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New York Times

July 21, 2014 View Original Article

Where To Start When Starting A Blog

JULY 21, 2014

By J. D. BIERSDORFER

Q. There are so many platforms for blogging out there. Can you suggest a few?

A. Start your search by thinking about the type of blog you want to have and how much control you want to have over the look and domain name. Free blogging services usually have a set of standard templates and easy controls to get started, but the design is usually not terribly flexible. Paid services often offer more design control, feature management and tools to block spam and other unwanted messages in the comments section.

If you are an artist or a photographer and want to quickly post about the things you see, a visually oriented platform like Tumblr may work best; Tumblr is free and has its own mobile apps for blogging on the go.

If you want to compose long and thoughtful essays, a blogging platform suited to longer writing and editing, like Medium, may be most useful. (While Medium has a mobile app for iOS, it is currently intended for reading material on the site rather than writing.)

Some platforms like Typepad and WordPress are flexible enough to handle either approach. WordPress comes in two versions. One is the freeWordPress.com site, which provides less customization but hosts the blog on its own servers and has its own mobile apps. The other version is found at WordPress.org, where the WordPress blogging software (and apps for Android, BlackBerry and iOS) can be downloaded and used on someone else’s servers. You have more control over the look and feel of the blog there. If you do not have your own server, the site has suggestions for hosting services.

Where the blog will live — on your server or someone else’s — is another consideration, as is whether you want to use a free or paid platform. Some free services, like Google’s Blogger, make it easy to set up a basic blog, especially if you already use some of the company’s other products, like Google Plus Photos. Paid services like Squarespace may cost $8 a month or more, but you get technical support along with perks like search-engine optimization and slick designs that work for both desktop and mobile readers.

Saving a Soggy Laptop

Q. If a laptop’s screen is dark and the computer won’t boot up properly after a spill, is it still possible to save the data on the machine?

A. Saving the data is possible, but it depends on the nature of the liquid and the damage. Even if the laptop’s motherboard is fried, it is possible that the liquid did not damage the hard drive. If this is the case, the drive can be removed and placed in an enclosure (or a new computer) so the data on it can be retrieved. A good authorized repair shop can properly evaluate your situation and, with any luck, save your data. It can also recommend a backup drive.

If you cannot afford professional help, the iFixit do-it-yourself site has a discussion forum on liquid spills at bit.ly/1tavReN, as well as searchableinformation about using hard-drive enclosures. WikiHow has its own steps for trying to save a laptop immediately after a spill at bit.ly/1ifjkAB.

TIP OF THE WEEK The Messages app in iOS displays texts sent through SMS and Apple’s iMessage service, but the chat history shows the time only at the beginning of a particular conversation. To see a list of sent or received time stamps next to the individual messages within a conversation, swipe a finger to the left on the screen.