Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Neilochka’s Blogging Tools

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Today’s "Citizen of the Month" post is going to be a little different.   I’m going to step from behind the curtain and invite you to do the same.   Maybe I’m just being sentimental having recently met three bloggers in person — the brilliant Danny, the glamorous Megan, and the outspoken Kate.  I feel like there is a strong blogging community out there, one of caring and mutual admiration, even if I probably wouldn’t let half of you crazy people into my house.

Let’s talk about blogging.  I want to share with you some of the tools I use every day.  Hopefully, you can share as well, with the hope that we can make blogging more enjoyable for everyone, especially new bloggers.

BLOGGING APPLICATION

I use WordPress for my blogging tool.  I can wholeheartedly recommend it.  There are terrific plug-ins for all sorts of enhancements.  I notice that most of you use Blogger.  Do you like it?   Hate it?    If anyone ever wants to move to WordPress, I’m more than willing to answer any questions — although I’m far from an expert.   Any unique pros or cons with your blogging application?

STATISTICS

If you’re like me, you’ve become obsessed over your statistics.   I use Statcounter.  It does the job.   Recently, I’ve noticed a whole flurry of new colorful "statistics" applications competing for our attention.   Here’s a good post about some of the newer applications.  Mint is becoming popular, but it costs $30.   Two others with good reviews (and free) are Blogbeat and Performancing Metrics.    It seems that some of the newer statistics have something Statcounter doesn’t — the ability to record where a reader is clicking TO from your site.  So, for instance, if I see too many of my readers are leaving my site to head over to Rabbit’s site, I know to take that damn blogger off my blogroll.

Frankly, I’ve been avoiding switching to another statistics application.  Just what I need — more blogging stuff to waste my time!

Anyone tried any of these new stat programs?

RSS AGGREGATORS

There are so many great bloggers out there, I sometimes get overwhelmed.   To help me organize my RSS feeds, I use Bloglines.   Bloglines helps me read several blogs at once in a "newspaper" style.  While it saves some time, you still need to click onto the site to read and write comments.  Lately, I’ve been using Bloglines a lot less, because I was starting to miss reading a person’s blog in his individualized template.  Everyone’s blog just looks the same in Bloglines and it starts to make me drowsy.

Still, Bloglines is an essential tool for reading blogs on the go.   Here’s ten cool hacks you can do with Bloglines, including such nifty actions as blogging right from Bloglines and reading your feed on your Tivo.

A promising competitor to Bloglines is Rojo, which combines an RSS aggregator with some interesting  tagging features and social networking options.

Google has the Google Reader and Technorati has Technorati Favorites, but I wasn’t too impressed with either of them.

Any other suggestions for making our blog reading a little easier?

RSS FEEDS

My WordPress blog creates it’s own feed.  I notice a large amount of bloggers use Feedburner to create their RSS feed, even if their blogging application already does it for them.  Maybe someone else can help me understand why.  I’m guessing that it’s mostly for statistical reasons — so you can know how many readers are coming from Bloglines, etc…

Can anyone explain it better than I can?

I notice that some bloggers choose not to have a feed at all.   This could be a pain if you love their site, but you read all your feeds in an RSS aggregator.  I’ve never tried it, but this application advertises itself a free online service that converts any web page to an RSS feed on the fly.

SPAM PROTECTION

I can really only speak about WordPress here.   I use Spam Karma and it works great, although every once in a while — for no apparent reason — it decides a dear reader is a spammer and puts him in moderation.  

I notice that most Blogger users now use that word verification.  Has it been working for you?

Frankly, I don’t really understand the business model of spammers.   Some of the spam is just nonsense.   Is it just a numbers game, with the spammers trying to get as many links as possible?  I understand that it is cheap advertising, but are there really that many people out there who are willing to buy their Viagra from some stranger on the internet?  Obviously so.  

NARCISSISM

Let’s admit it.  We all love to know if someone is talking about us.    While Technorati is the big daddy for self-checking, there’s also IceRocket, Feedster, Google Blog Search, Blogdigger, PubSub, and Blogpulse.  According to the influential Steve Rubel, Bloginfluence is the latest blogging ego tool (or blego, as the insiders call it).  You can go crazy seeing where your blog stands in comparison to others in the silly buy-and-sell fantasy world of Blogshares or the truly weird animal kingdom of the Truth Laid Bear ecosystem.  All this stuff is very dangerous to your self-esteem.  Just remember that the guy who has a million links and a zillion readers still isn’t making any money off his blog.   And if he’s spending all that time blogging, he’s probably pasty-skinned and out of shape — not a hunk or hottie like you.

I do check Technorati every day, but I avoid everything else.  I recommend the same.

BLOG TCHOTCKHES

This is a topic in itself — all of those weird and wonderful charts and lists and "what’s on my iPod" thingamajigs and Flickr doodads that everyone uses to make their blog unique.   I think some of them are a little too cutesy for my taste — or for anyone who’s not a fourteen year old girl.  I also think music playing automatically can be a problem if someone is reading your blog in their office.  But who am I to talk?  I write about my underwear on my blog.  To each his own! 

P.S. — Now I have a question for you.  Am I the only one in America not to have a MySpace page?  And what exactly is its appeal — making friends?  Dating?  Or making me feel like I’m the only one not to have a MySpace page? 

82 Comments

  1. Regarding SK2 and cases of spam false positives (it can happen), you can find the detailed reasons SK2 judged the comment was spam in the admin screen (hovering with your mouse in the “karma” column should show you a detailed breakdown of the comment’s karma score). If the reasons do not make sense, you should definitely contact me with all the details, so I can look into it and fix a potential bug.

    cheers

  2. Thanks for the info, Dave. It doesn’t happen very often. And I appreciate all the hard work that went into developing Spam Karma and your other WordPress plugins.

  3. Wow. You get customized customer service…?!
    MySpace is a bit like fanclubs for dummies, isn’t it? Aside from that though, it’s apparently a fantastic tool for music people.

  4. WoW! This is great info. Question: How do you come up with the “Favourite posts” rubrique and the “popularity”?

    Fitรจna

  5. If you took me off your blogroll, I would no longer have a reason to live.

  6. Oh Neil! I love this nerdery.

  7. I just switched to WordPress from Blogger, and it’s nice to have it be so much more customizable. On the downside, it’s so customizable, I break my blog all the time. At least in Blogger, there’s an option to “preview” changes to your template before you actually edit the index permanently.

    Oh, and the text editor for writing posts in WordPress screws up constantly. CONSTANTLY. Just about every post is missing a line break, a paragraph break, or the italics tag refuses to end unless I open the ‘edit HTML’ window and manually fix it. I also can’t get multiple line breaks for when I want to create a long pause —

    — it just condenses to a single break automatically. Sometimes it just removes the line break altogether.

    I suspect foul play.

  8. Like that — the multiple line breaks dropped to one line. FOUL PLAY!

  9. Oh Darling! What a treasure trove of a post. I’m going to study up a bit, thanks for all the links!

    I like blogger because it is dummy proof. I don’t want to worry much about format, mostly because it will distract me from the primary purpose of my blog — writing my ass off every day.

    Thanks for all the info.

  10. Honestly? I like blogger because it seems the majority of blogs I read use it so it makes commenting very easy. I just started a photoblog in wordpress (I know, odd) and I’m not sure if I like it but maybe only because I can’t figure out how to customize much.

    I am Google’s #1 fan so I will be using Google Reader, thanks for the link.

    I don’t understand RSS feeds.

    I though MySpace was so I could meet those hott guys!? Dammit!

  11. I feel like I’m too old for MySpace. I just got a profile on Friendster last year, and immediately learned that only losers use Friendster now. All the hip kids are at MySpace. But I also don’t get text messaging, so I’m not really the one to look to for what’s hip…

  12. Thanks for all the info. I don’t understand half of it but I will ask you or Se7en ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And no I’m not involved in My Space either.

  13. The Moviequill

    March 22, 2006 at 5:44 am

    how detailed of a report do you get with Statscounter? do you get actual URLs of visitors. referrer links?

  14. When I first started blogging I only knew of two sites – livejournal and blogger. Livejournal had no appeal to me… it seems more like a community for young(er) folks, so I settled on blogger. I like how easy it is for me to manipulate things (I’m html challenged to the nth degree) and it’s become very comfortable for me. I’ve considered typepad and wordpress in order to break out of some of blogger’s limitations, but I feel like I’d be lost most of the time.

    I’ve created a site on protopage (www.protopage.com) that I can access from any computer. It has links to the websites that I use daily, both for work and for play. One of the “widgets” on my protopage retrieves the RSS feeds of the blogs I like to read daily. It only shows me a snippet, but at least I know when sites are updated so that I don’t appear to be a stalker when people read their statcounters!

    Comment verification for blogger can be annoying, but comment spam is 10,000 times more so. Mostly it’s funny to try to make sense of the words that they give you!

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Not interested in the MySpace thing.

    I use Blogger mainly because of the ease of it. If it keeps having problems I am going to switch to something else.

    Who hosts your site?

  16. Thank you. Thank you for the new play toys!!!

    I used Blogger because I wanted something easy. Now that I want to do some more customizations, I find Blogger very difficult.

    I too signed onto Friendster on the suggestion of a friend, but the company was too young. I get the same impression about My Space though I do have occassion to browsing there often.

  17. I can’t get past the fact that you called me “glamorous” and Kate “outspoken.” I’m guessing Danny isn’t the brightest bulb in the bunch? Haha!

  18. I don’t have a myspace site. I use Statcounter and Technorati. I guess I need to look into RSS feed.
    I hate word verification, but when you get 20-30 spams in one day, then you just deal with it.
    Cool post ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. I am SO glad I’m not the only one on myspace. To be honest, I’ve checked it out and discovered it holds absolutely no appeal to me.

  20. i’m outspoken? lol. wow. i’m honored to be mentioned in your blog.

    i think you’re a hottie neil.

  21. Wow, thanks for this post, Neil. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had no idea there were so many (free!) applications out there. I have to agree with Awe that I’m starting to get irritated with Blogger’s server hiccups and would seriously consider switching if I could find something just as convenient, or even nearly as convenient. Definitely going to have to take a closer look at WordPress.

    As far as myspace goes, I just signed up for it because I couldn’t look at the pictures on my sister’s page unless I was a member. Now I check in occasionally to keep up with classmates from high school. Other’n that though, I’d just as soon have nothing to do with it.

  22. I don’t have a MySpace either Neil. Although my 12 yr old daughter does, and she loves it more than her regualr blog. It is a toll she uses for socializing with friends from school online. I have a hard enough time keeping up with blogging, so I’m not up for another “something or other to check on.”

    3T

  23. Cool post. The allure of MySpace completely eludes me. I’ve seen some people’s profiles and it just looks totally dumb to me. Maybe I’m too old to appreciate its value.

    I’ve been considering switching from Blogger for more freedom, but don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of purchasing and maintaining my own domain. Mostly I’m afraid that $7 a month will be too much. Ha. I’m a loser.

  24. Until recently I would have said myspace sucks… I usually get the worse and creepiest emails from guys on there, but that’s how I met Crash *swoon*.

  25. oh my gosh, i am so out of it. i don’t know what an RSS feed is or how to use technorati (even though i think i linked to it) what am i doing!? while my lack of knowledge about all things blog makes me proud that my blogging is more organic, i still need help! neil, will you be my tutor?

  26. Co-worker Amy doesn’t have one either, and she’s all Woody Allen about it too.

  27. Just want to say thanks for all the tips and links. I gotta check them out, especially bloglines… lol

  28. Fitena — The popularity is a WordPress plugin. The favorite posts is just good ol’ HTML that I put in myself. It’s really not that hard. I use Notetab Pro as an easy HTML editor.

    Retropolitan — I might be wrong, but isn’t there a WordPress template switcher, so you can keep the current one going while still working on the new one? If you really want to get complicated, couldn’t you download Sokkit, which would give you the opportunity to play around with the php of the template right on your own computer? Of course that is for real nerds only. I actually tried this, but it was a disaster. By the way, I hope others will check out your template design — because it is absolutely ASTONISHING.

    Michelle — Yes, I think it is important to avoid worrying about all this nonsense too much. I’m more interested in the stuff that makes blogging easier. There’s a whole bunch of stuff I still want to do that I haven’t — like create an avatar on Blogger so I can have a photo of myself when I comment just like everyone else! I also notice that some bloggers have a cool little picture up on top next to the blog address. You can actually create a “favicon” (that’s what it is called) from a picture at this site.

    Scarlett — Google Reader is pretty bad. I would go with Bloglines. RSS is pretty simple really. Your blog has a template that is a constant: Title, Date, Post, etc. If I have your RSS feed information, an RSS reader can just grab the new daily information from those categories and rearrange it for me in my RSS reader — whether it is on my computer of cellphone.

    So, how many hot guys have you met on MySpace?

    Jenny — A business idea for us. A Myspace/Friendster for old farts.

    Moviequill — Statcounter only gives you info on the last 100 visitors. You have to pay to get more. I do get referrer links. So, I can see when you come from your website. If you come from Bloglines — like I do now — you don’t show up. So, if you get pissed at me for never reading you — be assured I’m reading you on Bloglines. Frankly, I’ve been blogging a year now, and I still don’t really get the stats. I mostly use it now to scan if there are any new names in the bunch so I can check out their site.

    Bre — Maybe I shouldn’t be tellling you this, but I actually saw your Protopage before you passworded it, from clicking on the url in my stats. I was curious what it was. You are so cutting edge. These Web 2.0 applications are the hottest things. Maybe you need to write a post telling us what you use, since you are the trendsetter. I read about Protopage on Techcrunch, which, by the way, is the BEST site to read about new internet applications.

    Awe — I use Dreamhost. They sometimes have really good deals. And they have a one-click WordPress set-up which makes it perfect for WordPress. So far, so good.

    Amanda — The truth is most of us are writers at heart. We mostly care about the words we put out. I guarantee you that if you get too involved in the blogging nonsense — the Blogebrity lists, the feeds, etc… it will only hinder your writing. That said, we spend so much time blogging, I think it’s good to know all this crap, especially to keep current. I love it when people introduce me to new stuff. I don’t know anything about podcasts and vlogs — but I’ve seen some amazing stuff done by other bloggers. Who knows — maybe soon we’ll all be blogging by video!

  29. I have a MySpace page to spy on my kids. Most of my friends think its crazy but my kids were so excited to have me on their friend list. I can’t make them stop sending innapropriate stupid chain mail messages but I can yell at them now because I know about it.

  30. I use Typepad and love it.

    I haven’t picked up on a new stats counter as I haven’t found one that meets my personal specs. For years, my static site used Nedstat, but they were bought out by a company that built in popup advertising which is really pissing me off. The stats they provide are so damn nice though.

    I use built in RSS feeding in Typepad. I have no idea why anybody with built-in RSS feeding would outsource it. Makes no sense.

    I also use Bloglines and some tchotchkies like Flickr. I also handcode some HTML for sidebars. I have to handcode my dropdown menu selectors as Typepad doesn’t make them readily available. Damn.

    I might have to check out some of your narcissism stuff. I do use Technorati, but these others sound kind of interesting. Ever looked up the “dollar value” of your site?

    No, I do not have a MySpace account, nor do I ever plan to. Stand strong, Neilochka!

  31. Kevin — Looking up my “dollar sign” would only make me think about all the real dollars I’m losing by writing my blog rather than doing something practical.

    Just so others know — is Typepad free?

    Also, if you — since you seem to know what you’re talking about more than I do — or someone else can write a little bit more about Flickr, I think it might be useful for someone. It is a very popular tool which I don’t use. Is it easy to integrate it into your website?

  32. BLOGGING APPLICATION

    I use Blogger because it is free and no other reason. I don’t hate or love it –our relationship is purely plutonic.

    STATISTICS

    I use Statcounter and like it.

    RSS AGGREGATORS

    I read the blogs themselves which does slow things down but makes it more personal as you said.

    RSS FEEDS

    I have one — I think.

    SPAM PROTECTION

    Word verification seems to work well.

    NARCISSISM

    I also check Technorati every day, but it never changes ๐Ÿ™

    BLOG TCHOTCKHES

    The only blog tchotchkhe I have is a video music thing. I like it, but I can see why some people don’t. I am thinking of removing it because it is a pain to update.

    P.S. I don’t have a MySpace because who wants to visit the space of a middle-aged conservative married cop? Okay, there are a few, but they are more into holsters than me so . . .

  33. Oh damn, Megan, was Neil really being sarcastic when he mentioned us? Shoot–no one has called me brilliant since 7th grade.

    Very cool to have a post so full of information for us lunatic bloggers. And to see that you have a “serious” side (although I kept waiting for your penis’s take on RSS aggregators).

    Am I the only one who uses TypePad? Is that “so 2004?” I like the flexibility that TypePad gives me with visuals but I’m in awe of people like the Retropolitan who somehow manage to design their websites from scratch and make it look better than a high-gloss magazine. Mine still looks a lot like the TypePad template.

    MySpace is of the devil and we actually had a meeting at my daughter’s school warning us to not let our kids have pages there or at least to watch them closely. I guess a lot of pedophiles hang out on MySpace and they know exactly how to build trust and eventually elicit personal information from the kids. Yuck.

    Neil, can you explain how you get those cool audio clips to appear on your site? My only complaint about your blog is that you REALLY need to have a “preview” feature for your comments section.

  34. There are different pricing levels to Typepad. I’m paying for the most expensive one because I wanted the freedom to do a bunch of HTML alteration to the templates. Some of that stuff may be incorporated at the lower levels now, but I’m not sure.

    Here’s the pricing structure:
    1 author/1 weblog = $4.95/month
    1 author/up to 3 blogs = $8.95/mo
    many authors/many blogs = $14.95/mo

    I’m currently working on a second blog that will have multiple authors so the third option works out even better than initially planned.

    Sorry, no freebie option. SixApart (the parent company of Typepad and Moveable Type) does offer a freebie service with LiveJournal

  35. I currently use blogger and am starting to ready myself to move over to WordPress or moveable type or typepad, just anything else, because I’m getting a little sick of it. And I have a lot of questions so if you’d be willing to answer, that would be awesome.

    Also, I don’t have a myspace account because it’s too much of a hassle.

    A lot of my readers have bloglines but I have yet to try it, so maybe that will be on my to do list for today.

  36. As for the Flickr tack-on…

    It’s a randomizer that will take photos from your Flickr account (either random sampling of all or just of certain ones that you designate) and posts them in a little applet that you post in the sidebar of your blog. There are different presentation options, too, like a Flash-enabled scroller or just a two or three-up photo display.

    It’s free for Flickr users and all you need to do is set up your options, they create the code, then you paste the code in your sidebar (if your blogware allows you to custom code sidebars – Typepad does).

    Oh, you also need to tell it which photos to choose from. I use the Flickr tag “badgeworthy” to tell the code which photos it can choose from. Then the randomizer will put new ones in the badge each time you visit. If you click on the photos, it will link directly to that photo in your photostream.

    Does this clarify or muddy the issue?

  37. Danny — WordPress’ preview seems awfully stupid — you just see it being typed a second time right below the box. But I’ll check it out, just because of your brilliance!

  38. Heather B, if you want to know more about Typepad, e-mail me at kapgar5 [at] hotmail [dot] com. Use “Typepad Questions” in the subject line so I don’t accidentally delete it.

  39. ATTENTION BLOGOSPHERE: Kevin at Kapgar actually knows all this blogging stuff — including coding. Please send all questions to HIM. I have just volunteered him to be the official BLOGGING NERD 2006. However, please continue sending photos of hot women and cute kittens to ME.

  40. I am so all over this post!

    Okay first off I HATE Blogger, wait NO. I LOATHE it! It ALWAYS breaks down and gives me problems and doesn’t let me comment, post, and/or put pictures up. I DO NOT recommend it at all.

    Here’s a question. I want to move to wordpress but I really want a custom template (I wanna be unique) do you know anybody that does them? I’ve been debating so it’s good to hear positive things about wordpress.

    Okay word verification sucks and it doesn’t stop other people from advertising their crap on your blog. It just stops automated posters. HOWEVER I don’t do word verfi because it’s a HUGE HUGE pain in the ass and everybody who goes to my blog hates it as well. I post frequently so to post a comment on my POSTS require patience with word verfi.

    Okay another question or observation. I have stat counter and I also have a blogtop sites thing and they are way off. So which is right and which should I pay attention too? I’m confused and still new to blogging.

    I actually don’t do bloglines but it’s a great idea. If I like a site and they are my blog “friends” then I add them to my blog roll and I go through my roll every day. Sure I know it’s the “hard” way but I’ve always been one to enjoy it like that.

  41. WordPress has tons of templates ready made. Most people just fiddle around with it — using their own graphics, etc. — and make it their own.

    So many people have that word verification now that I’ve gotten to used to it already. I don’t think your readers would mind too much if it helps you stop spam.

    I would think statcounter would be the more accurate stat program, but I don’t think any of the applications are perfect.

  42. I’m jealous…I want to meet you and Danny.

  43. I am a stat counter whore. I must have five of them installed, but I usually only hit two of them with any consistency.

    And I readily admit to being a Technorati addict. Sad but true.

  44. For those that are in a learnin’ mood, I recommend The Slacker’s Guide to HTML. It’s a pretty nice, conversational guide to learning the basics of HTML and the all-important CSS code that you need to know to fiddle with blog templates. I used it all the time as a nice reference when I was learning the basics. I still use it all the time.

  45. no neil, you are not the only one not to have a my space account. i won’t use friendster either. after doing the online dating thing, it was just too much to think about posting another damn profile!

  46. i’m sure i’m the only person who actually adores blogger, but relative to what i do it’s perfect. it forces me to keep a simple design, it’s free, and i’ve noticed that my google rankings are much higher since blogger is owned by google. (for example, i type in my name and come up first in google, but lower on other search engines).

    i actually post all my blog entries from flickR, though.

    i read and run my blogroll through bloglines, which also picks up rss feeds of any references in technorati. i have a podomatic account and have used bubble share for audio/photo posts.

    myspace is adorable, and i usually surf it dressed in nothing but a trenchcoat.

  47. GAH!!!!

    Oh hell!!!

    I is stupid. I knowse nuttin’.

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  48. I never had a myspace account until I wanted to check out Kevin Federline’s myspace page and I needed one in order to do that.

    That may be the most pathetic thing I’ve ever said.

  49. 1. I use Blogger (obviously) and I like it. I just happened to start with that b/c my aunt-in-law uses it (she was my “motivation” for starting a blog). I find it easy enough to play with my template & etc.
    2. I use SiteMeter for my statistics. Really, I was just curious who all my non-commenting visitors were! It tells me how people found my page, what links they looked at, and what their exit page was. I like it okay.
    3 & 4. I have no clue about RSS. I just like looking at different people’s pages. I think the layout, pics, & etc help “define” the person.
    5. I use word verification, and haven’t had ANY spam!
    6. Not that I think anyone is talking about me, but now I have to check out those links (just to be sure)! Thanks for more distractions!
    7. I took down my “silly” doo-dads, but I kinda like my GuestMap and LocalWeather. And, I agree with you about the “auto” music! I like to post music, but give y’all the option to listen or not.
    8. I think MySpace is geared more towards those people who don’t want to commit to writing an intellectual/amusing/contributing blog. They just want to have their name/face out there for “whatever” reason. Of course, I joined b/c I found out that several of my “long lost” friends are on it, and one of them (let’s just say a “special” guy) requires you to be a “friend” to look at his page.
    GREAT POST!

  50. I must go out too much…

    I’m an IT guy, but I don’t know of half of which you speak. To make matters worse, I use Blogger. That must make me an even bigger loser! Crap!

  51. I may be the only one, but for tracking software, “tracksy” is pretty dope.

    It’s free unless you get beaucoup hits per month, something I do not.

  52. I just read Danny’s comment. He’s my new favorite blogger.

    (Aside from you, Neil…of course.)

  53. Let’s see…where to begin. I have a LiveJournal account but mainly use it to keep up with friends there. I like its’ friends list (which I suppose is like aggregators). I started using Blogger because it allowed for more customizing than LJ does. I would like something with a better recent comments option as well as a simple way to add categories, but for now, Blogger is the right price for me.

    I have hacks for drop-down menus and recent comments (that one works better in some browsers than others). There are links to where I got the hacks in the sidebar, but one site with lots of useful blogger hacks is called FreshBlog.

    I like viewing posts in people’s individual templates, so I use “live bookmarks” in Firefox to see when people have new stuff. Live bookmarks let you see a list of recent post titles for a blog if the person has an RSS feed.

    I don’t mind word verification. It’s an absolute necessity with Blogger, and it works well for me.

    I use audioblogger.com for audio posts, but the quality isn’t great since it’s done over a phone line. I’d like to find a different way to do them with better sound quality, but I think it’s mostly a matter of having server space to store the files.

    I started using SiteMeter since a friend had it, but their 3-D graphs are difficult to read, so I added StatCounter. I’ve left them both on because I noticed they provide some different stats and the basic hitcounts are not the same.

    I started using FeedBurner after reading about it on Nickerblog. Blogger does provide a feed but it’s in atom format. Feedburner does it in xml (I think)- in any case, a format that more readers can read.

    Flickr is handy for uploading photos for free since Blogger doesn’t give you a lot of space for that.

  54. As always, I love reading about your tools Neil.

  55. i have no idea what most of this means, i have a stats counter and it sends me reports but i don’t know how to read them or why i would want to. i’m actually more interested in reading everyone else’s blogs than in anyone commenting on mine. i only know two people on my blogroll but i do have a several that live in my area that i might meet eventually.

  56. my space blows.

    and yeah, i am on it.

    ๐Ÿ˜‰ sizz

  57. Statcounter and I are joined at the hip.I use Bloglines to manage updates and I find it works better than my blogroll. I found Flickr a pain to use on my photoblog but have to come up with a better alternative to Blogger’s photo upload. I use Technorati tags but have found they’re not working well as of late.

    Have to try out some of your recommendations, Neil. Thanks for the info.

  58. Very informative post, Neil! If it makes you feel any better, I don’t have a MySpace account even though ALL of my friends do and I work in the online world. The original lure was music sharing and now I think it’s just a hodgepodge. I’m sure you’ll find something you like!

  59. I use Site Meter, it’s easy to use and free. I use Blogger, because it generally works well for me, although if I find I’m doing more and more writing I may switch to a more pliable set of tools.

    MySpace is really for teens and artists, the former to socialize the latter to promote the work.

    I try to keep the clutter on my blog to a minimum, because I don’t think anyone pays attention to it but the person who put it there.

    I haven’t waded into Rss feeds or Bloglines yet; thanks for the heads up.

    I actually had to start moderating my comments because some absolute git hit me with ads even though I had word verification. Word verification itself tends to work well, and most of us are just used to it now.

    Thanks for the tool sharing, which sounded good in my head, but kind of dirty now that I’ve typed it out.

  60. After a year on Blogger we got our own domain and are using WordPress which is awesome. Wife still has a blog on blogger as it is easier for her to use than me driving her mad trying to explain WordPress.

    Use a fair amount of plugins to do various things and seem to always being tweaking something.but I enjoy that.

    I don’t have Myspace.

    I prefer to read other blogs in their own templates also.

    Yours everyday of course.

    Mik

  61. I was on blogger for about 9 months and then decided to switch to wordpress and my own domain. Honestly, it was mostly out of vanity. Hehe. I liked a lot of the functionality of blogger…and I found that the word verification kept out 99% of spam. But I wanted the feeling of more freedom in spreading my design wings so to speak…

    And in terms of the Myspace question: I have a myspace account that I check everyday….but I have it mainly because a lot of my non-computer, non-email friendly pals use it. Basically every hipster I knew (or dated) in college is on myspace, and it’s the only way I keep up with tons of those people. It’s very strange how most of them are complete technophobes, but LOVE myspace. And damn do they love those myspace quizzes too. Hahahah.

  62. I am too new to comment but I’m going to keep this for when I become obsessed with blogging, which is inevitable.
    Right now though, I feel like the new kid in school who doesn’t even know where the bathroom is.

  63. Neil, where were you in 1985 when I wanted to tape one show on my VCR and watch a different one? You technocrat.

  64. A VCR? Ha ha ha. What’s that? Like a typewriter? Wait until you read about how I just wrote a blog post on my Sprint cellphone! Then you can bow down at my high-tech prowess.

    (Sophia, please call me and tell me how to shut the phone off.)

  65. I use Squarespace. It’s relatively expensive, ($12/month) but I like it a lot. They make it really easy to mess with templates and to post photos. There aren’t a lot of plugins available, but I hate plugins on other people’s sites, so that’s not a problem for me.

    MySpace is for kids in high school.

  66. What if you’re young at heart?

  67. I don’t have a MySpace account. I think many add-ons to blogs are cutesy, but honestly, I do love my Weather Pixie. I’m currently on Blogger, but I actually started my blog running the Grey Matter software, since I have private web-hosting. However, I did not know much about the blogging community when I first started, and switched over to Blogger just to integrate myself more into a community. Now, I think I’d rather not be on Blogger. The comment pop ups often take forever to load, if at all; and lately, my blog has just been disappearing. Poof! Anyone else? If i republish, it comes back. But that’s only after several hours of me not realizing it had been missing in the first place.

  68. โ€œI hate Blogger!โ€

    /sees something blue and orange in peripheral vision

    โ€œOh, Blogger, sorry. I didn’t see you standing there. No, I don’t really hate you. You misunderstood me.โ€

    /turns away from Blogger and mouths to Neil, โ€œI totally DO hate Blogger!โ€

  69. I don’t have a myspace – and don’t want one. I just wrote about it yesterday – it seems like a personal ad place.

    Blogger works for me, but all I’m here for is to write.

  70. I don’t have MySpace either. I use Site Meter for my stats (there may be better ones but I like it and I’m too lazy to change).

    I dropped Typepad recently and went to WordPress for my Writelife blog but for my others I use Blogger (free) though one of these may change soon. I discovered today my first Blogger post was way back in December 2001!

    I do use about Bloglines, in a round about way. RSS feeds and aggregators are great ideas but when you miss a day and find you have hundreds of unread posts (partly because some idiots post many times a day), you just say … ah, to hell with this.

    Much as I love blogs, I’m a bit overwhelmed by their quantity and diversity. But I’m as guilty of deluging the Internet as anyone, I suppose, so I’ve only myself to blame.

  71. Holy Crap. I’m so frikkin’ primitive over at the Dept.

    Sigh.

  72. I don’t understand MySpace at all, but apparently the kids love it.

  73. that was great, thanks for all the new toys…i mean tools…to check out.

    and i have to admit this — i love myspace

  74. Neil-chik, read my two recent entries re: MySpace and you’ll get a very good idea of what it’s all about. MySpace is craptastically bad:

    http://merujo.blogspot.com/2006/03/myspace-wretched-hive-of-scum-and.html

    and

    http://merujo.blogspot.com/2006/03/wait-theres-more.html

  75. WHEW.. what a lot to swallow! Thanks all, for the killer input. Now if only I knew what a blog was.

  76. MySpace is just cool to be able to keep track of friends and see what they’ve been up to. One click, and you see pics of them and read comments on what they’ve been doing, and it’s just a great way to keep in touch and keep that network fresh.

  77. Feedburner provides some great stats on what people are reading, and what sources they’re using to read your feeds. Some of the other cool features include adding feed “flare” as they call it, including links to del.icio.us, email this post, etc. Pretty cool stuff.

  78. I hate Blogger and yes I am on it.
    No, I don’t use MySpace, it might force me to leave the house. ๐Ÿ™‚

  79. and furthermore….

    WordPress sounds cool. I may have to check it out. I have that Flikr thingy on my site as well as a counter from Sitemeter. I used to be a site counter whore myself, but then I realized I like an audience of 5 and the most hits I get are from “Sensual Liberation Army” a very smutty site, that is fraught with nakedness, so I just went down to one counter. Apparently the words “Tiny Bubbles”, sounds very naughty to some people. Oh, and I have Technorati which alright,and I used to have bloglines but I have too many sites that interest me.

    MySpace for Friends of Neilochka!

  80. I, too, was wondering what the dealio is with MySpace, so I set up an account to check it out. Big yawn. You’re not missing anything. I think it’s for teenagers, and people unclear on the concept of what a blog is. Like Microsoft.

  81. Someone else below asked this already about antispam scripts.
    I am getting nailed with Spam on my website mails and in our blog website – now its offline too

    much spam. Is there anyway to stop this? If not, there really isn’t any point in leaving it up

    and active. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for help, Keep up the good work. Greetings from Poland

  82. I don’t have a MySpace either, so there are at least two of us.

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