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blogbeat – what a difference a little usability (and design) could make.

after the great review that BlogBeat received on TechCrunch and given my current addiction to stats (yes, I’m sure it will wear off sooner or later… although Stowe Boyd’s ongoing obsession with his Technorati ranking gives me some concern that things may go from bad to certifiable)… I decided to sign up for a free 30 day trial and see how cool it is. Afterall, there’s a few things that a specialised blog stats package could tell me that I’m not really getting from Analytics, without having to engage the left side of my brain (which I like to do as infrequently as possible).

So, to signing up. Looks simple, then you get started.

BlogBeat signup

a few things:

  1. can someone tell me *why* I have to have six or more characters in my username? its very annoying for people like me who like to have usernames with 5 or 4 characters. Is this an arbitrary number? Do techie people like it for techie reasons? Is it a security thing? Someone enlighten me. At the moment, its just an annoying thing.
  2. RSS or ATOM Url: what? I’m supposed to know that? Off by heart? Admittedly, it didn’t take long to find/work out… perhaps you could put a bit of help in there for those of us who have only been blogging for a month? (or less). We like statistics too, you know. In fact… we might even be your target audience.
  3. Time Zone – I was loving this because I don’t think that Google knows that I’m in Sydney, Australia and not in Mountain View (maybe it does… I can’t tell). So I enthusiastically scanned the dropdown to find the right one for me. Now… call me a doofus but I don’t know how many hours ahead or behind of GMT I am. I did a Google Search. Turns out, I’m GMT + 11hrs at the moment (daylight savings). Return to dropdown. Not an option. They have GMT +12hrs, but that would put me in New Zealand… which is nice for a holiday, but not forever (heh. settle down Kiwis!). Um. Why? I want a Sydney timezone option. And I’m a little miffed that it’s not there right now. What kind of a decision was that?

I haven’t even gotten to putting the code in my blog yet, so I don’t have much of a review for you, except for one screen…

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windows live mail beta: is there something missing?… well, yes.

Windows Mail Live Beta

I don’t really use Hotmail very much anymore, but I do love a Beta test, so of course when they asked me I said that I’d be happy to play with their beta version of Windows Live Mail, the new and improved Hotmail.

Well, yes, it is new and improved.. but then, that’s not saying much is it? Hotmail was an utterly ugly dog of an interface that we only put up with because it was free. And then along came Gmail. Say no more.

Back to the story… some people do still use my hotmail address to send me email, and so it happened that today I went into the new-ish Windows Live Mail to check out and reply to some email. Except, I couldn’t.

I was using Firefox, as I do. And they haven’t enabled ‘Reply’ for Firefox yet.

No, seriously. You can’t reply. Only make new mail and delete it.

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Life.bak (why backing up is v. important)

I had a sleepless night last night after my beautiful new laptop – weeks old – suddenly decided it was incapable of booting last night. After a quick consultation with James it became pretty clear that this was situation serious.

leisa: so, should I be panicking about the back up situation?

james: yep

As I do with most things that concern me but which I can do nothing about at the time, I decided to forget about it as best I could, get some sleep and call a mass gathering of prayer for when I booted up the laptop in the morning.

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For shame Danna Vale

Danna Vale

Now, this is not a political blog, and I hope to rarely mention political issues here, but sometimes a politician behaves in a manner so outrageous that I just can’t help myself. Those of you in Australia who’ve been listening/watching the news this morning will know exactly what I’m talking about. The Hon. Danna Vale MP. (Its beyond ironic to preface her name with Hon. after the way she’s been carrying on).

The background is that our Federal Government is currently debating whether or not the Government (in particular, the Health Minister) should be able to control access to the ‘abortion drug’ RU486 – whether or not the Therapeutic Goods Administration had reviewed and approved use of the drug (which they haven’t even had the opportunity to do at this stage).

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