Blogging Tools (GEEK Alert!)

FTN recently posted his 10 best most favorite blogging tools and then wondered what others used. Mine is a little different constellation of hardware, software and applications, so I’ll share here:

1. My Sharp Zaurus SL – 5500 PDA: This Linux powered hand held device is the real powerhouse behind my miniature blogiverse. I type on the Blackberry-like thumb keyboard and safe it to either the CF or SD flash cards. I can then use a card reader to load it into my PC.

2. MS Word – It has some nifty features and is faster than Open Office. I’m working on shedding my dependency on this proprietary monster but rely on its grammar and spell check for what little editing I do. It seems rather crazy for FTN and others to be fiddling with notepad when they have Word sitting right there.

3. Mozilla Thunderbird – Many of you have switched to Firefox and you are smart to do so. Those who have not are simply slow and foolish. However, if you still use Microsoft’s virus incubator/vector called Outlook for email, you’re still not being very bright. I’ve been using Thunderbird’s RSS feature to read most of you the same way others use bloglines. I then take your posts, and copy and paste them into Word files, put the on the CF card and then I can read them on my Zaurus.

4. Flash cards, readers and memory sticks: others have extolled the virtues of these nifty little storage media and they are essential for moving posts (mine and yours) back and forth between where they are up/down loaded and where they are read/written.

5. WordPress: This has revolutionized my entire blogging experience. It keeps stats, keeps track of search terms used, who is linking, who is pinging, who is spamming, and basically makes every bit of blog management very painless. It eliminates the need for a lot of other tools that are used by my Blogger friends. And I still get my comments through the email address of my choice.

6. Juno Email: I should probably get a Gmail but years ago I used Juno as my ISP (back when they thought all email should be free) and keep it for blogging purposes. If I ever need to switch to another dial-up, Juno will be the one as it is still relatively inexpensive and one of the few who at least makes an effort to be Linux-friendly.

7. Puppy Linux: This is an operating system that fits on a thumb drive as small as 64 Mb. I also have a few copies burned on CDs. It runs entirely in RAM which means I don’t really need a hard drive at all and I’m able to use a laptop under IT lockdown as a second computer when Arwyn is using our main machine for her pictures and stuff. When Windows craps out, I’m not going to be left high and dry nor am I going to pay $150 U.S. to upgrade to Vista. Puppy is actually very robust for such a small OS with an easy graphical interface. If you have an old P3 sitting around, slap some cheap RAM in and Puppy will turn it into brand new zippy modern machine. Oh, and you can forget about the malware that is the bane of every Windows user’s existence. For Puppy it doesn’t exist. And if some freakish thing did happen to get it, you simply restart the computer. Remember, Puppy exists in RAM! It’s a great tool for blogging and online stuff.

8. Firefox: ( a body just has to surf and this is the tool I use. I can also subscribe using its RSS feed, but Thunderbird is just easier for what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.

9. Blogshares: This isn’t something I look at very often but it is often entertaining. I’m not a player, even though I have 2000 shares of my own blogs reserved just for me. And the blogger version of Reality and Redemption has historically been exceedingly valuable to those who do play. From what I understand, blogshares are valued by the incoming links compared to outgoing links. More incoming links are good, but some incoming links are worth more than others. My outgoing links have always been carefully rationed and managed which has provided very good dividends for those on my blogroll. This is also a good place to visit to find out who else is linking to your blog and who is linking who. I’ve discovered a really cool blog or two through this. However, only Blogger blogs are included in this, so WordPress users don’t get to play.

10. My desktop machine. While I do stuff on the Zaurus and occasionally on the laptop. my desktop is where it all comes together. It’s nothing fancy, just an Intel Celeron D with 512 RAM and 1.8 G processor and I’m still using dial-up and XP as the main OS. But that’s where I do most commenting from (all commenting for Blogger writers) and where I read most comments.

I had a hard time coming up with 10 items for this list! These are all tools and gadgets. Yes, it also takes time, energy, patience and a big drive to want to push material out. And somehow I’ve managed to push out sufficient material to keep 4 blogs afloat.

Nice change of pace even if it is super geeky.


4 Responses to Blogging Tools (GEEK Alert!)

  1. Tom Allen says:

    Digger, I’m going to reiterate: I’ve found that the Composer function in Mozilla (Seamonkey) has become the single most used tool for me. Most of the blogs – even WordPress – do not have the greatest online formatting tools. However, Composer allows me to format – down to the HTML level if I want, spell check, add links, and of course, save to my hard drive.

    Firefox or Mozz/Seamonkey can easily double as an RSS reader (and yes, there are still some extensions being written for Seamonkey). I never thought about using TBird as a tool, but it does make a decent reader, and one can write, spell check and format articles, making it very useful indeed.

    I seesaw between Gmail and Yahoo mail. The online Yahoo interface allows you to set up various folders – great for people like you, who have several dozen blogs. The Gmail format, though, can be good because of the built-in threading.

    Finally, I agree about WordPress. Sorry, Blogger, but WP is totally, totally cooler.

  2. FTN says:

    The only reason I use Notepad is that I usually do everything in straight HTML, and Word does some sketchy things with code on occasions. Notepad is very simple and will never correct, change, or try to reformat what I write.

    Hey, I use Word’s thesaurus feature. Doesn’t that count for something?

  3. diggerjones says:

    I like the mozilla browser and will use it in some instances as it is a bit less involved than Firefox. And WP just keeps getting beter.

    Okay, now I get the notepad thing. You’re a better editor than I am, as even with Word’s tools my posts are rife with little errors.

    I like the PDA because it gets be out from behind a monitor for awhile. I’m surprised more people don’t do that. I suppose more will when the smartphones and iphones take over.


  4. Tom Allen says:

    Instead of Notepad, I use a freeware replacement called Notetab. It has several tabs, so you can open more than one text file – helpful when editing or changing your Blogger template, or that long string of hand-coded URLs in your WP text box. I also like that I can set the background to blue and the text to white.

    Yes, I used DOS back in the old days. But it’s easier on my eyes, especially after staring at an Excel sheet all day.

    I use Mozz/Seamonkey for my “adult” hobbies, and Firefox for general use. That way, there’s little danger of someone at work or home discovering NSFW content. For example, clicking a link in Mozz mail opens a Mozz browser window.

    But the HTML Composer really is nicer to work with than a text editor. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age. I use a mouse instead of typing commands, and I now highlight words and paint them italic, bold, colors, etc. The several online Word replacements are nice, but just not as fast. Oh, and I’ve had some issues pasting documents composed in Zoho and Writely. Not as bad as Word, but still annoying whne you have to go back and fix lines manually. Oh, and Composer has spell check, unlike the text editors. My speeling is goood, but I do make some tpyos.

    Word and OO do have grammar checkers, though, but unless you’re writing a long story or technical stuff, do you really need that for blogging? I’m just asking, because the thought doesn’t occur to me to use it unless I’m looking for spell-checked words that are wrong in context (like ‘not’ instead of ‘now’, or ‘moans’ instead of ‘mons’).

    I love my T3, and I do have a keyboard for it, but I’m just not as fast with it or the Grafitti input to make writing enjoyable. I suppose I could practice more, but generally if I have a free moment (waiting in an office or in the car), I’m reading an ebook on it.

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