Decisions, Decisions…

As if we don’t have enough to decide or worry about, it’s always something new. So I’m faced with a decision…

What is it, you may ask?

Is it who I’m going to vote for in the primaries and general election? Will it be Queen Hillary, Breck Edwards, Baba Obama, Tepid Thompson, Grinning Guiliani, or Ramrod Romney? I’m not telling, but it won’t be a Democratic candidate…

Is it going to be on an issue such as immigration reform, universal health care, Union activities, or defending my Constitutional Rights? Well, sorta, but not quite.

I’m thinking about moving this blog to another service such as WordPress.com.

Don’t get me wrong!! Blogger has been a great service for this exercise in free speech. But I’m always looking for something better, or maybe just different.

Blogger does have some good things going for it. Custom templates for one. As many of you know, this blog template has been tweaked, stretched, and dinked with for as long as this blog has been in existence. HaloScan adds trackbacks and well as a host of commenting & editing features. StatCounter adds loads of statistical information on who and where the hits to the blog are coming from. Adding the JavaScript coding for the neat scrollers and graphics makes this site unique from all the others out in bloggerland.

But there are some downsides. Currently, there is no way to back up your posts, so unless you keep copies of your posts somewhere, you could lose all of your work if Google/Blogger takes an unrecoverable dump without a way to restore the posts. With HaloScan, you do need a premium account to have the capability of exporting your blog’s comments, so that is an option. But if you don’t have posts to link the comments to, you’re hosed anyway.

Another downside is that I like to write my posts offline and then upload them using Microsoft’s Live Writer Beta. Even though it is made by Microsoft, it does a pretty decent job. The part about using this editor is that it will not allow me to add tags or categories to the posts that I’m writing. After submitting the post to be published, I then need to log into Blogger, access the posts editor, and then select the post just published and select the tags for that post. Just a bit cumbersome for my taste…

Last, to view all of this wonderful information from StatCounter and HaloScan requires that I log into each service separately. Yes, maybe I’m nitpicking somewhat, especially for what I’m getting for free, but I still need to see what’s out there and may offer something better for the long run.

WordPress.com addresses some of the above, but at a price. There are a number of standard templates to choose from with limited options for customization. Gone will be HaloScan and StatCounter as well as any Javascript scripts as the standard (free) part of the site will not allow this type of custom code. WordPress.com does not offer the functionality of StatCounter’s statistical functions and hit tracking.

On the plus side, posting with tags & categories is handled very well by Live Writer as well as other offline editors. Posts and comments can be exported to a XML file for importation into another WordPress blog, whether it is another one on WordPress.com or your own private website/blog (which is a long-term goal of mine). There is even the option of importing Blogger posts and comments (not HaloScan, though) into WordPress.com, although there are some application notes for importing HaloScan comments back into Blogger and then importing everything into WordPress.

So it comes down to a couple of questions: Is WordPress worth moving to? And if it is, is it worth importing this site’s posts to the new one and either manually or automatically moving the comments, or just start fresh?

More importantly, is it content that you are looking for, or the presentation, and will you link to the new site? (Personally, I think it’s the content that’s important, but that’s me…)

Revised Plans…

Well, I guess everyone’s plans change.  Mine are.

On the good side, it looks like Christmas came early to the house.  Just finished wiring & hooking up a broadband connection to the house.  And it is nice and fast!  Better than dial-up any day.  Reasonable too – special through the cable TV company.

On the bad side, any of you looking at the Index will find that it’s out of date.  With the recent sickness in the house and yours truly playing nurse (no catcalls out there!), plans for getting much of anything done in the way of blogging & updates went way by the wayside.

Trying to figure out how to modify this template to work with Blogger Beta is just not worth it.  I’ll probably change this template to one of the canned ones & work from there.  Not happy about it – put in a lot of work on the template, but the new ones definitely have some advantages.  Just need some time to do it, and make sure Haloscan works with the new template.

Changing to a new blog hosting site probably isn’t worth it either.  Awardspace may be a free server, but hosting a blog is not good on that site.  All that needs to happen is for the database portion of the server to get overloaded, and poof!! no blog.  The web portion of the server is OK though, and haven’t had any problems there.  So if any of you want to play around with making up your own pages on a free server would work.  Besides, most of you are tied into Blogger anyway, and I’ve found a decent offline editor for Blogger, so I’ll probably be sticking with Blogger.

So if there are changes to the site, don’t panic!  It’s just another work in progress.

Blogger Beta Woes

Have you ever thought that you were making things better and then find out that all you did was shoot yourself in the foot? Yep, I did that here on this blog…

Blogger Beta is supposed to be better in the long run, but that’s to be seen. Yes, it lets you have “labels” for you to search & categorize your posts for easier searching (for you & me), but I’ve discovered a few “uh-oh”s along the way.

For those of you who use Haloscan & like the feature that Haloscan has of noting which comment goes with which post by title, that feature will not work when you’ve changed to Blogger Beta (BB). That’s because that BB uses a Google account password, and it just can’t navigate through to the blog’s postings. I’m sure someone will eventually figure out how to wade through it, but it’s a pain for the moment.

Another item that bugs me that’s related to the above is being able to write posts offline & post them from an editor such as w.Blogger. Again, the Google account blocks that as well. Sure, I can write stuff, log into BB, and post it using the editor, but that’s just a pain. And emailing posts is not really an option – the posts could take up to a day to show up. Frustrating, it is…

I’m sure that someone way smarter than me will be able to figure this out, but I’m really starting to look seriously about moving Tom’s Common Sense to another system. Unfortunately, I probably won’t be able to export the posts to another location because Blogger doesn’t have an export function, nor with the Google account stuff in place, the usual export/import functions in systems like WordPress will not work.

Of course, this was all done to increase security of the system, and improve it. And by the way, the Blogger accounts will eventually be moved to using Google accounts. In the meantime, I’m just a little upset. Oh well…

130 Posts & A Year Later…

Yes, this is the 130th post of Tom’s Common Sense, and exactly one year after the first post. It’s been an interesting ride.

I originally wanted to post about my concerns with the business situation at Delphi, but soon was drawn into other subjects – politics, social issues, humor, Iraq, terrorism, and others. Some things have stayed the same, others have changed.

Also, not being content with the standard Blogger templates, the look of Tom’s Common Sense has changed several times, and an index of past posts by subject was created to allow you, the reader, to see what I’ve had to say about various subjects. Hopefully, this has helped some of you, although this might change in the future. Blogger’s Beta looks promising in allowing each post to have a subject, similer to WordPress and others. If anyone has switched over to the new Blogger Beta, please let me know what you think of it.

Other improvements to the template most commented on have been the Points to Ponder as well as the Notable Posts. I’m looking at changing these slightly as it requires that I modify the template each time these need to be changed. And that’s a pain at times.

The biggest change is that I’m having problems visiting everyone else’s blogs – life is busy between job & family. I’m not on the road as much, and this has reduced the time that I once had (I would write posts and visit everyone else’s blogs instead of watching TV). Hopefully, I will touch base with everyone once in a while, and I thank everyone for visiting this blog. Your comments and support have been overwhelming.

Last, I would like you, the reader, to tell me what you like or dislike about this blog. Subjects, look of the blog, or what you would like to read about. Any additional Points to Ponder that you would like to contribute and what your favorites are. Same goes for the posts that would appear in the Notable Posts. Operators are not standing by, but the comment section and email address are open for your comments.

Again, Thank You Everyone!

Fixed, But More to Come

Well, got through the posts, so if I missed something somewhere, please let me know.

And while I was in here, I thought (in typical engineer fashion), let’s change the look again. So, I did.

Hope everyone likes the reformatting of the blog, and there will be some more changes soon. Looking at installing Haloscan soon. A few of you have gotten me convinced that this would be a good thing.

Have a great weekend.