On Being Internet Inept:

As part of my assignment for this weekend, I embarked on the nearly impossible task of designing a Google Map feature or Timeline JS for my WordPress site.

On my first attempt, I tried to create a map.  This will be easy.  Tra la la…I’ll just fill in these blanks and copy and paste.  No such luck was had here in Kirksville.  I could not seem to get past the “publishing to the internet” button.  I published over and over, but I could not paste it into the recently downloaded Google Earth program.  After about thirty minutes on the struggle bus, I promptly quit and moved to the Timeline function.

I felt slightly less stupid using the Timeline function, but it was still overwhelming and difficult to use.  I managed to publish two events on an actual timeline on my page; however, I cannot seem to publish events with just the year or just the month and year.  It demands a full date, which I do not always have from my early stages of research.  Putting in pictures seems reasonable, and I like that you can cite sources in the spreadsheet.

BREAKING NEWS: I have successfully published a map to the web…I think.  Unfortunately, it was only one site and it looks rather ugly.  But I will take what I can get from this spreadsheet nonsense.  The directions were long and complicated, and I was very, very confused most of the time.  My profane vocabulary expanded exponentially while trying to sort this program out.  But I think I am on the right track, and hope that it will be easier as time goes on.

Here’s to feeling internet inept.  I think I’ll go read a hard-copy of a book now.

3 thoughts on “On Being Internet Inept:

  1. Sorry to hear the process was so frustrating. Glad to see that you persevered and got them posted.

    The timeline does work best with a specific date. Other students who have used this tool have just used the first day of the year or of the month as a placeholder until they have more specific information (and your text for that entry can indicate that uncertainty).

  2. The Google map spreadsheet can definitely be frustrating when you first use it–you have to work slowly and give it time to process the information. As far as I know, the “Publish to the Internet” button doesn’t /actually/ put it anywhere, but just lets Google know that you need a link for it. And that pop-up publishing screen won’t change after you hit the button either (something that took me a while to figure out and still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me). At the bottom of the spreadsheet there are different tabs, and the first tab should say “Start Here.” If you look in the section that says “View Placemarks in Google Maps,” there should be a category that says “Link to Google Maps” and then a yellow box next to it that will (eventually) contain a link for you. Mine took a while to process and generate (I took a shower and read a bit in between), but once it’s up, that’s where you can actually view your map. From there, you can copy the Google Maps url at the top of the browser (not the Google doc url in the Maps bar), and that is what will link everyone else to your map! You can continue to edit the spreadsheet, and the map will eventually process your changes–sometimes it takes a few minutes (just make sure that you hit the publish button again). The only tab within your spreadsheet that you should be editing (for simplicity’s sake) is the “Placemark Data” tab. To simplify things for myself, the only columns I filled in were: Placemark Name, Long/Lat Coordinates, Template Sheet Name (I just chose template 1, because it was the first haha), Title, Subtitle, and Paragraph 1 Text. It makes it much simpler than having to fool around with everything else.

    Also, something else that I found to help me with the spreadsheet was deleting all of the unused rows–Google starts you out with 1000 rows! In the top menu (File, Edit, etc.) there is a “Spreadsheet Mapper” option, and from there you can remove unused rows. I found that it helped a lot with the processing speed, and just the size of the KML file.

    I hope this helps you a little bit!! :)

  3. I totally understand your struggle. I’ve been messing with the timeline for a while myself. It looks so easy, but since I’ve never seen it done, I got a little lost. I think mine is almost ready to publish (not that it’s amazing looking, but that it’s amazing I actually figured it out) and I will be glad to be finished with it. On the bright side, I think I might like to use this tool on my website now that I feel competent enough to create a very simple one.

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