Moving to another Blog – clear.bluedei.com!!!

Just a reminder that I’m now only posting new posts on my blog: Clear Blue Dei.  Please come visit me there!

~Susan Mellott

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WordPress.com isn’t working for me (see why) so I’m moving to Clear.bluedei.com!

Hi! During the course of testing many different blog engines, I ended up with 3 different ones that all had the same posts. Now I am trying to consolidate so I am moving to new blog at Clear.bluedei.com. I just finished a 3-part series on which blog engine I liked the best. You can see the third and final post at my Clear Bluedei blog, (along with some new, fun posts). Clear Blue Dei has all the posts on this blog and will have all new posts from now on.

The results were that I liked Google Blogger best for ease of use, functionality and for when you don’t have your own web host that you can install your blog on. And if you have your own web host and are technically inclined and enjoy playing around with ftp and html and unix and all, I like wordpress.org using your own self-hosted blog for the greatest functionality and control.

So I have set up my own wordpress.org blog on my domain clear.bluedei.com and I plan to consolidate my blogs into one and it will be that one. Both other blogs (this one and alongthepathto20.blogspot.com) will still be there along with all the posts to date, but only clear.bluedei.com will contain new posts. Actually, I will most likely set up another blog so I can separate my personal and/or fun posts from my Web 2.0 posts since it makes more sense to separate them.

I’d love to use this blog for my personal blog but since it is called allthingsweb20, it doesn’t work well for a personal blog. And unfortunately, wordpress.com charges $10 / year (I think that is the charge, it was hard to figure out and they call it 10 ‘credits’ a year) to redirect a blog to your own domain. Which would seriously pain me to pay since most all other blog engines allow you to redirect for free. And the only reason to use this blog would be because there are old links pointing to the posts and it has a higher technorati rating. But WordPress.com doesn’t make it easy to understand all the nuances of redirecting. Here is a description from their blog. Ok, now do you understand? I don’t and I had no trouble whatsoever redirecting my Google Blogger blog.

Actually, I don’t care for the whole pricing structure at wordpress.com period. Here are some of the other charges for ‘extras’:

Custom CSS – 15 credits per year ($0.04/day)

Unlimited Private Users – 30 credits per year ($0.08/day)

1 GB space upgrade (add to upload directory) 20 credits per year ($0.05/day)

5 GB space upgrade (add to upload directory) 50 credits per year ($0.14/day)

10 GB space upgrade (add to upload directory) 90 credits per year ($0.25/day)

(not to mention their VIP Hosting Service that costs $600 to setup and $300/month hosting fee)

So please go to my clear.bluedei.com blog for my new posts. I will keep this blog with all the posts thus far, but from now on will be posting only on my main blog unless I find some way to use this one again and/or set up a new personal blog.

Thank you for visiting and please come check out my All Things Web 2.0 blog at clear.bluedei.com.

~Susan Mellott

Derren Brown – Master of Mind Control

Have you heard of Derren Brown? He is an English Psychological Illusionist and skeptic of Paranormal Phenomenon. He has had a TV show on Channel 4 (British Public Service Television) since 2000. On July 26, 2007, the US based Sci Fi Channel began showing six one hour episodes of a series titled Mind Control with Derren Brown.

I had heard of him before from a discussion regarding NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) on an international Aikido list I belong to.

An important assumption of NLP is that emotion, thought and behavior consists of, and is influenced by, how the sensory-specific modalities (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, gustatory) are organized and give rise to consciousness.[1] Further, the mode and limits to the underlying mental representations is revealed by unconscious choice of words, sensory-specific predicates (eg. visual language) and non-verbal cues (such as intonation; gesture; posture; facial expression and eye movements).

In the course of this discussion, Derren Brown came up, along with a link to YouTube video of his called Derren Brown NLP. Here is that video:

This video just blew me away. I started looking into NLP (although not as much as I want to, it is on my “to-do” list). But especially, I started looking for more Derren Brown information and videos. My first place to look was the wikipedia entry for Derren Brown. And of course, I also looked on YouTube and found a very large number of clips from his TV show and specials.

Go browse those YouTube videos. I guarantee you will be astonished and amazed. And what is particularly interesting is that he frequently goes back and re-shows the clip, explaining what he did. And sometimes you wonder how you could have missed it and every time, you wonder how he did it.

A couple of nights ago, the SciFi channel broadcast of Mind Control was on and my husband got to see it. There was a chess challenge between him and 9 extremely good chess players (champions to Grand Masters). His challenge was to win against the group challenge, playing each player individually. And he did. And then he explained it and it was an amazing “outside the 9 dots” solution which made perfect sense (although I’d challenge anyone else to be able to do it). Of course, he didn’t explain the number he had written beforehand. But I’m sure it would be logical. Here is the YouTube video of this.

Here is a list of great books on NLP on Amazon that also reference Derren Brown. I have several saved off in a wish list that someday I hope to read.

(I’m going through a transition now from buying books to getting books from the library and it is taking a little adjustment. It is so easy to find and save books in Amazon (or any online seller) and then just order them. But I retired and am more careful with my money now!)

Anyway, at least take a look at the YouTube videos. It will amaze, amuse and astound you.

~Susan Mellott

Google Blogger vs. WordPress, Blog Wars Part 3: The Others

This is the final post in this series. In Part One I created blogs in each of the various blog engines. Part Two then reviewed the 3 major blog engines, Google Blogger, WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

I’ve decided to make my primary blog my own hosted WordPress from WordPress.org on my own domain Clear.Bluedei.com. You will notice however, that it is not as full-featured yet and my WordPress.com blog Allthingsweb20.wordpress.com or my Google Blogger blog, alongthepathto20.blogspot.com. That is because when you host your own WordPress blog, you have to set up everything yourself, it comes very vanilla. This allows you add all kinds of plugins and really customize it, but it takes time and is not as quick to get up and running with all the bells and whistles. Blogger really shines at being quick to get up and running with lots of add-ons that are easy to setup. Even WordPress.com, while limited in what it can do compared to the others, will let you create a very nice and full-featured blog quickly. But for me, the ability to host and completely control my own blog and to customize it however I want, makes it worth the extra time it takes to get it looking as good and as full-featured as the others.

(NOTE: We went with Inmotion Hosting for our web host and you can read my post about choosing this host service here. In retrospect, I would have chosen Blue Host instead. I did not find them until too late. I may still switch although it will cost me and will be a hassle to lose everything. But twice so far I have lost some or all of a post I was was trying to create because I could not temporarily connect to my site (or to inmotionhosting.com either). Just now this happened again. It doesn’t go down for long, say 5-10 minutes. But I also haven’t done a blog post for at least a week and it happened just as I was trying to write this post so I really don’t know the extent of the problem. But I have concerns with its reliability when I am trying to write a post and I work hard enough to write my posts, I don’t need to be afraid of losing them and/or having to wait and worry about it until my site comes back.)

In this post, I will review the other, less well-known blog engines. While I recommend using either Google Blogger or WordPress, I think it is useful to have an idea about each of these others. You can see an example of each in Part One of this series.

One of the other players in the blog engine wars is Six Apart. They have a number of different blog engines available: Vox, LiveJournal, TypePad and MovableType. These are listed in order from their lowest to highest end blogs. I looked only at the 2 free blogs which were Vox and LiveJournal.

Both TypePad and MovableType have monthly charges and although they say they have a 14 day free trial you have to actually choose a plan as if you were signing up for it and give your credit card information and then cancel it within the 14 days. I wasn’t about to do that so I will just give you an idea of what they have and you can go to the sixapart site if you want to know more. Personally, I would never pay the prices they are asking for a blog engine with so many good, free ones available. As an example, Typepad, which they call The choice for professional bloggers, costs anywhere between $.95 and $89.95 per month (4.95, 8.95, 14.95, 29.95, 89.95 / mo with 15% off annual subscription). The lowest cost blog has no domain mapping, full html , custom css. This is less than you would get with Google Blogger for free. I did not even look at MovableType which they call the The best choice for business blogging.

So that left me with Vox (Personal blogging taken to the next level) and LiveJournal (A diverse community of independent bloggers). Here are my impressions of these. Again, you can see my working blogs by following the links in my Part One post.

Vox:

  • can import posts from other blogs (but only 1 month it appears)
  • looks childish
  • has neighborhoods and groups
  • can easily add video and book lists
  • can add widgets
  • can add friends
  • Seems more like a mix of MySpace and a blog

LiveJournal:

  • has ads for plus free version
  • can add friends
  • no import of posts?
  • wants to use photobucket for pics
  • slow processing
  • can set ‘mood’ of post
  • very MySpace-ish
  • WAY too many advertisements and you can’t control them

My view of SixApart blog engines are that they are just trying to make money from them and I would not be interested in their blogs, although I do know a few people who use LiveJournal and TypePad.

InstantSpot is a blog engine that almost didn’t make it into my testing because I had not heard of it and only found out about it right at the end. But I was impressed enough by it that I wanted to include it. Here is my instant spot blog. I didn’t do much to it but from looking around at other instant spot blogs, they look to be highly customizable, almost to the point of looking like a CMS (content management system). And it clearly seems to be geared toward tracking, marketing and promoting your site.

Instant Spot:

  • can edit .css
  • allows google adsense (just click in ad manager)
  • tracking script manager works with trackers like g analy, feedburner, etc
  • host header mgmt allows redirecting to a host domain name
  • definitely looks geared towards tracking, marketing and promoting
  • has large set of social networking icons (like digg, etc) at bottom of each post (many of which I have never heard)
  • tag line is “Get spotted now!
  • seems to be highly customizable judging by looking at other instant spot blogs. Not sure how though.
  • has ads on page

Instant Spot was the only other blog engine that looked intriguing to me. I could see it being useful for people who are selling or promoting something and who want a very nice looking site (not sure of the effort involved though) and who want to be able to market, track and promote their site. If you had a club or small business, this seems like a good site. We teach Aikido and I could see easily setting up a website for our Aikido club on this. Here is an instant spot site that is for a fitness class that is not fancy and was probably easy to set up, but is a decent site for their classes. (I don’t know or endorse these people, just thought it was a good example of a not-too-fancy, easy to set up, useful site). And here is a really nice looking blog. Instant Spot seems to have some definite possibilities.

Well, that is it for my review of blog engines. Google Blogger for balance between being easy and having functionality, WordPress.org (self-hosted wordpress) for total control and flexibility and Instant Spot for an easy (I think) website for a club, class, non-profit or small business.

~Susan Mellott

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