Category Archives: wordpress matters

julzcraftstore.com – a quick update…

Standard

blackshopcardFor those of you who seem to be checking this blog out on a regular basis, to see when the new website will be live – I can only apologise!

Well, I did say it would take some time to get THE STORE up and running!  And its certainly taking a lot of time!  I never realised it was going to be so complicated, and as I am not a ‘techie’, its been a slow learning curve.

I just thought I could follow the instructions and then it would take some time to enter the 100+ listings for the stock I have in my living room!  However – its not quite that easy, and it turns out that I have been spoilt by the large selling sites that I have been using up to now.

Ebay and Etsy have a very comprehensive system for costing reasonably accurate postal rates – or shipping costs – as others call them, and I thought I could do better than them!

iu

It turns out to be a very complicated matter, because there are 4 shipping zones to cover, all of which have different tariffs for weight and size, and even if I put in the weight and dimensions of each item, it still wouldn’t give me an accurate price per parcel!  I have done a lot of research on this, even spoken to Royal Mail themselves – and nowhere in their repertoire is there any help for websites to set up their pricing system.  The Business Section, which will happily link in with ebay to offer you cheaper postage – had never heard of a ‘plug-in’ for small businesses, and were utterly unhelpful!

When I contacted various other UK businesses and asked them how they had sorted out the problem, most of them said, they didn’t know, because they had employed a specialist to do their website – I’D NEVER EVEN CONSIDERED DOING THAT!

Having bought from various sites over the years, it seemed the best compromise would be to set flat rates for each shipping zone for the moment, and I even had trouble working out how to do that!  There are some +ve’s and -ve’s about using flat rates, and it would certainly put some of you off if I charged you parcel rate for an item that can be posted in letter form – so – head’s up for my readers – if you contact me before you put in your order for a small, flat item – like a badge or small signs etc – I will agree to refund you the extra postage that the system will charge – because I can’t find a way to be able to offer TWO FLAT RATES at the moment, and nor can the ‘Happiness Engineers’ at WordPress!

iuI aim to post WORLDWIDE, on the same basis, until I can come up with a better solution!

That said – there are a few more things I need to iron out before julzcraftstore.com – julz craft supplies – THE STORE – will go live – but it shouldn’t take too long now – cross fingers!

I hope some of you will come and visit when it does!

website black-julzlogo

 

Newz from Julz

Standard

NB:  There is a form at the end of this post – please fill it in for a 10% discount!  For what? Well just read the blog!

DSCF2587

A Frosty Morning in January

Well, I don’t know about you, but it feels like this has been a very unusual winter in West Wales.  The weather has been all over the place, and there is more to come – smile – there is always more to come!  However, there are signs that spring is on the way.  Snow drops are starting to appear, and daffodil shoots seem to be pushing up all over the place.

I have a large garden here – part of the reason I moved was so that I could raise chickens, and here are a couple of them!

Version 2

a couple of my 6 month old buff sussex chickens

The first batch of Buff Sussex started off in my incubator at the end of July, and are nearly 6 months old now, and hopefully will start laying soon. I ‘m just praying that the foxes don’t come around!

There is a lot of work to be done in the garden, and I have been pruning some of the overgrown trees and bushes this week, and planning where to put the veg patch and what plants I want to grow.  It will all take some time!  So it seems will the changes I want to make to the cottage!

There is one more important change that I am making….

….. and I’d like your help!

As many of you will know, part of the reason I blog is to let you know about the small business I run  –

new etsy banner

I sell a mix of craft supplies and gift items, which you can find here on etsy – and here on ebay.

I have thought about setting up my own website for a long time.  Whilst selling on the above outlets has worked fine for over 10 years – its getting more and more restricting.

The last straw, was when ebay recently changed their rules, and no longer allow any outside links on the listings – so – I was forced to take down any links to this blog – even the tutorials that go with some of the listings!  They don’t want to give buyers a chance to contact sellers direct, as they might lose some of their revenue.  However, since I am a business seller, my full details have to be shown on every listing!  Makes no sense at all, and I even told them that – but its the new corporate era for ebay, and they really don’t care about what I say!  They have changed so much since I first started selling with them – it was much more fun!

Anyway – whilst I will still keep the sites with ebay & etsy – I have taken the plunge and bought a business site with WordPress. 

I have been spending ages since Christmas working out how to use it and adding much of my stock – and have still got some major decisions to make about how I want it to look!

Originally, I’d thought I could just add a page or two to this blog – but it turned out that all the complicated stuff – like a shopping cart and taking payments etc wouldn’t work with this blog’s format.  You might have noticed that I tried working out whether I could sell direct from this blog a while back – and it didn’t exactly work well! (The lantern I was selling there has just been sold on etsy, and it went to Phoenix, USA!)

blackshopcardSo its a separate site, with a slightly different logo.  This is my first attempt at a business card for it – but I think it needs a bit more work – just as well I only got 100 of these cards printed!

As you can see, I’ve called it THE STORE.  This was to make sure it doesn’t get mixed up with the SHOP on etsy.

THE STORE ISN’T OPEN YET.  

If you try clicking on the link above, you should just get a page saying that the website is “under construction” – but feel free to have a look – there’s a nice picture with the message!  If by any chance, you do get to the site itself, please let me know, as something will have gone wrong!

In the meantime – would you be kind enough to take a few minutes to fill out the questionnaire?  It would be nice to know how many of you would be interested in using THE STORE.

Anyone who fills in the form below, will be sent a 10% OFF COUPON to use when the site becomes public – in the next few weeks- hopefully!

I look forward to hearing from you – thanks!

black-julzlogo-rotated sm

 

Aside

cropped-img658I got introduced to the 1951 Club thro’ a fellow WordPress member hosting a ‘share your links’ blog page.  The idea is to celebrate ‘famous’ faces born in 1951.  I can’t claim to fit into the ‘famous’ category, but, at the risk of giving away my age, I do fit into the ‘born in 1951’ category, and am rather pleased to have been invited onto the list.

Your can find my page here!

I also host a page on “the spare”  where anyone can add a link to their website or blog, and hopefully find new friends and contacts – please add yourself to your spare!

my page on the 1951 club

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

Standard

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!

 

 

message to matt mullenweg: Part 2

Standard

This is a continuation of my previous post https://julzcrafts.com/2015/03/31/message-to-matt-mullenweg-co-founder-of-wordpress/

I have made sure this time that I didn’t copy the title off my original post and hope that I can manage to keep the format readable!

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

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

To continue – and I will try and be as brief as possible, altho that may not be possible – I went looking for someone to tell about the formatting problems I have been having.  If you start off in ‘classic editing mode’, and once you have saved and previewed your post, you do not check that you have got back to classic editing mode, the system automatically transfers you to “edit lite” which may not be a problem at first, but has certainly been extremely problematic if you need to go back to that already published post to edit something or add some new information.  See my post “test on chrome”

Now the “Happiness Engineers” (HE from now on), have been as helpful as they can be, but are loathe to take this to anyone who needs to know – the formatting problem eventually has been referred to the technical crew, but the other stuff mentioned in my last attempt to tell you about this, was not, and no explanation of why it happened was ever forthcoming.

 

So MATT – I thought you ought to know, because it seems it was you that have designed “edit lite”

and have proudly displayed it on one of the posts about themes etc on wordpress.com.  The idea of creating a fast and easy editing mode is fine – but why take away our choices.  You are now presented with “edit lite” when you start any post and classic mode cannot be found anywhere.  OK the HE’s now told me how to get back to it and stay in it – see: “test on chrome” but why should I have to ASK them how to do it.

I left you two comments on your website Matt –

Comment-Imagejulz

.comment-author

March 26, 2015 at 8:34 pm

.comment-metadata

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

.comment-meta

hi Matt – sorry to barge in here, but it seems that its the only place to get to you – if you are not still involved in WordPress, apologies, but I think someone should tell you that they are making a mess of it at the moment and there are a lot of angry people around.

we don’t like edit lite

we don’t like being forced to use it

we don’t like the classic editor being hidden from us and only available by tricks

and I don’t like my posts being mangled!

https://julzcrafts.com/2015/03/24/test-on-chrome/

if I have the right person – found your site on wikipedia – then please do something about it

and please reply to me, even if you prefer not to post his message

thanks

AND

Comment-Imagejulz

.comment-author

March 29, 2015 at 6:15 pm

.comment-metadata

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

.comment-meta

I actually watched this video, all the way thro, waiting for something stunningly different from everything I’ve already heard – the comic approach was it.

It always amazes me that the US is so behind the rest of the world with the idea of conserving our assets. Even in a small place in Wales, the Council have put in place new measures to encourage recycling – see

https://julzcrafts.com/2015/02/03/a-slice-of-life-the-big-bin-swap-recycling-in-the-swansea-valley-wales/

you will also see that I didn’t agree with the sneaky way they replaced the bins, so I called them out on it. The follow up blog, can be reached thro the one above, and undortunately it suffered from some problems with the new editing system.

I left a message for you Matt about this – could you please answer this, or I may find I have to use the same tactics – smile

.comment-content

Reply

The first one has disappeared, but I did get an automatic email giving me access to that post only, the second one is still awaiting moderation at present.

I did think of sending you an email, but there is a note on the contact page that lists how many hundreds of emails you have in your pending file, so thats a “no brainer”

I also asked the HE, when I was asked to note every action I took when writing posts from now on,

(I don’t think I’ll bother with this one – its written using my default Safari Browser and I am making sure I am using the Classic Mode, as per instructions)

to pass on the comments below – think this might be a faster way to do it – or perhaps you won’t even see THESE MESSAGES!

dr-seuss_be-who-you-are “Whilst that may be ‘my fault’ I doubt if I’d be the only one not to think of using the toggle – and polls & forms are NOT included – what someone in wordpress hasn’t understood is the 1st rule of business

THINK LIKE A CUSTOMER

most of the bloggers have not done the 101 course and are hesitant about using the formats, and there is NOTHING that I saw that said – you may choose to write your post on this edit sheet, which gives you less options – or whatever gloss you want to give it – or you can choose these other sheets which will do this – but maybe are not as “easy” to use.

If you get presented with something, you take it at face value – I just assumed you’d stopped people using the classic one for some silly reason only known to your designers – and in the mood I was already in, it made me angry!

The instructions for choosing what format to use should be on each edit page, every time, so people can make their own choices, and for people who didn’t even know about the variations – which I didn’t at first.

I knew you were changing things round, as there IS a prompt to use the simpler version on the classic one, but there isn’t anything on the simpler version to allow you to switch to classic.

Its just a lack of thinking by your design team, but its caused me a load of trouble – and I have no intention of going back to that post and correcting all my assumptions – they were honest ones.

If you want to do it, that’s fine – you are welcome to comment as well as anyone else.

I would suggest that you also put a link on each of these pages, to full instructions on how to use them – then maybe I would have seen the ‘obvious’!

And why is there not an email notification to EVERY wordpress blogger to tell them of the changes you are making – why hide the fact that you are making changes – it only confuses people when something they are happy using, suddenly disappears.

I always say, if someone doesn’t answer a question – they have something to hide.

Neath Port Talbot didn’t answer me questions first time round – if they had, I would never have published that post – and it has embarrassed them -which they deserved, because they tried hiding stuff. I know I didn’t get all the answers, but I have suggested they set up a page on the website that gives that kind of information, so everyone can see it.

Its actually good PR if you admit to having some problems – smile!

thanks for taking up my suggestion that you contact people who have left comments on the blog about their problems – I have left new replies to everyone who commented to alert them to the update, and on the two that you told me you contacted, have acknowledged that you are being pro -active – so I’m not always critical! smile

nuff for now – If you keep this thread open, I will come back to you when I next blog to tell you what is going on – good or bad!

 

message to matt mullenweg: co-founder of wordpress

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

photo of Matt Mullenweg, taken in 2014 , which I found on his website

For those of you who have never heard of Matt Mullenweg – and I hadn’t until I went looking for the Head of WordPress  – I found him on Wikipedia, and it says there that he co-founded WordPress not long after he ‘got out of college’.

“It was first released on May 27, 2003, by its founders, Matt Mullenweg[1] and Mike Little

I was a bit confused about whether he was the best person to write to, but

 “WordPress is closely associated with Automattic, the company founded by Matt Mullenweg”

which, ‘by chance’ is also responsible for some of the names I have learnt since doing the blogging101 course, that we have been encouraged to use – like ……

Polldaddy,

Gravatar

WordPress.com VIP

Akismet

The reason I went looking for someone to talk to is because I seem to have been blighted by various problems with WordPress, which the “Happiness Engineers” say, seem to only have happened to me, but when I published are my/your comments stuck in spam?     and good news – it seems the glitch has been fixed and I can now leave comments again!   and

test on chrome: problems with formatting on wordpress  

I found that others were also having problems, but like me, when they first occurred thought it was me not understand how to use WordPress, and didn’t tell anyone about them.

Before I go any further, I must apologise for a huge ‘mistake’ I made when writing “test on chrome”, but it was an honest mistake, and I think, I can be forgiven for it, because by that time I was prepared to see the very worst in what I still insist on calling “edit lite”.

 The very helpful “HE” that answered the topic I put up on the support forum, did point out to me, some days after I had published it, that if I had only used the toggle button on the one row of editing tools shown, I would have found most of the usual elements!  IT WOULD HAVE SAVED ME A LOT OF TIME AND BOTHER WHEN I FORMATTED THAT POST!

wrongOh dear,  I seem to have found another glitch – all the above was written in the same setting as the paragraphs at the top of this post! After I had copied the title of one of the above posts, and try as I might, I can’t get out of this ridiculously large font!

Will continue this in another post – called

message to matt mullenweg: Part 2