I have recently and repeatedly tried using the ScribeFire plugin for FireFox. It is ostensibly an easy way to write new blog entries without making the dubious effort of opening a new tab, signing in to your blog and clicking "New Post". The fact that it opens in split-screen mode, allowing you to write while simultaneously viewing whatever Web page inspired your comments, is certainly a desirable attribute.

ScribeFire, however, seems - at least at this stage of development - to be better suited to short posts. I will explain this in more detail as I go along.

Furthermore, I cannot determine how to apply text formatting to the title of the post, which is important to me. This is nevertheless a moot point because the title does not appear when the post is published.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for creating and using any shortcut that will save keystrokes or mouse-clicks; I can often be heard to say that it is preferable to take extra time now (writing a program, script, macro or keyboard shortcut) than it is to expend valuable time executing a series of mouse-clicks or keystrokes later. Each discrete action increases the probability that errors will creep in, trashing your mood or worse. The same principle seeps over into my life in general, e.g. things having little or nothing to do with computer software.

Over the years I have devised countless keyboard shortcuts, DOS batch files, MS Word and Excel macros and Unix or Linux scripts to make my computing life more efficient. For example, the toolbar in nearly every program I use on a regular basis has been modified; items removed, others added, new functions created and applied. Once upon a time I even created new icons for use with my customized programs and functions. The icons included in Windows are so boring! Creation of new icons from scratch has since fallen by the wayside due to the widening availability of third-party icon libraries. Right now I am using a lot of Simpsons and Doctor Who icons. The Klingon logo is my wallpaper.

I have written complex programs in the C language to achieve what the simpler methods described above cannot even aspire to accomplish, although sed, awk, grep and the like - among other tools in the Unix/Linux environment - are quite powerful and effective in their respective spheres, often eliminating the need for compiled languages such as C.

A recent experience with ScribeFire has driven me to write a macro for Notepad++ (my free and extensible text editor of choice) that prepares a new blog entry, formatted the way I prefer, so I can save it to my desktop and perform edits until I deem it ready for publishing.

This was inspired when I was writing a long post - more like an essay - using ScribeFire. I saved my work often, of course, but all except the first paragraph was eventually mysteriously and irretrievably lost. My new Notepad++ macro remains a work in progress (as the best scripts do) but it already simplifies my life as a blogger.

I wrote this particular post using ScribeFire but intend to uninstall that extension afterward. Every byte I save by avoiding unnecessary FireFox extensions also makes my life easier and reduces potential performance problems.

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