My "golden ticket" invitation to wordpress.com came in today, so I surfed over and spent 30 seconds setting up a new blog to see wtf the deal was. Wow. That is one slick and easy blog setup tool. I shouldn't have been too surprised, having already seen a preview of it implemented on James Farmers' Edublogs.org site,

It's got a nice 'n easy "presentation" selector utility - pick a thumbnail of a theme, and it's set as the design for your blog. Doesn't get any easier... Might be too easy, though, since there's no way to customize a theme once you've selected it.

Also, the cool new HTML editor widget is built in, but it seems to create some really nasty funky-assed markup. Hope that gets fixed before it's unleashed on the masses.

Aside:
Dang I wish I'd had this 6 months ago when weblogs.ucalgary.ca got kicked off. I'm pretty sure I would have gone with it off the bat - now I'm toying around with ideas to migrate our current (albeit small) community to it...

Turns out that most of the assumptions that I made about the requirements of a blogging service were technically correct, but largely irrelevant in practice. Looks like all we really need is a simple way for individuals and groups to create new blogs and start posting. The Drupal software puts so much extra stuff in it that it gets really confusing for the users...