Thursday, August 18, 2005

First impressions: it's slow

It's slow. It is reeaalllly slow. It's slower than anything I've ever seen from Google. Hang on, did I go to the wrong site? (Clicks 'Help' button in top-right corner, looks for 'About' link, scans page for word 'Google'.) Nope, this is the Google one, alright. Well guys, I hope it was a momentary glitch, cos frankly if it's this slow, I don't think I can bear to finish my self-assigned task of exploring Blogger's capabilities as a blogging tool. You'll be the Hotmail of the blogging world.

Okay, apart from speed, I'm going to explore the basic options and report back. At least, that was the plan. The sheer slowness is making this hard, since I inevitably switch to another task and forget what I was going to say. So far, I haven't actually looked at my own blog, which is a bit like Christmas morning waiting at the top of the stairs, er, only not quite as dramatic as that really. Especially not for a guy who's opened a few websites before. Er, back to the plot...

First impressions: well, the bit I'm looking into right now, looks like the part where you write your email, in a web-based email program. That means, if you can send emails with Hotmail or Yahoo or any of those sort of things, you can get this far. There's a Title Bar (for this one about, I've written, "First impressions: it's slow"), and there's icons for eight different fonts, making my text bold, italics, setting colours, making a link, and so on. Oh, and there's an Add Image icon, which isn't terribly clear (there are tooltips to tell you what each icon does, though.) Images are always a hassle to put on websites, so let's see how Google does...

7 minutes later... tada! Okay, first, that was pretty quick, really. No messing around here, I started the clock and then went to get my camera, find cable, plug things together, download a bunch of pics, choose one that wouldn't actually embarrass (that was the bit that took most of the time, moved onto computer and so on. The Add Image button brings up a pop-up with the most basic types of alignment, and also allows 'small, medium or large' (no super-size). Now in my head I know that the pictures on my camera are "too large" for the web, ie left to themselves they would fill your screen and be really annoying. So the techie in me is asking certain questions at this point, which I shall ignore. Point being, it works. It was easy. And I can even drag the inserted picture around in my editor. (In case you're wondering, that's a photo of a stormy Bangkok moon beside a "ghost building" - an abandoned skyskycraper.)

BUT, inserting the image messed up the rest of my post. All my text was merged into a single paragraph, which in my mind is a seriously annoying mess. Given the size of this post, that's a lot of hunting around to replace them. Another black mark, I'm afraid.

After the Add Image icon, we have the Preview link. Why it isn't an icon like everything else, I don't know, but it works well and is quick. Now, where's the Save as Draft button? Surely they can't have forgotten that again? (It was bizarrely missing from the first beta version of Gmail, which they were admitted was a rather silly omission. In fact no, it's not missing as such... However on my browser, it's not visible unless I pick up my mouse and scroll down the main window, which is a tad annoying. Admittedly, I have a single toolbar installed - the Google search bar! and Firefox tabs. Other than that I believe I have a typical screen size, so this seems like poor design from Google.

In the botton of the main post frame, I can choose to allow the general public to leave comments on my post (surely the whole point of blogging - feel free to add coments to my lonely blog posts), and a 'cheat' function to change the time and date of my post.... presumably so my employer doesn't find out that I wrote all that gossip during working hours. While those are handy options, they don't strike me as the most essential to have around cluttering up the interface. Oh well.

So having typed my first post keeping my family and friends updating, what else do you need to do? Well, beside the Save as Draft button, there's a bright orange Publish Post button. What does this button do?.... aaaaaargh!

P.S. After your post is published (available for the world to see), you're given the option of going to see it yourself, optionally in a separate window.

P.P.S. There are 6 'a's in . Remember, that's 6 'a's, and an r, g and h. Add me to your bookmarks.

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