Testing Poster on Palm Pre

I’m posting this to test out Poster, an app that lets me post to WordPress blogs from my Palm Pre. I can add images, bold text, underline, and italicize. Also, add links like this: Don’t Be Stupid. And that’s it – will be interesting to see  how useful it is. So far seems easy enough to [...]

Coming Soon: The Writer's Technology Companion

A while back, I mentioned that I was putting together some material on writing and technology and thinking about launching a new site around it.

I decided to go ahead with that project, and am well into getting the site up and running. The site is called The Writer’s Technology Companion and will be launching sometime in March at www.writerstechnology.com. There’s a launch page there now, where you can sign up for email notifications or subscribe to the RSS feed so you’ll be informed when the site officially goes live.

Outlook 2007 Oddity

Here’s something strange: When you’re writing an email in Outlook 2007, you’d think the “text format” setting would be under the “Format Text” tab, right?

You’d be wrong. It’s actually under the “Options” tab. According to Microsoft engineers*, this is strictly to keep you on your toes and prevent you from becoming complacent.

*Note: The opinions expressed herein may or may not represent the opinions of actual Microsoft engineers, none of whom were consulted in any way other than presumably in the writing of this post.

Is There an Easy Way to Migrate from Drupal to WordPress?

I’m starting to regret having built this site with Drupal. Don’t get me wrong — Drupal is amazing software.  But it’s a little bit overkill for my humble blog and portfolio, and I’m not sure I can easily maintain it as new releases come out.

Wordpress I know much better, having used it for various projects for years, and I know how to do complex stuff like moving it to a new server or re-importing the database.

Testing Out Windows Live Writer

I’m testing Windows Live Writer for a post I’m writing for lifehack.org. Check it out tomorrow at lifehack.org.

Online Apps for Students

Read/Write Web has a great list of online applications for students. Online applications are generally free (at least for basic service, and upgraded services tend to be cheap), fairly easy to use, and most importantly are available wherever you have access to a computer.

Best Practices for Students #4: Outline

My, my, we do hate the idea of outlining, don’t we? Most people think of an outline as a rigid straightjacket hampering the flow of true creativity. But guess what – the writers you admire most for their creativity almost without fail are outliners (and those that aren’t are lying – they most likely keep an outline in their heads and trust their memories to keep it straight). The reason is simple – an outline takes most of the work of organizing and structuring their writing off their shoulders, which means they are free to actually be creative.

Best Practices for Students #3: Spell-check Is Not Your Friend!

A conspiracy is afoot, my friends. Microsoft is in on it, for sure, but they’re only the public face of what may be the vastest, most insidious plot to undermine America’s credibility ever carried out. I’m pretty sure the North Koreans are in on it, and the Teachers’ Union. And MTV, definitely. Their plan: through the cunning manipulation of word processing software, particularly the spell-checking function, they hope to make Americans look stupid and awkward in front of the rest of the world.

And it’s working!

Best Practices for Students #2: Know Your Software

Learning is a craft, a set of skills that you put to use over the course of your life to construct your education. Like any craft, your mastery of the tools at your disposal is crucial. One of the most overlooked tools in the learner’s toolbox is your computer and its software. Your instructors have probably spent a lot of time teaching you how to use books and the research library, maybe how to glean information from the Web, and definitely how to use language to put forth and defend an argument, but how much time have you or your professors spent on how to use your computer?