The IT Department Has Been Busy…Again

There is a phrase I dread hearing at work.  It’s not the scariest one, but it’s never good news either.

“The folks down in IT have a new upgrade to install.”

No one but IT themselves is ever aware that an upgrade’s needed in the first place.  Oftentimes, they don’t bother letting anyone know it’s even coming.  I plod along doing my jobs oblivious that there’s something wrong.  Then I walk into work on Tuesday, all set to do what I did on Monday, turn on the pc and Bam!

While I was sleeping, those techy gnomes came in and changed everything!  The little icon-boxes I’d so neatly organized on my screen weren’t where I’d left them.  The home webpage which I never really liked has been replaced by a new one, which I like even less.  As unsightly and dysfunctional as the old one was, I have to admit to growing comfortable with it, and now it’s gone forever.  The replacement version is awkward, cryptic and unsightly.  Sign-in boxes vanished to different pages and links don’t link like they used to.  Great…just great.

Don't let the white beard fool you.  Techy gnomes are usually quite young.  A closer inspection of the beard will reveal it's actually cotton candy from the carnival.  (Image from
Don’t let the white beard fool you. Techy gnomes are usually quite young. A closer inspection of the beard will reveal it’s actually cotton candy they bought at the carnival. (Image from

There’s no use complaining to my boss about the changes, she’s too busy rifling through her file cabinet looking for the scrap of paper that she wrote all of her passwords on.  The IT staff are more invisible than ever.  My colleagues were in a lather, as they gradually realized that it wasn’t just their computer which was now disorganized and foreign.

We struggled through a couple of days, gradually figuring out how to find things and get our documentation done.  The always-rare glimpses of IT staff were fewer still as they seem to have hunkered down under bridges and toadstools to weather the storm of frustrated employees who were just about to take up pitchforks and torches.

At home, tired and ready to unwind, I opened my laptop to visit WordPress and bond with the intellectual set.  I kicked off my shoes and was ready to engulf myself in the creative genius of others.  I clicked to open the site, but it looked slightly different.  After my trials at work, I thought perhaps it was my imagination.  I found no comments, likes or new followers, which wasn’t surprising, but it’s my habit to check.  I clicked “Freshly Pressed” to see the chosen few who had achieved being featured on the showcase page of WordPress.  My creeping suspicions were confirmed;  WordPress had snuck in an update of their own!  The Freshly Pressed page was totally different.  Gone was the old FP page, with its thumbnail sized offerings of 8 or 10 posts, replaced by one giant post, which required users to scroll and scroll to find the next one.  Gone too was the ability to hit the option beneath my name to return to my dashboard.  In fact, the only way to get off this page was to either click the back button on my browser, or leave the site altogether and sign back in.  The Freshly Pressed page had become a dead-end site page.

The old FP page was great.  The multiple offerings were spread out like magazines on a really nice waiting-room coffee table.  It was easy to scan the titles, photos and topics and pick up whichever one struck my fancy.  I longed for the day when one of my posts would make the cut and be there among the glossy covers and great reads.

Now the coffee table is more like the one at the eye doctor in the room where I’m told to sit after having those goofy dilation drops.  My tweaked vision requires picking up a magazine and staring at it for a minute at arm’s length before seeing what it actually is.  Embarrassed to realize that I’m a middle-aged man looking at a withered copy of “Modern Bride”, I drop the magazine and pray no one saw me.  I grab another one and hope like hell it’s not “Pedophilia Monthly“.  The only saving grace is that everyone else in the room has had the same drops and they’re all sitting there looking like those paintings of big-eyed children which graced the walls of cheap motels back in the 70’s.  After a few futile attempts, we all just realize that looking through magazines is a wasted effort, so we don’t bother.

Middle-Age: All the dilation of the 70's without any of the buzz.  I'm going to rise above my inclination to write something else about the subject matter of this painting, though I'm mighty tempted.  (Image from
Middle-Age: All the dilation of the 70’s without any of the buzz. I’m going to rise above my inclination to write something else about the subject matter of this painting, though I’m mighty tempted. (Image from

I’ve written about the IT department at WordPress screwing up perfectly fine pages before, so this exercise is not as much fun as it should be.  As I hit the publish button, which is blissfully right where it was before, I’ll say a silent prayer that my loyal readers will be able to find this latest rant.

My dreams of one day being Freshly Pressed have been tempered by the fact that in it’s current state, no one will see my stuff even if I do get there, thanks to IT.

You grab a torch, I’ll bring my pitchfork.

40 thoughts on “The IT Department Has Been Busy…Again

  1. Oh, I hear you about the IT changes. In working with electronic medical records, this was a far too frequent occurrence. Just when you think you’ve got something down, poof! it vanishes. It’s a sure way to land one on antacids. And I’m with you. Not too impressed with the new FP page look.

    1. The big difference is that medical billing and documentation often face changes in IT to respond to changes elsewhere, like reimbursement or Medicare structures. WordPress is an entity unto itself, and to the best of my understanding, has no reason to change, other than keeping their IT people busy and frustrating users, like us.

  2. It’s really hard to decide which of your post images are creepier – the child gnome or the kids on acid. The Freshly Pressed page is now useless to me – I hate the scroll factor and will lose interest within minutes. I’d like my people to contact their people and have words.

  3. Not only the change in FP, but my reader isn’t giving me new posts of my favorites again.

    At work I usually try to find out when my IT guy has scheduled a vacation. Usually it coincides with a planned upgrade…

  4. On one hand, I really like that WP is constantly looking for ways to renew and improve the site. On the other hand, when they make a move that makes something less accessible (the new FP page) or more depressing (the new stats page: “Oh don’t get too excited: you only had a third of the visitors your hit count suggests), I feel discouraged.

    1. I know, I think my visitors must all have a tremor that makes them repeatedly strike the wrong key…how else could 7 visitors produce 128 hits?

    2. We shouldn’t feel discouraged by anything that IT does, since they are never have any idea about what the actual business or service is that the site provides. We should question whether the upgrades are actual upgrades, or just computer busy work, planting problems for them to fix, where there weren’t problems before. It strikes me as a sort of technological version of planned obscelence. Those unscupulous mechanics on the interstate also come to mind. They tell you there’s a leak in your radiator so they can fix it, when in truth, there’s no leak to begin with.

  5. If the IT people don’t continuously update everything, they will find themselves out of jobs. And who needs that in this economy. And installing a bad update is preferable in this context since it will likely require them toupdate everything (almost) back to what it was. “Almost” is very important, because then IT can still be proud of accomplishing something.

      1. I chalk it up to your genius aptitute for making great posts out of practically nothing 🙂 Personally, I won’t complain about WP upgrades and glitches, because I am sure that it was only thanks to one of those glitches that I got FP’d in the first place.

    1. It occured to me that one of the friends who I email new posts to is in fact an IT guy who used to work with me. I don’t see him too often, but he often posts pictures of himself on Facebook as he lives it up on Caribbean vacations.

  6. I am so glad you brought this travesty to the surface. My reader now has the same style as Reader’s Digest, the sight impaired edition. Not everyone I follow shows up. I get an email informing me of a “like”, I run over to WP and nothing…there is a delay in that info. Everything that use to be on the left is now on the right and the list goes on an on. I HATE IT!
    I was having an issue at work on Tuesday with our system. I spent 3 days talking to 6 IT guys, all with the same condescending “do you see where it says start, I want you to click on that”, and it’s still not resolved!
    Whew! I feel better now. As for WP a heads up is always welcome.

  7. You may not believe that I used to work in an IT department, when I say that my personal motto has always been “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Nowhere do I apply this more rigorously than with my personal IT equipment – I’m very wary of installing software upgrades, lest the hardware gives up in disgust.

    But another saying that I took very much to heart as an enthusiastic young manager was “management is about making things better”. Give the new-look WordPress tools a chance, please. Once we get used to them, perhaps we’ll find that they have made some things better.

    1. First and foremost, thanks for reading my post. I’m glad you were able to enjoy it despite my trashing the IT profession.

      I’m sure that most people in IT are rigorously trained and committed to doing their very best. That being said, someone, somewhere at WordPress has made a few blunders with this latest “upgrade”.

      The typical selection of 8 Freshly Pressed selections has a variety of topics and angles.

      As I wrote in a previous post, you could almost always count on at least one of them being a recipe, complete with sexy photos of apple cobbler or mango chutney. There would also be at least one travel post, which would consist almost entirely of incredible photos from some lucky traveler’s trip to Botswana or the Gobi Desert and damn little in the way of the written word. In addition to the pictures of someone else’s vacation and the recipe for Aunt Tilly’s can’t-fail buttermilk bisquits, will be film reviews, feel good pieces, political commentary and maybe even some humor.

      The nice thing about the old Freshly Pressed page was that one could see 8 of the newest offerings at a glance. I didn’t have to waste my time looking at blog posts which didn’t interest me, regardless of their Freshly Pressed status. Once I saw a picture of a pyramid or a dumpling, I could move along and find a post which suited my tastes.

      Now, I have to scroll through the posts in hopes of finding a Freshly Pressed post to my liking. I know from past experience that I simply won’t do that. I also know from the nearly unanimous comments that my readers won’t be doing so either.

      Maybe my readers are just humoring me, after all, I went to the trouble of writing a post, the least they could do is play along.

      Another change to which I alluded was the lack of ability for me to pull down the dashboard option and go back from whence I came. I realize that I can use the back button on my browser, but I never had to before. In short, it’s gotten MORE difficult for users to navigate the WordPress site. No one, not even the most misguided of managers, can see that as a good thing.

      As for the upgrades by IT in my professional life, I won’t even begin to describe the idiocy.

      Perhaps the problem isn’t IT or managers. Perhaps the problem lies within us as a culture, where we feel some primal need to improve things regardless of evidence that a change is not required.

      “New Coke” springs to mind.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read me and to comment.

        1. They fixed it. It also appears that I may have ruffled the feathers enough to have FINALLY made the cut to be Freshly Pressed myself. I feel slightly guilty to have made it there using such a heavy handed technique, but at least now I can stop whining about it and move on to other new and exciting things to complain about.

          1. HA!!!!!! That’s HILARIOUS!!! I love it 🙂 They just know, don’t they? I almost hit the roof when I was freshly pressed. I thought it was NEVER going to happen to me because of my topic. They must have some pretty great people out there trolling for quality, that’s all I can say. CHEERS!

  8. Yes yes yes on everything! At work we always dread it when we hear that upgrades are imminent. A recent upgrade has resulted in our printer in our office no longer being properly recognised by the system, we can’t set it as the default printer, we have to keep selecting it from a list each time, and if we forgot, the our work prints out at some other printer somewhere in another building that we haven’t figured out where! IT say there’s nothing we can do about it until we’re ready to upgrade our printer.

    And I so agree about the new WP changes, why have they got rid of the top grey bar from the main WP pages now? That’s what I used to use to navigate to the dashboard and everything, now we can only see that top grey bar if we are on ours or someone else’s actual blog. And yes, the FP page used to be beautiful, like a gallery, now it’s just a weird scrolling list.

    1. I’m glad you agree, but wish you didn’t have to experience these changes anymore than the rest of us.

      I guess IT upgrades have become just one more annoyance we have to deal with in life, like traffic, splinters and ingrown toenails.

  9. S_U_C_C_E_S_S !!!!! A day and a half after I posted this, WordPress changed the Freshly Pressed page back to a version similar to the old (better) one!

    Just a suggestion to the folks at WordPress, next time ask me BEFORE you institute changes – I won’t steer you wrong.

  10. Dude… sorry I’m late to the party but I totally agreed with you on the Freshly Pressed page. So glad you got The Powers That Be to change it back. Great job!

  11. I’ve always blamed this kind of thing on Gremlins in the past. Clearly the IT gnomes are more of a problem though. I don’t have a pitchfork or a torch… Can I just bring my frying pan?

    1. Frying pans work. I find a nice cast iron skillet will get the gnomes attention. For the record, they’ve revised their initial Freshly Pressed page back to something similar to the old one we all knew and loved. Also for the record, it appears that one of my posts will finally be gracing the FP page. With my luck, people won’t be looking at it anymore and no one will notice!

  12. and here i was thinking, am the only one against the new look of wordpress…am so happy, actually delighted, that someone across the globe has the same apprehensions at every ‘upgrade’
    when it happened to facebook, it blew me over….but managed to scrape through but i had the same thing when wordpress was upgraded…i felt cheated…the thought in my mind was ‘et tu wordpress’
    and then i reminded myself, that am probably crying over stuff that the world is gloating about…
    its good to have people understand your feelings…thank you!!!!

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