Monday, December 08, 2008

Ecto, meet Blogger. Now go make some beautiful newlines.

I've been using Blogger to all my post publishing needs for some years now. And since I moved my "home" into a Mac OSX system I've started using ecto to publish to them. But I've stumbled in this issue in more than one blog, so this post serves as both advice for the frustrated and to remind me in future installations (never googled your blog to see what your past thoughts were? you are missing out, then!)

Problem. I write a text, such as this one, with some paragraphs. and if I publish them as is, blogger spaces them out, inserting linefeeds (<br/> HTML tags) between them. So I desperately try to fix them in ecto. I refresh the posts list, and see the extra spaces. If I fix everything, I get the same result. If my mind wonders and I forget to fix something, and still publish it, I see not one but two extra line breaks. Wow! :)

Solution. Taken from an ecto's support forum entry the idea is to make Blogger *not* insert linefeeds in every return on the posted text. ecto does that job already, so we simply stop Blogger for doing extra work. Who knows, someday ecto will detect that automatically and won't hurt our posting confidence in the process :)

Details. Go to your Blogger dashboard, see the Settings tab, and the Formatting subtab. Set "Convert Line breaks" to "No". Save. Publish. Rejoice!

Serve your music with class. Use Bowtie!*

I recently stumbled upon TUAW's article on Bowtie. logo.png

Context: music info and control in a Mac OSX (Leopard) environment. I have until now been envying Coversutra's users, for its beautiful and useful cover art, shortcut-controls of iTunes and song submission. Well, seems like I've made my setup even better. Want to know how? Let's start by grabbing the latest version of Bowtie. Yes, it's still in beta (next beta is being worked on as I write this, according to the author it will be due in a couple of weeks). Run it. Run iTunes, and play. And that's it!

Wait... but I see an space-eater icon in my dock. Coversutra has the option to go to the menu... But Bowtie has no need for such a menu. what for? So grab your application icon, right click, show package contents, and find the Info.plist inside it. Now add a new String parameter called NSUIElement, and give it a value of 1. Presto, relaunch the app, and you have no icon at all on your dock - and the UI is still on your desktop! But wait, how do I go to the preferences? That's right, no menu is there. So just click on the UI, and press the default Preferences shortcut, "Command+", to bring up all the juicy options!

Waaait a bit more... but I don't like how this looks like! Well, two options: either make your own skin, see the downloaded package for details, of look trough some foruns for Bowtie related skins. I promise, you will be much surprised with the quality of each theme!

Hey, I'm not there yet - I used a Coversutra demo and I liked the search features... and the much much more comprehensive shortcuts to customize from! Ok, ok. I'll bet if you want to have this trouble to use freeware to suit your picky needs, you already have a launcher such as say... Quicksilver! Am I right? So you're all set. Just install the iTunes module, and skim through its settings, and triggers. Shortcuts aplenty for all of you keyboard lovers, and a bonus one - "Search iTunes". give it a handy shortcut, and it will be all you need. But if you want to look for artists, albums, or tracks, just type iTunes in Quicksilver, press right arrow and browse whatever you want, and then play it. All very very similar to what you already do with Quicksilver, which is a big plus!

Still now happy? integration is not enough? Still need that menu icon, despite useless? Still find out the window is not on the desktop when pressing F11, like Coversutra's? Found any other nasty bug? Do everyone a favor and tell the developer. Beta versions are there for you to find bugs and for developers to fix them!

*or How to kill the need for Coversutra and its paid support once and for all...