Sunday, January 14, 2007

(Just Like) Starting Over

Now I'm likely to have the Lennon song stuck in my head for the next day or two.

You've probably noticed that the Outpost looks a bit different. Actually it's gone through a flurry of changes over the past eight hours or so. I upgraded to the new version of Blogger, the one that came out of Beta recently; and somewhat rashly upgraded the template so I could use the new customizing features. Ever since then I've been trying to get back some features I wanted to keep from the old template, with only limited success. Yes, I can go back to the original template,(and have already done so once), but I want this new version to work, darn it!

Problems I've had so far:
  1. It took Blogger about twenty minutes to convert my blogs. No big deal.
  2. As the originator of the Round Robin blog, I couldn't upgrade my other blogs without changing over the team blog as well. This means that Steven and Carly and I can only post to the Round Robin Photo Challenges now using the new version.
  3. This is the big one: there is no provision in the new drop-and-drag, modular settings controls for setting background colors and images. I went through three or four templates and hours of experimenting to get the sky background on the edges, the wood pattern on the header and the "sky_blue" one on the sidebars and so on. I still don't know how to make the footer work right, or the bottom of the sidebar, which used to end after the buttons, and let the background image show below it. I have no clue how to get it to do that again. And oh, joy. Apparently I've given ordered lists like this one a sky background as well.
  4. Similarly, I can't get a line of text to display in the footer. I can only get it into the wrapper below the footer.
  5. If I add a photo element, Blogger doesn't recognize the web address of a jpg as a valid image source, and gives me an error message. I had to upload the Robin all over again.
  6. When it converts the old template to the modular one, it just leaves out anything it doesn't understand, which is to say anything that doesn't fit its canned definitions of different page elements. So the list of Robins was gone because it began with an image. It took me probably an hour to get the list back in, because I had to past in all those links and descriptions individually. The Frappr, Technorati, hit counter, and other third party widgets were also gone, but I was able to restore them with an add element that's specifically for that sort of thing.
  7. Similarly, at one point I had two of each of such headings as "Some Favorites" and "Please blog more." I deleted the dupes, only to discover that I saved headings and accidentally deleted actual lists of links.
  8. In restoring my link lists I discovered that if I don't let it alphabetize, it puts the newest links on top. To get things in the same order requires entering everything from bottom to top.
  9. I couldn't make my flag fit in the header properly. I had to shrink it, which is probably for the best anyway.
  10. The poem at the top absolutely won't recognize any line breaks unless I use a "pre" tag.
Overall, I'm not impressed. Yes, there's a handy place for tags (except that Blogger calls them "labels") but that seems to be the main advantage so far. For all the really critical customizations, there's no way to do what I want except to experiment with css styles, which are extremely confusing to me.

And it occurs to me that this is just another example of the way the year is going so far, with lots of hopes and promises but little actual movement in the right direction. It's like a giant reset button has been pushed on my life, and not in a good way. The only New Year's resolution I've carried out so far was writing to Tor, and despite that and other developments nothing has really changed on that front. I'm just settling down to wait again, just like before. I haven't been to the gym, I haven't cleaned the house, and I haven't gotten more sleep. If and when I work on carrying out any of these reforms, it truly will be starting over . Like designing this blog.



DesLily said...

I'm sticking with my old version.. if they INSIST everyone change I'll drop it and keep my aol mirrored journal...

I'm not against "upgrading".. it's simply I have more then I use on the old version, so why do I need MORE stuff NOT to use?..(and, I don't want a Google Account)

julie said...

It's looking good, if that's any consolation. I'm thinking about some changes to my journal - mostly technical, but it's always a pain.

Shelly said...

A few things. I've been on beta, now New Blogger since August. I love it. When you upgrade your template, it strips out all customizations, not things it doesn't recognize. It reverts to a pristine template for you to customize. If you have a backup of your template, you can easily copy code for counters and such back in. I don't understand your problem with your footer.

I can't tell you how pleased I am with no more republishing. I lost parts of my template half the times I made customizations on old Blogger.

Deslily, you will be required to convert to New Blogger soon. Old Blogger is due to be shut down soon, due to its increasing instability.

Karen, the place looks good. I like how the backgrounds came out. You can also add things in between the widgets. I've hard coded navbars under my headers. You can also add header widgets by recoding the header widget in the html, which is now xhtml. Also, Stephen is doing amazing things with his test photoblog so you might want to ask him how to do stuff. I've discussed some things at The View from Here dating back to August when I created that blog on beta.

Trust me. The instant publishing of New Blogger is well worth it.

DesLily said...

Bummer.. sorry to hear old blogger is shutting down.. not really fair to "delete" ones blog like that.. oh well, I'm glad I keep a mirrored one on aol.. least I'll have that.. until aol folds.

i can't understand "instability" with the old blog.. I've never had a problem since I've had it... oh well. it was nice while it lasted.

I'd look for a new place to blog but I'm not about to transfer 505 posts!!

DesLily said...

I've been talking to Shelly from your comment above and I don't know what i will do yet. My choices are.. delete my posts from blogspot and stay on aol. Start another blog at WordPress (which says it can move all my posts over to them from blogspot) OR delete my blog and start reading more books and stop blogging... I will think of these choices for a few days before I do anything because I'm upset at the moment lol.. can you tell? lol