Another blog editor … don’t bother !


Still looking around for another blog editor and I came across this on the Windows Windows Store Blog EditorStore. Very disappointing to say the least. I shouldWindows Store Blog Editor screen have taken more notice of ‘5 star’ rating by only one reviewer. It installed without any issues and found my site at the first attempt You can see from the screen shot on the right, that there is a sizable advertising banner at the bottom of the screen, which is very distracting.

The interface seems old Windows Store Blog Editor settingsand dated with very few options available. A quick look at the settings page is basically an advertisement for the ‘pro’ version which at £19.99 for a one year licence or £34.99 for a lifetime licence seems a little expensive for what it does. There is also aWindows Store Blog Editor post monthly update licence at £4.99, which seems a little pointless.

The actual writing area has very few features and the biggest problem I noted was that there was no facility to word-wrap text around an image, which I think is basic at the very least. The editing controls are limited, although it does have a full justification option .

Windows Store Blog Editor post controls1

Windows Store Blog Editor post controls2

Windows Store Blog Editor post controls 3

So after this post “Net Writer 2” will be consigned to the ‘Recycle Bin’.

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olwJust to be  awkward, this post was written with my old friend, Open Live Writer. I had completely forgotten it was still installed, so I thought I would give it another go. It still works quite well, and I’ll have to look back and see why I stopped using it. It has not updated since 2012, but still looks a half decent editor.



Word Blog Post Test


This is my 2nd attempt at testing Word as a blog post editor. Unfortunately, the Blog template does not support tags. However, if the post is uploaded as draft and then edited, tags can be added then. It should be noted though, that post will open as a ‘Classic Block’ unless the Classic editor is used. Formatting seems to work fine, but as I found out recently, the font displayed depends on the font supported by the chosen WordPress theme. Also fully justified text is not available unless the ‘Paragraph’ option is selected. The classic ‘Shift +Alf + J’ does not appear to work in the template.

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Giving it another go …


I have this feeling that the Classic Editor my soon be on it’s way out.

Given that thought, I’m determined to have another crack at mastering this Block Editor. The issue I have is the formatting of images. I prefer to have my images either left or right aligned with the text wrapping justified at the side of the image. The only way that I have found to do this, is to insert the image before I start to write the accompanying text. This not the way I am used to. Often as I’m writing, I get the inspiration to add an image. I suppose, if I wish to use the Block Editor, I will have to think about images first.

Now, when you look at this post with it’s aligned random images, you can see another issue. The top of the images do not appear to align with the top of the text, which looks rather odd as you can see in the first image. .

Another issue is that there does not seem to be a way to remove the caption area from below the image. For most of my posts, the image is there to add a touch of personality to the post. I rarely need to add an attribution or a description of the image.

However, I’m beginning (slightly) to get to like parts of this editor. The posts do look reasonable on a tablet and a phone. I’m now wondering if there is any way to change the default font. I can see that there are a variety of font sizes available but not sure about font type. Need to do further digging.

More testing


Derrr

I now see what I have been doing wrong. I had the Save setting to Save Draft, but when I close the editor, I was clicking on the Publish button in an attempt to publish as a draft post. I now realise that I do not need to select Publish from the editor. The post is saved regularly as a draft post and I can preview and amend as I do now.

So I now need to work on updating my skills to learn this new ‘Block’ editor. I don’t think I’m going to drop Open Live Writer as an editor, but I think I need an additional string to my blogging bow. It’s funny, I originally started using the WordPress editor before moving to Microsoft’s Windows Live Editor which was part of the Windows Essentials software. When this deprecated, I tried using the blog template in Microsoft Word before I found the open source software ‘ Open Live Writer ‘. So in a fashion, I have come full circle.

My thank must go to @themagicrobot who’s response in the WordPress Support Forums showed me the error of my ways.

Trying the new editor …


I’m having a look at the new editor for my WordPress.com blog. I normally use Open Live Writer to compose my post and then post it as a draft post. This is so that I can see how it looks prior to publishing and correct any obvious typo’s.

So I’ve been looking around and still cannot see how to publish my post as draft. . It says it is saving as a draft post, but I know from the last time I tried it didn’t and published immediately. I’ve also looked and ‘Save as Pending’ but am not sure if that is correct either. I did manage to find out how to use Full Justify, but that option was hidden in the More Rich Text Controls drop down instead of being in the Text Alignment section of the block editor where I would normally expect it.

Just had a bit of a test/trial …


I’ve heard a bit about Gutenberg, the new WordPress editor so I thought I would give it a go. “Be bold.” I said to myself, “Don’t get in a rut” and a few other motivational phrases that I don’t want to go into.

My first impression was that it had a quite confusing interface, and I found switching from what they call “Block” and “Document” to add a tag or category, very frustrating. I like to addclipart430159 tags as and when they appear in my text. Then there is the text formatting which seems to be missing ‘full justify’ which is how I usually format my words. Embedding an image within a paragraph does not seem to work. There may be a way to do it, but I could not see how. I didn’t seem to be able to post my words as a draft post. Although I selected ‘pending’ as an option the post went live (now deleted). All in all, unless WordPress are prepared to give us a full tutorial, then I’m going to sit in my rut like the cowardly lion and stick to what I know. It’s the same feeling I had when Windows Live Writer was withdrawn (before I found Open Live Writer) and I tried using Microsoft Word to write a post. I would possibly get used to it, but in the end, is it worth the stress of change?

I can quite see, that WordPress might want everyone to eventually use Gutenberg, but until then, I’ll stick to Open Live Writer.

Problems might just be gone …


For a few weeks now, I’ve been having performance issues with one of my Windows 10 laptops. I’ve uninstalled software that I rarely use, but the issue seems to have remained. What happens is that I’ll be using for example Microsoft Word and suddenly it hangs with the message “Word is not responding” and this will happen three or four times during the session. I end up having to restart Windows and hope the problem has gone away. Often this fixes the issue, but occasionally it doesn’t.

Today, while I was looking at the Task Manager application, I noticed something called ‘software reporting tool’. I had not seen it before and so I ran an online search and discovered that it is a program that checks to see if any software is going to affect the Google Chrome browser. There were reports that it has a high CPU usage when checking and the check often takes 20 minutes or so to run. The date on the file is 4th October which seems to coincide with the second time I had problems. Things seemed to improve after I removed my other printer, but then problems re-emerged a few days later.

The sites I looked at (and I always check a few to see if they say the same thing) told me that the process is not necessary and can be stopped. They also said that Google may restart the process again whenever the Chrome bowser updates. It gave instructions on how to prevent it running and how to prevent Google from restarting it. The instructions for this can be found at https://www.ghacks.net and searching for ‘how to block the Chrome Software reporter tool’.

It may not fix the problem, but the tool sends scan information back to Google, so there may be privacy issues here.

We shall see if there is any improvement.

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On another point, this was written using the WordPress editor on an iPad Mini. I had not thought of that as an option, but it seems to work quite well. I do need to understand how the HTML style tags work for formatting, but there must be a tutorial out there.

 

Blog editor trial – results are in …


Now here is where in time old fashion I should say “In no particular order …” but I shall resist the temptation. Instead I shall just list some of the ‘pros and cons’ of the applications I have tried.

1. WordPress editor
Positives: ease of use, built in, WYSIWYG, available on all my devices
Negatives: formatting images not as good as Open Live Writer

2. Word
Positives: fully featured, WYSIWYG
Negatives: too many features, no tags, image manipulation not as good as Open Live Writer

3. BlogDesk
Positives:
Negatives: Could not get it to connect to blog

4. Open Live Writer
Positives: Ease of use, familiar, WYSIWYG, tags and categories easy to use, image control good
Negatives: Not been updated since 2015, random crashes

5. BlodPad Pro
Positives: ease of use, good when away from desk
Negatives: iOS only, image manipulation not easy

After a little amount of brain activity, I think I am going to stick with Open Live Writer as my main editor for the time being. However, I may be tempted with the WordPress editor. With it’s ability to be used on my laptop, my iPad, my wife’s iPad, old laptop and even my phone if the desire took me, it comes an extremely close second.


Decisions, decisions …


When I first had the idea of creating a blog, I sought some online advice as to how I could go about getting my thoughts online. It became apparent, quite quickly that the free version of WordPress was the way to go. I toyed with Blogger, but it seemed to lack any kind of quality so I went for WordPress.

Much of the advice centred on the software I could/should WLWuse to get my message into the blog. Quite a few people said that if I wanted an off-line editor, then there was not much to fault the built-in Windows program “Windows Live Writer” or WLW as it became known. This was part of a suite of applications called  “Windows Live Essentials” that came, ready to use with Microsoft Windows. It seemed the most logical way to go, and most of my earliest posts were written using WLW. Then, OLWas is usual with Microsoft, it was announced that Windows Live Essentials was being run down and no further development work would be done. Around about the same time coincidently, a piece of software appeared called “Open Live Writer” (OLW). This was an open-sourced version of Windows Live Writer set to replace the former. I have used this now for a long time, being my prefered editor.

Now to the point. Over the past few months, I have had a couple of occasions when uploading a post from OLW, that the upload fails and the post is lost (the draft post seems to get corrupted). The problem is that there has been no development work on OLW for some time, and it is now beginning to show its age. In fact a post that I was going to upload yesterday failed and was lost. So now, Im beginning to think that it is time to move on again and choose anothe blog editor for my laptop.

I’ve done a little research and have come up with the following options:

  • Continue with OLW
  • Use the WordPress editor (this was written with the WP editor)
  • Blogdesk
  • Microsoft Word
  • Windows Notepad and paste into the WP editor or
  • some other paid for application (not my ideal choice)

So for the next few posts, I will be writing using a different method each time to test which I find is the most suitable method.

(Written using WordPress editor)

 

Back to the usual …


Blodpad IconStill testing the Blogpad app on my iPad. A bit of a way to go yet, but I’m starting to get the hang of it. One of the downsides I’ve found, is that you cannot post your missives (is that what I mean?) as a draft in your WordPress blog. Well I’ve not found a way, if there is one. The way it works is thatBlogpad 2 it is stored as a draft in your defined storage area. You can then ‘preview’ your work and see how it looks, before finally publishing it as a live post. Another downside seems to be the ‘autosave’. I can’t find a setting that sets the autosave frequency. I Blogpad 3discovered, to my cost when the app crashed, that the crash happened before the ‘autosave’ kicked in, so I lost a good portion of the post. I’ve now decided to click/tap on the Save icon every 20 words or so.

This app is not going to be my main blogging editor, I’m still firm friends with Open Live Writer, but I needed something to work with when I go on holidays. Don’t want to take the laptop with me (K*** would kill me if I did) and as I have mentioned before, I’m not too keen on the WordPress built in editor. At the moment, there are more ‘up-sides’ than ‘down-sides’ to the app, although I’m not liable to have a tantrum, I just hope ‘up-sides’ continue to grow faster than the ‘down-sides’.

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I’m still having an issue with the WordPress app on the iPad. When I’m in the ‘stats’ screen and I click on the Notification Bell at the bottom right of the iPad app, the notification list comes up as normal. Now the issue is, that if I tap the Daily Prompt notification, I get a very unhelpful message telling me that there has been an ‘Error Loading The Post’. I hadn’t noticed this before, it’s only since I have been having a go at the Daily Prompt that the iPad app has become more active. Anyway, the good people in support are looking at the issue and I am hopeful they can come up with the solution.

Just giving it a try …


The ‘it’ in question is the “Blogpad Pro” on the iPad. I normally write my posts on my laptop using the “Open Writer” software that replaced Microsoft’s “Live Writer” when said company decided to drop the application. I’m not a big fan of writing with the WordPress editor, and I wanted to be able to write a post if I’m away from/home and only have my iPad mini.

At first attempt, it seems to be quite good, but there are a lot of controls and features that I have not had chance to try yet, It’s still early days.

An old friend returns …


The thing about getting a new computer is that you never remember what software you need, until you realise it’s not on your new machine. Now I thought I had been clever, and had made a list of the stuff I use all the time. Which is fine in as far is it goes. Then you start to do some work or something and you find that you haven’t got that little bit of software that you always use, but never think about. Still, I think I’m almost there now. The old machine is in the spare room (in case I need something) and I’m beginning to get the hang of Windows 10. It has it’s pro’s and con’s, but I think a lot of it is just familiarity. It too me a couple of weeks to get used to Windows 7 after XP, and I still miss some of the things that XP did, but we move on.

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Now, to the title of this post “An old friend returns …”! The old friend in question is my first blogging editor (back to Windows XP here) good old ‘Windows Live Writer  (WLW). I always felt it was one of the best tools for the job, and was very disappointed when Microsoft decided to no longer support it. Since then I have used a variety of editors and am still inclined to use the Blog Post template in Microsoft Word and occasionally I will use the WordPress desktop application.

Yesterday, whilst reading an article about Windows 10 compatibility issues with some older software, I saw a mention of WLW and how much it was missed. There was a list of alternatives, but near the top was a link to a website called ‘Open Live Writer’ which wimageas offering Open Live Writer as a free download. My initial thoughts was that this must one of those awful clones that seemed to perpetuate throughout the internet. After a little bit of research it looks like pressure from users made Microsoft turn WLW into an open source application and the result is Open Live Writer.

I downloaded it this morning and have used it for this post. To all intents and purposes it looks and feels the same as before. Everything seems to be as I remember WLW, and it feels quite nostalgic to be using it again. I shall test it further over the next few weeks and see how it goes, but things look promising.

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On a completely different tack, my INR blood test seems to have been a bit off the wall. INR is the International Normalised Ratio and is a measure of how much longer it takes the blood to clot when oral anticoagulation is used. For example, if your INR is 2 the blood is taking twice as long as normal to clot. I have a range which my INR has to fall within, of between 2.0 and 3.5 with a target of 2.5. Since I have been taking an anti-coagulant, my INR has usually been within the range, with the occasional blip. However, since middle of December I have three times been ‘over my limit’ so to speak. I have put it down to what I have eaten and drunk (which does have an effect), but it made me wonder if stress could be a factor. Over the December/January period, it has been quite a stressful time what with Christmas (humbug) and work. I asked the doctor at my medication review, and although he had not heard of stress being a factor, he did say that stress does have an effect on our metabolism so in theory there could be a link. However, I got the impression that he thought it was probably down to food and drink.

Where does it all come from …..


Like many people, I suppose, I take advantage of the spam filter   (Akismet) that is built into WordPress.com editor. I find it extremely good at catching the rubbish that certain people like to try and mess up my blogs with. Many of them are seem to be simply adverts for unwanted and unusable services, but occasionally something arrives, that makes no sense at all. A case in point is the text of the latest bit of SPiced hAM to hit my blog this week. I have copied into a graphic above. As you can see, it is gibberish. Now what, I ask (mainly to myself) is the point of this? Does the author think that we are that stupid as look at this text and say “There’s a website I must visit”?

My second point with this, is how does this ‘Monkey Gibber’ actually get to be an attempted post? When I found this particular gem, my stats for the day was showing no visitors and no views. As I understand it, if someone visits my blog, it is recorded as a visit. So how did it get posted if there was no visit? Anyone any ideas?

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Next week should be fun! When we moved to this house, nearly 20 years ago, we brought with us a double wardrobe that had sliding, full length mirror doors. About 10 years ago, K… decided that she wanted a fitted wardrobe and that the mirrored one was going to go in the youngest lads bedroom. This worked quite well until he started having some serious anger problems, which resulted in the mirror on doors being smashed. Of course, as is usual we were unable to purchase replacements due to the design being no longer available. So for the past four years, that particular robe has had no doors. A few months ago, K… decided that she wanted him to have a real wardrobe and one was ordered. It is going to be fitted next week. But …. Before it can be fitted, the old one has to be dismantled, and the floor made good enough for the new on to stand on. That is my job on Wednesday. Much fun! You see, two years ago we had real wood laminated floors fitted in that room, but not in the wardrobe space as it would have meant dismantling and rebuilding the thing. I have a strong suspicion that K… was planning this all along.

A little bit more ranting …


     I’ve just spent the past half hour posting replies to comments on our local online newspaper. I use the term ‘newspaper’ lightly in this case. I have stopped buying and even reading, physical editions of the press. To me it seems a little one way. With a hard copy, or paper copy if you prefer, the only way to have your voice heard is to write to the editor. He or she, then may or may not publish your letter/email when ever they see fit. With the online version, I can post or reply to a comment and it appears almost instantaneously. That is providing it complies within the terms and conditions. This to me, seems to be a far more interactive way of expressing ones feelings. I have to admit though, it can lead to my comments being ridiculed and attacked by some of the other people that contribute to the site. Like many online newspapers, there are a large number of people with right-wing tendencies, that seem to take delight in posting negative political and almost racist comments. I occasionally try and redress the balance.

     Work took an interesting turn on Friday. Our service manager called in at the end of the day, and asked to have a private word with me. The way things are going in the Council at the moment, it made me a little apprehensive. However, and I’m not supposed to say anything yet, she explained that that there might be an opportunity coming up in the next couple of weeks and that she wanted me to consider it carefully. Without going into any detail, it is an area that I did not think I have any experience in. I downloaded lots of information, and I may be doing myself down too much. I may just have enough limited knowledge to pass this off. If I get my head down and start reading all this information, who knows what may happen. Just hope I don’t tread on anybody’s toes!!

     The new car is living up to expectations. Now I’ve had it a couple of months, it’s getting more and more difficult to remember the old one. The mileage is better, although I’m not getting the 60mpg that i was led to believe. It’s more 48mpg, which is better than the 42mpg I was getting with the Ford, so it is an improvement, and with the low tax band, I will be saving. It still looks strange to see my car and S****’s car side by side in the car park. Especially as they have consecutive number plates!

     On a completely different track, I’m starting an online course on Monday 25th. I saw an article in the Guardian online, that explained a little about these ‘free’ courses. It is an organisation called Futurelearn and the quote from it’s website says:

“At FutureLearn, we want to inspire learning for life. We offer a diverse selection of free, high quality online courses from some of the world’s leading universities and other outstanding cultural institutions.”

     I’ve signed up for a course about King Richard III. It is not something I know much about, but the discovery of his remains and the recent television drama about The White Queen, stirred my interest somewhat. It is free, so I have nothing to lose, and it may just benefit me should I attempt to go on Mastermind !!!! I’ve also signed up for a course in programming apps for smart phones, but that does not start until February 2014.

     A couple of post’s back, I mentioned a story idea that I had been planning. Well it is now into it’s fourth chapter, and the story will start to take a different direction. I will not say any more, but I may put an excerpt on here sometime. In fact, I have considered posting the whole story as weekly chapters, but I’ve not decided yet.