Testing ScribeFire and Review

As I stated in my BLOGGING TOOLS I AM USING – DECEMBER 2010.  I am not satisfied with any of the blog writers that I have been using since I migrated to my Mac and have read that ScribeFire has made several improvements to its product.  So I figured that I would give it another try.

This a test post using ScribeFire to post to my blog. The other night I attempted to use it and couldn’t get it to upload images to the blog. While I am pretty tired, I thought I could manage trouble-shooting how to insert photos into ScribeFire. I continued to get the Error Messages: Browser’s cookie functionality turned off.

The problem was with the how accepting cookies was setup and I had to try a four or five different combinations to get the proper setting in my cookies with the Chrome browser and also go into Safari and change the cookie setting there and clear the cache.

I was able to upload a screenshot of my present Chrome settings and below are my Safari settings:

Below is a picture of my room, to show an uploaded photo.

A YouTube video

From my Picassa web album – Inserting from Picassa did not work.

My MacBook Pro

I tried several different times and it would not work???
The biggest thing that I noticed right away was that you have to manually save progress to ensure that you don’t loose anything.  Otherwise it worked well in adjusting Fonts and size, it has enough of a toolbar to easily change the appearance of the entry to look good.  Also there is no undo or redo button, but the undo in the main tooldbar works fine.

  • Do my students have access the product?  Yes
  • Is it intuitive and easy to use or is there a steep learning curve? ScribeFire is relatively intuitive, but fixing the cookie issue so that images could be easily inserted, may be beyond many of the students.
  • How much does it cost?  Free
  • What are the other options that do the same function?  The blog’s stock blog writer software or other premium blog writer software (which are not really an option), as my students wouldn’t pay for one.
  • Whether it synchs well with my iPhone.  Not really applicable for this type product.
  • Does it actually get used in my classroom.  Maybe a few students would use a product like ScribeFire, but I think that this would be geared towards a more advanced user or some teachers.
  • On occasion what students think about a particular tool:  Not applicable.

This is/could be important, because there are no real blogwriters in the MLTI image, except for the ones that come with the online Blog host, which may or may not be what the students need or want to use.  Most will work well enough, but in my experience after a while, many writers will feel constrained by the “stock” blogwriter (except maybe WordPress users-which has a very good blogwriter) and want something more or different that fits how they write.  ScribeFire is a bit more powerful or easier to use than some of the other blog writers, but still does not come close to the gold standard of Windows Live Writer.

One of my big requirements is the ease of image or video management, if a blogwriter does not easily and intuitively do this I will probably not use that product.  Another thing I really would like a blog writer to do is let me see what I am putting in my blog as I create the blog, a true WYSIWYG editor.

After posting this blog I will have to go back and add in Zemanta, which is one of those features that I really would like to see incorporated into ScribeFire.

Will I use the pesent Chrome edition of ScribeFire as my primary blog editor software?  Probably not, it still needs a little more capability for me to do that. The version that is available in FireFox does seem to have a bit more capability than the current Chrome version does, but I predict that it will improve rapidly where it is a new conversion and the folks at Scribefire continue to improve their product like they did when they first created it with FireFox.

Blog Tip: Your Blog’s Appearance

Cross posted on Blog4Edu – Blog Tip: What Can You Do To Improve Your Blog’s Appearance? I was asked by Shelly T. to do a blog tip for Blog4Edu.

This is one of those do as I say, not as I have done Blog Tips.

When we first start Blogging many of us tend to get caught up in the blog’s appearance and what we are using for widgets in the sidebar. We are not satisfied with the theme we are using and when we find the next perfect theme (for the umpteenth time), we just have to use it on our blog immediately and the same thing happens when we find that next great widget that we just have to use – right now.

I have the below tips:

Blog Tip: What Can You Do To Improve Your Blog’s Appearance?

  • Instead of using your primary blog to constantly experiment with new themes or widgets, set up a dummy blog site that mirrors your primary site. That way you can experiment to your heart’s content to see what works for you and what doesn’t, without affecting your primary blog. This will help protect your main blog site from themes that don’t work right, widgets that really slow down loading times or themes that when you see them the next day – you go “what was I thinking?”
  • Once you get your new blog setup the way you want it (usually after a couple of weeks) establish a schedule for when you will review your blog and only make changes at that time, unless an emergency occurs. The time frame is dependent upon your needs, but the longer between major revisions/updates shows more stability on your part.
  • Write down the things that you don’t like about your blog’s present appearance and what you can do to improve it.
  • Create a file folder or electronic notebook where you keep the ideas that you have tried first on your experimental blog site, that you still want to add to your primary site. This way you do not loose those great ideas to improve your blog and it also gives you a chance to stop and reflect on what changes you will make to the blog, instead of making impulse ones that you may regret later. Also when your scheduled blog review comes up, you are ready for what you want to do.
  • My last tip is to review your blog appearance and widgets, at least annually, to ensure that your blog is not stale or that the widgets you are using still meet your needs, this also ensures that the links are all working and pertinent to what you write about.

As anyone who has followed me at my various blogs will attest to, I have broken everyone one of the above tips and wished that I had used them over the course of the past three years.

I have learned from experience that if you are constantly are making changes to your blog’s appearance it does negatively affect your reader’s perception of your blog.

Remember people are not coming to your blog to see how great it looks, they are coming to read the words that you write.