Disruption: disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process
Last Saturday, July 18, 2020, my blogging was disrupted by WordPress, and my temper, calm for months, exploded. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I had lunch with friends every week and joined others in group meetups. Thanks to the virus, I have lived alone since March 13. No one has visited me, and I have visited no one. Zoom, e-mails, phone calls, and WebEx help but cannot replace face-to-face visits.
Back to July 18 when I logged onto my iLookChina.net blog to schedule three new posts for August, my first thought when I saw the new editing page for WordPress was, “What the FUCK!”
I complained to WordPress and the little help they offered did nothing to end the stress from the disruption they caused.
I learned that WordPress was changing the Classic Editor I had been using for a decade to a Block Editor (whatever that is). From what I saw, I did not like the Block Editor and that feeling has not changed.
I was comfortable using the Classic Editor. I have better things to do than being forced to learn something new that stresses me out.
On Sunday, July 19, I wrote an angry letter expressing my frustration to Matthew Charles Mullenweg, the Founder, and CEO of WordPress. When I write an angry letter, I never mail the rough draft. I wait a few days and then revise to filter out the worst of my anger. But that rough draft will never be revised and mailed to Mr. Mullenweg. Instead, that letter has been added to this post.
Matthew Charles Mullenweg, Founder, and CEO of WordPress
WordPress Corporate Office Headquarters Automatic, Inc.
60 29th Street #343
San Francisco, California 94110-4929
Dear Mr. Mullenweg:
This morning I attempted to start scheduling the August 2020 posts for my https://ilookchina.com/ blog [806,254 hits/visits], and ran into an “alleged” improvement to the page where bloggers like me create their posts and schedule them. The changes to the WordPress editing page were so drastic that I couldn’t complete that task. I did not know what to do. I was lost. All the old menus were gone. I did see how I would upload a photo from one of the files on my desktop. I am not in the mood to learn how to use the new and disruptive Block Editor that is replacing the Classic Editor.
I always write my blog posts offline and copy and paste them into the Classic Editor that I have been using for a decade for all four of my WordPress Blogs.
Here are my other three blogs:
https://lloydlofthouse.org/ [92,621 hits/visits]
https://crazynormaltheclassroomexpose.com/ [121,597 hits/visits]
https://thesoulfulveteran.com/ [238,261 hits/visits]
Why do I want the Classic Editor back?
WordPress just became the flaming straw that set off the fuse to my explosive anger. Somehow I managed to stay calm since March while billions of people around the world (including you) are struggling to avoid dying of COVID-19. Last month, when the electrical circuits in my garage blew out, I still managed to stay calm. Then last week, my HVAC system stopped cooling my house in the middle of a heatwave. That HVAC was a new system installed in 2017 for $18k, but I still did not flip my lid.
Then along came WordPress with its NEW Block Editor.
Why change something that was working? Why not set up an easy to find a button where we are allowed to keep the old design over the new one? What is wrong with you guys? Keep it simple. Do not change the old so drastically that it becomes stressful to deal with.
In the short term, stress can leave us anxious, tearful and struggling to sleep. But over time, continuously feeling frazzled could trigger heart attacks, strokes, and even suicidal thoughts. “In short, yes, stress can kill you,” – The American Institute of Stress
In case you don’t know it, change is not always good.
Sincerely (not really, I’m too angry to feel sincere),
High levels of cortisol caused by stress over a long period of time wreak havoc on your brain.
A few days after writing the letter to Matthew Charles Mullenweg, I read a piece from The San Francisco Chronicle. There’s a name for tech’s attitude problem: toxic positivity, Silicon Valley’s obsession with disruption and destruction of the existing order and evangelical embrace of the new. It’s better on the other side of the river, we promise … in recent years, that’s become its own kind of orthodoxy, where the only appropriate response to new technology, according to the insiders of Silicon Valley, is cheerleading. Criticism of technology isn’t viewed as rational skepticism by those for whom innovation has become a religion; it’s heresy.”
Forbes also published a piece on this topic. “The Myths of Disruption: How Should You Really Respond to Emerging Technologies? Disruption may be the most overused term in the business lexicon today. Every startup wants to disrupt the established order. Every incumbent is scared of being disrupted. Disruption is a rallying cry or a bogeyman, depending on where you sit. And no one is immune: if an executive dares to suggest that their industry is free from the threat of disruption, they are accused of being short-sighted or in denial, and heading the way of the Titanic or the T-Rex. I find this obsession with disruption a little disturbing. “
Years ago, I started rebelling against technology’s forced disruption.
I bought two Kindle e-readers. Then a couple of years later, I returned to reading books printed on paper and my kindles have been gathering dust ever since. Old fashioned books do not have batteries that need to be recharged and do not have software to update. This is ironic since the novels I have published have sold more than 60,000 e-books through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookselling sites.
The new should always be easier to use than the old.
I had a smartphone once, and after a couple of years I turned it in for a dumb phone. I do not text. I do not run around taking smartphone videos and photographs of myself. My dumb phone gets used about five-minutes a month. That smartphone was a fucking pain in the ass, always demanding attention to keep working.
Fuck that shit! If you want to replace something old with something new, keep it simple!
When I bought my first tablet computer, it lasted a day before I returned it, because it wasn’t easy to set up and use.
I have an HP laptop locked in a safe. I update the laptop once a month. If my desktop gets hijacked again by ransomware, that laptop will be my backup while the desktop is in the shop being unhacked.
The last two times I bought new cars, I refused to sign the contract unless the dealers replaced the satellite-linked, streaming radio with the fancy touch screen with a CD player that was easier to use. The only new shit I liked was the backup camera and the chirping thing that warns me when another car is in one of my blind spots.
I plan to do the same thing with the next car I buy. If the dealer wants my money, they have to replace the irritating new crap with a CD player, or I will start looking for an older, used car that predates the annoying disruptive tech. If I can afford to buy a new car every few years, I can afford to rebuild an old one when it wears out and even have someone add batteries and turn it into a plugin hybrid. I’ve read about people that have done that on their own.
I have news for disrupters like WordPress, Microsoft, Apple, and all the other tech geniuses. I do not want anyone else disrupting my life. I do that just fine by myself, and when it comes to learning new things, I want to make that decision and not have it forced on me.
This might be my last post for all of four of my blogs if I cannot get the Classical WordPress Editor back. There is enough stress in this world without Donald Trump and Silicon Valley companies like WordPress generating disruption.
Will this be my last blog post? I do not know. I have been blogging for a decade. I have written and published 2,455 posts for iLookChina, 614 for LloydLofthouse.com, 1.444 for Crazy Normal, the classroom exposé, and 269 for The Soulful Veteran. That is a lot of writing, research, and reading. Those posts have generated more than a million reads or visits.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat vet living with PTSD. He went to college on the GI Bill and earned a BA in journalism followed by an MFA in writing.
Discover his award-winning books:
Crazy is Normal: a classroom exposé
I know what your saying, Lloyd. If you disappear from my computer (as SO many others have), I will miss your blogs immensely.
I have expressed many times this similar issue to my daughter. She is senior counselor attorney (in house) for Google and lives in San Francisco. She recently switched to “emergent markets” from “AI, VR, AR”. She’s 40, has a JD in patent and LLM in intellectual property. Since she’s been 12 yrs. old, she always has said, “Mom, you just have to learn how to use computers!”.
It’s an awful thing for me to say, but at 70 years old myself, I’m getting sick (yes I mean “sick”) of having to learn – but just about computers.
Now it will all be about computers.
Wait for voting. I suspect it will be even worse. And I haven’t left my house nor had anyone face-to-face since Apr.1st.
Every step along Techs’ one-way highway (Meaning their way and the hell with what anyone outside of tech thinks) means learning new things repeatedly.
I started learning how to use computers back in the mid-1980s. My first word processor was on an IBM computer that cost $3,000.
Then the high school where I taught bought a grading program that only worked on Macintosh computers and required all the teachers to do their grades with that program.
That forced me to switch computers at home from the IBM I was using to write my books to a Mac. About a decade later, IBM offered a lot of free computers to the school district and they switched again from Mac to IBM.
My first IBM was way out of date by then and I was forced to buy a new system that ran on Windows.
When I retired from teaching in 2005, I knew that I didn’t have the money to pay someone to build websites for me, so while I was still finishing up “My Splendid Concubine”, I took adult night classes to learn how to program and build my own websites.
A couple of years after publishing Concubine in December 2007, I learned that if I wanted to reach readers that might be interested in my writing, I had to Blog so I took an all-day blogging workshop that was hosted by a branch of the California Writers Club. That’s where I learned about WordPress. In that workshop, we were told about the vital importance of search engine rank and learned what we had to do to gain that rank so our blogs would end up on the first page of a search.
We were told we had to publish at minimum 1,000 blog posts in one year. I did it in nine months working 12 to 18 hour days writing and posting three a day on iLookChina.net. It worked, sales of Concubine went from a few hundred a year to thousands, ten times what the book had been selling without a blog.
But, in time Blogs like that started to lose their luster to readers and sales dropped off. That’s when I learned about advertising on BookBub and sales took off again.
I’m tired. I spend so much time blogging and keeping up with the blogs and social media I follow I don’t have that much time to work on the two novels I’m writing now. Both are done and going through revisions but it is taking a lot of time because of crap like this Block Editor from WordPress forcing me to learn something new that steals time away from what I want to be doing.
Younger people that were born with tech have no idea how us older people that were not born in the age of the internet and computers think. We do not think like them. They do not think like us.
What would they do and how would they survive if the internet and wireless crashed today because of one huge solar flare from the sun and couldn’t be rebuilt for decades?
Older citizens like me were born and lived in a world like that. I was born in 1945 and had 45 years in that pre-tech world.
Those born after 1990 have no idea how to live in a world without wireless and the internet. Have you ever shopped in a store when they lose their link to the internet and their cash registers stop working? If the cashier is a younger person, they become lost. Older people born before the 1980s still have the skills to add and subtract. Most of us older pre-tech people grew up without a computer thinking for us. We used maps printed on paper to reach a destination. When the internet goes down, GPS goes with it and who has maps printed on paper anymore.
My advice to everyone born into the tech, internet-computer age is to learn how to survive without all that brain kiling crap, so they are ready if their wireless, texting, smartphone picture-snapping world crashes. We have no control over Mother Nature and that includes the sun.
Then there are the idiots like Donald Trump who now has the power to start a nuclear war without waiting for permission from Congress. Nuclear bombs when they explode send out a powerful EMT burst and that will burn out the technology that powers the internet and also the power grid. No electricity. No wireless. No Google. No GPS. No smartphones, no tech.