Blogging from an iPhone

Some people might characterize it as a bit of an aberration. But the truth is that, before I retired, I used to blog using my laptop because I worked from home and sat at my desk in my home office most of the day and I needed my laptop for work. But upon my retirement, my life experienced a total paradigm shift. Suddenly I no longer was tied down to a desk or had the need to use the laptop. Most of what I needed a laptop for could be done using my iPhone, and I found the mobility of being able to blog from anywhere at any time was liberating.

The first sign of trouble after I made the switch from a laptop to my iPhone for my blog happened this past August when WordPress abandoned its classic editor, which was a cinch to use on the relatively small screen of an iPhone, in favor of its block editor, which is close to impossible to use on a smartphone screen. What the hell? Was this some kind of evil plot to drive us smartphone users and casual bloggers away from WordPress so that it could cater to commercial sites and business users? Were they trying to provoke us hobby bloggers to leave WordPress?

What began to emerge was a fear, or perhaps a recognition, that my blogging days were potentially numbered. I contacted WordPress about how nice it would be for those of us who blog using our smartphones if they were to give us the option of keeping the classic editor as the default editor. But each reply that I received from WordPress left little doubt that they were 100% committed to the block editor and, for those of us using smartphones for our blogs, it was “too bad, so sad.” I started to lose all credence with WordPress’ claim to be the biggest and best blog hosting site on the internet. Maybe the biggest, but the best?

And then, on top of the block editor, the latest update to the iOS app for the iPhone created a major issue with the Reader that caused difficulties when it came to liking and commenting on other bloggers’ posts. Being just one of the many unhappy fans of the block editor that WordPress had forced on us, now, with the issues of the most recent update to the iOS app, I was really pissed.

Throughout most of the month of November, I exchanged myriad emails with the Happiness Engineers about the iOS app issue. And finally, on Saturday, the Happiness and I were in concert that there was, indeed, a bug in the most recent iOS app update and they were going to try to get it fixed as soon as possible and to release a new update to the app to fix the problem in the Reader on the iPhone.

I’m still waiting on that fix to be delivered, but in the meantime, I ordered a new iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has a display screen that is 6.7 inches, compared with the 5.5 inch display on my current iPhone 8 Plus. The new iPhone won’t be delivered until the first or second week of December. But maybe with a display that is almost 22% larger on the new iPhone, I might even be able to use the block editor!


Written for these daily prompts from yesterday and today: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aberration/paradigm), Ragtag Daily Prompt (mobility/emerge), Your Daily Word Prompt (switch/credence), Word of the Day Challenge (plot/provoke), The Daily Spur (reply/concert), and MMA Storytime (fans/November).

Blogging Insights — Tips Off the New Block

Blogging insightsDr. Tanya’s Blogging Insights question this morning, which was inspired by Jennifer at Paperkutzs, is simply this:

Can you share some tips and tricks for using the new Gutenberg (aka block) editor on WordPress?

Yes, my tip or trick for using the new block editor is to avoid it like the plague (or like COVID-19). I use my iPhone for my blog and in the WordPress app for iOS, the iPhone’s operating system, there is an option in the settings to NOT use the block editor. This allows me to craft my posts using what I call “classic lite,” a version of the classic editor that has fewer formatting features than the former classic editor I used to be able to use when I went to wordpress.com on my iPhone to compose my posts.

So, since WordPress imposed its block editor upon us, I have been able to avoid using it for my blog…so far, anyway. I’m fully expecting that, at some point, WordPress will also remove the classic editor option on its iOS app. And when that point comes, I suppose I’ll have to shit or get off the pot. Meaning, I’ll either have to reluctantly figure out how to “embrace” the block editor on my iPhone, or to just stop blogging on WordPress.

For Those Who Blog Using an iPhone

As most of you who follow my blog know, I use my iPhone for blogging. Not a laptop computer, not a desktop computer. An iPhone 8 Plus with a 5.5 inch screen. You may also know that I’m not a fan of the WordPress block editor, which is clearly not designed to use on the relatively small screen of a smartphone.

This post is about using an iPhone for blogging and about my disdain for the block editor. So if you are not interested in reading my thoughts on either of those topics, I give you permission to move on.

The good news is that, even though WordPress has retired its classic editor as it is forcing all of us to embrace its clunky block editor, there is a setting on the WordPress iOS app that allows us iPhone bloggers to default to the classic editor (or a version of the classic editor that I call “classic lite) when composing or editing a post using the iOS app.I’ve been worried that, as it did with the classic editor on wordpress.com, the decision makers at WordPress would eventually remove the option to use the classic editor in the iOS app. So, in a resent exchange I had with one of the WordPress “happiness engineers,” I wrote:

I don’t use, or want to use, the block editor or the classic block within the block editor on my iPhone. Please tell me that WordPress is going to continue to support the classic editor in the iOS app.

I suppose, in my naivety, I expected a response like, “Not to worry, Fandango, we’ve got your back.” But instead, this is the response I got:

There are no plans to continue to support the classic editor in the app or even in a web browser. It’s an editor that is being depreciated. Our hope is that the Classic block bridges the gap of the old editor to the new, while you learn to use the new editor!

So much for having my back, WordPress.

Drop Cap

I read with interest a post today from Frank, aka PCGuy, who was talking about the ability to incorporate a feature called the “drop cap” on his posts. Frank wrote:

With all the frustration that has come with the recent changes that WordPress.com has made to their blogging platform, I though it might be good to shed a little light on a good thing that I have discovered. It’s small, but it makes a big difference in the visual appearance of your text. If you take a look at the settings when you use the paragraph block in the new Gutenberg [block] editor, you’ll see an option for a drop cap.

As Frank noted, this ability to incorporate the drop cap functionality is accessible in the paragraph block within the block editor.

Oh well, I thought, that’s too bad because I hate the block editor and refuse to use it. So I guess I’m SOL if I ever wanted to incorporate a drop cap into my posts.

But then Frank pointed out that having to use the block editor is not entirely accurate. He wrote that one can accomplish inserting a drop cap using the classic editor by leveraging a simple HTML command, which Frank was kind enough to share with his readers:

<p class=”has-drop-cap”>

Now I can honestly say that I never gave much thought to using the drop catch functionality on my posts, but after reading Frank’s post, I figured I’d give it a try using the classic editor available in the WordPress iOS app for the iPhone. So I wrote this paragraph:

“This is a test to see if, within the classic editor on the iPhone’s WordPress iOS app, I can use the Drop Cap functionality without having to use the block editor.”

Then I copied that brief paragraph, selected the “Switch to HTML Mode” in the iOS app, and surrounded the “T” at the begging of the paragraph with the HTML expression that Frank offered. In HTML, here’s what it looks like.

<p class=”has-drop-cap”>T</p>his is a test to see if….

Then I pasted that edited paragraph below and this is what it looks like in the preview mode after I added the HTML to that line.

T

his is a test to see if, within the classic editor on the iPhone’s WordPress iOS app, I can use the Drop Cap functionality without having to use the block editor.

Pretty cool, huh? That said, I may or may not use the drop cap functionality in future posts. But thanks, Frank. It’s alway fun to learn how to do something on my blog that I didn’t know how to do before, especially when I can do it without using the goddam block editor.

SoCS — Old and New

For today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Linda G. Hill wants us to explore “new/old” and to use either or both of the words — “new” and “old” — any way we’d like.

Typically, one might think of new and old to be opposites, where “new” has a positive connotation and “old” has a negative one. For example, there’s that cool new telephone you bought to replace your crummy old one, that new car that you got after trading in your old car, that new house you moved into after you sold your old house, or that hot new chick you’re seeing after you divorced your old lady.

But “new” and “old” are not always synonymous with the good or bad connotations often ascribed to them. I’m an old man, but after I retired I had to try to reinvent myself and to become a new man, which was a necessary and good thing to do. Now if only I could figure out how to reinvent myself from an being an old man to being a young man.

And there’s the “out with the old, in with the new” philosophy that seems to be embraced by so many these days. New and improved is not necessarily better than old and reliable. And yes, that’s a none-too-subtle jab at WordPress for having shitcanned the good old classic editor and replacing it with that awful new block editor, forcing some of us to decide if we even want to continue to blog on WordPress.

And with all that said, it’s time to greet the new day and to hope, with all the crap that is swirling around us, that it will be no worse than the old day was.

Have a nice Saturday, folks.