Category Archives: It’s The Geekend

It’s The Geekend! – No, Apple Did Not Invent Mobile Blogging

My Mobile Adventures *~*~* presents
“It’s The Geekend!” Volume 1, No. 3
© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
No, Apple Did NOT Invent Mobile Blogging

I have a Google search set up to come into my Google Reader as an RSS feed. The search is simply, “Mobile Blogging”. When I first set it up several months ago, I was probably getting between 1 and 3 hits daily. In the advent of the second coming of iPhone, I am now inundated with blog entries that all start like one of these –

“My iPhone is a mobile blogging tool!”

“Mobile blogging in the iPhone style”

iPhone apps 4 mobile blogging FTW”

“So I’m trying out the mobile blogging with my new iPhone.”

“I’ve got myself a mobile blogging platform in the iPhone

“I am posting with my iPhone using the new WordPress app.” “Got the iPhone wordpress app going. Time to start mobile blogging. Yay! More pointless chatter”

“This is kind of neat. Maybe there is an actual use for the iPhone.”

Those last two left me rolling! But, I trust you get the idea.

I’ve been mobile blogging since October 2007. In fact, I set up my Blogger blog specifically for the purpose of mophoblogging (mobile photo blogging) from Walt Disney World. I like to kid myself that the 24 hour post quantity limitation and subsequent captcha control was implemented because of people like me, trying to help the folks stuck home get a Disney fix by literally following me around the parks all day. There were a couple of days when I sent more than 50 photo posts to the blog from my Motorola RIZR.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, mophoblogging since October 2007 – 9 months, give or take – is not very long. It doesn’t exactly make me the elder stateswoman in this arena, or anything like that. However, in this day and age where social media startups happen every day, and when technology is outmoded the minute you purchase it, that’s probably a long time to be doing the same thing using the same services and mostly the same equipment.

These brand-new iPhone 3G owners are acting like they are pioneers of mobile blogging – like it’s some new thing that the iPhone 3G introduced to the world. The fact is, mobile blogging existed well before the iPhone 3G was little more than a rumor. Why, when I was a kid, we had to mobile blog uphill, both ways, in three feet of snow – with a MotoRIZR!

So – iPhone 3G users, hear ye – get over yourselves! Mobile blogging / mophoblogging is not an innovation of the Apple iPhone 3G. You don’t even have a really good camera on that thing with which to do it! Have fun doing it, but know this – Apple didn’t invent it.

Actually, I shouldn’t be yelling at you. One of my very good cyber friends just got an iPhone 3G for her birthday, and I’m happy for her. It’s something she really wanted, and she should play with it in good health! She’s also a very savy social media type and is well aware that mobile blogging has been around for considerably longer than her new toy has. However, judging from the posts of wonderment and amazement coming across the Google Reader from some of the other new iPhone 3G owners, banannie is the exception.

It’s not the typical iPhone 3G owner’s fault that even SOCIAL media can tend to pick up mostly the big boys’ balls and run with them. Just look at how much coverage the 3G got at it’s release. You could not read anything anywhere without bumping into more hype – as in, hyperventilating – about the iPhone 3G. So it is probably the fault of the media, even social media, that many of you knew next to nothing about the existence of mobile blogging until Apple decided to release a 3G device that takes ok photos, AND 400 bazillion 3rd parties decided to make mobile apps for it – amongst which are “mobile blogging apps” for WordPress and Typepad blogs.

FYI: you could ALWAYS mobile blog from a phone that can do email or SMS text messaging. You didn’t need 3G or these “mobile blogging apps” installed on your mobile device. You didn’t even need a smart phone!

So now, when my Google search on “mobile blogging” starts overflowing Reader with messages that contain that phrase alongside the word “iPhone”, I have to laugh. Have fun with your iPhone. Enjoy it! It’s a neat little toy. Not as neat as the N95 (still saving…. stay tuned!), but really cool. But just know that it’s not sliced bread. That loaf was cut long before the iPhone 3G was a twinkle in Steve Jobs eye.
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It’s The Geekend! – Are you reading this blog through Spokeo?

My Mobile Adventures *~*~* presents…
“It’s The Geekend!” Volume 1, No. 2
© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

Are You Reading This Blog Through SPOKEO?

Hello, mah peeps. FeedBurner is telling me I have 39 subscribers, and that 14 of you are reading via Spokeo.

If you are one of the Spokeo readers, can you raise your hand please? I’d like to follow you back, but Spokeo doesn’t seem to have a feature that allows me to see who has my blog listed under “Friends”.

So… if you are one of the Spokeo subscribers, please leave a comment or email me or send up a flare or whatever! I’d like to have the opportunity to follow you back.

BTW, for those who never heard of Spokeo – it’s a social media aggregator. Suppose one of your friends has a blog AND they’re on Twitter, AND they post photos to Flickr, AND they post videos on YouTube, etc. With an aggregator you don’t have to go to four different places to read their stuff. You just go to the aggregator, and there it all is. There are other aggregators out there besides Spokeo. I have an account with Spokeo, but I also like FriendFeed, especially since there is an iGoogle widget available for FriendFeed. I just put it on my iGoogle home page and I can see at a glance who is posting what. If the source that you want to read has an RSS feed, you can always use Google Reader, too. I have also messed around a little with Feedly, which is a Firefox add-on. And speaking of Firefox add-ons….

ScribeFire Update

A few weeks back, I wrote about ScribeFire, a blogging tool that is actually a Firefox add-on and very convenient to use. Overall, I really like it; however, I did mention in that article that I was having some issues uploading photos. The next release of the Firefox add-on seems to have fixed those particular issues; however, several readers have told me this week that they are unable to see my photos. It doesn’t happen to all of my readers, and it doesn’t happen all the time, but the one condition that seems to be consistent among people cannot see my photos is that the photos in question were uploaded using ScribeFire. If I replace them with something I uploaded from the Blogger interface or with something that is hosted elsewhere, we are fine.

Regrettably, I will probably discontinue the use of ScribeFire for my blogging tool needs. I am pretty much all about the photos on this blog, so anything that might be interfering with your viewing pleasure is of some concern to me. If I find out that it’s NOT ScribeFire, I’ll happily use it again. As I type this, I see that Blogger is threatening a “scheduled outage” at 4:00 PM PDT (in 20 minutes, yikes, better finish!) – so maybe, just maybe it’s a Blogger problem and they’re going to fix it tonight.

I’ve thought about trying to find another blogging tool to use, but there’s going to be a major event coming soon that might make that unnecessary….

This Blog Will Be Moving Soon!

Date to be determined! For months now, my friend and website guru Annie of Pixel Currents has been working on and off on setting up a new home for My Mobile Adventures *~*~* self-hosted using WordPress. I like Blogger, but I’ve got a lot of space over at the hosting site where TinkRBell is located. That’s my pre-blog trip report site – lots of Sanibel and Disney trip reports and photos live there, from before I moved to Florida. I want to make use of all the space and bandwidth I have there, and have a photo gallery as well.

We’ve had TinkRBell shut down for a while now, redirecting everyone to here at the blog while we tried to figure some things out and messed around in the boiler room some. One of the things that stopped us from getting on with it and launching the new site was figuring out how to make Word Press do the “mobile” part. We messed with Utterz, but the photos were teeny tiny when we initially messed with it, so the idea was abandoned. I have, however, used Utterz here at the Blogger blog to send audio and video from my phone, and it works swell for those purposes. You can even mash them together if you time it right – audio, text, photo, video, combined into a single post.

I really kind of enjoyed the time I was at Disney and sort of having a conversation with Snowbird and Mare in real time. I would send a mobile post to the blog, they would comment, the comments would come to my phone via SMS text, I would call Utterz and leave an audio response which got forwarded to the blog, they would comment some more… it was really fun! And I want to get into more of that sort of interaction while I’m out and about mobile blogging.

Anyhow, fast forward a few months and we became aware of a mobile blogging plug-in for WordPress that looked really promising, but I didn’t have the right phone for it. Honestly, I was getting peeved by my carrier’s inability to give me bars out on the islands anyway, so I was ripe to switch services, but the WordPress plug-in situation kind of sent me over the edge, and that is how the Crackberry came about.

Alas, we found the WordPress plug-in to be buggy and uncooperative. And then came the day when Utterz decided to offer larger photo sizes – yay! We did some testing and voila, we were in business!

So now we are all excited, knocking out walls, picking out new drapes and carpeting, doing some decorating, and all that kind of thing. We are getting pretty close to the point where we can re-launch TinkRBell and the new blog. I’ll be sure to start bellowing about it often and early, and I’m hoping that not too many of you, my precious subscribers, gets lost!

OK, I think that’s enough geekishness for one post. Long post! Have a great GEEKEND! TTYL

Zemanta Pixie

IT’S THE GEEKEND! Volume 1, Number 1

My Mobile Adventures *~*~* presents…
“It’s The Geekend!” Volume 1, No. 1

Introduction to “It’s The Geekend!”

Look, it’s like this. I have a Google Reader, and it’s loaded. I subscribe to fun stuff like Gizmodo, Mashable, ProBlogger and Lifehacker. Keyword searches on Goggle and Google News come into my reader, too. I search on mobile blogging, camera phones, MIDs (mobile internet devices), UMPCs (ultra-mobile personal computers), and all that other fun toyage that makes my heart sing.

Some days, I am so immersed in work, I don’t get to read much, so it piles up until the weekend.Or, in my case due to the subject matter, the “Geekend”.  😀

Now, I don’t want anyone to misunderstand me when I call myself a “geek”. I am not a technical expert on anything. I am, rather, a fan of personal technology. I do not pretend to understand a lot about what makes it tick. I am only interested in it for what it can do for me, and how well it can do it.  In other words, my interest in the latest gadget really pertains to how it can make me more personally productive. 

As I read about all this stuff, I may have a thing or two to say about it. I might also try some tools and tricks and tips and have something to say about that, too. And when I do, it will all be published right here, under the heading of “It’s The Geekend!”

The first thing I have something to say about is a Firefox add-on blogging tool called ScribeFire.


This post is being written in ScribeFire. I’ve written posts in ScribeFire before; I just haven’t told you about it.

It’s a pretty neat tool, a Firefox add-on. After installation, you can open it by using an icon in the bottom bar in Firefox, or else you can go to Tools and it will be there. You could also just push F8 while in Firefox. Personally, I use the icon in the lower bar.

A window pops open that is initially sized to float horizontally across the open browser window. This is handy if you are going to blog about something you just read on that page.  You have the option to size this window any way that works for you, so you’re not married to the default size.

There is a full complement of editing features at the click of the mouse; the standard toolbar full of buttons that do things like bold, italics, switch fonts, etc, plus buttons that allow you to insert from Flickr or YouTube.

You can start a number of posts and save them as “notes” for future publication (note that I’m making notes about Feedly and about DashBlog as well; you’re just going to have to keep guessing about “things I love ab…..”  😀  )   I found this feature pretty handy as I was preparing this very post; I’ve been using ScribeFire for about a month and a half now, and would periodically come back to my ScribeFire note to record an observation or peeve.  That note became this post.

Something I kind of like is the “insert a special character” button, which makes a special character toolbar suddenly appear. When was the last time you knew where to find § or ¥ or even © when you needed them? I bet you didn’t even KNOW that you needed them; but now, with the “insert a special character” button, you suddenly need them all the time! 😀

Another feature I really appreciate is that ScribeFire is a Firefox add on, and can therefore apparently leverage the Firefox spell check feature. Like Firefox, ScribeFire underlines all your errors with the dread dotted red line, and you can right-click to correct.

You can insert links or photos into a post from ScribeFire. You can insert from a URL or from your hard drive. The application asks you if you want to upload them via the blog’s API or via FTP. I always pick the API. The resulting code, which you can view in ScribeFire’s source editing pane, is different than the code you would get if you were using the Blogger interface, but it does the job. Also, the photo still landed in my Picasa Web account, but in an album called Drop Box, which I didn’t create, and is not named in keeping with the naming convention of the rest of the albums in there that I didn’t create. This does not seem to have any affect on the way in which the photo posts.

When you are ready to post, you can apply “categories” – they show up on Blogger as “Labels” – and you can also apply Options, such as setting the date and the time of the post, Technorati tags, or enabling pings.

If you wish, when you are ready to send the post to your blog, you can check “Draft” and it will be there waiting for you to put some finishing touches on it before publishing.

ScribeFire gives you a right-click menu too.   From there, you can quickly log into Del.Icio.Us, blog the page, or share on Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon and a few more sites.

I recently had issues with ScribeFire when I tried to upload photos as part of a blog post. I went to ScribeFire’s site for support, and eventually found the support forum (it’s on Google), where I saw a spate of posts about this very problem. One poster seemed to be of the strong opinion that the problem was using ScribeFire with the Firefox 3 beta, but since I and several others were still in Firefox 2, this theory died pretty quickly, and there was silence for a while.  Then one day when I visited the forum, I started to see some of the posts about this problem marked “fixed”. Sure enough, I was prompted one day soon thereafter to download the update, and voila! I’m back in business uploading photos via ScribeFire. It could not be easier, and I am glad they fixed the problem.  Although the fix came a little slower than I would have liked, and in a little bit of an information vacuum, it still came and that’s the important thing.

Another problem I’ve had recently is getting the post drafted up to the blog only to discover that no carriage returns have made it there.  When the post is viewed in ScribeFire, it looks great, but once it reaches Blogger, the paragraphs and carriage returns have disappeared, and the post is one giant run-on paragraph that has to be edited.  I’m not sure whose issue this is – ScribeFire’s or Blogger’s – but I haven’t seen it brough up on the forum yet, so I might take a shot at it.

What I wish it had –

1. I don’t seem to find a “back” or “undo” button anywhere.  Always useful!
2. I’ve clicked every button and I’m pretty sure there’s no way to change the color of a font; this is something I’ve been doing once the post arrives at Blogger

Overall Impression – I think ScribeFire is better to work in than Blogger itself, and that was probably the goal.  The Blogger interface provides you with a relatively smallish window into which your blog post is entered, which isn’t very convenient.  The fact that the ScribeFire window can be made full size is a huge plus for me, and why I continue to use it.

Of course, there are no other blogging tools I’ve ever used, so it’s hard to say how superior ScribeFire is when I’ve nothing to which I can compare it.  This I know – compared to the Blogger posting interface, ScribeFire rocks.

Tink’s *~*~* Highly Scientific Rating of This Software: Three Stars!