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Ecto Problems

I’ve been having some real frustrations with Ecto over the past day or two. I’m unsure if its just the latest version or whether my recent server updates have caused issues – or both.

Some of the issues include the inability to upload photos via ecto, posting as drafts rather than published posts and the losing of categories (reverting to default category rather than the selected one). The confusing part is that different blogs seem to be having different issues – some work perfectly others won’t post at all.

As I say – it might not be an ecto problem – but its starting to get very frustrating and is slowing down my posting considerably.

Are any other ecto users having problems?

Update – Adrian – the brain behind Ecto – has gotten in touch with me and has been incredibly helpful. The problem looks to be two fold.

1. WP’s latest build has an issue that stops categories working with ecto.
2. I think my latest server update has caused a little issue with communication between server and ecto. Looking into it.

Which Laptop for Blogging?

A regular reader of ProBlogger, Mark from The Rock and Roll Report, has asked the following question that I thought I’d open up to all readers for discussion.

‘I am looking at getting a laptop that will primarily be just for my blog site The Rock and Roll Report. From writing my posts, to working on the design of the site to researching over the net to listening and downloading online audio and video content, this laptop will do it all. I want it to be wireless capable and high quality within a reasonable budget ($1500.00 or less). My heart says iBook (I do not currently use a Mac) but my head says a Windows based laptop for extreme flexibility. It will also be used for a potential podcast. What should I do? ‘

I personally have been a fan of Macs since I started blogging. I find them to be well worth the money, easy to use and a lot of fun. There are a few things that you need to consider though – the main one is that there are some products unavailable on Macs (there are others that you can’t get on PC though) and that you’ll probably have to buy the Mac version of some of the software that you already have.

Having said this – Macs come with some amazing software built in (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie etc) which are a big feature.

I had an iBook (12 inch version) up until 6 or so months ago and didn’t have many problems with it. The only reason I upgraded to the powerbook I now have is that I wore it out (I’m on it 8+ hours a day many days). I also found the 12 inch size was getting a little frustrating.

If you want to follow the journey of another blogger who has just made the switch to a Mac you might like to check out Arieanna’s recent posts on the topic.

What do others think? Help Mark out with your opinions in comments below.

Blog Power = Blog Clutter

Andy has a good post on ‘Blog Power’ which I think is a pretty spot on analysis of a tool that attempt to game Google and simply clutters the web with useless content. These sort of tools might bring you a little short term benefit but the risks are not worth it in my opinion. Be careful friends – if you’re wanting to build a long term, sustainable income from blogging – do it the honest open way. It might take time but you’ll build something that lasts and not sell you soul in the mean time.

AOL Opens Blog Service to IM Users

Just spotted this news (perhaps its old and I missed it previously) that AOL are opening up their blogging tool to their Instant Messaging users. Not only this but they’ll be able to to submit posts to their blogs via instant messaging when logged in to the screen name associated with the blog they’re posting to.

My Backpack

Backpack Logotype-SmallI’ve decided to test Backpack with their free service. My hope is that it will help me to be a little more organized in my blogging.

I’ve made my front home page public to show you a little of what it can do – I’ve not put anything special on the page so far, but you get the idea.

Of course there are other secret blogging business things lurking behind the scenes in the private areas (insert evil laugh here). Actually the only thing behind the scenes at the moment are a growing list of blog posts that I want to write on ProBlogger in the next few days which I emailed to the list as I thought of them. But I can already think of a number of uses for my BackPack which could assist me in my blogging.

The free version has ads on the public pages and doesn’t allow image or file uploads. It also only allows limited numbers of active reminders and pages – but it definitely gives a feel for the program. I’m really impressed by its simplicity, speed, smooth transitions and many potential applications.

A number of features I’d love to see incorporated would include:

  • SMS alerts to my mobile carrier in Australia (Telstra)
  • ability to email reminders
  • ability to respond to ‘reminder’ emails from within the email. ie if at the bottom of each email it had a link to ‘snooze’, ‘delete’, ‘edit’ etc. It does have one link to a page where all this can be done – but a one click option to delete would be cool (I’m lazy).
  • public editing of pages (I wouldn’t want this on any page – but I’d love to be able to offer a couple of pages to readers of this blog to be able to edit. Even if there was a ‘register’ option where the public could apply to be a contributer.
  • ability to change the look and feel of public pages

Of course these might be features I’ve just not yet found.

I’m particularly interested in how others are planning on using BackPack – especially in your blogging. Do you have any initial reactions on it that you’d like share?

Backpack from 37 Signals

37 Signals is launching their latest project – Backpack on Tuesday. Whilst the main site doesn’t seem to have gone live yet a number of previews of this new program have been written which you should check out. I been given a bit of an inside look at it by three readers of ProBlogger in the past 24 hours and I must say that I’m really impressed by it and am looking forward to trying it out for myself.

In short Backpack is a web based way of organizing your information that lets you organize it as you like. It lets you keep some private and allows you to share other bits of it. You can access it via email or via the web. It has blog-like characteristics but also reminds me of a wiki – dynamic stuff, yet simple.

I won’t explain it as well the people behind it so check out this Backpack Preview for the inside word. As I say – I don’t yet have my own Backpack but from what I’ve snuck a look at through others free tries it looks pretty nice.

Also check out business logs mini preview of BackPack.

Update: Backpack is now live.

Search Engine Marketing Tools

Three tools that you might like to use to analyze how well your blog is going are over at Marketleap. They are:

  • Search Engine Placement Check – gives you a ranking for a particular keyword in 7 search engines.
  • Search Engine Index Check – gives an indication of how well saturated your blog is in different search engines (or how many pages each SE has indexed for your blog).
  • Link Popularity Check – compares how many inbound links your blog has to other sites and blogs. You can enter a number of others to compare yours to and can see how it compares to other popular sites. This one is my favorite (this blog is more popular than coke.com!)

A Blogging Perspective OS X Tiger

Tigershipping20050429Last night I was in town and treated myself to the new OSX – Tiger. This afternoon I’ve installed it and have been playing around with it – asking myself how it will improve my blogging.

Here are a few initial reflections:

Dashboard – one of the main things that Apple have been selling this upgrade with is the new Dashboard feature which allows users to download desktop widgets. At the click of a button these widgets appear on your screen giving you up to date information on a variety of topics – ranging from stock prices, weather, world time, dictionary, calculator, wikipedia look up, mini rss reader. I’m going to enjoy this – I’ve already got an array of world time clocks which are going to be very handy as I think about posting times and talking with my many international blogging friends. Another useful widget that I’m going to enjoy is the ‘Translator’ that converts words and phrases between English and 10 languages (including Dutch and Germany – which I always am trying to translate as this blog is read by and linked to by many bloggers of writing in these languages). If there are any widget developers out there – I challenge/beg/suggest to you to please develop a widget for Adsense statistics (like the firefox plug in). Please?!?!

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Using Bloglines – a Tutorial

I was speaking with someone yesterday via MSN and they asked me about how I could possibly follow so many trains of thought to keep 20 blogs on such a variety of topics updated. My answer was quite simple – Bloglines and the RSS feeds that I track there are one of the keys to my success.

betterdays has a helpful tutorial on Using Bloglines (or How to keep up with dozens of blogs everyday) which should give beginner users of Bloglines some helpful tips on how to use it in keeping up with many sources of information at once. It goes right from the sign up stage through to subscribing to feeds through to integrating it with other services like Flickr and Feedster.

It’s not rocket science – but for those who don’t know where to start with Bloglines this is a great starting place and will teach you the basic skills you’ll need to get the most out of the tool.