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Friday, December 15, 2006

Blog upgraded to new version of Blogger

I'd been holding off from upgrading this blog to the new version of Blogger. The new Blogger allowed the use of tags ("Labels" in Blogger terms) but I was afraid of transition issues and lingering bugs. Finally, I decided I could not wait any longer and decided to take the plunge. (gulp)

What's nice about the new Blogger is that you can easily add custom page elements to the sidebar. As you can see, there is a Labels element now. Click on a label, and you will see all the articles that have been tagged with this category.

You will also see an element called the Picasa Web Album. Okay, this is a really cool feature. I've been jealous of all those blogs that have Flickr badges on them, displaying thumbnails of photos from various Flicker albums. So I googled up Picasa widget and, lo and behold, someone has actually programmed a widget creator. You plug in the RSS URL of your Picasa Web album, click the Generate button, and wowza - it outputs the widget code that will display 20 images from the album. You can copy the code to any blog or web page. Click another button, and the widget is automatically added to your new Blogger layout. Very, very cool!

One downside I've seen so far is that when I'm using Picasa to blog the photos, it will not publish the blog if I have trackback turned on. No big deal. Another small nit is that I have to log in to the Dashboard and add the labels after I publish from Picasa. I haven't tried posting more than 4 pictures yet, so I don't know if that is still broken or not.



It turns out that the Picasa beta I'm running on my Linux box does not like the new Blogger. I get a blank screen when I try to blog pictures. That's a pain.