Friday, September 29, 2006

Thanks for showing up, you 23 people you

The Daily News blogs, including Come on Feel the Nuys, were down again this morning, not even accessible to readers, let alone the bloggers who write them. But once again, all is well with the server in Denver, and we're back in the proverbial saddle.

This site's been pretty much fallow, not counting my Writely rantings in previous entries. That's a quick and sloppy way to link four blog posts in a single clause. Apologies.

And I'm only excited about 23 people hitting 2,000 Days yesterday because ... guess I don't know.

If you blog in the forest, and nobody reads it, is it still there?

That makes no sense whatsoever.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Daily News blogs in stasis

The reason I don't post here too much is that I do a whole lot of blogging for the Daily News.

But today the Movable Type interface over which we blog is down, even though most of the blogs themselves are up (although comments are kind of wobbly at present).

Stiill, we can't post. Over here in the Blogger universe, I've been keeping This Old Mac and This Old PC going pretty good, and we're in the process of creating a new, technology-related blog over at the Daily News, so all the techie crap will go there when the time comes.

Quickly, here's what I saw today that's cool:

Get the first five years worth of BoingBoing, the world's premiere techno-geek blog, in one big, geeky 17,000-post file. This link isn't the file itself -- would I subject you to that without warning? -- but it will get you there. Seriously, if you want to know what's what with the Internet, technology and just plain geekiness in all its forms, BoingBoing is there for you, multiple times a day.

I know you use Mac OS X, but have you ever tried Mac System 1.0? You can read about it and actually download the damn thing here. Go back to the Mac's very beginnings ... although I suspect this bad boy will only run on 68K machines. Don't have a working Mac Plus lying around? Didn't think so. Go here to emulate it. Even a PC can do it.

Does "Marmaduke" puzzle you. This guy explains each and every comic.

The U.S.-Mexican border ... as volleyball net. From the L.A. Weekly.

A Nietzsche-"Family Circus" mashup from

And last but really first, because it's a blogger doing real get-out-of-the-house journalism, Mack Reed of L.A. Voice does an LAPD ride-along on Skid Row, where a greatly increased police presence is trying to deal with a very out-of-control drug-fueled situation.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Your applications are moving

Besides Gmail, Writely, Google's web-based spreadsheet, the calendars offered by both Yahoo! and Google, and the big daddy, Microsoft's rumored Web-based Office, the move is on from programs installed on individual PC hard drives to hosted applications and storage on servers somewhere out there on the Internet, maintained and upgraded automatically for you, with functionality from any Web-connected device.

Of course, we'll have to pay for it, but if prices are good, it just might be worth it. And some might be ad-supported and hence free to users. It's where computing -- and the world of work -- is headed.

Writely to Blogger -- what's the frequency?

As I said a couple of posts down, Writely is a cool tool for posting to Blogger, but is there a compelling reason to use it instead of the Blogger Dashboard?

Well, the big fly in the Writely-to-Blogger ointment is that none of my Writely-created blog posts come over with the title, even though they are titled in Writely.

The thing is in beta, so I can't expect the world, and as I said in the post directly below, Writely does what it does pretty well -- but is it worth doing?

As a replacement for the little-known Pote, which has proven very useful to me when I wanted to write a review and save it to the Web for later downloading and e-mailing, Writely is a proverbial quantum leap forward. The fact that it's so darn fast is a serious plus. Also in its favor are the ability to save in some key formats: Word, Open Office, HTML and RTF (add Save As Text, please!).

As I've said, true Word format with margins and smart quotes are what I really need. Have you ever sent a text file without the smart quotes and relied on your editor to get them right? I have. It's never worked out. And that's why writers NEED to submit copy in Word format with the smart quotes all set up -- it saves work for the editor and makes the writer and editor happy. And we all want to be happy.

Writely can indent and print ... but nothing's perfect

Someone suggested that using the Tab key in Writely would indent the paragraph -- and possibly also work in HTML.

Now I'd prefer a true indent that Microsoft Word recognizes as such and would be able to modify in Word format, but even looking like a paragraph indent would be preferable to the typical Web situation in which all paragraphs begin flush left and the only way to tell one paragraph from another is to double-space in between.

Hey, that tabbing worked. Not as good as an automatic indent when you hit the Enter key, but I'll take it. (In case you didn't notice, the tabbing didn't hold up as HTML in this blog post.)

And how's the printing? I'll try it now.

Well, it prints great ... except for the "Page 1 of 1" at the top and the URL at the bottom. I guess for REAL printing, you'd have to Save As Word or Open Office and print from there. Not having to do that -- another feature that Writely needs, along with margin control, to be ready for prime time. Meanwhile, I'll publish this to the Blog.

For those reading this -- and not This Old Mac or This Old PC -- you may be wondering why I'm blogging on this very computer-centric topic at 2,000 Days in the Valley. If you need a reason, let that reason be that, at its core, it's about blogging and blogging tools, so maybe it's OK at 2,000 Days. And it's equally PC- and Mac-related, and not so teched-out that the average person couldn't potentially benefit from.

One thing about Writely, what it does, it does pretty seamlessly and quickly. There's almost no waiting for the page to refresh because little pieces refresh on their own. I think it uses the browser's ability to write HTML on the fly to do this -- a programming triumph that really makes the user experience better. And the reason why it won't work with Safari, I believe.