Progress sucks sometimes – we roll with it

When reading about the problems others face with progress it is often an un-emotional story unless there is something about it that affects us individually. Progress in the rain forests destroying native habits seems no big deal until the connection of weather issues that affect us where we are. The rainforest devastation is not a huge deal until you see the movie medicine man and realize there was a possible cure for HIV found in one of the rain forest areas that was destroyed. There are many types of progress in the world that we probably do not give enough attention to.

Sometimes progress is a simple choice, and at others times good ideas and good intentions turn out to be a total leap into a bad direction. Upgrade your system from windows 95 to windows 98 – simple, easy, good choice. Go from windows 98 to windows ME or windows vista? Probably not the best choices out there. Windows xp to windows 7 – many will say of course, but not it’s a sure thing depending on many factors for the individual person and or hardware and software setup.

Good idea to build a new damn? Those that want to will tout the benefits of cheaper electricity, recreation boating, fishing, energy security and more. Seeing things like that come up make it easy to read the story and throw your hands up to those people in control of these big projects probably know what is best, and in the end, how is it going to affect you anyways? Cheaper electricity? Shrug it off, go on to other stories that are so much more important you, like that facebook updates from your “friends” and their latest dining experience that includes pics to make their life look great. What about the other people affected downstream, the animals and environment? What about the people near the newly to be created lake that will be forced to relocate? What about the future maintenance costs and possible epic failures of the dam to be? That will most likely not be in the headline you saw on the paper, so do you bother to even think about it?

The city is forcing some local strip clubs to shut down or relocate, you probably have the same reaction – it doesn’t affect you personally, and you may secretly envy those that make money having fun and being sexy – so who cares. What you are not thinking about is that it does affect you, and those in your community. The people who want the property will tout the progress of new building and better property values, they will certainly pull some numbers about crime and complaints from neighbors of the local moral authority in the area, not many will stand up to talk about the other sides of the issue – and it gets let go. No one is talking to the single moms will find themselves trying to provide for their family at 2.13 an hour at the local restaurant instead of doing what they can to make a living. No one is going to be honest about the loss of tax revenue not just from the strip club, but also the change of tourist and convention patterns that go along with a diminishing adult entertainment scene.

New roads need to be built so that construction companies will get paid (by your gasoline tax dollars) and those companies can continue to donate some of your tax dollars to the politicians’ re-election campaigns, so the advertising companies can profit, and the cycle continues. The costs are put out there and the benefits to the local economy are touted – but no one talks about the additional runoff water issues, the chemicals in the environment, the future costs of maintenance, the mom and pop stores that will be closed in order to make way for the new progress. The many other issues you are probably not considering when reading about progress in your area.

Where did all this rant come from anyway? This week we had to make some upgrades to our web publishing system, and last month we had to upgrade the hardware and software that brings this wonderful site to the masses. Some of this progress was a simple choice, and some of it was kind of forced upon us by those that control the security enhancements along with other code updates. We waited as long as we could before doing this latest publishing upgrade, as we have witnessed other web sites have some problems with the latest upgrade. Our friends at sex chat dot com did the upgrade pretty quickly once the update was available, and that progress made some of the plug ins fail – which basically shut down their free chat rooms for all their users. Sure they got the latest and greatest update for the main site components, they were told it’s even more secure and full of new features, so jump on it.

They suffered one of the unforeseen and often untalked about side affects of progress. A failure of the most needed components, so their site stayed up to date and secure, but no one could use the main functionality of their site for more than a week and everyone scrambled to get the chat system to properly function with the main site publishing code. Anyone that has upgraded a computer or game system and then finds that their old software or games do not work with the newer upgraded system can have an idea of what that is like. So we waited, a bit longer than we usually do for this latest update.

During this update process, it appears that our old tried, true, and trusted favorite blog theme is not 100% compatible with the latest and greatest features of our blog publishing system. IT seemed to work, and we did not detect any issues, but being as though there are often unforeseen minor security issues with some older components, we decided to change to one of the newer blog themes just to be safe. Frequent readers of our blog may notice some minor changes, but we did try to keep the main sections of the blog section very similar to what we had the past so many years.

Changing to a new theme for some people is a quick and painless process. We actually had to spend quite a bit of time trying dozens of themes, customizing them, and then finding that one was not quite perfect, and then another had some small issues that we just could not stick with. So we went through several, and after hours of having some that were prettier than this one, but were too difficult to modify to our needs, we ended up going with a basic trusted old favorite that has been updated recently to keep up with the newest features.

Will we keep the current theme forever? Probably not. we may decide to customize this one to make some of the colors a little fancier – but we may switch to a fancier theme and customize a different from the ground up. This upgrade progress has certainly had many surprises – but we can only fight the progress to certain point, in which we need to prioritize and make the best of what we can, when we can. For now the choice of having the most secure web publishing system is winning out over keeping our old, simple platform and theme choice that many of us are use to. It has taken much more time, and the overall look is not our first choice, but we will continue to work on that and adapt to the changes.

For now we are more secure, and the most important aspects for our users and readers are being taken care of. The site functions with speed and security. We are able to share and discuss important topics, and we are always trying to make it better and better. We might need some more lipstick to highlight some of the features, and headlines here and there, but there comes a point when we need to consider the amount of time we would spend customizing this particular look, or writing new articles and spending the time and money to create cool pictures, videos, and more. If enough people think this current theme is too bland, and that we should focus on updating this one, we will – just let us know. If you think the overall look could use a complete shakeup and we can freely experiment with various looks and designs as long as we keep the stories and discussions flowing, then chime in on that as well – we could go for some totally out of the box looks to make it fancier. We just don’t want to shock any of regular users to seeing a totally different look without first alerting everyone to an upcoming redesign, and get some feedback from others on what we should focus on.

So what is important to you?

    Fancy graphics, colors, videos, flashy effects?
    More pictures?
    Is the speed most important?
    Something else?

Let us know in the comments!