Blogger Hacks, Categories, Tips & Tricks

Wednesday, December 28, 2005
As a follow-up to yesterday's post exploring the possibilities of Technorati's new "personal tags," I have doctored up an existing tag-maker bookmarklet (thanks, Fritz) to add a Technorati username. Ran into a problem including the bookmarklet direct in blogger, so it is hosted on Geocities. From the Geocities page, drag the bookmarklet link to your browser's links bar. You may find the bookmarklet too long for the bar. If so, try running it in blummy.

This is a bookmarklet that points to material from your personal account, so you'll need to edit it to include your username. Right click the bookmarklet on your toolbar, scroll through the "properties" until you see the word "username" (no quotes) and replace it with your technorati signon.

This will generate technorati tags, with the rel=tag attribute, but with an additional modifier in the URL ?user=username to pull search results only from your claimed blogs.

As Tor points out in the comments on yesterday's post, this isn't going to be much use to you if you have multiple claimed blogs... but if you've only got one, this might substitute for categories quite nicely. Please try it out, & hit the comments to let me know how it is working for you.

Posted at 4:47 PM by John.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
<     >
On Kinja
One more thing. I sort of missed a big thing out of my how-to the other day because I didn't see it & understand it 'til much later. In my blurb on profile cards I noted the "recommendation plaques"
In a great "find related blogs" move, each profile card also includes a number of small "preview plaques" (that's what they should call them, too!) for sites that Kinja considers to be related. They're calling these suggested relatives "kin". Plaques with a lilac header are ones that you already sub to. Plaques with a grey header are related sites that you might not have found yet, and that might be great additions to your digest. The presentation of traffic stats and related blogs on these pages strikes me as a great step forward, a powerful new feature, and a reason to choose kinja as your reader of choice. Check out the profile card for Freshblog.
Well hey, way down at the bottom of the profile page there, is an OPML logo, & you can export the Kinja "kin" recommendations as OPML and sub to all of them in one easy move. Pretty slick.

Posted at 6:43 PM by John.
John at Library Clips points out that, with the addition of in-profile tag clouds, Technorati is only one step away from bypassing entirely & allowing categories without bookmarking.

Technorati has a tag cloud for your profile, clicking on a tag from here will list your posts within that tag…so the next step is to put a tag cloud on your blog. This way people can browse your blog by tag…even though it takes them to a page outside your blog, who cares, it is good enough for now…only if Technorati would provide this code…anybody listening.

John points out that Technorati Tag URL's can now be made to point to a specific user account by including the username.... This is worth experimenting with. Here's a set of generic technorati tags to which I have manually appended the extra code ?user=jrfj44:

Let's see what happens when we publish & click!! UPDATE: Looks like it works great. Will try to amend the technorati tagging bookmarklet & offer it as a tool asap.

What I find most interesting about this is that each service, starting from different and distinct missions, & with distinct tools, seems to be creeping in terms of services offered, & that the overlap is beginning. Will 2006 be the year of the comprehensive blog support site? A single service / brand that offers tagging, social bookmarking, search, inbound tracking, and perhaps a Firefox easy-posting add-on? I think there's room here for one service to stake a claim as "blog-support service #1", at least 'til the next trend comes along & moves the goalposts.... Thoughts?

Posted at 6:00 PM by John.
Zoli Erdos has revived the "tracking the whole conversation" theme that is pervasive in our corner of the blogosphere (do spheres have corners?) There is plenty going on in this regard.

To begin with, Stephen at Singpolyma has been doing some great work with both ends of the comment. First, Commentosphere continues to develop, and offer a way for us to bookmark comments that we write on other people's blogs into a central location. The latest inroads there, aside from a possible name-change, involve the development of an interface that will import more data from the source comment and require less in the way of manual transfer. The more information that the service grabs, (and the less it "interrupts" the flow of reading, commenting & posting) the more likely it is to be used, I think. The comprehensive import function will require blog owners to add a script to their sites, enabling the cross-posting of all comments to commentosphere. In a sense, then, this becomes a re-sorter / indexer of available comments, & instead of presenting them chronologically by post as on the source blog, Commentosphere would file them by author, or tag, or whatever.

In addition to enabling the manipulation of the comments that you leave on other blogs, Stephen has also developed a Blogger Comment Syndication Service to allow the output of a comprehensive comment feed from a blogger blog. See the Singpolyma Tech Blog:

For blogs that are set up per the instructions, comments are archived by the service as they come in, the service being notified of new comments via email, thus enabling the service to include new comments to old posts in the feed (unlike the Farrago Recent Comments Hack, which only shows new comments to posts on the main page).

These tools will integrate a user's comments into the stream of their activity in the blogosphere. The next level of tools being developed for blogs seem to be designed to bind sites together more tightly, and to draw information that is peripheral in terms of "virtual geography" into a more visible and accessible location. This is an interesting process, of which more in the coming weeks, I think... For my own ten cents... I wonder if we'll reach a point at which blogs no longer have sites, and authors simply publish feeds that are selectively grabbed & formatted to suit the reader. Then this will truly be a feedosphere....

Posted at 5:08 PM by John.
A Consuming Experience:
The free "Keep Current Time" userscript by Jasper of Browservulsel for Firefox and Greasemonkey users has been updated so that the "Post and Comment Options" on the Create Post page, which Blogger recently hid away, will always be visible when you're posting.
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Posted at 4:25 PM by John.
Proliferating the new icons, Matt Brett brings us
The package on the new site has some new goodies. A couple new formats (EPS and PDF) as well as some pre-saved image formats (PNG, JPG and GIF) are included. An SVG version is on it’s way. I’ve created one and sent it out to a couple people to test before it’s included. There’s also legacy versions of the AI and EPS formats that go back to Illustrator 10. If there are other formats you’d like to see, or sizes for that matter, feel free to suggest them.

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Posted at 4:11 PM by John.
I have taken some advice from Google Blogoscoped: "I hope that when people adopt the new icon they still put the word “Feed” or similar next to it, or else we end up with mystery meat navigation."

Thus the new icon makes an appearance in the freshblog sidebar, with some explanatory text to keep it company. Messy, I know, and probably to be revised, but the new graphic is there, at least.

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Posted at 3:39 PM by John.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Web Comments is a slick Firefox extension showing blog backlinks to the website you're viewing. It was only a short time before splogs started linking to popular websites so that they'll show up in Web Comments. At Google I see backlinks from a religious apologist, an AdSense site that clumsily scrapes news with no theme that I can detect and another scraper AdSense site with VOIP advertising.

Yahoo has several links from SEO sites. They're not talking about Yahoo; I believe they're linking to Yahoo purely for the purpose of getting seen in Web Comments. In this image, I've highlighted the spammy backlinks.

Cheaper than AdWords

I'm seeing similar results at other popular websites. Web Comments is enabling a new kind of spamvertising. It's a kind of site-specific AdWords campaign except you don't pay for the clicks. It's kind of ironic that Google is the company that created and promoted this extension.

Posted at 11:58 PM by Yokota Fritz.
The Blog Herald:
the plugin will be updated to include the ability to post Technorati tags according to Nick Wilson.

Hopefully we'll have the ability to change the URL's in the tag links? Then this will be a powerful tool for the tags & categories method. Let's see how the new feature works out, & whether we can adapt it for our purposes.

Update: The default URL points to technorati, & there doesn't seem to be an easy way to switch it yet. Have posted to the forums asking for that, & received a somewhat favorable reply. Interesting.....

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Posted at 9:30 AM by John.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
In a comment thread on Micropersuasion about the usefulness of mail to rss conversion services, Shantanuo has proposed another method for hacking together a comment feed.
If you are using, go to Settings - Comments - and type your rss open email address in the field called "Comment Notification Address". Or create a google group for the purpose and add email address. Each public google group apart from archiving posts, publish a number of feeds to choose from like RSS, Atom (15 or 50 messages).

So you can repost your comments in your own little Google Group and then offer the feed as a comment feed. I wonder if it formats more neatly than the mailbucket method? If you try it, let me know how it works for you.

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Posted at 4:43 PM by John.
So, Kinja's new features. I have some time to play today & have spent it exploring what's new.

Upsides, of which there are many:

Profile Cards. This is (at least in my mind) a work of genius. Not only can you syndicate a site's content using Kinja, but you can now view traffic information, analyze links, track inbounds, see the site on the wayback machine, translate the site, and label the site with tags, all from the profile.

In a great "find related blogs" move, each profile card also includes a number of small "preview plaques" (that's what they should call them, too!) for sites that Kinja considers to be related. They're calling these suggested relatives "kin". Plaques with a lilac header are ones that you already sub to. Plaques with a grey header are related sites that you might not have found yet, and that might be great additions to your digest. The presentation of traffic stats and related blogs on these pages strikes me as a great step forward, a powerful new feature, and a reason to choose kinja as your reader of choice. Check out the profile card for Freshblog.

There's more to this upgrade than the profile card, though.

The Kinja front page is now a v. clean search box with an alphabetical list of hot topics to pre-select if you're so inclined. All the functions are available from a window-top toolbar, with links to your digest, profile, tools and site help. Let's tour the options:

In tools, to begin with, you can manage your favorites from a new window made up of site preview plaques These show title, favicon & site description, & when clicked, go to the site's profile card. You can filter your subscriptions to display only those that have new posts from the past hour, day, week, or that post "infrequently." From the bottom of the page you can export your subs as an OPML file, which will open in a new window.

Back to the tools menu: There's a new Kinja Bookmarklet (added to my Blummy toolbox) which now has two functions. First, you can use it to display the Kinja profile card for any site that is indexed. It will also prompt you to add the site to your digest. I have yet to try it, having never successfully used the previous incarnation of the bookmarklet, but I'm optimistic that the made-over version will get the job done.

Add favorites looks pretty much unchanged, which is fine with me. The form is a "five at a time" URL input form, & will add sites to your digest. The advantage of Kinja over some other readers, especially if you're just getting your feet wet in the world of feeds and readers, is that they use autodiscovery tags to find the feed, and so you can input the site URL rather than having to mess about to find the feed URL.

is an option that allows you to hide either your whole digest or material marked with selected tags from public view.

provides a means to bring in an OPML file of subs, and also provides a brief guide to OPML syntax in case you're techy enough to edit or build your own file.

There's help available for the new features, as well as for the service in general. As I said, I think the profile cards are inspired, and I'm glad Kinja is back.

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Posted at 2:48 PM by John.
Darren Rowse at Problogger asks 'when is a clipmark a copyright violation?: "I don’t mind excerpts of my content being reproduced but to have a full page reproduced goes too far. This is why I have partial RSS feeds. To set up a service that has at it’s heart the reproduction of others work seems to me to be an unwise move - I can just imagine the legal fights they will have on their hands."

See especially the comments for related issues, and for feedback from Clipmarks founder Eric Goldstein. When is a public bookmark an unauthorised reproduction? Good (and sticky) question!!

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Posted at 8:16 AM by John.
Chris Pirillo: "We are now letting you... anybody design with CSS. Submissions will be added to a site-wide, dynamic style-switcher that will let users see their way - literally! Here's what to do: Download the design template and use your favorite CSS editor to whip up a spiffy new look for our site. We'd recommend TopStyle for Windows. Send your changes to Wait for your (qualifying) submission to be added to the list. Once added, all visitors will have the option to see and use it immediately.Get traffic - with full name recognition and a link back to your Web site."

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Posted at 8:07 AM by John.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Just as I was reaching my threshold for being ticked off & seriously contemplating a permanent flip to Google Reader, Kinja is back and they're back strong, with an extreme makeover and some great new features. (Please forgive the reproduction of the entire list... I'm a fan, not a plagiarist!)

What new features are available in this release of Kinja?

  • Users may search for sites and view a "profile" card that contains information about the weblog, including the most recent entries.
  • Bookmarklet finds the closest site match and displays the profile card page.
  • Related sites, or "kin" of a site are discovered by link analysis and displayed on the site "profile" page.
  • Users may view site "mentions," a digest of entries that link to a site.
  • Registered users may tag weblogs, and share tag-based digests.
  • Algorithmically determined "topic" digests replace the "editor's" digests.
  • Related topics are suggested for sites and favorites.
  • When available, a thumbnail of the first image for an entry is displayed.
  • Favicons replace the manually created, or user submitted icons on digest pages.
  • RSS and Atom feeds are available for all digest pages.
  • OPML output is provided for all "favorites" pages.
  • OPML import now supports the standard 'rssUrl' attribute.
  • "Confirm" screen displays closest match to existing sites in Kinja when site URLs are added through direct input or OPML.
  • Registered users may specify their time zone.
  • Limited (OK. Very limited.) support for languages other than English is added for registered users.
  • Fully searchable and context-sensitive help is available.
This is great, esp the tagging, and the profile cards, which allow easy access to inbounds, traffic graphs, & other site info for the sites that you subscribe to. And hey, how cool is it that now there's a single feed of my digest. Holy cow. It was worth the downtime, guys.... I'm in.

Posted at 5:24 PM by John.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Jasper reports that he's modified the Browservulsel tag-adder script so that it will now paste tags into the compose side of the window as well as the edit posts side. Awesome. The longer we go, the more integrated the tools get. Spectacular.

Posted at 7:41 PM by John.
Search Engine Herald: "All keywords [shortcuts] are customized by you. There is a few preset shortcuts just to give you an idea of it’s capabities: !my will take you to !mysp will take you to

you can also customize searches by adding variables: !news britney - will run a search on yahoo news for the term britney."

Pretty cool way of shortcutting all your frequent searches!

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Posted at 5:32 PM by John.
Micropersuasion on the standard feed button: "Now that Mozilla and Microsoft have standardized on this icon, I see little need to use the old XML or RSS orange buttons any longer. One reason is that this icon is how the coming wave of new RSS users will recognize feeds. Another is that it's truly global. The symbol works in every language."

It's like the Red Cross, but for Feeds...

In response to an eminently sensible comment from Wayne, here's the image, familiar to anyone who got into last week's couple of posts about live bookmarks:

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Posted at 5:26 PM by John.
Technorati's new widgets introduced and analysed at Problogger: "David Sifry has announced a few new interesting features over at Technorati including charts to help you track the interest in keywords, improved extracts, scoped search based on related tags and enhanced profile information. There’s some helpful little updates there that will make Technorati more useable and useful."

One caveat from my perspective. The summary of the inbounds to a given blog that links here, which is what I was using to estimate the weight / significance of new links, is gone. Not a huge deal, but still....

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Posted at 5:23 PM by John.
Performancing are moving beyond tips & tricks & into tools, & reaching beyond the problogging community to offer up a great looking Firefox extension that is useful to any blogger w/ Firefox 1.5. As they say at Performancing:
Performancing for Firefox is a full featured blog editor that sits right within Firefox. Just hit F8 or click the little pencil icon at the bottom right to bring up the blog editor and easily post to your Wordpress, MovableType or Blogger blogs.

Performancing for Firefox is for Firefox 1.5 and above only. We've made use of a number of cool new features within Firefox 1.5, so you'll need that version of Firefox to try it.

Have to give that a try & see how it compares to BlogThis!, & the BlogThis utility in Google Reader.

Via Problogger

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Posted at 8:42 AM by John.
Monday, December 19, 2005
8pm Eastern, & they seem to be back up. The sidebar at Freshblog is back to normal, the tools are all back in place with appropriately pulled content, and everything seems OK again. See the blog:
Update: We are back up! Now working on tag intersections, the search engine, and the inbox. Yahoo! has started helping out, so I hope to provide a higher level of service as soon as possible.
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Posted at 7:52 PM by John.
Steve Rubel at Micropersuasion points to some interesting new toys for us to play with: "Backbase has a whole bunch of AJAX web applications that you can test drive. One notable entry here is their RSS Reader.... Take a look at the AJAXy front end they tacked on to Yahoo! Search. You can really get a good sense for how AJAX technologies are revolutionizing the web as we know it."

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Posted at 7:49 PM by John.
Collision Detection: "I'm inside Asheron's Call 2, an online game that is scheduled to die in two weeks. It never acquired enough players to make it self-sufficient, so the game's owner -- Turbine -- is going to do something that only happens rarely in the world of online play: On Dec. 30, it'll flip the power off on the remaining servers, and an entire world will blink out of existence."

Enough to make me want to go explore before the environment becomes extinct....

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Posted at 7:44 PM by John.
For updates on the scenario, see the blog. Hopefully they'll be back soon. (though as Fritz points out below, this isn't the end of the world for Freshblog.

Love some of the comments on the blog, esp. a couple along the lines of "I have 6 windows open and need to bookmark this stuff...." What's the word for a addict?

Hmm. Browser bookmarks as a temporary stopgap? Pen? Paper?

Anyway... Best of luck getting it all up & working asap.

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Posted at 1:07 PM by John.
Dave Winer has a more extensive post detailing his vision for interoperability, automatic backup, and user-centered hosting. His suggestion that "the user [should] be in full control of his or her content. Users should insist on this level of support from vendors, or take their business to vendors who provide it" squares with the Nielsen top ten blogging mistakes list and emphasises the leap of faith involved in taking "your" stuff and mounting it on "their" technology. Both a practical and philosophical question.

For the short term, The Social Customer Manifesto presents a how-to for bloggers looking to back up TypePad content to a locally hosted file. via Problogger.

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Posted at 12:56 PM by John.
Julie at No Fancy Name takes you through the enhanced feed features of Feedflare, complete with screenshots and the repeated use of the verb "embiggen," which always makes me smile:
FeedFlare came about after the FeedBurner folks sat around thinking about "the importance of the feed item and the ability to leverage the structure of the feed to build a bridge between web services and the content item." Basically, this means you can select some stuff that will appear in the feed footer that makes it easier to see items/perform actions which are becoming more and more integrated with the whole blogging experience. The first release of FeedFlare includes communication between your feed and email actions, and Technorati links, and Creative Commons, as well as comment counts for WordPress feeds.

See the whole post for "Blogging in a Snap" style screenshots and arrowed captions.

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Posted at 12:46 PM by John. reported a weekend power failure took down their data center and wiped out their data. provides a useful, versatile service used by Freshblog and many thousands of other blogs and websites.

This outage isn't critical to Freshblog. You can't see categories or tag clouds right now, but in the short term that isn't a huge loss. Are there any websites or blogs for which is mission critical? Has this single point of failure completely crippled the function of any website out there?

Posted at 12:31 PM by Yokota Fritz.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Dave's Wordpress Blog takes a look at the typepad situation and reflects that there should really be a transferrable multi-format backup protocol for blog content: "This time, after the outage is cleared, we should begin a discussion, in earnest, about getting user’s data in a format that makes it easy to move between blogging software, and storing that data somewhere that’s not likely to go offline when there’s an outage. I think this will do a lot to help users feel empowered, which is the hardest part about not being able to access your blog, the feeling that there’s nothing you can do to help yourself."

If you wanted to switch hosts, your stuff would be easy to move, and if something bad happened to your hosting service, it would be easier to recover. I'll be interested to see where this leads.

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Posted at 3:52 PM by John.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Tim Berners-Lee is blogging. That ought to be worth a read!!

via Google Blogoscoped

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Posted at 8:18 PM by John.
Micropersuasion reports the hijacking of the ping-o-sphere: "According to a study performed at UMBC eBiquity Research Group at the University of Maryland, nearly three out of every four pings to blog ping servers are from splogs - or what they're calling spings! They also found that more than 50% of claimed blogs pinging are splogs. UMBC is also kindly providing hourly updated blogs vs. splog sping statistics on their Web site."

Check out Steve's original post to follow the links & see the graphics. What's next in the world of claiming and validation to cut down on this phenomenon?

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Posted at 2:43 PM by John.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Want to be live-bookmark-able in Firefox? Creative Hedgehog asks is your site livebookmark ready?, and tells you how to fix your autodiscovery tags if it isn't.

If you're not sure what live bookmarks are, & how you can use them in Firefox to deliver content to your browser for your reading pleasure, check out Firefox Help at the Mozilla help site. Basically, the orange radar pinging icon that you see in the address box or the lower right hand corner of the browser window when you're viewing a site with a feed is an invitation to livebookmark that site. Mozilla help even tells you how to make a livebookmark out of a feed that the browser hasn't autodiscovered. Very cool!!

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Posted at 1:32 PM by John.
I have one or two security / privacy concerns about this, but it might make source-chaining for blogging a little more straightforward. TipMonkies point out a new extension that can remember how you got to where you're at:
The "How'd I Get Here?" extension keeps track of how you got to a particular site for you, even if you opened a link in a new window or tab, and even keeps track of how you found a site you bookmarked earlier on in the day or even the day before....Please note you must have Firefox 1.5 or newer for it to work.
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Posted at 1:28 PM by John.
You're browsing the web and you see a cool new website. You want to blog about it, but first you want to see what everybody else is saying about the site.

Google has just released a new Firefox extension that pops up a little box showing what bloggers are saying about the website you're visiting. If you see something cool, you can also instantly blog about the site to your Blogger blog right from the site using this extension. I'm using this tool to create this post.

The edit box has your basic formatting tools though editing is a little kludgy -- it has problems handling linefeeds, for example, creating weird combinations of <br> and <p> tags that may goof up your post's appearance depending on how your CSS is set up. I'm resorting to editing with raw HTML because the formatting is giving me fits. Update: The tool completely stripped all of my raw HTML formatting before posting this to! It even escaped my ampersand codes by replacing the ampersands with "&amp;".

The comments appear in a little pop-up box which you can expand to a new tab to view all of the backlinks that Google Blogsearch finds. If the pop-up gets annoying, it's quickly and easily disabled and re-enabled with a couple of clicks. This extension can only be used with Firefox 1.5.

Posted at 1:24 PM by Yokota Fritz.
Matt Cutts:
Gmail added a simple way to go on vacation and set up autoresponding. It won’t respond to emails labeled as spam, and you can even choose to send autoreplies only to people in your contact list.

Very cool!!

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Posted at 1:24 PM by John.
whether it is a blog or not!! ProBlogger explains a new Google extension for Firefox that will let you run a search for blog posts that reference the page you're currently viewing. Great way to quickly access the opinions and contributions of the blogosphere. The integration continues....

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Posted at 1:19 PM by John.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Jasper at Browservulsel has updated the keep current time script to account for changes in Blogger's post & comment options, and to fix the hack. The keep current time checkbox will no longer be checked as the default, but the script will now function happily, allowing you to publish drafts timestamped for when you complete the final version, rather than when you initiate the post or save the draft. Cool....
Posted at 7:30 PM by John.
Another great reason to flip your default atom feed over to Feedburner, gang!! TechCrunch reports a suite of new Feedburner services, called Feedflare, that enable the integration of web-based blog features into your feed, breaking down some of the barriers between subscribers and readers, and offering blog-style information in the reader:
If a publisher chooses to include one or more services, they appear at the bottom of the feed. Currently offered services include:

* Email this - Send a link to your item to someone via email.
* Email author - Allow subscribers to email you directly.
* Technorati Cosmos - Display the number of links to your item from blogs, as measured by Technorati.
* tags - Lists tags for an item.
* Save to - Allows subscribers to bookmark the item with
* Count comments - Lists the number of comments posted to an item (for WordPress blogs only).
* Creative Commons - Displays the Creative Commons license that you may have applied to your feed or post.

I have enabled a number of these features on the Freshblog feed, and look forward to seeing what the open API throws up. If you're a subscriber, let me know whether these features are useful to you, and how they look in your reader.

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Posted at 8:32 AM by John.
If you're reading about bloghacking, chances are you've got at least one blog and you've tried out a couple of the hacks presented here. You've probably also got a broadband connection, a big monitor, the latest version of your browser and plenty of patience. But what about your readers? Do they share your enthusiasm for the customisations, neat tricks and experimental tech on your blog? Or will delays and errors cause readers to click-off, never to return? As an avid bloghacker, I'm as guilty as the next blogger of squeezing more into my templates than I probably should. But here, I offer some tips and tools for finding out just how far you can push it.

The first step is to know your readership. Whether they're accessing your blog via low-powered handheld devices or high-end corporate machines makes a difference - as does the security environment they're likely to be in. (Webstats can tell you a lot, particularly the user agent string.) With this insight, you can design for your "baseline": the bandwidth, screen-size, plug-ins (eg Flash? Java?) and security settings (eg cookies?) of a reasonable worst-case reader.

Next, not all browsers respond in the same way to warnings and errors, so you need to catch them all. The World Wide Web Consortium's validator service is a very thorough scrutineer of your page. While not every warning or error warrants your attention, it is worth a review. Remember: this service is not for the faint-hearted or those with fragile egos!

A simple check of file size is a good next step. Remember to check post pages, the main page and archives separately as they'll have different sizes. While "reasonable size" depends on your content and readership, it's worth remembering that every 10KB will take 2 seconds over a dial-up connection. I'd suggest that a 100KB page is too much and most blogs should manage coming in at around 30KB. If you're oversize, you may want to consider splitting up your headers (style and script declarations) into separate files. (Blogspot members may need to look at hosting these files off-site.)

A more nuanced view is afforded by the good people at I've been using their free service to monitor website performance for five years. You get a great breakdown of the different page elements - scripts, images, style sheets - being loaded. This is great for diagnosing problems on your blog and benchmarking against others. (I've included a bookmarklet at the end of this post to help with this.)

You should note at which point your page makes a call to your webstats provider (eg sitemeter). Up front? Half way? At the end? This is because readers who click-off (or abandon your blog during loading) before this point won't appear in your stats. If you've got a heavy page, moving your webstats script further up the template could help you pick up any missing traffic. Alternatively, as an exercise you can temporarily move it to the bottom to find out just how many readers will hang around for the page to finish.

Of course, this tool views your blog like a search engine spider: it will load but not run the scripts on your page. This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I recommend viewing your blog with javascript turned off just to see how it will appear to search engines. But still, it artificially limits the page rendering time, especially if you're bold enough to run scripts that invoke other scripts.

While most of us preview our blogs on our own machine (possibly trying out two browsers), we're still not recreating that baseline experience. Why? Well, for starters our machines tend to be newer, with later browsers. Secondly, the images and other files are probably cached locally, giving a snappier response. Thirdly, if you've ever crafted a bloghack or even just coaxed one into life, you'll be more forgiving of "minor" glitches, teething problems and other shortcomings.

What's the answer? For me, it's relatives' broken computers. The only silver-lining to another malware infestation call-out is the chance to see how my blogs render on first-load on an underpowered PC at 800x600 over a 4KB/sec dial-up, using an ancient browser with a host of "helper" plug-ins and bizarre security settings. Even better is when I see the reader reaction - what do they tolerate? What do they notice? What's the first thing they click on or read? This is invaluable feedback and frequently an eye-opener.

Once your blog's pages are being delivered to (and rendered by) the browser in an acceptable way, you can start focusing on optimising the content-side of blog usability to attract and retain readers.

What else can you do to understand reader expectations? What about other tools for monitoring or profiling reader experiences? Or does RSS and syndication obviate the need for this? Feel free to share your tips and thoughts on getting the most into your blog.


Bookmark: Drag and drop this link onto your links bar to make a button. When browsing, to profile the current page simply click the ClockThis button.


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Posted at 1:12 AM by Greg.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Fred Giasson reports upgrades to talkdigger, amounting to a whole new version of the service. Fr�d�rick Giasson:
I will call this version Beta 2.0. In fact, I would call it the Beta 1.0 considering that the first version of Talk Digger was in reality an Alpha one. Everything is new: the underlying system, the interface, the design, the RSS feed, etc. Why do I re-programmed/re-designed everything? Because I wanted to get rid of the first mistakes I have done in the previous version; I wanted to design it in such a way that it would be a good base to extend it in a new type of service (that I will develop in the next months).

Check out the new TalkDigger. Looks great, Fred!! I'll be interested to see what you're going to roll out next!!

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Posted at 6:36 PM by John.
Apparently Blogger might be cleaning house a little too well? How To Blog:
As is often the case whenever there is a free tool available, it gets abused by spammers. Such has been the case with Google’s free Blogger service, and lately they’ve been very active in trying to delete blogs that they view as spam (aka splogs).

Normally I’d say that’s a good thing, but apparently they’ve been a little overzealous in their cleansing of the system and many individuals are reporting that their legitimate, hand crafted Blogger blogs that they spent much time on have been deleted without warning or explanation.

Any Freshblog readers experiencing a problem?

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Posted at 6:26 PM by John.
Darwinian Web on the Micropersuasion feed reproduction situation:
RSS is creating a world [where people leave all their possessions outside their door and expect strangers to use these things] in the blogosphere, and there are signs it isn't all going well. Steve Rubel's complaint that splogs are stealing his content, and the associated comments, are a graphic example of the fuzzy boundaries that now exist in the area of RSS republishing. What is the proper definition of a splogger? Is Mark Cuban right in claiming that "Aggregation is not value add." What about Tech.Memeorandum or Technorati? Where is the boundary between a search engine for RSS items and an aggegator?

Here's the thing. There is a clear difference between a sidebar headlines feed, a "best of the web this week" reproduction of a couple of posts (with proper attribution), and the wholesale reproduction of every entry in a blog combined with an attempt to claim authorship (or at least the absence of clear attribution, which is an invitation to the reader to assume authorship.)

Interestingly, one of the content thieves (who blames the whole thing on his inability to access the site due to blog blocking educational software) has left an explanatory comment on Steve's original post. He has disabled the site, and claims that this will rob his readers of exposure to valuable Micropersuasion content. Alright, I'll bite... Even if this is true, he should've explained the situation & requested permission to syndicate the content behind the firewall. The attributions there were not particularly obvious, and there was no declaration of the reason for republishing the whole feed...

On to aggregation versus splogging: Mark Cuban's distinction between human hand as valid source and automation as bad may be appropriate for including material in Icerocket. I don't think it is very helpful beyond that particular circumstance. Aggregation certainly does add value when it saves a reader time and allows them to pre-select the material that they'd like to read. Reproduction, in contrast does not. The value is added by a Kinja Digest, a feedreader, techcrunch or memeorandum in terms of time saved, and in terms of the presentation / organisation of the material.

To move on from that to the adsense and problogging issue... What really bothers me about the whole thing is a comment on the original post at Micropersuasion, from Nick Denton of Performancing. Nick passes up an opportunity to take advantage of his position as a spokesperson for problogging, and instead of launching a conversation about defining ethics, Nick suggests that Steve ignore the problem. Dropped ball, there. By encouraging profit at the cost of ethics, he's diminishing the quality of the blogosphere and driving down the value of everyone's material.

The first rule of "performancing" ought to be that you profit only from your own output.

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Posted at 6:18 PM by John.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
On the up-side, the Siegenthaler prankster is unmasked after being exposed and delivering a hand-written apology. On the down-side, Businessweek's "Best of 2005" must be using Wikipedia for research, & have bought the "Adam Curry: New Media God" argument hook, line and sinker... They have also been busted by Dave Winer.

Upshot? Don't use Wikipedia for your homework, Kids!!

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Posted at 3:19 PM by John.
As a follow up to a great post on offering feeds in multiple formats, Improbulus has posted instructions re: "how-to include autodiscovery code for multiple feeds". This code goes in the head of your template and tells readers & search engines where to find your feed.

Can't decide whether this is a work of genius or an invitation for bloglines to explode as it tries to figure out what to index.

"Unable to compute...." What do you think?

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Posted at 3:06 PM by John.
Basang Panaginip offers an inline comments hack with some great additional features, that is actually a combo of three pre-existing hacks. The longer this goes on, the more complex the hackery, but the more satisfactory the results... The how-to, appropriately enough, is in a comment. I have added sources for the scripts...
"The comment form has a button for bold, italics, and links. It also has a real time automatic preview of what you are typing. How to implement it in your blogger:

1. Install the custom comment form from Browservulsel.

2. Install the quicktags from (you want the download link that appears early in the post, not any of the misc. functions stuff....) The script is a zip file.

3. Install the live preview from

That's it!"
Looks pretty good to me, although it is a lot of scripts to run at once. Definitely adds a lot in the way of features and functions to the comments field in Blogger. Very cool.

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Posted at 2:25 PM by John.
Improbulus explains a new feature at Technorati that lets you see the last time they crawled your site. See A Consuming Experience for screencaps and details:
if you've signed up and logged in to Technorati and have claimed your blog on Technorati, when you go to their ping page you will see that against the name of each claimed blog it gives the number of days or hours ago that Technorati last indexed or crawled your blog....Remember you won't see that info unless you've both signed in AND claimed your blog.)

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Posted at 1:40 PM by John.
Steve Rubel's feed is being reproduced in full on other sites that are running adsense....& I'm sure that he's not the one seeing the income. What's the way forward? Micro Persuasion:
"Beyond going to partial text RSS feeds - which I am loathe to do - I have really no other course of action right now other to email the site operators, which I have done.

This problem is only going to grow over time. Perhaps some digital watermarking technology needs to come into play here. Or, once again, Google needs to step in and shut down all Adsense sites that are deliberately spamming the blogosphere and bloggers."

One thing to subscribe to a feed so that you can read it, or even to put that feed's headlines in your sidebar. Another thing entirely to publish the whole thing & claim that it is yours. I guess this is one good argument for partial feeds, or for feeds that can only be read by readers & can't be converted back into post-able text?

I clearly don't understand the economics of the adsense... but how many people would you have to do this to, & how many crappy low-traffic slum-blogs would you have to have, to make this worth the effort?

Plenty of talk in the comments at Micropersuasion about whether the republication of a whole feed is legitimate, with some commenters suggesting that "whining" about this somehow equates to MSM "whining" about the threat from the blogosphere. To those commenters I would suggest that there has to be a difference between excerpting a feed (with attribution) for an occasional "best of the web" post, & republishing that feed wholesale while pretending that you're somehow responsible for it. Are there RSS ethics that have yet to emerge as the new technology catches on?

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Posted at 1:27 PM by John.
Search Engine Watch brings news of a program to mash del.icious content into the Google Desktop sidebar. Pretty cool.
It's a beta, freeware. According to the website, "Bookmarks that you use often are automatically displayed higher in the list. (You can, of course, reset the usage data via the options dialog.) If you want certain favorites to stay at the top of list, you can 'pin' them there."

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Posted at 1:11 PM by John.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Have seen a couple of thinks this week about Hacking... One dealt with the Johnnie Lee Miller & Angelina Jolie / "Wargames" sort of hacking, & expressed the opinion that calling links & add-ons of this sort "Hacks" did a disservice to the fine folks who can change grades & move money without the owners knowing & all that good stuff.

The second piece, at Simplebits, talks specifically about CSS, & comes at the term from the other direction:
By using “hack” to describe often necessary code, a negative connotation can be attached, even if what we’re really doing is compensating for a browser’s shortcomings. When you hear someone say: “I avoid all hacks”, you’ve witnessed this negative connotation. Heck, we’d all love to avoid hacks — but we’re also realistic, living in the real world, and designing in 2005...
I guess I chose "blogger hacks" as a topic because that's what Google / Blogger call their user-generated add-ons. Funny how language changes over time, isn't it, and has different meanings in different contexts?

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Posted at 10:19 AM by John.
Yahoo bought Lots of optimism out there, especially from folks who were using MyYahoo 2.0 & wanted it to be better. Also some notes of caution:

Marshall K wonders what this will mean for Livemarks & for other utilities that use the API to pull data & re-format it:

So tell me about yahoo's API's? I honestly don't know. Is Livemarks going to get a cease and desist if they don't run Yahoo ads?? I don't know where the author of director lives, but I hope it's a country with limited WTO IPR influence.

Really, all the best new social bookmarking services are syncing up with already. It should have been a public utility, I swear. yahoo's MyWeb2.0 should have been doing that already. I thought everyone but Furl was. Perhaps that's the grounds to challenge the behemoth. This is a huge coup. This is bad news. This is bad news for the world in general. Inasmuch as Web 2.0 is a technology and not a property, this is bad news.

But I bet the URL will become more understandable to new users.
I raise this on Freshblog because the advanced hacks that readers have developed to format output from their accounts may be affected. How does Yahoo feel about the API? Thoughts?

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Posted at 9:34 AM by John.
From the blog:
"We're proud to announce that has joined the Yahoo! family. Together we'll continue to improve how people discover, remember and share on the Internet, with a big emphasis on the power of community."
Expect monetization to appear on soon.
Posted at 12:53 AM by Yokota Fritz.
Friday, December 09, 2005
It's like a CNN crawl, only a little less intrusive and a bit more customiseable. Paul Stamatiou: "Essentially, you subscribe to a bunch of feeds and everytime you log into Gmail it loads the lastest title from each feed which you can scroll through with left/right arrows. This isn’t too helpful as you have to click the title of each feed to actually get any info (somewhat voiding the principle of aggregation)."

At least you can get rid of the damn silly quote of the day (Thanks, James Thurber, now take a hike!) & replace it with something you want to read.

And, in a slightly more positive tone, this is an effort at integration.

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Posted at 1:59 PM by John.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Binary Bonsai takes an aggressive but animal-friendly stance on the partial feed issue:
if you're serving excerpted feeds, you're killing kittens.

'Nuf said!! (Meow...)

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Posted at 8:48 AM by John.
Google Blogoscoped:
Either Gmail changed the way they’re calculating what counts against your storage limit, or they indeed emptied the trash today. Andrew Hitchcock reports, “I just logged into to Gmail and noticed half a gig of stuff was gone. I looked in the trash and sure enough they finally deleted it.”

Let's see what changed over there. Of course, as a recent convert, I have not even begun to fill all the space, but interesting to know that there's something happening over there....

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Posted at 8:45 AM by John.
So, recently (w/ the gmail switch) subscribed to the feedburner feedmedic alerts for my feed.. Now have a problem, as the image of geeks in scrubs jumping out of medevac helicopters is seared irrevocably into my brain... It's like M*A*S*H, but for RSS... "Call the Feedmedics"....

Anyway. Get a frequent msg that suggests that things are not quite smooth between blogger and feedburner. The message is this:
The name "xml" is not legal for JDOM/XML Namespace prefixs: Namespace prefixes cannot begin with "xml" in any combination of case.
Am curious to know what this means, whether it is anything I can control, and whether I can fix it. Also wonder how it affects subscribers. Any thoughts?

Posted at 8:26 AM by John.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Kevin Burton would like to see links in comments brought back from the dark side.

Discussion started around nofollow rel links and how it was a shame that all comments fall into the same nofollow category.

If a weblog has comment moderation this behavior could be changed a bit. If the comment is approved the nofollow relation wouldn't be used. This way valid comments with links would contribute to PageRank (and other ranking algorithms).

If the comment isn't approved we could move it to a comment spam feed (for lack of a better name).

The feed wouldn't be user visible of course and all links would have nofollow just in case google finds it. It could then be used by other weblogs (and spam detection systems) to help fight spam.

As a frequent commenter elsewhere who often links back to relevant stuff here, I think this sounds like a fine idea. The approval of a comment through moderation ought to validate the links and enable the juice.

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Posted at 7:59 PM by John.
Blogspotting asks "What's a wiki good for?"
"Wikis are structurally capable of handling conversation, but it is not their forte; instead, wikis excel at collaboration. They are intended to maintain a series of unique documents as their content evolves and to provide an organic means of organizing that information."

I think this is in part true, but I think that the bigger issue is that facts aren't always facts. Lots of things are open to interpretation, which is why writing about history isn't a science. The way you put together "unique documents" will change the interpretation of history.
In the light of the Adam Curry debacle, the L.A. Times wiki that was overrun with adult content and a recent controversial biography of John Siegenthaler, I would like to suggest that a wiki is best used as a tool for communication in large communities which are bound and defined by other means... (within corporations, for example, where contributors are accountable to one another by way of the organisation) but that the open-access to editing format is vulnerable when editors have no other obligation to one another. So is a wiki an intranet tool but not an internet tool? Hmmm... Sociology...

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Posted at 6:37 PM by John.
Micro Persuasion brings news that Squidoo is in public beta. :
Squidoo is like a blog. It's an online platform that makes it easy for anyone to build and share lenses on topics they are passionate about and establish thought leadership.
If you're an expert, you can log in and establish a lens for your area of expertise... If you're a webmaster, the site promises an increase in pagerank & juice because the lens will be a credible inbound. An invitation to abuse? Let's see. For now, check it out & see who's already built a lens & what they're expert at.

Update: In the interests of testing the service, I have built a blogger hacks lens, & will add to it as the opportunity presents itself. I have linked to 2 other blogger lenses too:
Let's see whether a community builds up within the service to rival those that can be simply built between regular webpages.

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Posted at 6:26 PM by John.
Thank you to John for welcoming me to Freshblog! I started out on Usenet in 1989 (using the old style bang! addresses), and used FidoNet before that. While FreshBlog is about blogtech, my primary interest is not in blogtech per se, but many of my interests intersect with issues of blog hacks, tips, tricks and tools. For example, usability, accessibility and communication are big for me. I like to answer the questions, "How do I find what I'm looking for on the net?" and "How do I help people find the correct information?"

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important to me, but only from the standpoint of helping people find what they're looking for. I run a website about cycling -- I'm not interested in your traffic if you want to know the latest basket weaving techniques. Ironically, some of my highest search queries have nothing to do about cycling!

Enough about me. Here's something for you. Bloggers (readers and writers alike) tend to have a high speed Internet connection, excellent web research skills and analytical capabilities, excellent written communication skills, and special areas of knowledge or fields of expertise.

Did I just describe the Freshblog reader? If so, Google wants to hire you. They're looking for people in the USA and Canada with those qualifications to help with ad quality evaluation. Via Search Engine Watch.

Hmm, I'm going to have to load up John's tools to do categories his style.
Posted at 2:19 PM by Yokota Fritz.
Am pleased to announce additions to the Freshblog team. Driven in part by my feeling that they ought to be able to express their ideas without my mediation and without being buried in the comments, Greg and Fritz have agreed to make contributions here as and when they are moved to do so. Thanks for your support & willingness to contribute. I look forward to seeing what interests you...
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Posted at 9:26 AM by John.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
ProBlogger, with a great list of design & writing tips specifically focussed towards increasing page views on your site, and keeping your readers around a little longer. I particularly like 2, 4, 5, 10 and 11.

These suggest that you interlink between posts, develop compilation pages, maintain a series, build an interactive community, and post quality content.

For a fuller description, and to review the rest of the suggestions (including the eternally recurring "partial feed" recommendation) check out Problogger.

Update 12/7: Pete from Blogger Buzz is with me on the partial feed thing (or perhaps, vice-versa, I am with him). Either way, we are in agreement:
Personally, I discourage tip #8, which says to include only summaries in your RSS feeds. I likes me my Google Reader, and get a bit annoyed by sites that only have the summaries instead of full posts. I think it’s better to include other ways to get your feed-reading readers to come to your site, perhaps with the aforementioned intra-blog links, or (ProBlogger tip #10) encouraging community in your comments.
Ah, the partial feed debate that will run and run....

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Posted at 5:48 PM by John.
The review of Protopage 2.0 concludes with a wistful and provocative comment:
It would be nice if someone could come-up with one useful product that would incorporate everything I use on daily basis. Maybe we’ll see something new in the future that will allow me to only use one web application instead of the 5-6 different ones I use now.

So, a Freshblog experiment. An open comment thread to list the things you'd want out of such a service. Some things I might choose would be displaying unread e-mail, newsfeeds, feeds from key blogs, perhaps "recently tagged" lists from or flickr.

Does the "stuff in boxes" format fall down when you ask it to handle more than a half-dozen feeds? Could you bundle the feeds to get more than one in a box? Would that refresh too often to make it useful?

If you're so inclined, comment away 'til we're resolved all relevant issues and designed the perfect portal...

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Posted at 3:28 PM by John.
Maybe fallout from the downtime? Don't see my quick-edit pencil on my blog when I'm logged in, and don't see the left & right arrows to navigate the "blogs of note" on the blogger login page either. Was there an icon day-trip scheduled for today that no-one told me about?

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Posted at 2:23 PM by John.
Improbulus at A Consuming Experience has isolated a bug in the "keep current time" Greasemonkey hack from Browservulsel. Whether because of blogger formatting changes, or the 1.5 upgrade, or both, there's a new conflict between the functioning of blogger and the operation of the script:
It seems the combination of the changes and ticked checkbox means that when you click Edit, instead of displaying the date/time that the post was originally created it now displays the time when you hit Edit (even if you then untick the checkbox, it won't revert to the original date/time). And when you finish your edits and publish, you'll find that it's published as a brand new post, it doesn't publish back to its original location.

As Improbulus notes, since Blogger establishes post location / permalink based on time of publication, this is a problem. Solutions that are recommended there? Edit your posts in a browser that isn't running greasemonkey, or manually note the date & time from posts that you edit, and reset them to that time when you're ready to publish them again. Note that you can always alter date & time manually when you select the new "post & comment options" link at the bottom of the create post frame in the compose window.

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Posted at 12:01 PM by John.
Just a brief comment on last night's blogger outage. The posting interface was up, but all the blogs I tried were down, and the blog, which is my first port of call during all whackiness / outages, was out too. I wrote todays posts in draft last night, saved them without links, and edited them for publication this morning. So, blogger was down. Nor am I the only one to notice. Not good. Any comment, blogger?

Update 3.15pm: Blogger Buzz
announces a return to business as usual:
You may have noticed a bit of an unplanned outage for Blog*Spot blogs yesterday afternoon. We’re really sorry about this. There was an unlikely problem with some of the Blog*Spot machines that took our engineers and operations folks a few hours of work to track down. In something of a Catch-22, both Buzz and Blogger Status are hosted on Blog*Spot, so we weren’t able to get the word out that things weren’t working properly and that we were fixing them.

Hmmm. Methinks a new home for too, perchance?

Posted at 9:26 AM by John.
While we're looking at multiple-blog solutions & hacks, it occurs to me that I have never written about OldCola's multiple blog category hack. This, I think, is the original category hack, prior to the tagging craze, & is number one in Google results for blogger categories. I didn't choose this method because it seemed complex, and because I was interested in the additional exposure that comes from tags being listed on / picked up on Technorati. 'tis, though, an effective solution to the categories issue, and should be listed.

The way that this works is with blogger's e-mail to post function. You set up blogs for each category, and post your original posts to those blogs. Each of those is then set up to auto-forward content to your main blog. The source displays in the post title, announcing the category, and a sidebar link back to the single-category blog would serve as effective navigation / sorting.

So, not as complicated as I first thought, & apparently very effective!! Cool.
Posted at 9:01 AM by John.
Amit at Digital Inspiration has a different strategy for establishing a comment feed on your blog (which is probably a good thing, since I'm getting a whole lot of errors from mailbucket and not so many fed comments....) Update: Had made a dumb mistake w/ the forwarding... have fixed it & feed should now be enabled.

Anyway, enough about me. What about Amit's hack? Well... His solution involves a second blog.

This method relies on a two-step e-mail hop for your comment notification. First you set up your second blog, then establish a post by e-mail address for that blog. Then, (here's the clever part) you make the comment notification address of your main blog the same as the post by e-mail address on your comments blog.

Then take the feed for your comments blog, convert it to javascript, and paste it into your sidebar.

For more information, and a detailed how-to, see Digital Inspiration. Great hack!! Thanks, Amit!!
Posted at 8:55 AM by John.
Monday, December 05, 2005
BlogSEO, with another way to look at the data coming out of
Livemarks now has an application in an interesting utility that monitors posts and their link popularity. Data is displayed in a table with colors indicating which links are new, which ones are rising and falling. You can begin procrastinating and get hypnotized by the data flow over at Obviously there is an RSS feed available so you can stay updated as you go.

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Posted at 5:21 PM by John.
Micro Persuasion offers up a couple more portal alternatives. This is starting to get good!!
Two new Web 2.0 RSS readers recently crossed my radar. One, pictured above, is called Protopage. This is a free start page that you can customize with RSS news feeds, sticky notes and bookmarks. It's akin to Goowy, except that it's quicker since it does not require Flash. Another is

How long 'til a browser offers a portal page as their default?

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Posted at 2:42 PM by John.
Improbulus at A Consuming Experience has hacked up a way to offer both full and partial feeds on your blog using Feedburner. This is a great post, & this hack will allow the reader to choose their preference for feedreading, taking the pressure off the blogger who only offers one or the other. Of course, if you're only offering partial to drive traffic to your site, then you're probably not into offering both, but if you want to propagate your ideas as widely as possible, check out this great post!!
Whether to provide partial or full feeds is clearly pretty topical at the moment. I've been pondering the tension between the two, and the growing importance of full feeds, ever since Google Blog Search came out, if not before (in the context of Sitemaps). And I have devised my own solution to the dilemma (see my sidebar), which is - let's have them all: partial, full, excerpts, bring 'em on!

Improbulus has been getting a lot of recognition lately, and this post is an excellent example of why. Great stuff!!

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Posted at 11:37 AM by John.
Revised 7/17/06: Four versions of this script now exist, and each might be useful to you depending on your set-up and need for features.
  1. Script 3187: Basic Script for Firefox 1.5 and GreaseMonkey 0.6.4
  2. Script 1240: Basic Script for earlier versions of Firefox and Greasemonkey
  3. Script 2182: Deluxe Script by Johan Sundstrom w/ additional features
  4. Script 4712: Combination of Johan's Deluxe Script & Singpolyma's Trackback Script.
For scripts 1 & 2, see my original how-to. For script 3, read on here. Script 4 is introduced on the Singpolyma Tech Blog:

What is Greasemonkey?

Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that allows you to modify existing web pages with open-source user scripts, adding features & functions that will make your browsing easier.

So how does this make it easier for me to tag my posts?
  1. Use the Mozilla Firefox web browser (v.1.5)
  2. Install the Greasemonkey Extension (version 0.6.4, compatible with Firefox 1.5) Install instructions for Greasemonkey can be found at A Consuming Experience:
    To use Greasemonkey you have to first install that extension from the Greasemonkey site (Firefox users should be familiar with how - click the Greasemonkey extension link, if nothing happens and you see just below your tabs a message in horizontal bar that "To protect your computer, Firefox prevented this site ( from installing software on your computer", you should click "Edit Options" at the end, then "Allow" and "OK" to allow that site to install software, then try clicking the Greasemonkey extension link again, give it a few seconds then click "Install now". Close and re-launch Firefox.)
  3. Install Johan's Tag, Bookmark & Ping Script from View the text of the script in your browser, then go to the tools menu, & select "install this user script." For instructions & screenshots re: how to install a script, see
  4. Head to blogger, & in settings > formatting, set "show link field" to "yes." This will allow you to see the extra compose fields that are added by the script.
  5. Write a post.
  6. Add your tags to the tags field, space or comma separated (great touch, Johan...)
  7. This script does not require editing. The first time you select "publish" it will ask you a series of questions about how to format your tags.
    1. What text do you want to precede / introduce your tags? (Filed in:, for example)
    2. Tags that you'd like to add to all your posts (an "anchor tag", blog or author name, for example)
    3. What page on would you like the tags to point to? (your top-level account page, or an account+tag+tag page, for example)
  8. In the event that you make an error with these inputs, or want to reset them without reinstalling the script, you can click on the subtitle that introduces the tags field, which I have artfully highlighted with a red arrow below:

9. Publish your post. Note that you will need to be in the edit html side of the compose window when you publish. The tags will add to the end of the post, & will point to the location that you specified on
10. In a great feature, Johan has also used this script to add a "post to" link to the publish notification page on blogger, which will pop-up a window auto-populated with permalink, title, timestamp & tags. Just hit "bookmark" over there & you're all set!!
11. You can also ping several services from the same notification window to let them know that you've updated. (Beware of ping spam, though, if you have blogger set to ping, or if you run your feed through feedburner & have turned on their pinging service, this step may be unnecessary...) For instructions on how to configure the ping options on this script, see Johan's post on pinging.
12. These tags contain the rel="tag" attribute, so they're also valid on technorati & other tag search services, & your posts should be indexed there automatically, once they crawl your site. Technorati tags don't have to link to technorati. They can link to and technorati will find them because of the rel: tag attribute.

See the two posts at Ecmanaut that explain the features and functions of this script. Blogger Categoriser Script and Blogger Publish, Ping & Categoriser Tool. All good stuff. Integrated tagging for categories in the newest version of Firefox. Thanks, Johan!!

Update: To format tags on one line, instead of in a list, see Ecmanaut, where there are two sets of css for your template head. One puts the list on one line, & the second adds icons as your tag bullets. Very cool.

Update 3/1/06: The script has been updated to allow tagging inside the new RTF-powered blogger blogthis! Thanks, Johan!!
Posted at 3:42 PM by John.

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