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The personal blog of Michael Ashby

Category / weblogs

Is It Just Me, Or Does MovableType Seem Dead?

I’ve been working on a large project for a client and we’re implementing the latest version of MovableType. When I first got into MT there was a thriving community around the software and it was a lot of fun, but all of that seems to have changed. MT4 was just released, so you’d think there […]

I Need A Redesign

I was invited to attend the The Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster’s Group Meeting, which was held yesterday in Smyrna at Espresso Joe’s. I wasn’t really prepared to talk and in doing a little song and dance on the spot, a reoccurring idea popped up again which got me to thinking.

I didn’t know that they were going to actually record a podcast at the meeting, but that’s exactly what they did. The format of their recording was a little off-the-cuff and I didn’t have anything really prepared, so when they passed the microphone to me, I wasn’t quite sure what to say. Their podcast is centered around the cities of Smyrna and Laverne. Since I live in Antioch, I didn’t really have much to add. M. was kind enough to throw me a lifeline when she asked, “What have you been up to?”

I talked about the new podcast Simply Digital and then was reminded about NPUG and talked a little bit about that. There was a lot more that I could have talked about, but the conversation turned to something else, which was fine by me. I was happy to be off the hot seat.

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Nashville Is Talking Meetup

Nashville from Wolfy's Den courtesy of Kerry Woo and his handy cameraLast week, on Thursday night, I went with Kerry Woo to an event WKRN News 2 was throwing for Nashville Is Talking. I wrote a little bit about it before hand, but I didn’t write much because I didn’t really didn’t know what to expect.

Kerry picked me up at the house and we drove to Wolfy’s Den together, arriving at the perfect time, 15 minutes after the start of the party. As we arrived on the 3rd floor, I scanned the room and confirmed my expectations — I didn’t know a single person there. Of course that didn’t stop me. 😛 I made my way to the bar, ordered up a Yazoo Hefeweizen and started making the rounds.

As I introduced myself, I found that there was a pretty diverse group there. It wasn’t just “geeks”, but professional writers, WKRN video journalists, mobile content distributors, and bloggers of every type. Kerry was a huge help, because if I found myself in a lull, I could make my way to where Kerry was standing and he’d make an introduction to get me jump started again.

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My Take On Metrics For Blogs

A rulerI had a client ask me recently about what metrics existed for blogs. I hadn’t really thought about that topic as it relates to weblogs before, so I had to do a bit of research on the subject. As a former Director of Marketing and a confirmed chart junkie, the idea intrigued me considerably. After digging into though, I quickly came to the conclusion that metrics and blogs don’t mix well.

Creating metrics for a blog is a really tough problem. In fact, I haven’t found anyone that has found a clear cut solution regardless of what side of the fence you happen to be on. Fence? Yes, there are two sides to this issue. Some feel that trying to measure the success of a blog can’t be done and that it’s futile to attempt to do so. The other side believe that without metrics, there can be no real understanding of a blog’s success. As the weblog “scale|free” put it, “I think measurement is essential, otherwise all you’ve got is a warm fuzzy story that may actually be completely incorrect.”

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Well This Sucks

I’m a big fan of desktop weblog clients. They make it really easy to publish and manage a weblog and my favorite for Windows has been Zempt. It’s an open source project, which means that it’s free to use, and it strikes the right balance of features and simplicity. Great little app that I recommend […]

Writer’s Block Or Writer’s Cramp?

M.C. Esher's 'Drawing Hands' lithograph, 1948I have really done a poor job of writing for the past few months on this weblog. There for awhile I was in a good routine where I would write almost every day, but the past few months I’ve been near speechless. Only one entry for September and four for October, so what gives? Well I’ve been thinking about my lack of content for the past week or so and have come to the realization that it’s not just one thing that has kept me from publishing. It’s several things that have caused a cascade effect of writer’s block.
Crazy Schedule
For starters, my schedule has been insane since May. Every weekend has had something brewing, or needed attention. From company visiting, to business trips, to NPUG meetings, there seems to have been something going on almost every weekend. Couple hectic weekends with running your own business and that leaves you with a pretty busy schedule. A schedule that doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing pity prose everyday.

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Ladies And Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

The start of a footraceWhen SixApart released the 3.0 version of MovableType, there was a lot of confusion and consternation. Although it was released as a “Developer’s Release”, the general sense of the weblog community was that of disappointment. Although the 3.0 release was geared toward developers only, many regular users were dismayed over the lack of features, or improvements and felt no compelling reason to upgrade. Of course this release wasn’t meant for regular users like you and me. The purpose of 3.0D was to encourage developers to upgrade their Plugins with the new architecture SixApart created. Which is why there was a Plugins Developer’s Contest offering $20,000 in prizes. Now that the winners have been announced, SixApart recently made another small announcement regarding MT 3.1 and I have to say – get ready to upgrade!

My Experience With 3.0
As a friend recently told me, when I get into something, I don’t go half way, it’s all or nothing for me. So naturally, I purchased a personal license and upgraded to 3.0D the day that it came out. My experience over the past two and a half months has been MUCH better than I expected. It’s been very stable and I only ran into one or two little quirks here and there, but nothing that I would consider a bug per se.

As much as I’ve enjoyed 3.0D, I had to agree with most folks who didn’t upgrade in the fact that there wasn’t a very compelling reason to upgrade from 2.66. There simply weren’t enough new or improved features.. Most of the changes between 2.x versions of MT and 3.0D were mostly behind the scenes. I noticed that the software ran faster and I liked the new design of the user interface, but that’s not a lot of motivation for most users.

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Desktop Weblog Clients

An Apple iMac computer.I don’t know about you, but I want to make posting to my weblog as simple of a process as possible. I just want to type in my rant for the day, make sure everything is spelled correctly and slap it up on the web. If I’m not done with what I’m typing, then I need to save it for later when I have more time to finish it. Pretty basic right? If you run a weblog I bet you’re in the same boat as I am. Granted, the interface provided by MoveableType is easy to use and may be all that you need to post to your weblog, however there is the world of the “desktop client” that can make posting to your weblog faster, easier and in some cases downright fun.
What Is A “Desktop Client”
Simply put, a MovableType Client, or “desktop client” is a piece of software that you install on your local computer. Once configured, you have a desktop application that allows you to post to Movable Type, instead of posting directly from MT. The great thing is that you can always go back to your normal way of posting via your web browser. The desktop client simply gives you an alternative method of posting your entry.

So Why Use It?
MoveableType has a very easy, straightforward method of posting to your weblog through its web interface and version 3.0 of the software has made it even better, so why do you even need a desktop client. Technically, you don’t need a desktop client. Everything you need to manage your weblog can be done via your web browser, but there are some nice features that desktop clients bring to the table that are worth considering.

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Let Them Eat Cake

The New MovableType LogoYesterday SixApart, the company behind MoveableType, released a new version of their software along with a new pricing structure. For those of us running MT, we’re going to have to seriously consider if we’re going to stick with it because for some sites, it’s going to get VERY expensive. Luckily, for those running simplified weblogs, there’s still a free version, but if you have too many weblogs, or too many authors, then you could be forced to pay a pretty penny.
I went ahead a bit the bullet and purchased the Personal Edition. It’s currently reduced 33%, plus I was credited $20 for my past contribution (although I donated $30), which brought down the price to $49.95. Funny how that math worked out isn’t it. ??? Anyway, I went ahead and installed the upgrade and applied the changes to the main weblog. I’m still sorting out a few things here and there and I’m getting ready to head on vacation, so it may be a week or so before I get around to fixing everything, so things be a bit clunky for a little while.

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