Archive for November, 2007
There were some excellent suggestions about very good blog editors for the GNU/Linux platform provided in the comments section of my previous post Five Desktop Blog Editors for GNU/Linux Users. So much so that I have decided to compile a second list of desktop blog editors for GNU/Linux platform. All the credit goes to those who have commented on my previous posts and I will note the name of each commenter against the suggestion they have had made.
Flock’s Blog Editor
also suggested by Moulinneuf
I was sad for having to missing out Flock’s built-in Blog Poster in my previous list and the main reason for not including it then was that ScribeFire extension works with Flock too and it is in my opinion a more mature product at this time. Flock’s Blog Poster has some unique features though, not found in any other blog editor:
- No need to manually add your blog accounts; just sign into your accounts and Flock will add them automatically!
- Great integration with Flickr, Youtube and other similar web services
- Collect the stuff over a period of time in “Web Clipboard”(another great feature in Flock) and then use it in your blog post by simple dragging and dropping.
suggested by Mace Moneta
I found Thingamablog to be the most feature rich blog editor for GNU/Linux(it runs on multiple platforms). It shows the preview of a post in true web browser style(completely working on a desktop) and you can pick one of the multiple themes that come with it. I haven’t spent a lot of time with it(but will do in future) but I am guessing that making it support the theme of my original blog should definitely be possible. Now that would be cooler than Windows Live Writer(which has a similar feature) :) The development of this product seems to have resumed recently and a problem I faced with it was solved by its creator over email in no time. I wish it good luck.
suggested by Phillip Rhodes
QTM for KDE Users
suggested by Andrew Min
QTM is a great blog editor for the KDE users but you will be surprised to see how well it runs even on the GNOME desktop. You can’t differentiate it from the other native GNOME applications! You can keep it in either GNOME or KDE panel for quick access.
KBlogger is another blog poster for that sits in KDE panel for quick access.
suggested by Alex Bogak
Couldn’t get Bleezer running on my GNU/Linux system. Shot an email to the creator and still waiting for a response. The feature set described on the website is impressive. Supposedly works with the new Blogger too! Have a look at its website and give it a try if you think you might like it. Let me know if it runs on your JRE. Here is an old screenshot[from http://larryborsato.com/bleezer] to give you an idea about it:
How big a fan are you of using a product that is no more in active development? Say a product has not been updated for the past 1-2 years, would you still use it? I try not to, even if it has more features than a product that is under active development. Some of the applications mentioned above, and mentioned in my previous post, are no longer under active development, so make your own call about them.
Got any more comments about the above mentioned blog editors?
Ask ten bloggers at random what they use to compose their blog posts and chances are that you might get ten different answers to that. Possible options include integrated WYSIWYG editor provided by the blogging software itself; desktop blog clients for Windows like w.bloggar and Windows Live Writer; Word processors like MS Office/OpenOffice; Web based blog composers like Google Docs; Emacs, web browser extensions, sidebar/desktop widgets and things like that. It’s the “to each his own” philosophy in full flow here.
For the GNU/Linux users though, the options are pretty limited and I am yet to see a full-blown, feature-rich desktop blog editor that could post to most of the popular blogging engines that are out there. But all is not lost when it comes to blogging tools for GNU/Linux; there are quite a few options and all of them fulfill certain blogging needs to near perfection. Below I am going to discuss five different ways to compose your blog posts on the GNU/Linux platform along with their pros and cons.
All of them can be installed using apt-get or aptitude on Debian/Ubuntu based distributions and can be compiled from the sources on others(first check with the package manager of your distribution before compiling from the source).
Five Blogging Editors to Make Blog Posts From the GNU/Linux platform
- GNOME Blog Entry Poster
Blog Entry Poster is all about convenience and efficiency. It lacks in features but if you want to make a quick post about a news item/article/announcement that you have read on the Internet, then this panel applet can make it as fast as any other tool. To use it, install it from your favourite package manager or download and compile it from the source, and then right-click on the GNOME panel, select Add to Panel from the menu and finally select “Blog Entry Poster” from the dialog box. You can configure settings by right-clicking on the “Blog” dropdown button that you can now see on your panel and selecting “Preferences” from the menu. Select the type of your blog engine, enter its web location, enter the user name and password and click the “Look up Blogs” button. It should fetch your blog and show it in the dropdown box to the left side of “Look up Blogs” button. Click the “Close” button to save the settings.
Now whenever you come across an interesting story on the Internet, you can just click the “Blog” button on the panel, give a title to the blog post, enter the contents and hit the “Post Entry” button. You have some very basic formatting available to add links, format to bold and italics etc., but as noted earlier, this is not the tool to use if you are looking for a lot of features. You have to use HTML tags to do all your formatting and you can’t even preview before posting. But I find this to be the quickest way to make a short blog post. (Clicking the “Blog” button in the panel again closes the dropdown window, but the text you have entered is still retained in it. Click it again to see what I talking about. This allows you to edit the blog entry over a long period of time.)
Gnome Blog Home page
- Drivel Journal Editor
You will love to make blog posts with Drivel if you are a LiveJournal user. This one has quite a few interesting features for users of all type of blog engines but it has tons of features specifically provided for the LiveJournal bloggers. I haven’t found such a good LiveJournal blog editor even on Windows; it allows you to select a mood, set the music you are currently listening to, set custom security and bunch of other stuff while making a post to LiveJournal. It is a decent blog editor for other blogging software too, including WordPress, Movable Type and Blogger. Definitely worth a test drive.
More information on Drivel
- BloGTK Blog Editor
This is a reasonably feature-rich blog editor for the GNOME platform. It supports many popular blogging engines and has good number of formatting option. My personal favourite feature of BloGTK is the ability to create our own custom tags for HTML tags that are not available by default in the BloGTK toolbar/menu. To start posting blog entries, go to Edit -> Accounts and Settings, enter the details about your blog, click OK, go to the File menu and click the Connect menu item. You are now ready to publish to your blog. The main view of BloGTK shows HTML mixed with the content(unlike Drivel that uses WYSISWYG editor) but it supports the preview mode, so no worries there. You can’t use BloGTK with the new Blogger version yet.
More about BloGTK
- ScribeFire Firefox Extension
If you are basically looking for at least the basic set of features that one expects from a blog editor and are not put down by the web browser interface, then ScribeFire Firefox extension(previously called Performancing for Firefox or PFF) is an excellent choice for you. It has more features than any of the above mentioned desktop clients, you don’t have to be online to compose blog posts with it just like a desktop blog editor, it has a very clean user interface and installing it is a total snap as you don’t have to worry whether your GNU/Linux distribution packages it or not, or if you have to build something from the source. As it is a Firefox extension, installing it is as easy as going to the ScribeFire extension page and clicking the “Install” button. You can install it in all Firefox compatible web browsers(e.g. Flock). After installation, click its icon in the status bar of the browser and a window will pop-up which covers the lower part of your browser window. You can hide it and re-activate it at will, making small edits to your content while surfing the Internet to collect more information, and, once finished, finally posting it to your blog or saving it as a note locally.
Getting Started with ScribFire Blog Editor
- Google Docs as a Blog Editor
The last option I am going to mention is Google Docs. I love its clean interface and use it to keep a lot of content on various topics in separate document files in the draft form. But when I am almost ready to post it to my blog, I take it over to the integrated editor of WordPress and do the final editing/formatting there. Some people though prefer to do all the editing in Google Docs itself and either copy/paste to the blog web editor in the end or post to the blog directly from Google Docs by selecting Publish from the top-right corner and clicking the “Post to Blog” button. Google Docs is a good option if you use it for other editing purposes too, or to post to multiple blogs, but for posting to only one type of blog, there’s no clear advantage in using it over the blog engine’s own WYSIWYG editor.
Google Docs as a Blog Editor
You can install (1), (2) and (3) on Debian/Ubuntu by running the following commands respectively:
sh# sudo aptitude install drivel
sh# sudo aptitude install blogtk
With (4) and (5), you can learn one interface and use it on any platform.
So what else is there to fulfill other blog posting needs of the GNU/Linux users? I will be particularly interested to hear what Blog Editors do the KDE users use – someone had mentioned KBlogger but I don’t know how good or bad it is.
Update 1: Thanks to all those who have commented on this post, here is the summary of all the blog editors that were suggested by you: Five More Desktop Blog Editors for GNU/Linux Users
Update 2: Here are two more posts related to the same topic of GNU/Linux desktop blog editors:
Linux Blogging Sucks (it’s well written, not a rant)
Building The Blog Editor List (all blog editors, including for GNU/Linux)
If you are looking for information on how to convert DVD format to AVI(DivX/XviD) format, refer to my earlier posts on video conversion.
The technical specification page of Nokia N800 claims that the device can play a variety of video formats but in real experience it plays only a very limited number of formats. I strongly recommend installing MPlayer on your N770/N800 as it makes it possible to play many popular media formats(e.g. DivX/XviD) which the N800 won’t play in its default state. (Open the file mplayer.install from your N800 to install it.) You still won’t be able to play most of the videos that you have stored on your hard drive (or elsewhere) by directly copying them to N770/N800 – you need to convert them to a proper resolution that N800 supports, and occasionally, take care of the frame rate and data rate too. There are many tools available that can convert a given video to a format than can be played on N700 or N800 and one such easy to use tool is Media Converter(also called Nokia N770 Video Converter) created by Urho Konttori.
Install Nokia N770 Media Converter on Your Computer
Download Media Converter for Windows and run the executable. (Mac and GNU/Linux versions are also available from the same page. This tutorial applies to all platforms except this installation part.) Follow the wizard to complete the installation. You will find a menu entry for it created in the start menu. Run the application by going to Start Menu -> Media Converter -> Media Converter.
Convert DivX/XviD/etc Format to N800 Format
- The interface of the main window of Media Converter looks like this:
(Click to see the enlarged version of the screenshot)
- The first thing to do here is to select the appropriate settings for the conversion process. Media Converter provides quite a few options in terms of settings and I encourage you to experiment with them and see what type of movies(documentary vs action movies) convert best with what type of settings(13fps vs 18fps).
Select your device(either N770 or N800) from the “I Have” dropdown box. I suggest you to start with “N800 High Quality (400×240)” which I consider to be a safe choice(as opposed to ‘creates best quality video’). (Select something similar if you use N770 tablet.) The video and audio bitrates will be automatically selected for you but you can still change them if you want to. If you are not satisfied with the converted video at this resolution, you can retry with the other video resolutions and see what works best for you. You have to experiment like this only once though; when you find the setting that works best for you, you can then note it down and use it for all the future video conversions(Media Converter remembers the last selected conversion settings, so you don’t have to enter them again and again). You don’t have to convert the complete video file while doing experiments; read Step 3.
- If you want to merge subtitles into the video file during the conversion process:
- Name the subtitle file exactly the same as the video file except the file extension, e.g. Black Book.avi and Black Book.srt
- Copy the subtitle file to the folder where the video file is located. In other words, video file and the subtitle file should be in the same folder.
- Select ANSI or UTF-8 from the “Subtitles(.srt)” dropdown box in Media Converter.
Media Converter doesn’t currently support all subtitle formats and encodings but it works well with the popular formats that it supports. You can always merge the subtitles first with the video file and then convert the merged video file using Media Converter.
- There are other options that you can select like “Enhance Color” and “Audio Gain” that come handy with some video files. “Optimize for fullscreen” should be selected by default and you can leave it like that. If conversion time is not an issue with you, I strongly recommend selecting the “High quality conversion(2 passes)” option. A 500MB video file typically takes less than an hour with 2 pass conversion on my computer. YMMV. The remaining option “30 sec preview only” can be used to convert only the first 30 seconds of the video file, which is useful for experimenting with different resolutions and video rates.
- As a final step, add a single video file or a list of files by clicking “Add file(s) to queue” button. (You can add multiple files from the same folder by clicking on the files while holding the Ctrl key on Windows.) You can also drag and drop the video files on Media Converter main window. All the files that you have added will be listed in the table. When you are done adding all the files that you want to convert, click the “Convert Videos” button to begin the conversion process. The converted videos are stored in a directory called 770 which will be created in the directory where the source video is present. You can select a different destination directory if you want by clicking the “Select Directory” button.
After the conversion process is finished, go to the directory where the source video is located and there you will find a directory named 770. Go into that directory and you will find the converted video file in it. Copy that video file to your N770/N800 (by connecting through the USB cable) and then play the video using the default media player or MPlayer or any other media player of your choice(e.g. Canola).
The interface of Media Converter looks good on Mac OS but looks horrible on Windows and GNU/Linux. Perhaps it can be enhanced using a custom Java Swing look & feel. Make a trip to its neatly designed website. Maemo wiki has an informative article about video encoding for N800.
Another easy to use Free video conversion tool is Nokia N800 Video Convert by Paolo Sessa. (Of course you can use any video conversion tool to convert videos to N800 format as long as you know what settings and codecs to use, in case you are wondering.) I will try to adapt this post to use Video Convert instead of Media Converter in a future post.