Wazza Wyzo?

Wyzo is the name of a new web browser specifically tailored to online media.  It’s currently in “Alpha” testing, but I’ve kicked the tires and have mostly found it ready to roll.

Built around the Firefox core, Wyzo will seem familiar to users of Mozilla products. What makes Wyzo different is the effort to integrate popular media sites, like YouTube and Flickr, along with built-in BitTorrent searching and downloading.

Currently under development is the FireTorrent extension for Wyzo.  FireTorrent is a popular plug-in for Firefox for Windows, and may soon be available for the Mac (for both Firefox and Wyzo, although reportedly it will be optimized for Wyzo).

Wyzo is an interesting concept for a web browser.  As the web continues to becomes more media-centric, a specialized web browser for media makes sense.  Wyzo is worth a try.

ScribeFire Blog Editor

I’ve been exploring different Blog Editors lately, trying to find the best combination of features, speed and flexibility.  I have been using MacJournal, which has some nice features, including a very cool full screen mode.  Unfortunately, I have found that there are some issues with formatting and aligning images that required manual adjustment in the WordPress web interface.  Most of these issues are probably related to the new version of WordPress, but nevertheless they have prompted me to look for alternatives.

I have tried Qumana in the past, and decided to try the latest version.  It seemed promising at first, and the Q-Ads monetizing feature was intriguing.  But like previous versions, I found Qumana to be far from perfect, at least on the Mac platform.  Perhaps I didn’t give it a long enough test drive, but I soon found myself frustrated with entries not refreshing and  quirks with embedded images.  Ecto has a lot of features, but isn’t free.  At $17.95, it’s quite reasonably priced, but I’m not convinced it offers much more than what is available in freeware applications.  WBloggar is free, but is only available on Windows, and hasn’t been updated for quite awhile. 

Then I discovered ScribeFire, a Firefox add-on that used to be called Performancing for Firefox.  So far I like it a lot.  What is great about ScribeFire is the ability to blog with an editor while in the browser.  You can split the browser window in half, blog in one half while surfing in the other. ScribeFire has built-in support for Technorati tags and del.icio.us bookmarks, the ability to save drafts and notes, and three different editing views (WYSIWYG, code and preview).  I’m currently testing it out, but so far it seems to provide a very useful environment for blogging. One disadvantage is that it only works in Firefox, and I’ve been mainly using the new version of Safari lately.  I’d love to see a ScribeFire plug-in for Safari (or something like it).

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A visit to Newlin Grist Mill

This morning my wife, sister-in-law and I paid a visit to the Newlin Grist Mill, a restoration of a water-powered mill that was originally established in 1704. I didn’t know quite what to expect at first, as I’m not a huge history buff, and hardly a “mill enthusiast.” But it turned out to be a very interesting and enjoyable visit.

We began at the visitor’s center, a small building that houses a few exhibits, a small video theater, and a gift shop. After looking at some of the exhibits, we watched a brief video about the mill, with a somewhat corny but cute story about a young boy who found himself “transported back in time” by a visit to the mill. We were then asked if we would like to take the guided tour ($5 a person). My sister-in-law offered to pay, so we took her up on the offer, and spent the next hour or so listening to an informative tour guide describe in detail the intricacies of water power, wooden gears and spinning grind stones. The most impressive part of the tour was when the tour guide turned the water on, and we were able to watch the huge water wheel being set in motion. It was loud and impressive, and we got to see the mill mechanism “in action,” not once, but twice, from two different rooms of the mill.

After the tour of the mill, we looked at some of the other buildings on the property, including the neighboring miller’s house, which housed quite a few antiques. We also enjoyed just walking the grounds. The mill is surrounded by a beautiful park, featuring a trout pond, picnic tables, an idyllic creek and numerous walking trails. It was a beautiful morning for a walk, and taking lots of pictures, of course.

The Newlin Grist Mill is located in Concord Township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, just off of Route 1 and Cheyney Road. Both my wife and I have passed by the Mill many times while driving down Route 1, but neither of us had stopped to visit. We’re glad we did…the Newlin Grist Mill is well worth turning off of busy Route 1 to step back to a simpler, slower time.

I’ve posted more pictures from our visit to this Picasa Web Album.

Testing WordPress 2.2

I’ve been trying out some new WordPress themes, which customize the look of this blog. So if you notice that the site looks different from one minute to the next, it’s just me adjusting the presentation options.

On top of this, I updated the WordPress software today on my server (to version 2.2). I like the new version, which has the “widget” feature built-in. But there appear to be some issues with some of my plugins, which I am attampting to resolve.

Overall, WordPress continues to impress me as one of the best blogging engines available today.