Do you use the Pidgin instant messaging client (formerly known as Gaim)? If so, don’t you wish you could get back all the old smilies, especially the plethora of animated ones for Yahoo! Messenger (YIM)? Well, you can!
Thanks to Bobby Voicu’s post, How to Use Yahoo and MSN Smilies in Pidgin, I downloaded and installed the Original Yahoo & MSN Emoticons 4 Pidgin from Gnome-Look.org and they’re all in there! After downloading, simply open the Preferences dialog in Pidgin, click on the Smilie Themes tab and drag-and-drop the file into the list. Ah, so nice!
Although not new to writing (I’ve edited, contributed to, co-authored, etc. several published books on hardware, software and multimedia in my days), I am new to blogging. So, how did I choose Blogger as my platform? I actually like the features, flexibility, extensibility and control that’s available by hosting my own installation of WordPress, but the following are the main reasons that I started with Blogger:
- It’s easy to get started: Like LiveJournal and WordPress.com, Blogger is a service so I can just focus on what I want to write, rather than having to worry about the IT issues of running my own installation of blogging software such as WordPress. [Three-way tie]
- It’s free: Yeah, LiveJournal and WordPress (both the hosted WordPress.com and downloaded WordPress) can be used for free although some features cost extra. [Three-way tie, sort of]
- I can use my own domain: This is important so that if I choose to use a different blogging solution later with my domain, everyone will still be able to find my blog and all existing links to my posts will still work. LiveJournal and WordPress.com only allow use of a custom domain if you choose one of their paid subscriptions. Blogger includes this feature for free. Alternatively, you can install the WordPress software on your own server and use your own domain but that requires a web host (i.e., more cost and more things to take care of). [Blogger wins]
- I can have AdSense ads: Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but it would be nice to generate some income to help pay to have my blog on my own hosted site. With LiveJournal and WordPress.com, this just isn’t an option. [Blogger wins]
- Post URLs are SEO-friendly: For better search engine positioning, including words from the post title in the URL is helpful. LiveJournal’s pages use numbered filenames (e.g. exampleblog.livejournal.com/12345.html). [Blogger & WordPress tie]
Thus, from these five criteria, Blogger is ahead by two. Those of you who are more experienced may point out other features that would swing the results differently and I may encounter them as well over time. There’s nothing wrong with that. Different people have different needs. Blogger fulfills my key requirements at this time. Later, my needs will likely change as will the available choices. For now, Blogger leaves me flexibility of choice for when the time for a change arrives.