Composelicious: I fantasize about a WordPress plugin that doesn’t exist

I blog the way that I do because of cer­tain men­tal quirks [digres­sion deleted] that make it hard for me to blog any other way. Still, I’m con­vinced I could do bet­ter, with a lit­tle help. So I fan­ta­size about a Word­Press plu­gin that could take care of at least some of the bits that I find dif­fi­cult… what it would have to do, how would it inter­act within Word­Press, what would the user see, how to avoid wheel rein­ven­tion, etc.

I call it the Com­pose­li­cious Magic Note Assis­tant. Here’s what it (hypo­thet­i­cally) does:

Are you good at microblog­ging? Semi-auto­mate the process of com­pos­ing and post­ing longer arti­cles in a way that pre­serves your indi­vid­ual writ­ing style and avoids look­ing like a spambot.

Hourly, Com­pose­li­cious grabs your new book­marks from your deli­cious account and/​or other social book­mark­ing sites, sav­ing them as “notes” which you can use as the build­ing blocks of future arti­cles. You can also con­vert exist­ing draft posts into “notes”.

Com­pose­li­cious sorts your notes, assem­bling rough arti­cle Paste­boards on your assorted top­ics, and searches for blog posts you’ve pre­vi­ously pub­lished and/​or for off­site con­tent which you may want to link to in your final draft. It minds the options you’ve entered regard­ing min/​max amount of post con­tent, and it also helps you post in a timely man­ner by pri­or­i­tiz­ing urgent/​aging notes. And then it can send you an email to prompt you to review a nearly-com­plete Pasteboard.

When you’re at the Paste­board, you can change the order of the notes; add, delete, or hide them; move notes to dif­fer­ent Paste­boards if the plu­gin has erro­neously cat­e­go­rized their top­ics; and finally press the Go but­ton. Com­pose­li­cious then makes the Paste­board into a draft Post; you do your final read-through and rewrite on the con­ven­tional Edit Post page, and then pub­lish the article.

Cus­tom post types that Com­pose­li­cious needs: two. Mag­ic­Notes and Pasteboards. 

Ques­tions begged: sort­ing notes by topic; what if I don’t use any social book­mark­ing sites; note urgency/​aging and the post­ing sched­ule; automag­i­cally find­ing related con­tent on other sites; pre­ven­tion of dou­ble-post­ing a book­mark or other con­tent; should it really be called Com­pose­li­cious Magic Note Assis­tant. For now, I will spare you my fur­ther thoughts on those subjects.

Any­one inter­ested in kick­ing some ideas around with me?

A quest for magic and better magic

The magic with which I am con­cerned is any­thing you do in your mind to bring about a desired result.  Prayer, visu­al­iza­tion, analy­sis, practice–magic can be all of these and more.

Magic is the dif­fer­ence between per­fect accu­racy and peak effi­ciency. We all use it; it’s indispensable.

The kind of magic that involves break­ing the laws of the phys­i­cal uni­verse is sim­ply impos­si­ble.  It is there­fore impor­tant to pur­sue, as much as you can, a true and accu­rate under­stand­ing of what is going on in the world and how things work.

Human brains evolved to oper­ate more-or-less suc­cess­fully even in the near-total absence of accu­rate under­stand­ing.  Some peo­ple get through their whole lives by magic alone.

Never mis­take the map for the direc­tions.  Truth is an impor­tant sup­ple­ment to effec­tive action, but focus­ing on cre­at­ing an overly pre­cise descrip­tion of truth can dis­tract us from act­ing effectively.

You never hear an actor say that she applied X joules of force within her facial mus­cles to bend her mouth into a 41° curve.  Such might be an accu­rate descrip­tion of what she did, but it is prob­a­bly not how she expe­ri­enced it; nor is it of any assis­tance to an act­ing stu­dent who wants to por­tray emo­tion as pow­er­fully as the pro­fes­sional does.

Any magic that you do to make life more won­der­ful for your­self and every­one,  I sup­port.  But not all of the magic that you are able to use can be suc­cess­fully used by oth­ers.  Magic is not wis­dom unless it can be passed to many oth­ers and actu­ally ben­e­fit them.

Lazyweb request: A Shortcode For Every Widget (WordPress 2.7 plugin)

Des­ig­nate your own short­code for any wid­get and then use the short­code to insert the wid­get into the body of any page or post!

Oh, how I dream. I dream of click­ing over to Appear­ance -> Wid­gets, and then, on my “ran­dom posts” wid­get set­tings, I can just type inser­tran­dom­posts in the “short­code” field. And then I go to edit my “List Some Ran­dom Posts” page, and in the body of the page I include [inser­tran­dom­posts], and lo, List Some Ran­dom Posts now lists some ran­dom posts.


…the best-kept secret of hybrid-elec­tric vehi­cles is that this tech­nol­ogy can have per­for­mance advan­tages in addi­tion to bet­ter mileage.

The rea­son you never hear about hybrids win­ning For­mula 1 races is because the inter­na­tional sanc­tion­ing body banned the tech­nol­ogy. Hybrid cars would have had an unfair advan­tage on the track because the elec­tric motors would have given them bursts of extra power. Too quick for For­mula 1? A hybrid? At recent motor shows, Honda and Ford rolled out vari­a­tions on the hybrid theme that empha­size per­for­mance and power — not fuel effi­ciency. Both con­cepts bor­row tricks refined in hybrids like the Insight to boost their engines, mak­ing them per­form bet­ter. (Oh, and they pol­lute less and get bet­ter mileage, too.)”

The Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor explains why hybrids are here to stay.