Moving the Blog!

Yesterday I was hacking at some code, fixing a problem with the way the site looks on the Opera browser. I use iBlog right now, a platform with some cool features and some pretty obvious warts. It was designed to work on servers where the blogger had no control over the server at all (say, Apple’s .mac servers), and therefore the way it did some things was… unusual. Without going into too much detail, iBlog does some things that have unpredictable results on some browsers, including the latest Opera. In addition, the company that made it stopped working on it some time ago and even the discussion forums are gone now.

I fixed the most obvious problem, but there were others, and once again I was faced with the choice of spending my time cobbling together the old system or shifting to a more robust platform. Sooner or later I’m going to have to move, so I decided not to spend any more time tweaking this one.

I’ve been looking into various blogging and content management packages, without finding one that matched the features of iBlog. A couple came close, however, and that’s going to have to do. I will be moving to WordPress sometime this spring. I should be able to make it do what I want, as long as I don’t mind getting my hands dirty. Looks like I’ll be learning a bit of php.

Here’s where you come in: I’ve got a test blog up and running, and out of the box it looks… boring. Slick and professional and all that, but not really me. I Browsed through the bazillion other options people have already created and, well, they’re not very good either – either stodgy or designed by illiterates for illiterates. “Oh, you want to read the text? Dang, I never considered that…”

I takes only a glance around here for you to to see that my design skills are no better; but now I’m going to be doing a ground-up redesign of the site, even if I want to keep it looking the same. I have some thoughts about some fairly ambitious things I’d like to try, but before I get carried away I’d like to know what you guys think of the way things look right now. What do you like? What don’t you like? Layout? Colors? Content? Too much in the sidebar? Not enough whatnot?

One idea I just had: a page with links to all my stories, with a way for people to rate them. The favorites would rise to the top. Yeah, I suspect that feature’s not coming soon. But maybe your crazy idea will work! Leave a comment! Go nuts!

2 thoughts on “Moving the Blog!

  1. I like the blog just the way it is. It may not be polished, but it is functional. I especially hope that you keep the guest poems at the top.

    I do, however, have some concerns about WordPress. I don’t know whether this has to do with settings that the user chooses, but the blogs that I used to frequent on WordPress wouldn’t let me leave a comment unless I had a WordPress account and signed on using said account, and then re-navigated back to the blog that I was interested in while still signed onto WordPress (it was REALLY easy to accidentally sign off while trying to get back), find the post that I wanted to comment on, and then leave the comment and hope the anti-spam eye test wasn’t flaking out.

    I was also repeatedly forgetting my WordPress account names and passwords, and there wasn’t an easy way to recover such, so I probably ended up with about seven accounts.

    If there does exist a setting that will allow readers to comment without having and signing onto a WordPress account, I hope you use it. Otherwise, I urge you to reconsider.

  2. There is such a setting, with a bunch of other options aimed at reducing spam. One thing WordPress has is a moderation queue, so that suspicious comments don’t show until an administrator approves it. The definition of ‘suspicious’ can be configured by how many links a comment has or whether a commenter has posted before.

    I could just stick with Haloscan, but WordPress comments are actually quite a bit more feature-rich. One thing I have to say for Haloscan is that it’s been really good about keeping spam to a minimum.

    The poems are definitely going to stay, but I might give up on the fancy font and make them text. That way it will be much easier to add new ones.

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