Time to move on

After years on what I believe was ones of the best blogging platforms, today the inevitable was announced.  Posterous will be closing down on the 30th of April.

It’s such a shame and very saddening that those behind the service sold out to Twitter.

This is one of many services that have canned to the pressure of lining their pockets.

And that makes me all the more comfortable with my decision to invest my time and efforts in Google.

Read the Posterous announcement here.

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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Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iPad

This is typed with the new Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iPad. The feel is very good. Key layout is reminiscent of the Apple keyboard in that the keys are physically spaced from one another.

The key action is very satisfying, with just the right level of resistance allowing for the fingers to depress each key positively without requiring too much pressure (but of course offering enough resistance that keys are not depressed accidentally).

It’s also nice having the basic punctuation commands at the finger tips, compared to the onscreen keyboard, allowing for much aster typing. the command and ALT keys are also very useful, allowing for quick movement of the cursor to the end or beginning of a sentence (for example).

Overall I am very impressed with it. The iPad sits in the accompanying stand very well, even with the iPad in it’s cover (I have a first generation iPad with the Apple cover). There is a little pull out extension that allows the iPad to sit at a shallower angle.

It’s a great piece of kit. Response is perfect. I can type reasonably fast when I get going (albeit rather unconventionally) and the iPad and iPhone keep up with every key press.

I picked mine up from Amazon (affiliate link) for £40. Most places (at least when I was shopping around) have it for £50.

I highly recommend this one. I’m very happy I bought it.

I am @icraigt on Twitter.

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.

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.

QuietWrite

QuietWrite… an online writing tool that, once you start typing, clears all toolbars, icons and unwanted menus and text out of the way leaving you to concentrate on just your writing. It’s great!

If you write blog posts or just need somewhere to write without the distractions and clutter of all those adverts and menus then I highly recommend trying QuietWrite. Here’s a screen grab of me typing this post. As you can see, nothing but the writing! It’s pure genius. It’s pure simplicity.

I’ve written a number of posts on here which I then transfer to my blog. Ok, there’s no text formatting or hyperlink tools (you could obviously hand code the HTML tags) but it’s clean, simple, uncluttered writing bliss. It transfers (copy/paste) to your blog authoring screen/page without any formatting (plain text) so all you have to do is add the links and off you go (but read further… you can export).

Yes, there are menus, just move your mouse and they magically appear (yes, it uses real magic).

QuietWrite allows you to preview your writing, review revisions (yes, it has revision control), publish (currently within QuietWrite) and, most importantly (at least it is to me) export to your WordPress blog directly from the QuietWrite site.

There’s nothing to dislike. As the QuietWrite team say, it’s “A peaceful place to write, for anywhere”.

Have a read of the QuietWrite team blog for more information.

Drop a comment if you try it out, I’d love to hear what you think of it.

I am @craigt44 on Twitter.