When I attended the recent NMC conference in Cleveland, one of my goals was to blog the event better than I blogged Bb World '06. At Blackboard World, I wrote out my notes carefully for every session I attended. I used OmniOutliner Pro, which is the tool I use for my day-to-day notes. It's a great program for that kind of thing, but it took too long to rewrite my outlined notes into useful blog entries. Once I returned from San Diego, I was catching up with work and several of my Bb World sessions never made it online.
This time it needed to be different. For NMC, I would blog in real time. My errors would hopefully be forgiven. Sue had recommended ecto as a blog editor, so I downloaded the program and used it in trial mode for the length of the conference. Overall it did well. I was able to take notes quickly and to post them here before leaving the room after each session. My compliments to Case Western for an easy-to-use wireless network.
I do have some reservations about ecto:
- While I would prefer to use the rich text editing environment, none of the formatting converted to HTML when I sent posts up to my blog. I'm not sure if this is ecto's fault or something in blojsom's configuration, but the nice interface is a waste.
- Unfortunately the HTML editing mode isn't very kind. I know my tags, and ecto does have a list of common tags on the status bar at the bottom, but they need an inspector or panel that's easier to use. Because rich text doesn't hold the formatting and HTML requires the writer to tag the content, I can't say I could recommend the program to most faculty, since the majority doesn't know HTML.
- ecto's clock leaves much to be desired. If I tell the program to post, it connects and uploads, but the post doesn't appear for hours. I have to adjust the program's clock back several hours to trick it into thinking that it's time for the entry to appear.
Otherwise the program works well. I'm looking forward to trying it with photos and podcasts, and maybe even Amazon links. We'll see how it goes.