This blog has moved (..again)!

This time, I hope it is a permanent residence. The CMS is Drupal based. I have made it less cluttered and easier to read.

If you are one among the handful (feedburner indeed shows a few) who have subscribed to this feed, please take some time to update your feed reader. The new one is here.

This time around, I promise to keep it updated regularly. The content is not going to be just technical. My other interests like Photography, Music and Books too will find a place in this blog. (Thus, I have more stuff to write about!)

Thanks to WordPress folks who have hosted this blog for more than a year!

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PressRow – Simple, Cool look

I just changed the theme of this blog to PressRow, recently introduced at WordPress.com. This theme makes your blog look alot like official wordpress blogs and forums. Being pretty plain and simple, it does not distract the reader. The bigger typeface also makes it easier on the eyes.

My only gripe is the rather large header image. I replaced the original with a simple image I found in Vista. Still, with a paid upgrade, you should be able to modify the size of the image.

Update: This theme is becoming very popular now. I see that many of the favorite blogs that I read on WordPress.com have switched over to this.

Live Writer generates neat HTML!

 For the following text:

The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us. His grey eyes shone and twinkled, and his usually pale face was flushed and animated. The fire burned brightly, and the soft radiance of the incandescent lights in the lilies of silver caught the bubbles that flashed and passed in our glasses. Our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to be sat upon, and there was that luxurious after-dinner atmosphere when thought roams gracefully free of the trammels of precision. And he put it to us in this way – marking the points with a lean forefinger – as we sat and lazily admired his earnestness over this new paradox (as we thought it:) and his fecundity.

  WordPress editor generated the following html:

And guess what? Live Writer too generated HTML which is as good. See below!

Considering how bad Office 2003 was in this department, it is a great improvement indeed!

Google does a WordPress

Another story of big-guy-copying-the-small-guy. Google just released a beta of their new Blogger. The new beta dutifully brings in the features that WordPress is famous for: Tags, drag and drop template editing, private blogging etc., This upgrade will definitely help in making many of the old time bloggers to continue sticking with this service . I tried out the new beta by signing at Blogger Beta and creating a new blog. Here are my impressions:

1. Drag and Drop Template editing

You can easily add new ‘Page Elements’ by clicking on “Add a Page Element”, which brings up a web dialog with plenty of different element types to choose from. Though looks very Worpress-ish, it is not implemented as efficiently. Sometimes, the elements become too sticky and refuse to move. I think it is a beta quirk, which will get promptly fixed. Also, there doesn’t seem to be a way to quickly convert a 2 column layout into a 3 column one.  But the biggest advantage over WP is that it still allows you to edit the HTML template, which will help many a power user.  (Not yet implemented, but coming soon..) Another nifty feature is editing the fonts and colors of your posts without any knowledge of CSS.

2. Private Blogging

How about setting up a blog which only you and your girl want to read? Well you can easily do it with this new feature:

 You can invite people to your blog, and only they can read the blog. Nice.

3. Adding Tags to a Post

Ok. The big one. Now you can categorize your posts similar to the way it is done in several other blog software/cms.

You can either add a new tag or you can pick up from the previous tags, which is implemented in the del.icio.us style.

4. Othe niceties

The blog archive keeps on growing over the years. After some time, your side bar will mostly contain only links to archives. Blogger now solves ths problem with a collapsible archive list. Have a look:

I think this is one feature that WP should quickly adapt.

No more spinner: Editing the template, does not require you to republish the entire blog. So no more (sometimes endless) spinner.

In the feature tour it is mentioned that there are plenty of new templates to try out, but I didnt see anything in the template link in my settings.

So What is missing?

-No spam filtering like Akismet

-You can’t install this software on your own server

-So many other things that WordPress can do.

None of these new features will make any WP.com user to switch to Blogger, but it is nice to see that others are also playing the catch-up game.

More niceties from WordPress

WordPress just rocks. Probably one of the best decisions I made in the recent times was to switch from Blogger to WordPress. While Blogger is dull and un-exciting, WordPress is always bubbling with new features almost everyday. Blogger, as most Google products are – is closed source, while WordPress is Open Source with a very active promoters and community. If you are using Blogger, do yourself a favor and switch to WordPress. You won’t lose anything – it can import every one of your old posts along with the comments. It is even better to get a hosting service on your own – you will have more control over your content and presentation. For example, JavaScript is not allowed within WordPress.com, but if you have your own hosting you can do whatever you want with your wordpress installation. Apart from that, there are a whole lot of plugins available for wordpress, which can be used if you have your own hosting.

The recently introduced “Tag Surfer” is a great new feature. At a single glance, I can find out what other people with same interests as me are blogging about. Great way to make friends and learn too. I was surprised to see that there are so many people who are using the tag ‘Me!’.