Blogger App for iPhone

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Written on 10:58 PM by Walski69

It seems like the Blogger app for iPhone has been released. I just installed it and am giving it a go.

In fact, this posting was done using the free app. My assessment so far? Rather primitive and needs a LOT of work.

That said, it's quite intuitive, allowing you to get started without bruising any brain cells trying to figure out how. But because it has been designed for the iPhone, it doesn't look so nice on the iPad.
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Blogsy Test

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Written on 11:50 PM by Walski69

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This is a test of using Blogsy, a new blog authoring tool for the iPad that I recently installed. For the most part it works pretty okay.
(additional initial thoughts, and more, in the full post)

The only thing I don't like so far is the conversion of HTML paragraph tags to line breaks. I can add these quite easily in Write view, but once you swipe back to the WYSIWYG mode, they're automatically converted.

Kind of a bummer.

I will come in handy to post quickies that I'll revisit to put in proper look and feel. Pretty much how I use Amplify, come to think of it. Just have to remember NOT to preview!

Another annoying thing – Blogsy doesn’t handle the post-break code (using the HTML span tag) very well, and is another thing that needs fixing once I get a chance to download a post for editing.

In case you were wondering, the break code works fine on this post, because it’s been edited after posting.

One thing I could do is to do a posting without the break while on the road, and add that in later. Something to consider.

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iPad Blogging

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Written on 10:36 AM by Walski69

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Sometime back, I decided to give this blogging tool on iPad a go.

The tool is called Blogger+ and what it does is allow blog posts (and it works with Blogger, my platform of choice) to be created and posted directly from the iPad.

And for the most part it works pretty okay, except that it is nowhere near as flexible as Window's LiveWriter, which is what I normally use.
(the shortcomings of Blogger+, in the full post)

One of the main shortcomings is that while facilities are provided to embed pictures and other media, the choice of available online image repositories is limited. Another shortcoming I find is that this tool does not really cater to bloggers who use a standard template that is to be re-used.

But perhaps the biggest shortcoming is that while there is a text editor function built in, it treats text as whole objects, making template blogging impossible. It treats the template as an entirely different object altogether.

So now, we're gonna test what happens when one inserts blocks of text into the post.

This is the text that was inserted using the built-in text editor. After I complete this paragraph, I will go ahead and post this.

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Testing the iframe YouTube code

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Written on 9:21 AM by Walski69

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Up till now, YouTube videos embedded in myAsylum posts have used the old Object tag code. So I thought that it would be a good idea to see if there are any issues with using the newer iFrame code.

The answer to that question: looks like it’s no problem.
(some iFrame thoughts, and more, in the full post)

One of the reasons for testing this is that a number of dynamic content sharing facilities on the Internet are starting to use the newer iFrame tag. Also, I believe that this may allow Flash-based content to be viewed on the iPad – not entirely sure at this point. Perhaps we’ll test that out when some content gets found...

In the meantime, the success of this test means that in the future, it’s bye-bye <object>... it’s old style, and we gotta move with the times!

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IPad blogging Part 2

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Written on 4:53 PM by Walski69

This is my second attempt at using the iPad to draft a blog post out. The first one was to myAsylum. This time around, I'm posting this without using the usual template as a starting point, and test-posting it to this blog instead.

So, let's see how it looks...

Okay, except that the template stuff - like Technorati tags and the break-in-the post aren't included. Workaround? To keep the template permanently in drat, then copy it across whenever I need to post something new. A bit tedious having to compose in HTML, but until BloggerPlus has a WYSIWYG editor, or until the day Blogger comes out with an iPad app, this method will have to do.

It will definitely make it easier to blog on the go...

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Testing the new Blogger editor

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Written on 1:18 PM by Walski69

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Blogger recently updated it's post editor, a long-overdue revamp. One of the nice features is the break function, which in the past, could only be implemented by tweaking your template.


This is a test of that functionality, which if it works well, will mean that you won't see the rest of this post until after you click the "Read More" link below.
(the rest of it, in the full post)




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PUMPP Press Release Translation

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Written on 2:52 PM by Walski69

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The following is an English translation of a press release issued by the Pulau Pinang (Penang) branch of the Malaysian Ulama Association (PUMPP). The original Bahasa Malaysia version of the release can be found here (via the PUMPP blog). This translation is referenced to in a posting on myAsylum, related to PUMPP's objection to the Musawah Global Meeting, currently being held in Kuala Lumpur.

PUMPP CONDEMNS MUSAWAH THAT BRINGS THE LIBERAL ISLAM AGENDA TO MALAYSIA AND CHALLENGES BASIC PRINCIPLES OF ISLAM

The Pulau Pinang branch of the Malaysian Ulama Association hereby strongly condemns the ‘Musawah’ program, i.e. Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family, organized by the major Malaysian proponent of the deviant Islam Liberal, Sisters in Islam (SIS). The Musawah meeting is seen to wish to challenge the many basic principles of Islam, particularly in the area of syariah laws pertaining to women and family, that have been agreed upon and accepted by the consensus of eminent ulama.

This meeting is expected to be attended by various Liberal Muslim personalities whom the eminent Islamic ulama find objectionable. Those who will attend include Muhammad Khalid Masud, chairman of the Islamic Ideology Council of Pakistan, Farida Bennani from Morocco, Sana Benachour (Tunisia), Hussein Muhammad (Indonesia), Ziba Mir-Hosseini (Britain), Zainah Anwar (Malaysia), Siti Musdah Mulia (Indonesia) and Nur Rofia (Indonesia), plus non-Muslim activists like Cassandra Balchin (UK), and many more.

200 Muslim Liberalists have been invited from 40 countries, and will meet at the 5-star The Prince Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, on February 13, 2009, to attend the 5 day meeting. This closed-door meeting also does not allow participation from any party other than those by their closed invitation. PUMPP sees this well-funded meeting as possibly being supported by Western interests with the intention of liberalizing Islam, and hopes that the authorities will investigate the source of funding for the program.

This meeting will also give a negative perception of Malaysia, which may be seen as a country practicing Shariah laws that discriminate against women, especially when the meeting will be brought to the attention of representatives from the United Nations, with the presence of Professor Yakin Erturk (The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women), who will officially launch the meeting.

(the rest of the translation, in the full post)

PUMPP also criticizes the presence of national leaders for the offical launch of the program as not referring beforehand to the national religious authorities in the country, such as Jakim and the Council of Muftis.

Work papers and workshops that are to be conducted during the meeting are seen to have the intention of reinterpreting al-Quran and al-Hadith from women’s perspectives, that which are said to have been male biased all this while. Musawah will likely present issues pertaining to male/female equality within Islamic families, through laws such as polygamy, faraid (inheritance distribution), wife obedience, permission to leave the home, female aurat (parts of the body that must be covered), etc. These laws are likely to be challenged, contravening all the commandments brought by al-Quran and al-Sunnah.

PUMPP also hopes that non-Muslim groups and communities are not influenced by these Liberal Islam groups’ propaganda and will not interfere in matters of faith and principles of Islamic teachings, just as Islam teaches its followers to not interfere, and to respect teachings of other religions, as is stated in the Quran:

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ
(109:6) Unto you, your religous law, and unto me, mine!

Therefore, PUMPP condemns the implementation of this program, and sees it as potentially further damaging the faith of Muslims in Malaysia, leading to disunity of the Muslim community, and lead to a wrong perception of Islam by all parties, including the world community present, who will look at the developments in Malaysia.

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Going Chrome

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Written on 4:34 PM by Walski69

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Just when you thought it was safe to stick to your browser of choice (in my case IE -  Internet Explorer, from Windows), Google comes along and totally messes up the browser equillibrium. Introducing Google Chrome.

Image hosting by PhotobucketGoing Chrome... and reigniting the browser wars!

And like virtually everything else Google, it's in the perpetual Beta mode... and that's the scary part. Even at this stage, I am totally hooked. Line and sinker. Even with some of the kinks yet to be ironed out.
(going Chrome big time, and more, in the full post)

First off, the interface is uber simple and clean-looking. In fact, deceptively simple, at least at first glance. There are actually a lot of things going on "under the hood". The first thing you'll notice when you crank Chrome up is the thumbnail bookmark gallery, which is automatically generated, based on your browsing history. In other words, the user interface itself is dynamic, belying it's apparent simplicity.

Comparing Chrome to IE, another thing becomes apparent after using it for some time - resource management. I haven't actually done any tests, but Chrome seems to hog up less resources. Even better is that each tab is a separately encapsulated process, meaning that if a particular page you're browsing bombs on you, the other tabs are not effected.

The one major pain I find with Internet Explorer is that because it's so deeply embedded within and around the Windows Operating System, any browser fault tends to effect the rest of the processes running on your machine. Not so with Chrome. I've been using it for the better part of the whole of the last week or so (since its release), and I find that it's very non-intrusive in as far as the OS is concerned.

Being something from Google, the address bar also acts as a Google Search input window, which is a nice thing, with the added feature of having predictive URL suggestions or related item capability, partly based on your browsing history. So for people like me whose memory can sometimes go into sieve mode, it makes calling up web pages much easier, without having to rely on your bookmarks all the time.

There are other features, too, which I won't elaborate here. You can learn all about them here.

So why did Google build a browser?

At Google, we spend much of our time working inside a browser. We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And like all of you, in our spare time, we shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends - all using a browser. People are spending an increasing amount of time online, and they're doing things never imagined when the web first appeared about 15 years ago.

Since we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if you started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build.

On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple. To most people, it isn't the browser that matters. It's only a tool to run the important stuff - the pages, sites and applications that make up the web. Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go.

(source: Google Chrome - Why we built a browser)

Chrome Beta promises to be a platform to power future web applications that "aren't even possible in today's browsers" - and somehow, I tend to believe what I'm hearing.

Now, any software product is bound to have kinks in it, particularly in the early stages of release.

There are certain websites that don't work very well with Chrome. At least not for the present. One of them is Photobucket, which I use as my image repository, both for this blog and my other blog, myAsylum. The problem I have is that it's not possible to upload pictures, and the source of this problem, I suspect, in how Chrome handles Java Scripts, which Photobucket uses for the various functions they offer. So, for uploading to Photobucket, at least for now, I still have to rely on IE.

I've also noticed the same thing with some of the Facebook applications that I've tried running on Chrome, which further reinforces my suspicion about the Java Script handling.

For the most part, however, my week-or-so long experience with Chrome has been more than satisfactory. For now, it's only available for use with Windows, but probably won't remain that way for long. Word is that development of Mac and Linux versions is ongoing.

Chrome works great with Blogger, by the way, although the alignment when you start a new post up can sometimes get a little screwy - not a big problem, though... just Reload the page, and things get back to looking like they.

If you're looking for a lean, mean, non-resource-hogging browser, I'd strongly recommend that you give Chrome a test-drive. My guess is that you'll like what you experience... the beauty and power of simplicity! 

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Widgets-Я-Us

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Written on 1:01 PM by Walski69

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There are mixed opinions about the use of widgets on a blog. While they can add esthetic value to your blog, the drawback is usually that it increases page load time.

Image hosting by PhotobucketPablo Picasso Art of the Day - among the countless gadgets/widgets you can find to decorate your blog with

In the previous version of myAsylum, I'll be the first to admit that I kind of went overboard with the widgets, plus other bits and bobs that I had included in the sidebar, especially those involving graphics, making the blog really slow to load.

As this is an experimental blog, there's more liberty to try things out. Today, I added the Date and Time widget (from Widgetbox) at the top of the sidebar. There are a couple of versions of the code, based on either JavaScript or Flash animation (relevant to Blogger). Myspace users can also add this widget quite easily.
(where to find widgets, and more, in the full post)

What's a widget, anyway? Essentially, they are encapsulated applications that you can embed in your webpage or blog without the need to do any hardcore coding. In fact, the code is loaded during pageload, and what you have in terms of actual code you have to include on your site are essentially pointers to where in cyberspace the actual code resides, what executable is required (for example, Flash), etc.

There are countless widgets available on the Internet, from the useful (like the date/time application), to the most worthless and waste of bandwidth types - like the one below the Time/Date widget.

Where can you find widgets? For a start, check out this wiki devoted to widgets, called Widgipedia (of course, what else would you call it?). Then, there's Widgetbox, mentioned earlier, where I found the Time/Date widget.

Google and Yahoo! have their own collections, too, called Gadgets and Widgets, respectively. I've used the ones from Google before on myAsylum, but not the ones from Yahoo.

Beyond that, just do a websearch for the terms "gadgets" or "widgets"... the choices are endless, truth be told. But my advice is this: pick, choose, experiment, and change often. Widgets can be fun things to have on your blog, but they do slow down load times, so don't go overboard.

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New Blog List feature in Blogger

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Written on 4:14 PM by Walski69

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One thing about blogging is that once you are comfortable with a particular platform, it's difficult to make the switch. myAsylum started on Blogger, and on Blogger it remains. No reason to switch, truth be told - especially when improvements and new features are constantly introduced.

The latest feature released for general use is the new Blog List. It's pretty much like a link list, only better, and more suited for use as a blog roll. I've implemented it here, but am still considering whether or not to put it on myAsylum.

You can see a 3-entry example at the top of the sidebar on the right.
(how to implement, and more in the full post)

Blogger has also released a How-To video on YouTube, as part of its Blogger Help series.

Unless you're totally uncomfortable with doing anything with your layout, it's actually a cake-walk to implement. No messing around with coding whatsoever.

So, why am I still considering whether or not to use it on myAsylum? Well, for one thing, the blogrolls currently are hidden until you expand them - this is not something Blogger does as a standard, and is a custom tweak. I've not had time to see if this can be done with the new Blog List or not.

What might be a better thing to do is to feature a few blogs at a time, as feature blogs, and select the post-snippet function which the new widget supports, but which I did not enable.

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