Been getting a lot of flak for the pink color scheme so here's some insight into my thought process. This latest iteration of the blog was inspired in part by the reusable fare card of Tokyo's transit system. The Pasmo, a thick RFID plastic card with a metallic finish features a subway icon followed by the word 'mo', a bus followed by the word 'mo' and the word 'pasmo' on the bottom. Kevin told Amy and me that the word 'mo' esentially means 'and'. But when translated, it doesn't seem to make much sense. Subway and bus and Pas and? Anyway, the card also has a nice little unique cut on one end, not sure what it's for since you never really insert the card into any fare gates, just tap and go. You do however insert the card into the fare recharge machines.

Color Scheme
More importantly, the color scheme of the card is very similar to Flickr's. Pink, a tiny amount of blue, and the back of the card is a grayish metallic surface. In addition to the card, since I arrived in Japan, the upcoming Cherry Blossom Festival has been mentioned all over the place. So while the 'in' phase of pink arrived and went a few years ago, I'm only using it now because it has been in my face for much of my time here in Japan so far.

I wanted to move away from r8 (first image) and r8.5 (second image) as much as possible so I figured a spartan white site would be just the thing I was looking for. The text in the post body sits on top of a very light gray background, I read somewhere that lower contrast puts less strain on the eyes when reading. Obviously with such a light gray background, I doubt it does much at all, but it's there if you look. I just didn't like the look of a darker gray since it ruined the spartan white look. I'm considering a dark gray text instead of the existing black text in an effort to lower the contrast without resorting to a darker background (now implemented).

Blogger Layout vs. Template
The change between r8 and r8.5 was mostly cosmetic. With r9, I finally joined the Web2.0 pack. Initially, I wanted to move away from Blogger Template tags to the Blogger Layout format. But after a few days with no progress trying to create the frontend using their Widgets / includables and includes, I gave up and took a look again at the Blogger Template tags. I had no intention of using the Layout GUI to configure the blog so their Widget system didn't really serve me any purpose. I think there may be some external Widgets that I am missing out on, but that would have made the site too busy anyway (so I tell myself).

Lightbox

You've probably seen Lightbox before. That's the mechanism that loads the image on the page after clicking a thumbnail without any refresh or pop up page. The version I'm using was coded and packaged by Lokesh Dhakar. He did an amazing job with it and implementing it was absolutely painless. The amount of features available are also impressive though I haven't dwelved into them too much. The only issue (and it was a small one) I ran into was that the loading .gif wasn't centered correctly in FireFox. One visit to the user forums solved that. Turns out I had to get rid of one line of CSS text referring to images.

Peek-a-boo Comments
No more page refreshes when reading comments! I initially played around with this feature as a way to present summaries since I tend to write lengthy posts (like this one). After speaking with a few individuals who said that would have been a pain to read, that idea was discarded. However I soon came upon this very helpful article on Blogger which described how to implement Peek-a-boo for the comments portion. Again, as luck would have it, the implementation was painless. I spent a little more time on this compared to Lightbox only because I wanted to customize the Comments section.

And there you have it, I finally joined the Web2.0 pack... a few years late.

Updates:

20080612 Labels don't work correctly. It's a known issue and the only work around so far is to convert the blog to a Layouts template. That's a no-go for me; as a work around I added a Google custom search field above. I know it's not the same, but each has its pros and cons, and maybe in the future I'll get with the program and switch to Layouts so that we can all enjoy search and full labels support!

Posts prior to March 2008 don't display correctly. The content of all new posts are enclosed within a specific tag, all posts prior to March 2008 will look a little weird. They are readable, the issues are that they don't align correctly, and the background is missing. I'm too lazy to go back and correct this for every single entry.

20081028 A few days ago, Blogger started showing it's own favicon instead of my custom one. Looking in the header it appears that Blogger added its own favicon code in the header meta data. Temporarily fixed it by wrapping my own favicon code around Blogger's. Don't know why Blogger suddenly decided to force its own favicon usage but it's totally lame.

Coupled with all the spam issues, moving to Wordpress is a consideration.