Minor Tweaks and Minimal Tweets

Yeah, this blog has pretty much been a wasteland lately – no new posts of any great shakes, and a whole lot of “weekly tweets” auto-posts… BOR-RRING! So based on something ***Dave said the other day, clearly it seemed like a good time to look at getting a better process for doing more actual blog posts here, even if they might be shorter.

This all stems from the change in my ability to blog from work during “slow time” or times when I’m not busy and just waiting for an incoming call. As I think I’ve blogged earlier it’s really cut down on the volume AND QUALITY of posts; and leaving it all for the weekend or the evenings just hasn’t been working that well.

Although I was initially excited by the advent of the Express App for the iPhone, which works with the WooTumblog plugin, I quickly discovered it was lacking a couple of features.

The first one was the lack of a bookmarklet, to make it behave a bit like Press This Reloaded so that I could pick  up a link and a quote from a given page.

The second was that when I managed to implement the WooTumblog plugin, the “quote” template had a “source” field that to my mind was clearly meant for a URL to cite, but actually it was just a link to the post title URL… of the post the reader was… already reading.

So I put the attractive, easy to use Express App button on a lower page on my iPhone, and went back to trying to get the occasional link to work with Press This Reloaded (which works fine on the iPad, but barely or not at all on the iPhone due to weird things that happen to URLs on the mobile phone).

I’d occasionally go looking for solutions, and run across posts like this one where clearly, I was not the only one longing for a kick-ass bookmarklet for WordPress from the iPhone (and you’ll notice I don’t mention using the official WordPress app, which is… pretty telling, don’t you think?).

When Matt Mullenweg announced the live version of WordPress 3.1, he said, “There’s a bucket of candy for developers as well, including our new Post Formats support which makes it easy for themes to create portable tumblelogs with different styling for different types of posts…”

And there are some really promising Themes ready to carry out that task, including Wumblr, Lightbright, and from WooThemes,  Auld, each of which do a great job of taking advantage of this new post format feature. Auld distinguishes itself already by taking advantage of a slew of “Tumblog” utilities that WooThemes has provided for some time now, including Express App for iPhone, extensive multimedia support, and their advanced QuickPress funtionality that is built into the theme.

The good folks at WooThemes have made their Tumblog Plugin available to everyone. And their documentation on what to do to make your blog tumblog read is extensive. So, you can tune any theme to take advantage of the power of the new WordPress 3.1 features. The Tumblog plugin automatically enables their QuickPress widget. Combine that with their Express App and you’ve just taken a huge leap toward the ease of use that distinguishes platforms like Tumblr and Posterous.

Here’s the problem. Something is missing.

All of that is excellent, but  the main reason why I’ve been excited for the release of WordPress 3.1 is the hope that it wouldn’t require me to run to so many different sources for plugins and widgets to get to this kind of functionality. The problem? Something is still missing. It’s a better bookmarklet.

And then in my feed I ran across a reference to a new, paid WordPress theme from WooThemes called Canvas (their stuff does look nice, for all that most of the themes are pay and not free). This new theme was newly updated to work with the Express App/Woo Tumblog plugin out of the box, and I started thinking that maybe it might be time to do a revamp on the site a little.

Canvas is highly customizable and has a very simple process for changing  style elements and post types on the fly. Even a skilled webslinger finds it’s flexible enough to work with on a complex project. There are a number of “how to customize Canvas” videos that made it look quite easy and even fun to customize the appearance and make it “your own.”

So then I signed up for a 2 week “trial play period” at WooThemes and set up a test blog using Canvas, and realized “Oh, right, that thing that bothered me about Express App/WooTumblog still bothers me.”

After tinkering with the look of the test blog, I started realizing that I could probably make a theme with Canvas look pretty much like the current theme does here, probably also with the image rotator from my “best in show” Flickr set.

This made me really ponder the $70 purchase price (it includes two free themes) and think it might be worth it anyway, but just in case there was a chance of getting something better working, I sent a query via the Express App website, mentioning my two suggestions.

Much to my surprise yesterday (the Saturday of a holiday weekend no less), I got this reply back within an hour:
Hi Ginny, I’m sorry you have issues with Express, but we’re here to help so let me answer your questions.

1. By bookmarklet, do you mean one for your desktop browser, or one for Safari on the iPhone? For the later, I plan on adding something like similar in the future, but I don’t know when.

2. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to add a link to a quote from Express. I plan on adding it soon though. The ‘source’ field is actually for the author. What I can do, if you don’t need the author field, is to make a custom version of the WooTumblog plugin (just for you), that uses the ‘source’ field for the URL, until I release an update of Express that supports the quote URL. Would you be okay with this? Oli Kenobi Studios

I replied back with more information, examples, and a link to that “better bookmarklet is needed” blogpost, and earlier today (on a SUNDAY morning, even) I had a custom WooTumblog plugin (Oli is the programmer) that behaves more like a “quote/cite URL” template the way I wanted it. He cautioned me not to update the plugin after it was installed (my husband David, who’s written a plugin himself, installed it).

And… ta DAH, it’s working! This makes the Express App much more of a viable option for those times during the day when I want to grab a quick link AND a quote and blog it without too much fuss. I don’t mind that there’s currently no tagging or categories, but I’m told that this has a higher priority than my other “wish,” which was an easy 1-button bookmarklet. As it is, I have a two-stage process that’s simpler and easier than struggling with WordPress with Press This Reloaded, which only shows me my quicktag and HTML tab (which is okay) but rarely formats the URL AND the quote correctly.

I can work with this, I can blog more.

Now as for other kinds of content, I’ve got a big backlog of photos from our Washington State trip to upload to Flickr, and I’ll be able to blog some of them pretty easily too – and videos now and then, too.

Hooray for Express App… and maybe sometime soon, hooray for a revamped Blogula Rasa with a spiffy new WooThemes look.

Fixed the Delicious 500 Error Posting Problem (I Hope)

My benign neglect of all things Blogula is ending – at least that’s my intention. One little thing that’s been bugging me is a bug with Delicious.com’s filtering – they’ve recently started filtering out links saved via their otherwise excellent service that they identify as “malicious” or bad somehow, and replacing them with “Internal Server 500” errors. I finally tracked down the Postalicious plug-in’s blog to get a possible fix for this problem, or at least a workaround: burn the Delicious feed through Feedburner, and use THAT feed in the plug-in.

As a side note, duh, when did Google buy Feedburner? Oh, well, I’ve been spending too much time just reading in Google Reader rather than actually writing or blogging to keep up with this stuff.

My Delicious link feed will now be http://feeds.feedburner.com/ Delicious/ginnyred57

And I promise to save interesting links, once I’m satisfied the thing is working right. The posts will be titled “Links” instead of “Linkdump” if I set it up right.

Via Shifting Mind » Postalicious 2.0

Is this thing still on?

Yes, Ginny is a bad blogger. A bad, bad blogger; she never updates her blog. Or she lets automatic updates fill in the blanks from Twitter and leaves her broken del.icio.us reposter running.

She’s on vacation and tinkering with a really old desktop blogging platform on her laptop called ‘ecto for windows’ that hasn’t been updated by the developer since about 2007.

It would have been convenient to work offline, but oh, well, she’ll have to blog the normal way after all.

More to follow.

Pinboard or Delicious? Staying For Now

Stay if you…

  • Like a more graphical UI.
  • Dont want to pay a signup fee Pinboard costs around $6 to join.
  • Want to see thumbnails of your bookmarks.
  • Want to auto-post to WordPress or Twitter from your account.
  • Are excited about integrating your bookmarks with other Yahoo services.
  • Want a Firefox plugin for bookmarking.
  • Rely on tag bundles to keep your tags organized.
  • Want to see who has you in their network.
  • Like to share URLs with others using for: tags.
  • Want a more compact list view of your bookmarks.

Don’t want to pay, want to auto-post, want a Firefox plugin, want a compact view. So that’s where I’m at, standing pat for now.

via Pinboard or Delicious?.

We All Tumblog Down

Finally… finally. It’s working, now that I’ve finally figured out where the tags go. I did have to replace WP’s the_title tag with Woo Tumblog’s tag, but I didn’t fully replace the entire line and permalink.

Will need to figure out how to style the Links, Quotes, Video etc. tumblog archive links with a background image for each. Currently, if a post is a “link” post, the title link is replaced by the tumblog link, with a text link above to the “link” archive (or quotes, or whatever). I’d rather that word was replaced by the icon, but will have to figure it out later.

The icons I’d like to use are:


for Link, Article, Quote, Audio, Image, and Video respectively.

In the meantime, I’ve got Press This Reloaded, a plugin that extends the standard Press This bookmarklet, tweaked a bit for my desktop and tweaked slightly differently for the iPhone. There’s still some kind of problem with getting Press This to work well on the iPhone, but I’ve got something cobbled together. What’s more, the tumblog functions are accessible from the same window. So look for more actual short-form blogging during the day now that I have a way to grab links easily again, but not so much incessant sharing.

And now I must get to sleep, before I tumblog down in a stupor. Sorry for the boringness, tra la la!

Woo Link Still Not Working?



Actually, it’s sort of working, because I decided put the woo_tumblog_the_title in the template after all, just not entirely replacing my title tag. And then I added the woo_tumblog_link_content just above the woo_tumblog_content tag I’d previously added.

So hey, if you click the title link, it’ll lead you to the WooThemes page. Now I just need to figure out adding a graphic to it to highlight the fact that it’s not a normal title link.

Unfortunately for WooTumblog, I did get the Press This Reloaded bookmarklet working on the iPhone somehow… it turns out that whatever page I’m on can’t have extra added cruft in the URL, such as that added by Google Reader. And even then some pages (in the iPhone only) just won’t work because some script is messing things up, but it’s pretty reliable so long as I copy some text to quote, which seems to invoke the plug-in and get the URL turned into a link.

Oy. At least it leads to more quick blogging. Which is a good thing, right? Right?