Let's Talk About Blogs 
Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 08:43 PM
If you're bored easily, skip this entry. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I use something called Simple PHP Blog to power the backend of my webpage. In fact, it's a fairly complete solution, meaning I had to do very little other than select the color scheme and the masthead. I simply extracted the files into the directory on my web server, followed the instructions on a couple installation pages that held my hand through an astonishingly simple process, and PRESTO had a real blog. It was almost as easy as setting up my livejournal account, but gives off a much more professional image.

Apparently there's also a popular solution out there called Movable Type that is used by quite a few professionals. Note by professionals I don't mean web design professionals or computer people, but people who are fairly serious (and are taken fairly seriously) about blogging. Appearance-wise, the two are very similar. The biggest difference I have been able to discover is that Simple PHP Blog is free, while Movable Type costs money. I'm also not sure how Movable Type stores entries (from what I understand it stores them in a database), but Simple PHP Blog simples stores them as text files that are read in by the php scripts.

The great part about this is that even though I'm fairly proficient in HTML, CSS, know enough php to get by, and am fairly good with flash, I didn't need any of those skills. Blogging is no longer dominated by computer people who wrote the scripts for their own blog. I get the impression that bothers some people. (Side note: I don't undestand what's going on with the entry ratings. There seem to be a lot of votes, but I'm not sure if that's from web scripts crawling through my page, or people actually voting. You'd think with that many people voting there would be more comments.)

I originally discovered Simple PHP Blog from Ana Marie Cox (who has twice changed the location of her blog, both times breaking all previously-existing links). She rather quickly transitioned over to Movable Type; her new page even credits a design firm with whatever work was necessary to set the blog up. I'm bringing this all up, because there's at least a small number of people who don't like MT. MT's open-comment system, as well as the one this blog uses, easily opens itself up to abuse as some people have noted and discovered.

While some people hate MT because they don't like the interface, a lot of the anger is because there are simply too many blogs, which quickly translates into too much competition and too much to read. Because while some people sit back and sigh "I can't read everyone's blog I want to" other because rage because nobody is reading what they write.

As a final note I'm now back on land and internet pages don't take two minutes each to load over our exceptionally slow and horribly expensive sattelite connection. The direct result of this is that I will be tracking a lot more news sources and blogs. Don't be surprised if you see links to places other than NYT, AMC, and MM.

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