Posted in Blogging, Technology and Software

ScribeFire Lake

I’ve got some suspicions about how I came to lose the draft I was working on in ScribeFire. It saves the drafts automatically… so I didn’t hit the wrong button; it just saved itself at an inopportune moment.

In this case, I opened up ScribeFire, which had my post waiting there. Before it was fully displaying, I changed my mind and closed it again. I suppose the text hadn’t had time to appear, and ScribeFire saved it like that before closing (I noticed the hesitation).

And that’s it in a nutshell.

Something else that tripped me up: it used to be that every time you changed the title of a post you were working on, you got a brand new post with the old one being left alone… as a result, you might end up with four or five posts with titles such as the following:

Changing My Mind Again

I was banking on that, and only realized ScribeFire wasn’t doing that any more when I deliberately renamed a post from Post II to Post I, then changed Post I, secure (or so I believed) in the knowledge that I still had Post II waiting in the wings for further editing.

In fact, all I had was Post I, and when I deleted blocks of it, those blocks were gone. Fortunately I had a copy in Word (because of my previous loss).

People do unexpected things like suddenly decide to close a document again… and they develop a method of working which clashes with software changes we weren’t expecting. If you take away stepping stones without replacing them with some kind of warning dialogue, we fall in the river!

Actually, this makes me think of a news item about someone who ended up dooking his vehicle in a flooded area because his Sat Nav hadn’t been updated to show that there wasn’t a road there any more. He blamed the Sat Nav, but people can’t help asking how it was he didn’t see the lake? I don’t know, I wasn’t there. But I certainly didn’t see the ScribeFire lake.

Posted in Blogging, Rants, TV and Films

Unbalanced TV Diet (repost)

I deleted the following post by accident via ScribeFire. I was trying to delete it from the ScribeFire drafts, not as a completed, polished and published post from the actual blog, so as you can imagine, I’m pretty annoyed!

I’m also annoyed because I was working on a long post in ScribeFire, one I had already spent a couple of days on, and that just vanished. The post title is still there, but the content is gone. Remind me not to ‘work on things’ in ScribeFire again — I’ll probably continue to use it as a handy code generator, but no longer for actual blog posts.

Frasier is comforting. A show like Will and Grace never grabbed me, but you can depend on Frasier. His apartment is home — you want to sit watching TV with Martin, or go out on the balcony to gaze at a Seattle sunset and the lights coming on all over the city.

Sometimes I crave Frasier like I crave a drink when I’m thirsty.

Mum’s TV habits sometimes give me the feeling I’m eating too many sweets, or too much salty food. It’s frustrating to see her flipping through the TV guide… skipping over Frasier, Stargate, Desperate Housewives, the news and anything else I was quite in the mood for, and ending up on MASH, Britain’s Best Dish, Family Fortunes, The Weakest Link, 1 vs 100, Golden Balls, Eggheads, Judge Judy, the X Factor and anything else that drives me crazy. I’ve even got fed up with Come Dine with Me. But it’s her TV, so I don’t say anything. I’ve got my own TV upstairs, and sometimes I’m too tired, lazy or company-seeking to come up here and watch it. Some channels are not available upstairs, including the one with Frasier on it.

So I read a book instead.

Posted in Blogging, Technology and Software

Four Links to Who-Knows-Where

Today I was alarmed to discover that one of my older posts on WordPress had a list of four links at the foot of it. The list was headed ‘possibly related posts’. The first link was to one of my own posts; the other three was to posts by blogs I didn’t even know. I saw it as a type of advertising spam, and I didn’t want it.

Investigating, I found that some bloggers were reporting a rise in the number of trolls visiting their blogs, as well as bloggers whose views were radically opposed to their own. Some of the links led to inappropriate sites, and there was nothing to point to the fact that the poster wasn’t endorsing these places. A quick look in my stats showed that I was receiving referrals from sites I didn’t think had any interest in my blog… turns out they had my posts in their ‘possibly related links’.

The good news is that I could opt out – and I did. I wish I’d known earlier it was happening, as I wasn’t seeing any of those links at the foot of recent posts. I won’t be receiving any of the traffic generated by this exercise, but I was happy enough the way I was before.

Meanwhile, the latest ScribeFire update still wasn’t working for me; in particular I was getting login errors when I tried to reconnect it with my blog… so I downgraded to the version I was happy with. It’s like going home.

Posted in Blogging, Rants, Technology and Software

Small, Unexpected Changes

PS It’s one of those days (in a minor way) when one thing going wrong leads you straight into another thing going wrong…

ScribeFire had a fresh update which at first seemed OK, then it started telling me it couldn’t or wouldn’t delete my notes. I wasn’t sure what was up with that, but it didn’t seem too terrible, so I left it. Doubtless it would be sorted in the next update.

I typed out a fresh post which it allowed me to save only once, but that wasn’t a disaster either, as it wasn’t forgetting anything I typed into it.

“B-b-b-but I’m addicted to hitting ‘save’!” I grumbled, feeling lost. That seems a weird objection, but it’s true. Saving every little change is as routine as making coffee. Hunting for the save button and not finding it makes me hesitate. In fact I nearly hit the ‘Clear Content’ button instead, as it was over in that corner.

Later on (after I turned off the computer so a guy could bring Sky to my delighted old analogue TV), I tried to post something, but discovered Scribefire had forgotten where my blog was. I clicked around, looking to see if there was a list of blogs from which Aw Diddums had accidentally been deselected, but couldn’t see anything, so started to remind it via the ‘launch wizard’. I got as far as being asked for my password and was spooked enough to cancel without answering. It didn’t make sense that it had forgotten the first time; I would rather wait it out. My imagination was running riot again, with the squeaky little voice whispering “it could be a haaaaaaaacker!!” Aw shush.

Gradually it occurred to me there was nothing stopping me from using my own blog’s dashboard, so I toddled over there, pasted my blog post, and looked at the list of categories. I read it over three or four times before realizing (panicking) that Agoraphobia wasn’t there. Had some haaaaacker been tinkering with my blog?

THEN I noticed the small print beside the list of categories. It said, ‘Most Used’. Underneath that was a link to ‘All Categories’. OH!

When you’re not expecting to be presented with an abridged list, it wastes your time while you scroll up and down looking for the thing that isn’t there. Agoraphobia should have been right at the top, alphabetically… it would have suited me to have the whole list there. I notice this time it’s still on the ‘All Categories’ tab – probably ‘Most Used’ is the default when you’ve not been on the site for a while, or when you’ve been doing most of your posting via ScribeFire. I hope ScribeFire feels better soon. It’s gone a little bit haywire and I miss it.

Posted in Blogging, Music I Like

From ScribeFire to Soolaimon

Playing Neil Diamond again – my favourite tape of his has always been Tap Root Manuscript.

One of the bad things about my having moved to WordPress from Blogigo is that I can see which of my links people have clicked on. 🙂 Nobody followed my last link to Soolaimon… do you all know what it sounds like? Either that or most people read this from work. I should stay out of the blog stats, but my main reason for looking is the keyword search data. I used to envy how people could see what searches brought surfers to their blogs. Now I can, too. Nothing of particular interest so far – most visitors from outside the local blog community drop by looking for Nothing Lasts Forever (it seems to have a connection with Ashes to Ashes?), Forever Autumn from The War of the Worlds, D.i.d.d.u.m.s P.a.r.t.y S.t.o.r.e (I don’t know what that is, but I put the dots in to make it less searchable), writing inventories (makes me feel warm and fuzzy knowing I’m not the only one), desktop pictures, ScribeFire, magic teddy bears and “life will find a way” (from Jurassic Park).

Also the occasional search for the best way to break one’s neck.

I seem to have given a few pointers to people setting up ScribeFire. Talking of which, I’m still using it. I even use it if I’m not posting on my blog but need a bit of code for a comment. It has been updated twice since I downloaded it, and it now has tags as well as categories, plus a few other extras. It seems we will be able to put timestamps on our posts if/when we get Firefox 3.

Something I’ve always liked about this is, when I have ScribeFire open, it takes up the bottom part of the browser, and I can switch from tab to tab (or scroll) without disturbing the ScribeFire section.

I mentioned Neil Diamond at the start of this post for a reason, but got sidetracked… Mum was sorting through her tapes and came across some by him. She put them in the ‘keep’ pile, and I said “I don’t know why people are so down on Neil Diamond. He’s cooler than most singers.”
“Never a dud song,” agreed Mum.

I was just thinking about the video clip I found of him singing Soolaimon. What amazed me about that was I never saw him sing it; just knew the tapes and the records for years… then the other day I saw the video clip and he sang that so effortlessly. I don’t know what I was expecting. I’d like to speak the way he sings – speech to me is something that takes so much effort, and I’m lucky if anybody hears or understands – I have a very quiet voice. I’d like to say something as though it was round, warm and full of the sun, and everybody would know just what I meant.

Somebody did come to my blog trying to find out what Soolaimon is, but that’s not what I’m referring to. 🙂 I always thought it was King Solomon, but that was the best judgement I could come up with as a teenager. I didn’t know the words of the song, so I had no additional clues. If anybody finds out who Soolaimon is, I’d love to know too.

Posted in Blogging, Technology and Software

Staring Suspiciously at ScribeFire

I never had any intention of using a blog editor, but last night I found myself sitting here looking at the Firefox extension ScribeFire. I used it to post my last two entries.

I’m not entirely sure why I downloaded it… I think I was scared by stern warnings from WordPress Help not to copy and paste text from wordprocessing software (actually I type my posts into my Eudora email application and copy them from there, and have had no obvious problems doing them that way). It also resulted from following a bunch of links by people saying “get yourself a blog editor! You’ll never look back!”

I wasted ages searching for the WordPress API URL. There seemed to be hundreds of people hunting round for it in increasing desperation, and just as many smug people who had it and weren’t talking about how they got it. It was so frustrating when people asked “what is the API URL?” and somebody else said “don’t ask here, go away!” or “why don’t you have a look at (some place we’d already checked)“… and sometimes the person who had asked would get back and say “oh, it’s OK, I’ve got it!” and not say WHAT they had got or where from. At one point I read something that made me think I had been misled, and people posting to blogs couldn’t use third party blog editors. I nearly gave up.

I only found the relevant page in FAQ by searching for XML-RPC. The title of the help article is XML-RPC and Desktop Apps – no mention of ‘blog editors’, ‘ScribeFire’ or ‘API URL’. Half an hour before, I hadn’t heard of XML-RPC, and ‘end point’ didn’t mean anything to me at all. It turned out that the stern warning (about not using Word) linked to it as ‘desktop clients’, but if you happen to miss this, which I did, searching for ‘API URL’ turns up nothing of consequence.

I’m not sure yet if ScribeFire is worth my while. It’s pleasanter to use than hamming around in Eudora, and it seems I can do things in different fonts and font sizes without having to insert the code myself. It’s possible to save the blog posts as ‘notes’, but I’m not sure how many I could keep… and I don’t really want to keep them there. I want to store them in a nice solid wordprocessing application, nicely laid out.

Other concerns:

  • categories are added but not tags, so I have to go to my site anyway to add them
  • there is no ‘link break’ button, so if I change my mind about a link, I have to delete the code myself
  • I can’t use special characters such as the en-rule
  • I can’t specify timestamps in the past or future, although I can post entries as drafts
  • the ‘notes’ in Scribefire do not save the date and time the post was published, and that has to be searched out and added separately to any other copies I’m keeping
  • I found an ‘enable pings’ checkbox (unchecked) which unnerved me, thinking maybe my last two live posts didn’t ping the directories (though who cares about those posts?)

Because I want to keep the blog posts in AppleWorks or Eudora, I tend to copy them there anyway. Using ScribeFire is no quicker or less bulky than my original method. On the other hand, I can put the links, bullets and other formatting straight in, and copy my post across as a draft. I can also add and position my images, and (unless something goes wrong) they will be copied to WordPress when I hit ‘publish’. I will still have to add their descriptions separately.

Time will tell.