I went ahead and downloaded Ecto3. It accepted the same license and registration number I had for my version2 purchase, so that’s good. Perhaps they have a buy-for-life policy.

Different menubar which I’ll bring in here using the “Import Media” button…

Which gave me access to iTunes, iPhoto, and iMovie for attaching files. Nope. Let’s try the little image button in the edit toolbar that says “insert image” when I hover over it…


That’s better. Had a simpler interface and let me create a thumbnail on the fly, so the image above is smaller than real life, and you can click on it.

I don’t see the “now playing” feature. Again, that used to be a popular thing to do. Perhaps it is out of stye and out of the software package, but since the toolbar can be customized, it may be something I can add in.

I think I’d rather teach Mom and Carol how to write in Ecto if it will help them with posting photos.

Ecto – Blog Client

Having tested out MarsEdit, I decided to revisit Ecto, which I already own, although I have version 2.4.2 and it is up to 3 something.

One of the things that got me looking at blog clients was reading old posts where I would have a line like this posted at the end:

You Shook Me All Night Long from the album “Back In Black” by AC/DC

It used to be popular to post what you were listening to as you wrote your blog, and Ecto has a button for grabbing the current song. I usually just found a song that matched the theme of a post and inserted it. It also served as a random way to listen to music. I’ll go search on the word random and see what I find…

Random from the album “LA poem project” by Claire

That’s funny. I’m now listening to something Claire did for school.

So let’s test posting an image. I just made a snaphot of the ecto toolbar. Since it is fairly wide, I shrunk it down a bit and saved it to my desktop. Since there is only an iPhoto button in the toolbar, I am going to select the menu item Draft… Add Attachment…


It came in stretched. I see the image dynamically changes size but does not maintain proportion, so that leads to distortion. Double-clicking brings in all kinds of options, one of which says to just embed the image without a thumbnail. That solved the stretching problem. I also see a “Destination” field which I’m guessing is the directory, so I typed “2010”. I’m reminded that Ecto supports thumbnails for photos, so I’ll come back to that. Now clicking Publish…

That worked great. I can already tell I like Ecto better because it does a lot more. However, that isn’t necessarily something Mom or Carol would be interested in. They might find MarsEdit’s simplicity more appealing. However, MarsEdit does not help with one of the biggest problems… modifying a photo for web posting (so you don’t upload something so huge that it is slow to render or fills up the screen.

Speaking of huge, I’ll upload this screenshot from the other day. It was so big, I had to turn my monitor sideways to get the full shot. We’ll see how Ecto handles that. Since I happened to store that image in iPhoto, I can click on the iPhoto button…


It made a tiny thumbnail for me. When I double-click on the thumbnail, it opens a window where I can make all kinds of changes. I only changed the default directory to 2010, but I can see I could have scaled the original to make sure it is not too large. That’s helpful. I’ll  spend more time with Ecto… even if it is abandon-ware.

MarsEdit – Blog Client

Posting a blog entry can be a little too complicated, especially if you want to include some formatting, a table, or a photo. The built-in editors have gotten friendlier, but you still have to deal with some technical issues.

That’s where a third-party blog client comes in like MarsEdit (which I am typing in at the moment.) I also used to use Ecto but quit a while back. Apparently Ecto was acquired and is now “abandoned-ware.”

I wondered if Mom and Carol would find using a blog client easier than having to remember how to login, write an article and publish it.

I can already tell this would help Carol, because you don’t have to remember to double-return between paragraphs. Now…. let me test a photo. I see a little button at the top in the toolbar called Media. I just created a snapshot of the toolbar. Let’s see i I can put it in this article by clicking on Media:


Well that was easy. I just chose the toolbox image I had saved on my desktop. There was a field I had to fill out called “Section”. Not sure what that was for, I typed “2010”. I’m going to hit publish now and see where that picture goes. Then I’ll come back and edit this some more and publish again.

Be right back…. clicking on that “Send to Blog” button up there….

OK… I’m back. That worked great, although I can see I had several type-o’s. The errors were spelled correctly, so MarsEdit didn’t help me avoid that.

Looks like the “Section” means what directory do you want the image stored in. I’ve started storing images in a root directory with the year. That seems like a good way to keep a bunch of photos and images grouped instead of having them all go in a bunch of spread out months. So the path to the image above is: /2010/mars-edit-toolbar.png.

I see I can also insert an image by using a link to somewhere else on the internet. Let’s test an image from my Skitch library. Clicking on Media again…

Well it wasn’t there. Right-clicking and choosing Format… Image from link…


That worked. Carl from “Up” showed up. I don’t see how I can make him smaller and have a pop-up though. So Carl is not going to end up being an image on my blog, rather I am just showing an image from another server, in this case

And here’s one from facebook:


So that’s MarsEdit. But it runs on a Mac. Need to look into options for Windows.


Zipper Repair and Rat Trap Racer

Ted told me that his zipper repair post was one of the top search results on Mac5 lately. I went and checked and for the month of October:

613 different keyphrases Search Percent
edxo-14 39 4.4 %
zipper repair kit walmart 28 3.2 %
mouse trap racer 23 2.6 %
model edxo-14 13 1.4 %
mouse trap racers 12 1.3 %
all barbies 8 0.9 %
rat trap racer 8 0.9 %
barbie over the years 6 0.6 %
versapak tools 6 0.6 %
wikipedia template convert 6 0.6 %
Other phrases 725 82.9 %

No surprise to find some of Ted’s flashlight models, but I was surprised to see that Danny’s Rat Trap Racer is being found. It turns out the photo of his racer is #3 on a google image search!


Barbie is still popular, although not what she once was.

Lost Diary

diary-pb-screenshot-1992.pngOver the Memorial Day weekend, I’ve been squaring away some of the backup procedures that keep our personal documents, photos, music, and websites all backed up to large external hard disks in the basement. I wanted to confirm I had copy/pasted old diary entries into our family blog from a HyperCard stack I built in 1991 to record events. In doing that, I discovered a second diary called “Diary PB.” The PB stood for “PowerBook.” When I got my first Mac laptop, I started recording diary entries in a second copy.

I found much of 1992 and 1993 recorded in there which included our move from Hancock to Rae, living with Mom and Dad for a month, and the preparation and arrival of Kelly! The two girls each came down to check on me late at night in the basement because I was laughing so hard and some of these entries… especially “The Bucket Man” and the famous story of the little old man.

Click on the thumbnail to see how big a 9″ b&w Mac screen was. It was in that small square that I did a lot of writing and sometimes small sketches drawn with a mouse. I built the stack from scratch using HyperScript for programming. The buttons include: 1: Lock/unlock so text would not be accidentally deleted. 2: Search 3: Create new entry 4: Home for other stacks 5: Quit to the Finder 6: Sort stack by date 7: Print. At the bottom was a font size toggle for easier reading, an author toggle (Kathy and Nicole sometimes wrote entries.) In this example I have a button that links to a related entry… the hyperlink of the day. I also drew a small illustration using the built-in painting capability.

I want to get all of the text, images, and even sounds out of the HyperCard stacks into the blog, because there will come a day when I will not be able to user HyperCard. This very innovative software was long ago abandoned by Apple. It will only run under OS9. Only our oldest Mac can still run OS9 (under OSX Tiger in emulation.)

Comment Spam on Increase

Maybe it is related to the holiday season, buy the comment spam on Mac5 blogs has increased. In the past, automated spam was blocked with some special code I installed. I know there are businesses in poor countries that have rooms full of low-paid labor doing all kinds of things to manipulate Google searches. Manually posting comments with links is one such strategy

Comment-Spam-Example-1.pngI have made some changes in the spam protection settings that will, I hope, intercept this new wave of spam. The example shown here was a spam that was caught in early December. It was caught for two reasons: 1) Too many links in the comment and 2) the IP address of the commenter was listed on a spam notification service. I have turned up the scoring to be more aggressive.

Our friends and family should not get blocked when we are not including links. And even if we include links will typically get posted because we get positive credit with a known email address. Let’s hope the spammers don’t figure out our email addresses.

Edit link

I inserted this code in the Entry Meta template to show an edit icon next to the Permalink and Comment links. Allows for quick access to re-edit a published article.

| <a href=”<$mt:CGIPath$><$mt:AdminScript$>?__mode=view&_type=entry&id=<$mt:EntryID$>&blog_id=<$mt:EntryBlogID$>”><img src=”/images/edit_icon_14x14.gif”></a>

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Movable Type 4.3

Upgraded mac5 to Movable Type 4.3 primarily to support a random entry plugin for Five Forks Food.

Looks like Image::Magick (default thumbnailer) is working with this upgrade. I had mt-config set to use NetBPM.

Image test:


Getting Movable Type To Use 755

Claire’s new entries in a new month would not display. Movable Type is storing entries in archive directories by month, and when creating a new directory in her blog, it was setting to 777. Since her banner uses php to randomly display photos, the server did not like running anything through the php parser in a wide open directory. It wants a minimum security of 755. I found an article that described adding the following to the mt.config file. Solved the problem.

HTMLPerms 0775

DBUmask 0022

HTMLUmask 0022

UploadUmask 0022

DirUmask 0022

The odd thing is other blogs were creating as 755 already, so not sure why Claire’s behaved differently.

Movable Type 4

This entry is being created with Movable Type 4.1 4.01. (We’ve upgraded.) I did a test of this no a second computer, and it all went pretty well. Off to find what’s broken…

Update: I used an old download and did not realize I upgraded to 4.01 instead of 4.1. No wonder I couldn’t find several features I thought were supposed to be in the system (like Global Templates.)