Movable Type: Faded and Beat Up a Bit but not Forgotten

movabletypeMovable Type can run several different blogs from a single domain. It gives you the basic features, just like WordPress. But, Movable Type doesn’t have as much community support for extra plugins, themes and widgets.

There are trade-offs when you want to run alternative software, the underdog. But, Movable Type works, even if it’s not the hugely popular and well known content management software it once was.

I’m making slow progress on re-learning Movable Type for my own site. But, I want a slow start while I decide on my direction and overall plan. One thing I do know – I don’t want to stick to the mainstream and use WordPress or Blogger. So, there’s going to be a learning curve, some adventure, some frustration and I’ll see how it all turns out in the end.

An Alternative to WordPress

movable typeToday the books I ordered for Movable Type arrived. Both are for out dated versions because almost no one is writing books about Movable Type now. But, it used to be the most popular blog software – it was beating out WordPress when WordPress was still new. Then, Movable Type decided to change their marketing plan.

They offered to let people pay for it. It was a bad decision at that time. People were used to the Internet being free. Yes, you paid for your ISP but once you got online it was all free. Sure there were some shareware and software you had to pay for, but there were always free alternatives. There wasn’t anything you really had to pay for.

So, when Movable Type changed their policy, they lost the final battle and WordPress had an easy victory – they didn’t have to lift a finger. In just a few months Movable Type had lost almost all the ground it had gained. A shame, it was still the same software, still a great way to run your blog wtih a lot of features and room to be creative.

I’m glad Movable Type hasn’t disappeared in the years since then. It’s changed owners, Ben and Mena Trott have moved on. But, it’s still a good package and another option for anyone who wants something less mainstream than WordPress but still reliable (and free). Movable Type brought back the free software plan years ago. Give it a look.

Movable Type Links and Resources

Open Melody: The Open Source Version of Movable Type (The Project that Died Out)

melody CMS

Other Alternatives to WordPress

b2evolution is a free open source project.

Text Pattern is also a free and open source CMS.

Lost My Writing Passion

Refresh your energy for writing your same old blogging project.

I have lost count of my freelance writing years but I know I started writing online in 1998, or 1997 if you count the personal online diary. Over this time I have had many highs and lows. There have been periods where I lost my passion, or the enthusiasm wore thin. It’s normal.

There will always be great energy and passion for a new project. As time goes on and you explore the ideas you wanted to explore the energy slows down and you begin to sink into the project. It’s not that you stop caring but you start using a different energy. You find yourself using a staying power sort of energy.

It’s a great time to refresh your enthusiasm. You might find something new, you might be impulsive and make a change or you might close down the project. If you really want to. But, that’s a shame when there are other options.

Look for inspiration in sites for writers.

Seven Ways to Love Blogging Again

You can find a new side interest, generate new ideas, combine ideas and so on until you have given your self a revamped project to work with. For instance a fashion blogger could write about lingerie instead of trying to fill the niche for all women’s fashion. Or, the same fashion blogger could include pet fashion which matches or compliments their owner’s fashion choices.

Change something of the administration and inner workings of your blog/ site. Try something other than Blogger or WordPress. (Did you even know there are other choices?)

Add a new element. Try building a web directory with your links instead of leaving them in the standard blogroll. Try Link Library, a free plugin which works with WordPress. There are other ways to create a directory of links but this is the best of those I have experimented with. Of course you can use the tags, labels and categories with your blog to create a directory within each post.

A web directory isn’t for everyone. Your strong point may be social networking and being social in general. Start doing more with Twitter, Facebook and look for forums and online groups in your niche or a related topic. Be social, get outside your box and bring new ideas and perspective back when you start writing your blog again.

Try a new blogging/ writing format. Become a content curator – link to great content you find in your niche, write enough to explain why you are linking to it and don’t forget to give credit to the original writer. This could even be a weekly thing, like a round up post. List links and posts you’ve read during the week as a weekend (or which ever day you choose) blog post.

Learn a new skill. Start drawing your own images to add as illustrations for your posts. Or try another art form like your own digital photos, ASCII art and all kinds of alter art such as collage. Anything you can turn into an image file and add to your blog will work.

Take a break, temporarily. Don’t write for a week, not even a list of post ideas. Hold out on yourself. This gives your passion time to rebuild.

My own experience as a lost, blocked and downtrodden writer.

I’ve been writing my current, main blog since 2004. It began as part of another site, now gone. I kept it going on my own. Having a schedule helps me with self-discipline. Though I was making weekly posts at first, I stepped up and went daily a couple of years ago. The schedule is good, the discipline is good too but… having a tighter posting schedule accelerates burnout.

So, in the years I’ve been publishing, editing and writing online I have had writer’s block and burnout more than a handful of times. I pull myself out each time. I will this time too. One or more of the ideas I’ve written about above worked for me. After all, I’m still here, writing, editing and publishing online.

Who is the Big Winner in a Web Battle?

Forgotten Movable TypeThe end of Google Reader and the rush of new Feedly accounts has caused people to declare Feedly a “big winner” in the battle for picking up the sudden slack now that Google is closing Google Reader.

I think it is early to call Feedly a big winner. For one thing, it is not so hard to get a lot of new accounts when the tide turns suddenly. Keeping them is another issue. How will Feedly manage the load on their servers? Not so well that first several hours. I began setting up an account and could not complete the process. Is my half done account one of those they have counted as a new member? Likely. How many others are accounted for mistakenly this way?

Beyond that, will Feedly keep it’s new accounts with new features, will they adapt what they have for what the Google Reader crowd will be expecting? People seldom want change, even when they make a change they really want everything to be about the same. The Google Feedlies won’t want to learn how to use a new site, with different software, different buttons to mash.

Anyway, what I really got thinking about is how small this little battle is compared to past web service/ software battles.

RIP NetscapeThe first which comes to my mind  is the browser wars between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. At the time MSIExplorer won. Even now you could be kind and say MSIExplorer is still the winner. But, it would be a kindness. At this time Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the web browser which has to be coddled along when it comes to web design and development. Code has to be added for it, like bottle feeding an over grown baby. Poor Netscape is gone. You may find an old version, unsupported and dusty. Isn’t there some quote about the heros of the past or the underdogs?

The other big battle was the one between the ruling blog software (not counting Blogger/ Blogspot, this was a war between the stand alones, the blogs for people who bought domains and learned how to write code, or at least manipulate and customize it).

In the beginning Ben and Mena Trott had Movable Type as the most popular, undisputed champion of the blogging world. If you had a blog, on a domain, you were most likely, proudly running Movable Type. Then, along came an upstart, WordPress. At first WordPress wasn’t even an underdog, it was just some little pretender to the throne. Movable Type was king, who needed anything else? Then… Movable Type made a change… just one change… they asked people to pay for what had been free. The utopia toppled, there were grumbling rebels and when the rubble and smoke cleared WordPress (and Matt Mullenweg) were sitting on the throne. Movable Type hung on, there were many who kept their old versions afloat, stubbornly refusing to be disloyal. But, in the end, a blog software is only as good as the community support behind it.

Now, Movable Type is a relic, still standing in some far off place, unknown to anyone but old timers. WordPress was the big winner, in that case there was a big winner. I couldn’t say the same for the battle of the web browsers. Neither of them have ended on top. Firefox and Google Chrome have a friendly rivalry, not a war, not a battle, but not quite a friendship.

What do you think were the biggest wars for turf online? There have been a lot of them, even for the people who haven’t been online for the long haul. Which one or two web battle comes to your mind and what did it change for you?

Analog Renaissance: Have you Seen your Last Typewriter?

The Typosphere – A term for bloggers who collect, use, and otherwise obsess over typewriters and other “obsolete” technologies, including, but not limited to, handwriting, pens and ink, paper mail and mail art, knitting and fibre arts, film photography, chip-less combustion engines, and related ephemera.

Flickr: Anablogger Archives – “A repository of film photographs, doodles and drawings, pages hand- and type-written that appear on blogs.”

NaNoWriMo’s Typewriter Brigade – “This group is an online meeting place for members of the NaNoWriMo “Typewriter Brigade”. Also welcome are: those who are not yet members but are feeling that sudden, unexpected desire to pound out 50,000 words on an old-school typing machine, as well as those offering moral support, and gawkers of all stripes”.

Flickr: Typewritten – Post anything created on a typewriter.

Flickr: The Dead Technology Society


Flickr: Lost to Progress

Flickr: Functional Antiquated Living

Ancient Industries

Flickr: iAnalog

I Dream lo-tech

Obsolete Skills


Travelling Type

Fresh Ribbon


Tlogging in the 21st Century

Adventures in Typewriterdom

Flickr: TypeSwap – “a forum for typewriter users, collectors, and businesses to buy, sell, trade, or pass along typewriters, parts, tools, manuals, and other typewriter-related materials and information”.

Flickr: Typewriter

Flickr: Writing Machines – “Typewriters, printing presses and movable type – anything to do with the mechanical reproduction or creation of the written word”.

The Classic Typewriter Page

Flickr: Typewriter Ribbon Tin Menagerie

How To Build Your Own Web Directory

Once upon a time I was an editor in the great Dmoz (Open Directory Project) web directory. I stayed there about ten years as an active editor. Now I am editing in the BOTW directory. I still like adding sites, caring for and maintaining a list for a topic I am passionate about. However, it is nice to do so without anyone else making up the rules. So, I guess that is how I started the idea of beginning my own web directory. Not a huge project like Dmoz or BOTW. I am just going to pick topics I like: rural exploration, urban exploration, historical places, maybe other things like arts and crafts too. Time will tell. The plan is to begin with rural exploration in Ontario, then rural exploration in Canada. I plan to start each smaller section one at a time, until it builds up.

I started making a list of sites using a Blogspot blog. Then I moved it to Movable Type on a domain I picked out. But neither of these options was working well as a software for building and keeping a list. Both were cumbersome and messy to work with in this way. I looked at other ideas for link management but didn’t find anything except bookmark lists. Then I found two plugins that would work with WordPress for building a web directory (Directory Press and Web Directory WordPress Plugin) versus a directory of links. There is a difference!

I ended up loading the plugins to have a look at them but the software I am actually going to try using for the web directory are IndexScript and SKALINKS, both are freeware. Two different web directory software packages. I will let you know how it goes as I get it figured out on my web host and domain. They both look fine in the demos available on their sites.

As I was looking for software I found a few links about building a web directory. They are all geared to people setting it up for getting paid submissions. That isn’t my plan. I will allow submissions but I’m not asking for money. If submissions are free then I don’t have to feel I owe anyone a link. I can choose to list them or not based on the content of the site rather than the content they add to my bank account. I think it works better that way.

Associated Content: Monetize Your Website by Creating a Paid Web Directory

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Blog: Some Advice Before Creating a Web Directory

SEO Blog: Web Directories – Worth Doing Well

Intelliants: How to Make Your Directory Popular

Intelliants: How to Monetize your Directory

Intelliants: Niche or General Directory? Which to Choose?

Is Vox Better than WordPress and Blogger?

I originally wrote this in 2006. Vox is still around. I never did much with my account there but have kept it. I wish I had a plan for another blog to run with Vox. I don’t see it happening soon.

Have a look, take a spin around this free weblog host and decide for yourself. It’s from Six Apart, known for Movable Type. Is Vox their way of competing with WordPress and Blogger?

Vox is a network like OKCupid, including boards, quizzes and personal avatars. One of the interesting features of Vox is Collections, like a scrapbook on the side. It’s simple make changes and add the newest features. There are a LOT of templates to choose from. I selected the Toronto cityscape.

I joined Vox to look around. Whatever your opinion it really does compare well with other free blog hosts I’ve reviewed. I don’t need another blog but I want to be involved wtih this network and the feeling of community which is building here. I’m going to stick around.

Movable Type is Discouraging

Moving to Movable Type is getting very discouraging. I set it up quite easily, only a little bump or two along the way. But that was last week. Since then I have had zero success at moving the content from Blogger to Movable Type. Everything I have found about doing this is out of date, by a lot! I am frustrated but not yet giving up. I really would like to use Movable Type again. I do not want to use WordPress, no matter what I will not go back to that.

It is a shame I bought the domain and hosting before I found out what hurdles I’d have to manage. Now I am going to be away most of this week and won’t be able to do anything. Bugging me.

Blog for Fame

Want to be famous and trendy on the Internet? Join the personal publishing era – get blogging.

Weblogs are part scrapbook, part magazine, part journal, part soapbox, part obligation and part fantasy. Anything that can be typed on a computer keyboard or made into a digital file (images, sounds and scanned items) can be part of a weblog. People (bloggers) with a scanner or digital camera can include pictures of themselves and the objects they write about. Links to other websites are what really make a weblog a digital twist to the old fashioned scrapbook. The best weblogs are those with well-written journal content, interesting links and an eye catching design.

However, don’t get the idea that weblogs (blogs) are just another personal home page. News and commercial sites use them too. Blogging software makes updating simple and quick. Just open the program, add your content and click. Automatically the software puts your entry into HTML, sets up the navigation (layout, date, etc.), and publishes it to your website.

Some blog software will have more features. Movable Type is very popular but not simple to install. is simple but (has been) unreliable due to high use. As a new blogger, you need something easy to use with dependable technical support. Almost all blog software is free for personal use.

There is a group online called GTA Bloggers, for people with weblogs in the Toronto area. Join the email list or read the website if you need help, inspiration, ideas or just want to chat with other bloggers. I also found a webring for Ontario bloggers. Take a look online for blogging groups in your own area.