Polish Notation and Gripe, Gripe, Gripe #socs

It’s strange how the mind works sometimes. Seeing that the prompt this week was “post,” my mind went back into the archives and dragged out postfix notation, also known as reverse Polish notation. It’s a way of evaluating mathematical equations that arguably makes it more efficient for a computer to perform a calculation. If you have an equation like y=x+2, for example, you write it yx2+=. That’s all I remember about it, which is good news for you, I’m sure you’ll agree. If you had the dubious pleasure of using an HP calculator in the early days, you learned how it works.

I was going to post a second time on Wednesday about this (not RPN, but what I’m about to talk about), then figured “maybe I can work it into my Stream of Consciousness post on Saturday.” A couple of things happened Wednesday that left me … I don’t know: perplexed? Pissed off?

The first was when I got onto WordPress and was greeted with a box anouncing their new editor, Gutenberg. My first thought was “what fresh hell is this?” Evidently it’s their new and improved post editor that they claim will make writing and editing a post simpler and more intuitive. If you’ve worked with computers for any length of time, as I have, you know this means it will be more complicated and less intuitive. Nevertheless, I decided to keep an open mind about it.

The whole principle behind the new editor is blocks. When you’re writing, it’s a text block; when you want to put a picture in, you use a picture block; when you want to insert a gallery (i.e. a slideshow) there’s a block for that, as well as for a video and whatever else. They evidently forgot block quotes, but I suppose the philosophy is that they’re a text block, and since you can change the atributes of the text using the toolbars, they didn’t have to come up with a new block for that. If you’re at all familiar with object-oriented programming, you can see what they did to design it. If you aren’t familiar with OOP, don’t worry about it.

Bringing up the new editor puts you in WYSIWYG (“whizzy wig”) mode, or as they’ve called it all along, Visual mode. The screen looks a lot like the editor on mobile devices (for me, the Kindle Fire and the iPhone) or like the first attempt at this, what WordPress has been trying to get me to use for months with that message at the top of the screen that says “There’s an easier way to do this, knucklehead. Why don’tcha switched to the improved editor?” That’s actually less of an improvement than just staying with the “classic” editor, which gives you a wide box in which to type instead of a blank screen where you can’t tell where you are, but anyway…

So I start typing a post like I always have, and the helpful editor draws a box around it and tells me I’m now using a text box. I skip a line and paste in the URL from a video, and it creates me a video box. Hmm, not bad, I think to myself. So next I decide to paste in one of my badges. Now, the way I paste in my badges is that I have a note in Eveernote with all the appropriate HTML code for all the badges. I paste that in, and the silly editor thinks it’s text, so instead of getting the graphic centered nicely, I get a lot of HTML code placed in the middle of my post.

So, I have to look for the badge from all the graphics I’ve uploaded over the almost seven years this blog has been around. Fortunately, they’ve provided me with a search box where, if I know when the graphic was uploaded, I can find it. So, I find my graphic, but no way to center it in the column. Ah! But the block has a button I can hit and voila!, the graphic is centered. Hm, not bad, I say. And then the editor says “Do you want to keep this block for use later?” And I think, maybe I’ll be able to ditch the note in Evernote where I have all the code for the graphics. So I click the option, and it saves the graphic, uncentered. I try pasting the block in, and the graphic is still uncentered, an I can’t get it to center. A nit, I’m sure you’ll think, but hey, it’s my blog, I should be able to have things the way I want them.

So, I go to where they say I can go to report things like this, and it tells me I’m not signed in to their bug-reporting system. I use what I think is my signin (yes, I know it’s different from the one I use to sign in to my dashboard), and they can’t find me. So I set up a new one, putting in my user name and email address, and they come back and say they’ll send me my password. That was yesterday at 1 PM. The password still hasn’t arrived.

So I deactivated Gutenberg, and saw that they classic editor that I’ve been using for the last seven years will be available as a plugin when Gutenberg is “rolled out,” which will be at some unspecified day in the future, most likely without warning. Guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Shifting gears… I have a Mac Mini, an old video iPod, and an iPhone 8, and Mary has an iPad and my old iPhone 4, so we have a lot of Apple gear around the house. But I came into a few extra bucks thanks to a cash-back card and a new HVAC system, and Mary said, “Why don’t you get a MacBook?” The idea being that she could also use it…

So I’ve been pricing them, and I was ready to order one, but then I heard rumors from all the usual places (Kim Komando, Macworld etc.) that Apple would be announcing a new MacBook at their September product announcement meeting. This was also scheduled for Wednesday, so I decided to listen in.

That was two hours of my life I’ll never get back. Apple’s big product announcement was for the Apple Watch (I opined on that at some length here) and the iPhone X, which now comes in three different sizes and a whole bunch of new colors and has tremendous gaming potential (oh, and you can make calls with it). In the last ten minutes of the presentation, they announced iOS 12 is coming this Monday, and MacOS 10.14 (a/k/a Mojave) the week after that.

I know, bitch bitch bitch, right?


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word about Ajax Liquid cleanser. Cleans everything like a white tornado!

24 thoughts on “Polish Notation and Gripe, Gripe, Gripe #socs

  1. I remember RPN, John. I think it’s why I bought an HP scientific calculator when I was in college 😉

    Gutenberg seems to be following the way Microsoft is taking their online page design. I guess it will make things render easier across all devices, but given that I like writing in Word, I’m not sure it helps me all that much. Just one more thing to get used to.

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  2. Way to persevere through the change and back again! I appreciate you sharing your insights, very helpful to those of us who aren’t as well versed as you!

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  3. Sounds like Greek to me. I haven’t seen the WP notices but then again I post on Blogger and IFTTT (thank you for that) posts it to WP for me. I’m debating on a new iPhone as well since hubby is on an android while the rest of the fam is on iPhones and his phone is giving him fits. I’ll give him my 6 and get a new 8? 10? I’m not sure. Happy Saturday, John.

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    1. I have an 8 and I’m happy with it. I’m not all that interested in the bells and whistles they’ve added to the X; it took me long enough to figure out the stuff they added between 4 and 8. As always, YMMV.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The classic editor is good for me, because it’s a plain-text editor and I can control all or most of the formatting with HTML tags. There’s an HTML editor in Gutenberg, but it has most of the same problems as the “new, improved” editor they’ve been trying to sell me for the last couple of years. Some change I can deal with just fine, but other changes are a real pain in the backside, and this is one of them.

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  4. I didn’t get the new editor. Thank goodness! If I later on get a notification, I will move to the “what fresh hell” is this category. I like my cheese and hope no one moves it :). I don’t think your ping back took.

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    1. I’ll check on the pingback.

      After I wrote all that, I realized the drastic change was made to the visual editor, which I’ve never used. I was able to find Gutenberg’s HTML editor, which has its own problems but allows me to work more or less the same way I’ve been working all along. They do plan on keeping the classic editor as a plugin, though I get the sense that I won’t be able to use the plugin unless I purchase a business plan, in which case I’ll have to evaluate whether to stay with wordpress.com or build my own domain using the WordPress software. Hopefully, it won’t come to that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ya- da-de-da….Ya-Da-de-da,Hey! This is my mind right now. It started as soon as you brought up that math thing that I have placed back into my memory banks and never want it seen again:) As for the computer issues…enter the song again and, yes, I became Homer Simpson.

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  6. I don’t understand all that, but I don’t want to go through what you did. Seems you do one thing, it leads to another thing you have to figure out, and I just can’t. I’m still using the original thing (editor?) that I started with years ago, and it works just fine. I don’t want to be made to change! I have seen the new try out screen…I don’t like it.
    I do like when you air your gripes, though, because I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels the same way. It helps to hear it. 🙂

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    1. Supposedly, the classic editor will be available as a plug-in when release 5 of WordPress is installed on WordPress.com. They say that when Gutenberg is dropped on us, the classic erditor will be available as a plug-in, but if that means I have to buy the business plan (which includes a bunch of crap I neither need nor want and which costs $25 a month) to install the plugin, I’ll probably self-host. Or I’ll just figure out the new editor. I’ve seen where the HTML editor is still available with Gutenberg, although I’m not terribly happy with it…

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  7. Somehow, missed this post. I tried Gutenberg on my smaller blog as had no idea what it would do. So, it seems to be an innovative way to set up content, images, and things. Works pretty well once you get the gist of it. But, I don’t like how the preview feature works and doesn’t appear there is a choice for fonts. I published my first post, which turned out well. My 2 cents. 🙂

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    1. See, I never used the visual editor in any of the versions of the WP editor, and when I saw the Gutenberg version, I was not happy. When I found the HTML editor, I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to figure out blocks. Still have issues with the way the HTML editor in Gutenberg looks, but at least it’s still there.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s really not that hard to work with. For example, instead of images inline, you’ll get a line of HTML, but the process is identical: choose or upload the image, position it, add a caption and link, if you want one. It helps to know a little HTML, which isn’t that hard, but really, it walks you through everything. You can bring up one of your old posts in the HTML editor (just click the HTML tab when you have the post loaded in the editor) and you’ll see what code the visual editor created for you.

          And there’s your drink from the firehose for today…

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