Blogging with Word 2007

It seems strange to say it but I am making good use of Word’s blogging capabilities. Having had WordPress.com’s blog editor mangle one of my posts – incidentally while using Opera as my browser -- is the cause of this turn of events.

When setting up new accounts, there are a number of presets available to be used to work with major blogging providers such as Blogger, WordPress, and TypePad. This is not all though as it is possible to hook up to other blogs in a more generic fashion. In fact, I have able to hook up to my other WordPress-powered blog; hosted on the same server as my personal website and with all of the associated programming and scripting handled by myself. Where you have a number of accounts set up in the application, a drop-down menu appears in the post so that you can select the account to be used.

Speaking of drop down menus embedded in the post, you can add categories to a post from the blog server’s own collection and you can have more than one in any post. This feature is a boon as is the ability to edit posts that are already on there but Word only seems to show a subset of all the posts on the server, about 20 I think, rather than every single one. Another caveat is that you need to use a separate window for each post or you’ll end up overwriting posts in error. Whether this is a result of RSS feed settings or is intrinsic to Word itself remains something that I have yet to discern. As it is Word, formatting, insertion of objects such as hyperlinks and images is very much part of the package. That said, uploading images via this route was not something that I tested until I was writing this post but it seems to work well.

Apart from the irritations discussed above, I did find Word crashing a few times but no data were lost thanks to its seemingly excellent file recovery capabilities, a definite counterpoint to some of my experiences with Word’s file recovery feature in previous versions. Eventually, the Office Diagnostics tools kicked in to see if all was well and, after carrying out both hardware (memory, hard drive, etc.) and software checks, an installation repair was performed. Let’s see if this resolves the issue. Even so, the crash repair and diagnostics were not something that I had seen to the same extent in previous versions of Office and they did look pretty impressive.

In summary, Word does seem to be good blogging tool but I wouldn’t use it on its own because of its inability to download a full list of posts for editing. A blog’s own interface will remain necessary for that. Also, Word is far from being the only “offline” blog editor out there and I am tempted to take a look at the likes of BlogJet and w.bloggar.

VMware and ZoneAlarm

Contrary to appearances given by this blog, I am not exclusively a Windows user. In fact, I have sampled Linux on a number of occasions in the past and I use VMware to host a number of different distributions – my Ubuntu installation is updating itself as I write this – as I like to keep tabs on what is out there. I also retain a Windows 2000 installation for testing and have had virtual machine hosting a test release of Vista not so long ago. I also have my finger in the UNIX world with an instance of OpenSolaris, though it is currently off my system thanks to my wrecking its graphics set up. However, ZoneAlarm has been known to get ahead of itself and start blocking VMware. If you go taking a look on the web, there is no solution to this beyond a complete system refresh (format the boot drive and reinstall everything again) and I must admit that this sounds like throwing out bath, baby and bathwater together. I did find another approach though: removing ZoneAlarm and reinstalling it. This wipes all its remembered settings, including the nefarious one that conflicted with VMware in the first place. It’s amazing that no one else has considered this but it has worked for me and having to have the security software relearn everything again is much less painless than rebuilding your system.

Post titles on Technorati

I have had a look on how the posts from this blog are listed on Technorati and most if not all of the titles are coming through as “Permalink”. I was going to try WordPress.com support but they are off for the weekend. A trip to the WordPress.com forums was then in order and a few helpful folk put me right on this one: apparently Technorati uses the permalink titles when extracting post summaries from WordPress.com blogs and in the Andreas04 theme that I am using, these are all hard-coded as “Permalink”. I have left the theme’s author in on this and going to try WordPress.com feedback tomorrow. In technical terms and from what I can see, the fix needed is as follows: change title=”Permalink” to title=”Permanent Link: <?php the_title(); ?>” in the single.php, page.php and index.php files in the theme.

New domain name

I have registered the domain technologytales.com for this blog yesterday and have since got the DNS configuration completed. I used Easily.co.uk for the registration; they also host my other domain name and have done so since I first registered it. Easily allowed me to transfer to the WordPress.com namespace servers and $10 secured the rest of the setting up and $10 every year at renewal time with keep things in place. There is more about doing all of this on the WordPress FAQ.

ForecastFox issue

ForecastFox should be a useful utility, adding a weather toolbar to Mozilla Firefox as it does. However, it developed a penchant for hogging the CPU when I upgraded from Firefox 2.0 to Firefox 2.0.0.1. I’ll hold out for a new version to see if the problem has been sorted. You can find out more here.