The funny thing about the 'blog fad is, just when it seems to become trite, someone figures out a new service to debut. We now have two new ones.
Just about everyone has heard of Vox, the New Thing by SixApart. It's free but you can't just walk in and get you some; you have to get invited. Unlike Gmail, which you had to beg, borrow, Google, or bid up on eBay to get an invite, though, you can sign up for one on thier home page.
I've heard that some people are selling or auctioning off Vox invites. At the time of my posting I had five available; following up on another post will get you one, until I run out of that five.
In general, after looking through Vox, as it stands now, it's a blog service for the casual blog user, the kind who wants to share pictures and stuff with friends and family, and doesn't care much for blogrolls, or link lists, or getting thier hands dirty customizing the HTML in the template. There is customization options available, but how to contribute your own–or if they ever will allow you to do so–is far from obvious, if not completely unimplemented.
They do have a nice selection of templates with some quite attractive designs, but no apparentl way to customize your own past some preset options for the sidebars, and I couldn't find a way to get to the HTML to edit it, like you can with Blogger. If eventually having to settle for a 'blog that looks like a lot of other people's isn't for you, you might not like it much.
Vox does, however, excel in the way you can upload and share things. The interface for uploading is very cool and intuitive, and includes options for photos, sounds, movies, file collections, and even simplifies embedding links to books from Amazon...or wherever. It's very slick there. It is, though, slow-loading for those of me with dialup connections; if youu have one too, you might find the page load time irritating.
The other new service is really an old one. Blogger beta is here and in the process of being implemented in a public test phase occurring right now. Just like Blogger regular, Blogger beta is free for the asking; you do have to get a Blogger or Google account.
From what I've seen of it, Blogger beta is headed for a very slick implementation. There are new dynamic configuration features that have to do with blog appearance that include live previews. There is a new field that allows you to put what they call "labels" on your posts, which allow posters blog categories like other blog services provide. Uploading is a lot more slick, and there looks to be more sophisticated photo handling–even the ability to delete photos and pictures you've already uploaded.
The version of Minima Black that I used while playing around on Blogger beta used disclosure triangles to hide and show the archive list. Atom feeds are now avalable directly from the post, rather than you having to hack your template to install RSS links, as well as subscribing to post comments.
I'm sure I'm leaving stuff out, but it's starting to look pretty exciting. Blogger beta, being in a test phase, does not yet allow template editing, but that is apparently in the working.
It really does look like Blogger is going to take a good thing and make it better. Sa-weet!
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