Blogging Tools

March 2006
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A list of tools that can be used for blogging.

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This Blog Has Moved

I have been fighting off comment and trackback spam and have been finally driven to move to another tool. It is with great sadness that I leave my beloved PyDS and PyCS (python rules!) tools. This weblog has been moved to and is now being driven by WordPress.

I have imported the posts from this site have not been able to get the comments. I trust this site will stay available.

posted at 18:57:52    #

Social Bookmarking and Furl ... Bookmarking++

Peter Caputa is wondering about Furl or web archiving tools. rocks. It is my main bookmarking tool. Users can share their bookmarks publicly on the web; use a javascript bookmarklet tool to bookmark a page in one click, categorize bookmarks under multiple categories and type their own short description for the bookmark. All these features make backflip look like DOS.

Spurl vs Furl: Not sure what came first, but there are not a lot of differences between these two. There are some differences in implementation: Furl has a toolbar and spurl uses a browser button for MS IE users. After a quick trial, I would say furl gets a better rating on usability. But, I have talked with the founder of Spurl, and he is definitely on the right track. And both of these tools allow people to archive single pages of content. So, instead of just storing the link to it, you can store the page. Like I said, I don`t use these tools. Does anyone? For what purpose?

As an active furl user, I would say that furl functions as a Social Bookmarking++ service. I use it the same way as most people use with the added advantage that pages I bookmark are also saved. That includes the ability to share entries out in a complete feed or by category. Very handy. Additionally, the page categorization allows furl to "recommend" pages to me with startling accurancy. As far as what you can do with furl, checkout my Furl Bookmarklets for ways to traverse all the furled pages you are interested in. Also checkout 10 Cool Things To Do With Furl.

posted at 11:40:48    #

My Favorite PowerPoint Resources

I'm still not entirely sold on PowerPoint the Good But here are some places to looking at to help make it better. This is probably the longest PowerPoint resource list I've seen. From Working Smart - My Favorite PowerPoint Resources:
posted at 02:47:28    #

10 Cool Ways to Use Furl

Thanks to Contentious for the link to Amy Gahran's 10 Cool Ways to Use FURL:

Here are a few of my own:

  1. Use it to update your customers with news of interest in your field ... spontaneous communication channels that self maintain. 
  2. Use it as a way to support group information sharing for people who don't run their own blogs...
  3. Use it to decorate your website... as you bookmark they show up in the side bar of your website.

I agree that using furl for group work is something that is begging for more direct support in the furl toolset.  What I've been doing to help this out is exploring ways of creating a group furl aggragate RSS feed ... and then we each  select a category to share and the aggregated feed picks up that category.  A little cumbersome, but it preserves individual entries from deletion by other group members.

[via Full Circle Associates Online Interaction & Community Blog]

posted at 02:13:20    #

Google's Site Flavored Search

I've added a Google Site Flavored Search to my blog. so I can play with this and figure out if it is valuable for the narrow range of topics typically covered here. Its located in the sidebar so you'll need to go the site if you are reading this through syndication.

What it is supposed to do is tailor your searches to categories that are related to my blog but the choices for categories that were available when I set it up were a little broad.

Its an interesting service though. Another first for Google.

posted at 22:18:40    #

PyCS Hits Today Ranking Broken?

I've been noticing that the Hits today component of the Rankings report for the community server has been growing for several days now .... is that thing working right? I expect at some point that the number should dip down as we cross 11:59 pm somewhere in the world ....

posted at 11:36:32    #

"Backlinks by Bloglines" bookmarklet

Seb has produced another nifty bookmarklet ... this time one that performs a backlinks search on Bloglines for the page you are currently viewing. Neat!

Source: Seb's Open Research
posted at 13:42:24    #

Now If Only I could add an Image to my RSS feed ...

I've noticed that some of the feeds I regularly read feature a lovely image along with their data ... that seems to be something buried in the PYDS rss implementation and is not easily customizable ... Perhaps could this become a feature in the next release of PYDS?.

posted at 01:56:16    #

This Blog Features Furl Links in the Sidebar!

If you only read this blog through syndication, you might not notice that I have added topical links as a sidebar to each of the categories that make up this blog. I have been using Furl to track my bookmarks for some time and have found it absolutely indispensible as a personal research tool. My bookmarks are available as both RSS feeds and html views for the public. To see what that looks like check out the html view and the RSS view.

I have now discovered that I can display categories of my furl bookmarks in my blog. I use PYDS as my blogging tool of choice and its use of a powerful templating system (Cheetah) I was able to quickly setup PYDS to display a sidebar of interesting links that matched the category of the weblog you happen to be looking at! Now when you look at the Jythonic cateogry, you see Jython and Python specific bookmarks in the sidebar. When you look at Biblio, you see bibliographic and academic writing tools related links in the sidebar.

The transformation of my blog is not yet complete but you get the general idea. Now all I need to do is add the RSS feed to match the links and I'll have an automatic linkblog that is driven by my actual web link management tool! Cool!

If anyone is interested in what the PYDS customization looks like, post a comment here and I can post the changes.

posted at 00:48:00    #

Integrating Weblogs and Wikis

As part of a knowledge management effort on our intranet, we have both a wiki (TWiki) and several blogging tools (mostly PyCS). I've detailed some of the struggles that I've had with getting all this accepted and implemented. One of the interesting things is that the wiki has proven easier explain and gain widespread adoption. But I still think that the weblogs are an equally important part of the overal communication/collaboration platform that I am trying to setup.

What I've done recently is to integrate weblogs postings into the wiki. Now there are hybrid tools out there that are interesting, namely comercial tools like SocialText and Bill Seitz's WikiLog. Since we are already setup with TWiki and PyCS, I've experimented with connecting up the two tools. The technique presented below still doesn't compare with what truely integrated wiki weblog tools can do, but it is an easy first step if you already have both wikis and blogs in place.

It turns out to be trivially easy to do using PyBlagg which is now called Spycyroll. This is a simple aggregator python script that builds a static web page out of a set of RSS feeds! It is template based so it is pretty easy to customize the html that gets generated.

I setup a nightly cron job that builds an html based aggregator view of our internal blogs and then drop that into the wiki. Since TWiki mark up uses both its own wiki syntax and regular html, it is able to present the pyBlagg produced view of the blogs as if it were any other page in the wiki.

This has greatly expanded the internal readership of the blogs since people can now use the wiki as their aggregator. Additionally, it has had the side benefit of making Wiki words that are used in a blog into links when viewed within the Wiki! Pretty neat. And, it adds in blog postings to the fulltext search in the wiki which makes it easy to search both blogs and wiki entries from one place.

posted at 12:25:36    #

New Beta 0.7.0: bugfixes, performance, mirror tool

I just installed the new version of PyDS, 0.70 ... and got my Blogmark working ... I love it! Great job Georg. PyDS just keeps getting better and better.

And I got the search working!! That is so cool! Check out the search tool to the right! Also noticed that the ping settings now stick between invocations of the PyDS server! This is a tremendous release. Thanks again Georg.

Source: Python Desktop Server Weblog
posted at 16:17:52    #


Here is a new version of my archives that now includes all the posts ... which is a good thing for an archive ;-). It still needs to be sorted properly but its a good start. I've found it helpful to find things that my search wasn't able to find. I'll post a howto here shortly.

posted at 03:07:28    #

PyDSBlogThis Bookmarklet

I've been reading up on what bookmarklets are all about. The above is an article that got me started.

In my quest to further extend my tools to understand and talk to my blogging tool of choice (PyDS) I have written a bookmarklet that posts the current page in IE into PyDS and fills out the source, url and title to match.

Let me know if someone out there has already done this. In case not, here it is: PyDSBlogThis

Drag and drop the link into your favourites. If you have some text selected in the browser when you click on the PyDSBlogThis link it will quote it in the Source part of the post window. It doesn't look like I can have it quoted automatically in the Text input box of the post, which is too bad since that is really what I wanted to do.

I've tested this with IE 6 and know that it doesn't work with netscape browsers (the bit that gets the selected text has to use a different method in netscape/mozilla).

posted at 16:15:44    #

Commentblogger bookmarklet

Here is a great idea ... collect your comments on other blogs, web pages, whatever into your own blog. Love it ... and its a bookmarklet. Wonderful. I am going to try to get this to talk to PyDS. Shouldn't be too hard based on how easy it was to get SharpReader to post to PyDS via the BlogThis plugin. Great idea. I always prefer a quick hack when I can get it!

posted at 21:32:32    #

Archives and PyDS

I've been doing this blog since sometime in September .. and the posts are starting to pile up ... I see that alot of folks using blogger and MT etc implement these nice archives ... and reading through the docs in PyDS ... I see no mention of archives.

But it occurs to me that perhaps the calendar function really is an archive ... since my blog only shows a certain number of past entries ... All I need to do is create a link to the calendar month for the archive I want people to access. Has anyone else done this? I am going down the right path or a blind alley?

posted at 00:21:04    #

Crucial thinking about intranets

Jack points to this article about developments on the intranet front by Gerry McGovern. Emphasis so far is on Management buyin and support being supercritical to the success of any serious intranet effort. I think this applies regardless of how big or small the organization is.

I think this is even more critical if you are going to add social networking tools like blogs and wikis that are different into the intranet space.

I am interested in experiences that people have had introducing Wiki and Blogs into the intranet space. If anyone has a secret hoard of experience /reports from the front lines, please post them in the comments. I'll summarize them here.

Source: Knowledge Jolt with Jack
posted at 17:29:20    #

Tools for the Webbed World

As I travel around the real world and the blogosphere (which is really real ...?) I often see others using cool tools. So here are some recent finds.

posted at 12:31:44    #

PyCS Search and PyDS

I've discovered that Python Community Server has a search feature! Cool, but I need to get my PyDS instances to send the content up to the indexer. Anyone have any idea how to do this?

posted at 02:28:00    #

Diego is at it again ... part two: syndication

Quick run over and read Diego's continued Intro To Weblogs - Part Deux, Syndication. Really, go read it now, its good!

Source: d2r
posted at 10:18:24    #

Fantastic Weblogging Intro

Dave Winer's catch of the day is Diego Doval's comprehensive introduction to weblogging. The post does a great job of bringing together a his own thoughts ( checkout 'Is blogging dangerous?' answer 'Yes. Most definitely. And addictive, too. :-)') as well as a huge list of links to other people's work explaining the concepts and utilities of trackback, comments, etc.

I did notice that he doesn't include a reference to the Python Communinity Server and Python Desktop Server / bzero combination. They are not nearly as popular as, but should perhaps be included as an option when discussions Radio Userland.

Check back as he has indicated he might add some comments on syndication to round it out. This is going to be the my standard answer to 'what is this weblogging all about?' ... go read Diego ...

Source: Scripting News
posted at 23:41:36    #

PyDS - Great Blogging Tool

I've been using PyDS for several months now and I have to give it a two thumbs up for being one of best pieces of software I've laid hands on in a long time. Georg Bauer, you're doing a great job.

  • The windows installers have been flawless and it has been utterly reliable. Thanks for this goes to Louis Fege.

  • I am currently using it to blog for two separate blogs and it has been fantastic.

  • The built in aggregator has been fantastic. Having it web based made it easy to sync to my palm pilot via JPluck.

  • It has a nifty offline switch that makes it easy to 'test post' to my blog and see it in the local preview server before it gets upstreamed. Great stuff.

  • There are a steady stream of updates and new features (zine features are waiting for me to explore).

  • Customizing it has been a snap...

  • Finally, in keeping with the Road Warrior theme, it has worked great in offline mode as I traveled. I can read my aggregator and work on posts just about anywhere. This is the ultimate seller for me.

For anyone whose free days with Radio are running out, this is definitely something to consider. Even if you were not using Radio (I wasn't) I'd highly recommend it.

posted at 01:11:12    #

Weblog tools list

List of blog tools.

Look here:

Source: McGees Musings
posted at 01:06:08    #

KM - Wiki as PIM ... who knew?

I continue to examine using wiki technology for mobile workers. So far, I have created a local install of MoinMoin, a Python wiki look a like for personal experimentation with wiki tools.

The weird thing was that without really consciously setting out to do it, I found it was a great way to manage my personal information. It just seemed such a natural way to organize information. I found myself quickly creating links to pages and then quickly adding the content... It was easy to link the information to multiple topics so that it was easy to find my stuff.

For example, I have to keep track of client contact data, status reports, assorted documents and comments while I work at a client site. It was quick to setup a customer list page, create the customer page, add a link to an engagement list, status reports, etc. You can easily create page templates for creating more structured content like status reports etc.

Also, all this stuff was quickly added to my user's home page ... and all full text searchable. It is 100% better than leaving it all buried in MS Word docs in a directory structure... Wiki as a PIM ... who would have thought.

Here is a great piece at Information Today by David Mattison on the same topic. It is also a fantastic summary of the various tools and includes a good comparison of blogs and wikis for the uninitiated.

Here are some links to others doing the same thing:

Even Palm Wiki:

Here is a link to a quick standalone super easy to install wiki server. If you want to try this out, this is good way to start.

Then, there is a WikiWeblogPIM. This site is looking for a combination of a Wiki, Pim and Blog.

posted at 22:56:00    #

Offline Wiki participation a possibility?

In evaluating group collaboration tools over the last little while, I have run into a problem with wiki technology. My main goal has been to look at solutions that will help mobile information workers better collaborate. The point is that we are as a rule almost never in the same place. Worse still is that internet connectivity, while common, is absent in places where we most often work. Like Airplanes, which is where I am as I write this now.

Slowly, wide internet access to wifi, high speed in hotel, etc is helping increase the connectivity options. However, it seems that highly mobile information workers still suffer from frequent drought when it comes to net access.

What got me thinking about this direction was a recent exploration of wiki's, TWiki in particular. This toolset is especially attractive for mobile knowledge workers. More so, I think, than others, we suffer from stale information, or worse missing information. This dearth of even accurate information is partly caused from the great distance that separates us, lack of frequent interaction (watercooler conversations as a rule can't happen), etc.

For those reasons, something like a wiki looks like a fantastic solution. Group editing of web content in a central place would go a long way to solving the problem... but for one thing. It is an "online" only solution. I need to do at least two more things with the "group consensus / knowledge" as a mobile information worker:

  1. I need to access it as a consumer, when I most need it. In my case this is inevitably when I am working outside of my own network.

  2. More importantly, I need to contribute to it when I have time (now being a good example. I am on a plane with 'nary a net connection for hours ....)

The interesting thing of course, is that I am currently using a technology, PyDS, to make changes to my own work online and I am doing it offline. I do have access to my own work offline and to some degree, via an aggregator, I have access to others work, at least read only access. Before embarking on web logging / personal publishing, I would have underestimated the importance of this. Now, having done the majority of my work while offline, I couldn't live without it.

So, while blogging tools solve the problem for me personally, what I think we as a group really need is some way to group edit content ... but in an offline manner. Sort of a wiki with sync .... or a wiki/blog meld.


This is going to be my research topic for next little while. As I find things, expect to see more information here. My thoughts on this so far:

  • For offline reading, it should be possible to "mirror" a wiki, or part of a wiki. Are there any wiki tools that are mirror friendly, and even offer local editing with a push up to a central server 'a la Radio/PyDS?'.

  • Don Park has a recent comment about a distributed Wiki. Read the comments as well. There is a pointer to something called Hyki developed in Groove.

posted at 20:36:16    #

Weblog tools list

An excellent list of blog tools...

Source: McGees Musings
posted at 10:08:00    #

New PYDS beta 0.6.1: small bugfixes to the 0.6.0 release

This is the software that I use for this site. The 0.6.0 release upgrade went fine. I should move to 0.6.1 shortly.

Source: Python Desktop Server Weblog
posted at 09:57:20    #

Bloglines public aggregators

Another aggregator worth taking a look at... This one public.

Source: Sebs Open Research
posted at 01:06:08    #

AmphetaDesk v0.93.1 is Now Available

Perl based aggregator ....

Source: AmphetaDesk - Latest News
posted at 00:38:24    #

Syncado thoughts

Python server based weblog tool.

Source: Sam Ruby
posted at 00:21:20    #

pyblosxom 0.8.1

Python edition of bloxom ... weblog tool.

posted at 23:14:08    #

BloGTK 0.7

Linux based blogging tool.

posted at 23:13:04    #
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