Thursday, August 31, 2006

Beta Blogger Spell Check (and singing the Beta Blues -- wah, wah, wah)

While I'm excited about Beta Blogger's new spell-check interface (ostensibly what I'm posting about here), I've got the beta blues. Apparently, Google has decided to revamp Blogger and re-release it in beta form [tour]. < .rant > I became aware of this in the typical force-it-on-the-end-user fashion. I went to log in to post one day with my Blogger login (that's fun to say! and sounds Swedish!) when some arcane constellation of cookies and "remember me" functionality, or some other "under the hood" hoodoo that I don't fully understand, notified me that I could now log in with my Google account. Not aware of the new release, I said, "Um, sure, whatever" and am apparently beta-testing the new version [I switched without realizing it]. What's got me a little miffed is this new version no longer plays nicely with Flickr, so I can't auto-post from there and don't know when I'll be able to again. Flickr Support answered my query with,
If you meant the beta for the new Blogger, we are waiting
for more things to be in place from Blogger before it will
Um, ok. It's the same feeling I get when my bank gets eaten by a bigger bank and I get issued a new, uglier ATM card or my phone service gets swallowed by a bigger phone service and I loose track of just who the hell my phone company is. Yes, there's probably myriad documentation that would let me know what's going on, but this end-user just wants to post. < /rant >

One feature of the beta version is a new "holistic" spell check. Rather than walking the user sequentially from the first to last suspect word, all suspect words are highlighted and become clickable for a drop-down menu of replacement options. I was pleased. I found the new spell-check easier to manage and easier for quickly assessing "real" and false-positive misspellings. While MS Word's on-the-fly red underlining is similar, I find this "highlight it when I say so" less intrusive during writing and the highlighting is easier to scan visually (better contrast), so I find it easier to scan. I'd be happy if this became a new standard.

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