Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Waiting for the Postman ...

Well, not quite, but we are in a holding pattern right now and cannot launch the new website program for Wool2Dye4 because we cannot get to the shipping module on the USPS site. They must have some kind of big and bad server issues going on, and it looks like there could be quite a delay. Who would think that I would get a letter from the folks at USPS? They actually wrote all account holders a letter this morning, telling us that there are server problems (well, we knew that!), and suggesting we take advantage of one month free accounts at or

If you've read my blog before, you know that is definitely not one of my favorite service providers. I almost went to war with them over unnecessary charges and their refusal to issue a refund for something like $40. So, I won't be trying their service, I can assure you. Maybe we'll launch without a postal service component in the beginning, and just go with FedEx. I don't know, I don't know what to do.

Changing your program from one you are used to, which may not be anywhere near perfect, but is familiar, is tough. The whole process of even choosing a program for your website is huge. I have often told my husband -- in answer to 'what is taking so long with the new program?' -- that if I knew more about what to look for in a program, I could install the thing myself.

That's really the problem, isn't it? Website businesses are not experts in the technical side of what program fits the needs of their individual business. If we knew more, we could shop better for the right program. I have some customers who write to me and show sympathy for my plight, and then toss in phrases like cascading style sheets, Wordpress modules, iFrames, hard code, etc. My eyes begin to glaze over.

You see, I have learned over the years to delegate the stuff that I do not understand and do not have the time to learn. And computer programming, being an entirely separate career itself, is one of those things I have been delegating since computer screens were 6-inches square and there was no such thing as Windows. Back in another life, when I started a little text-book distribution business in Los Angeles, the personal computer came into existance, and I started on my journey of searching out programs when there was very little to be found. It was the upstart, entrepreneurial phase of the personal computer, and I met lots of really fascinating computer geeks! Think of it -- nothing like directories, so all files were lumped together in one big, huge, long, never ending file. I remember the first time I had a computer -- a rented one, actually -- and I didn't even have a printer, because I couldn't figure out why I would need one! Of course, I found out quickly that I certainly did need a printer, so off to the local computer store I went to rent a printer. But, I couldn't figure out how to make the darn thing print! I looked, read the heavy manual, and did everything I could think of, until I finally made a call to someone masquerading as my first computer service guy. (He was really just a computer techie I met in the aisles of EggHead Software, a company which has since gone out of existence, but which was the playground of all of us who had purchased the first personal computers.) Anyway, for the sum of $30 he came to my tiny apartment in L.A., and punched a button and the darn thing sprang to life. That button had the word 'PRINT' on it, too! How did I miss it? I still think about that day!

Anyway, ever since that expensive lesson -- and thirty dollars was a lot of money to me -- I have hired consultants to take me beyond my own level of achievement. I've written bibliographies which were distributed by the U.S. Department of Education on my first computers. I've bought the first color printer on the market and tried my best to install it. Shoot, for that matter, I've installed the very first Sony model of an answering machine and navigated my way through 75 pages of terribly twisted English written by speakers of Japanese! I've done some computer stuff in my time! And the biggest thing I've done, is to hire others when I know I've reached my level of incompetence.

Hmmm. Who was the really smart guy who had a whole theory about what happens when we reach our level of incompetence? I cannot remember right now. I need someone to tell me.

But, back to the Post Office. So, their server must have blown up. Or something huge. I mentioned it to a customer this morning, and she must have an account with them too, because she said she'd also gotten the same letter which I received.

So, here I sit with my new program (it's Comersus, by the way) all ready and shiny new and waiting for the launch into cyberspace, and what am I waiting for? Waiting for the mail. Wow. How many times have we waited for the mail in our lives? Too many to count, and this seems like a great subject for another blog entry.

Must say that I miss writing in the blog! Checking Ravelry every day has sort of taken up what was my blog time in former days. I need to moderate that, I do believe.

The picture below is of my new line of colored yarns, which will be the signature yarn on my new website venture: UpTown Stitches. Yes, I'm launching a second website, hopefully in January, but we'll see. This yarn is called Scrumptious by FyberSpates, and is receiving rave reviews all over Europe. I'll be the U.S. distributor and cannot wait to receive stock and start getting it out there! Any pattern calling for Malibrigo or even Lion and the Lamb will be good patterns to use Scrumptious. More on that soon!


Katie said...

What a coincidence that the USPS site goes down right at the busiest time of the year? Perhaps they don't want to give everyone that 5% discount you get online.

Sheila Wool2Dye4 said...

What a coincidence! You are right!

Knit Witch said...

Hmmmm...that IS a coincidence!!! Yeah, I was trying to print postage for my shipments yesterday and the site kept telling me that my zip code was invalid (uh.....what?). So, I ended up doing a bunch of finagaling (sp?) and charged myself for postage through paypal and printed my labels that way. Ahhhh.....the joys of the technology age! The thought of actually standing in line to pay my postage seems so foreign to me now! haha!

Sheila Wool2Dye4 said...

I had to stand in line at the Post Office yesterday afternoon, with an order going to Canada. Long line of resigned folk, not looking too happy, one clerk serving everyone! Must say that the Click'n'Ship and Carrier Automatic Pick-Up services are the best ideas that USPS has come up with in a long, long time. Now, I'm having to launch my new site without them even listed!