LiveWriter tribulations…

As regular readers may know, I type my posts in Word, and transfer them to the WP new post pane using the Paste from Word button. Despite what you’ll read far too often in the forums, there is absolutely no problem doing that, it works perfectly and retains your formatting (just never paste directly into the pane – it screws up the code).

However, because Live Writer allows

me to insert images as I type, rather than having to insert them after I’ve pasted the text to WP, I’ve just installed it, written the previous post with it, and found myself rather unimpressed.

First problem was with the poxy sign-up page. I don’t mind Captchas, and can see the need for them but, hey, Microsoft, they shouldn’t be fucking illegible! Even when I hit the refresh button to get – eventually – some that were legible, I typed in almost a dozen of the buggers before I got one that worked. And yes, I DID type them correctly, every bloody one! I also cancelled the sign-up process in Firefox and switched to IE, but it made no difference at all (MS doesn’t like Firefox and would rather fire up IE).

The next gripe is the font. It defaults to a very small Verdana – who the hell uses that? It looks like this, and it’s crap! My favourite font, the one I use for almost everything, is this one, Times New Roman, and there is no ’kin way to set that as the default, as there is in Word (no plug-in either). What we have is a fairly basic word processor with the major WP functions nailed to it, and that’s really not good enough. Yes, I know it’s free – that no excuse for it being no better than WordPad when it comes to text. For me, text-handling is a priority, and a better solution would have been an add-on for Word and WordPad.

By the way, the reason I’ll never upgrade to Office 2007 is that they’ve dropped TNR from the fonts, which was a ludicrous decision.

I’m not sure that the convenience of being able to add images on the fly is worth the aggravation of having to re-set the buggerdly font every time, not to mention the fact that it drops back into Verdana unpredictably when hitting Enter for paragraph spacing. And if you think that’s acceptable, trust me, it’s not.

And oddly, as you can see from the pic below, the LW-generated text is much larger than the normal text – it should convert to the standard WP size as Word text does. It makes the text more legible, but spoils the overall appearance, at least until previous texts are pushed off the home page by new ones.

image

Presumably, reducing the font size to, maybe, 10-point, before publishing, will give the right size in the browser – as with this phrase. Let’s see how that looks… (Hmm… 12-point would be closer to the previous font size.)

All things considered – and I suppose I could live with the font snafu except for the fact that it keeps reverting to Verdana for no apparent reason – the advantages over Word are truly minimal. And the fact that new posts don’t look like the earlier posts (is that a WP or LW thing – anyone know?), is annoying, at least for now.

Weirdness – LW posts display in Opera and IE in Times New Roman, as all the posts do written in Word or LW in Firefox, but earlier posts are in what looks like Arial. There’s a solution to that – everyone use Firefox, it really is better than IE…

There is one advantage to LW. I usually end my post titles with an ellipsis. In WP that’s just rendered as 3 dots, but using LW it’s properly formatted – the difference is small, but noticeable (especially if you’re a picky sod like me).

I’ve just had a thought – it may be possible to create a template, with the font set to TNR. I have a Word template for my repeat prescription list, which is re-titled and saved when I send a new repeat request, while the template remains. Question is, will it work with LW? I don’t think so, but I’ll let you know…

Oh, great, now we have another problem. I’ve just inserted the category and tags, and hit the Publish button. Up pops a box saying I have no tags, do I still want to publish. Terrific! And yes, the Tags did appear on the post.

More serious than any of that, though, each time I published a post, LW has sucked up all my processor capacity, and frozen. It’s shit and it’s going!

Update: It freezes for the better part of a minute no matter what I ask it to do, which is pretty dire. It’s also showing as hogging 100% of processor capacity while I’m typing this, which explains why it freezes when asked to do anything at all, like publish or even delete files. The template thing doesn’t work, as I expected (the saved Template simply gets overwritten). For the record I’m running XP with 2 gigs unshared memory and a 2.8mHz processor – it shouldn’t be grinding to a halt the way it does, nor should simply typing more than six words in succession max out processor use. Sorry, LW fans, but this thing really sucks, big time. And really, all things considered – the time it takes to publish, for example, wipes out any savings in time by being able to insert pics – I really can’t see any point to using this instead of Word. I mean, pasting to WP is virtually instantaneous, and pics take a few seconds each to upload and insert. Time-wise they probably come out pretty close to each other, but Word has the overwhelming advantage in that it doesn’t screw up my PC or irritate the shit out of me.

The bottom line is that by using LW I’m not doing anything better, I’m just doing it differently, and that’s not enough to justify it. Nor is a properly-formatted ellipsis.

And the bastard thing is still telling me I have no tags when I hit the Publish button!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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2 thoughts on “LiveWriter tribulations…

  1. Hi, I used to work on WLW and stumbled on your post in my Twitter feed. FYI, you can make your life a whole lot easier by changing your WordPress template to use Times New Roman at the appropriate size for your posts. Currently it is configured to use Verdana at a small size. That’s why WLW keeps reverting to it–because that’s how your blog is configured and that’s how WLW assumes you want to compose your post.

    By injecting Times New Roman into each of your posts the way you’ve done so far, it’ll be very difficult for you to change your mind in the future and change everything to, say, Georgia 12pt without going back and editing every single post by hand. But if you tell WordPress to use Times New Roman and then don’t have any post-specific font formatting, then it’s easy to change the style of your blog whenever you feel like it.

    The tag thing is a bug. There are two notions of “tags” in WLW (just as there are, unfortunately, two notions in the blogging world)–one is technorati-style tags and the other are WP-native tags. The tag reminder feature only applies to technorati-style tags, as that was the only kind of tagging that existed when the reminder feature was put in. I think that bug was fixed but not released yet. In the meantime, you can turn off the reminders under Tools | Options.

    Not sure what the 100% CPU usage is about–when operating correctly it shouldn’t feel slow at all on a 2.98GHz machine. You might try e-mailing wlw-team@microsoft.com for assistance.

    Good luck!

    • Thanks Joe.

      Hopefully others will find it useful, but I’m going back to Word. The thing is, even if it worked perfectly there’s no real advantage over Word. And we need to buy the CSS-editing upgrade to make permanent changes to the template, which is hardly worth it. I’m not likely to want to change TNR.

      The CPU thing is a real pain. When LW is doing nothing, it’s fine, but once I start typing it zooms straight up to 100% and comes down again when I stop. Same when I publish, except then it freezes. Sometimes it’ll let go after 30-60 seconds, but mostly it has to be forcibly closed, with a not-responding message and a report to MS.

      I’m wondering if the fact that I installed just LW of all the Live apps that were offered, has had a deleterious effect on it, though I’m not really inclined to install apps I don’t want to find out.

      Ron.

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