R.I.P. ecto

February 11, 2022

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We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of a great piece of software. I call it software because I’m pretty sure it existed prior to the term “app” making its way into our global lexicon. The software, of whom I speak in hushed, sob-filled tones, is none other than ecto. ecto?

Stock-photo-man misses ecto

 

Yes, ecto.

ecto is a little-known piece of blog publishing software I used for about ten years. That was until a few weeks ago when I had to toss it onto the digital trash-heap as it is no longer supported by macOS 12 or higher. More on that later, now let’s all just sit quietly and think of the good times we had with ecto…

Rest in peace. Gone, but not forgotten :'(

Wait, you had no good times with ecto? Of course not, I’m pretty sure I was one of only four users world-wide since it hadn’t been updated for fifteen years. But it was glorious while it lasted. What made it so special, you ask? Well, all kinds of cool features! Actually, not really all kinds, really just two.

 

Custom Tags

If this seems like a basic feature, it is, but it’s something that my website (running old Orchard CMS) can’t seem to do via its web editor. That makes the ecto custom tags a killer feature in my book!

Custom tags allow quickly adding snippets of html

With custom tags in place it is easy to quickly reproduce consistent html and keep everything looking uniform.  In fact, all images on my blog posts (up until this article) were creating using the above custom tag.   This allowed me to make sure images were centered within blog posts and also gave me a uniform image "caption" area.    I did all this with way too much custom tag inline css… but I won’t tell if you don’t!

 

Thumbnails

I often generate mega-gi-huge-ic images since this blog is all about showcasing art, design and general self-aggrandizing. If a post has a bunch of those mega-gi-huge-ic images, then it loads mega slow which isn’t a good user experience. At least this was the case in 2012, I’m not sure this really matters anymore due to internet speed increases over the last decade. Anyway, my solution back in the day was to use ecto’s thumbnail capability!

Thumbnails make slow connections happy!

With the above option checked, ecto would auto-magically create a thumbnail copy of the image you inserted into your post, shrink it to your specifications, and then wrap that thumbnail image in a link to your full-size image which it also uploaded! It was magnificent, and now it’s gone.

 

It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday

Now that we’ve begrudgingly said our goodbyes, it is time for me to move on to an ecto free blogging experience. And since I hate web editors that means using Word or Notepad to write my posts without any awesome convenience features. But hey, at least I upgraded my macOS and have all the latest security features. Surely no harm could come from an operating system upgrade?

Stock-photo-man repeatedly smashes his head into his keyboard, thanks macOS Monterey!

Yep, you guessed it, after updating to macOS 12.2 Monterey I now have the added feature of my mac crashing and rebooting every time it goes to sleep. Yay! Oh, and I’m not the only one, there is a whole band of people who own 2013 mac pros that have this issue. Which brings us to the moral of this story:

Never update your operating system so you can avoid computer crashes and keep your sweet, sweet 2003 blog publishing software

-Owen (2022)

Owen Soule

Published February 11, 2022