Friday, March 6, 2009

Composing blog posts; another hindrance

I've settled on Scribefire -- a Firefox extension -- as the best post editor of the lot that I've tried.  But I don't know it too well, nor much about composing blog-formatted posts.  I realized, in composing my previous entries, that this was limiting me.  In particular, a few screenshots would serve quite well, but I haven't worked out how to add them.  And to format them.

Can they go directly into the blogspot blog and storage?  That appears to be an option, in some cases.  Do I have to upload and host them somewhere, then linking to them?  If so, where, and what choice do I make to help ensure long term stability?

Picasa might seem an apt choice, since it is another Google property and is probably not going anywhere.  But Google tries very hard to make you install the full Picasa client onto your system.  I've found that most if not all locally installed Google applications -- as opposed to those used solely through the web browser -- exhibit obnoxious behavior.  They install and try to insist upon the Google Updater program, which sucks up system resources and slams through upgrades with no warning.  The programs upgrade themselves without warning nor control over the update process, and hook deeply enough into the host system that a reboot can be more or less essential.  They start scanning and indexing things without prompting; their behavior can only be altered, if at all, after the fact.

Finally, for Picasa, what does one do if one accesses multiple Google accounts including multiple Picasa accounts?

I needed to post some family photos recently, and I decided -- partly to avoid intersecting with other photo hosting that I've set up -- to give Picasa a try.  After a fair amount of Googling around for utilities and API information, I found that the one option for uploading photos to a Picasa Web (as they call it) account without installing the Picasa client software, is a recently added feature that allows Picasa Web to accept photos emailed to an account-specific, "secret" email address.

As a significant benefit, attempting to select multiple files at once for attachment, in gmail, actually worked.   I hadn't had too much expectation that it would.  I learned later that this multiple selection support is a recent addition to gmail.  I could add a reasonable number of pictures with a single email.

An added trick is not to wait for the draft email message to load all the selected files:  When you send the email, they are all uploaded again.  Instead, click "Send" right after adding the files via the file selection dialog box; any portion of the files not already uploaded before you click "Send" will only be uploaded once, instead of twice.

Actually, a "web upload" option was described, but when I accessed my Picasa Web account, the described control was not present.  Perhaps because it was a new account that did not have any albums set up.  But neither were their controls enabling the web client to create an album.  All very frustrating.  The email process deposited the first set of attached photos into a default "dropbucket" (or similarly named; I forget).  Once photos were in this default location, I could use the web interface to move them to a new album.

All very frustrating.  And that is a good part of my point, if any, behind describing this as a part of the hindrance to blogging.  You want to do photos?  It's possible, but every stage of the process seems to have poor documentation and limitations, whether intensional or merely short sighted.  It's not another account name and password to remember.  It's worse:  A whole set of ill-defined procedures that are platform-specific.

Some people seem to thrive on such random detail (the basic flow may make some sense, but the implementation details and their corresponding evocations are quasi-random -- arbitrary, at least).  For me, it's yet another set of arbitrary specifics, and my brain started subconsciously but seemingly quite specifically tuning those out somewhere in my 30's.

So, I'd like to author "better" posts.  But I'm bored to death with piddling details of the posting process.

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