The Weblog Tool Roundup
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1  The Weblog Tool Roundup
2 Blogging Industry Overview
3 Off-site: Diaryland and Blogger
4 On-Site: Greymatter and Movable Type
5  Right There on the Hard Drive: Radio
6 And the Winner Is ...

The Weblog Tool Roundup

Page 5 — Right There on the Hard Drive: Radio

Enter Radio UserLand 8.0, which is a downloadable application rather than a Web-based one. This tool exists as a leaner, cheaper alternative to UserLand's Frontier, a higher-end content management system. Radio goes for US$40 a year, with a thirty-day free trial to check it out, and is available for Windows and Mac 7.5 and up (including OS X). The forty bucks includes any software updates that may come along plus 10 MB of storage on the UserLand server, though you can choose to have your site hosted by somebody else, if you want.

Radio is a different sort of beast, basically acting as your own personal server that lives on your hard drive. You still work with the interface through your browser, but all of the documents are local so it's faster and more secure. When you go online, the tool will upload any changes you've made.

Installation is creepily easy. You run the program for the first time, enter some basic information (name, an email address, a password), and Radio creates both your local interface and a publicly accessible site on the internet with a default design. It all takes about five minutes. As with all of these tools, you can customize the templates to your liking, but if you just want to get your poetry out to the masses right now, then Radio makes it a simple matter.

Radio is also equipped to deal with community and collaboration to a greater degree than other weblog tools. You're immediately plugged into the UserLand network of webloggers and can subscribe to newsfeeds or other sites (and let others subscribe to yours, or even just to certain sections of yours). When you go online to post something, the tool will automatically check the network for any updates to your subscriptions, and refresh information about your site (traffic, referrers, rankings, etc.). You could even just skip the whole weblog thing and use the site as a kind of personal portal, getting the latest news piped right in. But that would be embarrassing.

Movable Type Interface
The Radio interface. (Take a closer look.)

Radio manages to create a dynamic environment for the exchange of information without asking too much of each individual user. They've made it simple for beginners to get involved in a kind of active network that would've required much more know-how a few years ago. If you're looking for more than just a tool, but an effortless way to get a site launched and incorporated into an online community, Radio may be your best bet.

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