Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Blogging tools

I spent a lot of time yesterday setting up different free blogs, to try them out. I have a free LiveJournal account. I set up a 90-day trial TypePad account that I linked to one of my URLs currently not in use. I also sent an e-mail to Will Richardson who runs the Weblogg-Ed blog. It appears that they are using Manila, and I have two administrator accounts where I could experiment. Dan Mitchell set one up for the ADE Bloggers, and a university in New Jersey is letting me play with their system. I also set up a couple of wikis, using SeedWiki and Swiki. I realize now that I need to set up a page where I can keep track of all of the log-in pages, my account name and my password.

What I find confusing as I learn to use these systems is the different strategies for editing. With Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal, and TypePad (the hosted version of Movable Type), you edit the blog in a different URL from the URL where you view it. I find myself using tabs in Mozilla to move back and forth between the editing window and the "public face" of the blog. The wikis I use both edit in the same window where they are created, which makes that an easier interface. But as I discussed with Joanne last night, we both find seedwiki's user interface to be more difficult. That is why I want to try swiki. The one advantage that LiveJournal has is the availability of client programs to make entries without using a browser, or being online. I downloaded xjournal for Macintosh OS X. I also see that there is client software for my Palm, that also interfaces with most of the blogs I currently use. I may spend the $10 to see if that can make a difference, especially when I am away from my computer (which is hardly ever!).

5 comments:

Tom Hoffman said...

Helen,

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you're an Apple person, which you seem to be, you are wasting your time. Apple is building Blojsom into Tiger server. Spend your time on that and perhaps ecto as a client.

btw, I don't have anything to do with either of those projects.

--Tom

Helen Barrett said...

I am exploring these tools because not everyone has access to a Macintosh server, even Macintosh users. As I mentioned in another blog, learning your first tool (i.e., Visicalc, Word Perfect) means you learn to use a piece of software; learning a second tool (i.e., Excel, Word) gets you closer to knowing generic applications (i.e., spreadsheets, word processors). Just like learning a second language helps you understand your own. Since I want to incorporate blogs into workshops, my task ahead is to learn the capabilites of blogging software as a genre, not any one tool.

Anonymous said...

I too have tried a few of the free blogs and used some for distance learning classes. The problem I found on my mac is that some of the editing features in Moveable Type, like styles, don't show up so I had to type in html code in the message body to show links etc. I ran Alaskablog last year wth our Language Arts class on Moveable Type. That was very easy to use and administer-with Windows.

Now I am trying my first Manilla hosted site for our school and it is proving more complicated that I imagined. Our next step later this year is eportfolios... thus my visit to your site : )
Robin

Anonymous said...
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Helen Barrett said...

If you are using a Mac, use Mozilla, not Safari. You will see the tools.