Lags

Lags
" … it contains an adequate number of warts and surface imperfections …"

I hand-tooled my Production Process. I started it before I'd mastered my tools and well before I'd settled on what I would be producing. My process as well as my product have been evolving over time. Some of my process was obsoleted when Adobe® acquired FrameMaker® and decided to suspend support for the Mac version of their once-fine product. Several other pieces of the machinery became inoperable over time. There being no adequate replacements, I discovered little sneaker-net workarounds, creating a process that both defies logic and also fairly reliably produces output, as it's called. I've avoided any MicroSoft® product, finding them uniformly unusable, user hostile, and I never got over the anti-trust action that vividly described how they'd come to dominate the corporate computing market. I understood that I could definitely get better elsewhere, but that I'd never pay more, and since I was only sometimes a corporation in name only, I could not and didn't really aspire to compete in that realm. I cobbled together thises and thats and managed to produce close to what I intended.

Somedays, my hand-crafted system seems composed of Lags connected by no more than stepping stones.
Once I manage to make a foothold on one stone, I must usually stop there and survey and plot my next move, which often involves some curious choreography. I'm flipping between domains, employing two different browsers, using my blog app as the word processor it isn't, and then waiting while each finished piece posts. If I'm sharing on Facebook, my effort's just begun when I've managed to publish a piece to the web. I don't have to start all over again, but a roughly parallel process certainly begins, this one involving several lags and complicated hand-offs. Many have counseled me to switch into some other chain of domains, and I sometimes even crawl over there to consider the effort involved. Almost every time, I find the suggestion unworkable for me, in my specific context, for my Production Process now seems not only the means, but an inexorable element of the content, too.

I can use a lag to more carefully reconsider, heading off an otherwise poorly postulated point. I might proofread again, since even a small contribution seems to require several successive proofing passes. When I firmly believe that I've caught every inadvertent error, I can be pretty certain that another couple still sustain themselves. I even find proofing oversights in stuff I posted long ago, even though I know for certain that I thoroughly proofed them before posting, productively allocating my Lags to improve every end product. Without the Lags, were my Production Process more fully automated, I'd probably post greater gibberish faster. I try to remember that the automation's hardly the thing, that the products I produce could live independent of any automated process. My Production Process itself was similarly constructed, carved not to take full advantage of any automation, but to lend fuller advantage to the quality of the end product.

Some days, the various steps frustrate me. Yesterday, I changed a label in my blog's sidebar and remembered after I'd hit the publish button that this would necessitate republishing all fourteen hundred and some past posts along with the current one, a perhaps ten minute lag just when I was hoping to simply upload and go on to something else. These small delays slow me down and prevent me from ever approaching efficiency, a concept whose proliferation seems almost solely responsible for the general degradation of quality of life over my lifetime. The more efficient we've become, the less present we seem. The first principle of Scientific Management insists that we should eliminate waste from our Production Processes. I understand that my hand-carved gears inject a lot of play into the machinery and they inhibit ever approaching light speed, but I want these Lags in my Production Process. If it weren't for the many Lags in it, I might produce product indistinguishable from any other, a commodity, and the best I could ever hope for from that result would be competitive parity in a commodity market, a state within which no comparative advantage could possibly exist.

I try to remember that I'm a warts and all sort of guy. My products include certain surface imperfections. Not one of them has ever been perfectly spherical, nor really needed to be. Handcrafted clay tablets could hardly benefit from a more streamlined production process. Increasing volume might undermine the whole point of producing them. Once I've completed this little piece, I'll copy the buried lede (I always bury my lede) and paste it at the top, changing the font to bold and italic and centering it beneath the illustration, which I spent the better part of a half hour searching out before I even started writing. Then I read through the piece for the first time, finding the first iteration of corrections, before copying the first paragraph and the first sentence of the second paragraph to a separate summary posting, then change those lines in the original to italic to signify that they're a repeat of what first appeared in the summary. Then I finally save the mess and hit the publish button. I'll then switch to Chrome where I'll access Facebook, then my PureSchmaltz Group on Facebook, and wait for the display to finish loading, an often interminable lag. I'll then post the summary I copied from the blog post, add a paragraph pointing back to the original blog post, add hash tags and maybe upload the associated illustration. I'll then reformat the title to an H1 and start writing the introduction to the piece. I'll proofread that piece twice, maybe three times, and remember to wait for the prompt from my blog software telling me that the posting's successfully uploaded. I'll then switch to Safari, where I'll view the summary posted to the web, follow the link to the full post, then copy that full post link, which I'll paste into the FB Group introduction on Chrome. Then, I'm ready to post that introduction to the FB Group.

I'll open the full FB Group post once it's displayed, and check to see that the link I'd just pasted into the FB Group introduction actually works. Then I'll reread the full posting for the first time in the form everyone accessing it will see. I usually find a few small errors, which I correct in the blog software. Once I've completed the proofread, I'll then republish the piece and wait until that's completed to confirm that the changes properly posted. I usually find a few more errors or change my mind on some wording after this second publish, and these necessitate additional publishing passes, Lags every step of every way. On a good day, my posting will have already attracted a dozen views, each of whom viewed an incomplete, uncorrected piece. The actual piece Lags by about ten or more minutes behind first publication. So it goes. Send your suggestions for improving this process to the MicroSoft Corporation in Redmond, they might find them interesting or useful. I'm more than married to my Production Process, since it contains an adequate number of SmallThings, warts and surface imperfections, which seem perfectly suited to producing my particular product.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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