Another Google summer

I heart Google

Need I say more?

I love Google.  They’re not perfect, but they’re one of the best companies out there.  And, I’d note, though they pay careful attention to what people say about them and their products, it seems that their primary source of direction and innovation is their own expertise.  This may fly in the face of some basic tenets of design, but it’s working for Google.  Indeed, this summer looks to be another fascinating googletime.

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Blogger gets new themes

Blogger icon

Blogger gets new themes and theme development features.

How does Google do it?  They keep producing all this great stuff!  This time, it’s new theming capabilities for their blog service, Blogger.  Yes, many people have become a little bored with the relatively stale themes that Blogger offers.  They’ve added several new, very fresh themes, and more functionality to tweak existent themes and create your own.

You can see one of these themes at my nascent productivity blog: Do Fast and Well.

The new stuff is currently only available via the “beta” blogger site: Blogger in Draft, which provides an illuminating write-up about the new features.  Besides the fresh look of the new themes, there’s a lot more flexibility in terms of matching colours of gadgets to the theme, varying the background images, and layout of columns and where gadgets appear.

Google ain’t perfect, but they’re sure getting close!

Yeah, I’ve been playing with my theme again

Monochrome WP theme

Monochrome: sweet theme, but no RSS?

Update: 29 Jan 2010.  Monochrome has been fixed – pretty fast response by the WordPress team there.  Thanks!

Some of you may have noticed the look and feel of my blog hiccoughed a couple of times over the last few days.  Recently, WP announced a new theme, Monochrome, by mono-lab. It looked quite interesting, so I decided to give it a spin.  Because it has only a single sidebar, but my previous theme – a highly modified Andreas04 – had two sidebars, it took me a few hours to rearrange everything.

Monochrome is very, very nice.  Sleek and muted, with excellent spacing between elements – enough spacing for your eye to easily separate visual elements, but not enough to be wasteful of screen real estate – and some wonderful features.  You can read more about Monochrome elsewhere; suffice it to say, I’d thought I’d finally found a theme I could stick with for a while.

Except for one thing: no RSS feed.  A number of people have complained that the RSS feed in Monochrome doesn’t work.  This is a huge problem – I mean, what’s a blog without a feed?

I tried an assortment of things to get the RSS feed to wake up.  Some things – like changing your theme a few times – seems to have worked for some people.  But I, and some others, have had no luck.

I’ve switched back to another theme – The Journalist 1.9 – that I’ve used in the past, and that has only one sidebar.  I’m hoping Monochrome will be fixed soon, so switching back won’t be as time-consuming.

So that’s why you may have noticed my blog changing appearance a few times lately.