22 November 2004

On the Edge of Blogger

The last few days I have been trying a couple of Blogger's more exotic options: PCS video posts, voice blogging, on page comments, and expanding posts. I think I've used them enough to make some comments.

PCS video posts: This function is only available to those of us with a Sprint camera phone. Of course, the picture quality is limited by the camera in the phone. Mine is an adequate but not good camera (as you've all seen).

You can send text and voice with the picture. Text worked each time I tried it. Nevertheless, typing on the phone pad does become tiresome. I tried the voice add-on feature and the length is short but adequate. However, I could never get the voice to work. It would record but just didn't travel with the picture.

The reliability of sending the pictures back seemed to vary. Everything which I've sent in the Richmond area has worked but about 1/3 of the time I have had to send it more than once. In Cincinnatti it worked from my hotel but while I was at Paul Brown Stadium I tried to send a picture every time there was a score but only one made it (the one when the Steelers took the final lead).

Voice Blogging: This function works well but it's a little limited. You call a number Blogger presets, sign in, and you can leave a message. It's like leaving voice mail for someone. The post appears on the blog fairly quickly.

The limitations come in two forms. The first is that the number from Blogger is not toll free. It's not the biggest issue in the world if you've got lots of free minutes on your cell phone but, of course, that makes everything sound like it came from a cell phone. The second limitation is that the entry has nothing to identify its content. You cannot text message with it; all that appears is “Play this audio post.” I would really like some way to let people have an inkling of the content.

On Page Comments: As anyone who has looked at a comment lately on this page knows, you can make the comments appear on (and disappear from) the actual blog page rather than redirecting to a page specific to that post. It's a far better way to set up comments, especially if the comments might be directed to two or three interconnected posts on the page. However, even if you choose this function you cannot reset your link format to “anchor” rather than “separate page.” As I'm not a big fan of the “separate page” link format I was hopeful I'd be able to move away from it.

Expanding Posts: I really like this concept. I often have large posts interspersed with shorter ones and think that I should shorten the larger ones.

However, the way Blogger has set this up in order to use the expanding post function you must use it with every post. That just doesn't work well since I often have posts which are too short for this function. If you do not add the language which would cause an expanded post Blogger will add it at the end of the post. It will prompt the reader to read the non-existent remainder of the post. It's annoying and messy (thus you see it not on this site).

And those are the things I've messed with on this site. I don't know that I'll use features 1 & 2 very often and I've already foresworn 4 unless I can figure out how it can be done only on those posts I choose. If I find other cool and interesting things which I test out on the Blog I'll let ya'll know how they work out.

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