Yahoo! Shortcuts for WordPress

I’ve been using WordPress as my blogging software for three years now. It started when I began podcasting and I just followed what others were doing. But I’m glad I went down this path as the platform has developed into a very powerful CMS for both blogging and maintaining simple websites. One of the great things about WordPress is the extention of features using plug-ins. Most of these plug-ins are written by individual developers so when someone like Yahoo! writes one you know that this software is poised to go to the next level.

Yahoo! Shortcuts is a WordPress plug-in that automates creating links and embedding photos within posts on your blog. The built-in visual editor in WordPress makes this super easy to begin with so I didn’t think at first that this was that good of an idea. But in using it to draft this post, I think it has some potential to improve my workflow so it will remain activated. It has an interesting user interface that is uber-minimal. Once you copy the plug-in to your WordPress installation and activate the only thing you notice is a box on the upper right of your “Write” window in the administration interface. As you write your post, it polls Yahoo! for links to embed; for some unknown reason, it only detected one so far on this post (to WordPress). When you choose the “Review this Post” option (presumably when you are done writing) it slowly takes you to a screen to approve the link(s) and find and embed pictures from Flickr (ah, it found a second link!).

It works as advertised, abet a bit on the slow side, so I’m giving it a tepid and provisional thumbs up at the moment. I’ll post more as I use it here and on my wine blog over the next few weeks.

The Camino Test, Day 1

Firefox crashes for the final time...Like a lot of geeks, I have used Firefox for a number of years instead of IE on the PC or Safari on the Mac. But lately I’ve been spending more time using Safari due to instability problems with Firefox. Safari is a fine browser but for someone who spends quite a bit of time authoring in WordPress, Drupal and Joomla I find that it does not play as nicely with those platforms as I would like, so Firefox has been the standard. Until today.

That’s when it stopped responding for the last time and has been replaced by the new build of Camino. So far I’m really impressed with the speed and native Mac look and feel. And it seems to like WordPress just fine (that’s not surprising since it’s based on the same engine as Firefox). So until this let’s me down or Firefox improves, Camino will be my default browser.

How does Blicki work?

I’m looking for a very simple way to turn a WordPress page into a wiki for my wine blog so I came up with a couple possibilities, DokuWiki and Blicki. Since the latter is written by the author of WordPress I installed it and created a wiki page. After looking at the zillions of things on the options page and fiddling with the page I created, it appears to be working but the “edit” function is not showing up for some reason. All my web searching has turned up next to nothing on the documentation front even thought the plug-in is a year old. I’ll continue to futz around with this before trying DokuWiki…

Microsoft Office Waterloo?

I spend quite a bit of time daily using Microsoft Word and Excel on both Mac’s and PC’s. For the past week or so I’ve been checking out Google Docs and Spreadsheets for much of this work and really like what I see. As someone who multitasks with multiple web browsers, email, chat, text editors and FTP clients open all the time, I like not having to open Word or Excel for simple document prep. Since Google Docs has PDF as an output medium, I don’t even have to use Word for SOW’s or invoices anymore. Best of all, it’s free.

If I worked at Microsoft, I’d be kind of worried right now.