Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Builder

I am quite new to web design – still wearing my L plates if you know what I mean.

I found myself having to design a new web store from the ground up – because my original store was built on a server which really couldn’t provide the customisation options required for a business operating mainly in Australia.

I thought my past experience, with building the original web site, plus my Blog and also my Affiliate site would certainly count for something; that I should be able to do it without too much trouble. What I didn’t understand was that I had been working with fairly elaborate template based web builders – basically I just entered the information and the software did all the hard work. But my previous server did not allow me to download my previous pages as a complete package and simply upload it to a new site. No – I had to start from scratch, and I suddenly realized just how much I DIDN’T know about this whole E-Commerce thing.

Oh yes, I tried the pre built templates – but they were either ridiculously expensive, or just way too cheap and nasty. And the instructions were all written in some geek speak that I couldn’t make head nor tail of anyhow.

But I thought I had a fairly brilliant idea – I would download the pages from my previous site and use them as a template for the basic structure. At least it gave me something to work with – something vaguely familiar, which might keep me from feeling totally overwhelmed by the project I had undertaken.

I was going along great guns, churning out reasonable-looking completed pages and feeling fairly proud of my progress. But then, suddenly, the wheels fell off completely.

My pages began to distort. Text and images would appear outside of the page borders. Sections of my page would reject any formatting that I attempted to apply. The more I tried to fix it, the worse it seemed to get.
Eventually I decided to try to edit the HTML code directly – even though I admit my knowledge in this area is very sketchy. But as soon as I started to look at the HTML code, I could see what had happened.

It seems that HTML is a bit like a computer hard disk. You install heaps of different programs and applications and then, later, you uninstall the same – but, unless you know how to edit the registry, you often end up with lots of leftover bits. Eventually all this accumulated rubbish begins to take a toll on the computer. It slows down – develops errors and in many cases the only fix is a complete reinstall of your operating system.

Now when I built my first web store I really had no idea what I was doing. I made so many mistakes and spent hours correcting them and I guess, all the while, I was leaving bits and pieces behind in the code. Then I downloaded the whole mess and uploaded it, bugs and all, into the editor for my new web site – after which I proceeded to make more mistakes and more corrections.

Finally my poor overloaded editing program had a hissy fit and quit on me. All I could do was to delete the whole ugly mess and start all over again.

Well, thankfully I succeeded this time. My new web site is up and running. It’s a bit basic in design, but it works, and that’s the main thing right now. I can always tizz it up as I go.

But there is always a life lesson to learned along the way, isn’t there! For instance – how many times have I tried to do that – to build something new in my life on the foundation of past mistakes?

We like to stick with the familiar, don’t we? That’s why it’s so hard to break old habits – because it’s scary to let go and launch ourselves into the unfamiliar. We prefer to use the same old tools and yet we expect to get different results.

The thing is we will never really get something new when we use the old stuff as a template. We will just get a rehash of what we had before. And if it wasn’t good enough the first time, then why would we even want that?

Sometimes we just have to be brave and throw it all out – all the old wrong attitudes, the emotional scars and baggage that we’ve ‘downloaded’ from our past into our present. If we want to succeed at building something new, then we need to start afresh. Oh yes, we might still make a few mistakes, but at least we won’t be just compounding the old ones.
©Lyn Murphy2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Celebrating Life


I’m celebrating!

Why? Because this morning I woke up to realize that there are many, many people waking up to the knowledge that the late night visit by the Police was not just a horrible dream: that a loved one has been cruelly taken from them – a road accident, a mugging, a cold blooded murder.

And while my heart aches for those people, it also rejoices because I wasn’t one of them!

There are people today who will discover that they, or some one very close to them, has a terminal illness. They thought they would have plenty of time for all the things they planned to do together.

There are people today who will finally realize that they can no longer live with the constant tension and strife in their marital home. People who will be destroyed by the knowledge that their husband/wife/significant other has been cheating/is about to leave them.

Many people will learn today that they have lost their job and the future will loom so full of uncertainty. How will they ever afford the mortgage payments/the rent/the car payments/the school fees?

Mothers will greet newborns bearing hideous disfigurements. Children will be molested. Fathers will have heart attacks. Houses will catch fire and burn to the ground destroying a lifetime of precious memories.

I’m sad for those people and the tragedies they will endure/are enduring. But I’m celebrating because none of this is happening to me.

My family is all safe and very much alive. My husband loves me. My job is secure for the moment. There will be enough to money to pay the bills and buy food.

Oh I don’t know what might be waiting for me around the corner. But for now I will count my blessings and enjoy every one of them – just in case I’m not quite so fortunate tomorrow. I don't want to ever be one of those people who never knew what they had until they lost it.
©Lyn Murphy 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't Lead With Your Head


I’ve been doing the rounds, reading other people’s blogs, and every now and then I come across one that really gets me thinking. Like one I read the other day about a person who loved to dance, and yet resisted the urge because others had rather disparaging things to say about his style. See, he made a habit of asking his friends for validation – ‘so how did I look out there on the dance floor?’

And let’s face it; if you lead with your head, you often get your face kicked in.

I remember once, in one of those very tender moments, I asked the man in my life ‘Do you love me?’ He said ‘Yes, but not as much as I have loved other women!’ Ouch.

Now he felt he was just being honest. I felt as though he had stuck a knife in my heart.

I happen to be a sensitive person who picks up on the feelings of others quite easily. If the dancing dude had asked me how he looked out there on the dance floor, even if I thought he looked a bit like a windmill in a cyclone, I would have found a way not to totally crush his ego. I might have said something like ‘Well you certainly seem to enjoy dancing.’

It’s a pity we so often seem to feel the need for validation. But it’s even more of a pity when the people we turn to for reassurance seem compelled to shoot us down in flames. No I don’t advocate telling outright lies to spare other people’s feelings. Surely we can all just think before we speak?

Along the same lines, I read another blog where the writer cautioned that we should never share our ‘big ideas’ with family and friends. Why? Because often the response you get will be something like this: ‘Oh goodness. That will never work!’ Talk about bursting the bubble?

If you asked those people why they would say something so negative, you can be sure they would respond by telling you that they just didn’t want to see you hurt and disappointed. And that is probably true. But what about the people who told Henry Ford that his designs would never work, or the people who scorned Christopher Columbus when he said that he could sail right around the world and not fall off the edge?

Maybe your ideas seem a little ‘over-the-top’ but you could be just the person to make them reality. The most important factor is the ability to believe in yourself and not to rely so heavily on the opinions of others.

The fact that the friends of the dancing dude didn’t like his style certainly didn’t mean that he should give up dancing. That my man didn’t think of me as the love of his life doesn’t mean that I am somehow less of a person. That some one close to me doesn’t think I can achieve my dreams and goals in life doesn’t mean I will certainly fail.
©Lyn Murphy 2010