Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Notes on the Blogger (Un-)Beta and OpenID

So, seeing how Blogger is officially out of beta, I finally took the plunge and switched over last week. Here are a few of my initial thoughts:
  • You know, it would have been nice to let me know beforehand that switching to the Google login would wipe out or otherwise make inaccessible my previous Blogger profile. (I'm not very original.)

  • Categories are nice to have finally, though right now, I have both Categories (sorry, "Labels", ugh) and Technorati Tags.

    I know it's awkward, but even though it looks like the Blogger Label tags are getting picked up properly by Technorati as tags, I'm still thinking about if and how tags that I use to label content for external consumption (e.g. Technorati) should co-exist in the same space as tags that I use to label content for internal navigation (categories).

  • Blog owners are recognized as owners when they leave comments and no longer have to go through the CAPTCHA, which is a welcome relief.

  • Layouts: I do want to mess around with the layout, designs and modules, but I need to try it in a test blog first. I'm generally satisfied with the current layout, but it's jarring to me to see another blog that shares Snapshot: Sable (albeit modified -- for example, the stock Snapshot: Sable is too narrow for the standard Flickr medium size of 500 pixels).

    However, at this point, I don't know how far under the hood I want to go with CSS and graphics , or just switch to Wordpress.

  • The settings and control pages seem a bit more functional, though I don't note anything completely different. I will have to play around some more.

  • Of course, I'm using the DC Blogs GMT time zone fix to make sure my posts show up at the top of the feed when published.

    If it weren't for DC Blogs live feed visits, the bulk of my traffic would be people looking for overpriced uncut currency sheets, big-boobed MLM infomercial hosts, and misspelled female genitalia.

Playing With OpenID

Thanks to this OpenID tutorial, I finally better understand what it's all about -- I mean, I understood that it was similar to other single sign-in schemes used elsewhere, but it's more open and delegated.

In it's most useful form, if you've got a Web site (including a blog), you've got a login.

For example, I've got a free OpenID account set up with, and I'm currently using as my delegate, which just means I, as the Web page owner, put a few lines of HTML code in the header of my page. (It's kinda-sorta like embedding the technorati claim code in your blog.)

When I go to a Web site that takes OpenID, I login by typing in my address. From then on:
  1. The Web site looks at
  2. It sees the HTML code I've put in, which redirects me to the OpenID provider I've previously specified (
  3. I login at to confirm I am the owner of, which confirms my identity.
Because is my identity, I can change my OpenID provider down the road, but still keep using my URL as my ID -- I just need to change the HTML to point to the new provider.

I'm trying to come up with a good real-world metaphor; I guess a seasonally-appropriate one that comes close is the scene from Miracle on 34th Street, when they proves that Kris Kringle is Santa Claus, because the U.S. Postal Service sends letters addressed to "Santa Claus" to him.

I will have to come up with a better metaphor. All metaphors break down eventually -- this one, sooner than most.

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