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Blogging Tips (2018 Edition)

Do you remember the days when you had to get a referral just to get a Gmail account? I had to get to the end of my Sent items folder to find one of the earliest messages sent from Gmail. I cannot believe that was 13 years ago (for me). I came across some very cringe-worthy emails that I had sent back in high school, and apparently, I was also very terrified of parking at Surrey Central late at night.

Source: http://i.imgur.com/TdHiS.jpg
Why did I choose Blogger (over Wordpress or Tumblr)

For me, it came down to cost/customizability. When I got into blogging, I came across many Wedding Photographers whose website/blogs were running on Wordpress (note: not the same as Wordpress.com), which would incur not only the cost of the domain but also the cost of hosting as well. This, for me as a student, posed a huge barrier to entry.

Blogging originally started as a journal for writing down my angsty thoughts as a Nanotechnology Engineering student who was LOST (I have not delisted any of my old posts if you feeling exploring the blog a bit more). If I could send an email back in time to my younger self 13 years ago, it would go something like this:
  • - Don't go to university so far away from home and alienate yourself from your old friends.
  • - Don't narrow yourself down to a specific discipline.
  • - There are people that are smarter than you; don't let that get you down.
I digress. Back to the point - the blog turned into a gallery of sorts to feature some of my photos, to complement my then-active Flickr activities. Fresh out of school, struggling to find a full-time job (I again managed to pigeonhole myself by working only cushy government GIS jobs), I purchased the domain briankim.ca in December 2012 and started working on my personal branding, as a photographer, food aficionado, and a sustainability professional. 

SO WHY DID I ACTUALLY CHOOSE BLOGGER?

Blogger is owned by Google, and I thought that it was most unlikely to go under. Tumblr was bought out by Yahoo (ew) and got sold (I did have a Tumblr blog at one point when I was active in the food scene in Ottawa), and with Wordpress, I just could not justify additional hosting costs or reliability of hosting service providers. (Wordpress.com does not offer much in terms of customizability)

I learned that Blogger is just as customizable using CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, and there were a plethora of pre-built themes for me to tweak with. After hours/days of research, tutorials, and Code Academy modules, I arrived at the final theme that it is today. Many elements were taken from a few themes developed by a front-end developer/web designer Iksandi Lojaya based out of Indonesia, which I have given him a full credit for.

What's new on the blog?

First of all, you may have now noticed that briankim.ca is available over HTTPS, which is good news because Chrome will soon warn users of HTTP websites. There is still quite a bit of HTTP content linked from other sources (pictures, for example). But for now, avoiding a warning message when trying to access my blog is a big win. 

Another thing that you may have noticed is a higher resolution image of the Popular Post widget which is on the main page of the blog. It was a lot simpler fix that I expected, (basically, it was a small thumbnail that was stretched to fit the widget).

And lastly, because I pretty much now live and breathe Google, I will recommend a book that I really enjoyed when I was working at my first co-op job, called Planet Google. A lot has changed since the book came out, but I think it captures the essence of the company, and you can find out for your own to see if Google has stayed true to its mission and vision. I might pick up a copy myself again, to find out on my own.