Technology Laws – #1LinerWeds

As many of you know, I spent 42 years plying the waters of computer-based technology to provide for myself and my family. In addition to that, I worked programming computers since I first took a computer science course in 1967 in summer school in between 8th and 9th grade.

I learned a lot about programming, over time and much of what I learned early could be applied to things I encountered later. There are fundamentals to computer programming that really don’t change as technology improves. Processes become faster. Algorithms become easier to define. Errors become easier to prevent, but the basics are still involved. Not all of the fundamentals are lessons about how to build something. One fundamental lesson I was recently reminded of is my one-liner today. If you want the backstory, keep reading. Otherwise, just understand that, at least when it comes to technology,

“Nothing is so screwed up that it can’t be made worse by your best effort to improve it.”

What brought me here today? Google. Not the search engine, but Google the company as in the people who deliver Gmail.

If you use Gmail in a browser, as opposed to the Gmail app, you have the option to let Google place your mail into tabs. The tabs represent categories like ‘Primary’ ‘Social’ ‘Updates’ and so on. For the longest time, this worked very well for me. Emails alerting me to new blog posts by you would show up under the Social tab. Email alerts about comments on my post also landed in under the Social heading. Emails notifying me of Likes on my blog or the fact that you, or one of your readers liked my comment on your post were all on the Update tab.

This was great! Maybe 30 people liked my post, but only three commented on it. Those three notifications were separate. This worked so well…until Google changed something in their algorithm and Marian started showing up under the wrong tab. Marian uses CommentLuv, and it doesn’t get treated the same (don’t get me started on CommentLuv). Despite the newness of her blog post, the notifications always landed under updates, buried under likes and comment-likes and ads from Kohls and reminders from my college alumni association that they still need more money. It wasn’t just Marian; it was every blog author who uses CommentLuv (and there are a bunch).

Last week, I read one of those “10 tricks you don’t know about…” articles about Gmail. One of the tricks was going to fix Marian. All I had to do was drag the notification about Marian’s new blog post from the Update section and drop it on the Social tab. After that, Marian’s notifications would appear where they belong.

How cool is that?

Not cool, not – cool – at – all.

When I opened Gmail the next morning, the notification of Marian’s new post was under the Social tab. Unfortunately, every other notification remotely connected to a WordPress blog was also under that tab. The Update section had three lonely emails from people who wanted money, and one from the Washington Post.

There was no way to undo the change, but I was able to fix the problem. I created a variety of ‘filters’ in Gmail. By creating a filter, you can process incoming mail according to explicit rules. So, now, any email with the words “liked your comment” in the subject are automatically directed to the Updates category. I can even fix Marian by filtering on ‘[new post]’ and putting them under the Social tab.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.


  1. I laughed uproariously at your one-liner. Ain’t that the truth? I got rid of the Updates folder years ago but I forget why. It must have been annoying me for some reason. All my WP emails land in Social but since I don’t generally keep up, it’s like that cupboard that you try and pull something out of and then slam the door before everything can fall out of it. It’s easier to go directly to the WP reader on my laptop or on the app on my phone and just catch up on as many as I can from the top.
    But thanks for the filtering tip. I might use it one day.
    I like your arty farty shots. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I could make you laugh, I think we need that more than anything these days. I’m also glad you like my attempts at artistry. I’m getting bolder (in sharing) if not better behind the camera.

      I can’t stand to have unread email in my inbox. I either read/respond or I delete it. I know better than to think I’ll ever go back to it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hang in there, Thunder Dad, because two and four legged folks are depending upon you. :-) When you go all techy on us, I always have a moment where I realize I am probably using the top 1% or less of technology available to me. :-) Wishing you sunshine because we have the gray and the gloom today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s why I gave you the option to skip the story, today, Judy.

      The sun is trying very hard to burn through the gray and gloom. Maddie and I walked under dreary skies. Maybe I’ll have sunshine before I head out to the farm for some dairy stuff.

      Take care. I hope you get to play outside today.


  3. Hi Dan – I’ve never understood those – never worried and even though I’d like to sort things out … it’s easier to let things be. The only ‘pain the butt’ which has happened recently – I’m on Blogger not WP as you are – is that anyone commenting on one of my posts would be sent off to gmail too – but that has just stopped – a great big gaping hole appeared and they’ve all tumbled in. Need to sort out – as I hate not knowing I need to check in to my own blog … Love the photos – the animals they always need to be near one … all the best – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a huge issue with blogger email notification and it’s been that way for a while. My notification emails go to hotmail…the account I also use when I order things online because i don’t want my personal email filled with these things. Hotmail has tabs too, but unfortunately I haven’t taken the time to try and sort it out and make things easier to find. So that email account is always a mess and if I don’t get there in a few days or more, it’s unmanageable – a good part of the reason why I don’t always realize when someone has posted a new blog.

    You’re a good thunder dad, to keep Maddie safe during the mean storms. Keep up the good work and have a wonderful Wednesday, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The storms have cleared. Maddie and I walked the walk of the people who were spared any damage or power outages. I think it might turn out to be a nice day. I hope yours is, too.

      Every service I have seems to have at least one thing that just bugs the ____ out of me. Gmail drives me crazy. WordPress should thank Google for making them look good by comparison.


  5. The thing I’ve learned about computers over the years? There’s always a way… you just have to be clever enough to find it.
    Lovely pics. And as usual… I’m jealous of your sweet bunny.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh!Dan, as a follower, not a blogger, I’m sooooo glad I don’t have to deal with all this technology stuff. My old brain would just explode!

    Really like the shot of Smokey hiding and the puddles. It seems even with the dreaded glasses out of her way, she’s still quite annoyed with you! And I have to say, the expression on MiMi’s face doesn’t look to me like she’s happy to see you either! Just saying…… I think you need to get knee deep in a project ’cause those girls are looking for some “me” time! Lol.

    You’re a great thunderdad for Maddie. Murphy isn’t too bad in storms, but when those darn national weather alerts come on the TV with the ear-splitting screeching noise, that’s another story. There’s no consoling her.

    Sunshine here ….always welcome. Have a happy hump day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. Maddie just can’t get close enough to us during a storm. Either that, or she curls up in the back of her crate. In addition to the storm, we have idiots. Our town is one of the towns that adopted bell-ringing during this crisis as a way of showing solidarity. Some of our less thoughtful neighbors have chosen to join in with fireworks instead of bells. Maddie is very hard to console at 8:00pm.

      MuMu and MiMi have things to say to me, but I can’t always print the proper translation. Sometimes, they add gestures.

      It looks like the sun is breaking through here. I hope you stay on the sunny side and have a great rest of the week.


  7. “Nothing is so screwed up that it can’t be made worse by your best effort to improve it.” In my opinion, this is the motto of every single social media platform and operating system in existence!!!

    Users: “This new update is TERRIBLE. At least it can’t possibly get any LESS user friendly.”

    Platforms: “Lol, here, hold my beer.”

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Ha! “Nothing is so screwed up that it can’t be made worse by your best effort to improve it.” That has surely been my experience, Dan.
    The puddle pics are amazing — I particularly liked the first one. LOL, and no doubt “Thunder Dad” is better than the thunder shirt. :D Crystal doesn’t do well on sun-less days either. She seems to like it here. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Well, at least you were able to fix it! I just leave it alone.

    I LOVE your puddle reflections. This is turning out to be a wonderful series. My favorite today was the tree on your way back one. LOVED IT!

    The bunny is so cute and the light was wonderful. The Moon and the park are looking great! Blue and green both calming colors for me, but green is my favorite. 😀 You had some lovely walks this past week.

    Thunder Dad! Love that title.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like those reflections, Deborah. I can’t walk past that puddle without trying to get a picture. I try not to overdo it out here, but most of my picture-taking opportunities, lately, are coming during these walks.

      The park looked so ready for activity. It’s a little sad that there won’t be any. Although, they did put signs up at the major intersections about Little League registration. Maybe they have a plan.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ack! I got lost in the quicksand of Gmail filtering rules once. It’ll be a loooonnnngggg time before I wander that way again. Color me impressed that you figured out a work around!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was happy to find a way to get back to my comfortable organization method. I hate having to create the filters, but it seems to be working. I guess that will teach me about reading those “10 things…” posts.


  11. I’m glad Marian is fixed. But sorry that the fix ended up breaking other things.

    If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    And I’m directing that to Google and all the other software platforms I use that constantly require new learning from me. Enough already.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is actually a good fix, Maggie. Google keeps messing with those categories, and things kept moving. This way, I think things will land where I want them. Of course, that’s only until WordPress changes the notification system :(

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ok. Photos first. Love the bunny. The Memorial shot is brilliant. Puddle to ice to puddle again..all good relections. Poor dear Maddie. Thank heaven for Thunder Dad. Not so sure about MiMi but as long as she lets you stay, it’s all good. I could sit and write a book beside that train trestle bridge. It is truly inspirational.
    Gmail? So many changes, so little improvement. The changes are mostly annoying for me. How to save i ages, attach i ages, forwarding and reply. You can tell it is all some person’s own idea of what would be better with no care for what the majority of users might feel would be useful. My son has helped me so much in better understanding the core of how computer language works. I would love to learn more. He loves basic system approach, such as Lennox, where users have the ability to build what they want as opposed to just having to adapt. So many people don’t have the energy or detail oriented mind to delve deeply into those systems so take what is given. It’s good you can repair and repair your repairs, Dan. We all appreciated your talents when we need help. Happy Wednesday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Cheryl. Google just can’t seem to leave well enough alone and add to a good (adequate) core. They can’t find the time to add new good things, but they find plenty of time to break what’s already working. I’ve given up trying to customize most things. I used to try to customize Windows and Office, but each new update would break something that took me a long time to set up. Now I just take what they give me – it’s like breakfast cereal. You can only add so much fruit.


  13. Good puddle pics Dan. As for technology and improvements Rube Goldberg lives on. And none of the varieties are immune. And as much as I hate the generic phrase ‘did you reboot your computer?’ sometimes that is the simplest answer. Sometimes not always. Sometimes the sanest answer is to head out for that walk or into the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are a couple of apps/applications/technical things that I use that don’t allow you to undo the big stupid things they let you do. For things like deleting junk mail, Gmail gives me an “are you sure” and “press to Undo” option in a big annoying box I can’t make go away. For something that is going to permanently screw up my inbox it’s “OK, here what you asked for, I hope you like it.”

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Dan, great one-liner! So, learning more about challenges with gmail makes me glad I don’t use it much. It’s secondary to a main one. I could never figure out the tech solutions like you do. I just have the WordPress app on my phone, and get likes & comments as they come in. The photos always make me smile. We need more of that today. Happy mid-week. 📚🎶 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Those puddle pics are outstanding! I love every nature picture you take. You see the beauty in it like I do. I have a gmail account but use the app for it. It works much better than my old standby yahoo, but I have had the yahoo since 1999😳😄. Stay well!

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Love the photos today, Dan, especially that top right reflection shot. But don’t tell Maddie. I always like those of her. :-) My husband being an IT guy, I really think your phrase might better read “plying the often murky waters of computer-based technology). As for Gmail, which we have, I tend to just ignore what they do, my biggest gripe being all the things that suddenly end up in “Spam”/”Junk”, even though the senders are usually in my regular mail. The worst part is their scanning your mail, which naturally they say they don’t do.

    Happy Wednesday!


    Liked by 1 person

    • GoggleCentral – 8:43 GMT 4/15/2020 – Janet complained about gmail. Seems to know that we’re reading her mail. Begin stealth level-3 scan on her activity.

      You never know. Murky waters would be a good addition. I’m not sure I ever understood fully. Maddie knows she has a fan base. She threatens to start he own blog and prevent me from using her likeness.

      Happy Wednesday – I hope the rest of your week goes well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • :-) Good thing I only said it on WP, although who knows about them. If they were scanning and reacting, they’d put back those little circles on the calendar indicating I have a scheduled post, but that obviously hasn’t happened. I send an email quite some time ago about it (after you mentioned doing so), but never got a response.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I have a love/hate relationship with GMail. I do, however love trains and railways and stories of them all. As kids, we always walked the railroad tracks. My fear was always getting stuck on the trestle with an approaching train. Never happened though. Thank goodness.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. That quote is such a riot–my husband nodded and laughed. I know nothing about computers. He is a retired computer tech. I say to him: “So, honey. Let me tell you what I did to try to solve my problem.” Without even looking, I know his eyes have rolled to the back of his head as he calmly says, “Let me sit down and see what I can do…..”

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I never mess with Gmail. One thing I like about the mac is all the mail comes into the inbox. I can then deal with it as it comes. On my PC I have three tabs and more likely than not something is in the wrong place. I enjoyed your post today. Those puddle shots are terrific. All three fur kids look well.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You’re one liner is funny because it is true!!!! Also your bunny is much bigger than our bunny who is very fast and I have yet to get a good picture of him. Though I have enjoyed watching him since I’ve been working from home.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I use Gmail in the browser. I’ve been using the tabs for a couple of months now. I’m still not too sure if I like them. I wonder if there’s a way I could have tabs that go by who the sender is. For instance, have all emails from WordPress in one tab, all emails from Twitter in another, and have all emails from Amazon in still another.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. weeps copiously at having given Dan so much trouble …Er, I mean, I MEANT to do that, to spur you to make Gmail better for yourself. Yeah. That. When I first installed CommentLuv, it was a good, dynamic program, always improving. Then the coder got MS and stopped supporting the plugin. There’s a group that’s trying to group-source it, but I’m not a coder, so I have no idea how that’s going. Would it help for me to uninstall the plugin? p.s. The photos are FABULOUS. Tell Maddie she isn’t allowed to start her own blog if it means you can’t post pictures of her here. Same goes for Puddle Reflection and Walker Lady.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t care, but you would get more comments. I can never comment without adding name/email/website and I NEVER get notified that you replied. Sometimes I check, but I still have to enter N/E/W and sometimes, sadly, I don’t :(

      Maddie says “blogging looks like too much work, I’ll have my people continue blogging for me.”

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I never set up my category tabs in gmail. They just appeared and I don’t like them. I could probably get rid of them, but don’t want to go there. It’s easier to use my good ol’ aol account. Your first photos are exceptionally interesting followed by exceptionally cozy.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. It’s been a looong week full of technology and distance learning. So, apologies if I glossed over reading anything technology related. Super photo gallery. Maddie looks so comfy.

    Liked by 1 person

      • You hit the nail on the head. On top of that, more technology. I have needed a Mac for years, as my iPhone and iPad all need to be synced. Our son is just like you, and has told me this a million times. With all the videos I’m making, 2 or 3 a day, storage is a gigantic issue. So, I bit the bullet, found a great older but new Mac, and spent a million hours transferring everything over and learning new stuff. So, I’m technology fried right now. But, I’ll be fine. Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Woof woof!

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Ha! I love your one-liner. There is more than a ring of truth in that one 😏

    You’ve addressed an annoyance of mine for quite a while. Gmail routinely moves stuff around on me. I am never certain where I’m going to find anything. I’ve long given up any expectation of logic.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I’m like, really really mad, but also, thank you. I had Tara in Promotions. This means Tara has been blogging and I wasn’t properly notified, as she’s not with the rest of you!
    And also, I do not get notifications of Marian’s replies to me as much as I click my brains out on her checkboxes.
    Pretty pictures and thanks again.

    Liked by 2 people

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