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The Baby Boomer Side Of The Internet


What’s the first thing you do when you find a website that amazes?

You either send the link to your social network because they’d all love to see it…

Or, you try and break the site down to something you understand.

You’re not hacking into it, just wrapping your mind around the idea.

Here are a few worth the effort:

Writer Maureen Johnson’s site shows a NYC skyline that grows like a rash with a menu that lights up the sights of Gotham.

Actor Jeff Bridges has one that feels like a homemade site scribbled and doodled together by The Dude.

Artist Jasper Johns painting technique comes to life on this site. Make it splatter.

All three bring the screen to life. They make you want to do the next thing to see what happens.

Do you call them Blockbuster Websites? Or pages with a great potential to breakdown?

I’ll take a shot and say the three sites result from conversations with designers who add more features to optimal locations.

They don’t look like Studio Press child themes skinning a Genesis framework on WordPress, (like this one.)

Jeff, Johnson, and Johns are busy people. At least two are. What happens when their websites go sideways?

More important, what happens when yours goes sideways?

You either call someone, or open up the back end of the internet.

Do you feel lucky? Well, do you?

One look at the lines of code that pass as a website make you want to run out to buy Rosetta Stone for HTML. It’s called a language but looks like a drunk fell asleep at the keyboard and twitched a few hours on random keys to make magic happen.

  • Now for the big question: Can Baby Boomers fix their stuff? Would you trust one to fix your stuff?

If Boomers need their kid to set up their smart phone and explain the TV remote so Mom and Dad don’t sit and stare at a blank screen, why would they dive into the back of their website?

These Boomer people think they know everything, at least enough to get by. And they aren’t afraid to try new things.

Who hasn’t met the Boomer business manager who decides he’s also a woodworker? To earn their Old School badge, Boomer wood guy tools up with saws, from table saw and chop saw, to sabre saw, Saws All, circular saw, and hand saw. They get the words, some new, some not.

In the same vein, Boomer wood guy ignores milled wood from a store. He found rough-cut oak stickers used to space loads on rail cars and milled them himself.

Instead of using regular hardware to connect his work, Boomer goes further Old-School and uses mortise and tenon joints.

He saws and joins and finishes and presents a bedframe that he puts a mattress on. When he and his wife sit on it the first time, it collapses.

Not one to be discouraged, the intrepid Boomer wood guy turns the bed into four foot stools and buys a Hollywood bed frame from Goodwill.

This is the guy who’s digging into computer code?

  • Something you need to know about Baby Boomers: they start things and move on before finishing them. They are the kings of Good Enough.

One Boomer blogger discovered her posts weren’t going out on the feed. At the same time she found new users registering on her site.

She went from over-reacting hysteria, to blaming Chinese hackers, to working the problem.

First she went to Google analytics, relieved to read she had no malware involved.

Then to her feeds to be sure it was up. It was.

Then she called her hosting company, Bluehost, and walked through the cPanel and everything else she could think of.

She downloaded a plugin to limit login attempts, changed her login name, then started posting questions like “How to block user registration on wordpress.”

There’s a tab on the left column of the wordpress dashboard called “Users.” A box in the field says check to allow anyone to sign up. Uncheck that box and the Polish Parking Lot king won’t sign up again.

With renewed confidence, that Boomer blogger decided to take additional steps. One of them was something about pasting code into their CSS Stylesheet.

Her site looks the same, so it’s not trashed by her Webmaster work.

“How did it all work out?” I aked.

“Better than I thought. The big obstacle was staring at the screen so long I went into an internet trance. When I snapped out of it, I realized I’d been stumped by not looking at the admin page of the parent theme. If you run a child theme, the parent theme is where the changes happen.”

“So you figured it out? Could you do it again?”

“I’d have to get into the trance to remember.”

“Well, don’t do that.”

“It’s okay. Remember how it felt in the dorms the first time you rolled a towel and stuffed it under the door? Feels like that.”

“I’ll take your word for it.”

“Now, let’s look at your website and dig in. Ommmmmm.”

“What? Oh, now’s not a good time. Got to go.”








About David Gillaspie
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