The names of the winners of the Blaze Bonanza giveaway are listed directly under this post.
After several days of mulling over the responses and suggestions offered during last week's visitor poll I asked Tom to disable the anonymous comment option.* I'm not happy about it, but I'm done catering to trolls and cowards. Thus I must impose on the rest of you to take an extra step to participate in discussions here, but the majority of you seem to be okay with that. I apologize to those who aren't.
When you go to comment on PBW now, you'll see the following choices:
Open ID: LiveJournal, Wordpress, Typepad, AIM (AOL Instant Message)
1. To use the Google/Blogger option, you need to sign in with your Google account ID [two entry fields, in which you enter your account ID name and your password]
Joining Blogger is free, but requires you open a Google Account (also free.) You can get more information and take a tour of Blogger here.
2. To use the LiveJournal option, you need to enter your LiveJournal URL: http://(user name).livejournal.com
Joining LiveJournal is completely free, and you can learn more about it and sign up here.
3. To use the Wordpress option, you need to enter your Wordpress URL: http://(user name).wordpress.com
WordPress also offers free blogs, but they may stick Google ads on your blog. You can read more about them here.
4. To use the Typepad option, you need to enter your Typepad profile URL: http://profile.typekey.com/(user name)
Typepad is not free, but offers a 14-day trial membership, and you can learn more that here.
5. To use the AIM, or AOL Instant Messenger option, you need to enter your AOL ID URL: http://openid.aol.com/(user name)
AIM is also free, even if you don't subscribe to AOL as your Internet Service Provider. You will have to create a screen name, or use an existing e-mail account as a screen name, and you can read more on that here.
It would make me very happy if some of you turned this hassle into a writing opportunity. You know how I harp on journaling and writing daily, and if you've never written an online journal or blog it might be fun to start one now. Most of the free sites offer a private option, so you don't have to share your blog with the rest of the world. I've been using Blogger for seven years now, and while I've had some problems here and there, the service for the most part has been good.
As for those writers who scoff at the idea of a free weblog being worthwhile, consider that I've never paid a dime for PBW, and it's proven a hundred times more popular than any other online site I've had.
*Added, 10/31/08: Some time after this post Tom and I quietly re-enabled the anonymous comment option. I Still reserve the right to delete any anonymous comment I feel is SPAM or inappropriate.