Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tips for Google and Blogger, plus Two "Ultimate" Wallpapers

Google: Power to the People

Matt Cutts recently posted some thoughts about how good Web 2.0 folks should allow users of the service access to their data: Not trapping users’ data = GOOD

Basically what he is getting at is that many Web 2.0 depend on users and their data to work well. A good Web 2.0 model would allow users to take their data/content and move it elsewhere, instead of hoarding it to themselves and making it difficult for users to port it; to their local pc, to another web service, to a mobile device, etc.

Then he looked at Google and all the ways they let users of their services get to their data. Besides being a great exercise, it is a useful reference on exporting your Google stuff.

Gmail: -- POP access via other email clients.

Search -- you can retrieve your search history (assuming you search while logged in with your Google account), and even export it via RSS feed.

Google Docs and Spreadsheets allow multiple format exports...

Google Calendar,

Google Talk,

Google Reader (via OPML format)

Blogger (via FTP or SFTP and blog backup)

Google AdWords via AdWords Editor.

Google Groups, covered via CSV file export of the members list.

Create and manage a custom Google Search Engine.

Then there are all the goodies in Google Analytics ripe for download and analysis.

And finally the Google Webmaster Tools.


Picture this Blogger Fan

While Google has been updating and making some news with the New Blogger system, they have been doing some work on the Blogger picture hosting end as well.

According to this old Blogger FAQ, the limit for picture uploads (hosted on Blogger servers) was set at 300 MB. I never got close to hitting that ceiling, but it worried me as I could never figure out how you could tell just where you were at towards that limit.

Now comes news: Blogger and Picasa Web Albums

Blogger has been working to convert their Blogger hosted images over into their Picasa Web Albums.

All Blogger photos uploaded to Blogger since December 2006 have been converted over. Older posted photos are expected to eventually be migrated over.

Why is this cool?

Well, now each Blogger's blog now has its own photo album..along with a photo management interface.

"All Things Blogger" Sensei Phydeaux3 shares some screen-shots on how the Blogger Picasa accounts look. Phydeau3 also passes on some some analysis and dead-helpful tips about how URL linking is working with the Blogger system. All Bloggers would do well to check out his post. More Blogger Photo Integration with Picasa

But more exciting than that...now Blogger posted photo's fall under the 1GB free size quota.


And if for some reason you run out....you can upgrade to a paid account with more space.


So About those Blog Photos...

Phillip Lenssen over on Google Blogoscoped had a great post on Tips for Using Images in Blogs.

Some of the better ones

  • Use Flickr’s Creative Commons search to find photos.
  • Use larger zoom images for those images that people may want to get a close-up of, but don’t necessarily use the exact same image.
  • Think of the future – you’re creating an archive.
  • Provide enough context in your photo (but not more).
  • Use iconic images.
  • Use the right compression.
  • You don’t need to be an artist: the spirit counts.
  • Don’t hotlink images from other servers.
  • Use a white background, or use another color at your own risk.

In total all 15 tips are well detailed and worth the read for new and seasoned bloggers alike.

Rippin' Good Google Images

Here's a neat "hack" tip from the Download Squad gurus: Google Image Ripper: we don't need no stinkin' thumbnails

The Google Image Ripper website servers up Google images without the Google fluff and seas of thumbnails.

Enter an image search term, pick a image size, and let her rip!

Bonus--Beautiful Vista Ultimate Wallpapers

Well worth checking these out if you are a Vista fan.

Windows Vista Ultimate: Ultimate Downloads - Two different cool wallpapers from Microsoft: a Strands image and a Start image. All are downloadable in various aspect ratio formats.

I prefer the Strands images myself. Nice and dark with a slash of color.

But the backlit Start Orb image is cool as well...kinda has an eclipse look to it.

Then Windows watcher Long Zheng over at his istartedsomething blog posted Windows Vista Ultimate wallpapers remixed. Basically he did some l33t image cleanup on both of them and they look even better and now are sans the "Ultimate" branding. The background is darker and the "strands" are colored enhanced and almost glow.

I think they look especially good with the Zune Desktop theme from Microsoft.



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