Sunday, July 30, 2006

Free Blog Posting Tools

First, some "Grand Steam Dreams" blog miscellania.

I have added a new section at the bottom of the left-hand column titled "Claus's PC Toolbox."

My intent is to put links here to some of my posts that I am constantly coming back to for reference and link access.

I will probably end up making a couple seperate posts in the near future that index particular types of software/etc. Although one of the golden rules of blogging is to not go back and re-edit your previous posts' content, I think I will make these "index" type posts so I can add/remove software linkage to them at will.

Blog Posting Tools and Resources

While working on this side project, for some reason, I began to wonder what limits Blogger puts on its free accounts; might I be in danger of hitting a posting ceiling? I quickly found the following key information What are the limits on my Blogger account?

Blog number = unlimited

Post numbers = unlimited

Post size = mostly unlimited

Page size = 1 MB size limit (refers to the main or archive page(s) displayed)

Comment numbers = unlimited

Post pictures = 300MB total limit.

I suppose the thing that concerned me most (although I fully understand the reason) was the image limit. I don't know of a good way to easily find out how close one is to hitting that limit. I guess the best advise would be to try and use small pictures or have them hosted on another location then cross-link to them on Blogger if you are concerned.

As a workaround, once that limit is hit, I suppose you can easily just create a new blog in Blogger under your primary account and use that to upload a whole new set of pictures. Then cross-link the pictures in your primary blog over to that one.

The best solution would be to pay for your own personal blog hosting. This way you get your own domain-name and much better control over storage limits on content. Paul Stamatiou has a great guide on getting this set up. WordPress also offers a great server-end blogging platform. Their setup guides offers great tutorials as well.

Online Journalism Review has a fantastic side-by-side comparison table of the major players of blog software: Blog software comparison chart

I'm not quite ready yet to take my blogging experience to that next step--but the day is probably coming.

Lifehacker has posted the results of a survey they conducted on their reader's most favored desktop blog editors. I personally use Performancing for Firefox (which came in number one). There are still some rough edges, though. And I would really like to eventually use a standalone editor. I've tried using some HTML editors but that is just kinda clunky.

What I end up doing is composing in Performancing, then copy the HTML code into Blogger's on-line editor, do some tweaking, then post. My biggest issue is that the Performancing color code isn't the same format used by Blogger and some things get kooky when adding text-formatting in Performancing first.

The Software List

I went searching for (free) alternatives, and did find the following blog editors (some more known than others will be):

Performancing for Firefox - (free) My primary blog editing application. You can also incorporate an additional extension (Spellbound) for "live"spell checking.

w.blogger - (free) I really like this one, except for the fact that it uses ActiveX and isn't quite a "standalone" application by itself. It interfaces with either IE or Firefox. That isn't bad, but I would prefer it to be it's own application.

Bleezer - (free) Still being developed, but I like the fact that it doesn't require "installation" and could potentially run off a USB stick for portability.

BlogDesk - (free) simple blogging client. Basic GUI but it has all the required elements. Well worth considering.

Chronicle Lite - (free) Quite polished. My issue here is that it requires you to log into your blog account to begin. I'd like my blog editor to allow me to just compose and save blog posts locally without any connection to my blog, or log on when I want to for posting--like Performancing allows.

RocketPost - ($/free) is another often-recommended blog posting tool. The $ version supports unlimited blogs, while the free (basic) version supports one blog on Blogger. I downloaded and tried the Basic version. It was very polished and cool. I had to uninstall it, however, as it rendered my Logitech trackball mouse almost unusable. While Rocketpost was running, my mouse tracking speed crawled to a turtle's pace. When the program was closed out, tracking returned to normal. I will try it out on Lavie's laptop to see if it works better with the mouse tracking there.

Qumana - (free) WYSIWYG blog editor. Allows you to embed commercial ad-links into your pages--if that's the sort of thing you're into with your blog.

Zoundry - (free) Also allows you to embed commercial ad-links into your pages--again, if that's the sort of thing you're into with your blog.

Flock - (free) Integrated web-browser (mozilla based), social networking and blogging tool. Lots of features.

Visit Weblogs Compendium for an extensive list of additional blogging tools (server and client side based). This is a really good listing.

Also plan a visit to ProBlogger's A-Z of Professional Blogging index. Lots of tools and resources here for bloggers.

See you in the skies,

No comments: