Andrea Mara

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Online disasters & virtual friends

On Monday I attempted to convert my blog to a new website. This involved googling to get code to copy somewhere deep inside the hidden vaults of the new website. Not an easy task but what’s the worst that could happen?

If it didn’t work, I’d use that nice back arrow at the top of my browser to roll-back. Which is what I tried when faced with a blank screen where my new website had been sitting prettily two minutes previously.

The screen stayed blank. My mind went blank. My heart sank. I’m no IT person, but this did not look good.

I contacted the service provider. A nice person called Phil tried to help me; he figured there was something wrong with the code I had inserted. He suggested that I take out the code. “I can’t” I replied, “I have no access to my website, it’s gone”

“You need to ftp the back-up file” he said

“Em yes, ftp – now how would I do that?” I asked, my heart sinking further.

“Maybe you should talk to your web developer” said Phil

My what now? My web developer? Normal people don’t have web developers. If I had a web developer, I wouldn’t be here asking Phil what ftp means.

I’m sure Phil was thinking that normal people shouldn’t try to set up websites.

image credit
image credit

In a panic, I posted a link to my ailing website, asking my online friends in the Irish Parenting Bloggers group if anyone could see the site. No luck. More panic.

A very kind blogger said she’d ask her husband if he could help. I was touched by her gesture, but didn’t hold out much hope.

I parked the kids on front of the TV and continued to look for help from Phil. Could he kill the corrupted version and just give me back an empty site? No, not possible. He said there was nothing more he could do and suggested I go online to try to find help.

And it was my wedding anniversary. As if it’s not bad enough having a wedding anniversary on a cold Monday in October, on the eve of the seventh austerity budget, I’d now killed my new pride and joy with one tiny copy and paste click.

An email popped up; my blogger-friend’s husband was ready to take a look. I sent some details, he sent me back an instruction that didn’t make sense to me, followed by a sentence that did: “or would you like me to do it for you?”

The part of me that would normally say “no, no not at all, I’ll try it myself, you’re too kind” was quickly shushed by the much saner and more desperate part of me who replied “yes, please, can you do it for me!”

An hour later, my site was back, gleaming, better than ever.

I can’t put into words how grateful I am to this lovely blogger and her generous husband – it’s no small thing to give your time to a virtual stranger after a long day at work and a busy evening putting two small children to bed.

I say virtual stranger because this blogger and I really only know each other online, having met just once in real life, last weekend. But you know, I’d prefer to say friends. Because giving up time to help someone in (desperate) need is the kind of thing that friends do for each other.

I won’t mention who the IT whizz is, so that he’s not inundated with requests for help with all kinds of website disasters. On a totally unrelated note, I’d like to send you in the direction of this very lovely blog: The Dare Project  . Just sayin’.






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