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May 26, 2006

There Must Be a Better Way

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It’s been a challenging week for me. The easy part was “outing” myself. That hard part was...I’ll come to that soon, see item #3. I’ll have a more contentive (content + substantive) post in the next few days.

  1. Not sure what to make of this. Not trying to show off. But this is an interesting analysis by iNDi Business Solutions of how Guy Kawasaki is kicking Kawasaki’s butt on the Internet. At the very least, it shows what one Guy with a big mouth and a blog can do. Perhaps I should complain to ICANN that Kawasaki Motors is squatting on a domain that I should rightly own. :-)

  2. The guys at Jajah have been busy. They just added a FireFox plug-in. With this plug-in, phone numbers that are on web pages are automatically detected and highlighted. When clicked, Jajah initiates a phone call from your phone—landline or mobile—to the desired destination.

  3. This was the hard part of the week. Call me clueless. Call me pathetic. But for the life of me, I cannot figure this out. All I want to write my blog entries (while offline) in a more or less WYSIWYG mode. You know, where bold looks bold; italics look italics; ordered lists look like ordered lists; bulleted lists look like bulleted lists; you create hyperlinks by selecting text and adding the URL; and there are automatic smart quotes and em dashes. Then I want to copy the text and paste it into TypePad as HTML without funky stuff happening.

    I spent hours this week trying to find something to do this. I don’t want to learn HTML—this is 2006, so on principle no one should have to learn HTML to do what I want to do. I have tried about ten different programs—all the obvious choices that VersionTracker reveals. Let’s just say that my experience could be a Clint Eastwood movie called, “The Good, the Bad, and the Buggy.”

    This posting, believe it or not, was done this way: drafted in TextEdit, saved as HTML, opened with TextEdit Plus (which is a fabulous little editor), cleaned up, pasted into TypePad, and posted. What the shiitake am I missing? As Steve Jobs would say, “There must be a better way.”

    I know that Word can save-as HTML, but have you seen the resulting file? It would make a posting like this look like War and Peace. For example, the sentence, “There must be a better way” has twenty one characters. The Word HTML file with only the “display information” (that is, less stuff) has 1,122 characters! As Bill Gates would say, “There must be our way.”

    Please send suggestions. I’m so desperate (and I’m so impressed with Parallels) that I would even consider a Windows application to do this. God forbid.

  4. Check out this great story about iStockphoto at Wired. It’s called “The Rise of Crowdsourcing.” I love iStockphoto; it is a role model for every startup because it’s outside of Silicon Valley, and it took no outside capital. The picture that you see in almost every posting is from the company (did you think I already had a picture of a jarful of shiitake mushrooms?). If nothing else, “crowdsourcing” is a very clever term. Almost as clever as the new spin on “linkware” that you will learn about next week.

Comments

To fix the word html, use html tidy, the online version, or a find a windows version. It can convert html to semantic xhtml, by simply converting b's to strong's and i's to em's.

Abi Word. I haven't used Ecto, (but it sounds like I need to check it out). Abi Word reads simple MS Word files pretty well, converts to clean HTML. For simple HTML stuff (no css references) it's really easy to write quickly in Abi Word, then copy/paste to your blog page.

Wordpress is ok if you only want blogging stuff, but Drupal kicks butt if you want a little more stuff or you're planning on extending your services a little more. There are a few WYSIWG options available as Drupal modules so you can edit right in your browser, but I find it easier/cleaner to cut/paste rather than work with buggy browsers (not every browser supports these editors, notably Safari and KDE).

Try to use Qumana Blog Editor
http://www.qumana.com/overview.htm

Hi Guy,

I am like you, why must we learn html just to do anything? I moved from xanga to blogspot to 1up blog (gaming), back to xanga then to blogaspot and FINALLY to Wordpress. All because I have to struggle with HTML.

So I really do suggest wordpress and the add-on plug in make this program a wonder in control and management. Here is my rant and rave about this issue of html and control:
http://www.designsojourn.com/index.php/2005/11/21/designing-this-site-its-all-about-control/

One of my readers pointed me to this post. You might want to take a look at

http://www.oreillynet.com/mac/blog/2006/05/word_doc_to_html_take_2_1.html

where I (briefly!) discuss how to set TextEdit preferences to kill the CSS and save using XHTML tags.

A vote for Ecto here too...or switch to Expression Engine, a superior CMS and blogging tool that also has some nice tools built right into the interface.

I've been using Writely as a WYSIWYG HTML editor lately and it's great! I don't need to be offline when I write--in fact I find it convenient to have the quick HTML stuff online so I can access it from various computers. It's pretty clean HTML, if I am editing an existing document I will use Smultron to clean up the HTML if I need to. Nvu is nice for layout etc if you need that.

I'll add a vote for Ecto. I used Mars Edit for over a year, but there are many slick features on Ecto that won me over during the trial period of using it: tagging, for example. And while you "can" edit in WYSIWYG, click to an HTML view and then cut and paste into Typepad, you can also set it up to publish directly to your blog -- something you can also do in MarsEdit -- you'll likely prefer if you ever try it.

Guy,

You linked to kawasaki.com, did you filled out the PDF form first...:).

Ray

Guy,

There must be a better way: I'm probably not the first to ask this, but wouldn't it be better to list your comments in "ascending order"?, i.e. the first comment on top, the most recent at the bottom. It'd be a lot easier to follow the thread, instead of having to scroll down to the bottom and then reading up.

http://www.google.com/trends?q=guy+kawasaki%2Ckawasaki speaks another language...

Here's a different suggestion: maybe you can have Markdown on your weblog? It is WYSIWYG, but instead it's "you write something that looks like email and the resulting HTML is as you'd expect it to." That is, if you write something *like this*, the result is [em]like this[/em] (but with anglebrackets, which I can't type here). You make bulletted lists by writing them as you would in email:

* Item 1, blah blah
* Item 2, more blah
* More items and blah blah

And so on and so forth. Take a look: http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/ (the "Dingus" allows you to take Markdown for a spin right on that site).

What about http://www.qumana.com? Works quite good.

Guy, did you really read the iStockPhoto license before you agreed to it?

Quoting from the license at http://www.istockphoto.com/license.php:
You may install and use the Content in only one location at a time, although subject to the Prohibited Uses and the other terms of this Agreement, you are entitled to utilize the Permitted Uses an unlimited number of times. You may physically transfer the Content and its archives from one location to another, in which case you may use the Content at the new location instead. If you require the Content to be in more than one location or accessible by more than one person, you must download the Content from the Site for each such use or obtain an Extended License for a multi-seat license for the Content. You may make one (1) copy of the Content solely for back-up purposes, and you must reproduce all proprietary notices on this single back-up copy.


So, do you never back up the one computer onto which you download the content? If you do, do you never keep more than one backup of those files? I'm curious how you manage your istockphoto content in line with the license requirements.

What you want is a WYSIWYG editor (like FCKEditor) that only allows paragraph, link, image and stong or italic tags. Then the blog should wrap it all in a div tag with an id that matchs the style sheet.

Its my idea, fuku off, you cant have it.

I have struggled with the same problem. Sometimes you just want it to be so easy that you can not avoid blogging. And I should say I haven't found the answer yet.

I am pretty good with HTML, but I still don't want to use it all the time, especially for straight forward publishing, like regular posts in my blog.

I am also a hardcore user of LaTeX (when writing CS papers), so I am no stranger to writing in non-WYSIWYG environments and I am still looking for a good rich HTML editor for my blogging!

The closest I have come to what I think might pass your requirements is Word 2007. I know you talked about the crappy HTML that Word spits out. But believe me I was really surprised when I examined the HTML that blog posting feature in Word 2007 produces (see http://www.ghazizadeh.org/shayan/2006/05/posting-from-within-word/). The only catch is that it won't be out for Mac for a while and even the Windows version is in Beta2.

But try it out, you might be as pleasantly surprised as I became.

Try taking a look at Rapid Weaver.

Ecto

It handles everything, and well, and it has a UI that you can reduct to nothing. It has a simple, elegant way to add HTML tags to the quick pick if you want to do some tag editing, including a way to have the tags automatically include what's on the clipboard.

It's WELL worth the price, and would be worth it at twice the price.

Guy,

I also vote for Ecto (http://ecto.kung-foo.tv/), by far the best blog editor on any platform, though I will say the Mac version is 100x better than the PC version.

Save posts created in "rich text mode" locally, when you click "xhtml mode" before or after the save, it toggles over flawlessly every time.

I don't think you use very much html formatting in your posts beyond the stuff covered in "rich text" - bold, italic, bullets, images, links, etc. Nothing fancy, but you shouldn't have fancy stuff in the content of your posts anyway.

Good luck. Great blog.

If you're going down the Windows route, check out:

http://wbloggar.com/

Fairly intuitive, and works well with most blog services. Only the filenames generated aren't the best.

I second the recommendation for WordPress. VERY simple. And would love to know of Wiki applications that are as easy!

To Shiitake or Not To Shiitake,

Here's my thinking.

1. I have kids. I assume that whatever I write will haunt me for the rest of my life. If I use any profanity, my kids will someday call me upon it and say, "But daddy, you swear in your blog..."

2. Many Christian organizations read my blog. You know what I'm saying with shiitake, they know, and I know, but it's still "not profanity." I do not wish to lose their readership nor offend them.

3. Many years ago a pastor told me that whenever I speak I should pretend that Jesus is sitting in the front row. If you wouldn't say something if Jesus were there, then you shouldn't say it at all. (I have failed this standard many times, however.) So now I pretend that Jesus has an RSS feed to my blog.

So the bottom line is that when nothing else will work, I will use "shiitake." If you don't like it, well, that's chewy mushrooms.

Guy

I like Guy Kawasaki's usage of "shiitake" for the reason that any mind-drifting to profanity aside, it's a unique styling of his which I've come to identify with his personality. Maybe it's because I grew up seeing Guy use it in print--and so many years later, it continues--but I also think it's because I've eaten the mushrooms on occasion, and there's sort of a familial, sentimental flair.

Overused? Not to those who aren't familiar. What I suggest is that Guy continue to propagate and drop some more Kawasakisms. :)

And besides, if you're going to curse, might as find a new way to do it! :D


P.S. Guy, has your ZoomCloud not been updating lately or is it just me? I've noticed mine has been stuck for awhile... and I haven't heard back from the Zoom peeps.

Bull shiitake! I want to defend Guy. For those of us who learned how to swear from a drunken sailor, and who have kids around who we are trying to impress with our grasp on maturity, shiitake and "for c...crying outloud" gives us a safety handle to grab on to when we feel ourselves slipping. Trust me, we NEED to practice it every where we can, lest our kids grow up talking like...well...us. So, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Woops...forgot the url...sorry.

http://blogjet.com/

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