Tales of brand extension

The other day, I was grocery shopping with the fam when a sudden urge struck me: I wanted to buy Wheaties– you know, the classic bran breakfast cereal- but, strangely, I was craving Wheaties not in its traditional flake format, but rather in a new, exciting delivery method: I wanted my Wheaties in the form of vitamin pills!

I took a stroll over to the vitamin aisle, and thankfully, I got my wish: Behold Wheaties Vitamins.

Two minor issues with WordPress 1.5

I love WordPress, but I have two minor issues:

1. Let me add categories from within the Write Post page. This could be done relatively easy by Ajax, right? Or something less trendy? Whatever works, gang. But as categories (and bloggers) migrate more towards tagging, I for one often find myself saving a finished post as draft, switching over to the Manage Categories page and adding in tags (categories) specific to that post, and then returning to my post to update and publish it.

In the words of Homer Simpson, “can’t someone else do it?” Such as my blogging software?

2. Don’t automatically categorize my posts with anything by default…so then the question becomes, what if I forget? Does the system break?

Well that brings me to a design/interface suggestion that I think would be an both an enhancement and a user-switcher (my phrase for a design element that organically prevents a user from unwanted behavior) all in one (Keep in mind I haven’t upgraded to WP1.5.1 yet so I don’t know what they’ve tweaked).

The change I suggest is that the category chooser (it’s currently to the right of the blog post input area) should be moved in line on the page directly below the blog post input box.

In my view, the category chooser should not be located above the blog post input box (and for that matter, I think the post title input box should be moved down, too), because if you’re anything like me, you find that categories (and titles) are a natural extension of the body of what you’re writing…so it should follow that you can only logically categorize your words after they’re written, right?

From a programming standpoint, not much should have to change. I’m no database expert, but I’m betting that the excellent WP team could write some code to dump in your new categories at the same time as the post is saved.

The Nashville blogging scene is pretty cool

One of the best parts of attending BlogNashville was that I came away reading about 10 or so new blogs, at least 4 of them Nashville locals. Two of my favorites after a fortnight:

Tim Morgan

Saucy Librarian

UPDATE: Welcome Nashvilleians, and thanks Brittney (even though you made fun of me twice in two days, ha). Now that the spotlight’s on, I feel remiss in not mentioning these excellent Nashville blogs in my original post:

* Sparkwood & 21

* Bill Hobbs

* Slept Thru Texas (Jennifer Patrick, who took the Nash skyline picture for the BlogNashville site)

* And perhaps the newest Nashville blogger: John Jay Hooker

ANOTHER UPDATE: Thanks to Busy Mom, who just helped set my new record for most comments on a post. Busy Mom was another nicely written site I stumbled upon during BlogNashville and had somehow lost. Now she’s Bloglined and Blogrolled!

BECAUSE YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY UPDATES, RIGHT? Just discovered Busy Mom’s tagline…it’s one that my wife would love/agree with: Better parenting through coffee.

Professional ad blogger: frequency, professional design matter

B.L. Ochman (one of the many fine folks I had the pleasure of meeting in Nashville last weekend) has begun an interview series on her blog, whatsnext. First up is Adrants Steve Hall, who says, among other things, that frequency matters when blogging professionally:

Hall posts 12 to 15 times a day. He doesn’t have a hard and fast rule, but “If something is going on in industry I will write about it. Because Adrants is a news source, I can’t give a broad enough picture in a day with just a couple of posts.”

Later on, in my favorite segment of the interview, Hall shares his belief that a professionally-designed blog is an important aspect of professional blogging:

Hall did Adrants’ first four designs himself. When he got serious about running advertising he needed the site to have a more professional look. And he wanted more strength on the back end. He switched to Moveable Type [sic] and hired a designer who knew how to make it work smoothly. “You get to a point and you say ‘let’s do this right.’ I have advertisers paying me money. The site has to work properly.”

Amen, Steve. As a web developer, blogger, and web developer of blogs, I am greatful to read Steve’s thoughts on this issue. Quite a few professional bloggers should listen to Steve’s words and seriously consider them.

Of course, the refrain heard most often from “professional” bloggers (quotes because that line is incredibly blurry) is that they don’t have the financial resources for a professional design. But like an advertising guru will tell you, “good advertising makes you money”…and it’s been my experience that the same goes for a professionally-designed site.

People who should be blogging, volume 1

An unfinished list of people who I wish would start blogging* (because they’d be good, fun, and/or interesting doing it):

* I had a certain Food Network host here, but I had to remove her because I was bombarded with Google image searches for her. Sorry, RR!

*Cousin Sal, that fat, annoying idiot from Jimmy Kimmel Live (how does he not have his headshot on IMDB?)

* Somebody from the Red Sox (preferrably Arroyo)

*Of course, everybody should be blogging, and anybody could be good at it…this is just a post where I think up a few celebrities and others who I think would have a natural knack for it.

Hedberg

My apartment is infested with koala bears. It’s the cutest infestation ever. Way better than cockroaches. When I turn on the light a bunch of koala bears scatter. But I don’t want ’em to, you know, I’m like “Hey, hold on, fellas. Let me hold one of you…and feed you a leaf.”

Mitch Hedberg, 1968-2005.

More Mitch (from this Slate article):

I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it.

I hate flossing; I wish I just had one long curvy tooth.

A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

I like to play blackjack. I’m not addicted to gambling, I’m addicted to sitting in a semicircle.

More Mitchisms here.