Amazing Digital Technology

There are many blogging tools to use; over at LITGM we use “Blogger” which is owned by Google (and free) and over at Chicago Boyz and at other sites we use Word Press.  Many of the up and coming sites are now on Tumblr, which looks pretty much like another blogging platform to me.

There was a Louis CK sketch where he talks about how amazing it is to fly on an airplane and connect to the Internet and all the things we take for granted while everyone whines about it.  I felt the same way as I started to look at some of the new technologies available under Blogger.

Blogger just rolled out “dynamic views”.  I am not a blogging technical expert but in laymans’ terms, you get a lot of real estate back that is taken up with static page elements like the blogroll on the side and post categories and comments.  When you hover your cursor over these items, they “pop up” (dynamically) and then you can click on them if you wish else they don’t take up space otherwise.

Another advantage is that they load up your blog when you turn it on (you see the Blogger “gears” running) and then you can view it a bunch of different ways, from a “classic” view to a “magazine” view or “flip card” which is cool if you have a lot of photos because you can see them at a glance and click to get at the post underneath.

Like everything else, they are trying to get the bugs out at Blogger.  When they initially rolled it out, you couldn’t see items like your blogroll / links because those “widgets” didn’t work with dynamic views.  Some super-technical web nerds could make it work but the average person wouldn’t unless they wanted to hack html code.  There are sites and message boards out there with many comments bemoaning the new technology and what is lacking but of course Google has added many of these widgets back so that they now work with dynamic views and at least you can see comments and labels (basically their version of tags or categories).

I turned “the most important site on the internet” Drunk Bear Fans into a dynamic views site and it is pretty cool.  Since there is more page real estate (the tabs on the side only pop out when you hover over them) I was able to make the pictures bigger and I also did some other housecleaning.  This is more of a test bed than LITGM so I will keep working over there until it is ready for “prime time” and then maybe we will kick over LITGM, too.  For now we are looking at the header because you still have to work on that in html to get the great pictures up there that Gerry inserts but I am sure one of the tech guys at Google is working on that in a frenzy and that will be in some upcoming version.

It is simply amazing how far the technology has come on blogging and web development FOR FREE.  Dan was chuckling at how much just the hard drive would have cost back when we were in college 20+ years ago to store the pictures, movies and other elements associated with a site like LITGM, which also is free along with all the development time Google has put into this platform (plus the fact that they bought the company that made the original technology in the first place).

I was in the “boom” era in the early 2000’s in the middle of all the companies that imploded.  I can tell you first-hand that building a site that a 10 year old could do with dynamic views would have cost millions and millions of dollars, and it would have crawled.  The cloud based infrastructure that these sites use and the power of the tools that they give developers and non-developers alike FOR FREE is amazing.    For a couple of minutes it is worth stepping back and reflecting on that.  Then back to complaining about everything, just like Louis CK says.

Cross posted at LITGM

12 thoughts on “Amazing Digital Technology”

  1. I opened it in a ‘new window’ using Seamonkey, and got the “script is taking a long time to run do you want to continue or stop” message box. I let it continue, and the cpu(1.4Ghz AMD) stayed pegged for a little while longer as displayed in the TClockEx enhanced version of the taskbar clock. {It can show cpu and memory use if you desire.}
    The slide out on the right side slid out, but no text indicating what all the avatars(?) were to perform.

  2. Actually it looks great. I can’t get it to work in Firefox but that may be because I’m using an older version with scrip-blocking plugins. It works fine on IE. I agree that it’s fantastic technology.

    That site has come a long way since the last time I looked at it. Not that I don’t look at it many times a day.

  3. Though my days of excess are over, it’s fun to peek under the big top now and again. Amazing the regional drinking and festivity cultures that abound in this great land. Nice blog ya got there.

  4. The sliding drawers on the side were well within the range of technological possibility in 1999-2000. The hangup would have been making it work in both Netscape Navigator and IE which had incompatible versions of what was then called “Dynamic HTML”.

    The dark ages of the Web from 2000-2005 saw the elimination of Netscape and the deadening tyranny of IE6. But Microsoft accidentally innovated with JavaScript functionality called “XMLHttpRequest” that allowed web content to be loaded into a page without the user having to reload (thus the eternally spinning wheel on the linked Blogger site). This functionality was added to the new browsers that emerged c. 2004-2005 like Firefox, Safari, Opera, and SeaMonkey but its use didn’t become ubiquitous until Google made it the centerpiece of GMail’s highly responsive (at least then) interactivity. XMLHttpRequest and its use patterns were rebranded with the more palatable term “AJAX” (for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) was followed by an explosion of JavaScript tools like the jQuery library (which is found on 60-70% of websites world wide, including the blogger website) that hid much of the difficulty of making all this bling-bling work in multiple browsers (except the horrific IE6) behind a common facade. Programming zippy JavaScript functionality is much less painful now than it was 10 years ago.

    The Web is more vibrant largely because Netscape released the buggy alpha-level code that became Firefox in 1998 and an obscure collective of open source developers involved with the KDE (K Desktop Environment) decided to write their own HTML display engine named KHTML for their browser Konquerer in 1999. KHTML was later picked up by Apple in 2002 and turned into Webkit, the HTML display engine shared (with variations) by Safari and Chrome. This forced Microsoft to release IE7 in 2006. Until that point, Microsoft hadn’t shipped a new browser release in five years, a sobering thought for those that believe the Internet moves in light seconds.

  5. Maybe the slow performance of Drunk Bear Fans is related to its incendiary contents?

    It has been slow sometimes loading. I don’t want to put our bigger blog over there using dynamic views until it loads consistently and quickly. I will check the message boards and tech geeks from time to time too to see how it is going.

    I like learning from the web tech experts over here but the most amazing thing to me about dynamic views is that they have finally done it in a way that is accessible to people who literally know nothing. It just (mostly, apparently) works “out of the box”.

    All this just to be a container for advertising in Google’s eyes. But the funny thing over at Drunk Bear Fans is that we don’t advertise at all, so we aren’t contributing to Google’s vast empire. I guess our stuff is in their search engine which is how most people find us and the fact that this content exists for them to index helps them a bit, but obviously this is a drop in the bucket for them.

    Also word press has been getting easier to use. In the past when there was an upgrade you had to do it via FTP on your web site and now there is a dashboard and you just press a button and voila! it is upgraded. Same with plug ins. In a parallel process now you can also update your iPhone to the latest version of IOS without plugging it into a computer. Someone is trying to make things a bit easier, at least.

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