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March 15, 2006

Excerpts of posts from the NEW How to Blog Site

Remember, How to Blog has moved to it's own domain at http://www.emilyrobbins.com/how-to-blog/

In order to stay current with How to Blog's content, you should start bookmark the new location - thanks!

March 15, 2006 in b2evolution, Blogger, blosxom, MovableType, plug-ins, Ramblings, Reviews, SEO, Templates, Themes, TypePad, Weblogs, WordPress | Permalink | Email This Post

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February 08, 2006

Starting a new blog? Get your own domain name! Do NOT use a subdomain of typepad.com, wordpress.com, blogspot.com (etc)



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So, you want to start a new blog. Maybe you don’t have much experience with blogging, so you don’t think it’s that big of a deal which platform you choose or whether you have your own domain name. Well think again.

Don’t fall trap to the disaster that I landed myself in, where I started casually blogging and ended up regularly blogging and hating the platform I was using but can’t easily switch because I stupidly put my blog on a subdomain of typepad (http://blogging.typepad.com)

Now I’m at TypePad’s mercy. They own my ass because they own my address - even though I’m paying $150+ a year for their service. The same could happen to you whether it’s a subdomain on typepad.com, blogspot.com, or wordpress.com.

By not having your own domain name, if you ever decide to move to another blogging platform you run the risk of losing all (or a lot) of your traffic, your search engine rankings, all of your hard earned incoming links, etc because you cannot take your URL with you.

How are you going to redirect your traffic to your new blog when you have NO ability to, say, set up a 301 Permanent Redirect? Which, for those who are wondering, would both:

  • automatically redirects human visitors to your new blog site
  • tells the search engines that your blog has permanently moved and gives it the new location

(BTW - has any TypePad user (whose blog address was a subdomain) had a high traffic blog with a lot of backlinks into it that they then moved to a WordPress blog hosted on their own server? Please tell me what your experience was, whether you lost pagerank, traffic, search engine rankings, etc!!!)

Domain names are cheap - about $9 a year for a single one, as low as $6.75 a year if you own more than 50. There is NO excuse to not have your own domain name for your blog. You will regret if at some point down the road if you don’t start out with your own domain name.

www.GoDaddy.com so83wquiom79FCDGA798BFGC8E is the site that I use to register my domain names, although there are numerous other options such as $5.99 Domain Names at 1&1, and, if you only need a single domain name the cheapiest option is domain names from Yahoo! for only $2.99.ld104jy1qwuFHPIMHOLFHGJMOIHK

The irony here is that I actually own a lot of domain names and I genuinely can’t fathom why I didn’t just use a domain of my own when I started this blog. Don’t make the same mistake as me or you could end up feeling trapped like I do right now. Consider yourselves warned.

UPDATE: Just to clarify, my point is that you need to own your own domain name so the URL for your blog points to a domain you own and control. It’s okay to use a subdomain off a domain that you own, but not one that belongs to someone else such as that of a hosted service like typepad.com.

Furthermore, I don't actually hate TypePad itself - there are truly many things about it as a blogging platform that I love.  What I despise is how poorly TypePad handles comment and trackback spam, which forced me to disable trackbacks because I was getting hundreds of trackback spams a day (much of which was obscene) and didn't have time to wade through them all - but in disabling trackbacks I'm removing one of the features that is at the heart of blogging and thus particially crippling my blog.  I want to be able to have trackbacks on for all of my posts without spending exhorbitant amounts of time dealing with spam every day.  I also have to moderate all of the comments on this blog because of the spam it gets (although not nearly as bad as the trackback spam) and that's a bummer, too - genuine comments don't appear immediately on my blog as a result (and due to the migraines I've been having lately, I haven't always been able to approve the comments in a timely manner).  The difference with WordPress is that it's plugins can tell which comments and trackbacks are likely spam and hold those comments/trackbacks (and ONLY those ones) in the moderation queue, while publishing everything else immediately if you so desire (which I do).  From what I've heard, MovableType (which is owned by Six Apart and is what TypePad is based off of) also has plugins that handle spam management well, so I don't get why they haven't utilized these plugins to handle the massive spam problem on TypePad.

And it’s okay to use a hosted solution - just make sure you pick one that allows you to use your own domain name and always reference your blog’s URL w/your own domain so that if you ever decide you want to go elsewhere, at least you’ll be able to take your traffic with you. Right now, the only hosted solutions that allow you to use your own domain are TypePad and Blogger (supposedly wordpress.com will down the line (possibly for a fee) but as of now there's no support for this).

Also of note if you're going to go the hosted blogging solution route: it’s also a good idea to check to see if whatever blogging platform you start with has the ability to export your posts (and comments/trackbacks) for easiest porting of your site to another platform down the road. As of this writing, TypePad is the only hosted system that with this functionality. Blogger doesn't have an export post function, but provides these instructions for backing up your Blogger blog (don't know if that file would then be importable into another blog system, though). While WordPress.com does not have an export function, it will let you import items from another blogging platform - but it's a one way ticket.

For full disclosure, links to TypePad are affiliate links (but as this post shows, just because I'm posting affiliate links doesn't mean I present biased info)

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February 8, 2006 in Blogger, Reviews, SEO, TypePad, Weblogs, WordPress | Permalink | Email This Post | Comments (20)

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January 20, 2006

Comparison of WordPress and TypePad by someone who has used both extensively for over a year



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I am feeling really frustrated right now – like I'm stuck in limbo with a conundrum on my hands.  Why?  Because I’ve grown to love so much so that I really prefer it over , for an increasing number of reasons.  (Please note that in this review, when I refer to WordPress, I’m talking about the full version of it – the one that must be installed on your own web server.  In the few instances where I refer to wordpress.com, the hosted and dumbed-down version of WP, I specify it’s wordpress.com I’m talking about.)

The main issue is how spam is handled.  On TypePad, spam is a nightmare to deal with, whereas on WordPress spam is almost a non-issue (provided you are using the proper plug-ins like Spam Karma 2 for those running v1.5.x – or for those on WP 2.0, the included and revolutionary Akismet).

Then there are all the other easily customizable things.  Like the look and feel of your site.  Ok, so TypePad’s is easier to control without having to know any code — but really limited in comparison to WP.  As my comprehensive wordpress theme list shows, there are now 615 free wordpress themes out there, and growing! OVER SIX HUNDRED.  That’s a staggering amount of templates to choose from to give your blog it’s own unique flair.  And they are all customizable as well (if you know some css) – and with WordPress 2.0, themes can be made customizable within the admin area by their authors such that bloggers can customize areas of the theme at will without ever touching any code!

Then there’s the issue of pagination.  It’s quite simple – WordPress has it and TypePad doesn’t.  By pagination, I mean those little links folks have grown accustomed to seeing on blogs that say “Next Page” and “Previous Page”.  Don’t see them on this blog?  That’s b/c TypePad doesn’t have that feature.  TypePad bloggers get to choose the number of posts that will appear on their homepage, and after that – well, good luck navigating the blog b/c the only options are to do so through clicking on the categories or the monthly archives.  TypePad doesn’t even have built-in search.  And of course, WordPress does. (TypePad users should check out my article on how to make your typepad blog searchable).

And then there are the plugins.  No small matter.  WordPress has plugins that enhance it’s functionality for almost any thing you could want to do with it:

  • Tagging plugins (such as Jerome’s Keywords or the Ultimate Tag Warrior) that provide an easy way to automatically tag posts with keywords for social bookmarking systems such as Technorati, del.icio.us, and Flickr.  This means more traffic for your blog. Tags also provide a whole new way for readers to interact with a blog.  For example, Jerome’s Keywords makes it so “readers can click on a post’s keyword/tag link to see other posts with the same tag. It’s a simple but effective way of letting users find content that interests them.”.   You can even create a local tag cosmos.
  • Post related plugins, such as the ability to display the top 10 most popular posts in your sidebar, or the ability to show a list of related posts when viewing an individual post
  • Comment related plugins, such as giving users the ability to display gravatars in their comments and allowing blog readers to subscribe to a particular post’s comments
  • There are just WAY too many ways in which plugins expand the functionality of WordPress way beyond the capabilities of TypePad to even discuss here.  And from what I’ve been hearing about WP 2.0, which provides added hooks making it even easier for programmers to create even more fantastic plugins in the future, the possibilities seem limitless.

Customization of where you ping to notify the world that you’ve updated your blog — WordPress has it, and (you guessed it) TypePad doesn’t.  The workaround with TypePad if you want to use a service like pingoat, is to paste the URL for pingoat’s RPC server into the Trackback area for each and every post, each and every time you update it.

And while this isn’t an issue for me in choosing a blogging platform, the issue of cost still needs to be brought up in any review.  Again, it’s simple – WordPress is free, and TypePad isn’t.  Of course, the full version of WP with all of it’s glory and customizable options (including access to all free themes and plugins) requires you to have a web hosting server with mysql support (which most do).  Which means it really isn’t entirely free b/c now you’re paying for web-hosting.  But if you do want entirely free, Wordpress.com offers that — and while it’s a really dumbed down version of WP, it still offers some things that TypePad doesn’t, like sub-categories (however, it doesn’t allow you to run adsense ads on your site – you get what you pay for with wordpress.com).

Then there’s ease of use when posting.  When it comes to blogging editors, WordPress 2.0 finally has a built in WYSIWYG editor (something TypePad has had all along, and which I think every blogging tool should offer).  The only problem is that WordPress’s wysiwyg editor is kinda buggy. See this problem that I encountered on my WordPress 2.0 test blog. However, I generally use an external  windows client (BlogJet) to post to my blogs, which has it’s own WYSIWYG editor that’s better than both of them.  But you also need to take speed into account when you talk about ease of posting.  WordPress is very speedy when creating or updating posts.  TypePad is very sluggish, especially if you are sending trackbacks to a large number of sites.

Want stats for your blog?  Well TypePad only shows you referrers from the past 24 hours.  That’s it.  And not only that, but it is slow as molasses

Now there are a few areas in which TypePad sort of shines in comparison to WordPress, with the main one being maintenance and upgrading.  I say sort-of, because sometimes TypePad has outages and when that happens there ain’t a thing you can do about it.  On the other hand, every time WordPress comes out with an upgrade, it can sometimes be a major pain in the rear to install it, wreaking all sorts of havoc over your blog (although sometimes the upgrade process is totally smooth).  All of that customizability that WP offers through themes, plugins, etc, makes for more things that can get broken every time there’s an upgrade.  And sometimes it seems like those upgrades come every few days (like after the release of WordPress 1.5 when there were numerous minor point releases that were required updates because they pertained to security flaws which seemed to come out every few days!) And when there’s an upgrade, you’re the one that has to install it (unless you’re using a free wordpress host like blogsome, but then you’re at the mercy of them deciding which themes and plugins are available to you, and when and if they’re going to do an upgrade – right now they’re still using WP 1.5).  When TypePad does an upgrade, it’s behind the scenes and you find out about it in the TypePad news (unless the upgrade wreaks havoc on their servers, in which case you get the joy of TypePad outages, the inability to post to your blog for sometimes days on end, etc – but ultimately they fix it, and it’s up to them, not you, to fix it).

All of this makes me want to move this blog and all of it’s posts (and future posts to come) over to wordpress on my own server at emilyrobbins.com.  Which brings me to my conundrum (and the possible state of limbo).  Is it worth moving an existing site that gets over 1000 visitors a day and is ranked well in the search engines over to another server, URL, and blogging system entirely, possibly losing all of my backlinks and high pagerank that I spent so much time in generating?  And if so, should I wait until WordPress 2.0 has ironed out some more of the kinks (there are currently problems with trackbacks, which I think is a rather major issue, among other things) before proceeding?

WordPress 1.5.2 works great and is a very stable release.  But I know I’ll eventually want to move to Wordpress 2.0.x — it’s new features are just too enticing.  And I also know that I do not want to have to deal with doing the kind of major upgrade that going from 1.5 to 2.0 entails on a website that is this important to me (I just don’t have the time deal with it in case something goes wrong with the upgrade, and there have been far too many reports of people having trouble with the upgrade for me to risk it).  But I’m getting so damn sick of TypePad’s limitations, and even more so of managing all the spam (I have to have all of my trackbacks and comments moderated because of the vulgar spam that people try to put through a zillion times a day – an issue that I wouldn’t have to deal with if I were using WordPress instead).

So what should I do?  Should I hold off on doing any more posting until WordPress 2.0 comes out with a more stable version and then move the whole site over to WP 2?  Should I just take the plunge now, and hope that the trackback issues don’t affect me too much until they are resolved?  But what if I lose all of my traffic as a result?Should I just leave things as they are right now and stick with TypePad for ‘How to Blog’??

What to do?  What to do??????

January 20, 2006 in Reviews, TypePad, Weblogs, WordPress | Permalink | Email This Post | Comments (9)

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January 10, 2006

TypePad has no pagination features (next and previous buttons at the bottom of the page) AND no way of implementing them!!



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Under the category of more absolutely ridiculous things that current blogging platforms are missing the boat on, I just found out that not only does TypePad not have pagination built in, but there is NO WAY of implementing it even through advanced templates.

By pagination, I mean the <next> and <previous> buttons that many bloggers and blog readers are accustomed to seeing at the bottom of a blog page (a feature that is built into WordPress, for example).  TypePad gives you the option of customizing how many posts appear on a page, but no way to easily navigate to posts beyond those appearing on the front page.  For example, How To Blog is set to display 10 posts on the front page.  But when users visit the old typepad version of the site at http://blogging.typepad.com/how_to_blog/ and read through those posts, and want to see the rest of what I’ve written, they have only 2 options, neither of which is optimal:

  1. View each category one at a time
  2. Go through the monthly archives

I had put it on my personal ‘to do’ list to figure out how to add Next and Previous links to the buttom of my TypePad pages, and when I finally decided to tackle the project and couldn’t figure it out on my own, I submitted a support ticket to Six Apart asking for help with it.  I wrote:

WordPress has built in previous / next page links at the bottom of every page. This makes their blogs much more easy to navigate, especially for beginners. As each page only contains a certain number of posts, without having next and previous buttons it's hard for people to easily navigate the blog.

In addition to making this a feature request, I'd also like to know what code I should use in my advanced templates in order to implement this on my blog on How to Blog.

Your prompt attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Emily Robbins

The response I got back from TypePad Customer Support was astounding (bold added by me): 

Hi Emily,

Currently TypePad doesn't offer pagination (Next Page and Previous Page links), so there isn't any code that I can offer you to do this.

Thanks for the suggestion, though. We are always looking for ways to enhance TypePad for our users, so we will keep this in mind as a possible future feature for the system.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you.


Excuse me for the double-take, but NO CODE AVAILABLE TO DO THIS?  How can this be when SixApart themselves acknowledged the importance of pagination features in their own article on Six Apart Pronet entitled “Building on Movable Type Part 3: Creating Pagination Controls”, wherein they say (again, bolding is from me):

Pagination controls are sufficiently ubiquitous that our own developers saw the value in creating a reusable mechanism for creating the links developers should all be too familiar with: “next page," “previous page," “last page," “first page" and “you are viewing results X to Y out of Z." This reusable framework is not only accessible within Movable Type, but by plugins as well.

So apparently Six Apart thinks that pagination controls are so ‘ubiquitous’ that we’d be ‘all to familiar’ with them, and they are not only built into the functionality of Movable Type but also accessible by MT plugins.  GREAT.  For Movable Type users.

So how come when SixApart created (and updated and updated) TypePad, this “ubiquitous” functionality was somehow forgotten?

January 10, 2006 in MovableType, Reviews, TypePad, Weblogs | Permalink | Email This Post | Comments (4)

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Why I'm not upgrading to WordPress 2.0 - for now



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I know that I promised to test out the process of upgrading an existing WordPress installation from 1.5.x to 2.0, but until 2.0 has resolved some of the existing bugs (and the resulting slew of additional minor point release upgrades have been completed, forcing users to upgrade to 2.0.1, and then 2.0.2 possibly days later, etc – (remember what happened after 1.5?)) I’m holding off. 

As mentioned before, I’ve done a clean install of WordPress 2.0, and while I’ve been told that much has been done in the underlying code base to provide for the possibility of  future themes and plugins that are more spectacular than ever, those themes and plugins don’t exist yet, WP 2.0 itself is still way too buggy, and from an end-user perspective I just don’t see that much that’s new and exciting to compell anyone to want to upgrade. 

Yeah, the new user interface is prettier.  And it’s nice to have a built-in WYSIWYG plugin, but that too is quirky and WYSIWYG plugin options already existed for 1.5.x users who wanted them.  The built-in spam plugin of Akismet is pretty darn cool, BUT it requires you to register at WordPress.com in order to get an API key to use it, and apparently if you use it too much you’ll be required to get a commercial license for it (and there’s some talk about the ethics of packaging a somewhat commercial product like Akismet with an opensource free product like WordPress).  Not to mention the fact that there were already some pretty amazing spam fighting plugins available for WordPress 1.5.x that now don’t work properly in WordPress 2.0 (like SpamKarma2, for example).  The purported benefit of Akismet over plugins such as SpamKarma2 is that it is always 100% up-to-date and never requires any upgrades.

I’ve no doubt that, eventually (and hopefully sooner rather than later), the bugginess of WordPress 2.0 will be resolved, and some amazing 2.0 specific themes and plugins will start to appear that will tantalize us to make the switch.  But until then, I’m staying put.

January 10, 2006 in plug-ins, Reviews, WordPress | Permalink | Email This Post | Comments (0)

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January 04, 2006

WordPress 2.0 users, tell me your stories



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Consider this an official request -- I want to hear from WordPress 2.0 users about what your experiences have been (positive and/or negative), whether you're glad you made the switch from 1.5 (or another blogging platform), if you are having problems then what kind, etc

BTW - I've heard reports of people having problems with permalinks and trackbacks, but haven't experienced them myself on a new (i.e., not upgraded) install of WordPress 2.0 (and I'm using custom permalinks w/o problems).  Could someone who IS having problems with these areas please clarify what the issue is?

Either email me at howtoblog (at) gmail.com or, preferedly, comment on this post. Thanks in advance, faithful readers.  I appreciate your input!

January 4, 2006 in Reviews, Weblogs, WordPress | Permalink | Email This Post | Comments (7)

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Reasons to not upgrade to WordPress 2.0 from 1.5.2



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In preparation for doing my first upgrade of an existing WP 1.5 site, I did some research first to try to ensure the process went as smoothly as possible (when I begin it – which I still haven’t gotten to yet).  I almost cringe in writing this, because I truly love WordPress and everything the team has done to provide such a wonderful free blogging tool for all of us.  But the truth is that I came across a number of posts hi-lighting problems people have already discovered in 2.0 and/or reasons why they don’t feel upgrading to 2.0 is worth bothering, and I’d be remiss in not reporting that. 

I know that those of us who want to be on the bleeding edge will disregard all of this and upgrade to 2.0 because it’s cool and simply to have the latest (if not the greatest – although that remains to be seen) version.  But for those fence-sitters, here’s some added info you might want to have in making your decision as to whether or not to upgrade your working version of WordPress 1.5.2 that you’ve been happily using to the new WordPress 2.0.

Here are some reports of problems with WordPress 2.0:

And then there are others who have documented why they’re not upgrading:

  • WordPress 2.0… Who Cares?, which provides an extremely detailed feature by feature list of why TheBisch hasn’t found a compelling enough reason to upgrade.  In sum – he doesn’t think the new features are ‘all that’.  He also points out that a lot of what’s new in WP2.0 pertains to code in the back-end which is designed to make things worlds easier for WP developers (those folks who create all the wonderful plug-ins we all can’t live without, as well as those who make the themes and templates which then personify our blogs).  That’s great for developers, but for those who are blogging it doesn’t do them a spec of good JUST YET.  First the developers need to use all those fabulous new hooks, etc to create plug-ins and themes which are compatible with v2.0, and that’s gonna take some time (even if it is easier for them to do than in v1.5).  But it does mean that down the road we can expect newer and greater plug-ins with features we might never have even imagined possible – we just have to give the developers time to do their genius stuff.  And in TheBisch’s mind, until that happens and bugs are hammered out, he doesn’t see a reason to bother with the upgrade.
  • Phu Ly, an accomplished WP 1.5 Theme(Gentle Calm, Flex, Gespaa..) and Plug-in author writes Why If..Else has not been upgraded to WP 2.0
  • Tamba2, who actually wrote one of the upgrade guides, is actually NOT upgrading himself and posts his reasoning here

If you’re not upgrading, Asymptomatic would like to know why not, and asks that you comment on his post to provide your own reasons for the choice not to upgrade (or upgrade problems that you’ve personally encountered) – to date, there are 106 responses to that post and many of them are rather informative — I’d highly recommend anyone considering upgrading give this post and it’s comments a good read. 

In a response to a post by Phu Ly, Asymptomatic wrote the following giving his take on all the comments on his post regarding upgrading to 2.0

“It’s certainly not for everyone.

To generalize on most of the answers I’ve read so far, the response is one of:

1) I’m not upgrading because my favorite plugin/theme doesn’t work.

2) I’m not upgrading because there is no benefit to me over what I have

3) I’m not upgrading because of flaws in the development/testing/release process for which I’ll wait for patches.

Any of these could also factor heavily into one’s decision to upgrade some blogs and not others.”

All in all, there have been a lot of people saying there’s just too much work and too many chances of problems incurring, coupled with too little incentive for them to do the upgrade.  However, many of these same folk have said that they would use WordPress 2.0 if they were doing a fresh install for new blog.

As for me, I feel I owe it to the WP team, as well as to all of my blog readers to perform an upgrade on at least one of my WP 1.5 blogs so that I can report back what my own experiences with it were and whether I’d choose to do it again on other blogs.  And I *will* do this.  However, given the reports of time consuming problems that could be encountered, and that I’m super short on time b/c I’m crazy behind in my work that pays the bills, it could be a few days or even longer before I can tackle this project.

January 4, 2006 in Reviews, Weblogs, WordPress | Permalink | Email This Post | Comments (3)

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January 03, 2006

Clean install of WordPress 2.0 as easy as it ever was (EASY) and first impressions



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Well, what started out as being an attempt to upgrade a WordPress 1.5 blog that I barely used (just in case things went horribly wrong) to WordPress 2.0 ended up having to become a test of a fresh install because, like an idiot when I was going to backup my wp-config.php file, I instead accidentally deleted it – leaving me with no access at all to that former blog.  Good thing it wasn’t important….so that upgrade difficulty was a clear and blatant USER error (and I couldn’t feel more stupid about it).

So I still have no personal comments on the upgrade path… but I can tell you that doing a fresh install of WordPress 2.0 is exactly as easy as it was with 1.5 — taking literally seconds to complete once you’ve uploaded the files to your webhost and set up a mysql database for it (which your webhost can usually do for you).

The new UI looks VERY much like that over at Wordpress.com, although it’s notably missing the ‘Feedback’ button for sending hugs & bugs.  Not sure why you wouldn’t want to keep that in the hosted version of WP, especially since the user community at large doesn’t know how to enter bugs into WordPress’s tracking system..  The new user interface is very professional looking, and a little nicer on the eyes in this user’s opinion.

Anyhow, while others have complained about it, I like the new WYSIWYG interface (which is easily turned off for those who aren’t interested or don’t need it). Personally, while I can code HTML with the best of them, when I’m blogging I just want to write, and the easiest way to do that and have things be formatted the way I want them to is with a WYSIWYG editor.   While WP 1.5 had wysiwyg plugins available, they seemed to slow down my server enormously and I resorted instead to using BlogJet’s window’s client to do all of my WP posts in a rich text environment.  The one bummer was that when I clicked on the icon to insert a hyperlink, the window that popped up was too small to fit all of the hyperlink contents into it, and was not resizeable.  Perhaps this is a browser specific problem (I’m using Firefox 1.5 on Windows), but that’s a rather big problem considering that links are half of what bring blogs alive.  Any other Firefox users experiencing this?

I’ve also started playing around a little bit with themes, and thus far I’ve only tried a few wordpress 1.5 themes, but so far so good in that they’ve all worked in wordpress 2.0.  Granted, I only tried 6 so far (Aesthetic 1.5, akhdian 1.1, Almost Spring 1.0, Amsterdam Nights 1.5, Anthurium Mix, and Batavia, but I’ll test more and report back later.  Alas, one of my favorite themes, Semiologic, had many of its included plugins broken by WP 2.0, and while a new version (Semiologic v3.2) that works with WordPress 2.0 is purported to be available, I’ve yet to find a download link for it (and have emailed the author, the ever-brilliant Denis De Bernardy) to find out where the download link is (or when it will be available)

The much hyped uber-spam killing mechanism aka the plugin Akismet is built into the install, but needs to be activated by the user before it works – and that user must first create a wordpress.com account in order to get an API key that will be needed in order to use the Akismet plugin.  Personally, if “included anti-spam plugins” are touted to be one of the features of the WordPress 2.0 release, one shouldn’t need to register anywhere in order to be able to utilize them – and they should be activated by default (just my 2 cents).

When I have more time to delve further into WP 2.0 (and to perform an actual upgrade to one of my existing blogs), I’ll post here as always.

January 3, 2006 in Reviews, Weblogs, WordPress | Permalink | Email This Post | Comments (0)

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December 11, 2005

WARNING: Reports of legitimate Blogger/Blogspot accounts being deleted without cause



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As is often the case whenever there is a free tool available, it gets abused by spammers.  Such has been the case with Google’s free Blogger service, and lately they’ve been very active in trying to delete blogs that they view as spam (aka splogs). 

Normally I’d say that’s a good thing, but apparently they’ve been a little overzealous in their cleansing of the system and many individuals are reporting that their legitimate, hand crafted Blogger blogs that they spent much time on have been deleted without warning or explanation.

The English Guy has a post entitled Google/Blogger Deleting Real Blogs that I’d highly recommend reading if you’re a current Blogger user or considering using their free service.

A thread at the Blog Party forum suggests that Google is targeting bloggers that have multiple blogs which link to each other.  This is a tactic which many legit bloggers do and is a major part of how the whole blogosphere works.  It is also a tactic that is used by sploggers.  But that in and of itself should not be a reason to go on a search and destroy mission for all bloggers who interlink their sites.  The logic in that is faulty – just because a tactic is used by sploggers doesn’t mean that everyone who uses that tactic IS a splogger.

So if you’re using Blogger and you have multiple blogs which you like to link to each other, you might consider porting your posts over to another system, such as TypePad or WordPress.com, before you wake up one day to find your blogs gone and have to go through the nightmare of trying to reach support personel (which has been reported to be very difficult) and proving that your blogs are legitimate.

Consider yourselves warned..

UPDATE 1/30/06: as you can see from some of the comments on this post, blogger.com is currently on a big blog-deleting spree.  Again, consider yourselves warned!  And btw, I know I originally recommended wordpress.com as an alternative, but if you're looking to incorporate Google Adsense into your blog, you'll need to use TypePad b/c wordpress.com doesn't support 'em.  Or else switch to a solution where your blog is hosted on your own server, and then you've many more options to choose from

December 11, 2005 in Blogger, Reviews, TypePad, Weblogs, WordPress | Permalink | Email This Post | Comments (5)

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September 02, 2005

Review of WordPress Multi-User hosted version of WordPress 1.6 alpha at wp.com - look out TypePad!



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I’ve come across what I think might be the first (p)review of the much awaited wordpress.com

From what I’ve read, wordpress.com is, more or less, a hosted version of WordPress that could give TypePad even more of a run for it’s money

more: a WYSIWYG editor (a huge deal for those less technically inclined and lacking in HTML knowledge), a new backend with a blue-themed template that is “WAY better than the standard 1.5 one”, recent wordpress.com posts (competes directly with TypePad’s “Recently Updated Weblogs” and would be a welcome addition to WordPress), resizeable text box for writing posts, etc

less: users can’t edit templates, not many plugins come preinstalled and you can’t use any that aren’t already there

Accounts are currently strictly invitaion only, and I actually just entered a contest to win a wp.com invite (which hopefully I can get so I can check it out and write my own review for you guys here at How to Blog!)

September 2, 2005 in Reviews, TypePad, Weblogs, WordPress | Permalink | Email This Post | Comments (4)

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