Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Periodically I check out new blogging tools; it's also something that we've been exploring at work, and also just something that I have fun with. Brandy had sent me some information about Vox a month or so ago, but I didn't think I was interested, and didn't do anything about it. But over the weekend something made me think of it again, and I played around with it and created a Vox blog. Vox is a free product from Six Apart, who make TypePad and Movable Type, both of which you have to pay to use.

I don't think there's anything wrong with paying to use something like TypePad, but Blogger works just great for me, and it's free, so I don't see any reason at all to change. But I did want to check out Vox, since it was also free, and it's fun.

It's also a little frustrating for me, since I can't get "under the hood," so to speak -- if there's something that isn't working the way I would like it to, I have to work with the provided tools and can't just go in and fix it from the backend, so more than once I've ended up deleting an entry, and re-inputting it in a different way.

For instance, I wanted to indent a paragraph, then decided to unindent it, but in doing that, it obviously added two sets of tags and added a lot of unnecessary space that I couldn't remove without deleting the paragraph and starting again. In the same vein, my designer's eye doesn't like the amount of whitespace that shows up underneath the tarot card picture abpve, but there doesn't seem to be any way to control that.

It also bugs me that while they give you the option of adding books, CDs, and videos from Amazon, they don't (as far as I can tell) give you the option of adding your own code to the link so that you get the commission rather than them, but since my commissions are generally on the order of about $20/year, I guess it doesn't matter. But it still rankles a bit.

But it's colorful, and fun to play around with, and while I didn't think I would like the "question of the day" journal prompts, I kind of do. Not all of them, but some of them, and it's fun to read the variety of responses that other people have written. There are a few little things that bother me, but on the whole I think it's a really fun place to play, and I'll probably keep on updating it, at least for the time being. I'm pretty sure that most people who use it wouldn't find the things I mentioned that confining. And I know that it's also probably true that if they gave people access to customize it, people would screw it up, and they'd have to spend a lot more money and time running tech support, so it's not that it's not understandable.

Since I guess I'm going to keep it, I'm trying to think of a better title for it than "Willa's Blog," but so far I haven't thought of anything better.

Edited to add: Vox is theoretically invitation only right now (it's still in beta), but I have five invitations that I can give away if anyone wants, just let me know.

The Blue Angels were back on Friday; it was about 3:30, I guess, when I heard Jeff say, "I hear jets!" and he and Shane and I (the only ones left at the office that late on a Friday afternoon) rushed out to the back to watch them. Just as we came out the door, four of the jets flew overhead very low in tight formation. What a thrill!

Jeff and Shane went up to the roof, but I stayed on the ground. I stood up on the concrete wall, hanging onto the fence and looking up to the sky, and I felt like a little kid, almost giddy with happiness. I know that I enjoyed that afternoon more than I would have enjoyed the actual airshow -- there was something so cool about it happening in the middle of a normal day, something wild, almost. It's hard to explain, but I was just thrilled. Thinking about it, it reminds me of how I feel when I see the ocean, or how Misty describes herself as being about to "burst from happiness." That's how I felt. And you don't get that feeling very often.

Something else that's been making me happy lately is watching movies on the laptop. It becomes, for me, a . . . more intimate experience, I guess. I put a DVD in, and make it into a smaller window, and I can still keep doing other things like checking email, etc., but there's this entertainment going on as well. I'm actually not sure why I enjoy it so much, but I do. This weekend I watched Pow Wow Highway and Grosse Pointe Blank, one of my very favorite movies.

I also discovered that ABC Family broadcasts a few of their shows on the web, and now every Monday night I watch Three Moons Over Milford, after it's aired on television on Sunday night. Yeah, obviously I could watch it on Sunday on the television, but I think it's cool to sit in my chair in the corner and watch it on the laptop. It's fun, and something I look forward to, and I don't have to worry about being in front of the television at a particular time.

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Judy said...

i do most of my bloggin on livejournal these days, but have been playing with vox for a few weekd as well - and have ended up mostly using it for answering question of the day and pictures... so far i like how it workd but i think i'kk keep using livejournal for most of my posting. i'll add your vox blog to my bloglines list too though! :) - judy

Janet said...

I don't know who the heck was here last week -- we usually have Fleet Week here in the Bay Area in September, though we HAVE NO FLEET ANYMORE (?) -- but I work just next to the Oakland Airport runways and since the closure of the Alameda Naval Air Station, the Blue Angels, etc., take off from there. It was pretty amazing. And loud.

Liora said...

Not being able to mess with the code would bother me. Being from Typepad, I'm surprised there's no way to edit who the amazon referral goes to. When I used Typepad, someplace in the control panel or options was a way to change that.

I really like Wordpress. If you ever get sick of blogger, you should check it out. It's feature rich and fun and easy to change things around.

Willa said...

Yeah, I looked everywhere for a way to change the Amazon link, and didn't find it. Hopefully that's something they will be adding in a future release. I'm going to send in a feedback comment about it.