Perfromancing blog tool

Performancing's excellent tool Performancing for Firefox is a great boon to blog editors everywhere. There are, however, a few key features missing from this tool. With a little luck version 1.3 will have three new features or fixes. One is the ability to add free tags to a post's categories. With Drupal and WordPress it is possible to have tags one types in at the time of the post but it takes an extra edit once the item is posted when using the Performancing tool. Spellbound compatibility is another area that needs to be improved. While spellbound can mark misspelled words while you type you can't do a spell check or get suggestions. The final improvement and perhaps the most critical for the tool's audience of serious bloggers is a better way to identify the various blogs one posts to. In the current release Performancing doesn't allow the user to change the names but forces a naming convention of "username: blog". I use the same username on several systems, as I'd think do many bloggers. In my case I end up with a list of "joshb: blog." Guessing which one is which blog is cumbersome.


Well it's official. I'm a switcher. Not the kind of switcher that Apple has been advertising, however. Still using the trusty OS X machine (currently an iMac G5 with built-in iSight). And when the ship bearing all the money I don't know what to do with comes in  there's a Mac Book Pro in the future and a herd of Intel-based minis for the couple dozen embeded applications I'd like to run (entertainment center, car, barn etc.)No, I'm not a platform switcher but a web-browser switcher. The last bits of the transition included moving bookmarks from Safari to Firefox. Ellipsis Productions freeware product Safari Bookmark Exporter makes this a pretty painless process. Open the program (a 152k download) and three clicks later Safari's bookmarks are in Firefox. There are still some features that Safari has that are unmatched. RSS and spelling are the two major pluses. Safari pioneered the river of news format for RSS readers. NetNewsWire (which I'm moving to for RSS but that is a different post) kind of does river of news but it's slower than the day is long in that mode. On the spelling front it's more than just spelling. First though SpellBound is pretty good and now does in-line spell checking, it fails on the suggestion front. There is no simple "right click" to see the suggestion. It's multi-step and even the multi-step process doesn't work in Performancing's extension. The other part of it though is the inability to access the Oxford English Dictionary built into every OS X machine from Firefox. In Safari if you want to check the meaning of a word a right click "look up in dictionary" gets you a pop-up window with the meaning right there.

SpellBound for Firefox

Yesterday I mentioned the need for a good spell checker for Firefox. It turns out there is one. SpellBound provides great in-line spell checking for both web-forms and extensions like Performancing's great blogging tool. Now one gripe remains - it would be great if SpellBound had the suggestions for spelling in the contextual menu instead of having to bring up the spell check dialog. That is, however, a minor annoyance in the grand scheme of things. The ability to quickly add to blog posts throughout work is a great unbelievably valuable tool.

Tools for bloggers

One of those small icons at the bottom of a web page on my morning commute through the web had a link to Performancing's website. The company puts out some interesting tools. Publish is the tool for blogging in Firefox. Dubbed the "full featured FREE Blog Editor" it lives up to its claim. While browsing through the web a press of the F8 key brings up a blog editor on the bottom half of the screen. It works well. There are some things that remain to be worked out like it doesn't support free tagging in Drupal and in the list of blog names blogs are listed by the user name - which doesn't work well for those of us who commonly use the same user name on different blogs. The big downside (and may be a deal killer for now) is the lack of spell checking.Performancing also has a metrics package that is interesting. After some more testing I'll have a post on that as well..

The problem with photocasting

Lots of hay has been made this week over the Mac only nature of photocasting. Apple is being bashed from all sides for using photocasting as a marketing ploy for Safari. It seems, however, that a few relevant facts may be left out. Here's what I've been able to determine.

In addition to working with the Safari and iPhoto duo, photocasting also works well with Thunderbird on Windows and on both platforms Bloglines has no problem reading the feed and showing it.

Apple is checking for an RSS capable browser and if you don't have one you'll see a message suggesting Safari works well. What are they supposed to suggest instead? A competitor's product? Safari has some of the best river of news style RSS display of any browser on the market. Sure you can do the same thing with NetNewsWire but it eats CPU cycles and spits them out to get warmed up.

What is being overlooked is an interesting new setup. If you come to visit a feed with a non-feed reader why should I not set my web server to show you the content you will be able to see? Browser detection has been in use for years to accommodate mobile users with their WAP browsers. Why not do the same with web feeds on the desktop. Something to take a look at once the Drupal 4.7 release hits the streets.

Decline and fall of the Slashdot empire

Jeremy Zawodny comments today that "Slashdot is going out of style in 2006". I agree with his commentary that it will take some time for Slashdot to eventually go the way of Altavista, but he's completely right on with his prediction. In the article he notes that it is difficult to judge what the few in control over at Slashdot will find worthy and quickly one decides it's not only worth posting but you're so unsure what you'll get if you read that there are better feeds out there to spend time on.


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