The Drum Part

My bride and I just got back to the hotel and are relaxing and catching up on some of the Olympic action. I’ll post some more detail in the next day or so why we are at a hotel. But, anyway… you know when the TV coverage of the Olympic events returns from a commercial break and they play that music? Well, the next time you hear bum, bum, da, bum, bum — bum, bum, da, bum, bum, picture yourself standing tall and in your best Viking voice belting out, “This Is The Drum Part — This Is The Drum Part” and I promise you will never hear that piece of music the same again 😉

Stay Up Late

There are a dozen or so LwC bloggers who are collectively participating in the upcoming Blogathon 2005 beginning Saturday, August 6th at 9:00 AM EST. The LwC community has chosen Doctors Without Borders as the charity for which we will blog.

We have setup a special blog for this event. And I am very excited about this blogathon. The participants on our team are literally from around the world. We have participants from the UK, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US (coast to coast). In one way this makes it a bit easier on the individual participants, but it makes for a bit of a job for Clint who is organizing and scheduling the team. Nice work Clint!

I am making a personal plea to anyone who stumbles by this blog and happens to read this. If you are so moved, please consider donating to our cause by clicking on the banner in the top right (or here). You can make the donation in your name or anonymously. Whether you are able to donate or not, please pray for us that our blogging is edifying to all who read it throughout this event. Also, please do make it a point to stop by often throughout the event and let us know you’ve visited.

God bless!

So Many Blogs

I forget how I came upon Bloglines but it was not long after I began blogging. Bloglines is technically an aggregator. It takes those syndication feeds that you see on so many websites (RSS, Atom, XML) and monitors them for new posts and aggregates them into a nice user interface so that you are only presented with the updated sites. It also allows you to publish the list of site that you monitor onto your own website/blog. Bloglines requires that you set up a free account in order to aggregate feeds. The process is painless and you even get a free blog in the deal. I have not used mine, but it is there no less. Here is a screenshot when I first checked my feeds this evening:

Bloglines Screenshot

Notice in the left pane I am presented only with blogs that have new posts. I’m told how many new posts there are and by clicking on the blog name, the new posts are displayed in the right pane. Depending on how the feed is setup and also on my settings in bloglines, I am either presented with the entire post or just a teaser. By clicking on the post title in the right pane, another window (a new tab in the really cool browsers) opens displaying the permalink of that post. This is great if you want to go ahead and comment on that particular post. You can also click on the particular blogs name in the right pane and open the blog itself. I do most of my blog reading right in the bloglines interface.

Now, to aggregate blogs into your bloglines account you must subscribe to your blogs of choice. You can do this by entering a blog’s URL into bloglines directly or by using a neat little plug-in that adds a ‘subscribe to’ option in your context menu (right click). Some Bloglines users include a ‘subcribe with Bloglines’ button on their site — bottom right column of mine. You have a choice of subscribing to a blog as public or private. You can only publish public subscriptions, surprise, surprise. You can also place the subscription into a particular folder and you can then publish per folder. This allows you to effectively build multiple blog lists. To publish your blog list(s) you click on the share tab and answer some questions and build the html code to place into your blog.

Another really cool feature is the clippings option. If I am reading a particularly interesting post I can clip it to my clipping tab and then return to it whenever I get around to consider it more deeply or perhaps blog on it myself. Also, there is a notifier that you can use in your browser that places a blue B in the lower right of your browser. If the blue B also has a red dot there are new posts to read.

Another feature you might find interesting is creating email subscriptions. This allows you to create an unlimited number of Bloglines email addresses that will show up in your subscription list. Be careful as these are not your typical email addresses. If you unsubscribe to any of the email addresses they become invalid.

One final plus is the fact that Bloglines is web-based which means I can access my account from any computer with web access and no special software is required.

There is one thing I need to point out that is somewhat a downer and that is staying in touch with comments. I must make the effort to revisit blogs where I have been following any comments. While this is certainly not a huge matter, I’m sure I have missed follow up comments because I have forgotten to check back.

Overall I am very pleased with Bloglines and would recommend it to anyone trying to following several different blogs regularly. If you have not already, give Bloglines a try and let me know how it goes.

Linux Blogging: gnome-blog

I recently came across an interesting blogging tool called gnome-blog. Anybody running Linux, blogging regularly and has not taken a look at this application yet, I recommend you do so. First let me say what it is not. It is not a full-featured, option laden, multi-functioned application. As for what it is; gnome-blog is a panel object (aka applet) that can post directly to blogs utilizing the bloggerAPI such as Life with Christ. It is also compatible with several other weblogs including blogger.com, pyblosxom, and moveable-type.

Bottom line is that gnome-blog is a simple and productive little application. It has a “clean interface… WYSIWYG styled text support…” and entries,”can be written gradually throughout the day popping gnome-blog open and closed as you have thoughts to jot down and then posting at the end of the day”. And the configuration could not be simpler.

Here is a shot of the entire configuration screen:

Settings for LwC are as follows:

  • Blog Type: Self-Run Other
  • Blog Protocol: BloggerAPI
  • XML-RPC URL: http://lifewithchrist.org/RPC
  • Username: your LwC username
  • Password: your LwC password
  • To test your settings you can click on the Lookup Blogs button and it should return your blog name.

    The applet is simply a little button on your panel that opens the entry screen.

    As you can see there are very few “extras”. Those being the bold and italics buttons and a simple Add Link button. When your entry is ready to go you simply click on Post Entry.

    There is also a standalone application in Applications|Accesories. This standalone is very similar to the quick entry screen but has a button for Preferences.

    Now gnome-blog ala LwC is not without some quirks. For example the title field does not translate as the title into LwC and there is no Category field within gnome-blog, but this is of little consequence since LwC does not currently support categories within BloggerAPI. Alas, there are reasonable workarounds. Essentially, embrace your title within <title></title> tags and the category within the <category></category> tags. Make sure you use a legitimate category that you have already set up on LwC.

    In the near future I intend to test drive BloGTK which seems to be very similar to w.Bloggar familar to window$ users. I will put together a similar post after I have had a chance give it a run.