Saturday, January 08, 2005

A New Look for the New Year

I'm taking advantage of the fact that it's STILL SNOWING outside (this has got be some kind of record) and trying to get over this full-blown cold by giving my site a bit of a New Year's makeover. I'm sneezing, blowing my nose, and have watery eyes, so I'm staying away from people.

I thought Breigh's suggestion of "Gail Interrupted" was funny (see previous post), except I'd probably change it again in a month, and I haven't even seen "Girl Interrupted" (although I'm curious about it). I started on the tedious task of fixing broken links and adding titles to archives from 2002, but I was starting to feel like I was spinning my wheels because it took literally HOURS to finish three months' worth of posts. I'd done all that work, but nothing to show for it, because the site looked exactly the same!

The first thing I did was recruit David, who's still suffering from bronchitis there in Pennsylvania, to come up with a new masthead. (What a taskmaster I am!) We got on AOL IM to discuss different looks -- which photo to use, font, etc. (Ugh, I loathe everything AOL, but it's the only chat program he can use on his home NT machine.) It doesn't have quite the font I wanted (old typewriter style), but it will do for a while. David says he's got those fonts at work, but it's the weekend already.

Some of the major changes I've made include putting links in the side panel. I signed up for a blogrolling account yonks ago, but I've always felt ambivalent about blogrolling. Should I blogroll my friends? Should I blogroll people I enjoy reading, but have never met? Finally, I bit the bullet and just added most of the blogs I read into the "bloggage" section, a mixture of friends, family, and acquaintences. Some of them are people I just like to read. Some I've met or come to know through Orkut, the social networking site through which I also met David. At the end of this month Orkut will be one year old. It's still free, it's still invitation-only, it's still in beta. For all its bugs and annoyances, it has been instrumental to me (and many others) for what it was set up to do: provide a social network. There are other sites, such as Multiply and dotnode, that received a large migration of people who left Orkut because of all its many server problems. I have profiles up in Multiply and dotnode, too (I'm "gailontheweb" there, too), but I use them less frequently. I'm the moderator for the Vancouver community in Orkut, and I'm a member of many other communities, like Hemingway's Code (the community where I first saw David's posts), TV Sucks, iPod, Photo Vancouver, Vancouver Eats, All Things Filipino, and just plain silly ones like What's in Your Fridge? and Awkward Elevator Exchanges. I don't post in them nearly as frequently as before, but I like to pop in from time to time and read.

One site that I went to from Orkut that I use all the time now is I love this site! I recognised the Flickr creators from Orkut, and have seen Flickr grow from a small photo-sharing site to a feature-rich site where the developers are very responsive to user input. I went Pro the day it was offered, and look forward to seeing where they go from here. Because I'm using a Mac full-time, Flickr is the only way I can upload my photos to my blog, so I have a vested interest in seeing them improve, but regardless of which OS I'm using I intend to use Flickr most, if not all the time. One reason why I'm still using Hello by Picasa to upload my older archives on this blog is because I don't want to spend a lot of time uploading older digital photos to Flickr -- I want people to look at newer photos. I bought my first digital camera in the spring of 2002, not long before I started this blog, and I was still learning how to use the camera properly. The photos weren't that bad, but most of them were just quick snaps of the three older munchkins. Using Hello is still quicker for uploading to the blog, since I don't have to title or tag the photo for organisational purposes, which I do in Flickr, since they're under my account. Hello only hosts the photos under Blogger -- I don't have access to them other than clicking to them from my blog. In Flickr, it's about ownership, in Hello, it's about convenience.