How I Blog

At some point, most every blogger does a post like this. Now, I guess, it is my turn. A number of people have asked recently how I blog and I figured I’d share with everyone.

First, this is Mac oriented. I actually do think, having blogged proficiently from both a Mac and a PC, that the Mac is an easier platform from which to blog. With that caveat, here we go:

1. Ecto. Right now I’m writing in Ecto. At one time I was an avid MarsEdit user, but as I got more proficient, I wanted something more advanced. Ecto gives me that. Ecto is a standalone program in which I can type my blogposts, click submit, and see them appear on the web. It gives me lots of tools for HTML formatting, etc.

2. BlogAssist has become indispensable to me. It stays in my menu bar. When I copy text to the clipboard, I go up to the BlogAssist menu, click what HTML code I want surrounding my text, and then paste it into my post. Ecto has this ability built in, but BlogAssist is much more proficient, more web standards compliant, and easy to use.

3. The Apple tools. From Garageband for podcasting to TextEdit or basic writing to the built in spell checker to the system tools that let me create tiny URLs on the fly, the built in tools that come with every Apple machine make blogging exceptionally easy and fast. Also, I do my browsing in Safari. Though I’ve actually decided I like OmniWeb more, Safari seems compatible with more sites.

4. Imagewell is free and necessary. It’s a quick image editor, allowing me to rapidly adjust the size of pictures, add captions, etc and then save them to get them online. I’ve gotten tired of figuring out proportions for pictures and now just launch Imagewell, set the size, save, and go. Did I mention it’s free?

5. There are times I need to keep a picture the full size, but make it show up smaller on the screen. Instead of breaking out the calculator to get the proportions right, I use Proportion Wheel, a free widget for Mac or Windows. Put in the original size of the picture and then either set the percentage lower or the desired width or height and this widget tells you the proper proportions.

6. G-ruler, like Proportion Wheel is a widget. It is just an onscreen ruler so I can measure pixels across a screen. I only see it when I need it.

7. Ever see something you want to blog, but you don’t have time right then? I do. And I use Yojimbo to help. Yojimbo is basically a filing cabinet. I can archive or bookmark sites in Yojimbo and come back later. It helps me organize my online life.

8. NetNewsWire. There is no better RSS reader out there for Mac or Windows. Not. One.

9. TextWrangler comes in very handy when I need to deal with editing plain text combined with HTML. That’s all it does and it’s free.

10. Ever have bits of text or code you frequently use and you find yourself retyping them again and again or saving them to a file and searching for that file over and over? If so, xPad is for you. It’s like Notepad in Windows or TextEdit for the Mac, but it saves all your documents inside the application and displays them all in a drawer every time you open the program. It makes it easy to find and, best of all, it’s free. You can even color code stuff.

11. Lastly, Panic is my FTP client of choice. I’ve used six or seven over the years and Panic is my favorite.

And now you know how I blog.


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