Tag: blog

The 6 Android apps I really appreciate(d)

For some reasons, I had to choose between a new, simple Nokia phone (but fortunately not a Windows one!) and my 1-year-old Android phone. Before I leave this Android phone, here are the few 6 Android apps that I really appreciated and used daily.

 FBReader is a very nice e-book reader for Android. It supports a lot of e-book formats like epub, fb2, (partially) mobipocket, html, RTF and plain text. It works very well with Calibre (a free software e-book reader / manager / converter) – or is it the opposite? I also really like the fact FBReader can browse and download some free e-books directly from the internet. Of course, reading an e-book on a small 3.2 inch screen isn’t the perfect user experience. However, the night mode (white text on black background) is very handy to read something when it’s late and you don’t want the harsh white background. You can find FBReader on the Android Market for free (it’s a free software, under the GPL).

Google Reader is the Android version of the web-based Google Reader. If you follow RSS/Atom feeds with the latter, you will be interested by its Android version. A very nice feature is that all your feeds will be synchronized between the different versions of your Reader: read a post on your phone and the web version knows you already read it (and vice-versa). This time the small screen isn’t really a handicap since posts are usually quite short (compared to books and short stories you could read on FBReader). Up to a certain version, I thought the Gooogle Reader for Android was not really using all the capabilities of a touch screen. But in a version recently introduced you just have to swipe a post to read the next one (a bit like turning a page with only one finger). You can find Google Reader on the Android Market for free.

Mustard is a Twitter client for Android. It is also a StatusNet client. Being both on Twitter (@jepoirrier) and Identi.ca (@jepoirrier too), it’s quite interesting to be able to read and post on both platform quickly one after the other. I may have missed something but Mustard lacks the possibility to post on all registered platforms at the same time. And it’s impossible to have all timelines merged in a common one with duplicates removed. But apart from this small annoyance, it’s a very good and fast microblogging client. You can find Mustard on the Android Market for free (it’s even a free software – under the GPL).

According to its own introduction, Shuffle is “a personal organizational tool, styled around the Getting Things Done methodology”. In layman’s words, it’s a very easy app to use to remember things you have to do. Beside just adding a note, you can also give them a deadline, a location and a context. I know I didn’t use everything (for instance, I didn’t use the synchronisation feature since I don’t have any Tracks installation) but it’s a nice tool to remember small ideas on the way and help prioritize them (note: a Moleskine is also good for that purpose). You can find Shuffle on the Android Market for free (and it’s even free software – under the Apache license).

Finally, I really liked the last versions of WordPress (the one that introduced the big white panels/buttons in a “dashboard”). First, these last versions crashed much less often than before (in fact I didn’t see them crash anymore). Then, its developers made it easy to quickly approve comment, add pictures/videos directly from the phone, read the stats and edit some previously posted messages (of course, it’s not very handy to edit a lengthy post on a small screen but it’s not WordPress fault here). If you have a blog on WordPress (or using the WordPress engine at your own website), it’s a must. You can find WordPress on the Android Market for free.

One last word about apps for kids (the “sixth” application). The free versions of Whiteboard and Kids ABC Letters are quite interesting for a 3 year-old boy.

As you can read, I mainly use free software (as in free speech) and apps to read things on the phone. Another use is for small, quick, tasks (like posting a tweet or adding something to remember). I think I will be able to live without that 🙂

No more Read More!

Just a little post to write how I hate those “Read More” sentences in blog post!

Grrr, again a disguised "Read More"!
Grrr, again a disguised "Read More"! This post has a very low information content as presented.

“Read More” is a way to cut your blog post in two: one part that will be shown in your blog RSS flux, on your front page and another part that will only be read by those who click on the “Read More”. A variant of this is the […] (as shown above).

Most of the time, I read blogs I subscribed to via a RSS reader (or news aggregator). I read blog posts when I have time. A central place like the RSS reader is like a personalized newspaper. I usually read blog posts grouped by the interest I have at the moment I read them. An organized place like the RSS reader is like a personalized newspaper, just on a certain topic, just when you need it.

Now, if there are “Read More” after 2 or 3 lines of text, I usually don’t know anything about the quality of the remaining article. Either I click, I launch my web browser (wait, wait, wait …) and finally read the remaining part of the article. It’s very rare I do that. Usually, I just go to the next article. Most of the time, the next article is by someone else, on another blog (items being classed by interest topic and time in my reader). After a few disappointments of finding a “Read More”, I just cancel my subscription to the RSS feed. Unless information given there is very, very interesting.

I know that “Read More” directs more traffic to your website. I know getting more traffic makes you earn money (if you serve ads), can potentially make you earn money (if you sell something) or simply gives you more details about your audience. I know that  “Read More” allows to “shorten” long blog post so your front page is not 10-pages long.

But in the end, the goal is to be read. If you write well, have a good product and/or don’t annoy people with unnecessary “clicks”, people will anyway come to your website and potentially buy your stuff. Imho, simplifying readers’ lives by giving them all the information they want in the format they want regardless of the channel (RSS, e-mail alert and website) is more important than any other reason. Don’t force page views, it’s annoying!

I can’t read my blog

At least from my office. Sadly true 😉 since one of the rules of my company proxy server bans all URLs with the letters “blog” inside (no blogger.com, blogspot, … websites either). Fortunately, there are a lot of web-based feed aggregators (which are not — not yet? — banned). It also blocks all URLs with the “exe” string so we are not able to visit the Belgian Post website (it uses an URL containing “outletlocator.exe”) ; I didn’t find any bypass yet.

Banned blog by ISA server

Btw, with their message, we know they use Microsoft ISA Server as a proxy …

First tryout of Jadoo


This is my first post with the Jadoo blog engine. As I stated before, I was planning to write my own blog software with these goals:

  • Simplicity
  • No PHP nor any script for the client
  • All the processing done un Python, offline
  • No DB
  • (maybe some other goals but I don’t remember them, right now)

I’ll try to apply the "release soon, release often" principle (where does it came from?): before writing an entry, launch jadwrite.py ; to create html files, launch jadpub.py ; then upload html files with your FTP client (scripts are highly customized for my blog, for the moment ; and everything doesn’t respect all the standards). I’ll also to retrieve all my previous posts (but the URL will be changed ; the RSS URL also changed). But for the moment, I have other important work to do … There is no system for comments for the moment (I don’t know if there will be one in the future) but you can send me comments and requests to jepoirrier@gmail.com.

Oh yes, and I’ll try to add a decent CSS 🙂