Well, not really… I’m just in less of a bad mood with it and have realised that TextPattern really isn’t that great unless you just want a blog and nothing more. And I’m loathed to use Mambo or the like… though I imagine that’s probably largely poor brand perception on my part (having seen the horrible stuff people can create with it). I lump it into the same basket as phpBB and other bloated/insecure/inaccessible crap like that.
It’s probably not really, but I’ll persist in my delusions until forced to learn otherwise (either by myself or others!)
Anyway, syndication services (Atom, RSS) rock my world and should be more broadly used even internally for things that you mightn’t think would require it. This is the conclusion I’ve come to having started putting together a new site (the one based around WordPress I was whining about) for my church and wondering how best to integrate an upcoming events calendar on the front page.
It remains to be seen whether or not I actually do it that way, but it’d be nice if syndication was already so heavily a part of WordPress’ processing that it became a trivial thing to run a parser function on any page. I’m still trying to decide whether to setup custom queries in WordPress to read future-dated posts for events + make them accessible (able to be accessed, that is; not especially applied to broad audiences, assistive technologies, etc.) prior to when they’re scheduled to appear… or whether to simply build my own app on the side that either spits out an include I’ll grab with PHP in my templates — boring — or an Atom feed that WordPress can parse, and lots of non-IE browsers (Well, prior to version 7! Can’t wait!) can do UsefulStuff™ with, and that can integrate into a Dashboard widget for Mac users and a Konfabulator widget for PC users, etc.
Yeah, people mightn’t use it lots but it’s a cool idea ;-) This is what doing one website for a TV network has done to me — it’s all about eye-candy and out-gimmicking the opposition!
Speaking of the Opposition (NineMSN, I guess) and Gimmicks, Windows Messenger 8 Beta looks like it’s shaping up into something I could actually use without complaining too loudly. They’ve pulled off the disposing-of-normal-UI-occasionally thing far better than Windows Media Player ever has, and everything feels as though it gels really nicely.
I’m a little concerned they’re trying to pull users into their own ‘portal’ thing with Spaces and various other Live.com crap, but it’s hardly as if they’re the only ones doing that. It’s ironic that we’re getting into an era of allegedly-more-open citizen-powered media that’s becoming progressively more isolated because of service providers. For example, what the heck do Yahoo! do? I don’t get it. I don’t know anyone that uses their Messenger service, or their blog service (Yeah! They have one! What the heck?! Discovered this last week and was suitably shocked), or their email service. Same goes for AOL (nearly… I know a handful of people that have an AIM account and supposedly use it… but it’s literally a handful, as in I have enough fingers to count all of them, and I don’t know whether they actually use it or not, not having an account myself!). And as for MSN Spaces… hmm. Well, my MSN Spaces page says “This isn’t my real blog, go elsewhere.” I flicked through a couple of other peoples today (Messenger Beta makes that pretty easy, though not significantly any better than the latest stable release) and found more than a few who were uncertain as to whether they should keep their MSN space or just go with Blogger. Every non-geek I know who blogs uses Blogger. More power to Google.
But I’m sure these demographics vary enormously depending on who you know: the point is, I’m not seeing any crossover, which is a little worrying. Of course, I only ever search using Google, so go fire conspiracy theories around all you like… I reckon most blog content on these services isn’t at all compelling, and doesn’t need to be. Blogs are, for the most part, mass-CC:-email substitutes that really shouldn’t be archived… and these easier to use services are probably exacerbating that problem.
I don’t excuse this blog from that entirely, of course, but there’s more than a little bit of content here that draws search engine traffic and is “timeless” in a sense that “my dog ate crayons for breakfast this morning and went to the vet and they said this happens all the time” could never be. But I digress, hugely (a failing of the medium, no doubt!)
So that’s all very interesting. Interested to hear if others know people in multiple “service provider universes” or if everyone’s friends are, for the most part, confined to a particular service (and what that service may be). If you’ve got a blog, this’d be a great time to play pingback/trackback tag instead of just commenting here… I’d love it if this could get a little viral and we could see what platforms people are using and “why”. For me, it’s mostly just that everyone I know is using a particular service. What is it for you?