Ramblings, meanderings, rants and discoveries.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Today I made a blog over at WordPress. I had to to walk someone through adding tags and categories to a blog for crawlers to find. Let me just say this about that I am not impressed.

First if you are low vision or have problems seeing the screen, the default layout I was assigned was awful. Light gray on white does not do it. So Of course I go looking for a high contrast theme to make my life a little easier. Some are really nice but the default picture has nothing to do with what I blog about or even is anything I would want to have on my blog. I see one I like, I preview it and an then I see it is 75.00 to implement. I think not.

So I try to go back of course the back button does not work, I see a second tab opened in Opera click on that and am brought back to my dashboard - sigh so I have to load the themes again. I notice an Edit CSS option and get excited. Cool I can just add my own!  I click on it and start reading expecting the usual no .js no scripts agreement stuff to ensure I am not trapping readers. Here is what it basically says :

If you are familiar with CSS or you have a stylesheet ready to paste, you may delete these comments and get started. Great! I think, and settle back to read what I can and cannot do. There are 2 check boxes one says to add to this style sheet, the other says to start blank - Better! Ok maybe this is not so bad oh wait..

You can not edit the stylesheets of your theme. Your stylesheet will be loaded after the theme stylesheets, which means that your rules can take precedence and override the theme CSS rules. The Sandbox theme is recommended for those who would prefer to start from scratch.  There is a bunch of what they encourage and a bunch of what they will strip out, only one that I question is unsafe code - I think I know what they mean, but what if they decide a scroller is unsafe code. But oh well this is just a test right? But if I like it maybe I will move the gaming blog over there, or set up Sunflower's stuff. So I click the box to create my own CSS from scratch, I figure I have to use the divs and the classes they define anyway so having a default to work from is not such a bad thing. I hit the start from scratch and just use this and preview to see what is what in the page. At the top of the preview is this little notification. you must purchase the Custom CSS Upgrade to save your changes. So, let me get this straight, I do the work and you want me to share it with the community and I have to pay to do it ? I think not.

Now I have decided not to move the blog, but maybe I will use it as another blog site in case I ever want to separate the game stuff from the gamer stuff. So I browse some of the other options. Akismet - all the description says is Askismet. Now if you are a blogger already you probably know this is anti-spam API  But if you are not it might be nice if they explained that and HOW it works. (It does the best it can, so I am not bashing it, it just is not perfect and people need to know that.)

They have some interesting choices like box.net and Akismet.  Neither of these are free tools under normal circumstances and the fact the provide them as widgets and seemingly at no cost is nice. But the box.net security seems to be undermined somewhat by allowing any blog reader to download files.  Most of the  widget choices are nothing that great or fancy or indeed even unique, most reputable blog sites  - even this one provide similar services.

There are whole lot of other tools for making the blog look spiffy, display well on mobile media,  hell even making it look like a webpage, but  I am not impressed with actual content editing.  I see why so many Wordpress blogs have serious typos in them. They do not make it easy to edit your words, your text or even your tags and categories. Which is why I went there in the first place. Because my inexperienced client could not intuitively figure out how to do it. So I ask anyone reading this who uses Wordpress, Why do you?

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