Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happiness is a Paragraph, Right Where You Want It

Okay, now I'm going to embarrass myself by demonstrating how little I know about using a computer. When I interface with this blog, am I using a computer language? Is it called "code"? Is it called "html"? I know so little, I can't even talk about it!

There are a few things I know about computers, though. I remember that my college friend's roommate, a computer science major, would sometimes disappear for days. We'd all be asking, "Hey, where's Alberto?" and Ted would say, "Working on a project." We all knew what that meant. Alberto would reappear 3 or 4 days later, unwashed and unshaven, from the depths of the computer lab, bearing a thick stack of punchcards and a banner on green-and-white striped printout paper, with HAPPY BIRTHDAY TED spelled out in huge letters (with the big H made up of little H's, the big A of little A's, and so on). That's one thing I know about computers: when you get going on something and have glitches to fix, it takes days.

Another thing I know is: when you know what you're doing, it's easy. I once worked in an office where both of the lawyers were also computer types, and they used to change the cards in the computer while I working on a document! Apparently they knew what they were doing, because it never caused a problem. It made me terribly nervous, though. I spent a lot of time saying things like "PLEASE. Don't do brain surgery while the patient is still conscious!"

But I digress. The original point of this post is that I have discovered how to fix my perpetual problem with paragraphs. (Too bad it isn't Alliteration Saturday. I'd be all over it.)

Perhaps you know what I'm talking about, or maybe I'm the last person to have this problem. Sometimes there were too many spaces between paragraphs. Sometimes there were too few. Sometimes when I took the extra spaces out, I couldn't get ANY spaces back in again, no matter how many times I used the return key. Sometimes I would do the right thing by accident. Often I would just give up. I exhausted my trial-and-error repertoire, without making any progress whatsoever.

Now, thanks to Melissa's tip sheet, which I found through Oreneta Aground, I am still clueless about how it all works, but I have a tool that allows me to solve the problem when it occurs. I tried to write the actual fix into this post, but when I typed it in, it didn't show up, it just made a new paragraph begin! How cool is that?

Anyway, life is good when I can insert paragraphs at will. Sometimes I just don't care about the process, I just want to get the result, you know?

Yeah, I'm way behind the times. I'm okay with that. And even though the computer and I don't always understand each other, at least we are communicating.

Hooray for "code" or "html" or whatever it is! Hooray for paragraphs!


  1. That tip sheet is pretty cool. It took me a moment to realise what you were talking about! Say what??? ;-)

  2. Congratulations! But more importantly -- thanks for the link to the tip sheet. I am just learning this "code" thing myself, mostly by fumbling around in "edit html" mode.

  3. It's a work in progress for me, for sure! But every bit of knowledge (and every tip sheet) sheds a little more light . . .


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