Wednesday, 8 June 2011

State of the Blog: template, auto pagination, OWF & TV Calendar

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Before we start, let me just say that I'm going to be very busy with "real world" matters today, so updates will be affected—beyond this post, of course. Anyway... the eagle-eyed may have noticed a few more blog improvements, courtesy of Alan Woodward, who's been tinkering away and doing a brilliant job tightening DMD's aesthetic and ironing out some kinks.

The latest changes:

  • The blue Facebook "like box" beneath blog titles when you open individual pages has been erased. This always looked like a waste of space and a redundant feature, so now each post's header image is tucked directly under the title—conserving space.
  • The floating social button bar (to the left of what you're reading right now) has been updated. You can now 'Google +1' a post you like, and send a link through to a Tumblr. This is in addition to the existing social networking buttons: Facebook "shares", Twitter "re-tweets" and StumbleUpon.
  • Every post on the main page has a time-stamp, not just the latest post of each day! Also, individual posts have a time-stamp under the title!
  • Next to the time-stamp on each individual post, there are now Labels—so you can quickly navigate through to other posts without relying so much on the Label Cloud and "In Review" boxes.
You may also have noticed that DMD's front page now only displays 9 blog posts, instead of the usual 15. This is apparently auto pagination that Blogger's been rolling out since 2010—which means they're trying to boost the load times of blogs by forcing bloggers to show less content on their main pages. I have no idea why they've decided to limit me to 9 posts (is it calculated by filesizes?), but there you have it! It's also strange that it's taken over a year for this initiative to affect DMD, but there you have it!

Oh, and it also makes no sense that Blogger have this kind of control, as it should be down to authors to decide how their blog looks! I'm very upset about this uncalled for interference. I hope this isn't the start of Blogger imposing further "rules" on their customers.

It's particularly annoying because I've had to delete a few widgets from my sidebar, to ensure the sidebar's the same length as the reduced length blogging column. This includes my Twitter window and an advert box. How ridiculous that Blogger are even making me cut my own revenue stream because of this! How unfair is that?! I may have to rethink my "In Review" box, by shrinking the graphics there, so I have room for more important things.

Hopefully you visit DMD daily, so the above won't really matter, because you're always aware what the latest blog updates are. But if not, I encourage you to check out the "older pages" and archive, as posts will drop off the main page much quicker now (3-4 days).

I've stepped down from writing for Obsessed With Film, for the time being. It's an amicable "separation", purely because of financial reasons, so maybe I'll return at some point in the future. But in the meantime, all reviews of TV premieres will no longer be exclusive to OWF and will instead be posted at DMD once more.

Finally, to answer a long-standing argument, some people seem to think my TV Calendar should be organized according to premiere date (chronologically), not show title (alphabetically). I disagree, because I think people want to know when a TV show returns, not what's on in any given month.

But what do YOU think? Vote in the poll below to have your say. I promise to obey the result. It closes on 10 June @5PM GMT.

P.S: I'm actually very busy today with "the real world", so there won't be further updates until later on Thursday. I have Primeval and The Killing reviews lined up, and MTV's Teen Wolf perhaps following on Friday.