August 8th, 2006

Jeff_Annie_Remedial Chaos Theory

LastFM, GreatestJournal, and...VOX

Yikes. I think I'm collecting blogs the way I collect email addresses.

Let me just stress: I am not leaving LJ. This is my main blog and I plan to keep it that way.

It's more a case of locking my name in just in case LJ does something stupid. That, and I'm kind of curious about the big deal over on VOX.

However, if anyone is on the services below, feel free to friend me there.

Anyway, I randomly got an invite to VOX and, despite my misgivings, I weilded it, mostly lock in my LJ name over there before someone else grabs it. Here's my VOX page.

Drop in and friend me if you're there. If you want an invite, I'll get one for you as soon as a I figure out how to do that.

I have to admit, I'm not in love with the VOX interface — it's too clunky and designed for people who have no idea what HTML is, or at least that's the impression that I get — but then again I haven't really explored the service much.

It strikes me as very...unh...MySpace...except it's like MySpace for less technically-savy people.

I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with the VOX blog, although I might just use it as a shadow blog to this one. It's just a crying shame to me that there isn't some seemless way to do a mass transfer between LJ and VOX and back again of at least the text.

Yes, LastFM has a blog function, which I don't use at all. Mostly, I'm using it for the tracking the tunes I play and paralying that into its awesome "recommendation radio" feature. LastFM has a free service that has been massively upgraded (I need to check into the site more often), as well as a paid level. I'm not in love with the MySpace-like redesign (I honestly don't care about the ALL. NEW. GRAPHIC. OVERLOAD.), but the tools are on this side of awesome-ish.

Honestly, people. This is the best way to keep up with cool new artists that might tickle your fancy. I've got LastFM pretty well trained at this point that my recommendation station (based on my own playlists) and neighborhood radio (based on my and my friends' playlists) does a pretty good job of serving up tunes I like. Then I can always trundle over to the artists' page and check out fans of that artist like. Hint: the They Might Be Giants fans have an awesome station.

You can friend me over on LastFM via my LastFM user page.

Greatest Journal
Also, I've still got the Greatest Journal shadow journal, which is pretty much just sitting there like a shell. I also keep forgetting to transfer posts over there. I think a lot of it is because, for whatever reason, Greatest Journal is sort of like a ghost town. The interactivity there doesn't strike me as all that great. The interace is also older than LJ (in fact, it's old skool LJ back when just about everything on LJ was open source), so it can be just a little bit annoying in that respect.

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Jeff_Annie_Remedial Chaos Theory

Hmmmm...VOX is not great for blogging...but great for multimedia

I've played a little bit with my VOX page.

The blogging portion of it blows. You are only allowed to enter in rich text mode, which makes it less flexible than LJ as a straight-forward blogging tool. This needs serious freaking work (let's not even get into the commenting portion of the blogs), starting with giving people the option to hand code their entries. *bleh*

Definitely not a writer's blogging tool.

Also, I'm not all that hot on the social networking portion of VOX. It's harder to find people who share your interests, I think, and I don't see an option for creating communities where people can cross paths. The social networking element, which I think is LJ's greatest strength, is likewise far less flexible.

The "memories" portion (which I like on LJ) seems to have been abdicated to the magic of tags (YUCK!).

There's some option called "collections," but a quick look at that tells me that I can't can include entries from my own VOX blog on the subject of said collection even if I wanted to, say, put together a mutlimedia package of Facing the Heart in Darkness, including the text portions of the story. So, yeah, this part is complete ass as well.

Another thing I don't like: An option to put links to favorite places around the Web in one of the sidebar, like we have here on LJ. Also, the LJ Seek option (which has saved my butt more than once when I was looking for an old post) is completely absent on VOX as well, which I find to be damn inconvenient.

Also, the design options are fairly limited and not at all flexible. While I'm not exactly what anyone would call a programmer, at least LJ allows you to tweak its standard designs so that you can customize them for a large extent (for example, this design you're looking at looks different from its templated original). VOX, choose whatever you like, but changing the look is not going to happen because your limited options are only what you get.

However,, like the good little MySpace clone VOX is, it does have superior capacities for mutlimedia. For example, if you look on my page, you can see books I've recently read or am reading and how I've rated them. Direct links to Amazon allows people to even have the covers show on the page. This is not a bad option, but I'm not sure I'd like to see it on LJ. God knows my LJ page is crowded enough.

There's also an "audio" section where I can upload CDs I've recently listened to or an MP3 that I like that can be streamed by clicking through the VOX blog by clickin on the icon. These I can also rate and comment on.

Also, the videos are much the same way. Since I'm in the middle of watching Max Headroom on DVD that was created from a tape of its Zdtv run, and since it's not commercially available, I was able to embed the US Pilot ('Blipverts') in the my video sections.

Again, tags rule the roost here. Everything has to be tagged (I swear to god), which is good and bad I suppose.

Overall, as a place to "scribble down your thoughts," the interface for both blogging and commenting has to be vastly improved to make it work for a lot of people who are into the blogging and online social networking aspects of LJ.

But as a blog for multimedia holdings and interests, I think it might be useful in a way that LJ isn't.

All I know is that it's definitely not flexible enough for me to even consider leaving this LJ behind.
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