Blogging with Flock

Over the past couple of days I’ve been playing around with Flock. Quoting from their website:

“Flock is an amazing web browser built on fast and secure Mozilla technologies. View and share photos with an innovative new photo bar in the browser. Subscribe to your favorite websites to get the freshest content automatically, in summaries that are easy to save and blog.Search more quickly, more effectively, and more richly with the innovative Flock Search Toolbar

So that’s the sales pitch. I’ve had a bit of a play around with most of these features so I’ll give you a quick rundown.

Photo Bar: This is actually a handy little feature. In essence you can click a little button up next to the ‘Home’ button and a bar appears across the top of the webpage with your photostream from flickr or photobucket (whichever you elect).

You can upload photo’s using the inbuilt inbuilt photo-uploader which brings up a new window with a drag and drop interface from your computer and simple crop and rotate tools. From here you can title, describe and tag your photo’s, set public/private and also select which album the photo’s go in.

The photo bar also allows you to add friends flickr streams so that you can view their photo’s on the bar instead of your own. There is a simple drop-down interface to swap between accounts.

My favorite feature of the Photo bar, however; is the ability to drag a photo from your Photo Bar to the blogging tool. Like, for example, this photo I took last year at Bright.

RSS Reader: The RSS Reader in Flock is based on the Sage reader in Firefox. I’ve actually used Sage before and to be honest it’s not really to my taste, so I haven’t really played with this much.

Blogging Tool: I’m undecided on the blogging tool in flock. It has some very useful features. I am able to open a new blog post with a simple keyboard shortcut and I can comment on a webpage, image or piece of selected text by right-clicking and then clicking ‘Blog this’ from the drop-down menu. There is also a ‘Web Snippets’ tool which allows you to drag text or images from a website to a clipboard for future use and, of course, the drag and drop interaction with the Photo Bar.

However there are also several missing features which bug me. The tagging feature only enters Technorati tag html at the bottom of the post rather than the inbuilt labels in blogger which I prefer and text formatting is a little harder with no alignment options, text colour options or ‘quote’ buttons which I have become accustomed to.

On the other hand the spell-check is very well implemented and you can save drafts to your hard drive.

I think opinions on the Blogging Tool are likely to be mixed and its rather a matter of individual taste and usage. I’m not sure whether I will use it regularly, but its certainly useful for when you want to write a quick blog comment on something.

Search Tool: The search tool is, well, just a search tool really. I’ve heard some good things about its features but I haven’t really noticed a significant difference.

Overall I’m quite impressed with Flock. Anything you can do in Firefox will work with Flock and it has a couple of extra features which are kinda fun.

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Blogged with Flock

The perfect Espresso (and how handy is Podscope?)

A recent episode of G’day World (G’DAY WORLD 190 – Evan Maloney: Paid Blogger, Screenwriter, Tough Guy) got me thinking about coffee. This Christmas my sister Naomi, knowing about my caffeine addiction, bought me a coffee machine. So far I’ve been making fairly average cappuccinos with very little care or consistency. Just your typical garden variety someone-bought-me-a-coffee-machine-for-Christmas-style coffee.

But now that’s not enough. See in this particular episode of G’day World Cam mentions that on that particular morning he’d made his first perfect cafe latte. He seemed to be pleased as punch. Which made me think, why am I settling for an average coffee when I could with some practice make a really good coffee?

So I’ve decided to start learning and practicing. I’ve been reading various articles on coffee making (I’ve bookmarked The espresso guide and How to present a latte) I’m going to pick up some proper espresso cups and a milk jug, and I’m going to make a lot of coffee.

I’m thinking it might be fun to photograph my progress and keep an ongoing log so that anyone who knows good coffee can feel appropriately smug about how poor my early efforts are.

On a completely different note I just tried out Podscope for the first time. In their words:

Podscope lets you search the spoken word for audio and video that interests you.

I used it because I couldn’t remember precisely which episode of G’day World Cam mentioned his perfect latte in. So I used Podscope to find it 🙂 It certainly still has some kinks to iron out. For example ‘espresso’ wouldn’t come up with his podcast nor would ‘latte’ however ‘coffee’ worked perfectly and I eventually found what I was after. Overall I was very impressed! It will even play a short clip containing the search term in context so you can figure out whether you have the right podcast. I definitely think it’s something worth playing with and I’m sure they’ll tidy up the speech recognition over time.

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