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Tumblr and similar Curating Tools

Last edited May 18, 2013

Tumblr Logo

1) Introduction

When I found Tumblr I loved it, because as a two finger typist I’m too slow in producing a post to my own liking, even if there is only one photo and one sentence in a post. So I’m continuously  looking for a way to quicken this process. On this page I’ll share several adventures and experiments with you.

2) Tumblr

On Februari 23, 2008, I discovered Tumblr and started Chair Blog | Tumblr, with the general idea of using that as a scrapbook to collect items that I could flesh out for this blog.

However after a couple of months copying and pasting, I realized Tumblr took me away from blogging, I rethought my ideas and came to the conclusion that I would prefer the same content rather here on Chair Blog than just there.

From the start I believed that in one way or another it should be possible to integrate Tumblr into your own Blog, be it via an RSS import or not. However the only quick and dirty possibility I found I could work with is a Java script. It automatically inserts the last 10 posts of your Tumblr account where you want it. See for the result below.

3) Quickpress [note: discontinued]

Then I had discovered Quickpress, a WordPress plugin [note: discontinued since] that could do almost the same as Tumblr, but the resulting posts would be on this blog rather than on a separate server belonging to somebody else’s realm.

From then on I became more focused on this blog again.

4) Stopping Tumblr

On June 12, 2008 I decided to discontinue Chair Blog | Tumblr entirely, still with the aim to fold it back into this blog, but that took some more time…bear with me…

5) I came across Posterous

In September 2009 I came across Posterous. It was possible to import Chair Blog | Tumblr into Chair Blog | Posterous [Please note: as of March 20, 2012 I've put this on private].

[Please also that Posterous has discontinued the possibility to import posts form other blogs and other blog formats as of February 2012.]

From then on I was looking into a possibility to import the same content into this blog from Posterous rather than from Tumblr.

The first experiment was creating and downloading an RSS file from my last 20 Posterous posts and uploading them here…strange things happening: Original Photo is still now hosted on Posterous after the import. No Titles etcetera…All in all not so easy as it seemed from the outset.

So this experiment failed and I seemed bound to move Tumblr / Posterous posts manually over here….

6) Clipmarks

At approximately the same time, in September, 2009, I came across Clipmarks which enables you to quickly copy and paste items into a blog. I posted about it in Metamorphosis Chair by Ian Blasco and Clipmarks and became more or less enthusiast.

However Clipmarks has the same principal setbacks as Tumblr and Posterous and Quickpress: It takes the material you copy and paste to their own server. You can’t control in the way you would wish to control the media and as I would like to control them.

In addition if there is a hiccup with their servers or internet connections, you get half empty posts. Moreover when you use Google’s Webmaster help tools like me, you are getting errors reported back due to those hiccups.

[Update 2012: The worst has become true with respect to Clipmarks. It ceased operation entirely].

7) Press It development made Quickpress obsolete and it ceased operation

Quickpress also had as main disadvantage that it leaves the photos that you copy and paste on the sites you copy and paste them from. The photo stays at its original site. That has as disadvantage that you are borrowing server time from the site it is published on. Some call that leeching. Others call that hot-linking. As I see several sites doing the same with Chair Blog and after I discovered my hosting company changed it policy into charging me for traffic and for the use of disk space, Chair Blog is using on their servers, I am starting to find that a bit annoying.

So my provisional conclusion was after these experiments that I wanted to gradually have all posts here so that all content is contained in one place: on the servers of my own hosting companies (and a backup on my computer) and not spread out all over the internet.

8) Various WordPress and Theme updates later

After experimenting with the Mystery theme for WordPress and various others, I put the blog back on the standard WP theme for some time in 2008 and the first half of 2009. The reason was it had become really cumbersome to change sizes of published photos each time when there was a change in a theme (at a certain stage I was operating three themes with a theme switcher so that the reader could pick his favorite theme). I also discovered that the blog was getting more and more attention.

Using the standard WordPress theme, albeit not so nice for the look and feel of a blog and cumbersome to maintain through various WordPress updates, has certain advances over other themes as to SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

When I explored further into SEO I decided upon buying the Thesis theme for this blog in May, 2009.

9) Change of Server

In October of 2009, all of a sudden I was forced to move the blog from one server to another server of the same hosting company.

The clumsy way of me doing that proved disastrous. All content ended up as a huge spaghetti mountain of loose ends.

This forced me to manually edit each and every post even before I got further with putting Tumblrd posts back where they belong.

The re editing took between November 2009 and March 2010. In the meantime Poley came on board and I installed a FaceBook Fan Page and a Weekly News letter.

In April 2010 I was back to manually folding Tumblr posts into the blog here.

10) Tumblr Small import

From here you can see the Tumblr Java script reproducing the 10 last Chair Blog | Tumblr posts:
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11) A clipping intermezzo with Kwout:

 

http://www.chairblog.eu/

Former Chair Blog logo via kwout

With Kwout you can clip and paste whole web-pages into your blog.

Later I discovered Fireshot which is an excellent tool for capturing screen shots if you use FireFox. After several updates Fireshot thought of themselves well enough to star asking money for their service

 

12) Sad Preliminary Conclusions

So I’m bound to manually fold my old Tumblr posts from Chair Blog | Tumblr back and post them here… I’ll be working backward and it will take considerable time for nearly 1,000 posts.

After the migration hiccups had been solved mid March 2010, I was at that again: folding back my Tumblr log.

13) Update: Hurray!!!

On June 23, 2010. I’d finally managed to import all my (now 920 posts due to some  doubles) prior Tumblr posts (that I had converted into Posterous posts) into this blog in one go. I will be deleting the posts imported here from both Tumblr and Posterous. I was really happy.

Update June 25, 2010: Deleting posts from from Chair Blog | Tumblr and from Chair Blog | Posterous completed today.

The only thing that rests is to adjust the posts that are mainly untitled yet….. I’ll put a note here when that undertaking is finished satisfactorily. While deleting posts I’ve seen that there are many duplicates.

14) Sniff [update August 14, 2010]

It takes much much longer to redress all the 920 newly imported “untitled” posts than I anticipated. I now have done some 300 since June 23…still 600 something to go. But I don’t mind, because wading through all those old posts gives me something to reflect on:

  1. I discover new material for future publications
  2. I discover new connections between chairs, sofas and their designers and studios
  3. I even consider to reintroduce fast copying and pasting here in one way or another, as it gives a much better overview of what is happening in chair world
  4. Old memories of what I thought when I posted some stuff come up again

15) Yay! [update August 20, 2010]

Yay! Done! At least all (as far as I can see now) posts that had no other header than “Untitled” have a proper header now. There are still areas where the category is not correct yet. But that will come. In the meantime I’ve erased some 260 posts as either duplicates or not interesting enough. Specifically when going through old Tumblr posts imported here, I could see the disadvantage of Tumblr once more very clearly in that it doesn’t have a proper tagging system or proper navigation. And I do love the pagination tool on top here because its navigation is so super fast and I intend to keep it here.

16) Caught Again by a change of server..

On October 6, 2010 I was all of a sudden suspended by my Dutch hosting company. They didn’t know why, but they did assume that the increase in traffic of this blog caused too much Server CPU time and they claimed their server became instable. Within 24 hours I had set up a new account with a US based hosting company…Then again I faced the same problems as before:

  1. The first move of server had left many links to photos to a temporary domain name I had used then. Again I had to adjust them manually…
  2. Some photos had disappeared entirely. Especially the posts from May 2008 were entirely without photos. I had to manually recollect and re upload them. Today, October 28, 2010, that Sisyphus labor has come to an end

17) There may come no end to this saga…

Tumblr is getting more and more attention these days….Tumblr aficionados love the sense of community.but I don’t know where to find its community..maybe I’ll restart and see if I can integrate the tumblring into this blog in a sensible way…..

Update November 28, 2011: after discovering a nifty add on of firefox I’m “at it again”.

18) And then there is Pinterest

I wrote about it at Curating Chair Design: Pinterest or CribCandy?

19) In November 2011 I started Tumblring again..seriously

More important: After the update to WordPress version 3.3, WordPress improved their Press This code in a way that it works more proper and more like the Tumblr snippet. In addition WordPress now has its own Tumblr importer for imports from Tumblr…It comes with titles so you don’t end up with untitled posts anymore, Yay!

20) December 21, 2011 – The new import tool for Tumblr that came with the latest WordPress release

After some fiddling around with the Tumblr Importing Plugin, I found out that there are some setbacks. Speaking about them with one of the plugin developers at the WordPress forum the conclusion is I should not use it anymore. It is mainly aimed to those who want to stop tumblring and fold their Tumbrl blog into a WordPress Blog.

Now I’ve rediscovered Tumblr and slowly but gradually are starting to understand and like some of it’s community features, I’m planning to keep using it as a scrap book together with Pinterest and to use them to cherry pick them for posts I really want to have here on the blog…..will be continued (probably)….

21) Time to submit

Chair Blog | Tumblr to Google as Robin Malau suggests. (still to do…Google makes me crazy)

22) Arch! Clipmarks has Shut Down

Clipmarks.com-is-shutting-down-2012-03-03-12-32-11
And I’m caught with my pants down, because I’ve not changed all our Clipmarked Posts into “Real” posts here. A Lot of work to do under the hood again!

23) Posterous acquired by Twitter

On March 12, 2012 Posterous was acquired by Twitter. I have a feeling the service might cease operations because they indicate in their blog post that they will come up with ample warnings if they are going to change something…..

24) Is WordPress itself moving a bit into the right direction?

Sometimes it is an advantage to have a link to Mr WordPress himself (Matt Mullenweg) in your WordPress dashboard. In his post Radically Simplified WordPress he hints at more simple features for us the clumsy bloggers. On June 6, 2012 there is another important post in this respect: Tumblr Support in WordPress. Jotted down here to be fleshed out further. The P2 theme developped by Automatic seems to make publishing easier. I’ve tried it, but don’t find it very satisfactory for our ends.

25) Again an import from Tumblr

On August 6, 2012 I decided again to import the 1,300 something posts from Chairblog Tumblr into this blog. For one or another reason I’m afraid Tumblr becoming a target of a usurper like Google, FB, Microsoft, or whoever. Again I’m feeling I have to have  control over my own curated contend…

The way to circumvent the prior problems with the now native importer built into WordPress is that I first imported the stuff into a separate up blog. Then mass edited the posts in batches of 20 and made them private. Thereupon I’ve imported them here.

From time to time we will edit them and then they can be seen in the category Tumblrd.

Again it appears that when exporting posts from one blog and importing them into another blog the  media content is  kept on the other blog…strange while the tumblr import takes the media content to your own blog….luckily I’ve kept the dummy blog intact in this case.

So far so good.

26) A Little Update on August 24, 2012

Have edited (and sometimes deleted) about 380 + newly imported posts now. From the back until January, 2012 and from the beginning Up and including July, 2012. Still 920 to go….more than I anticipated.

27) Here we go again (May 3, 2013)

We’d moved to Dediserve, a dedicated VPS hosting provider on December 31, 2011.
Just when they were asking how I felt we had a major disaster. On April 19 there was a PHP automatic update and all WordPress blogs were frozen. Restoring a server backup didn’t help. Luckily this site was protected by Vaultpress. I was able to restore it. However, many imported Tumblr posts had their media still on the sisterblog which was not protected by Vaultpress. So again we are faced with many missing photo’s in the Tumblr category. I just had reworked all imports of August last year…..Working on a simple solution.

28) May 18, 2013 update

Still working on restoring images in the Tumblrd series of posts. There was no simple solution. About half way now.