February 17, 2008

Weekly Review #7

For me, this has been another busy blogging week, especially as my hosting service suffered problems around midweek, causing all of my images (and parts of this site) to disappear!

But on a happier note, this past week has also bee rather inspiring. The Blogger team have introduced some new updates and bug fixes for us, I've discovered even more about Blogger template customization, and have also discovered some great articles and resources for you all!

Blogger Buster News

Epiblogger Interview

I was thrilled to receive an email from Lee Robertson of Epiblogger asking for an interview about my blog! While Epiblogger is still a fairly new blog, it's fast gaining popularity due to the great quality of blogging-related articles. So if you haven't already discovered Epiblogger, I would really recommend you stop by for a read, and perhaps take a look at the my interview...

Apologies for the "downtime"

Those of you who visited the site midweek may well have noticed many flaws in the site, and also missing images in many of the templates. This happened because my hosting provider was having some mysterious fault which was preventing access to any of my files (not because I had exceeded my bandwidth allowance!).

Fortunately, the problem now seems to be solved, though I am still none the wiser about what had caused this in the first place!

This problem has happened before with a different site hosted by the same company, so as you can imagine I am now rather nervous of this happening again. While I am very tempted to change my hosting provider to a more stable company, my concern is that this site and all the services provided would be unavailable for a couple of days while the new settings take effect.

Hopefully this will be unnecessary, though if we start to see problems again, I will be sure to make the switch to a host which is recommended by some of the best names in blogging!

A new look for Blogger Buster (and perhaps a little competition?)

In recent weeks while writing the Blogger Template Design series, I've been doing some rather enjoyable research about blog design trends, and have also experimented with various techniques of customization which really push the boundaries of what Blogger is capable of displaying.

However, this has also made me consider new styles which I'd love to apply to this blog, in particular, the "magazine style" front page which is now becoming very popular in Wordpress driven blogs.

So... I'm considering a makeover for Blogger Buster.

In writing this, I know many of you will be wondering why: this template works well for me (at least, in most respects), it seems to have become a recognizable "image" for my blog, and is probably among the most original templates on Blogger driven sites. Unfortunately I can't help feeling a sense of discontent when I see my content isn't organized as effectively (or stylishly) as it could be. So last night, I took a deep breath and begun to design how the new template will look!

The good news is that this will also be useful for readers of this site.

As create my new template, I will document any customizations which have not already been posted here for the benefit of the Blogger community in general. Furthermore, I may well offer a slightly modified version of this existing template as a prize in a future competition!

In the next couple of days, I will write a full post about my proposed changes to the site, so be sure to come back soon to read more about this.

Blogger News

I was really happy to notice that the Blogger team have made some updates to the way Blogger operates, and have also fixed some annoying bugs!

The identity options for the comment forms are now much better defined, which for me is an important update as readers can clearly see which would be the best option to use. Furthermore, posts with more than 200 comments now have them split across pages, so as not to clutter a single page with too much content.

Layouts blogs (new Blogger) now have a tab which says "Layout" instead of "Templates", to ensure there is no confusion between the two template types.

Also, new transliteration options have been added for Kannada, Malayam, Hindu, Tamil and Telugu, allowing even more options for bloggers using different language systems to post their thoughts online.

The Blogger Team have now fixed the following bugs:

  • Better Persian translations and other BiDi layout fixes
  • A fix to the long-standing incorrect label counts bug
  • Safari 3 support for the Layouts template editor pages
  • Faster loading times for the post editor
  • Improved international support in the post editor’s date and time fields
  • Compatibility fixes for Picasa’s BlogThis! button

This week's links

Here are some useful articles and sites which I have discovered during this week of blogging:

  • MyBlogLog have released a shiny new Recent Readers widget! This is a much more stylish version than the previous block-effect one, as you can see in this example. I'm sure many of you will now want to upgrade, which you can do by logging into your MyBlogLog control panel and choosing to create a new widget.
  • PlaceMyProduct: over at SuperBlogging, Tay has written about a new service which may be useful for bloggers who monetize their sites with ads and other paid content. This is a great review of a new service which explains which focuses on the benefits for bloggers.
  • Feed Analysis for your Feedburner Feeds: This is such a useful tool from BlogPerfume! I was thrilled to see statistics of my feed subscribers, plus loads of other useful information relevant to my site. Do take a look at this if you have the time!
  • The Blogger Code: Now this is quite an old meme now, but it's still a rather interesting find. By answering a series of questions related to blogging, you can generate your own "Blogging Code". Check it out for yourself to see what the fuss is all about. Here is my own Blogger Code for those who are interested. You'll have to visit the Blogging Code site to decode it though ;)

I hope you've enjoyed this week's review! To receive updates of new posts, please subscribe to the feed or consider registering for email updates.

As always, your comments and opinions are always welcomed, so please leave your messages below.

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Browse through the Archives

All existing posts are still available to view while I'm working on the site, albeit seen in a much simpler interface. Feel free to browse through the archives to find tutorials, templates and articles to help you build a better blog:

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