Monday 2 March 2009

mirror, mirror

Over the nearly three years that I have been doing this blog on the UCL site quite a few people have complained to me about two points:
* that they cannot leave comments on the blog (the only thing they can do is to email me, with a comment that I might or might not pass on); and
* that the RSS feed either doesn’t work or isn’t very good.
These are consequences of the fact that the UCL departmental server doesn’t offer these facilities.
So for all this week I shall be mirroring the blog here, on Google’s dedicated blog server. You can find us not only on the UCL site but also here, and on this site you can, if you wish,
* leave comments (provided you register first, with a nickname if you prefer anonymity), and
* enrol as a “follower”, which means you will have a page on which you will be alerted each time there is a new posting on my blog or on others that you follow, with the title and first few lines of each posting.
For me the blogspot site will also have the advantage of automatic archiving rather than the hand-coded archiving that I have been doing till now.

There are several things we need to check with the new site. You can help by telling me whether they work for you.
* Most importantly, IPA symbols. I am not sure how blogspot handles fonts for Unicode characters not included in the basic font, which is Verdana. Perhaps it depends on the browser or the fonts installed in the system. The IPA symbols come out satisfactorily on my screen. Do they on yours? I have also (on my other blog, which has always been on blogspot) used Cyrillic, Hebrew, Japanese katakana and Korean hangŭl, all of which come out OK. I haven't yet tried polytonic Greek or Chinese.
* There are several details of layout I haven’t yet tested on the new site. In particular, I am not sure how it will cope with tables (which also allow one to have more than one column of text, for example).
* The blogspot editor makes it easy to embed links, images, and videos. I must see how it copes with sound files. I haven’t yet found whether it is possible to link to an image, and if so how to do so, other than messing around with the HTML by hand.

If everything turns out to work satisfactorily on this blogspot site, I may transfer to it entirely in a week or two. If it proves unsatisfactory, I won’t. If I do, I’ll put a redirect on the old url, of course.


  1. Excellent! We're able to make comments at last!

    Concerning the fonts, they have the proper symbol so far.

    Good luck with this new website!

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  3. (Edited for early-morning typos in my original comment!) Non-copyright images can be placed in Picasa and you can link to them there. You can also link to documents which you have chosen to 'publish as webpage' in Google Docs. Use the same user name for Picasa/Docs as for the blog. Symbols appear fine to me. Different templates (e.g.'stretch denim') allow you to use the full width of the page/screen.

  4. Wonderful! I have been following your blog for some time now, and with this new development I can have it fes automatically to my Google Reader. A big improvement. Thank you and keep up -

  5. So far so good. I saw the zhoozh IPA transcription no problem. In my default news reader (NetNewsWire) I can't type in comments because for some odd reason I can't enter spaces! So I have to switch to my browser to do that. But at least I can comment. I think you'll need to make an effort to attempt those different types of layout in the next few days to see whether they work or not. I agree with Gerald Kelly that other layouts from Blogger will allow you to use more of the screen for tables etc. But you need to switch to those templates soon; you can't switch for one post and then switch back.

    Best of luck with the new strategy! [aɪ wʌndɚ wɛðɚ wiɫ bi eɪbɫ tə kɒmɛnt ɪn aɪ pi eɪ]?

  6. Thanks for the great blog, and for moving it here for the sake of those of us who can't cope without RSS feeds.

    With regards to polytonic Greek, Abecedaria has an example and some comments here:
    and Hanzi Smatter is also hosted by Blogspot, so Chinese characters shouldn't be a problem. See, for example, this discussion of whether or not 期 means 'hope':

  7. This is great news! Very glad that the blog will have an RSS feed and comments. It's looking good so far from here (tested on Windows XP + Google Chrome and Mac OS X 10.4 + Safari). Very much hope that you will be able to continue using the new blog platform.

  8. I hope you won't come to regret opening comments.

    Personally I'm just looking forward to direct linking back to old posts (since I'm lazy).

    So far the IPA shows clearly for me (Opera with various fonts, including the Lucidas you recommend).

  9. IPA reads fine on Mac OS 10.5.6, Safari 3.2.1, and Unicode fonts installed. I don't know about RSS feed yet, as I have just subscribed, but am hopeful. Thank you for making this experiment. I hope it works out!

  10. No problems with IPA-symbols for me (in Firefox 3.0.7 on Kubuntu Linux).

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