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Product Review

Windows Live Writer: Making Writing Easier




Time Saver

I’ve recently become a huge fan of Microsoft’s free tool, the Windows Live Writer.  It has awesome functionality and ease-of-use.  Live Writer is a tool to allow desktop publishing to various blog platforms.  It’s worked effortlessly with WordPress.  I know that there are some purist out there, who love to log into the WordPress and mess with the temperamental WYSIWYG and or prefer to fidget with the HTML coding.  Me…I prefer to write it and post it.

I write for several blogs and this tool has cut my posting time down to about 1/3.  It cuts out lots of steps like loading the graphic and then centering it, making sure that when I copy in text that I clean up the html, etc…  Live Writer also comes with various plugins, to help customize usability.   It’ll also help you create layouts and graphic features that aren’t available by using the WYSIWYG; unless you’re VERY adapt at HTML.

You can Download Live Writer for free HERE.

Additional Plugins are found HERE.

Below is a very brief overview of some of the features.

How to Use Windows Live Writer for Blogging from Matthew Rathbun on Vimeo.

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  1. Paula Henry

    May 3, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Matthew – I like BlogJet for the same reason; don’t know if I can take the plunge to learn something new. It’s simple, easy to use and like you said, cuts down my posting time.

  2. Chris Griffith

    May 3, 2009 at 8:50 am

    I have been out of my mind with LW for about a month. It’s glorious. I love the link memory and map feature. The plugins are great, especially the code scrubber.

    I’m cranking out posts and a few weeks ago when I was planning to be away I was able to easily build all the posts I needed while I was away.

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    May 3, 2009 at 9:08 am


    I used Blogjet for awhile… It was “ok”, but I eventually dumped it. It really didn’t work with WordPress well.

    The learning curve for LW is null. If you can use Microsoft Word you can use this.

    Plus, LW is free. I don’t know about you, but I had to pay for BlogJet when I fist got it.


    Yep, the code scrubber is a God send. I really like the “post to multiple blogs”, plugin and “attach file” features are good too. Oh, yeah – the twitter plugin is useful if utilized in moderation.

  4. Brandie Young

    May 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Matthew – very cool, thanks!!

  5. Fred Romano

    May 3, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing with us! I’m going to try it out this week.

  6. Missy Caulk

    May 4, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    I used it a lot when I had a PC but when I switched to Mac, no. If you know a way to do it, let me know.

  7. Russell Shaw

    May 6, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Matthew, I love LW and totally agree: if you can use Word, you can use LW. I have used it for about a year with no problems.

    In fact, just as soon as I find time to start blogging again, I will prove what I’ve written and make some posts with Live Writer.


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Housing News

Avoid Blah-Blah Conversation With This Voicemail Cloaking Device



Please Dear Lord, Don’t Let Them Pick Up, So I Can Leave A Voice Mail and Make A Quick Get Away.

You know those times when you have to return a phone call, share an update, remind someone about something?  And those times where there’s no getting around it, you have to make the call and deliver your message, but you’re short on time, patience, courage, or ___________?

Guess What? I Have Good News For You.

There’s an App. for that, and it’s called SlyDial.  At the Inman Reboot event in HoustonChris with TechSavvyAgent dropped this cloaking device on us.  Basically, SlyDial is a clever smart phone tool.

SlyDial allows you to make a call from your cell phone to their cell phone, but their cell phone won’t ring. Instead of their phone ringing, SlyDial lets you dial directly into their voice mail, and leave a message. Yeah, that’s right, call directly into their voice mail, and their phone doesn’t ring. Check it out, it probably works on your smart phone.

You can get more details and info here.  The App. is free and straight forward.  It looks like the picture below when it’s launched on the iPhone4.

It’s that simple.  Good luck with it.  I was wondering in which situations you’d use something like this?

Thanks for reading.  Cheers.

Photo Credit

PS.  fyi, I don’t work for, nor am I in any way associated with, employed by, or even know anyone at SlyDial.  In other words, there’s nothing in for me by saying nice things about SlyDial, except the pleasure of telling you about a tool you might find handy.

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Product Review

New iPhone App


on launched their new iPhone application and gave a few of us the chance to play with it and tear it to pieces before the launch (maybe they didn’t quite put it that way, but it’s the way I’m approaching it).

When I first open these new apps, I always think of the intent and this one is pretty obvious.  The iphone app iss totally and completely designed with the end consumer in mind (sorry Realtors if you thought it could be about you).  It’s about providing the latest property information in the quickest, easiest and most user friendly fashion possible.

When you open the app, a home screen gives you several options, including searching for nearby homes for sale, nearby open houses or perform a new search by location or MLS ID.  You can allow for the app to use your current location and it actually gives you nearby listings currently for sale (also giving you the option to narrow down your criteria).  This can be really cool if you are driving in a neighborhood and just want to get property information without having to even get out of the car or make a phone call.  (Bad for agents that rely on the client to actually make that call to capture their business). iphone app screen shot

You can view a map option or a list option of properties and are able to actually click on any given one and get detailed information, not only on the property, but also the listing agent and the brokerage (very similar to what you see on  You can scroll through photos of the listing and turn the phone to get bigger photos and you can save the property and include notes to go with it. iPhone app screenshot

What’s even more fascinating is the option to contact the listing agent on the spot.  You can call them by clicking on their telephone number, you can email them,  visit their site and add them to your contacts.  (I know I’m an over achiever, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could tweet or facebook them as well?). iphone application
My favorite feature is the “drive around and use your location” to find listings – but you can also enter an address for a particular listing and/or its surrounding competitors and even enter the MLS number.

Great move on to empower the consumer.  Personally, an educated consumer is the best one in my book, but here’s the beef many will have…You can now say “Buh Bye” to Buyers’ Agents, with this app, listing agents will have the upper hand – this will give quick and easy information to the local consumer (not the end for those buyers agents that work with absentee and relocating clients).


I can now see me getting bombarded by calls from people who “forget” to tell me they are working with another agent and just wanted quick info.  I can also see my clients calling other agents just because their information was handy.  We’ll just have to see how this extra communication tool will evolve….it could be detrimental for many.

The question of who does work for will inevitably come up.  Many will criticize this as a tool of disintermediation, but if we are smart, we will not only know how to use this information in our favor, but we will welcome it with open arms.  I do wonder if it could be possible to personalize this particular iphone app for a fee so that Realtors can offer it to their clients (of course I would try to come up with a win-win for everyone).

For now it’s time for everyone to make sure their contact information is correct on their listings, and especially  Listing agents will have the ability to answer inquiries on the spot, staying above the competition with customer service always at the top of the priority list.

And for the record, I’m not associated with, so feel free to kill it if you have the itch.

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Product Review

Desktop Analytics – Polaris



Keeping Track

polaris2 I’m a big fan of keeping a pulse on the health of my blogs and sites.  Polaris has released a desktop application that allows you to keep track of your Google Analytics, on your desktop. 

The free version only allows monitoring from one account, while the $15/year version will allow multiple accounts.

The system features are very easy to setup and it works on the AIR installation system, which most of us already have with the Twitter apps.  It was quick to download and install. 


Polaris shows total visits, pageviews, activities by date, visits statistics and tons more.  Essentially anything that you would benefit from in Google Analytics, but on the desktop.


The current product is cool, but the company is also advertising some interesting upcoming products.

    • Dopac
      • Dopac is our flagship web analytics solution that brings Google Analytics to your desktop with a host of new features and possibilities. Based on the success and experience of our previously released beta product, the “Google Analytics Reporting Suite”, Dopac takes the original experience to the next level and brings a lot of new concepts to the table.
    • Rayet
      • Rayet is our strange kid on the block. It’s experimental, funky and fun!
        With Rayet we are aiming to make web analytics reporting smarter. Instead of generating a lot of good looking graphs and charts Rayet will cut to the chase and analyze your data for you. Rayet will give you suggestions on how to improve your website experience based on the analytical data available. By comparing different time samples it will tell what works and what doesn’t. Being in very early development there’s currently no release date planned yet.
    • Phobia
      • Phobia is made for one single purpose; impress your boss, client or anyone else you need to suck up to. It gives you data ownership by allowing you to export or synchronize your data in any given format. Anything from smart looking spreadsheets, pretty PDF’s or entertaining presentations is entirely possible! More info on features and release will be up here soon.


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