Tuesday, November 29, 2005

K2 for Blogger

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Original Design by Michael Heilemann and Chris Davis for WordPress


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Original Design by Lilia Ahner for TypePad


Original Design by Lilia Ahner for TypePad

A Tiny, Subtle Shift

As with anything that you do frequently, patterns emerge. Certain choices become comfortable, unrequired of a second thought. Such is the case for me when choosing colors for the web. There have been certain hex values that I'll gravitate toward: #eee, #ddd, #ccc, #999, in the grey family, for example. I know what each of these will accomplish for me and how they play with each other before a stylesheet is created. I'm sure you have your favorites and old standbys as well. I fall into using and reusing these values because they work like a trusty wrench.

But it's fun to cast those aside (at least temporarily), changing things by an extremely small measure. At times, it can mean all the difference in devising something fresh, new and different.

This happened while working on a recent project. Instead of combining my usual #eee, #ddd, and #ccc, I instead settled on combining #f5f5f5, #e5e5e5, and #d5d5d5. I know, this sounds completely trivial, doesn't it? I mean, the difference is so damn subtle, it's liable to go unnoticed by the average user, not to mention indistinguishable on varying screen types. And on top of that, they're all far from being web-safe hues. But all that aside, for me at that moment, the slightest change made all the difference in making this particular project stand on its own. A temporary step outside the familiar -- even if that step is purely the benefit of me, as the designer.

The main point here being: sometimes a tiny, subtle shift in the way you do things can be all it takes for things to seem new, exciting and right again (perhaps a micro-realignment?). This same philosophy can of course be applied to the non-web world. Just a few hours ago, Kerry and I were tossing around statements like, "we need a new house" or "we need to put on an addition". Later, we started hypothetically shifting furniture around in our minds, and suddenly there was this renewed excitement in making something old, new again. A tiny adjustment that (for the time being anyway) quenches an urge for broad, sweeping changes.

Next week? I'll be back to #eee. Maybe.

BlogSkins Skin of the Year

One of my favorite BlogSkins features, like, ever is the Skins of the Day. So in continuation of that theme, and the fact that we're approaching the end of 2005, I'd like to announce an idea I've been thinking about lately: The BlogSkins Skin of the Year.

Here's how it will work:

Some time after the end of this year, I will open up voting for the best skin submitted during 2005.
I will also use the same algorithm used to pick the Skin of the Day to programmatically pick the best skin of 2005.
Both skins (the users' choice, and the computer's choice) will be given prominent awards on their skin info pages, and the contributing users will receive $50 Amazon gift certificates.
The awards displayed on the skin info pages will be designed by BlogSkins users. I will pick the best one, and the designer of it will also receive a $50 Amazon gift certificate, and a permanent acknowledgement on this site that he/she was the creator.
So, obviously there's some time left before voting begins, so why am I telling you now? The first reason is that I want to give skin contributors time to submit skins before the end of the year. The second reason is that I need designs for the awards. My only criteria for the awards design is that they be clear that they are awards (so, like, trophies or stars or something) and that they look good at large sizes and small sizes (you may design 2 different awards, one big and one small, if you like). Please send all your entries in the awards design contest to blogskinsawards@mylesgrant.com.

Any other questions, please leave them in the comments.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

linus zhu's blog

linus zhu from China recently switched from MSN Spaces to Blogger. Here is his post telling why:

After trying new set of blogging and picture sharing tools, including blogger.com, blogger for word, hello+picasa, flickr. I decided to quit the domain of Microsoft blogging field, follow google for the following reasons:

blogger has more flexible template definition tools, it gives you ability to manage you site appearance in html code level

blogger from word really improve my productivity of blogging, in contract to the old msn space’s online editing or email publishing. Now you can take advantage of word’s powerful editing capability

hello+picasa indeed brings picture uploading and sharing process into a new era, instead of spaces’s loose resolution picture sharing.

xml communication indicates the Web 2.0’s coming, you can use a bunch of tools not matter you are online, or in word, or hello, or any other xml-aware tools

personal belief that google’s fasting growing and effect of rapid evolution process including new technology implementation and fresh tools


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Blogger HOWTO: Syndication

From Girl Interrupted:

So what exactly is syndication? What is this Really Simple Syndication (RSS) I keep hearing about? And how is this useful for my Blog? Whats in it for me?

Well, I'll tell you. Syndication is ... ...(as far as I understand it) a way of letting certain webpages (like Google, for example) and other incomprehensible internet machine thingies (such as information aggregation tools) know when your site (eg, your blog) has been updated. Aggregators (or newsreaders) scan these feeds, and let you know whenever the site has been updated. They're kind of like your own personalised newspaper, with everything you've chosen to read, and none of the crap (unless someone has added AdSense to their feeds, or something).

Read the rest here

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