The philosopher Plato
Image via Wikipedia

I like perfection.  In fact, I have a reputation as a bit of a perfectionist.  What about you?

But, in blogging, perfection is the enemy.  We all want it, but if we wait for it, NOTHING will get done.  Maybe a word here or there needs to be changed.  If we wait until tomorrow to read the post again, we might want to change a sentence here or there… or rearrange a couple of paragraphs.  Then we should probably wait another day to read it and get impressions again.  Maybe we need to send it to a few friends and incorporate a few changes that they think are needed.

Instead, while we SHOULD strive for perfection, we have to let go and get things done.  Checking spelling is imperative.  Having good sentence structure is important.  Knowing that the photos aren’t being used without permission is a pretty good idea.  A good post topic is something that we can’t skip.  And a catchy title is essential.

But, sometimes we need to “settle” for good.  Or maybe really good.  OK, really good.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Image representing Vlingo as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

The app has been sitting on my phone for months… and months… and months.  I got the phone back in October, 2010, and Vlingo was pre-installed.  But I never took the time to figure out how to use it.  I just shoveled it off to the side and ignored it. And then I decided a few days ago that I needed to go through all of my apps and use them or kill them.

I have long been interested in speech recognition for blogging and to replace typing while driving.  To start with, I don’t type that fast… and I often have my best blogging ideas when I am on the move.  And while video can be a viable option, it isn’t always the way to go.  Typed posts are easier to scan for interest, as opposed to videos that may only be watched if the prospective viewer already knows they want the information.

I took the opportunity to try it out on a few different tasks…

  • Text Messaging – I sent a few texts.  It was as easy as it could be.  The speech recognition and spelling were spot on.  The messages were short, so punctuation and paragraphing weren’t an issue.  The only annoying part was that I had to select which of my contacts numbers it needed to go to… instead of defaulting to mobile.
  • Emailing – This didn’t go quite as well.  The message was a lot longer, and needed paragraph breaks, but Vlingo didn’t seem to know where they should have been.  There were also a couple of spelling snafus.  Depending on the email, going over it and tweaking the formatting before sending it would be a pretty good idea.
  • Voice Search – This was great…  I asked for a particular restaurant and the result was a list of their locations, based on the distance from my location.  Simple and accurate.
  • Navigation – Again, this did an acceptable job.  I asked for navigation to an address and the phone fired up the Nav app and gave me the right directions.
  • Note to Self – I didn’t actually try this one out, but I think it will be a nice option.  When I can type on the phone, I often email post ideas and other items to myself.  NtS should send me a nice reminder and place an item on my ToDo list.

One of the ways I would like to use this is to post to Posterous.  Since it is VERY straight-forward to email a post, complete with pictures and/or video to Posterous, it seems like it should be a slam dunk to dictate a post, add a few pictures or a video, and easily create nice content.

Give it a rip.  Vlingo is a nice way to bridge between sitting down typing a post and video blogging or podcasting.  For Android, the app is free.  They also have apps for iPhone, BlackBerry and other devices.  And isn’t this why we get the groovy-cool mobile devices… to make life easier and a little more efficient?

Enhanced by Zemanta
The Sydney Grammar School, established in 1854...
Image via Wikipedia

Here is the real Title…

Don’t Worry… Even If Your Grade School Grammar Teacher Reads Your Blog, She Can’t Go Back And Change Your Permanent Record…

Blogging is part art, part science, and part determination.  And the most important part is the determination, because if you don’t make a decision to write on your blog, and follow through with actual writing, nothing else matters.

In order to write a blog, you have to write.  And the biggest issue that keeps people from blogging is a desire to produce perfection.  Don’t worry about perfection… it is elusive.  Worry about getting something written.  Kill the mistakes later.

I have NEVER written a blog post without a mistake…

And I likely never will.  It isn’t that I don’t want to, but that I know that the posts NEED to get done.  When I go back through posts, I almost always find a word misspelled, a comma misplaced or a syntax error.  So I fix the errors.  I use spell check (usually).  I get emails from friends and other folks I know telling me where there is an error.

Oddly, sometimes I am the Grammar Police.

I read a lot.  It is one of the best things I can do to be able to write better.  Heck, if someone had told me in 3rd grade that writing would be incredibly easy if I just read a couple hundred pages every day, I would have been a much better writer (that is NOT true, because I wouldn’t have been willing to do all of that reading then).

So, as Nike says, “Just Do It.”  Post up your first blog.  And then do it again.  And then some more.  When you find a mistake, fix it.  If you don’t find any mistakes… find someone else to look, because there is likley a mistake or three hiding somewhere. It isn’t like you spent a year chiseling the post in stone… you can go back and fix it pretty easily.

And as you write, several things will happen:

  • It gets easier.
  • It gets better.
  • You’ll find your “voice”.

Enjoy.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Some of you might know that I blog on a couple of other platforms…  In addition to my Active Rain blog and ‘Outside Blog’, I have a couple of WordPress blogs, and a couple of Joomla sites.  I try to produce around 15 original posts each week, spread across my 6 sites.  I also ‘re-purpose’ some content from one site to another.  All in all, I put up around 23 posts (originals and re-purposed).

The ONLY way I can do all of that is by maintaining a serious “To Do” list, and (where possible) a detailed editorial calendar.

Previously, I was using MS Outlook for the To Do list, but have moved to Toodledo (web) and Got To Do (Android).  They sync together, and help keep me on top of the list.

WP Editorial CalendarOn my WordPress blogs, I have WP Editorial Calendar.  There are a couple of reasons that I use it…

  • It gives me a visual representation of my post scheduling.  Unlike looking at a list of drafts and scheduled posts, I can also see what day of the week the posts are to appear.
  • Moving posts from day to day is VERY easy.  It is drag and drop.  That means that even if I have a bunch of posts set up for the next week, if there is breaking news, I can easily re-arrange the posts to work in the now one.
  • I can draft posts directly from the calendar.  Honestly, I don’t… I prefer the full editor over the one that pops up for posting from the calendar.  But, if I wrote shorter posts, I might utilize the pop-up editor more.

These seem like simple things, but being able to conveniently schedule posts in the future, and efficiently move them around as needed is huge.  The time savings, and organizational value from the editorial calendar much higher than I expected.

It has pushed me to a goal of having my posts laid out up to two weeks in advance.  With the flexibility of being able to move posts around quickly and easily, I don’t feel locked into the the schedule.

To really make (blogging) life easier, being able to deploy this tool over several sites would rock.  In fact, even being able to use this kind of tool on Active Rain (with future post scheduling) would hit the level of ‘rocking’…

Enhanced by Zemanta
Moto Q9h (1717694043)
Image via Wikipedia

Remember from the intro post, these are the primary requirements I have for a To Do app for my phone/computer/the cloud…

Among the requirements I have for a to do list are:

  • Repeating Tasks… I write on 4 blogs and maintain a couple of dynamic websites that always need fresh content.  So, I need to remember where I need to write posts each day.  My repeating tasks include:
    • Same day each month (gathering statistics in my local MLS)
    • Same day each week (weekly posts like my 53 Cool Concept series each Sunday)
    • Every X number of days (for places I post every four or eight days, etc)
  • Ability to tag or note which tasks are for which purpose
  • Prioritization (so I don’t get caught up in stuff that doesn’t matter… missing things that are more important)
  • Ability to sync between my mobile device and other devices (laptop, cloud, etc.)
  • That seems pretty simple…

    Second up is Astrid Tasks.

    Repeating Tasks

    This is the one that kicks out most of the To Do Lists for me.  There are several options, which may make this a great opportunity for some folks, but I felt a little limited.

    • Smykowski Bros. Grocery, 1922, located 31st an...
      Image via Wikipedia

      Daily – You can set tasks to repeat daily, as well as set them to repeat after a certain number of days… (every third day or 19th day, whatever).  There are some other options… they are under the “Weekly” tag.

    • Weekly – Tasks can be set to repeat on a weekly basis, as well.  So, if you have a task that needs to be done every Tuesday, or one that needs to be dome every three weeks, this is the option you would use.  There is also the capability to set a task to be done on selected days of the week.
    • Monthly – The next option would be a monthly task.  This can be set a specific day (November 20th for example) but not on a trigger (like the 3rd Saturday of the month).
    • Yearly – This option allows longer range tasks (like birthdays) to be set up.  It can even be set up to remind about the task after a period of years.  To do this, it has to be set up to repeat in 12 months… or 24 months… or whatever.
    • Hourly – This is a cool little addition.  I don’t have a need for it, but it does have the ability to set up a task to be repeated after a certain number of hours (like medicine that needs to be taken every 8 or 12 hours, for example).

    Tags

    Tags can be created to help search out tasks that need to be done or that have been completed.  There is also a place to enter notes about the task that can help get it done.  I don’t know if those notes are searchable.

    Android Market
    Image via Wikipedia

    Prioritization

    We HAVE to be able to focus on the things that are most important.  Checkmark has four priority levels: low, medium, high and emergency (I named them that… they go from ! to !!!!).

    Astrid CAN be set up to sync with a Google Calendar, and I would bet that with the Add-ons there are a lot more options.  One of the Add-ons that IS really interesting is Locale.  With this, the list will be location aware, so it will be able to give you reminders that are tied to a location (buy milk when it knows you are at the grocery store).  The drawback is that it will take time to set up the location, and tags would have to be regimented and applied.

    The weakness I have with Google Calendar sync revolves around repeating tasks.  The tasks aren’t currently fully synchronized.

    This is an interesting option, and holds some promise.  The monthly tasks not being available for the 1st Saturday (or whatever) is very limiting for me.

    Enhanced by Zemanta
    Android  Google g1 Tmobile
    Image by leeleblanc via Flickr

    I am a huge believer in To Do lists.  I have a lot of tasks, and building out lists is one of the best ways to make sure everything gets done on time.

    The direction I have been moving in, especially since getting my Android phone, is moving those lists to my phone.  I have been looking at numerous apps to handle my calendaring and to do list duties.

    Among the requirements I have for a to do list are:

    • Repeating Tasks… I write on 4 blogs and maintain a couple of dynamic websites that always need fresh content.  So, I need to remember where I need to write posts each day.  My repeating tasks include:
      • Same day each month (gathering statistics in my local MLS)
      • Same day each week (weekly posts like my 53 Cool Concept series each Sunday)
      • Every X number of days (for places I post every four or eight days, etc)
    • Ability to tag or note which tasks are for which purpose
    • Prioritization (so I don’t get caught up in stuff that doesn’t matter… missing things that are more important)
    • Ability to sync between my mobile device and other devices (laptop, cloud, etc.)

    The tough one is repeating tasks… so far, the only thing I have found that really rocks repeating tasks is Microsoft Outlook.  And there isn’t a real good way to incorporate it with an Android phone.

    Over the next few weeks I am going to test and review as many ToDo List applications as I can find.  I’ll be looking at them through the prism above… how they fit my needs.  I will try to update this post with the links to each of those reviews… but feel free to subscribe to get the posts as fast as I write them.

    And don’t be shy about suggestions… I find most of my apps through AppBrain, but also try to keep an eye on the Android Marketplace and even Google searches.

    Enhanced by Zemanta
    Copyright © 2009 - 2017 Real Estate Technology, Photography, Video, Drones and Technology. All Rights Reserved. Created by Blog Copyright.