Performancing is the coolest Firefox extension, evar.
So I am truly psyched about the advent of Performancing, a Firefox extension that integrates a full-featured blog editor right into the browser. Just hit F8 to call up the editing window, whip up a post, and shoot it right off to your WordPress, Movable Type (which includes Typepad and LiveJournal) or Blogger blog. I don’t have any blogs running on MT anymore but I set up several WordPress blogs and an old Blogger blog in all of about 2 minutes — it’s dead easy. Then, you can choose to author in WYSIWYG or source mode, quickly switch over to a live preview and back again, add it to whatever appropriate categories and push the post out to your blog when you’re finished. It does what it’s supposed to do, simply and well. I absolutely love it.
It also finally fulfills my desire for a quick browser “scratchpad” where I can jot notes and links and send them off to a blog I keep just for personal notes and ramblings. I love that the editing window lays over the bottom of the page and sticks around until I close it again, so I can switch back and forth between a bunch of tabs and cut and paste bits of each. This fits exactly how I work when I’m researching something: I’ll do a search on del.icio.us or Google, etc. and open a bunch of tabs, then go through and check out each page. Performancing is a great way to dump whatever I want to remember into a blog post and save it for later. One wishlist item: it would be absolutely fantabulous if I could save a post as a draft to one of my public blogs, so that I could hack up a bunch of post stubs and then go back at the end and polish them off into finalized posts.
You can drag and drop text and images into a post… I think I’m in love.
Wikipedia, Google, and Alien Brains
Both sides of the Wikipedia debate (is it good or bad, value or trash?) are well developed by this point. But that doesn’t preclude high levels of discourse on the subject, and a wonderful conversation is happening now, with Chris Anderson’s Long Tail blog as the focal point. Anderson argues that Wikipedia (and Google too, by the way) has greater probablistic value than Britannica, because even though some individual entries fall below standard, the average level of quality combined with the enormous size (ten times as many entries as Britannica) makes it more likely to have a good research experience in Wikipedia than in a peer-reviewed encyclopedia. This probabilistic viewpoint goes against our brains, he asserts, but is nonetheless a key to a new world order of information presentation.
Keying off this argument, Clifford Stoll concedes that Chris’s probabilistic theories are (probably) correct, but that doesn’t mean Wikipedia and Google are good for us. By rewarding the optimization of large-scale social intelligence, are we removing incentive to create high-quality microscopic content?