottom to see the first one, and then scroll upwards for the next instalment!

Although nothing specific came out of the fuss I made, a new sticker is to be seen on all the local post boxes, giving the phone number for any queries the public would like to make about collections etc.  I was very heartened to hear a whole section on complaints from all around the country about the change in collection times from rural postboxes,   on Radio 4’s programme, You & Yours, this week.  Whether much will happen after that exposure remains to be seen.

I still don’t know for sure when the collections are, and whether the changes have yet been put into effect- I wonder if they’d tell me if I phoned up the number on the sticker!

cropped-3vert-dry-stone-wall-version-2.jpg In January, I also wrote a post about the new VAT MOSS scheme, which seems to have been introduced to force large companies, like Amazon, to pay their fair share of tax, but is instead making it more difficult for small businesses, and especially craftspeople, to trade.  There have been various petitions, to the European Union, whose legislation this is, and to member country parliaments, but as far as I can tell, no one has done anything to change the scheme.  My plan to open a separate shop on etsy selling digital downloads of my old photographs is still on hold.

the large bin was replaced by the small bin

the large bin was replaced by the small bin

In February, the local council came and changed our large wheelie bins for small ones, apparently in an effort to get us to recycle more.

I was curious as to how much the new bins had cost and whether the old bins had been usefully recycled, so I asked them.

I did eventually get some answers, but did not pursue the issue to the bitter end – it was enough to be able to show that people all over the world had read my blogs about this.

The Council Officials were prepared for some criticism on this policy, but they do not yet have a culture of recognising that freedom of information means transparency and accountability.  It would be nice if they got into the habit or publishing information like this without having to be cajoled into doing so!

Still they have come a long way from the petty officialdom that WAS once the prevailing culture – and unfortunately still is in many parts  of the world.  If I lived in India, China or Russia, to name but a few of the countries that abound with petty corruption – I might have found myself in prison just for asking those questions, or at the very least, would think nothing of having to pay a bribe to a local official to get my rubbish collected at all!

You can read the sequence of posts here.

photo of Matt Mullenweg, taken in 2014 (found on his website)

photo of Matt Mullenweg, taken in 2014 (found on his website)

My most recent campaign has stalled.

Ironically, its about WordPress and the changes they have made, and they seem to be the least open to discussion – or, if you like, on a par with the Royal Mail!

It would seem that Matt, who is a co-founder of WordPress thought it would be nice to be able to post short blogs from his mobile, so he wrote a program for it.

He thinks we all should use it – whether we are posting from our computers, i-pads or phones – but it doesn’t work!  I call it Edit Lite. See my postTest on Chrome“.

I spend a great deal of time formatting my posts, so that they are readable, and was finding that when I went back to edit them, the formatting got screwed up.

I was most upset to find this had happened to the last post of the Big Bin Swap series – see above – just at the time I had sent out invitations to the ‘Big Wigs’ from all the Local Councils to read it!

I have fixed it now, so the only thing wrong with it is that a paragraph in the middle has been squashed up.  I purposely haven’t been back to do that on the ‘Test on Chrome’.

I have tried contacting Matt – but he’s unreachable.  I put up a couple of posts, trying to get his attention – see “Message to Matt – 1 & 2“, but answer was there none, not even thro’ the very helpful Happiness Engineer – still makes me laugh, that title!

What she has told me is that they haven’t been able to fix it yet!  Edit Lite is the culprit, and we are being steered towards using it, whether we have up-to-date mobile phones or not!  I’m one of those who doesn’t!

The Classic Editor is now almost impossible to find.  However, I have followed the advice the ‘HE’ gave me, and returned to the Blog Post Page every time, religiously, where Classic Editor can be found by clicking “Add New” at the top of the page, and if I want to edit a post, I do it in that page – and have not had any real problems since!

I am steering well clear of any contact with Edit Lite – it has caused me too much grief!

I am not the only one who has had problems with this, and there are various forums and groups out there that I found when I was trying to get answers, who are extremely angry about the changes that are being made.

AND – it occurs to me that WordPress, of all organisations, should be listening to their customers, and be concerned about how the platform they provide performs.

The internets’ greatest strength is that it allows FREE SPEECH, and has been an important tool for the implementation of those ideals – its a shame to find WordPress, inadvertently perhaps,  acting in a similar fashion to those old fashioned, all powerful dictators!



12 responses »

  1. Pingback: A-Z Challenge – Reflections on the Experience | julz crafts

  2. Sounds like Blogger. I hate it when people start messing with things that work just fine.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Join us on May 4 with your post of Reflections about this year’s A to Z.
    Tossing It Out


    • hmm – are they messing around with Blogspot too? It’s amazingly difficult to work out how to leave a comment on yours & other sites, as they are so different from wordpress – takes about 3 refreshes to see whether its there or not – smile – especially as I don’t DO twitter/facebook etc! Surprised you saw mine – not many people, on any platform bothered to reply when I visited them, and as far as I can see, not many people visited me just out of nosiness or as an A_Zer.

      Not sure I want to write you a feedback post – but I will say, that this challenge has got too big to be manageable, and does not seem to have been a lot of fun for everyone – I found it a strain at times, and I think every day is unrealistic, unless you have nothing else to do – but as the alphabet is so visible, its difficult to drop out with dignity.

      Have been looking at some of the list today, to find that many people on it stopped along the way, and instead of going back to their usual blogging patterns – have not written anything since – as its so obvious that G has not followed F. As I have said in some of my comments – some things about this exercise have surprised me, and some I even found very useful – but unless you just want to use the Challenge flippantly, and have a months worth of asides – its very hard work – and I need to get on with the rest of my life now. Smile – ie – if you are going to continue with this next year – please rethink your aims – OK?


      • I’m not sure what you mean by “rethinking our aims”, but hopefully we will keep this going again next year. I’m somewhat surprised about your conclusions about the Challenge as I’ve seen a much different side of it. I see bloggers who are thrilled with the event and find it very helpful to them.

        Of course every year there are the drop outs and the naysayers, but A to Z is a Challenge that separates the can do bloggers from the incapables or the don’t wanna do it crowd. It’s kind of like the casual neighborhood jogger entering a marathon. Some can, some can’t, and some don’t care to mess with it.

        I mostly find the Challenge hard work from the co-host standpoint of having to maintain a tremendously ineffective Linky list system but that’s an issue that I’ve yet to solve. Otherwise the Challenge is as easy or as difficult as you want to make it. The content part is not that insurmountable especially for anyone who blogs or has ever blogged on a daily basis. The networking is the biggest Challenge, but that’s a personal thing that people must come to terms with individually.

        I’d love to hear a more detailed explanation from you on the pluses and minuses or whatever about the Challenge. You have made inference of some problems from your viewpoint and I’d love to hear more.

        In any case I commend you for finishing and thank you for your thoughts here.

        Arlee Bird
        A to Z Challenge Co-host
        Join us on May 4 with your post of Reflections about this year’s A to Z.
        Tossing It Out


        • Arlee – I don’t blame you for wanting to defend your Challenge to the nth degree – I didn’t say it wasn’t a revealing experience – but that your aims are no longer working – except it seems for one of them – “A to Z is a Challenge that separates the can do bloggers from the incapables or the don’t wanna do it crowd”.

          There is nothing in my book that says there is any need to separate bloggers into those kind of categories – and – I care about those who found they couldn’t do it, and instead of going back to their normal subjects – seem to have felt like failures and not known how to retrieve their dignity – so have abandoned their blogs altogether. I skipped thro’ the first hundred or so posts, and found at least 3 or 4 who hadn’t got past F, and had not written a thing since – which anyway, shouldn’t have happened, because your ‘surveillance’ system, should had taken them off the list.

          At the top of this post, I mentioned the blog I wrote about my father – “Never Surrender“ – have just learnt how to put a link into a comment – so there you are, you are still pushing – smile – If you read that post you will see how I interpreted it – and why my list of campaigns is not what you may think they are about – smile.


  3. I’m also not a fan of the new editor (or the new stats page!), but I’ve found it easy to get to the classic versions – you just have to go to your “word press admin” page. It’ll be “your website.com/wp-admin”. Of course, rather than a workaround, it would be nice if we could just choose one or the other!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I just asked that we were given the choice, not have “Edit Lite” thrust on us – it would be easy enuf – but no reply to that one!


  4. Sometimes it pays to rant – and sometimes not Julz. Hope you get some results! I’m with you on that mail problem. I guess I have an up-to-date phone because WP works well on my phone – as long as I can keep it out of the toilet! 😉 Elle


  5. You are a campaigner! It’s ironic that the large bin was changed to a small one to encourage recycling. Here in Virginia, we started with small bins that didn’t hold much. As a result, I recycled mostly newspapers. When the city went to the large bin, we increased our recycling by a gazillion percent, I’m sure.
    ~Visiting from AtoZ


    • In this case, the bins are used for general waste, and the plastic bags for recycling – thus the thinking was that if you couldn’t fit all your waste in the smaller bin, you’d have to recycle the rest! Still no idea if it works, I haven’t made any changes, but then, as I said in the original post, the chickens eat the food scraps, other waste goes on the compost heap, and papers get burnt on the fire – that way you cn be certain that no one is going to rummage thro your bin and find you bank account details – smile!


  6. Pingback: X is for – Xtra, Xtra – read all about it! | the spare

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