Posts Tagged ‘posterous’

Posterous; Paused. Possibly Permanently?

I’ve never run or hosted my own search engine. I’ve run and hosted web servers, mail servers, proxy servers and caching servers (I’m even contemplating running my own URL shortener), but never a search engine. There was a time when I ran an enterprise instance of Alta Vista back when I coded for a living and was part of the team building Factiva.com, but that doesn’t count.

If I had have run my own search engine I would have known just how important canonical URLs are and that having multiple copies of the same content hosted on different domains would cause search engines to penalise you and loose search engine ranking, fast.

Playing with Posterous

But I’ve never run my own search engine. So I didn’t know any of this. I probably should have, but I didn’t. Mea culpa.

So what has any of this to do with Posterous? I use Posterous. I like Posterous, a lot. I’ve written about Posterous, quite a bit. I also use Posterous to not only post to my Posterous blog but also to my own WordPress powered blog, on a domain I’ve owned for a goodly number of years, via Posterous’s autopost function … and which nicely and neatly produces an exemplar of how to have duplicate content hosted on multiple domains, with multiple URL addressing systems, for each and every post I produce.

How could I have not noticed this? Other people have, including Ian Delaney‘s excellent write up, punnily entitled Past Posterous.

Sadly, it looks like despite the ease of blogging that Posterous offers, there is such a thing as too easy and so for now, with regret, I’ve postponed my use of Posterous, possibly in permanence. Unless of course, they offer a way of specifying canonical URLs.

And with profuse apologies for the overuse of alliteration in this post.

Photo Credit: I Bought a Mac on Flickr.

Written at home (51.427051, -0.333344) and posted from the Yahoo! London office (51.5141985, -0.1292006)

A Posterous Wish List

I’ve been using Posterous for a while now, a quick trawl back through the archives shows the first post I wrote via the service was in August 2009, and I’ve been using it ever since.

It’s fiendishly simple and works like this :-
  • I write a blog post in my email client and send it to post@posterous.com.
  • Posterous expands any links that it can, such as links to my Flickr account, and embeds the graphic inline in the text.
  • Posterous autoposts any embedded photos to my Flickr account.
  • Posterous looks for any tags in the subject line and autoposts to my Delicous account.
  • Posterous date and timestamps the post and puts it up on my Posterous blog at http://vicchi.posterous.com/.
  • Posterous autposts the entire blog post to my main, WordPress powered, blog at http://www.vicchi.org/.
So far, so good. My WordPress blog then uses the Twitter Tools – Bit.ly URLs plugin to announce my new blog post to my Twitter account, neatly linked into my Bit.ly account so I can track clicks and usage of the URL. It also used to publicise the new blog post to my Facebook account via the WordBook plugin but that stopped working several WordPress versions ago and posting to Facebook remains the sole manual process in my blog-flow.
So what’s there not to like? Well there’s a few niggles, most of which are autopost related.
Attach a photo to a (rich text) mail, centre it, post it and the photo is displayed in the autopost to a WordPress blog with the default alignment, which is usually left justified. Why? Because Posterous’s autopost assumes that all alignment in the original email refers to text and that works fine for text, but not for images and that was what was being aligned in the first place. Unless you know about the aligncenter class in the first class and have defined it beforehand.
Posterous provides URL shortening via the post.ly service, which doesn’t allow per account click tracking or other reporting such as that which bit.ly provides. Not that URL shortening by either is ideal and we should really be using canonical links via rev=”canonical”.
And then there’s autopost itself; it’s an all or nothing feature. So please, turn it off by default if I edit a post in Posterous I do not want to auto(re)post it, thus creating a duplicate blog post on my WordPress post and let me select on a per post basis whether I want to autopost or not.
All of the above needs to be tempered with the fact that Posterous is i) free, ii) incredibly responsive, iii) free and iv) free … it could just be so much better if these minor niggles went away.
Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

Posted via email from Gary’s Posterous

2009 In Review Part 1: Gadgets

As the end of 2009 and of the decade of the noughties approaches rapidly, I thought it worthwhile to look back over the previous 12 months and give credit where credit is due or overdue. So let’s start with gadgets.

Not one but three. 

Firstly there’s Posterous. Can a web service be a gadget? I think so. According to Wikipedia, gadgets “are invariably considered to be more unusually or cleverly designed than normal technological objects at the time of their invention”.

So, Posterous. Yes it’s a blog creation tool but it’s a simple, fiendishly simple blog creation tool. Nothing more than an email to post@posterous.com and you’re done. It’s how I wrote and posted this post. You focus more on the act of what you’re writing, or the photo you’ve just taken, than on the mechanism where the post is formatted and uploaded. My posterous blog is http://vicchi.posterous.com/ and this auto feeds into my main WordPress driven blog at http://www.vicchi.org/. Add in the other services that Posterous can update and some WordPress plugins and by the mere act of sending a mail, I post to Posterous, to my self hosted WordPress blog which in turn notifies Twitter and Facebook. Phew.

The second gadget is still my iPhone. Forget the controversy over the appstore approvals process, forget the appalling coverage that O2 provides here in the UK and focus instead on the fact that just as Posterous has pretty much revolutionised the way I blog, the iPhone has revolutionised the way in which I interact with the internet, where ever I am. Well, at least where ever I have coverage and I’m not being fleeced for international roaming charges that is.

The final gadget is YQL. The Yahoo! Query Language. This simple, easy, free, web service allows me to pull in feeds from my blog at http://www.vicchi.org/, my work blog at http://www.ygeoblog.com/, my decks on Slideshare, my photos on Flickr, my bookmarks on delicious and a whole slew of other sources and produce the dynamically updated vanity site of http://www.garygale.com/. All this through a single SQL-a-like select statement, some PHP and the Yahoo! User Interface library. Phew (again).

Coming up later today is Part 2: Organisations …

Photo credits: PurpleLimeSam Doidge and Studio Ego on Flickr

Posted via email from Gary’s Posterous

Deliciousness: themes gained, avatars lost, accents found, London and the end of the world, scrobbling and Streetview

Look at all of this stuff that fell down the back of the internet and got lodged in my Delicious bookmarks …

Posted via email from Gary’s Posterous

You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For, But Sometimes You Get It For Free

Here in the UK we’re used to bad or non-existent customer service, so much so that it’s virtually ingrained into our genes. We’re well aware of the oft used expression that you get what you pay for except that you actually don’t; you continue to pay and act pleasantly surprised when you actually get what you’ve paid for, murmuring “well that’s a turn up for the books“. We look longingly across the Atlantic to the US and talk admiringly of the “American service culture” whilst conveniently overlooking the fact that our US counterparts get paid rock bottom wages and have to work damn hard to garner enough tips to make a living.

But there are exceptions and the global geographic reach of the Internet means that those here in the UK we get to benefit from these exceptions. Consider the following case of Internet startup (and yes, it’s a US Internet startup but let’s just conveniently overlook that for a moment) posterous.com. Now I know I’m writing about Posterous a lot at the moment but indulge me for a moment.

Whilst playing with Posterous’ free, yes free, service I noticed a slight … deficiency which I documented here. Posterous claims to handle links to images in a sane manner; their FAQ says

“We’ll do smarter things for photos, MP3’s, documents and video (both links AND files)”.

So I tried a sample post with links to TwitPicYFrogFlickr and, pushing it a bit, Facebook. YFrog and Flickr worked flawlessly, Facebook didn’t but that wasn’t unexpected, but TwitPic didn’t and that was unexpected. So I noted this in a Twitter post directed at the Posterous Twitter account:

And there I left it, either expecting a non committal response, or none at all. Twenty four minutes later, two four, twenty four, I got a reply.

And I tested it and it worked. Conditioned as I am to the UK norm, this was pretty unheard of, hence the need to write this experience up. So on the Internet, at least, you don’t always get what you pay for, but sometimes you get it for free.

Posted via email from Gary’s Posterous

In the Spirit of Experimentation, Part 2

Posterous continues to impress and is fast becoming the main source of blog posts, both on my Posterous blog and autoposted onto my main blog.

We’re all good Web 2.0 citizens these days and that means we tag everything; the Posterous FAQ has this to say on the subject of tags:
Add tags simply in the subject of your email using the syntax ((tag: apple, gadgets)). You can see your tags on the homepage of your site and click on them to see those posts.”

So, in the continued spirit of experimentation, this post is tagged with “experimentation“, “posterous“, “autopost” and “wordpress” via the subject line “In the Spirit of Experimentation, Part 2 ((tag: experimentation, posterous, autopost, wordpress))“; let’s see how this gets reflected in the post and in the autoposted WordPress version.

Posted via email from Gary’s Posterous

In the Spirit of Experimentation

Posterous is a service that just begs for experimentation; not only because it’s a beautifully simplistic yet rich service but also because the Help and FAQ pages can be a little bit light on detail for some of the less obvious questions; probably to avoid scaring those of a less-power-user-frame-of-mind away.

So the Posterous FAQ at http://posterous.com/faq says this “We’ll do smarter things for photos, MP3’s, documents and video (both links AND files)”.

Link eh? In the spirit of experimentation let’s try this, firstly from the easy and obvious one … twitpic.com

… and rival yfrog.com …

… and from my Flickr photostream …

… and finally a more challenging one, from my Facebook photo album …

… there’s only one way to find out, so let’s send this to Posterous right now and see what happens; all in the spirit of experimentation naturally.

Posted via email from Gary’s Posterous