Reading Pete’s blog I found out about the new version of Windows Live Writer.  It is still in Beta, but now even better with Beta 2.  I’m curious as to why they don’t just release this and take away the Beta already.  Anyway…

Right away I noticed some differences (I am posting this with the new version, of course).  The UI is a little slicker.  One of the coolest new features is that you can easily insert and modify tables in a post.  Previously, I had to switch over to html view and put my own tables in.  It was a nuisance.  I also like the way they display the categories now.  Also I just noticed while I am typing this that the spell checking is enhanced.  Check out this list of new features.

One feature that I think needs to be added is support for post descriptions.  My blog runs on dasBlog.  With dasBlog I can put in a description of my post and then only the description shows on the main page with a link to the body of the post.  I’d love to be able to insert the description via Live Writer.  I’ll submit my feature request to the team.

There sure are a lot of blogs out there!  Obviously, reading technical blogs is a great way to stay current and learn new things.  The problem is, which blogs to read with limited time.  If you are reading this, you can see some of the blogs I read in my blogroll.  Some of these blogs are from leaders in the industry.  Some of them are local developers that I know and respect.  If you are like me, I try to start the day off scanning through posts (I use RSS Bandit to aggregate for me). If I take a break from coding during the day I may try to read some more.  For some blogs I read only posts that stand out.  For others I read almost everything they post.  Of course it also depends of course on the type of day I am having.


I am happy to say the my blog has been getting a lot of hits lately.  Hopefully that means I have something to offer.  It is pretty cool to look at my statistics and see how people found my blog.  When someone comes to Schwammy Says via Google or Search.Live.com the search engine sends along search criteria that was used.  I love to read through it.  I often think that based on what that person was looking for, I may have helped them.  Sometimes I look and think, oh well, that person probably didn’t find what they wanted in this blog.


Anyway, what I’d really like to know is…what blogs do you read?  Please share your ideas.  Marc Ziss turned me on to Sam Gentile’s blog.  I started reading it this week and I like his information.  It was a great tip.

A few friends have asked lately about pasting code into blog posts from visual studio.  When you do add code, you want to retain the syntax highlighting features from VS so the code is more readable.  This is a snap with Windows Live Writer.  Live Writer is still considered Beta software but it seems to work pretty well for me.

All you need to do is go to the Live Writer Gallery and check out the cool pluggins that are available.  In this case, I am using the pluggin called “Paste From Visual Studio“.

Just install that and in a snap you go from this:

 

public void dosomething(string anArgument)
{
//this method doesn’t really do anything.
string message = “hello world”
DateTime date = DateTime.Now;
}

To This:

    public void dosomething(string anArgument)
    {
        //this method doesn’t really do anything.
        string message = “hello world”;
        DateTime date = DateTime.Now;
    }

It couldn’t be easier!  Now I just need to add some posts to this blog that really use some pasted code!  Check out this other post I wrote about some other cool features of Live Writer.

When I started this blog I continually went to Google to see if I came up in the search.  I did some research and found that you can “register” your URL with Google.  You can go to Google’s Add URL page and do the same.  I am not sure if it worked or not.  It could be that Google’s spider just reached me on its own.  They make no guarantees that a URL added to the list will even get added to their search.  Also, you can go to Google’s Webmaster Tools section.  There you can see when the spider hits your site, find out what queries people use to find your site, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

In my research I also found tips saying that I should include a lot of links in my blog posts.  And also TrackBacks from other blogs would help my ranking with search engines.

I can’t tell you if these tips worked specifically.  But I do know that my posts are coming up in Google searches (and other engines too) and I am happy about that!  By the way, some of the other search engines have similar tools to Google.  But you’ll have to do a little research on your own to find them.  Don’t forget to be a little patient.

Hopefully you have noticed that I changed the style for my blog.  Hopefully you like the results.  I am finding that after the change things aren’t always showing up right.  That has something to do with the way browsers cache web pages.  If things look weird (or don’t appear) it may be due to a conflict with the “old” page that your browser has saved.  You may need to clear your browser’s cache but I think the pages in the cache will expire in time and it will fix itself.  I’m not 100% sure about that.


Why Change?  I recently discovered that my blog seemed to be missing a few features.  For example, there were no trackback links available and I didn’t like the category cloud.  I was using a nice theme named Kubrick that I found out on John Forsythe’s site.  I don’t know John but his site/blog has a lot of good information about dasBlog on it!  I liked the Kubrick theme because it was nice and clean with better colors.  But the default theme “DasBlog” seemed to have more “features” so I wanted to change back.  The problem is that I added my avatar (the caricature of me) to the  Kubrick theme.  I don’t think the standard themes support avatars, although I don’t know why.  So anyway, I needed to revise the dasBlog theme to include a place for my avatar and while I was at it, I changed a few other little things and created my own theme.  It was a good lesson in how dasBlog themes and macros work. 


All in all it is not that difficult to modify this stuff.  Of course, it helps if you are good at CSS.  Unfortunately, I am not.  So I had to cheat a bit.  I hope you like it.  It will probably change again as I find out about more available features.


If you have any issues viewing my blog now, I would REALLY like to know.  Please comment on this post if possible or contact me via email.