Out of curiosity, how many people are looking at Dreamwidth? (Whether it's switching, hoping to poke around, already poking about over there...) As I mentioned the other day, I happened to luck out and get an invite to their closed beta. Open beta will be coming April 30th where either you can hope to get an invite from someone, or you can pay for an account and get in that way.
From my own poking about over the past couple of days, things are very, very shiny and new there. I won't say too much since much of the fun is in the discovery, but hopefully things'll expand a bit more before the open beta. ^^; Right now, I'm using the free account functionality, but I think I'll switch to 'paid' and see what added features there are there with it. (It's possible to do this while things are still closed since the payment system isn't up yet. They'll be resetting everyone when things open up. ^^; ) However, as a direct result of things there, I'm also poking around a bit more over here so I can figure out how to change things if I decide to try more things there. Things like layouts and mood themes. I've been thinking about creating a mood theme for some time now, but have only really started looking into it last night. :P Likewise, I've started feeling like I want a new layout here. With all the newness and my inability to learn how to do stuff with things fully there (where I'd really like to do things) at the moment, I'm hoping to try basic stuff here first and use that info there. Of course, I have no idea how portable the info will be from one platform to the other in the grand scheme of things. :P
All in all, I'm having fun over there even though I'm not posting much (yet). For the curious, I'm Shadow over there. I'm not sure how I'll be using the account over the long term, especially since this account is a permanent one. Most likely, it'll take over from a couple of free LJ accounts I have, but that's still a bit further in the future, so I wouldn't worry about this account (or any of my other ones) suddenly being abandoned quite yet. :P
And around Easter last year, after LJ's own fiasco with delisting of GLBT and fandom related interests from the main interest list (as well as the sudden, no prior warning switch from ad-free to with ads for basic accounts), I mentioned fc2.com's services as a viable alternative. (This was when dreamwidth was even less further along than it is now and was being raised as an alternative far into the future.) FC2 isn't entirely ad-free, but for the blogging services back then, it was limited to an if you *don't* update for a month, you'll get sponsor advertising showing on your blog. So basically, it was a 'don't like advertising? Update.' situation.
That changed in the past... week or two when they introduced an opt-out service on their J blogs. Basically, people wanting to show their blogs using the higher speed servers will show sponsor ads under their first post. From what I've been seeing as this service spreads, some of the ads (all text based) can be a bit annoying in terms of how they're formatted. Beyond that, most other free J blogging sites do have some form of sponsor ads in similar fashion. It's a matter of making sure the formatting isn't too obnoxious.
Those who don't care about high speed service can opt out and skip having adverts on their blogs. (This is important because I read one J-blogger complaining about the ads, but it's up to the blogger if they use the service or not. Unfortunately, fc2.com doesn't offer paid blog accounts (to my knowledge), so there's no happy middle on that front. ^^; And this only affects the J blog service at the moment. English blog service users aren't affected.
And I'm mentioning fc2.com not only because of the blogging, but also because, late last year, they introduced an authoring site. I'll admit, I haven't looked around there a huge amount, but the concept is quite intriguing, especially since I, personally, like to write longer fanfics. The problem is that I haven't read through the entire EUA and TOS, so I don't know if fanfic is fair game there or not. ^^;
What it is, though, is basically an online authoring and reading site. Those people who have accounts can log in and read so-and-so's (amateur author's) e-book but oops, they have to go to work, so they bookmark and run. Their account remembers what page they were on. This is *so* much nicer and user friendly than ff.net's massive single page chapters with no way of marking where you left off. Pages are short akin to regular book pages (possibly shorter for mobile phone users?), but the concept is really interesting. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I haven't looked around there much, so I'm not entirely sure of the extent of functionality both for writers and readers. ^^; (I really must look into this thing more. >.> )
However, it's this combined with certain functions on fc2.com's blogs that keep me seriously fenced as to completely embracing dreamwidth compared to wishing for an English version of fc2.com (all services). The bigger problem with fc2.com of course is that, since it's meant for J users, it's not very easy to move around in if you can't read J. Likewise, the whole 'community' aspect of something like LJ or Dreamwidth would be hard to recreate over there due to language issues. I'm not sure what sort of community there is there, but I think you can build / create them there. ^^;
Darn! I think a link I want is only on Haku, and I don't feel like turning Haku on right now. >.> Ah well, time to fiddle more with mood themes and the intro part to the fic I want to post on Dreamwidth. (J HakuYou fic. ^^; ) I suspect I need to stop trying to work with yWriter. We're just not seeing eye to eye. (Not to mention trying to use yWriter with such a short piece is annoying compared to working in a straight .txt or .doc file. *sigh* )