Friday, June 18, 2010

A review of three blogging websites, or, I've moved: again

So, I've moved my blog again. I decided to move my blog from Wordpress, at to Google's Blogger, at The reasons for this are simple: Wordpress is not. I found Wordpress to be far too complicated for my uses. It was way too complicated for me.

When I was using Tumblr, I loved how easy it was to customise and edit the design. It was, however, lacking some very noticeable things. There was absolutely no in-built comment system, and no clear method for RSS. The problem with Tumblr is that it's not really a conventional blog system. It's not open enough. Tumblr is made to be used by people in Tumblr — it's a closed system, more of a social networking site than a blogging site. And because of that, I couldn't really use it for my blog.

So then I switched to Wordpress. Wordpress is an incredibly powerful blogging tool, and it is also amazingly customisable. But that's the problem. It's far too powerful, and too confusing for me. With Wordpress, you pretty much have the option of using an in-built theme, or going all-out and creating your own. It's very difficult to make many small changes. Most themes don't even allow you to have a custom background. While I'm sure Wordpress would be far superior for a serious blogger, or a web developer or something, for me, it's just far too complicated.

So that brings me to my current situation. I'm currently using Blogger. I already have a Google account, so it was really easy to set up. I've now got the advantage of being able to more easily customise my blog. For me, one disadvantage is that there are no "categories", only labels, which do the same thing as tags. Another problem is that it seems much more complicated to get Blogger to automatically Tweet with a new blog post. It has the added advantage, however, of allowing readers to comment using a variety of logins, including their Wordpress accounts, should they chose to use them.

As always, I encourage any feedback on this that you may have. What have been your experiences with any of these three blogging tools, or any others you may have come across?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Why I hate Apple announcements

Now, before all you Apple fans out there start flaming, just hear me out. This post is not based on the announcements as such, but just some bad luck on my part.

Apple announcements invariably take place at 10:00 AM United States Pacific time. This unfortunately means for me that it is invariably at midnight. On the dot. Every time there is an Apple announcement, I have the option of staying up past the time I normally would to see the announcement live.

But it's not just that. I think that Apple hates me. Their last two major announcements (the iPad and iPhone OS 4) have been at times that are very inconvenient for me, and the next coming one will be even worse. When they announced the iPad, it was right in the middle of my mock exams. I got up and checked my Twitter the next morning to find out that it was called the iPad, but it wasn't until a few days later that I could finally watch the video of it. There was certainly no option of reading a meta-live blog of any sort.

Later, when they announced iPhone OS 4, it was perhaps less of a nuisance, but still quite inconvenient. I was away from home on holiday, and I should have been in bed (had to get up fairly early the next day). The hotel I was in had very dodgy WiFi (although I was very glad to have any at all), and it didn't work on the old family laptop. So I was forced to read a meta-live blog on my iPod Touch. Not too bad, all in all, but far from ideal. Whether it was because of the iPod or the WiFi, I don't know, but I frequently had to manually refresh the page, and a lot of the images didn't quite work correctly. But still, I got the general gist of it, and when I could later watch the video there wasn't anything super new to me.

The upcoming announcement — whatever it may be — as I said above, will be the worst. It begins at midnight on Tuesday 7th June. That's the same day that I have my final IGCSE Additional Maths exam. It's probably one of the toughest subjects I'm taking this year, and so there is NO way I am going to be able to stay up late to find out about it live. Unlike in the past, however, this time I am determined to keep a media blackout until I am able to watch the video Apple releases on their iTunes podcast. I am even going to the extent of unfollowing anyone on Twitter that I think it likely to be talking about this. I've got a .txt file on my desktop listing all these people, so I can follow them again afterwards.

More after the break

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My most used programs

Software tracking

Well, I was hoping that it would add this as a permanent and dynamic widget thing on the side. Oh well.

I've been using Wakoopa for just a couple of days now, and for the most part this seems like a fairly valid result. The only anomalies are:

  • Battlefield 2, which I have not played very much in the past (in fact, I haven't done much gaming at all in the past), but have started to play a lot more recently — it coincides very nicely with my IGCSE exams. Oh joy...

  • WordPress, which I also have only recently started using

  • Wakoopa — this one pretty much speaks for itself. Obviously I've been on their website a lot lately checking things out.

Anyway, if you're interested, Wakoopa is a neat little program that monitors which programs and websites you use most often. You can choose to make this public, as I have, or you can keep it private, if you're that way inclined. It's available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.