Making spaces

There are now quite a few free options for anyone wanting to publish stuff on the web and I looked at a couple of them last year.

I have been using www.blogger.com to make back issues of my FishNet columns available to anyone who wants to go back and check on something. I’m very happy with Blogger, which is a Google product, but I have had a look at other services for publishing text or sharing photos.

The latest one to come to my notice is Windows Live Spaces which is hosted by Microsoft and is, in many ways, one of the most complete self-publishing solutions around. The others tend to specialise in photo sharing or blogging, but Live Spaces does both very well.

Getting a Live Spaces account and joining the existing 120 million users is as easy as going to spaces.live.com and completing a few formalities. The first requirement is that you have to have a Windows Live ID which you may already have if you use Hotmail, MSN Messenger or Microsoft Passport.

You can enter your username from any of the above, or create an ID from scratch, and you’ll be up and running in a few moments. You get taken to a blank website, once you’ve completed the sign-up process, and you can get started on choosing the layout for your Space.

There are many different templates to choose from and each is almost infinitely customisable as regards the actual layout, colours, and fonts for your pages. The next task is to choose from a list of modules that you can include on your pages.

There are modules which do many different things but the most important are likely to be the blogging and photo album modules. Other modules available as options include ones to display your profile, lists of your favourite music and books, and stuff to do with your online friends, including keeping up to date with changes they make to their spaces.

There are also a large number of small modules, known as gadgets, to choose from and these include games, clocks, calendars, news feeds, video players, calorie counters, and just about everything else you could imagine.

There are 21 pages of them available for download and you’re sure to find lots of nice things to play with. Modules can be dragged and dropped on the page until you’ve got everything arranged just as you want it.

The final step is to create some entries in your blog, upload some photos and tell everyone the unique address of your Space.

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