Sunday, December 28, 2008

Year-end blogging beefs

Don't like year-end lists? Well, here's one that is totally self-indulgent for Canadian bloggers. In no particular order and since the mood struck me...and some other thoughts below...

The beefs:

1. The National Post's "Full Comment" page. What a strange page. Specifically, the idiotic decision to put the author's name in the title of the post and include who "posted" the article directly underneath, leading one to ask, perpetually, huh? Who wrote it? Who cares who posted it unless that person authored the piece? And why do they continue to engage in this lame-brained practice that no other news organization does? Do us a favour, yellow beast, and cease and desist. Use a title of the post and place the author's name underneath. That's all any semi-conscious being needs, thank you...

2. CanWest's article layouts are a continuing annoyance. See here, for example. Hopelessly scrunched to the left with all that white space to the right on your screen just going to waste. Text always too small, always must enlarge. Photo, e-mail, printer links on left interfere with text of article. And try to find a news feed for the main page, good luck on that.

3. Bloggers and news sources that do not time stamp their posts or reports. That just list their items by date. CanWest is again an offender here. How is one to know how long the post has been up? Has it been up for an hour or 18 hours? Two days? Makes a difference in the fast-paced blogosphere, don't ya know.

4. Blogger's spell check is still comically highlighting words like "internet," "bloggers" and "blogosphere," prompting you with an error highlight whenever you use such words. Bloggers? They suggest "loggers," "floggers" and "blockers!" They might want to think about an update to their Blogger spell-check system to account for such strange and foreign word intrusions into the English language. It is their business, after all.

5. Google's French to English translation. Convenient, yes, but an abomination, absolutely. They typically get the masculine and feminine mixed up, for example. Reading the Bernier/Couillard press was a hoot when the two were regularly referred to as "it" as opposed to "he" or "she."

6. Maybe this is just me, but I doubt it. Firefox crashing more than the 2008 stock markets. In the middle of writing a post, that's the best. Disabled ad-block, doesn't matter. Still crashing. At least Blogger saves your post pretty much up to the minute but there are those occasions where it misses a few precious minutes. Doh!

7. The use of that "Snap" technology on blogs to show a pop-up window of a link to another page. Interferes with the ability to see the text of the paragraph you're reading, is often slow to load. What does this feature add, in any event? A micro picture of the site to which you might go that is unreadable anyway?

8. SiteMeter adding those cruise ship/vacation-to-go ads at the top and right of the screen that make the act of perusing one's stats hopelessly slowed down these days. What is it, flash that makes them slow? When a blogger wants to get in and get out to see just when the Privy Council Office has been by, they're making it awfully annoying. Oh, and get ready for this:
We are anxiously looking forward to next year and the opportunity to re-release our new stats tools and reports. We plan to more than redeem ourselves.
Other than the awfully intrusive ads, on the whole I like it just as it is. Let's hope they don't muck it up the way they did in September.

That's it on the beef end. A lot of the above are petty irritations, anyway.

The good:

For the most part, this has been a quite fascinating year to blog within. And rewarding. Thank you to all those who email with their contributions, thoughts, solidarity and good wishes. Here's a passage that kind of sums it up:
Alone in front of a computer, at any moment, are two people: a blogger and a reader. The proximity is palpable, the moment human—whatever authority a blogger has is derived not from the institution he works for but from the humanness he conveys. This is writing with emotion not just under but always breaking through the surface. It renders a writer and a reader not just connected but linked in a visceral, personal way. The only term that really describes this is friendship. And it is a relatively new thing to write for thousands and thousands of friends.