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Squidgygirl
03-13-2006, 03:42 AM
I'm not entirely sure if it's called blogging 'software', but I was wondering what people use for their blogs.

I know a lot of people use Blogger, and Livejournal, but has anyone tried MSN Spaces? I think Blogger looks a lot more user-friendly because you can edit all the html yourself, but I like the look of MSN Spaces more.

I've already got a Blogger account, but I'm also setting up an MSN one and would love to hear what others have to say about it.

Does anyone think hosting your own blog is a better bet?

Obviously, I have far too much time on my hands right now - just wait till I get back to England and have to get a proper job! :tongue

ChaosTitan
03-13-2006, 04:25 AM
I'm still pretty new to Blogging, myself. I've been posting for about a month now.

I use Blogger, because it seemed to be the most common one out there. I tend to associate LiveJournal with teenage girls and fanfiction (huge apologies to anyone who uses LJ in a different capacity!). I have found Blogger to be very user friendly, especially as I went into it without a clue as to what I was doing.
Good luck with whatever you decide!

veinglory
03-13-2006, 04:34 AM
I use both blogger and livejournal, and write pastiche aka fanfiction at times too. There is an advantage to blogger, nice templates and then there is livejournals 'friends' feature. I don;t know about msn blogs so there is a pretty good chance a lot of potential readers would never find you there.

Fahim
03-13-2006, 04:50 AM
I started out using Blogger way back when (before Google bought them and the development was done by Evan and crew) but got tired of the frequent outages. Yes, they had them even back then :p So I wrote my own application called Blog (http://farook.org/Blog.htm) and used that exclusively for several years.

I then became interested in the features offered by hosting your own blogs and started a separate blog using Movable Type (http://www.sixapart.com/movabletype/). I then modified my software, Blog, so that it could post to a Movable Type installation on a separate server so that I could still keep my posts on my desktop in case the server went down or they had any type of database issue.

Movable Type went (kind of) commercial along the way and so I then switched over to using WordPress (http://www.wordpress.org) since it was free and open source and I've actually consolidated all my blogs into one blog again under WordPress.

As for MSN Spaces, they do look kind of nifty. But then again, most of the portals seem to offer some type of blogging or another. I believe Yahoo offers both Movable Type and WordPress blogging. The interesting thing about MSN Spaces is that the new Windows Live Messenger (http://spaces.msn.com/MessengerSays) (the successor to MSN Messenger 7.x) has a link to your space from inside messenger. Not sure how far they are going to take the integration with MSN Spaces but if they extend it, and you use a Messenger a lot, then you might have a ready-made audience for your blog that way.


I
Does anyone think hosting your own blog is a better bet?


Personally, I think this is the only way to go :) You have control over your entries. If you like a different blogging system, you can usually switch over. If you want a new feature, you can install a plugin which provides it, code it yourself (if you want to code :p) or find somebody else who will do it for you. There is way more flexibility (and of course a lot more work :p) when you host your blog yourself. But you do lose out on some of the community features provided by some of the blogging systems like LJ ...

Dawno
03-13-2006, 05:52 AM
Good stuff, folks! It seems that each option has big plusses and minuses. I have a Moveable Type blog on my own domain - some day I'll figure out how to do something with it - right now it's blah as diet oatmeal in skim milk. Then I have LJ which I pretty much use to keep in touch with a friends community there. Blogger is the one I use most right now - I can tweak the template, I can use their great features and the outages haven't been too onerous. Plus it seems most of the bloggers I visit a lot are there.

The main thing, IMO, is to have fun and be comfortable no matter what level you're at with the technology of blogging.

Squidgygirl
03-13-2006, 06:27 AM
You've all given great advice on this.

To be honest, I think I'd like to host my own blog (I think most of the traffic I've had on my Blogger site has been from AW anyway!), and am looking into that.

I do think I'll keep the one I have for the time being, though, even if I do set up another. I'm not too sure about MSN Spaces. Some of the content you can have is great, but having had a little play about with it tonight, it seems very restrictive as far as templates and what you can actually put on there are concerned. I don't think you can even edit the HTML of the page.

While I might not be a wizard with it, I do like to be able to have a dabble and add things here and there.

Everyone one else, keep it coming - I love to hear other people's experiences before I spend my own money! :D

Brandon Kerlee
03-13-2006, 07:19 AM
If you host your own site, Wordpress is a good tool as well. Pretty easy to install and customize. I run my friend's site with Wordpress...he's pretty terrible at computers (he writes all his stories longhand, pad and pen...) but even he can post a basic post...

Just my .02.

veinglory
03-13-2006, 07:25 AM
I hosted my own for a while but frankly my website gets updated as much as a blog anyway so haveing a blog there didn;t add much. Whereas a LJ catches new visitors and send them to my website.

L M Ashton
03-13-2006, 05:13 PM
I use Blog, the program written by Fahim a few posts up. (It's the reason we met and got married, so yeah, I'm biased. :) ) I love using it. With it, I always have a copy of my blog entries on my own computer, so if the server goes down or the data on the server corrupts, I've still got a copy of everything.

I host on my own domains with a Wordpress install on one of them (I still have to design the template for the second), and like Fahim said, I like using it because of the features and plugins. Because it's on my site, I can have it look however I want. Complete and total control.

Wordpress is free, Blog is free, so the only cost is for domain registration and domain hosting.

Medievalist
03-13-2006, 08:16 PM
You've all given great advice on this.

To be honest, I think I'd like to host my own blog (I think most of the traffic I've had on my Blogger site has been from AW anyway!), and am looking into that.

I do think I'll keep the one I have for the time being, though, even if I do set up another. I'm not too sure about MSN Spaces. Some of the content you can have is great, but having had a little play about with it tonight, it seems very restrictive as far as templates and what you can actually put on there are concerned. I don't think you can even edit the HTML of the page.

While I might not be a wizard with it, I do like to be able to have a dabble and add things here and there.

Everyone one else, keep it coming - I love to hear other people's experiences before I spend my own money! :D

If you have your own domain and or server space, you can use Blogger and have the posts placed on your site; I do that with one of my blogs; it's simply a matter of creating a directory for posts and one for archives on your server, then filling in a form at Blogger with the paths and log in data.

Dawno
03-13-2006, 08:53 PM
I just set up an RSS feed to LiveJournal where friends can subscribe and get my Blogger posts on their friend's list. Works great.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
03-13-2006, 09:37 PM
Fahim - I'm really interested in your program, mainly because my blog is also a piece of homebrew software. You've gone ahead and packaged your software up so that others can use it--how much trouble was that to do? Do you use a particular packaging program, or...?

See, I've written a lot of PHP/MySQL widgets, my blog and writing database among them, but I have no idea how to package any of this up into an easily installable system. So I'm curious about how you did it.

MacAllister
03-13-2006, 09:51 PM
Of course...we can't leave any COMMENTS on Nicole's blog...

Fahim
03-14-2006, 04:55 AM
Fahim - I'm really interested in your program, mainly because my blog is also a piece of homebrew software. You've gone ahead and packaged your software up so that others can use it--how much trouble was that to do? Do you use a particular packaging program, or...?

See, I've written a lot of PHP/MySQL widgets, my blog and writing database among them, but I have no idea how to package any of this up into an easily installable system. So I'm curious about how you did it.

Nicole, mine's a desktop Windows application and so it was fairly easy to create an installer for it. All the posts are saved on your computer and the final blog pages are uploaded via FTP (or copied directly if the server is on your desktop too) to your webserver. There is far less interactivity than with a server based system when using my system but I'm afraid that I'm not much help with getting an installer together if yours is a web based system. However, if you want to create a CD which runs a self-contained version of your app on it (with webserver, PHP, mySQL etc. all running via CD), then Dynamic CD (http://www.phdcc.com/dynamic-cd/) (or a couple of other programs which do the same thing) might help :)

NicoleJLeBoeuf
03-14-2006, 11:37 PM
Of course...we can't leave any COMMENTS on Nicole's blog...Well, no, but if I spent all my time moderating and responding to comments I wouldn't be "actually writing," now, would I? ...Eh, well, maybe sometime I'll program that in. Someday. Maybe after I get the navigation improved and put the random writing-related quote back in and...


However, if you want to create a CD which runs a self-contained version of your app on it (with webserver, PHP, mySQL etc. all running via CD), then Dynamic CD (or a couple of other programs which do the same thing) might help.Thanks for the reference; I might have to check that out. Although it's not running it from removable media that was my interest so much as making that software or other of my widgets available for others to download and install. Once in a long time I get someone asking about the Neverending Choose Your Own Adventure Story Engine (http://www.littlebull.com/Story/) and whether they might install it on their server, and I start thinking about how I'd create a PHP script that would create the database and tables, how I'd set up the web page to choose from different skins... but nothing ever comes of it. Time, y'know. Limited.

Fahim
03-15-2006, 04:34 AM
and I start thinking about how I'd create a PHP script that would create the database and tables, how I'd set up the web page to choose from different skins... but nothing ever comes of it. Time, y'know. Limited.

Yeah, I hate PHP setup stuff - they're always much more finicky than a good old Windows installer :p I've done a couple for various plugins and things but not quite worth it. If you want a sort of a GUI-based installer script, I think I have a couple of WordPress scripts that you should be able to adapt. It basically runs you through a couple of screens, asking for the DB login details etc. and then puts it all in a config file. Nothing major but gets the job done :)

Dawno
03-15-2006, 04:52 AM
Hey, Unique - you'll be happy to know that the exchange between Fahim and Nicole is so far above my head I'm getting a crick in my neck. :)

That said, I'm very glad you're having it here, Fahim and Nicole. That's the purpose of the thread - to share techie stuff at every level - thank you both for contributing!

Fahim
03-15-2006, 04:58 AM
Hey, Unique - you'll be happy to know that the exchange between Fahim and Nicole is so far above my head I'm getting a crick in my neck. :)

Don't want you being put to any inconvenience because of me, Dawno. I'm coming back to ground level immediately :p

L M Ashton
03-15-2006, 05:58 AM
Hey, Dawno, if it helps at all, I don't understand it, either. And yet he still insists on blabbering away at me about all the details as he's working on a solution. I'm nothing more than a glorified brick wall. :p

Fahim
03-15-2006, 06:28 AM
I'm nothing more than a glorified brick wall. :p

You'll be more accurate if you removed the "glorified" from that statement :e2paperba

NicoleJLeBoeuf
03-15-2006, 09:10 AM
Ouch!

Dawno
03-15-2006, 09:44 AM
No squabbling here - unless it's technical ;)

The funny thing is I understand at one level all the words and acronyms Nicole and Fahim used - sort of the 'osmosis' that happens from working in a tech environment and living with a techie - but I couldn't explain it to anyone else, which to me is the true test of whether you've really learned something - that you can teach it to someone else.

unthoughtknown
03-15-2006, 09:50 AM
If you host your own site, Wordpress is a good tool as well. Pretty easy to install and customize. I run my friend's site with Wordpress...he's pretty terrible at computers (he writes all his stories longhand, pad and pen...) but even he can post a basic post...

Just my .02.

Yay for WordPress -- it's what I use for my site too.

L M Ashton
03-15-2006, 03:05 PM
You'll be more accurate if you removed the "glorified" from that statement :e2paperbaThat's just mean. :Headbang: :Wha: :e2bummed:

lizzyf
03-17-2006, 10:32 PM
lj seems to be filled with whiny emo kids, and i like blogspot, but only when i was using it as a private diary.

now that i want people to read my work, i use gather.com. besides having a big community, soon you'll be able to have your gather posts found on technorati (a blog search engine, if you're not familar with it).

plus, gather just seems classy. probably because it's associated with public radio.

Fahim
03-18-2006, 05:04 AM
I have only one problem with a blogging service run by somebody else - well, at least, only one major problem :p The fact that your entries aren't your own. Sure, they're *your* entries but the thing is that the entries are sitting on somebody else's server and if the server goes belly up (or the company does), there goes your entries too. Unless of course you've made backups and so on - which is a lot of hassle. I also realize that this is just my paranoid nature since I don't think I actually know of any blogging service which has actually gone belly up :p