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Spellcheck WordPress Posts in Firefox November 17, 2005

Posted by Leita in Browsers, Internet, Wordpress.com.
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Spellbound

Finally, an easy way to spellcheck WordPress.com posts on-the-fly (not to mention wordpress.org–the spellcheck plugins available work great but are bloaty and slow). No more battling MS Word’s weird curly quotes and insane hidden formatting code that destroys the most simple of paragraphs just to perform a basic spell check.

How To Set It Up:

It takes two downloads for this to work. The dictionary to use with Spellbound is located at Dictionaries for Mozilla. Click your favorite language(s) and install. Most Firefox users shouldn’t have to tinker with the install, but just in case, instructions are included on the same page. Firefox will ask for the usual permission, of course.

Then go to the Spellbound install page, enter in the correct information, click and restart Firefox.

Update: The spell-checker works great in Firefox but will not install in Flock and wouldn’t it be nice if the Flock blog post feature had a simple spell-checker (not to mention a way to edit code directly)? Sheesh, the flocksucks.wordpress.com folks just gained another supporter.

How to Use It

To use, type into any input box (such as a Write Post); right-click and a new option “check spelling” will show up. When using for the first time, be sure and click the Language dropdown and select your favorite language, otherwise the spellchecker will indicate no spelling errors.

That’s it!

Cheers to addons that’ll make more blogs look intelligent and cheers to posts that’ll make our grade school teachers proud.

Source: LifeHacker (other nifty tools listed, worth clicking)

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The “F” Word October 28, 2005

Posted by Leita in Browsers, Flotsam/Jetsam.
3 comments

I do not dislike Fl0ck* but I am growing weary of seeing it incessantly blogged about. Fl0ck has been dissected, reviewed, studied, adored and loathed to the point some of my favorite blogs are a big o’ bore now.

Since it ranks #5 in Technorati’s top searches, I suppose those who value their site traffic (or make a living off it) need to join the banter. Fine, but please do the rest of us a favor and write about something else, too.

It’s a big o’ goofy world, my darlings; I’d enjoy reading about some of it for a change.

 

*Word mungled intentionally. 

Tired of Waiting for a Flock Invite? October 20, 2005

Posted by Leita in Browsers, Internet.
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Check your email.

After that, do read the instructions carefully. This ain’t your mama’s install.

AFTER YOU INSTALL

1. The Import Wizard appears when you start Flock. Click Cancel. We
recommend that you not import settings from other browsers (importing of
favorites won’t work, in any event, that’s a known bug – we’ll fix it soon)

2. After Flock comes up, we suggest that you click the Star button
that’s in the URL bar. You’ll be asked if you’d like to share your
Favorites. Give it a spin, but keep in mind that all your favorites
will be publicly viewable.

— If you have a del.icio.us http://del.icio.us> account, enter your
username and password. Click the checkbox that tells the Password
Manager to remember. Then click OK.
— If you’d like to get a del.icio.us http://del.icio.us> account, head
over to http://del.icio.us/register

That’s it — you’re ready to go! After playing with this build for a
while, please let us know what you think by filling out the survey or
feedback form that are linked from the start page.

For release notes, help and support, and more information on anything
else that’s Flock, check out the browser’s start page.

Screenshot of blog writer (click to view larger):

screenshot of Flock

Web Fads: The Future “Don’t” List October 15, 2005

Posted by Leita in Browsers, CMS, Design, Internet, Wordpress.com, Wordpress.org.
2 comments

Here is my list of current trends that will eventually be considered as stale as the half-eaten sandwich nestled between the sofa cushions. (Admit it, you know you have one, too.) Note: Inclusion in this list in no way means it is disliked, only that its popularity will fade.

Still popular, some even gaining momentum, they are not on their way out just yet but will be:

  1. Background images that look like your daddy’s necktie. Add a nice serif font and ta-daaa… instant credibility and a look that is either duller than dirt or a nauseating salute to magenta and chartreuse paisley.
  2. Miniscule fonts – already on the wane but still viewable on a few fancy “Made with Flash” design sites. Any font with the words “mini” in the name or comes with the disclaimer “only to be used at 8 px” should be ashamed of itself.
  3. Tables – Also on the wane, but until more of the big boys put away their layout hacks and delete their 1px transparent gifs once and for all, it stays in the Future list.
  4. Bloated CMS – The emperor’s new clothes told backwards. Plugins, modules, components, no matter what they’re called, these toys can turn the most mundane website into one that looks like it should be good. (“Look Mum, the emperor has no content!”)
  5. Invite-only sites – Did Google really start this or was it copied from someone else? Matters not, people love feeling in while throngs who aren’t fill up comment space with requests to be included in the party. Ning, Flock, Orkut, 30gigs, WordPress (cough), the concept will stick as long as it is human nature to need to feel part of an exclusive group. What will not survive is the guarantee any product using this method will automatically succeed. (Which reminds me, anyone wanting an invite to ImPress: Build Your Own Invite-Only Community can leave a comment below stating why you are interesting enough to deserve an invitation.)
  6. Ning and the inevitable Ning wannabes – Anyone can call themselves a developer, even when cloning someone else’s work. Of course, I am biting my nails waiting for the officail email telling me I can create my own.
  7. The blog look – I don’t like including this one. The birth of the blog almost single-handedly killed the old “Website In a Night” look and did the world a favor. Blogs may look cookie-cutter but at least they don’t cause epileptic fits. Sadly, the two-column header, footer, sidebar, content with shadows on the edges format will be outgrown. Let’s hope it’ll evolve into something just as visually attractive. I feel confident it will.
  8. The High Tech Interface Look – Futuristic, brushed metal design popular with gamers and teen boys (redundant, but true).
  9. Dreamweaver – (Front Page was never really in, so is not included here) As more people turn to content management and blog systems, they’re finding it is damn difficult creating a site from scratch with this fine product. WYSISYG editors will gather dust and text editors make a comeback, separating the hand-coders from the weekend warriors who pass themselves off as (cringe) webmasters.
  10. Podcasts – Does Every-freaking-body need a podcast? Does Aunt Polly’s Recipe Blog need a podcast? Of course not. Be gone!
  11. Flash ads – Sure, they look better than blinking animated gifs, but not much. No ad, no matter how well done should compete with the site’s content for attention. (See below.)
  12. LowerMyBills.com ads – (See above.) Unfortunately, I don’t really see these obnoxious boxes of animated hell going away, I just wish they would.
  13. iPod Video – After the initial crowd of gadget junkies get theirs (see #5 above, many are invite junkies, too) and then feel compelled to buy the next version that will be on the market within the next three months, they’ll tire of the novelty. “Oh, Nathan, look! I am watching fancy moving pictures while trying to answer my iPod-enabled cell phone and maneuver down a New York City street at lunchtime.” Steve Jobs will joke about these someday. We all will.
  14. Adsense – Blogs with sidebar ads that direct viewers to sites selling blogs. Unless Google improves the relationship between the page content and the ads few blogs will make enough money for a cup of Starbucks.

AOL Explorer Beta = A Better I.E. October 11, 2005

Posted by Leita in Browsers, Design, Flotsam/Jetsam, Internet.
2 comments

I am posting this using AOL’s new external browser. No cringing, please. It’s not bad at all. Here’s a brief overview.

Packaged with AIM’s beta Triton (bloated, but I like it, especially the XM Radio) was a sneak preview of AOL’s branded IE6 browser. I was surprised. For once, AOL developed a tool that is not obsolete two years before its debut. The layout is clean (i.e., it’s not Netscape) and there are several thoughtful extras but is it better than Firefox? No, but much better than IE6 and Netscape. (Think: “Pimp My Browser.”)

Tabs, Toolbars and Other Doodads

AOL Explorer tab rollover exampleMouseover a tab and view a thumbnail preview of the page unless it’s flashed) Tabs are draggable, too and to open a new one there’s a wee [+] box on the left side of the tab bar for those who can’t manage typing ctrl+T. Roll over the Back button to reveal the current tab’s history with thumbnail for those of us who burned out our short term memory in 1989.

Right click and select Power Browsing for a small list of helpful functions including “Add Your Own Menu Item.” I inserted two favorite bookmarklets (WordPress Link This and Press It, of course). “Add a Link” worked but using the same window to delete the link made the browser crash. Forgivable for a beta, but makes adding an image to a post difficult.

Located on the left edge is an editable 20-ish pixel wide toolbar with default links to AOL/AIM mail, Favorites, Channels, Feeds, History and AOL Search. At first it looked AOL-specific–the side panel menu offers only AOL links–but after adding the tab “Make A Panel” any link can be added. Kind of like Firefox’s Bookmarks Toolbar Folder with a smaller footprint. Big problem: some of the default tabs cannot be removed (“Bad AOL browser, bad!”)

Working in WordPress

Clicking on Link and Image buttons in Post causes a script error popup. (I haven’t seen one of those in a looong time.) Close the popup three times by clicking on the [x] and it disappears leaving the intended box open and functioning.

Images upload but cannot be drug into a post, only after inserted. Adding the image above was annoying. I uploaded it, moused over the image to reveal its path and typed it in manually. Another way is to right-click, Copy Shortcut, click the Insert/Edit Image button, close the error box three times then paste. Bleah.

What I miss

Easy image inserting, of course. Also, the multi-search, editable dropdown search bar – it’s there but only for AOL’s search function. Fair enough since it’s a branded browser, I suppose. I didn’t think I’d miss it at first, but I’ve already reached for it twice this morning. Grrrr

What could’ve been left out

“Fun Stuff” – aka Trick Your Cubicle Mate. Locate it by right clicking>Power Browsing>Just For Fun:

  • I Need Glasses – Fuzz up the page and scare your coworker
  • I Need a Mirror – Everything’s backwards
  • Flip My Monitor Over – Upside down.

Will She Use It?

Perhaps.

It doesn’t scream out “I Am An AOL Browser;” some of the gadgets are useful and for once, AOL didn’t build a tool intended solely for newcomers (except for the Fun Stuff). It won’t lure me into uninstalling Firefox, but I’m not such a snob to feel the need to dismiss any other attempt to build a decent browser.

It’s as easy to spout “AOL sucks” as it is “Microsoft sucks,” but as a previous AOL member (does anyone remember their DOS version?) I don’t ride that bandwagon. I’d rather encourage all of them to build better products. Just a scant few years ago AOL decided to drop Rainman when it should’ve been scrapped 10 years ago. So yeah, I am pleasantly surprised. When bigguns like AOL attempt to improve something as standard–non-standard?–as IE, it draws a line in the sand. That’s what needs to happen. I’m good with that.

Firefox – why change browsers? June 16, 2005

Posted by Leita in Browsers, Internet.
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I started using Firefox a while back at the prompting of web gurus fighting the good fight for standards-compliant code. It’s just a better browser and it didn’t take me long to rack up the reasons why. A sample can be found at Eric Meyer’s site. Take a look at this page in Internet Explorer then in Firefox. Scroll a bit, play around and see a sample of what I.E. users have been missing. I.E. users don’t see what’s happening in the background … what the internet could be. Meyer’s site is just one example, an average user may not understand what he’s saying, but the images tell the story clearly. Honestly, at first I didn’t notice a huge difference between how the two browsers rendered most pages. Thanks to coders who pay close attention to standards compliance, and the clients willing to pay for the thoughtful code, the good sites look similar. If that’s not enough reason to switch, try those tabs. No more opening six separate windows when poking ’round the ‘net; they’re all right there! Woohoo! After playing with those, I clicked the big click and designated Firefox as my default browser. A first for me, I didn’t even do that with Netscape back in ’97. (Note: back then I was a Netscape convert. It was my favorite browser until one of the early upgrades released was so buggy I couldn’t uninstall it fast enough. Call me picky and unforgiving, but I didn’t go back until recently. It’s a decent browser, even has those yummy tabs, but too hungry for space I do not care to share.) I’ll say it again, if you’re using I.E., get Firefox. It’s worth every wee meg it takes up. While you’re at it, dump Outlook and get Thunderbird, too. Since employing those two programs, the amount of malware that accumulates on my computer has dropped by over 80% daily, from an average of 50-70 to about 6. That’s every day. That’s huge. Now, the caveat: since most Windows users click on the big blue E that comes loaded on their computer and often aren’t aware of what else is out there, it seemed as though I was just adding hours to my browser testing. Criminy, one more browser to putter with, it almost made me revert back to Flash sites and damn the search engine optimization. I won’t even go into Opera, which was touted at “the” browser to have a few years ago. It wasn’t and I don’t have it on my computer even for testing. I’m being unfair building sites that may or may not look decent in Opera, but if they can’t keep up, screw ’em. I suppose I’m not a standards-compliant militant, but I do pay attention to I.E. users since they still are the vast majority. Now I pay attention to Firefox because the folks who use it care enough to make the extra effort worth it. One last link before I go: give Newt a click with I.E. and Firefox. I sent this one to a client yesterday and even though he’s a mac boy, he was impressed. Now, do what Eric says and go do the right thing.

Every blog/dev/trade mag/design guru says.. May 15, 2005

Posted by Leita in Browsers, Flotsam/Jetsam, Internet.
9 comments

… to toss out IE and start using Mozzie’s Firefox, instead. So, I did. The tiny file size got my attention (insert the file sizes of all the major browsers Here with a link to each one to back up the statement.. eh, maybe later). When a new gadget can make me grin and nod before its downloaded, it’s gotta be good, right?