Blog Resources

Maybe it's my control issues, or a need to go "old school," but when I started this blog, I wanted to create and host it myself instead of using a Web 2.0 service like Blogger or Xanga (even though they are free). I also don't like paying for software to do the same jobs that can be done by free and legal programs, so I try to use freeware and open source solutions whenever possible.

I've put together a list of some of the resources I use to run the show around here:

The blog needs a place to live. We use Bravenet for all of our hosting needs, since their hosting service is both affordable and reliable. They have SQL database capability, as well as the creation of subdomains, both of which were utilized in the setup of this blog.

Blog software:
Bloo is an open-source solution for creating a blog. It has a ton of customizable features, and the developers are continually improving it. They are also quick to answer questions about utilizing the software effectively.

Image Resizer:
Most of the time, I don't want to do a lot of fancy editing of images for the blog. I just want to get them to a manageable size as quickly and easily as possible. Pixresizer is a simple, free program that does just that.

Video Format Converter:
Format Factory
FF is a universal transcoder that will convert almost any media file to another format. I use this program to convert video to FLV format, which creates smaller, embeddable video files.

AVI Processing:
VirtualDub processes AVI files before conversion to FLV format. This is largely used to rotate video files that have been taken in a portrait layout.

FLV Player:
JW FLV Media Player
This is a full-featured, embeddable media player that handles many types of media files. The JW player is what enables viewers to click the "play" button and see a video clip, just like on YouTube. Using it involves a little more coding than I'm used to, but it has been a learning experience, and the player works extremely well.

Audio Recording/Editing:
Audacity is an open source audio editor that does anything you want it to do, at least in the realm of capturing and processing audio files. It is a remarkably full-featured program, and the price is right. Like most good open source projects, Audacity is constantly under development and continually improving.

Thanks to the Freeware Wiki and Freeware Mission for providing information, reviews, and links to many of these resources.

When everything is listed out, it seems like an involved an tedious process to utilize so many different solutions for a single outcome. I guess it is, but it's my involved and tedious process.