Pippa’s annual review of 2011 (eventually)

Here we go, sneaking this one in before the end of January.

Well, as older (as in long-standing not ancient and decrepit) pup pals know, this time last year I was glad to be alive. Before Christmas I suddenly became poorly and was rushed off to see my lovely vet, Dr Pedro.

He suspected I had tick disease. There are lots of ticks in my Spanish village because of all the animals, and the lab results confirmed I had canine erlichiosis. Misery wrote an extremely long post about it on her blog which I will add to a new health page when I get her to set it up.

But I perked up with some strong painkillers and some anti-biotics and felt ok again after a few weeks. Phew. Although then I developed a couple of nasty sores. Thanks to all my pals who continued to ask after my health last year.

Feeling better in my spinach patch (despite my icky sore on my leg)

On the domestic front I discovered scrambled eggs on toast – big PippaPaw up for that one – and my sofa kept being stolen by lazy people who wanted to lie on it.

Demanding my scrambled eggs

Back at the finca, a C.A.T attacked me and left a present of claw stuck in my nose. Nasty cat. There was also a new pup on the block who wanted to come and say hello to me. I like puppies so I had no worries about that. But Misery took one look at its little tiny nose and screamed at it to ‘Go Away!’ because it was crawling with ticks. We’d had enough tick scares without going looking for the little monsters.

My snose - covered in Betadine antiseptic

It seemed to be my year for keeping Dr Pedro in dog biscuits or whatever he eats because we went back to see him in summer when I had some more nasty sores. And then, we went again in autumn when I started limping with a pawly paw. More painkillers. (More posts to be copied to the as yet non-existent health page although it is all on the old blog).

A couple of sad pieces of news – my beautiful girlfriend Mati went to the bridge in summer. I was very fond of her and her bro Rocky (who had gone to the bridge before her), so I was upset about that.

And later in the year, in autumn, sweet Claudette died. Those of you who know me from my Blogger days will know Claudette of course who homed a number of rescue dogs. But for friends who don’t, she had lung cancer, and in spite of pain, the arduous treatment, and gloomy prognosis, she never failed to meet every day with dignity, courage, and a unique sense of humour. She is missed by us all.

Then at the beginning of December, Blogger got the PippaPaw down for accusing me of unusual activity on my blog. So I moved. And here I am. Oh and at some point I got favicons on my blog. You should all do it, I bark.

Well that was pretty short and sweet wasn’t it?

Some new pals (and a couple of not so new ones)

Now, I thought I would add a few more new pals partly because I forgot one of them on my last post (blush).

So first up is Harry who lives with a nice couple in the UK, who have rehomed lots of cats and dogs. Good on them we say. PippaPaw up for Harry’s peeps.

Harry’s blog

Next I would like to mention Africa and Nala, who aren’t actually new pals but they are beautiful and I always like to mention beautiful girls. Africa is a Boerboel (I tell ya that was difficult to spell) and Nala is a Ridgeback.

Africa’s blog

Nala’s blog

A couple of blogs that I have only discovered over the last few days are:

Georgia Little Pea is a Sydney dog, although not a little dog, looks a bit like a part Ridgie to us but anyway. Misery particularly likes their Sydney shots as she used to live there. Me, I prefer the dog shots. Did you all know it was Australia Day today? (26 Jan – it’s over there by now 😀 cos they are always ahead of the game in Aus)

Georgia’s blog

and

Arie is a white GSD. She is beautiful. Not sure I need to say more than that, but her person writes some interesting stuff and there are some great photos of Arie.

Arie’s blog

Those of you who read Rumpydog’s blog will have seen the super interview with the lovely boxer Benny, whose start in life wasn’t too good, but now he has found a loving home.

Benny’s blog

And finally, to placate JB who wanted me to write up new cat pals – I present Cat Mandu, a Himalayan cat – get the name? Clever huh. Misery wants everyone to know she has been to Katmandu. This is NOT your travel blog Misery. Oh, that reminds me, Mandu’s mom does have a travel blog which you can find on his. A bit like JB and her mom I guess.

Mandu’s blog

On with the Blogger/Wordpress comparison

Today’s feature is about keeping up and blogrolls. Partly inspired by a brief discussion I had with Fabulous Flo.

Firstly, I am NOT going to recommend Google Reader. I have no idea whether it is good, bad or indifferent, but I have just never used it. And some dog who shall be nameless (she knows who she is) has so many blogs on there that she has to keep pressing the delete updates button – or something like that.

When we first started blogging we did actually use Bloglines. But it kept messing about so we stopped using it. It is still around apparently but at a guess it will have lost out to GR. And of course, then Blogger updated the blog list functionality.

What I actually use is my blogroll on .. er .. Blogger. Yup, I might not be posting on there but the functionality of the B blogroll knocks spots off WP. It is easier to create, copy the url and click a button – shazzam! it’s done. No typing the name, the url, which link category, or any other fancy stuff – just simple.

You can arrange it alphabetically or by most recent update. I went for alphabetical, as then I knew where to find every pup, and also I like to work systematically through from A to Z or vice versa. At least that way, I get to make sure I visit every blog and not just the busiest ones.

What else? Well you can choose to include any or all of: an icon (favicon), title, snippet of item (text), thumbnail of item (photo), and of course, date of last update. I have everything except the snippet ticked.

I think this is one feature where Blogger totally beats WordPress. I mean look at my blogroll on here. A long boring list. No pix. No icons. No titles of posts. No times of latest updates. I started it thinking it would be similar to the Blogger one. I even (OK Misery did) wasted considerable time on trying to get images to show. There was a reason why they wouldn’t and I can’t remember what it was. I always wondered why WordPress blogs didn’t have blogrolls. Now I know. They are of no use.

But really WordPress. Pull up socks. This is one feature where you are totally outclassed. Unless anyone can tell me differently?? Does anyone actually use a WordPress blogroll? Does it serve for anything apart from clogging up the sidebar??

I think I will leave ‘following’ and subscriptions and stuffs for a later post.

Blogger or WordPress? – a Pippadog review

Here, is the tale of my Blogger tribulations.

There I was happily minding my own business, blogging away peaceably, when Nasty Horrid Blogger told me I couldn’t get into my own blog.

Hello NHB. Why not? Apparently there was ‘unusual activity’. Uh? What did that mean? There was no spam. We were using a different Browser so that Misery Mistress could be schizophrenic and log in to different blogs with all her millions of identities but so what?

We sent in a support request (or whatever it is called). And another. And another. They wanted a telephone number but Misery did not think she should have to do that.

One of her friends told her that she had been locked out of FB and had to do the same thing.

In the end Master took pity on poor blogless Pippadog and told Misery to give out his work number.

Surprise surprise. They sent a message immediately with a code to unlock the blog.

Well, we don’t think this is necessary. At all. Just because it is free doesn’t mean people should invade a dog’s privacy. It is like that bad Facebook which Misery wrote about on her blog here.

So Misery went off to investigate WordPress. Again. She investigated it many years ago and didn’t like it. But when she gets a bee in her waxed cotton hat she takes things seriously.

Actually the truth is she had already been dabbling with WordPress for her own boring blog. Since she stupidly took up Blogger’s offer to try their new look, decided she didn’t like it, and switched back, she has had problems with fonts and layouts. Even when she upgraded her editor or some such jargon.

Now, I love my blog very much, there are so many pictures of handsome me on there. But I thought if Misery could have a new WordPress blog, I could have one too.

So she made me one, and she imported all the posts over too. The photos haven’t blown up so big, but that’s not a huge issue. I didn’t want it to look as though I had only just started blogging when I have been doing it for nearly Five! Whole! Years! And twice as many Pippapix floating around the web seemed like A Good Thing to me.

My favourite Wireys – Jake and Just Harry, The Barkalot Boyz – asked if I might write up about it all.

So here we go:

1 Setting it all up is pretty easy. The first step is like Blogger and just involves getting a name and a URL.

2 Then you get into the admin which is not at all like Blogger. It is a different dashboard, and the controls are down the side instead of across the top, so that takes a bit of adjusting.

3 Importing the old posts is probably one of the easiest bits of all. It is just a flick of a switch. I have no idea if you can make your imported pix bigger, but Misery is not prepared to go through a couple of hundred of my posts trying to find out. She is still busy going through the posts on her Clouds blog sorting the text out after Blogger stuffed that one up too and took away her paragraphs. She is obsessed with short paragraphs. Although this one is a bit long.

4 There is a HUGE choice of templates. One hundred and forty something the last time we looked. You can pay for templates with extra twirls options. We haven’t done. The customisation is not as flexible as Blogger (unless you pay I guess) but with that sort of choice it’s not too difficult to find something you are happy with.

5 Writing posts is pretty straightforward and easy.

6 Loading photos is easy. You can either upload a bunch at once or insert them where you want – I think Blogger has started doing that now.

7 Posts are allocated to a default of Uncategorised which we think is annoying, so best to either categorise them all with the blog name eg Pippadog, or actually think up a few categories which Misery has done on her blog.

8 There is a wide choice of comment settings and fortunately no ghastly word verification string. You can moderate or not – and you can set it so that people don’t have to submit their email address which we consider to be an invasion of privacy. Best to make it comment mod rather than ask for pups’ pawsonal details. You can also have embedded comments if somepup wants to reply to a specific comment.

9 I don’t think the blogroll is as good 😦 It doesn’t seem to come up with piccies or updates like Blogger does. So that one is a PippaPawDown.

10 You can set favicons or avatars or gravatars or whatever you want to call them so that they come up when you comment on a wordpress blog (but not on blogger) and you can have one next to your url in the top bar.

11 You can have little stars at the top so that people can rate your posts. That’s very nice if people give you five stars, although I guess if they only give you one that’s not very good.

12 You can also have stars so you can rate people’s comments which is nice I think.

13 And if people can’t be bothered to comment they can ‘like’ your posts. Which is better than nothing.

14 What else – well you can post to twitter, google, facebook, all the mainstream social network sites with a flick of the paw, although we haven’t done that.

15 The summary statistics are neat, and I think, better than the Blogger ones. Plus the spam filter seems pretty effective – according to Misery who seems to attract spammers 😀

Pippa’s Summary
Is it easy to use? Yes
Is it different to Blogger? Yes in quite a few respects
Is it easy to import the old blog? Yes
But we recommend NOT getting rid of any old blogs – just in case.
Is it worth a try? Yes
Can you spend hours in front of the computer trying out different options? Almost certainly

A couple of Misery’s pals have said they like the look of the WordPress blogs, and one said they found the clean lines attractive. We think they are too, although we tried to keep our Blogger blogs pretty clean and simple.

Basically the overall package is not too different to Blogger, but there are some tweaks where the two companies do differ. Most of our friends use Blogger, and we have been pretty happy with it over the last five years. But over the last few months it has annoyed us very much and the insistence on demanding a ‘phone number – and not responding to three support requests – when we had done nothing wrong was VERY annoying.

To us, over the years, Blogger has not improved. There wasn’t anything wrong with it when we started, and any changes they have made have not been for the better. Misery thought WordPress was terrible when she looked at it a zillion years ago – but it definitely has improved which is why it gets a PippaPawUp. And Blogger gets the PippaPawDown.

So I may write the odd post on Blogger. But I will keep up to this new WP blog out of principle. If nothing else, it’s often good to change and try something new. Us pups need to keep up with things.

I’m cross posting this on my other blog here – so comment, if you wish – on whichever blog you find easiest. I’ll read them both. Any questions – ask away.

Here is a picture of me, for those of you who can’t be bothered to read all that techy review stuff. Or for those of you who have and need some light relief.

Happy holidays whether you are celebrating Hanukah, the Winter Solstice (which I guess is over now), or Christmas. Or anything else that I have missed.

Happy holidays pups and peeps