How on Earth didn't I know about this stuff 1: Live Writer

So in the last week I have been introduced to so many new technologies its almost overwhelming! Some of them aren't new, and have been available (some even freely) for ages, and I cant believe I haven't seen, heard of or used them before now.

What I thought I would do is a series of posts as I come across these things as if I haven’t heard of them, then surely others haven't either – so I may as well share so that someone else also benefits.

The first in the series is: LiveWriter. I have been blogging for a bit over a year now – so I guess in Blogging terms I am still relatively new to to the whole thing. A friend actually set me up on Blogger as a free & simple site to host my blog. It has been really easy, and simple – but I have always found the blog writing tools incredibly frustrating. I often loose work, it never looks the same – even in the preview pane as it does when I publish it, and I admit I really do need a spellchecker these days as my spelling appears to be getting worse and worse.

I downloaded the latest Live tools that were released this week (although I believe this was in there before this release), and decided to check out the Windows Live Writer Beta.

I am absolutely in love with this tool already!

It was really easy to set up. I was able to simply connect it to my blog as well as my new blog at using a quick wizard. All I had to do was select that it was another weblog service (as in not a windows live site or Sharepoint), enter the URL of my blog & the username & password I connect to it with – and it was done!

It immediately picked up the themes from each blog, so as I identify which blog I am working on, the WYSIWYG tool formats it exactly as it will appear when I publish it! This was a huge frustration for me on Blogger and I would often publish the content, view it realise it looked awful, realign a few things & then re-publish it once again! Now as I am writing it I can see how the post itself will appear – or by clicking preview can see it in the context of the rest of the site.

Another benefit while I am migrating across to my new blog, I will be cross posting the content to both blogs – which is now really simple from here as well. I publish to one, select the next account & click publish again.

As you would expect it allows you to create draft posts (both locally & on your blog) and also makes it really easy to insert pictures, video or plugins - the latter 2 I would always struggle with & end up having to hack the source of my post to get it to work.

The other great feature is the spell checking! It puts that red squiggly line under the word that isn't spelt right, which you can then right click on & get a list of possible correct spellings.

That's all the bits in here I’ve found so far – and so far, I am kicking myself for not using it sooner!