Steve Newson on Writely vs Live Writer

Steve has a post on the merits of Writely and Live Writer as blogging tools.  This is an interesting topic that I hope he will pursue.

As he points out, Writely is more than just a blogging tool, and it is web based, which allows you to access your documents from anywhere, while Live Writer is more targeted and, at this point, the better platform for blogging.

Wouldn’t it be cool if somehow Live Writer allowed you to synchronize your drafts and settings across multiple computers.  Google has its browser synch, which I uninstalled after it caused me to inadvertently lose all of my bookmarks, so it’s not out of the question that the ever-competitive Microsoft would create a competing application.

In fact, part of the technology is already here, with Microsoft’s FolderShare– an application that I love, but that Microsoft must not, because it doesn’t seem to be marketing it very actively.  I have suggested other ways to use FolderShare, but so far Microsoft hasn’t jumped on my great ideas.  If anyone at Microsoft was awake, they’d be accurately touting FolderShare as the application that makes Writely unnecessary.

What do you say, J.J?  Is cross computer functionality a possibility for Live Writer?

And by the way, my Bloglines update work around seem to be working.

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A Few Tweaks for Live Writer

I’ve been using Live Writer to write my posts for the last several days.  I still like it a lot, but I have now used it enough to suggest a few new features it needs.

1. An option to send pings only on the initial publication of the post.  I don’t want to re-ping when I edit to fix the invariable typo.

2. A way to save templates.  All of us have repetitive posts that contain a lot of the same elements.  Give us a way to save and pull up multiple templates.  Sure you can do it now by creating drafts, but that doesn’t work nearly as well as a separate template menu would work.  For one thing, the naming convention doesn’t lend itself to doing it that way.

3. I don’t know what it is exactly, but there is a keyboard command for publishing that I have accidentally hit 4 times in 4 days.  This is an unnecessary caps-lock sort of annoyance.  Give us the ability to customize- or delete entirely- keyboard commands.

4. While I enjoy the WYSIWYG interface, the resulting html is jumbled beyond recognition.  Can’t we clean it up a little with spaces between the paragraphs, etc.? Blogger’s editing application does this pretty well, so it shouldn’t be hard to implement.

And one new plugin I want…

5. One that will allow me to input the Amazon ISBN or ASIN number and generate a link with my Amazon Associates information included.

And one problem I have noticed…

6. For some reason, my new posts are not showing up as new in Bloglines.  When you click my feed, they are there, but my blog is not showing up in bold with the number of new posts in parenthesis like it used to and like it is supposed to.  Has anyone else noticed this?

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3 Nifty Live Writer Plugins

The hopeful stream of plugins for Live Writer has begun to flow, with three so far (that I have found).

The first is called Flickr4Writer, and as its name implies, it helps you insert Flickr photos into your post.

Clouds
Clouds at Sunset

It allows you to search by user name (i.e., your own, to browse your photos) or by tag. Inserting this photo was quick and simple.

The second is called Tag4Writer, and it is the answer to my request last night for a Technorati tag maker. It has presets for Technorati, Delicious, Flickr, IceRocket Buzznet, 43 Things and LiveJournal, plus a Custom setting where you can customize a tag or make a preset for another service. I made the tag below with it. Very easy, though I wish the + did not appear in the text.

The third is called Currently Listening, and inserts the name of the song you are listening to in your post. Because it only supports Windows Media Player and iTunes and I use the massively under-appreciated J. River Media Center, I have not tried it yet. As soon as it supports Media Center (or perhaps Last.fm‘s Audioscrobbler, which would also work), I’ll give it a whirl. Even if I can’t use it yet, it is a neat idea.

24 hours later, Live Writer is significantly better than it was when released. As more and more plugins get developed, I predict it will become the standard for blog editing and management.

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Dave Poo Poos on Live Writer

livewriterDave Winer more or less lays one on the head of today’s internet darling, Microsoft’s Live Writer.  Granted, he starts out saying its great that Microsoft made it, but the tone is more rain than sunshine.

He says it should be part of the browser.  Maybe, but let’s not forget that something in the nature of .00001% of the people who use browsers blog.  It would be feature overload for most- similar to the way I felt when I tried Opera.  There is a marginal utility to adding features to software.

Just because you can add something doesn’t mean you should.

Back in the day, I used the free version of Microsoft’s Front Page HTML editor to create some early web pages.  So there was a wysiwyg editor back then for the task at hand- nobody knew a blog from a grasshopper back then.  Later, as I learned html, I used the excellent, but long forgotten HotMetal Pro.  Even today there is one wysiwyg HTML editor that I like- Namo Web Editor.  It’s not the wysiwyg editor part that makes Live Writer so interesting- it’s its simplicity and the way it works across many platforms.

Dave is a scientist.  He creates very cool stuff for geeks.  Microsoft is a merchant.  It creates stuff for the masses.  The reason there is a market for what Microsoft makes is because there are a lot of people who are not smart enough to use what Dave makes.

Well there’s that and all the money Microsoft has to promote its products.

But the bottom line is that Microsoft has made something that can be used by non-geeks and non-programmers to fill a need.  That’s why I think it will take off while some perhaps cooler, but harder, products didn’t.

Sometimes Dave-light is good enough.

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Windows Live Writer

livewriterDwight Silverman raves about the public beta of Microsoft’s new blog editor, Windows Live Writer.  Ed Bott does too.

Ed points out that the guy behind Live Writer is J. J. Allaire, founder of Allaire Corp., which developed web site editors ColdFusion and HomeSite.  Those were good programs, so that bodes well for Live Writer.

I’m writing this post with Live Writer and although the proof is in how it will look once I publish it- so far it looks really nifty.

I need to test an image insert, so here’s another photo from our recent trip to the Frio River.

And I need to test the maps, so here’s a map of Concan, Texas.  You can see the Frio River running north to south.

 

Two Features I Really, Really Want

Here are two features I want (paging J.J.)- a way to upload an image to allyoucanupload.com and insert it into a blog post with one click.  Now that would be righteous.  Also a plug-in for making Technorati tags is a must.

As many of you know, I host my own blog and related content, but use blogger to create and publish posts.  While I have long wanted to move to WordPress, only to be stopped in my tracks by URL handling problems, Blogger is not a bad platform at all- at least when you use it the way I do.

One thing that I don’t like about Blogger, however, is its 18th century looking spell checker.  A more robust spell checker alone might be enough to get me to adopt Live Writer (why do I think Day Tripper every time I type that?).

UPDATE: After I temporarily disabled Zone Alarm so the program could communicate with my server in order to upload photos, it works really well.  Give me the two features described above and I’m sold.