The pain that is troubleshooting!

For the last few days I’ve been trying to help a friend troubleshoot video playback issues on their website. It’s a membership website that uses AWS to deliver videos.

A member in South America is having trouble viewing content so I offered my help & expertise to troubleshoot the problem.
Initially the user reported not being able to view video content so I thought it must be a problem with the content delivery network. After a lot of reading about the ins and outs of AWS I was still none the wiser about how or why only this member seems to be experiencing problems.
The member is adamant that it’s not their ISP as they’re having problems on many devices and browsers. To me, this sounds very much like a problem at the ISP or network level – so theoretically out of the scope for website troubleshooting, but given that they are a customer of my friend’s website I don’t want to rule any possibility out!

I remembered the awesome web troubleshooting tool that is https://www.whatismybrowser.com/ which will hopefully provide some more clues as to the members environment.

When involved in a troubleshooting exercise, it’s beneficial if the user doesn’t stress how technical they are as it can change the mindset of the troubleshooter. This can be beneficial or detrimental to solving the problem; if the user expresses their technical expertise then we (as troubleshooters) assume they know what we know which can waylay the process. It’s far easier to make no assumptions on the user’s part both for technical solutions and our choice of language.

It’s an interesting problem that is still being sorted out, hopefully we can work out what and/or where the problem lies.

WordPress observations

So I’ve been looking round WordPress for a few days now; I have looked at it before but never as a user only as looking for a technical solution to someone’s problem.

It’s funny how you become accustomed to certain paradgims when using particular solutions to then move to another solution and find things can be totally different!
Previously all my work has revolved around drupal having been an avid user/contributor/evangelist for 5+ years.

In drupal, everything feels so much more mature than wp. If you need a plugin or a theme it’s pretty easy and quick to find what you’re looking for. Whereas here in wp I’m having to trawl through pages of plugins to find what I want. And then it’s a case of “does it work with this version of wp?” – in drupal you can filter contributed apps by the target version of drupal. If there is an option for this in wp I’m yet to find it.

I’m also finding the admin side of the site a bit unwieldly and not very intuitive, or maybe it’s because I have my developer head on and not my user head?

Despite WordPress having foundations in blogging, just like drupal has if you strip back all the added functionality that keeps getting piled into core, it is a content management system of sorts. There just doesn’t seem to be that much customisation out-of-the-box with wp. Yes, there’s loads of plugins all adding extra functionality and I’m still getting to grips with the power of WordPress, but finding the right plugin for the job is proving to be a job in itself (for me at least!).