Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2017 scientific society talks in London blog post

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Here's how I use Posterous - I've edited out the swearing

The editing window in a Posterous blog is for entertainment purposes only and presents you with an image of your final blog post that turns out to bear little resemblance to reality. I have just published a new post on one of my Posterous blogs and the process went something like this.

1. Copy and paste the text from an email, neaten it up and add some embedded links and a picture. Publish.

2. Look in horror at the mangled version that is now winging its way to followers of the work Twitter account. It started off a rather neat Arial 10 with paragraphs and just the right amounts of white space and line breaks and ended up a non-hyperlinked, Courier New variant with no line breaks and text stretching across the page requiring a lot of scrolling. And the picture didn't work - fair enough I just copied it in rather than saving it to desktop and uploading it.

3. Well obviously I clicked on the Edit button to fix this, but then I weakened. Foolishly (never do this) I copied and pasted the text into Word and edited it there and then pasted back the edited version. Bad. Never edit any blog post text in Word. Bravely pressed publish.

4. Here's why I should never edit any post in Word. It adds a large paragraph of code (see below) to the top of the text, invisible when in Word, very visible when edited into a thing that can read html code. The code text refers to the type of fonts that are being used and a whole load of other guff. Posterous also added in some random line breaks. The really annoying ones where you can't backspace delete (because then it joins two lines together) and can't press enter (because it separates them with a linespace between). This is where you have to know how to use the Shift key to manipulate the lines so that one sits on top of the other. Eventually I managed to beat them into submission. Then I re-added the picture (correctly) and pressed publish.

It looks OK.

But this is just part of the normal fight I have with every Posterous post I publish directly on the web. I've stopped looking at the ones I publish by email, it's just heartbreaking that a piece of software that is specifically designed to publish text is so poorly equipped to complete that task. It's a bit like having a camera that nearly takes pictures, or a pencil that won't write on paper.

Here's an example of the sort of code that Word inserts into things - it even does it if you transfer a drafted email from Word to Thunderbird mail program. Maddening.

<!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Arial; panose-1:2 11 6 4 2 2 2 2 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536859905 -1073711037 9 0 511 0;} @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;} @font-face {font-family:"Cambria Math"; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1107305727 0 0 415 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:36.0pt; mso-footer-margin:36.0pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} -- 

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Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).