Quick Look: Chiwi’s CS Gallery Manager

is a free application for uploading multiple images into a CS gallery.  Prior to uploading, you have the ability to add a photo title and description, and you can control thumbnail settings.  You can upload to any gallery you have permission to, and can choose the album/tag for the photos.

The first issue I found was URL you need to configure.  You want to use http://<siteurl>/photos/galleryservice.asmx.  For instance, I had to configure http://floristblogs.com/photos/galleryservice.asmx. 

The second issue I found was exceeding the maximum request size.  In uploading some images into floristblogs.com, any image over 1.5MB could not be uploaded using Chiwi’s tool.  However, I could upload the same photos via the photo control panel.  I have a Nikon D50, and almost all of my photos are right around the 1.5MB mark with the high-quality setting.

If you have a lot of images that only need to be resized slightly, get the free  and shrink your images slightly, then upload using Chiwi’s tool.

Configuring Windows Live Writer for Live Community Server

Windows Live Writer is a brand new blogging tool from Microsoft.  It’s easily configured for use with a number of blog applications, including Community Server.  FloristBlogs.com uses the Express edition of Community Server, and this post will help you configure Windows Live Writer for use with FloristBlogs.com.  The steps below will only need to be completed once.

  1. Download Windows Live Writer from http://windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com/blog/cns%21D85741BB5E0BE8AA%21174.entry.  Save the file somwehere you can find it again.
  2. When the download completes, find the Writer.msi file and double-click to start the installation.
  3. When installation has completed, you’ll be able to start the program from the Start menu.
  4. When you start the program, you’ll see the welcome screen below.  Click Next to continue.

  5. You need to choose “Another weblog service”, and click Next.

  6. Enter the information for your blog.  Your URL should be similar to below.  Remeber that the subdirectory for your blog is “blogs” (plural), not “blog” (singular).

  7. Live Writer will analyze your blog to try and determine some features of your blog.

  8. Live Writer will need to be configured for Community Server by selecting it from the drop down list.

  9. You need to change <hostname> to floristblogs.com, as seen below.

  10. Live Writer will again scan your blog.

  11. If your configuration information is correct, Live Writer will display your blog information.  Click Finish and Live Writer will start.

  12. Live Writer’s interface is a simple rich text editor, similar to Word but far more basic.  You can easily choose categories, add photos, enter and format text.

  13. Community Server doesn’t support direct uploadingof photos into galleries, so you’ll first have to upload images to your photo gallery and then add them to your blog by using Insert >> Picture from Web.  Then, enter the URL of the image from your photo gallery.

  14. As you edit your post, you’ll be able to see the formatting, and choose options for formatting images in your post.

  15. Just to the right of the Save Draft button is the preview button.  One cool option is the ability to see your post exactly as it would look without publishing it by choosing Web Preview.  You cannot edit your post in this mode; you’ll have to change back to Normal mode to resume editing.

  16. Inserting a hyperlink is easy.  Highlight the text you want to turn into a hyperlink and click the globe and chain icon on the toolbar.  Enter the URL’s information, including its relation.  Setting the Rel to “tag” adds the link to your site’s tagcloud, and signals sites such as Technorati to add the link text to their tagcloud.  Setting Rel to “nofollow” means that Google and other search engines should ignore this link.

  17. When you’re done, click the Publish button to add the post to your blog.

There are a lot more features than covered here.  For instance, you can open old posts to edit them, then publish the edited post (which will correct the version online).  You can save drafts and edit them later.  You can also configure several blogs, if you have more than one.

Even though Community Server doesn’t support direct upload of images, Live Writer can upload photos to an FTP folder on your site.  The configuration for every website will be different, so we’re not going to go through that here.  This makes adding images very easy, but your readers won’t find the images in your photo gallery.  You’ll also have to add a watermark manually to all images, where the Community Server photo gallery will add the watermark automatically.

<semi-correction 8/16/2006>

The Metablog API, used by Community Server (as well as most blogging platforms) doesn’t support image upload.  Community Server does have an API for directly uploading images into galleries, which is used by Chiwi’s CS Gallery Manager.  If you have a lot of images and want them in your galleries, this app might be a great help.  With any luck, someone will add a plug-in for WLW which will support CS galleries.

If you’re using Chiwi’s app, the address you need is http://<siteurl>/photos/galleryservice.asmx.  Remember to replace <siteurl> with your site’s URL.

Small Mention in Today’s USA Today

We got a small mention in today’s USA Today about marketing with blogs.  We were interviewed a little over a week ago by the reporter who had found our weddings blog (http://www.bloomeryweddings.com/blog/) and our other blog  at http://floristblogs.com/ while researching the article.  We spent about 15 min on the phone discussing various aspects of blogging and business.  The author was enamored with MySpace, and even went out of his way to claim that MySpace is a blog, sort of.  We don’t do anything with MySpace simply because we can’t control what ads might be displayed on our site, and it’s possible that our content on MySpace might have an FTD ad next to it.  Not what we want!  The full story is at http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/2006-06-13-web-marketing_x.htm.  A link back to our site would have been nice, but who’s complaining?

has an additional reason not to mix marketing and MySpace:

In general, I’d chalk that up as a bad idea. No one like unsolicited marketing messages, especially not when they’re in an environment where they want to chat and have fun. It’s one thing to score a link on someone’s MySpace page…it’s a WHOLE other thing to send out spam mails to all of your friends and your friends’ friends.

Judge: Bloggers Entitled to Immunity Under Communications Act

Full article at http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1149152717145

Bloggers cannot be hit with libel suits on the basis of anonymous
postings on their Web sites because federal law grants them immunity by
explicitly stating that they cannot be treated as the “publisher” of such
comments, a federal judge has ruled.

I have to echo the sentiments of the plaintiff:

The judge’s decision is awesome

The Bloomery’s Blog Gets Some Press

We received some nice press in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently.  We were interviewd for an article titled “Blogs offer new avenue for businesses”:

Brides-to-be love to read anything pertaining to weddings. That’s why the owners of a Butler floral shop reach out to them through a blog, or Web log, that invites their comments.

Richard and Kathy Dudley of The Bloomery post messages and pictures with wedding ideas: Mini bouquets can be made with a deep purple calla lily that looks almost black, for example.


Well, one thing has changed.  In response to the article, we have had new customers check out our blog and website.  They found our prom gallery, and came in to order their prom flowers.  Progress!

You can find our blog at www.floristblogs.com and our regular site at www.bloomery.com; our wedding website is www.bloomeryweddings.com, and our wedding blog is www.bloomeryweddings.com/blog.

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SixApart Buys SplashBlog

According to Download Squad, SplashBlog (the photoblogging app I use with my Treo 700w) has been bought by the makers of Movable Type:

Six Apart, the company that owns popular blogging software Movable Type and web services TypePad and LiveJournal, has been busy lately. According to TechCrunch, they’ve raised $12 million in VC funding and, more interestingly (to me, at least), acquried SplashBlog. SplashBlog is a service for blogging and photoblogging from mobile phones and PDAs, and it’s reasonable to expect Six Apart to integrate SplashBlog’s offerings into its current line-up.

That’s the entire post, but if you’re interested, full story at http://www.downloadsquad.com/2006/03/16/six-apart-gets-funding-buys-splashblog/.

Now playing: The Human League(Keep Feeling) Fascination

More Reasons Why Blogs Are Important For Florists

Let’s take a look at FTD over the past few months for some guidance.  In December, FTD reported a decrease in orders because they decided not to play in areas like Google’s AdWords, since keyword bidding is becomming so expensive  (http://www.internetretailer.com/dailyNews.asp?id=17140 and http://www.internetretailer.com/dailyNews.asp?id=17389).  Granted, FTD was part of the problem in inflating keyword prices, but they’d rather we didn’t consider that.  Total revenue was up slightly for the last quarter, and recently, FTD announced its 2006 Valentine’s Day orders were up 14% year-to-year (http://www.internetretailer.com/dailyNews.asp?id=17691).  What are we to take from FTD’s experiences?

  • Keyword bidding for floral-related search terms is expensive, with the big players pushing each other around
  • Reducing online marketing efforts will probably reduce online orders
  • Customers are buying more and more everyday flowers online
  • More and more customers are buying on-line at the holidays
  • Customers are using search engines to research for floral purchases

Now, here’s a very interesting study that came out recently:

A new study says that though a majority of shoppers use the internet to research products, nearly half still prefer to make their purchases through bricks and mortar retailers.

This is outstanding news for us local florists, especially the ones with a good website.  Probably the #1 facing local florists is simply getting found in the search engines.  Aside from the big players bidding keywords way up, and the skimmer sites, it’s tough to be found.  And that’s where a blog comes in. 

Blogs are quickly and happily indexed by search engines.  Your posts themselves will become pages in the search index promoting you.  If you’re a member of a site such as floristblogs.com, links in your blog posts to your site will count as inbound links to your site.  Blogs also help build your brand.  People know about FTD, and familiarity builds confidence.  Your blog will give your customers a good idea of what you’re about.  You want to try to write your blog posts as if you were conversing with your customers face-to-face.

Here are today’s reasons to blog:

  • Blogs are cheap.  Even FloristBlogs.com works out to $5/month.
  • Writing a blog will increase your on-line marketing efforts
  • Your customers will find you easier, and get a feel for your brand

Questioning An A-Lister

From Seth Godin’s “The Reason” post:

The reason that you have a water bubbler in your office is that it used to be difficult to filter water effectively.

The reason we still have a water bubbler in our office is that filtration may remove biological impurities, which may spread disease, but not chemical ones, which may affect the flavor or may also be detrimental to the health of the drinker.  Plus, ours is one of those that provides instant hot or cold water, so it’s useful as well as healthy.  The presence isn’t due to an archaic “we’ve always done it this way”, it’s actually an improvement over the tap.  And it’s plumbed directly into the water line, so no one needs to change the bottle.  This is also why my fridge has a water dispenser in the door.

The reason that Blockbuster exists is that VCR tapes used to cost more than $100.

That’s why Blockbuster was started.  Now that VCR tapes are well below $100, and are on the verge of extinction, should Blockbuster cease to exist?  Not hardly.  Blockbuster stores serve a group of people Netflix can’t—the very impatient.  Video on demand just hasn’t arrived, and there’s no reason to think that Blockbuster won’t try and have a hand in that in the future.  The presence of something from the past doesn’t necessarily indicate a status-quo, same-old-same-old mentality.  Not that Blockbuster is any shining example of adaptation, but it seems to be filling a need even today.

The reason that SUVs have a truck chassis is that the government regulates vehicles with a truck chassis differently.

No, that’s why you get a tax break for buying an Explorer.  My SUV (a Honda CRV) is actually built on a car chassis, as is the Murano, Rav 4 and a few other small SUVs.  Maybe SUVs are built on a car or truck chassis because there are economic and safety engineering reasons for minimizing the number of chasses in an automaker’s fleet.

I am with Heather on the lawn thing—out of frustration, my neighbor has mowed mine on a couple of occasions.

Now playing: The Grateful DeadSugar Magnolia (Remastered Version)