Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Open Source Nightmare

Guess what these letters stand for and note, they are case sensitive.
My guess was 2COR7BJ. If that was your guess then you would have been wrong too.

I am currently working on updating my cat website, www.kitty-planet.com and used a very powerful, open source software called Joomla that has a shopping module called VirtueMart. The promise of course is a site that would normally cost thousands for pennies on the dollar. What we all need now - right? Especially that the Cash for Clunkers program is over.

The main purpose of this was primarily make the site more SEO friendly, and my Aunt Lin says it is always good to try and be friendly even if you have to pretend.

Well, after the developer was finished, I of course wanted to test my skills in making a small but what I felt significant change to the Category section that basically was adding a thumbnail image. The word thumbnail makes it sound light and fun - right? Wrong. I have spent now almost 48 hours trying to figure this out. Part of this time I was sleeping but still.

Surprisingly, most of the changes are actually self-evident and logical but when it comes to saving it, it doesn't publish, that is, none of my changes show up on my site. Interestingly if I log out and log back in, all my changes were saved. They are all there and the way I want, silently mocking me by refusing to publish.

My next idea was to search the Joomla Discussion Forum. I first search and find my exact problem! Success! However, when I follow the steps, the site gives me an error message that I don't have permission to make the change. I didn't think I needed permission on my own site! Part of me feels this is ridiculous. Nevertheless, I search how I can get permission and the post tells me to the Components section and then to the Attribute section. However, there is no Attribute section in the Components section. Searching Attibutes gave me no relief. They software calls other services Attributes, which makes me ask the question - who comes up with these names anyway? And there's something suspicious on how difficult this is - it's almost like government. Perhaps it is a conspiracy of some sort.

Finally, I decided to join the Discussion Forum and post my specific question. Part of the sign in process is that to prove you are human, you have to type in some letters and numbers that are all scrambled up. Well, all I can say is there is a point when it is too scrambled as in this case. I got one after the other that just were unrecognizable and then the site locked me out. At that point, I felt like tearing my hair out but took it out on my cat instead which was very satisfying. He's missing part of his tail, but honestly, his tail was a little too long to start.

That was my day yesterday. Fruitless. Today has been much the same although I was finally able to decipher the code and post my question on the board.

Why couldn't they all be this easy?

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