Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Why you should always check the date.

In the (admittedly very small) team of Textile Forum organisers, I am the techie person. Which means that website stuff - making, updating, and so on - and mailing stuff is my job. And that, of course, includes the newsletter.

I have been using a small freeware newsletter programme these past years that is easy to use and generally very nice - apart from one thing: It has a tendency to mangle word wraps in the email. Now this could be fixed easily by some more care on my part (it's partly a dumb-user-problem), but I tend to forget to look out for that, and I have planned to do a pallia.net newsletter as well in the future, so I went out to search for a successor to my old prog.

And I found one. It looked nice, it sounded nice, it installed like a breeze (since I now know how to generate a new sql-database and which values to jot down for the server), it imported all my addresses nicely, and it has a bunch of nice features that are just what I need. And it's open source.

However, I have now run into a few bugs that ... bug me. Nothing totally serious, nothing that I could not work around, but irksome. And hey, I changed from my old programme to get rid of irksome! Not believing that this irksomeness had to be there, I went to look at the documentation. And then it dawned on me... this thing I installed? Has help files from 2008. Last update of the thing was also 2008. I downloaded and installed a zombie.

And this, my friends, is why one should always (always!) check for: a) latest update of the thing and b) check if there is proper documentation, FAQ, and (if available) help forums before installing a programme, and c) check when the last entries on the help forums were. Before installing. Because once you have an issue with the rampant zombie on your system... it's too late.

Now please excuse me while I put that undead body back to where it belongs and find myself a live one. With proper docs and support.

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