41 times around the Sun is a charm

Yes, today I turn the big "4-1". I guess it's bigger than turning the big "4-0" but it doesn't feel like it (although turning 40 didn't seem like it either). I'm not really sure what a 41 year old man looks like, but many people comment I don't look 40 (or 41 if you ask me that question today). Guess it's that baby face I still (kinda) keep or my girlish figure but if you cut me open and count the rings, there's 41 of them today.

As my Birthday present, the powers that be decided they would dump 10cm of snow in our backyard. It's a winter wonderland out there today while only yesterday (and I do mean yesterday in the literal sense) we were wearing light jackets and wandering around free and alive. Today it's big heavy coats and sweaters and boots that take decades to tie up. We're having a new fence put in the back (135 feet across the back, we have a 1/4 acre backyard) so while it's not only expensive it's a lot of work. Luckily for the lazy person that I am, you can fix this quite easily. Hire someone. They came out and put the posts in which need to set and while that was all going on, a crazy dude with a bobcat turned our weed ridden backyard into a flat, dirt paradise. I was commenting yesterday that we could probably build a go-kart track back there (yes, it's THAT big) but then there's the resale value issue, so that idea was nixed. Now however with the dumping of the Christmas cocaine all over, I'm not so sure about the fence and less sure about the sod we were going to plant. There is hope though, as this is Calgary. In Calgary the running joke is that if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes. By next weekend all the snow might be gone and it'll be construction as usual.

Also, since this is the 41st year of my existence on this planet I thought change would be good so I'm trying out Live Writer. Live Writer is a client side blogging tool. I've been very happy with BlogJet, buying a copy last year, and it's served me well. However as some people have mentioned, BlogJet hasn't really been updated much and I think on of the key things with software is agility. The ability to adapt to the community. BlogJet has the features you would want in a tool. Offline editing, WYSIWG look, inserting images, automatically uploading files via FTP, spell checking, retrieving old posts, etc. Sadly it falls short in the extensibility arena as there is none.

Enter Windows Live Writer, a free client tool that Microsoft put together to fill the niche for bloggers. While a little late on the market, it certainly is impressive. First off, it just feels better and looks more pleasing. However get past the glam and it's all about the features. OOTB it's a great tool and handles all of the basics needed for blogging. Categories are available and whatever properties your blogging engine supports are there. The editor is nice and lets you edit in the look and feel of your blog, pulling down the styles directly from your blog site so it feels much more at home than BlogJet does.

Where it really shines is the plugins. The API is open so anyone can write them and they're pretty easy to pull together. There are dozens of plugins out there now that you can see here. I'm using the Flickr one as well as one that let's me insert a file via FTP and an email link one. They're simple and sit in a task pane to the right while you're blogging. Just click on it and the plugin takes over, inserting whatever HTML it needs and performs whatever tasks it does. For the blogger that needs to cut down on the heavy lifting while writing a blog post, this is key and well received.

Another thing is tagging. You can insert tags like ones to del.icio.us, Technorati, and such but also design your own. Once I get some time I'm going to see how to configure one for DotNetKicks and SharePointKicks (or if you've already done it please let me know the format). That's slick as I don't have to do silly things like save a draft of my post, retrieve the URL, hunt down the snippet I need and reformat it to use the blog entry address. That's what I'm doing now and it's a PITA. With tag insertion you just pick the provider and when the entry is posted, it'll substitute keywords with your entry. One-click posting, that's the way it should be.

Best of all, Live Writer is free!

So goodbye BlogJet, hello Live Writer. Let's see what you can do.

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