Today I upgraded to 'New Blogger' which has a number of enhanced features and cosmetic changes. I've lost some of the custom features I'd gradually accumulated over time, so bear with me while I tweak things and get them back to normal. Meanwhile I wanted to point out the enhancements, some resulting from the migration to New Blogger and some as a result of 'widgets' I've included.
Subscribing to Melbourne Film Blog
I've added some widgets in the sidebar to make it easier to subscribe to the blog. Clicking on the 'Subscribe' bar will take you to a page that lets you choose your RSS subscription service. For me, that means Bloglines and Google Custom Homepage, but there's a number of services you can select from. If you don't know about RSS subscription services, I won't go into detail here, but it's a way of being alerted when blogs, news and other services have posted new pages, rather than manually checking yourself.
Beneath the 'Subscribe' bar is the 'Bookmark' bar which offers a similar automated adding this blog to your web browser bookmarks or other third-party services. These two widgets are provided by AddThis.
The option to subscribe to 'Post Comments' is a New Blogger enhancement, found at the bottom of a blog post. It enables you to be alerted each time a comment is posted to that particular post on Melbourne Film Blog. This is mighty helpful when you've commented on a post and want an alert to any follow-up comments. I find this really useful when I leave comments elsewhere, as I otherwise struggle to keep track of the online conversations I've been involved in.
If anyone knows of some code that enables me to add this to the sidebar (under the other subscribe bars), I'd be mighty obliged to hear from you about it.
New Blogger has amalgamated Post Archive and Recent Posts. It's not quite how I would prefer it to be, but it makes it easier to peruse past posts in one place.
Some may have noticed the appearance of the Babel Fish translator and Google search widgets a couple of weeks ago. The translator seemed appropriate as I write of various film festivals and I noticed that many of my visitors come from non-English speaking countries and some have come via external web translators.
And while Blogger is itself now owned by Google, the Google search widget offers search capability in a familiar format. I find it more useful than the search feature at the top of the page.
New Blogger allows the display of all tags, which I've added to the bottom of the sidebar. I saw Matt from Last Night With Riviera using these creatively. He's currently covering the Sydney Film Festival on his blog using his custom tag, SydneyFilmFestival2007. By clicking this tag, one can see in chronological order all his posts about SFF. This is very useful for me, as I'm using his reliable and informed reviews as research for what to see at MIFF.
A tag I've been using quite a bit this year is France. By clicking this tag, you will see all my posts relevant to France, which includes French films, French directors and news pertaining to France (such as taking up French language classes). And recently I've had a few posts about Isabelle Huppert (with several more to come). So, for the uninitiated, tags are a shortcut to grouping posts that follow a common theme.
If anyone knows of other useful widgets or enhancements, I'm happy to hear your suggestions. Meanwhile, please be patient if things go AWOL or psycho.