How I Blog
Hmmm, OK, so Frank... you want to know how I blog. Right? I take that to mean the nuts and bolts stuff. If that's not what you meant, then tough, because that's what I'm gonna write about here. And the first thing I'll tell you is that I'm in a crappy mood. Well, a little crappy. I guess I've seen worse. I guess I've seen a whole hell of a lot worse, so I should cheer up and get on with it, I suppose. But a little bit grumpy, anyway. So watch it. Don't fuck with me.
Had to get that out of the way first. I knew you'd understand.
The second thing Part the Second is that I'm very proud to be blogging on Blogspot. That would be Mystic Bourgeoisie, of course. Some folks seem to have nothing but disdain for Blogspot, but here's why they're fucked, if I may say so. They're fucked because Blogspot is free, just as Blogger was free in the Olden Times (or just about; we had to help out Ev if we could, so we ante'd the 25). And that means more people can blog. Lowers the barriers to entry is how we business types would put it. I'm reminded here of how I once wrote: "People often stop me on the street and say, 'Chris, you're a successful business-type person. Tell me, how do you...'" But I better not go any further down that road if I expect anyone to ever read this. However, if they don't like it, well fuck em. That's what I say. I suppose I should interject here that one thing I do in my blogging -- though I don't know if this would count as nuts and bolts, exactly -- is swear a lot. So this is what I like to call Demonstration By Example™ -- and that little ™ sign there means I'll sue your ass if you try any copycat cussing.
The point I was trying to make... I am proud of being on Blogspot mostly because I am showing the world (that exceedingly small slice of it that actually reads my shit anymore) that it is not necessary to use one of those ready-made templates they give you. Well no, actually you do use one -- pick something dead simple -- and then you hack the crap outta that sucker. That's what I did, yes. On the aforementioned Mystic Bourgeoisie. You bet. I made it so complicated that it took me a month to figure out how to post into it. But you pick these things up. Trust me.
"Do not affect a breezy style," Strunk & White tell us. Well fuck Strunk & White, OK? They never had to blog. And if they had, they'd probably have said all the same things they said back when they wrote that fucking book, and they'd have traffic up the yin-yang. Which is precisely why I hate those sons-a bitches and spit on their graves.
But getting back to business. One thing I should mention is that I switched to the Mac a couple years ago, I guess it was (christ, time flies, does it not?), and as a result, had to rebuild my entire blogging (a.k.a. writing) kit -- my heap big mojo-gris-gris shaman spirit bag o' software tricks, that is to say. (What do they call those damn things? And why does Stephen King have it in for adverbs? He does, if you didn't know that, particularly.) Anyway, yes, I wrote something for Meg (a.k.a. Michelle, a.k.a. Mandarin Design) about the tools I used to use when I was working on a Windows box. So if you still are, I already wrote that one -- employing far fewer digressions, I hasten to add -- and it is here.
Hmmm, looking that over, I think perhaps I'll rip the HTML and try to follow form, only listing Macish tools, instead.
No, I am definitely not going to do that. I just grabbed the code and dropped it in here, and I just about fainted at the work I'd have to do to make it look as good as that looks, and I was getting paid for that one (thanks, Meg). But here's what I'll tell you about the tools I use these days, pretty much in the order of how much I use them...
- Amazon - of course
This is where the ideas come from. And the books. And the copyright-freeee grafix! (Big Valuable Hint: if you're advertising, you're not stealing.) And where all the money goes. (What money?)
- Google - of course II, The Searching
And its many sub-Googles. Scholar blows, imo -- all those damn academic presses that want 29 bucks a pop for a 6-page journal article are clogging the web, the bastards. What'd they ever do for us? But it does have its uses. Better and more fun is Google Books, though I still default to Amazon if they have the full "text" -- actually, those damn hidden JPGs. But Gbooks can do some tricks Amazon can't (yet), so they're complementary. Froogle, I've just learned -- duh! -- also sells BOOKS! Otherwise, what would I ever use it for? Except to post my wish list.
- BBedit - "it doesn't suck®"
You need an editor, natch. And this is one of the best. It took me a while to get the hang of it, and it's a text editor, of course -- because that's what it takes -- so it's uglier'n sin. But I've hacked up a bunch of macro sortsa things that enable me to blog three or four hundred words in a mere six hours.
- CopyPaste X
The Mac does suck when it comes to retrieving stuff you deleted yesterday. So does Windows, actually, but there are more tools to get around the problem on that side. CopyPaste is the only damn thing I've found that works, and it doesn't work quite as well as ClipMate (see previously alluded to post). But it works. And to be fair, I should say that it does a whole lot of stuff I haven't figured out yet.
- Snapz Pro X
A screen grabber to die for. It's so cool. I know I shouldn't put drop shadows on every goddam thing I crop off the screen, but I can't help myself.
- GraphicConverter X
I have Macromedia Fireworks on my disk, but I very rarely start it. What does this tell us, class? That's right. If you're on a Mac and you work with pitchers, get you a copy. It can do things you've never even thought of, probably half of them illegal.
An FTP client. It's simple. It works. It's prettier than Fetch. What do you want? I don't use Blogger to put graphic files on the web. No, no. I use FTP. I am a professional, after all.
For all you WindowsHeads, this is a browser. And a pretty good one, too. It's my default web client. Why? I'm not sure. There are things it can't do, because no one takes it very seriously. Whenever something doesn't work the way I know it's supposed to, I know it's probably Camino's fault. Why do I put up with this? Because it has a hackable search thing that blows the doors off most everything else. If, that is, and only if, you figure out how to hack it. I did, but I'm not telling. OK, OK, gee, quit crying already. Here, I'll give you a hint...
But oh mama, watch out for those ampersands!
If you don't want to screw around with all that, go here.
For those "other times" -- and to run Gmail in a whole separate app. You know what it is. It's the browser what's whuppin Microsoft's ass. Or at least keeping em good and nervous.
Do you still need an invite to use this? I don't know. If you want one, just ask. I put this among blogging tools because I also email (some of) my posts to about 3,000 subscribers -- used to be 5,000; see Strunk & White, above -- who either a) haven't figured out RSS feeds yet, or b) haven't figured out how to get off my list. If you want to try your luck at option b, you can sign up here-- then earn extra miles by unsubscribing!
- DigitalColor Meter
How many times have you wanted to match a color somewhere else on your screen? Somewhere you can't go with your grafix editor, that is. This little baby is just the ticket. Simple but slick. If you don't know what it is, you need it. (I just found out, while searching for a URL for this, that it's an Apple app that comes with the OS. Gee. I did not know that. Of course, there's nothing about it on the Apple site. That I can find, anyway.)
- Color Consultant Pro - "Point & Click Color Theory"
I don't use this one very often, though if you check my various designedly undisciplined blogs, you may come to think I should have. Instant color schemes is what you get. Very nifty. But I mostly just threw this in at the end to look hipper than I really am.
There are probably more, but those are the high points. I think, I read, I think some more, I grab some book covers and some URLs offa Amazon, I cram the lot into BBedit, stir over a low flame for nine hours, season to taste, then FTP the grafix over to panix.com in NY City (!) -- which has been comping my site(s) for about ten (10) years now (!!!) [thanks, Alexis] -- then I copy the stuff I've tested a million and a half times in my magic proprietary local template mockup, then jam the whole works down Blogger's throat via the web interface. I edit it there another couple hundred thousand times, and voila -- another meaningless blog post! Simple.
Look, Frank, you better spellcheck this, dude. It's already after 9am and I'm too fried. Hope it works for ya.