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WordPress 2.6 “Press This” Bookmarklet Works Great on iPhone

I’ve become a bit obsessed with blog editors lately. I’m a long time fan of MarsEdit on the Mac, which, all other things being equal, is my favorite way to write a blog post (in fact, I’m using it right now). But I’ve been exploring options for other platforms, where I can’t use MarsEdit (the ScribeFire plugin for Firefox is my second favorite, because it runs everywhere Firefox does, including my little Eee PC 901 that runs Linux).

For the iPhone, there’s the WordPress iPhone app, available for free from the App Store. It’s actually a really great app, and I highly recommend you get it and use it if you have a WordPress-based blog. Even my self-described non-techy wife Rachel loves it, and uses it all the time to post pictures to our family blog. But of course, I can’t help but explore other options.

One of the cool new features in the recent WordPress 2.6 release is the new, revamped “Press This” bookmarklet. It’s a bit of javascript in a bookmark that lets you create a new post, and easily add photos or embed videos from whatever page you were on when you click “Press This”. Since it’s just javascript in a bookmark, it should work in pretty much any browser.

Which is, of course, what led me to try it on my iPhone. I’m happy to report that it works pretty darn well:

WordPress 2.6.x "Press This" Bookmarklet on iPhone


All of the functionality seems to be there – grabbing an image from a web page, or video embed code (which probably won’t work too well in practice, without the ability to copy and paste on the iPhone, although the bookmarklet is supposed to automatically grab the embed code from YouTube pages, and possibly other video sites, too). It seems to be able to do everything the full blown iPhone WordPress app can do, and even a little more (for instance, including a link to a page in your post, which is a pain in the butt without copy/paste, or including images from Flickr or any other web page without saving them to your iPhone’s Photo Album first). At the very least, it’s another option to add to your growing blog editor arsenal (what? you don’t have one of those? I do!).

I might go so far as to say that this is now the most flexible, powerful way to post to a WordPress blog from the iPhone. Yes, even better than the WordPress iPhone app itself.

There’s one small speed bump. I don’t know of a way to add the “Press This” bookmarklet to your iPhone without adding it as a bookmark on your computer first (find it on the “Write a Post” page of your WordPress 2.6.x blog), and they syncing it over to the iPhone via iTunes. Also note that each “Press This” bookmarklet is specific to a single blog – if you have many blogs, you’ll want to create a bookmarklet for each of them, and name them appropriately to avoid confusion.

What other iPhone blog editing hacks do you know of? Share them in the comments, along with any questions, enhancements, or anything else you feel like. :-)

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Blog

What do you consider to be a “REAL” blog post?

I had an interesting conversation with my coworker, Kevin this morning. Kevin is a wizard web developer, who writes the code that powers Intel Software Network, and is always playing with cool new Ajax/javascript ways to do thing, sharing tips and tricks he’s learned, including code snippets. He’s recently gotten into Twitter (he’s @sourcecode over there – follow him if you’re a developer, web or otherwise – he’s super smart). And this morning, we had a conversation about how he could share code snippets that were larger than the 140 character limit on Twitter.

He showed me how he set up a new Google Document to contain the code snippet, then Shared that Google Doc to make it public, and included a shortened URL to the Google Doc in his Tweet. I asked him what (to me) was an obvious question, which led to an enlightening (again, to me) conversation.

The question I asked is “why don’t you just post stuff longer than 140 characters on your blog, and post a link in Twitter, instead of this convoluted Google Docs approach?” His answer (I’m paraphrasing – Kevin, please feel free to correct me):

“Code snippets and the like aren’t really blog posts, are they?”

I said of course they are – after all, it’s your blog, and you can post whatever the heck you want there, right? What’s going to happen? The blog police might come by and say “that’s an illegal blog post!” People might point and laugh? 😉 I was being silly to illustrate my point, but it was at about that point that it dawned on me. I’ve been living in the blogging world for so long that the assumption that “a blog post can be anything you want” is something I just take for granted.

So we chatted for a bit about it. Kevin said he felt that a blog post should be something longer, more robust, and containing more substantial content than “hey, here’s a cool code snippet”. I can see how he’d think that – most of the blog posts he said he reads are like that. Most of the blog posts on the Intel Software Network blog are like that. Heck, most of my blog posts on TinyScreenfuls.com are like that, simply because I’ve been using Twitter as a low-pass noise filter for my blogging, so “smaller” stuff goes out via Twitter. But together we came up with some examples of shorter, less “substantial” blog posts that are just as valid as any other.

Kevin suggested that when I talk to people about blogging, and train new bloggers, that I make it a point to tell them that a blog post doesn’t have to meet a basic set of criteria for length, “quality” (whatever that means), etc. And I’m going to do it. It’s something I’ve always just taken for granted, but that conversation this morning made me a better blogger, a better teacher, and a better evangelist. Thanks, Kevin. :-)

Now it’s your turn. What criteria, explicit or subconscious, do you apply to your blog posts? What makes a “worthy” blog post in your mind? I’m thinking mostly of how this applies to your own blog and own writing, but if you apply similar criteria to stuff you read on other places, I’d like to hear about it to. Post a comment, or write something up on your own blog and link here, so I’ll see it.

If you’re like me, it might be an unexpectedly revealing bit of self-assessment. :-)

(Crossposted on the Intel Software Network blog.)

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Blog

Intel launched a Mobility marketing blog, and I wrote the kickoff post

The folks in Intel web marketing have launched a new blog, all about Mobility:

http://blogs.intel.com/mobility/

It’s going to be all about upcoming cool stuff that’s being released later this year – Silverthorne (which is getting its own super-secret new brand name, launching next week!), Diamondville, WiMAX, and other cool mobile stuff.

I’m helping them out, giving them a “blogger’s-eye perspective”, and generally trying to help them do it “right” – make the blog interesting and useful, as opposed to just rehashing marketing copy. They asked me to write up the first post for the site (which, you’ll notice, has actually been built on top of an older blog about CES), which I was happy to do. It’s called “Living The Mobile Lifestyle“. It ended up being a little longer than I had planned, but I’ve been a mobile technology geek for a long time – over a decade – and it turned out that I had a lot to say. 😉

Anyway, check it out, subscribe to the feed if you’re interested, and stay tuned for interesting news and hands-on experiences with cool mobile toys (like MIDs, WiMAX, etc.). I’ll be doing most of the writing here on TinyScreenfuls.com, but I’ll be crossposting any interesting bits there on the new Mobility blog, and on the Intel Software Network blog, too, so feel free to jump in with any comments or questions, here or there. Enjoy! :-)

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Blog

How and Why I Added Daily “Microposts from Twitter” Posts

I’ve had a dilemma for a long time. it started when i began using Twitter a lot, which has been over a year now. For anyone who doesn’t know, Twitter is a service that lets you post 140 character updates on “what you’re doing”, which are read only by people who “follow” you, and you see only “tweets” (updates) from people that you follow. Sort of like a chat room where you get to decide who you hear.

Twitter is awesome, and I use it heavily. I’ve carefully cultivated a list of about 325 people that I follow. I know who all of them are, and I care about what they say. Most of the time.;-) (BTW, if you want me to follow you, just follow me, and introduce yourself – I’m friendly!) And there are almost 1000 people who follow me, which I find amazing. How can that many people be interested in what I say?

Anyway. Many people have noticed and pointed out the fact that I haven’t been posting here on my blog as much since I started using Twitter. This is true. This is what happened:

I quickly came to think of the stuff I wrote on Twitter as “microposts” – short little notes about what I was doing, or something I found interesting, or asking a question. The kind of stuff I would normally post here on my blog, until I had a better place for it. Whenever I had a “bigger” idea that I wanted to share, or something with a lot of pictures, or that otherwise didn’t work well within the 140 character micropost way of doing things, it became a blog post here.

Twitter became a kind of low-pass noise filter for my writing.

Lots of people who read this blog also follow me on Twitter. You’re my network. My friends. My connections. And since you were using Twitter too, there wasn’t a problem.

But I know there are lots of you who read my blog, but don’t know about or don’t want to use Twitter. I’ve tried to bring attention to my frequent microposts by putting them over in the sidebar, but I wasn’t really satisfied with that. I mean, who looks at the sidebar? Most people just probably tune it out. I know I do.

I know lots of people that use services like LoudTwitter, or tools like Alex King’s TwitterTools plugin for WordPress to do a “daily digest” post on their blog – to round up everything they tweeted that day, and put it into an automatic blog post.

The problem with this comes for people who subscribe to both the blog feed, and follow that person on Twitter. They’re getting the same stuff twice. It’s redundant and annoying, and I really didn’t want to make myself any more redundant and annoying and redundant than I already am.:-)

So, after kicking the idea around a bit (on Twitter, of course), i think I’ve found an elegant solution. Using TwitterTools, I’ve set up that “daily digest” post. But, using some cleverness built into WordPress (the software that powers this blog), I’ve excluded those Twitter digest posts from the blog’s feed. They show up on the site, so people who visit the site regularly to see what I’ve been writing will see my latest microposts, along with the regular big old blog posts. But the microposts won’t show up in my feed. That way, no overlap for people who subscribe to my feed AND follow me on Twitter.

If you subscribe to my blog feed, and you WANT to get my microposts, I heartily recommend you set yourself up an account on Twitter (it’s free and easy), and follow me there. I’m jabancroft. And don’t worry. Everyone thinks Twitter is stupid at first. And then they fall in love. So give it a chance, and don’t blame me for your future Twitter addiction.;-)

If you don’t want to use Twitter, but still want “the full Josh” firehose, let me direct you to my life stream site, www.joshbancroft.com. On that site, and its accompanying feed, you’ll get my blog posts, my Twitter microposts, my photos from Flickr, any videos i post on the web, and pretty much everything I write or create.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t also point out my “linkblog” at linkblog.joshbancroft.com (and it’s accompanying feed), which is stuff I share from the hundreds of things I read every day in Google Reader and elsewhere on the web. Think of me as a news filter, your personal clipping service. I sift through all the posts, and pluck out the ones that I think are interesting. No more than a few per day. You can also add me as a friend/contact in Google Talk and Google Reader and get the same thing, if you know what that means. If you don’t, just use linkblog.joshbancroft.com. I try really hard to make it interesting and useful.

Does that work for everyone? Drop me a comment below if you like it. Or hate it. Or know of a better way to do it. Or think it’s the best idea ever, and want to do the same thing on your blog. I’m always happy to share!:-)

Update: A few weeks ago, I switched my theme (K2) to three column mode, and moved my “Microposts from Twitter” posts into one of the sidebars, using the “Asides” functionality of K2. It’s a LOT less cluttered, and doesn’t bury my “regular” posts under the piles of Twitter posts that I generate. :-)

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