Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Jennifer Yoon's Review of Blogging Services, Free Personal Websites, Software on the Web

I came across an extended discussion of blogging software by veteran bloggers. The general consensus seems to be -- that Blogger.com & Blogspot.com was very bad and WordPress is the best for serious bloggers (the ones who want a following). TypePad got 2nd choice for ease of use. WordPress seems to require some investment in time to learn some new software & codes, but a lot of good tutorials are supposed to be available and it's definitely not just for programmers. WordPress is said to be a do-it-yourself project, but also gives full control over the design/look of your blog.


I am writing this and other negative reviews of Blogger.com right on my Blogger blog. So, at lease it's proof the company is not sensoring anything. My main complaint is that it is difficult to make my blog look anywhere near nice looking using layout, font sizes, and image uploads. It's very slow and often freezes, losing my edits. Others mention SPAM from blogspot.com's comments section as their number one problem. I don't have this problem, even though I have the comments turned on.

I've tried out the Flickr for uploading multiple images. Flickr IS a well executed, nice looking site, with a fun way of forming "groups" to pool public photos by topic/tags. I had a lot of fun looking at handmade cards and sewing & craft photos. Flickr also offers simple blogging, which may be MUCH more preferable if you want to blog with a lot of pictures, like I do.
http://flickr.com/photos/jyoon/ (my sample photo of cards on Flickr)
http://flickr.com/search/groups/?q=craft%20cards%20handmade&w=15834567%40N00&m=pool (a serach result for craft, cards, handmade on Flickr)

Best looking FREE website I've come across is SiteKreator.com. They have enough templates to choose from for that your site can look good. The only drawback is that the free version comes with only 10 MB of storage, but 100 MB is only $20/year. Of course, you can also create a blog. The "passing through India" blog had BEAUTIFUL photos from all over India. It's travel without leaving your desk. The added benefit of SiteKreator is the multiple location hosting. In the unlikely event that your blog/website becomes famous, it will still serve up pages to tens of million of your newfound friends.

A very good collaborative web service for a small group to share calendar, to do lists, project files, and divying up tasks among co-workers is CollectiveX. Users can also edit word-type of documents online, though the features are a bit basic.

A service that I LOVE is Zoho's spreadsheets. It has 300 functions including almost all statistical and financial functions built-in (this is comparable to Excel's data analysis pack plug-in). So far, I have not found any function lacking for financial statement analysis. It is not customized for stock investment analysis like StockWiki's spreadsheet will be, but this sofware has all the basics we hope to offer on our site and it looks great too. It's said to be a tad slow and loses edits when 2 people are editing the same spreadsheet simultaneously. I supposed it would work fine if the 2 people take turns editing (every other day), which will be closer to real usage.

Others rave about Zoho's word processor. They seem to offer other Microsoft Office like applications over the web. I think you should definitely check it out if you are interested in alternative Office-like apps, especially if you need to work with someone over the web and usually e-mail documents back and forth.

That's it for now. I have more neat software I've found, but will post about them later.


Ramesh said...

Hi Jennifer,

I am Ramesh from the Zoho Sheet team. Thanks for writing about Zoho Sheet. Glad that you love it. Regarding the speed, yes it is a tad slow at times and we are working hard to speed up the application. And right now we do not support simultaneous edits. But we do lock the file when the first user edits and inform the other users who try to open the same file, that the spreadsheet is locked and they will be presented with a read-only version. When the first user finishes editing and moves away to a new spreadsheet or logs out, the next user can reopen the file to make changes and save. We have plans to support simultaneous edits too in a later update.


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