Moving on (again)…

Happy 2010 to my loyal readers — here’s some news: I’ve gone pro! Please visit Open attitude, my brand-new blog.

Not sure if I’ll be doing any more personal blogging here or if I’ll make another WordPress install over at my home page — I’ll keep you posted…

Blogging Platforms Need Open Standards Too!

Before I started this humble WordPress.com blog I ran another self-hosted one at www.andrewcurrie.ca — that domain is currently one of those “lifestream” thingies, but you can still see my previous blog there if you know where to look (not anymore, sorry). It runs on a proprietary blog engine called ExpressionEngine. This is important.

The Ultimate Free Blogging Engine Smackdown

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Friends, I’ve some bad news. This web site is broken.

To the casual eye everything seems hunky-dory, I know. But deep within the bowels of MySQL-this and PHP-that, something has gone fatally awry. If you’re interested you can read my cry for help here—suffice to say, I’ve better things to do than troubleshoot lines of code!

A previous entry on the subject of free web stuff has got me thinking about moving my blog over to a free blog hosting site. There are lots of them out there, but hopefully you’ll agree that the two current heavyweights are Blogger and WordPress.

Blogger was the engine that brought blogging to the masses. Now that it’s been gobbled up by Google the new owners are working on a bunch of new features, like categories and posting via text message—features that I’ve had around here for quite some time.

This is what my site would look like on Blogger. You’ll notice that I was successfully able to integrate my badges from del.icio.us and Flickr, but I’m not wild about the template, and in my mind it’s the nicest one they’ve got.

WordPress.com is a free, hosted install of the very popular open-source engine available at WordPress.org. You can’t install the myriad of plug-ins or themes on the dot-com version, but you don’t risk wrecking your blog by doing so, either.

This is what my site will look like on WordPress.com—I say will because I’m a sucker for a good design, and WordPress’s implementation of my sidebar stuff is in my opinion much easier on the eyes. WordPress also gives me the option of a static start page, where I would put links to all my breadcrumbs spread so far and wide across the internet.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with all the stuff I’ve got here…

It’s Hard to Argue with Free

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In days of old I would painstakingly tweak my travel photos in Adobe Photoshop and upload each and every one of them with a thorough description and appropriate links. I wouldn’t even have considered uploading videos, as the large file sizes would eat up my available server storage faster than you could watch them.

But this past weekend I placed my precious travel souvenirs in the very capable hands of Flickr and YouTube, both free services and current darlings of the social media set. It was such a painless experience that I’m starting to rethink this whole blog re-design thing.

Considering that this very page has permanent links to both my Flickr and del.icio.us accounts, and that I’ve also had a free Blogger account since 2003, maybe I can nix my monthly web server bill by having AC.ca re-direct to a start page that will list all these other accounts as links.

I’ll try to mock one up this week to show you what I mean…

Web Usability: Every Site is F’d

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All you wannabe web designers out there take note: I’ve switched templates on the next version of this site to accommodate left-handed navigation.

An Amber MacArthur segment on a recent Call for Help pointed me to this study of how a typical set of eyeballs scans a web page. The verdict seems to be that for Roman-based language sites all readers start scanning from the top-left corner of any page. Also of interest is that ads—even on Google search pages like the one above—are largely ignored… Who knew?!

In my search for a suitable template set I was momentarily seduced by the tropical colour palette of this theme, but ultimately settled for something a little more austere, as it can more easily be converted for mobile phone viewing.

I’ve still got some major tweaking to do, so keep checking in on my beta page and let me know what you think!