Category Archives: Blogging

The new Android app for WordPress — yes, you can blog from your phone

I’m taking my first look at the revamped WordPress for Android app, with a new UI, and it’s a huge leap from where it was before this release.

It’s quick and  extremely functional — even on my now-ancient Froyo build of Android.

If you blog at WordPress.com, or on a self-hosted WordPress.org blog, you absolutely need this app. Have multiple blogs on .com and your own .org sites? You can stuff all of those accounts into this app and work with them all.

Not only can you write and edit posts, but you can share just about anything you create on your phone (including photos) to a WordPress blog — and that ability to share content to apps continues to be a game-changer for mobile-focused OSes over their traditional desktop rivals.

 

Postscript: I started this post on my Android phone but am finishing it in the WordPress app for the Windows Metro desktop … more on that later.

I did a WordPress.org install, and it really did take 5 minutes

I wanted to see if I could get the self-hosted WordPress.org software installed on an OpenBSD server — the devio.us machine that offers free shell accounts (though I’m not sure if they’re doing that at this exact moment).

It worked. And it did take 5 minutes.

I mucked around on the command line and broke it. Then I took another 5 minutes and reinstalled WordPress.

I broke it a couple more times. That’s what new blogs are for — breaking.

I finally stopped that, and it’s working now.

Update: A few days later I learned that I didn’t break WordPress at all. I was just bitten by a bad .htaccess file a dozen times. Now I know how to fix that and preserve my installation.

I’m enjoying the social aspects of WordPress.com

Since my “return” to WordPress.com and creation of this blog, the features I keep coming back to are the social ones: following other WordPress.com bloggers, and reblogging and liking their blog posts.

I like being able to do “social” things but not have to be in another system — Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus — to do it.

WordPress.com has always had a community feel. It’s always been easy to discover the work of other bloggers on the system and have them discover yours. But with the ability to interact with the social tools we’ve become accustomed to over the past few years, this connectness enhances the blogging experience.

I like being able to easily reblog or like a post and have that become part of my own blog. I feel a sense of “ownership” of my expression that I don’t get in Twitter, Facebook or G+. You can see all of my social activity right here in my blog timeline along with the rest of my blog posts.

The WordPress.com Reader is also a factor. The recent, planned demise of Google Reader doesn’t affect me because I don’t use it to organize RSS feeds. I do have Liferea set up in Debian, but I rarely use it. However, now that I’m in WordPress.com more often, I find myself using its Reader application to follow not only other WP.com blogs but also a bunch of sites that I tended to go to directly in the web browser — chiefly the Planet blogs for Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and GNOME, (themselves aggregators of multiple blogs) with  OMG! Ubuntu. I’ll add more as I go.

From what I know of Tumblr, social — liking and reblogging — is baked in, and it’s nice to see the same thing available at WordPress.com. Reader is just a nice convenience that gives me another reason to be logged in to WP.com.

Reblogging is the best ‘new’ WordPress.com feature

Reblogging for WordPress.com has been around since 2010, but it’s new to me.

It gives WordPress.com bloggers the one feature that Tumblr appears to be built on — easy, clickable reblogging — and along with the “like” button brings a really nice social component to the system.

So you can be social without leaving the world of WordPress.com, but you can still push your posts to Twitter and Facebook if you wish. (I push to the former, not the latter at this point.)

The WordPress Android app helps you read your favorite blogs and feeds

I’ve been exploring the Android app for WordPress, which handles blogs from the free WordPress.com service as well as self-hosted WordPress.org sites. Yes, both at once, it turns out.

The Android app make it easy to blog on the go, as it were. The “killer” portion of this particular app is the ability to take pictures and videos with your phone and immediately blog them out.

I’m not sure how that video is handled on the other end on both systems (.com and .org), but I plan to find out.

A nice bonus for WordPress.com users is that you can read your favorite blogs and other RSS-delivered content inside the app. I didn’t expect that feature, so it’s a nice bonus.

Blogging: Still revolutionary after all these years

We can argue who invented blogging, or when, but I’m going to peg it at the late 1990s, which means we’re coming up on (or have just reached) the 15th anniversary of blogging as a medium of expression. The same Wikipedia page I link to above offers these milestones:

  • Open Diary began in October 1998
  • LiveJournal began in March 1999
  • Blogger.com began in August 1999. Google bought it in 2003.

Dipping further into Wikipedia for the history of blogging, Movable Type launched in October 2001, and WordPress created its first release in May 2003.

It was possible in the 1990s to create a web page with little technical knowledge, but the idea of reverse-chronological weblog entries, easily created and endlessly archived, with the whole idea of link exchanges via a blogroll was as revolutionary as technology can be. By the time services like Blogger and LiveJournal picked up steam, it was possible for just about anybody to start and maintain a blog.

The whole idea of exposing ones thoughts, feelings, or whatever you wanted to express, to the entire world at once, with no middlemen and no filter — how can that be anything short of transformational.

Since the mid-2000s, the shine has pretty much rubbed off of blogging. Bloggers have been derided as untrained journalists (though many are actual reporters and editors, though that doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme), self-obsessed and worse.

And then we had MySpace (why it’s still around I don’t know). Now we have Facebook. Twitter.

Those are still “hot.” Most of us are “on” Facebook, and we all know at least a dozen people who post their daily. There’s some comfort in sharing with one’s friends and not the big, bad world at large. I can’t argue with that. Except that what you post leaves your control and gives Facebook (and Twitter to some extent) a product with which to make money through advertising.

Not that blogging services don’t do the same thing. They do. But for the most part — and always with WordPress.com — you can pack up and take every little bit of content with you to use on your own site, on your own server or hosted space. And you can write more than 140 characters. And design and present that content the way you wish.

These kids today. (Sheesh!) It’s hard to remember a world where reaching even your local community with your writing meant persuading any number of editors that what you are churning out is worthy of their readership’s seeing it in the first place. And then there is the whole “we only have so much space” argument.

Well, you can start your own blog — hell, start a dozen if you want — and create your own worldwide publishing empire based on the merit (read: relevance and popularity) of your work.

Today’s blogging software is flexible enough that you can create a web site that has little or nothing to do with reverse-chronological blogging.

It’s revolutionary. Still.