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26 December 2006

Favorites of 2006 Survey, new blogger, and other things....

Recently, I invited readers to complete a survey on their favorite books and blogs of 2006. There is still time if you would like to participate. I am extending the survey deadline until 6 pm Pacific time tomorrow 12/27. I will post the results on Thursday or Friday. Click here to take the survey.

You will not be asked to leave your name when you complete the survey. If you would like to be listed as a participant in the survey, please leave your name & blog url in the comment section.

If you have already completed the survey and left your name in the comments, please verify that your name was not changed to 'Anonymous' when I converted to the new Blogger platform. New comments are working, but I may have lost the link to your blog in the older comments. This happened to several comments on recent posts.


A bit of a rant. Skip this section if you don't want to read my whine.

I'm sure my voice is will hardly raise the din in the criticism of Blogger, but I am extremely disappointed in this upgrade. Blogger offers no assistance, poor help screens, and comments from blogger employees so sarcastic, belittling, and defensive in tone that any Customer Service/Technical Support personnel in any place I have ever worked (and they would be technical support people too) if not fired, at least put on probation. I really don't care to hear that they are overworked. I don't want to be admonished for starting a new thread, cross-posting, or posting in the wrong one without any other comment. I don't want to have to rely on other users in the forums to solve what is a Blogger problem. And I don't want to be told 'it's free', as if that means I should be happy that my blog is messed up, corrupted, or lacks promised functionality. I don't want to be told to 'be patient' when I read of others who have been waiting over a week for Blogger to fix their blog and that I haven't waited long enough. During the upgrade process, Blogger displayed a message indicating that it will be a few minutes, maybe a little longer. My blog disappeared for 9 hours. I don't think that 'a little longer' nor that one shouldn't question whether you've experienced the same thing as others.

But my biggest complaint is that I haven't been told any of these things. These are from the comments in the Blogger Forum. I have yet to receive a reply to any of my requests -- either the initial one after 3 hours of conversion wondering if I would ever get my blog back, or my inquiries regarding the anonymous comments, which, btw, did not apply to only certain users. In fact, I had at least one commenter who posted on the same day on two posts -- one is now anonymous, the other accredited. The Blogger forum suggests (as if this is an answer!) that it is because the user switched from old blogger to new blogger.

OK, rant over.

I have been experimenting with new customizations for my blog. A bit frustrating if you don't use Blogger's pre-defined layouts, but I'm dealing with it. Still trying to figure out a means to include tag links in the sidebar. It appears that this has to be hand-coded if you aren't using Blogger layout widget. I'd like it if they gave the code for doing this without the widget, but I'll wait until they fix some of the other larger problems.

Would be interested to get feedback on the changes I've made. Also, if anyone knows how to turn off the active link in the header on an archive page, I'd appreciate it. I don't like how Blogger is underlining the subtitle on the archive pages and I can't find the place in the html where I can comment this out, or (a possibility) where I am missing/have extra curly brace that is causing blogger ignoring my comment marks around the necessary code.

Wine not whine: Recent books

I received a few books for Christmas and of course I had to jump right in yesterday as time allowed. A Hedonist in the Cellar: Adventures in Wine by Jay McInerney is a collection of columns McInerney has published previously on one of my favorite topics. In the introduction, he writes the following:

I was more comfortable comparing wines to actresses, rock bands, pop stars, painters or automobiles than I was with literal parsing of scents and tastes a la "bouquet of American beauty roses".
I like that approach to wine. While I understand what a connoisseur means when he states that a good Sauvignon Blanc tastes like freshly cut hay or a big Cab is like old leather and spice, I wonder why the novice drinker would willingly want to drink something described as such. Of course, that means more for those of us who have ignored the unapproachable descriptions and discovered how wonderful wine is.

More later on other books I'm currently reading. What books did you give or receive for the holidays?

6 comments:

Carl V. said...

I am sorry for your and other Blogger's troubles. They have certainly made commenting on blogs a frustrating experience!

I like a good wine but actually know nothing about it in an educated fashion. I just know what I like, am open to experiment, and love the romance and history of the vine!

Look forward to reading your survey results!

Carl V. said...

oops, and in answer to your question about book gifts, here is mine:

http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/?p=574

Cam said...

Carl, Wine is a difficult subject to approach because of the misplaced aura surrounding it. It was meant in the past, I think, to be exclusive, snooty, unapproachable. Which makes it still intimidating today.

Knowing what you like is always the best ruler to measure a good wine with. Forget the experts; know what you like & know enough to find something similar if your favorite isn't available.

Maybe I'll do a post soon on wine books I've read that I can recommend.

Imani said...

It is too bad about your Blogger issues. I admit that when I decided to start a blog of my own I avoided Blogger because of all the platforms it seemed to be the most aggravating. *grimace* I'm glad your archives weren't lost though!

I would like to be named as a participant in your blog so: Imani at The Books of My Numberless Dreams.

Your template does seem cleaner to me now for some reason. Brighter? Nicer? It may just be my imagination since I can't quite remember the details of your site in the old Blogger.

For Christmas I received:

The People of Paper - Salvador Plascencia
Carry Me Down - M.J. Hyland
Brothers Karamazaov - Dostoevsky

Dorothy W. said...

I'm looking forward to the results of your survey Cam! I'm someone who participated: http://www.ofbooksandbikes.blogspot.com. I'll post about my new books soon.

chiefbiscuit said...

LOVE the new look! It was great to stop by and catch up on all your posts. I loved the Christmas post about the roller blades ... it's a winner.