Just a quick rant, I promise

How is your weekend, Lisa? How’s the technology going? How’s it going with your project in that crazy online class you’re taking?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I had this great idea to create a survey for department chairs about how they are dealing with online issues at my institution. It was one of those things where you get an idea and stay up drafting when you should be sleeping. This morning I put it into Survey Monkey (I won’t link them — I’m mad at them), and created all these complex questions when after the tenth one, it told me I can only have ten questions for a free account and would I like to upgrade?

NO. After grou.ps and drop.io and goodness knows how many other wonderful web apps are now going to paid models (no link for them either), I did not want to pay a dime. Public employee, public institution, public employees being surveyed for public purposes in the public good — forget it. Felt only a little better when Dr Couros told me:

Typed it all over again in to Google Forms (no link!), and it only saved the first two questions. Had to do it all over again. Took two hours. Thought I’d relax by working on my final project

Posterous. My tech of choice for my final project, which now, after much angst, should somehow tie together film clips into themes about people’s responses to technology, and what we’ve learned from those, in the last century (and you thought I didn’t have a direction yet).

I’ve been happily finding, converting, and uploading clips. Posterous has been happily converting them to flash, so long as I obeyed its rules. (Happy Posterous people are happily helping me when I don’t know the rules.) I’m thinking I would like to happily move some of the clips together into the same post, adding the explications to one big post instead of having them in separate posts.

Well, I can’t. Not with anything approaching ease, anyway.

So what to do now? Reupload all the previous media into its appropriate post?

I’m not going back to WordPress for this. It takes forever to get WP to learn how to center a video clip. See Jaron Lanier below? Four tries with the code <div align=center>, when <p align=center> and the html tool didn’t work. It converts nothing, making for slow, slow Quicktime loading. When it agrees to add media at all. Forget that.

So now I am not-as-happily working on my not-as-easy-as-I-thought project.

(Posterous, of course, is a blogging platform, not a presentation platform. Somewhere I have a half-written post about it being a bad idea to force technologies to do things other than the things they were intended to do. Maybe I should go back and read it.)

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

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5 Responses to Just a quick rant, I promise

  1. Oh poor Lisa… I am giggling at your expense. The technologies can be so frustrating… and I am the QUEEN of the WORK-AROUND. At work yesterday, a colleague was having a fit over something that should not be that hard. I explained my work around and he continued to rant. I said, “well… you can rant all you want. But If you use my work-around, you can get to work and be done with it.”

    I feel your pain.

  2. Elaine says:

    I feel for you, I did the same thing on survey monkey, so if you need to conduct a survey like this again I highly recommend WebSurveyMaster http://www.websurveymaster.com/ The free trial version allows unlimited questions, It is very easy to use, creates great professional looking surveys, and the results analysis tools are fantastic.
    Hope this helps

  3. Jen Hall says:

    I am glad that you got that rant out! I haven’t had much difficulty with my final project work just yet but I am sure it is on the horizon. I hope it goes smoothly for you from here on in.

    Also, I agree with you on Survey Monkey. I have been disappointed with them in the past.

  4. Alec Couros says:

    So, not to tell you to go back to WordPress, but I am wondering if it was your theme? I don’t remember something like that being so hard. Also, I wonder if using a WP video plugin would have helped – something like this. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-video-plugin/

  5. llane says:

    I have had these sorts of problems with a number of themes – it’s not that it’s horribly hard (and I have tried several video plug-ins), but that it doesn’t look good and it is difficult to do the very simple things, like centering and making sure the text right after the video has a paragraph break before it starts. I know some HTML and some CSS, but I often can’t get WP to cooperate. That’s why I went to Atahualpa theme, which I can customize to the max, but it seems to be more something in basic WP – it pretends to like HTML and CSS customization, but it really doesn’t. And, of course, with this project, having the clips convert to Flash for quick loading is a very good thing.