Zemanta – blogging tips & advice

I have just discovered Zemanta, a tool which promises to enrich the blogging experience by offering up an array of media and information rich content and sources of such content….. as you type!

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

As I am typing this (Zemanta needs a couple hundred characters to start figuring out what you are blogging about) a side panel is busy recommending content.  I have the Zemanta Chrome extension installed so that, as I type, it can do it’s thing and start pulling relevant content (whether that be images, Wikipedia references or something else) from which I can then read more about a subject (research), place an image in my post (simply by clicking on one of the suggested images) or insert a reference link.

The image below is included from said Zemanta content recommendations.  The links were all automatically included at the click of one button.

I’m impressed, looks like being a very useful service.
I am @icraigt on Twitter.


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Blogsy for iPad updated to v3.2

The excellent Blogsy app for the iPad (on which I am writing this post) has been updated to version 3.2, the Minotaur release.

In this release the developers have figured out how to parse the HTML code that Apple uses in order to present cleaner and more standard code on the HTML edit screen.

This version also introduces the ability to customise the Dock Bar which I personally welcome. It’s nice to make apps your own and if there’s a particular service you connect to the most, now you can move it to the top of the bar. Likewise, if there is a service you don’t use, now you can remove it altogether.

Check out the Blogsy Blog for details of the latest release.

I am iCraigt on Twitter.

Blogsy…. testing

I’ve just downloaded Blogsy after watching a couple of the tutorial videos. It seems like a great way to connect your various media streams to your blogs, making photo and image selection (and video) very easy when drafting a blog post. The drag and drop (from your Picasa, Flickr, YouTube accounts) feature works very well indeed. The image below was dragged from my Picasa albums in just a couple of tap

The interface seems fairly straightforward and the app runs very well on my (old!) iPad 1. I was concerned that performance might be lacking on the old iPad but it runs very well indeed.

Anyway, just an initial post to try it out. I shall post more thoughts on it later, when I’ve had chance to use it more.
So far, so good!

I am @iCraigt on Twitter.

WordPress for iOS updated to v2.9

The already brilliant iOS WordPress app just got a whole lot better with the introduction of version 2.9, featuring much needed additions such as rich text editing, quick links and a lot more space to enter all of your words.

It’s so easy to make things bold for example, or to strike out text.

Links are much easier too with the quick link button…. as easy as this. I would like a few more options in the link dialogue box (for example to set the target etc) but it’s a great leap forward and makes the app much quicker to use.

These are great updates and make for a much more productive app.

Go download it! Seriously!

I am @iCraigt on Twitter and you can find me on Google+ here and Diaspora here.

New WordPress template for iCraigt

I just wanted to share a WordPress template I came across late last night.  It’s called Custom Community and is by Themekraft.

I’ve tried several free themes for the iCraigt (was craigt44) tech blog, settling a few months back on the PageLines theme on the Platform framework.  It was good and served me well for a few months but I wanted more customisation options.  Yes, I should ultimately put my hand in my pocket and buy a professional framework solution but funds don’t permit just yet.

Anyway, the Custom Community theme is shaping up to be pretty damned good.  There are many tweaks to be had and I’ve found that I am able to very easily make significant changes without knowing an awful lot about WordPress and how to get the best out of it.

Check out my first attempts over on the iCraigt site.  I think I might even try it out on this blog too!

Let me know what you think, good or bad (the header image is temporary).

I am @icraigt on Twitter and you can find me on Google+ here.

Time for a makeover

Just a short time into the new (not-so daily) daily blog, I figured it was time for a makeover.

As readers of this blog will know, I recently moved it over from Posterous to a second install of WordPress here on craigt.co.uk. I used a temporary theme while I spent time looking for something fresh, clean and simple and, thanks to the inLine theme by Thomas Griffin Media that’s exactly what I’ve got.

I really like this theme. It offers me the ability to tweak and play with layouts and content while making it really simple. It’s not a fully featured paid theme but for this blog that doesn’t bother me. It’s pretty much exactly what I was looking for. It’s simple to administer, looks great and cleans everything up beautifully.

So, the new look, like it or loath it?

I am @craigt44 on Twitter and you can find me on Google+ here.

Blog comments

Please, if you run a blog, set it up so that you can moderate comments.

So many blogs contain comments from very obvious spambots and it never ceases to amaze me how many bloggers overlook the obvious signs.

If the comment is very generic “hey, I love your blog and the way you write, keep posting articles like this”, “my sister/cousin/friend recommended this blog to me and I have to say I really value the information” then it’s almost certainly from a spambot.

Always review the senders name and email address. I can almost guarantee that “free iPhone 5” is not a real person. The same can be said of email addresses and a quick review of the address will usually reveal if it’s genuine or not.

So, if you value your blog and want the most out of it, moderate the comments. Posts from spambots add nothing to your blog. In fact, in my opinion, they take value away from it. Comments, feedback, questions and criticism on our blogs are what we strive to achieve, they all add value and encourage participation and interaction. Spam takes value away and turns readers off.

Most, if not all, blogging platforms offer comment moderating. It’s a very simple process to turn it on. Just log in to the admin dashboard / panel and look for “comments”. The setting for turning on moderating should be fairly straight forward.

Good luck with your blogs and by all means, please add a comment below 🙂

I am @craigt44 on Twitter.