Free From Typepad!

As you can see, any common idiot can string together a reasonably good-looking site on WordPress. (And, no, that’s not a dig at Web designers. Actually, just the opposite. I never would have been able to put this together without the community of really bright people who will design everything from full-on, customizable templates to minor tools for free for WordPress users.)

I’ve known Typepad was a lesser platform for some time now, but I’ve been loath to migrate my entire blog over from Typepad, mostly because it seemed like it would be a real chore and I felt that I had better things to do with my time. (I kept telling myself, Typepad’s not that bad, surely not that bad . . .) What finally broke the camel’s proverbial back was Typepad’s absolutely awful customer service. Here’s the deal:

Maybe for every 10 cool new gizmos WordPress users get to use, Typepad will manage to offer its users one late-coming, somewhat functional knockoff of something that was made standard on WP about 6 months ago. In the case of this story, it was a “Re-Tweet This” button. Of course, being Typepad, they implemented it in the most bureaucratic, closed-source way possible: they made it so that you had to go into your blog setup and flip a switch to enable the feature on your site. You didn’t get to say where it went, or how it looked, or whatever. No customization, no customer input, nada. Just on or off. You flip a switch and it shows up.

So what’s the problem, you ask? Well, being a user of Typepad’s “Advanced Templates” (for which you have to pay a large premium just to be able to customize your site’s CSS in a clunky editor) I was out of luck. Believe it or not, Typepad only provided extra functionality to those paying less than I was. Ahh, but it gets better. Knowing that all I’d need to do was just insert a little code to implement Typepad’s “Re-Tweet This” button (I’d long-since gotten used to odd workarounds for features that didn’t quite work for all Typepad users), I kindly asked if Typepad would make the coding for the button available, so that I could stick it in by hand on my blog’s template. Not a whole lot to ask, really. I took out a “help ticket” to make this request, and a representative told me they’d be right back with me on that.

And that, my friends, was about three months ago. For a while I was daunted by the inevitable broken links and broken images (Typepad doesn’t make it easy to migrate your info off their site . . . wonder why, is it sheer incompetence or part of their business strategy to lock in customers?), but I finally faced the fact that I needed to be off of those servers. So here I am now with a WordPress blog. You’ll likely notice a little dust and dirt based on the fact that I’ve just up and dragged the entire site from one corer of the Web to another (my hat’s off to people who migrate data for a living), but the site should be more or less functional. And if you do notice things not working properly, please let me know so I can get started fixing them.

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Love the new format! Congrats on the switch.

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