Blogging Tech–Part-II

The first part of this series focused on storing and manipulating ideas for blogging. Today, I’m going to talk about the way I write. No, not the scatter-brained stream-of-consciousness-hopping-from-topic-to-topic thing, the technology that I use. Remember, I’m a geek. I have a geek job and I have geek things that are the result of having that geek job. So, even though I’m going to try to be non-geeky, it’s going to sound like I’m a geek. We all have to work with what we know. If my wife were writing a food blog, she’d be talking about pots and pans that I never use. If I were writing a food blog, it would be a collection of one-pot recipes or things you can eat over the sink with a spork.

I write almost every blog post in Word. I have Microsoft Office, and since it’s part of Office 365, I can install Office on five (yes, that’s five, as in 5) computers. These can be laptops, desktops, PCs or Macs. I can also install it on (yes, also as in “in addition to”) five devices. I wrote parts one and two of this series on my iPad, on a plane on my way home from our company’s Annual Meeting. I edited them later on my Windows laptop. You’re thinking “parts one and two? Does that mean he’s going to write more of these?

image

I know there are blog editors that might simplify this, but it works for me.

 

I work on the layout in Word. Spacing, indents, image placement and links. Once I think I have things looking the way I want them, I print from Word and read/edit the paper copy. I usually reread it after a day or so. I give the “final” version to my wife for review. That comes back looking like the papers I wrote for Mrs. Richardson in 5th grade. Lots of red ink. Once I / we like it, I move it into Live Writer.

Live Writer is a blog editor that is part of the free Windows Essentials kit. I like Live Writer because A) it’s free, B) it is dirt-simple to connect to a WordPress (or Blogger) blog, C) it syncs with your blog so it knows your categories and tags, and D) it incorporates your blog’s style/theme. It doesn’t do all these things well, but it does them all free.

Note: I did try publishing directly from Word, but I didn’t like the result. Word publishes everything in the document. I like to store the titles, urls and descriptions of the photos I use in the document with the text. That way, if I’m editing a WordPress gallery. I just have to copy and paste the text from Word. So, I copy just the blog text into Live Writer.

Once published, I keep a copy of the Word document on my laptop and in Box, an online storage service. So, I have a blog post, a backup of the post and descriptions and a backup of that backup. “Belts and suspenders” as a business mentor of mine was fond of saying. I also back up my photos. If I don’t upload the photos to WordPress, I embed them and link to them on my Flickr site. Flickr gives me 1 tb of free storage for photos. The high-quality illustrations you see here are usually stored on WordPress or in Pinterest in a board called “blog photos.”

By the way, those illustrations? I sketch those on my iPad in Jot, a free freehand drawing App. As I wrote a year ago, I love Jot because I can draw, doodle, store, save and send illustrations (jots) very easily.

One of geek things that I use at work, but that I don’t have access to at home is Adobe Photoshop. Unlike Microsoft, Adobe doesn’t let me install their software on five PCs and five devices. Since I don’t do a lot of photo editing, just a little cropping and adjusting, I use GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). GIMP is free and if you’re familiar with Photoshop, you will find all the same features in GIMP – they just won’t be in the first place you look. They won’t be in the second place you look either but you’ll find then eventually.

I get some of these things because I need them to do my geek job. But unlike my friends over at This Old House, these tools are affordable. I’m not talking about a laser-guided crown molding measuring and cutting tool with robotic molding installation supports. Just like Evernote and Trello (from Part-I) GIMP is free. Do you see a pattern forming? Flickr is free, Box is free for 5gb and on the right day, 30 or 50 gb. Jot is free. Office 365 isn’t free, but the home edition is affordable at $99 a year and you get those five plus five copies. And, if you buy Office 365, you get 1 tb of storage on OneDrive for free. Who doesn’t like free?

I don’t think that we need a Part-3. Several people have asked me about building the photo galleries. I just use the WP media features. I would be happy to share more information about that, and anything else people want to know about, but I don’t want to bore you to tears. Leave a comment. If I can, I’ll answer it there. Thanks for reading.

About Dan Antion

Husband, father, woodworker, cyclist, photographer, geek - oh wait, I’m writing this like I only have 140 characters. I am all those things, and more, and all of these passions present me with opportunities to observe, and think about things that I can’t write about in other places. I have started this blog to catch the stuff that falls out, overflows and just plain doesn’t fit the other containers in my life.
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37 Responses to Blogging Tech–Part-II

  1. Very interesting. I use word and Grammerly for my blog, When I need to send a guest post to someone I do it in HTML

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Initially, I wrote my posts in Word, but I faced some pretty horrendous format issues, most notably in spacing. It’s nice not many people go read my old posts.
    My experiences with software lead me to believe that I like to buy tangible discs, which I have forever, as opposed to downloads, free or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      I can understand the format problems. I just use Word so i can get it to look like what i want. But, when I tried to post from Word, I didn’t get what I wanted. Unfortunately, tangible disks won’t be around much longer :(

      Thanks for the comment.

      Like

  3. lauramacky says:

    I just type in the blog itself but then again I don’t spend time on words like you do. Just titling my posts takes forever and then I give up and call it “painted rose” or something innocuous like that. I love your flow charts by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Woah, you’re really a pro! I use Word also for all of my writing, but I only use copy/paste on WordPress. I know I should take the time to explore all the options out there. I would benefit from learning about adding captions to photos, for example, and also changing the font and such. Agree with Joey about the spacing issues with Word. I’ve read elsewhere about Live Writer. Your blog posts are always very neat and engaging, so I should probably stop being lazy and spend some time learning about these great tools. I won’t sketch charts and ilustrations though!!!! Words and only words are my tools.

    Like

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Evelyne. I started using Live Writer when I was on Blogger because it’s even harder to paste from Word over there. Live Writer is a nice bridge because it almost completely understands Word and almost understands your blog theme. The one thing I don’t like is that Live Writer had no indent, so I have to paste as a draft into WP and then indent any paragraphs that I want. Maybe I shouldn’t do that, but I like to break up the glow a bit.

      Do you use Word for you books? I’d be interested to know how you handle revisions. Thanks for the comment.

      Like

  5. nickwallen says:

    That last loop back in the workflow is SO familiar Dan.

    “Publish -> Read and spot Typos – > Edit -> Publish”

    Me to a tee – every time!

    Worse still is a DM from one of my readers before I catch it. The last from Chuck Kent asking if I had gone old english with “Thee Core Tactics In My Twitter Strategy” rather than Three.

    Like

  6. Sammy D. says:

    Dan, you had me at ‘scatter-brain’😋

    I know there’s stuff in here I can use, so I’m bookmarking this post. I don’t backup my stuff; I just bookmark yours.

    Like

  7. Dan Hennessy says:

    Is Office 365 what I should get ? Are there other versions to consider ? I have an outdated version now that has caused some problems when I went to do a powerpoint , for example .
    Also , pardon the ignorance , but how do you transfer your Office document to make it a WordPress post ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      I’m pretty sure Office 365 is all you can buy at this point. You might be able to get old disks for the Home and School edition but O365 is pretty easy to install and the annual fee keeps it up to date and gives you the storage.

      You can publish direct to WP if you start with the Word ‘blog entry’ template. It will ask you for your WP username, password and the address of your blog(s). You can also just copy and paste. I copy and paste into Live Writer first as an interim step because I don’t want to send everything to WP and it smooths out the line spacing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. cardamone5 says:

    I am sorry, but my mind went numb after the first tb reference. I am so not technical for this reason, but I appreciate your post, and may use it someday when my mind unnumbs.

    Fondly,
    E

    Liked by 1 person

  9. bryantduhon says:

    I keep telling myself to check out Livewriter, but cut and paste is just so quick for me these days into WordPress I just haven’t bothered. I DID finally manage to take a good look at Trello yesterday– I now have a few boards for writing and have linked the due dates into my gmail calendar. Pretty sweet. For images, I’m a huge fan of tagxedo, which is like worldle but with the ability to put your word clouds into various shapes (I just did one in the shape of “3” with “contentmarketing’ and “haiku” inside). I also have a link somewhere of a list of 75 sites with free images (think it’s a Guy Kawasaki list). If anyone’s interested, I can dig it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      As I mentioned in other comments, I like the way Livewriter almost filters Word to fit WordPress correctly. It seems like an unnecessary step, but it’s a habit I developed when my blog was on Blogger. The editor over there is like the old AIIM website. When you paste from Word, it pops up a window to say “it looks like you’re trying to past from Word. Do you want us to fix that?” and then it proceeds to destroy your formatting.

      As for photos, I really really try to use only photos that I’ve taken. That way, when the free site gets sued, I’m not involved :)

      Thanks, as always for adding to the conversation. I need to look at connecting Trello to a calendar. That would be a big help for me.

      Like

  10. Don says:

    Hell Dan, you make me feel so inadequate. Found your post fascinating. I must say I also started religiously with Word but gave up because of format issues. Wish I had just a wee-bit of your knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Don. You might be struggling with this stuff, but it’s not evident to this reader. The format issues with Word are a problem. I do find that Live Writer helps to smooth those out quite a bit. Microsoft keeps hinting that “Essentials” and Liver Writer aren’t long for this world, but it’s still available and works well with Windows 7 and 8.

      Like

  11. Most definitely NOT boring, Dan. Here I am thinking, “darn, I’m so dumb”. I write my posts in word and then copy and paste into wordpress. I tired writing in my notes on iPad, but that didn’t work out. I struggle with putting photos in a gallery format ( hope that’s the description) in wordpress. I can do the single photos well (in my opinion). I’m fascinated with all the “stuff” you use. I am eager to learn. Keep sharing and explaining. I have to look into all these free things available.
    Oh, do tell Mrs. Dan to use a purple pen on the print copy; it’s softer on the eyes😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      As I mentioned, I use this stuff everyday so it’s more just being familiar than anything else. I was finally able to write something on my iPad, once I installed Word. I have other Apps but, again, it’s what you’re familiar with. I’m glad you found the post helpful Elaine. I will suggest the purple pen :)

      Like

  12. Ok, I just read comments and responses and like some of the others, I have to invest the time to do some exploring. I did sign up for Evernote and Trello, but didn’t do anything else. I have booked marked both parts of these tech posts. Thanks again, Dan .

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think I’ll just stick to cooking one-dish meals you can eat over the sink with a spork! Great post. I like Word, but I just post all my stuff directly from WordPress. I tried writing on Word then copied and pasted it to WordPress. I didn’t like the results, so I just write on WordPress. I”m not a bunch-of-gadgets-person. I like the one-dish-thing that does it all. Thanks for sharing and helping us non-computer-geeks out here!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. metrhispanic says:

    I use Word because, as you say, it is not free but it is still affordable, and then I use almost all the other open-source software (and a little more…) you mention. Using Word is also useful as I try to keep publishing in my three primary languages, so I can have a table with three columns and this makes for both a typo (microsoft) and a content (me) permanent check. It definitely takes more time than writing in a single language, such things as the grammar checker in word can sometimes be annoying (Why don’t you English speakers like the passive verbs?), but at least I’m giving it at least three thoughts. Nice post

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      I am not a good source for information on English grammar. I am seriously impressed by your comfort with three languages. I studied German in school but forgot most. I follow two German blogs, and i try to read them first without Google translate. You use of Word is interesting. I also use TurboCAD, sn inexpensive CAD system for planning large projects aroubd our house snd for some of our network diagrams st work.

      Like

  15. Peter Nena says:

    This post is seriously geek! I am not exposed to nearly as many a software. I should try that GIMP, though, if it works like Photoshop.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Paul says:

    Ha! Dan, that flowchart of your writing/editing process alone was worth the price of admission. That’s great that you go the old-school red-ink-on-paper route at the end. Seriously, speaking as a professional editor, I can’t get over the number of things I spot on paper that I don’t see on the screen. I tend to lapse into “skim read” mode on a screen, I think, whereas there’s something about actual paper that slows me down just enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      That’s an interesting observation Paul. For me, the paper gives me a much better sense of how the document flows as I read it. There are no distractions. Also, it’s different. I write looking at the screen so I tend to see what I think I wrote. Not that I haven’t pushed my share of typos into WordPress, but the paper review helps.

      Like

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