Blogger Hacks, Categories, Tips & Tricks

Monday, January 30, 2006
Two more sites added. You can now see Freshtags in action on Simple Code, where there's a very cool "multi-list" in the sidebar, and on Stephen's XOXO blog. That's 10 blogs that I know of operating the system now. If you're running Freshtags & we haven't blogrolled you yet, let me know and I'll add you to the blogroll.

Conversely, if you're running Freshtags and haven't added the blogroll yet, I'd be more than happy to send you the code!!

What am I talking about? Well... Freshtags is a system that builds on the recent upsurge in social bookmarking, allowing you as a blogger to place a context-sensitive menu in your sidebar. FreshTags features an expandable category menu that reacts to other sites running the script, as well as to search engines, and will expand a menu of posts in your sidebar to match a search term or previously viewed tag. Your site can become interactive, and responsive to reader interests, automatically. There's two ways that this can work for you

The first is tag-grabbing. FreshTags can "grab" tags from search queries, and some other sites with taggable content, and reflect those "previously viewed" tags on the currently displayed page of your site.

The second mode is tag-passing. FreshTags can "pass" tags between sites that are running the service. As an example, If you expand the "Culture" category on Freshblog, then visit Greg's Vent blog, you'll find the "Culture" category there pre-expanded.

The goal of both of these modes of operation is to enable context-sensitive surfing between blogs, and to customize the presentation of your content for the reader.

For the scoop on Freshtags, see my recent post introducing version 0.5, as well as Johan's history post on Ecmanaut, and Stephen's post at Singpolyma describing his modified version. Chime in with your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions on the 0.5 post. [Comments turned off here]

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Posted at 7:34 PM by John.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Ed Kohler advocates third-party pinging, (at least when the party in question has linked to you and T'rati hasn't picked up the link...)
Imagine stumbling across a site that has linked to you, and noticing the site does not appear in your Technorati ranking report. Should your Technorati ranking suffer because of this oversight? Of course not.

The solution: Ping their site for them... You should get credit for your hard-earned link in short order.
via BlogHerald, where Liz Strauss comments that this will only work if the anchor text is specific / relevant. I wonder if that's the case, and if that's why Bloglines & Google see some links that T'rati doesn't?

See Ed's follow-up post for the controversial discussion about whether this is ethical...

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Posted at 1:07 PM by John.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Rhys has upgraded his Technorati Tag generator so that it can generate tags that point to custom URL's. Now I feel guilty for wrecking his weekend!!
Behold Technorati Tag Generator v1.5. No huge changes, but it's now compatible with a multitude of aggregators. For ease, Technorati,, Blinklist and Flickr are listed as shortcuts.
So, should you be inclined to reward Rhys for his labors, you can download the new version of the Tag Generator, and make a Paypal donation there too....

Thanks for the upgrade, Rhys. Very cool!

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Posted at 1:27 PM by John.
Friday, January 27, 2006
In another post-footer makeover, I have added Simpy, Blinklist, Digg and (rather optimistically, I thought) Slashdot to your list of bookmarking options, which still includes and Furl. Now you can bookmark Freshblog posts on any of those services with the minimum effort.

Thanks to Otis at Simpy for code that will work there (it just needed blogger template tags), and to E-Lamb for the Digg & Slashdot code. There's a nifty table at E-Lamb of the variable template tags for a number of blogging platforms, so if you're on MT & want to add this, you can.

Code for all 6 services follows, encoded for display on the page using the Centricle Encoder, which is a great tool!! Simply save your own copies of the images and replace yourURL with, er... your URL.

Note that I inserted a space in the blinklist code immediately prior to the word Description because I needed to force a line-break.

This supercedes my previous "1-click bookmarking to" post, and adds more services. You can obviously delete the links to any engines that you don't want to include. Have fun bookmarking!!

<a href="
Description=&Url=<$BlogItemPermalinkUrl$>&Title=<$BlogItemTitle$>&Tag=<$BlogTitle$>, "><img title="Blinklist" border="0" align="absmiddle" alt="blinklist" src="http://yourURL/blinklist.png"></a>

<a href="<$BlogItemPermalinkUrl$>&title=<$BlogTitle$>: <$BlogItemTitle$>" target="_blank"><img title="" border="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" src="http://yourURL/delicious.gif"></a>

<a href="" target="_new"><img title="Digg" border="0" align="absmiddle" alt="digg" src="http://yourURL/digman.gif"></a>

<a href="<$BlogTitle$>: <$BlogItemTitle$>&u=<$BlogItemPermalinkURL$>" target="_blank"><img title="Furl" border="0" align="absmiddle" alt="furl" src="http://yourURL/furl.png"></a>

<a href="<$BlogItemPermalinkUrl$>&title=<$BlogItemTitle$>"><img title="Simpy" border="0" align="absmiddle" alt="simpy" src="http://yourURL/simpy-icon-16x16.png"></a>

<a href="" target="_new"><img title="SlashDot" border="0" align="absmiddle" alt="slashdot" src="http://yourURL/slashdot.png"></a>
Posted at 6:32 AM by John.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Greg Yardley's made the switch from, in support of the principle of sharing revenue with users.
Simpy [will] let you add your own AdSense links to your bookmarks page, allowing you to make 100% of the revenue, that got my attention enough to dust off the Simpy account. I love revshare with end users - it strikes back at the whole ‘Web 2.0-colonialism ride the long tail of user-generated content to riches’ theme by treating people as publishers, which is exactly right. So I’ve switched over to Simpy.
Greg also has some great ideas about how Simpy might leverage their user's importation of adsense to corner the market. Interesting...

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Posted at 1:25 PM by John.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Jason Shellen, aside from posting a great Top Gear clip, highlights a new feature of Google Video:
on the side of most ... clips there is a 'Put on site' link that will allow you to grab a snippet of code to put on your blog. Very slick.
Add the clip straight in to the post. Awesome. Do they make video about blogger hacks?

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Posted at 6:54 PM by John.
In the course of exploring what's new in the world of tags tagging, I ran across Rhys Wynne's newly-created Technorati Tag Generator.
It's quite a simple program that allows you to generate HTML code for tags from a list of words. It also allows the creation of prefixes and suffixes (which can be saved) which are added to the code at the beginning or the end (this allows different styles to be made). Once the code is generated, it can be exported to any HTML editor, by copying it to the clipboard.
Pretty cool. I imagine that a bookmarklet or greasemonkey is probably still a little quicker, but this is a great solution to the problem. I wonder how easy it is to customise the URL? Nice work, Rhys!!

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Posted at 6:19 PM by John.
Another service leaps beyond the function for which it was originally designed.... Now you can add the features of Feedburner's Feedflare to your blog post footers as well as to your feed.

The newly enhanced FeedFlare service is live now and accessible through the "Optimize" tab. Our thoughtful designers have even created step-by-step Quickstarts for adding FeedFlare to your Blogger, Wordpress, Movable Type, or Typepad blog. But if you run into any snags or your flare just won't spark, drop into our Support Forums for help, assistance, alms, and more. You can also get the basics from our short FAQ.

If you've got a pretty basic template, or haven't messed with your post footer too much, this is a great way to add some features all at once. You get a technorati cosmos search link, post to, e-mail this post, subscribe to this feed... a basic post-footer toolbox, all in one. Pretty cool.

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Posted at 5:30 PM by John.
Hyperwords is a new Firefox Plug-In that includes blogthis! options amongst many other choices of what to do with selected text (search, shop, copy, e-mail, translate etc...) Tom Raftery has written it up:

What does it do? Well, the default behaviour is that, when you select text in your browser, a drop-down menu appears, giving you instantly available options of what to do with the text. This is quite cool and allows quick and easy access to functionality you might otherwise have to go to other pages to get. The Preferences settings for the plug-in allows you to select whether the data you select opens in a new tab, or a new page, in the foreground or background. Also, all the menu options are available from the keyboard.

These extensions are getting more sophisticated all the time.... (witness PFF earlier in the week). Pretty soon there's going to be the perfect custom tool available as your surfing companion, with just the added functions and features that you need....

And oh, BTW, this post is my test of the PFF integrated trackback and pinging. Let's see how it goes....

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Posted at 1:57 PM by John.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Phydeaux3 has supplemented his category method with a sidebar tag cloud which rounds off the hack very neatly and professionally...
This is only useful if you've implemented the category method outlined in the Blogger Categories with Delicious series. I initially was creating the "cloud" by formatting the normal supplied cloud then rewriting the links with another script. I ran into some weird problems with Internet Explorer and encoded characters doing that, so rather than drive myself crazy trying to figure out if I or IE was wrong I bit the bullet and dissected the tag cloud code for use....
Makes the whole thing look very slick!!

Posted at 8:24 PM by John.
Performancing 1.1 is out, and there's great stuff there for blogger users. The big fat holy grail of integrated trackback finally makes an appearance. You can put trackback URL's right into your compose form, and trackback as you publish. Yeah!!

You can also bookmark on with the same tags as you select for t'rati. The one thing I don't see is the ability to customise the tag URL... but the settings page is down right now (along with the rest of & the URL change might be an option there? Otherwise, there's a request for 1.2.

Check out a whole host of new features, and the promised integration with Visit for info, as well as the PFF page on Performancing where you can get a run-down of all the new stuff, and some helpful screenshots. V. cool.

And Integrated Trackback for Blogger? Inspired!!!

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Posted at 8:42 AM by John.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Upgrades in hardware have (hopefully temporarily) disabled tagrolls, linkrolls, and multiple-tag queries at

The same upgrades have also thrown a wrench into the operation of Freshtags in generic mode, as explained by Greg in comments on Freshblog and the blog.
Hopefully there's a swift fix in the works

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Posted at 9:44 AM by John.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Doraemon at Paolo Sebastio reports on how to use CSS to clean up post titles if you're using the Search Method for Blogger Categories. Pretty cool.... Now your post titles don't have to say, er... "Blogger Categories," for instance....

For other hacks this will work with, see my list of blogsearch method hacks.

For a wider range of Blogger Hacks, including a number of category methods, see Blogger Hacks, The Series.

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Posted at 4:07 PM by John.
Friday, January 20, 2006
In a bizarre time-paradox that will confuse me for days, it turns out that Improbulus had this all solved before I wrote my "here's the problem" post... either that, or she read my post and then went back in time to pre-invent the solution... (theme from "twilight zone" plays quietly....)
If your blogging platform (e.g. Blogger) won't let you write a post but then delay or postpone publishing it until a later date or time, you can still do that with a newish free service called Emailschedule. It was designed to schedule the sending of emails e.g. email reminders, but works to schedule blog posts too - and you can include HTML to include links, pics and lists. It's the easiest (if not only) way of scheduling blog posts that I've found so far.
Seems to meet the requirements, and I'm off to sign up. Thanks for the heads-up, Imp!!

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Posted at 3:41 PM by John.
Stephen at Singpolyma has some thoughts about using feedreaders for comment aggregation:
I am proposing a simple piece of standard markup. Most blogs that have comments feeds for every post have a link to that feed somewhere on the post page. If we made it standard protocol to set rel="alternate comments" (obviously, just like with relTag, you can have other things in the rel-list as well, but require both of these) for these links, the aggregators could pull them out of the page and get the appropriate URL.
The idea is that if you subscribe to a blog, your reader could be made to see new comments as well as new posts, and could show you the whole conversation. An interesting & provocative thought, and one that automates comment aggregation. Right now, there are tools that exist to collect my comments elsewhere, (but that requires me to bookmark each one) and there are a few ways to cobble together a comment feed, (but that creates a subscription to comments that are detached from their posts, and can sometimes "float" in mid-air for a while as you try to pin them to the post that they reference.) Perhaps this is a "Feedburner" possibility? They've already added significant "offsite" functionality to each post with Feedflare....

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Posted at 11:53 AM by John.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Phydeaux3 has written an extensive 3-part how-to for a version of the category method that creates a single, hidden post in the archives of your blog, and uses javascript to build a dynamic category list within that single post when you link there from the special sidebar menu. Very cool.
  • Part 1 covers the creation of the special dynamic post, and of a sidebar menu that will link to that post.
  • Part 2 deals with customising the link field for the addition of tags, as well as the construction of a one-click post-to-del.icious link that can remember your tags.
  • Part 3 is about hiding the category post on the archive page, so that it is only visible from the sidebar, as well as formatting the display of information on the category post.
This is a very comprehensive how-to, with some very sophisticated extra features. If you're comfortable editing your template, and you want to integrate your categories as far as possible, check this out!!

Posted at 5:57 PM by John.
Pete at Grogmaster is considering a hack that I'm sure we'd all find useful... a realistic post preview that is clued-in to the layout of your template in blogger and can accurately reflect the way that the thing is going to look, images, colors, margins & all....

That way if your pictures overlapped or went off the edge of the page, you'd know before you hit publish...

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Posted at 3:58 PM by John.
Taher at Websites, Mashups and More is creating an experiment to compare the Google Blogsearch and category methods. It'll be interesting to see how the study stacks up & what the outcome is, but the pro's & cons of each are pretty clear, I think.

The method is involved. Posts must be tagged & bookmarked to, but there are benefits:
  • Posts are listed on a public forum
  • Posts contain tags that can be picked up by other search engines
  • Posts are categorised as soon as you bookmark them
  • offers a spiffy sidebar tagcloud
  • Results can be exported as a feed and thereby used in services like Freshtags
Google Blogsearch is easy, requiring only a one-time template mod, but
  • it takes time for the posts to be crawled / indexed
  • Your categories are really keyword search results, and cannot be hacked or extended
  • Sidebar links must be hard-coded, requiring a site republish to add a category
All "horses for courses..." Choose whichever method suits your blogging style!! The important thing is that, as blogger users, we have a range of choices about how we'd like to sort and categorise our posts!!

For more discussion, see the comments on Taher's critique of the method.

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Posted at 12:43 PM by John.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Another great essay from Rashmi Sinha, this one focusing on the social aspects of tagging.
Tagging enables social coordination that is simultaneously more direct and abstract than collaborative filtering. More abstract since we are exchanging conceptual information. More direct, since there is no algorithm mediating our connection. When we navigate by tags, we are directly connecting with others.

Flickr and both show that tagging helps in the spread of ideas, memes, trends and fashions. A related question - what role does it play in concept development, in social consensus building? ....What role do tagging systems play in ebb and flow of concepts."
This feels especially timely to me given the recent relaunch of Freshtags, which is all about the construction of community in the blogosphere through the use of tags, and the appropriate display of relevant information.

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Posted at 6:28 PM by John.
Webosphere reports the addition of a module on Netvibes. Looks like you can tag, bookmark and edit posts, as well as viewing tags and a custom-length list of your posts, all from the Netvibes interface.

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Posted at 5:52 PM by John.
Yes, I have discovered time-travel and am writing this post from the year 9000.....

But seriously, as you know, Blogger does not allow the automatic publishing of pre-written posts at a specified time in the future. 7cMarketing explores the alternatives, including the possibility of using e-mail to auto-deliver your messages at the desired time.
If you can find a free autoresponder service, you could set messages up for so many days ahead, if not for specific dates.

Autoresponder services, along with many email providers, do insist on adding signature dross or unsubscribe links to the bottom of emails, so you would need "to make sure this cruft doesn't get posted to your blog, put #end at the end of your post.
So what about the "post to blogger" super-secret e-mail address? If you can find a way to send an e-mail at a specified time, you can send it to that address, and post pretty quickly after that. Does anyone know of such an e-mail service that is free? There are some suggestions on 7cMarketing but they're all pay-to-play. This would hack around the other great missing piece of blogger infrastructure..... I'm looking into it....

Update 1/20: Improbulus had this all cracked before Christmas, and I missed it..... I'll be over here, in the corner, keeping quiet!!

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Posted at 4:26 PM by John.
Taher at Websites, Mashups and More has come up with a variation on the Google Blogsearch Category Method developed by Orangewise, Skeptic Rant and Netcf2.0.
The provides a search engine for blogs. All I needed to do is use the search engine and pass it the query that I am interested in. I started by looking at the advanced search options for the I found out that you could perform a search for a specific phrase in the posting's title. You can also limit the search to a specific blog. That’s basically all I needed.
This method looks for keywords in the post titles, and uses javascript to manage the sidebar menu... although I guess you can hard-code the URLs into your sidebar too? Pretty cool, and saves time on the bookmarking, as Taher notes in his critique of the method.

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Posted at 3:54 PM by John.
Improbulus explores and develops the principles involved in using Technorati's tag search for categories on your blog.
This new method, which I've been trying out since I discovered that Technorati have introduced much more powerful tag searching, should involve much less work going forward (always a good thing in my book), and it can even pick up your old tagged posts, but it still takes some time and thought to set up.

If you're curious, you can see the new system in action on this test blog (opens in a new window). It looks much like the manual system at the right hand side of this page, but peek under the skirt (as some would say!) and it's quite different.
For more, see:
and Improbulus's promised post 2, (link to follow!) This comes at an opportune time when Technorati are seeking feedback, & giving us the opportunity to respond to their service in a user survey. This functionality ought to be at the top of the list of suggested new features!
Posted at 8:09 AM by John.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Hey everyone, get over there and ask for tag-clouds... (or whatever else would float your boat!)
Technorati is planning lots of exiting new features for 2006 and we would like to know more about you, your reading and blogging habits, and the features you would most like to see implemented by Technorati this year. Our team has put together a 33-question Technorati survey to help us quantify your preferences and needs.
This is an interesting process, & I wonder what it is all about. I see questions about vanity searches and the frequency with which you tag (guilty!) as well as some about investigating businesses, checking out what people are saying about clients, and seeing what's being said about your own business. Is there a repositioning for the corporate market in the works?

There's also the suggestion of premium "pay" member services. I wonder what these would be, and I wonder if any of the existing "free" services will disappear behind a pay window?

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Posted at 6:00 PM by John.
Freshblog is pleased once again to serve as host and moderator for the development of a system authored by Greg Hill that uses the API to build interactive and context sensitive tag / category menus for the sidebar of your blog. We are pleased to announce v0.5 of the system, now called FreshTags.

There are several changes and new features with this version. The most significant is an expansion of the services that Freshtags can interface with, and the introduction of "listening" and "fixed tags" modes, making it possible for you to implement Freshtags even if you don't have a account of your own. New to tagging? Want to call some tagged content into your sidebar to see what's hot on & what all the fuss is about? Listen in to the tag-o-sphere with Freshtags.

If you're familiar with the service or are already running the script, feel free to scroll down to "what's new" below. If FreshTags is new to you, here's a brief explanation and a set of prerequisites. Please give serious thought to helping us test and publicize FreshTags. This section tells you how, & explains the features and benefits of the system.

1. History & Context:

Much of the material published here in 2005 has focussed on user-contributed add-ons for Blogger, and especially those that enable bloggers to organise their material into categories. The category system explored here substitutes for categories in blogger by using as a bookmark manager. An author tags their post, bookmarks that post to their account on with the same tags, and, over time, creates a list of posts in the same category.

One limitation of the category system has been the difficulty of displaying a list of your tags / categories in the sidebar of your blog. As the method caught on, and more bloggers became comfortable with the process, some users looked for ways to export a tag list from A number of tools were developed to make this possible. recently added a tagroll feature. Pappmaskin and Marc Morales independently developed scripts to create tag lists in special posts on their blogs. Greg pushed the envelope to develop FreshTags, a tool that is context sensitive and interactive.

For a detailed account of the history of Freshtags, see Johan's post at Ecmanaut describing the evolution of the service.

2. What's so special about FreshTags?

The Freshtags system features an expandable category menu that reacts to other sites running the script, as well as to search engines, and will expand a menu of posts in your sidebar to match a search term or previously viewed tag. Your site can become interactive, and responsive to reader interests, automatically. There are two main modes of operation for this feature.

The first is tag-grabbing. FreshTags can "grab" tags from search queries, and some other sites with taggable content, and reflect those "previously viewed" tags on the currently displayed page of your site. This is best explained by example. If you do a Google Search for "Freshblog", then visit this site from Google, you’ll notice my sidebar Freshtags menu expanded and “Freshblog” is pre-selected, with a list of all the posts in that category open for your browsing pleasure.

The second mode is tag-passing. FreshTags can "pass" tags between sites that are running the service. As an example, If you expand the “Culture” category on Freshblog, then visit Greg’s Vent blog, you’ll find the “Culture” category there pre-expanded.

The goal of both of these modes of operation is to enable context-sensitive surfing between blogs, and to customize the presentation of your content for the reader.

One additional Freshtags tool allows you to include a post-count in your archive menu, as you see in the sidebar at Freshblog. This gives readers a sense of the frequency & regularity of your blogging.

3: How does it work?

Freshtags relies on three chunks of Javascript code. The first goes in your template head, and links your site to the service. The second generates a list of the tags that your readers are able to choose, and the third creates the list of individual post titles that is relevant to the selected tag. (An optional fourth chunk generates your archive list.) To enable FreshTags, simply edit your blogger template to add the pieces of code generated on the build page, & your interactive menu will be operational.

4. Prerequisites:

Freshtags is a companion tool to the category method. To see maximum benefit from FreshTags, you need to have an account of tagged content for the Freshtags menu to pull from. For an intro to the category process, see my introductory post on the Bookmarklets Method, and the linked posts.
If you don't have an account of tagged content, and want to use Freshtags anyway, you can use it in Listening or Fixed Tags modes (see below).

You should also be comfortable making simple template edits. You’ll need to add three short sections of code to your template, save, & republish your whole blog to enable the features of FreshTags.

5. New Features in v0.5:

  • FreshTags now has a website complete with instructions, links and screencaps for new users.
  • FreshTags has a reciprocal blogroll. When you notify us that you're using FreshTags, we'll add you to the blogroll, and send you the code to include the blogroll in your sidebar.
  • Listening Mode: If you don't have a account, but want to run the service anyway to see what all the fuss is about, the FreshTags Menu will "listen" to the search queries of your visitors, and display content from the front-page that has been tagged with the same terms.
  • Fixed Tags Mode: Add specific tags to your sidebar to prompt your readers. FreshTags will notice when a visitor comes in with one of those tags as a search term, and will display content from that matches those tags.
  • Customisation: This new version includes more display options for the menus, to better match your blog. The display options for your tags are visible from the build page, and include a flat display on a single line, a flat list without hyperlinks, an unordered list, and a drop-down list.
  • Licensing: Distribution of the service and associated scripts are now governed by a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.1 Australia License.
  • Preview and testing tools: You can see the available menu options on the FreshTags Layout Test Page, and personalise a FreshTags layout for your tags on the FreshTags Build Page. The Build page will generate custom code for the layout options that you select, and tell you exactly where to paste the code blocks in your template.
  • Multiple Tags: Now your readers can refine their interests by selecting (and de-selecting!) a number of tags at the same time. This means they can drill down on more specific topics by combining tags.
  • Integration: FreshTags can now grab tags out of a wider range of web applications, including
    aolsearch, technorati (tags and searches), wikis (eg wikipedia) and some blogging platforms (eg ".../category/politics"). Put Freshtags to work for you even if you don’t categorise with Want to watch a set of tags on & pull a FreshTags list of recent content to your sidebar? You can.
  • Archives: Tag your archive pages with a post-count using the bookmarklet provided, and FreshTags will give you a sidebar menu of post titles for that month. You can also use the same zippy layouts to format your archives – drop downs, scroll boxes, lists etc.
  • FreshTags is styleable. If you want even more control over how the elements display on your blog, you can use from an external file or embedded between style tags to control the display elements. Size, colour, borders etc can all be controlled by using the class="showtags" for tag display elements, and class="showtitles" for title display elements.
  • Search Interface. Freshtags will load your currently selected tag into the "search this blog" box on the blogger nav-bar, allowing you to search for Freshtags content with Google Blog Search.
6. Sounds good!! Where do I sign up?

For this context-sensitive browsing to be effective, a number of us need to add the FreshTags service, and make use of it by visiting one another's blogs. To get started, visit the FreshTags site and explore.

On the main page you can read more about the service.

A support page defines the terms used on the site and explains advanced features in more detail.

The build page allows you to select the options that will best suit your blog, and generate the code for your template.

To discuss FreshTags, report bugs, clear up your questions and suggest improvements, leave a comment or trackback on this post, & we'll respond.

When you've added FreshTags to your blog, leave a comment or trackback to let us know that you've adopted the service. We'll add you to the blogroll of users, and send you the code to insert the blogroll in your sidebar.

Have fun adding context to your blogsurfing, with FreshTags!!

Update: For discussion re: programming and operation, & updates of an alternative version, see Singpolyma

See Freshtags on Digg

Update 7/24/06: If you want to highlight your use of Freshtags for all the world to see, you can now add the Freshtags chicklet to your template, courtesy of Annie Bluesky from Blog U. Rockin' the Freshblog favicon too. Now that's branding! Thanks, Annie!


To add the chicklet, insert the following code:

<a href="" title="Categories by FreshTags"><img src="" alt="FreshTags"/></a>

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Posted at 8:39 AM by John.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Want to cycle a series of images through the header of your blog, with a different one popping up every time the page loads? William Bontrager has written a how-to that will help you.

The hack is in use successfully at Once Upon a Dreamer.
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Posted at 9:41 AM by John.
More on pulling Technorati tags to your sidebar, from Library clips :
I wonder if Technorati will provide code for a tag cloud for each profile…anyone hacked this yet?

…I noticed Alex Barnett from the CWH network, dropped his user tag cloud from Technorati into a post, I wonder if this same code can be placed in the sidebar, and for it to update as you update your user space at Technorati.

Otherwise the option is to hard code each URL into your sidebar which could takes a long time, and isn’t as fancy as a tag cloud…although if you only use 5-10 tags for your blog (more like categories), then this is a viable option…
So hey, Technorati... Any chance of a sidebar tag cloud? We'd use it, and we'd like it.....

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Posted at 9:20 AM by John.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
In a contribution that furthers the technorati for categories hack that is explored and explained in Freshblog's recent archives, Nathan at The Church at the Gate has hard-coded the search URL's into his sidebar. He's calling it "Technorategories..."
In a stroke of brilliance, I began inserting url addresses for all of my tags. Thus, "Technorategories" were birthed. I'm no HTML genius, but I don't know if anyone else has thought of this yet, but until I know otherwise, I am claiming the coining of the term "Technorategories". (I even did a google search to see if the word even existed.

I now have all of my posts categorized and sorted thanks to
Pretty cool, and in combination with the in-post tag bookmarklet, a great way to bypass & use Technorati for categories on your blog.

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Posted at 12:27 PM by John.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Pappmaskin's category method has been explored and explained by Gretchen at Young Ladies Christian Fellowship:
This method of categories uses Blogger Search to search your blog for whatever word you put after "tag=" in each category link, so your categories are variable and endless!
(It's not limitless, however, for only the 100 most recent posts will show up in each category.)
Check out the how-to.

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Posted at 9:13 AM by John.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Robert Scoble proposes an aggregation engine for posts that are heavily commented on. Great way to see the busy posts of the day and to quickly locate the focus of current discussions in the blogosphere. What would be required here to detect posts with high comment volume across multiple blogging platforms?
Memeorandum shows you blogs that have gotten linked to (the more links, the higher up on the page it goes). But no one is showing you posts that have received a ton of comments. That’d be useful. Particularly for something like photos. I’ve noticed that about 5% (or less) of my Flickr photos get commented on and the ones that do get comments are usually my more interesting photos.
This would be useful beyond flickr too. What if I could take my subscriptions / feeds and rank them in terms of comments posted? That would put the "hot" posts at the top, and let me get into the business of the day much more quickly and effectively.

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Posted at 1:05 PM by John.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
1000 Tags is selling inclusion in their tag-cloud. For more, see Zoli's Blog:
It may not be that original, but certainly is “cool”. At $25–$100 for shared tags and a lot more for exclusive ones, it could very well reach $1M.

I sense a new “land-grab” rush develop here: it’s easy to boost your traffic by buying a generic tag that describes your blog/site/product and be the only one listed in that category ( at least for a while).
There seem to be two competing imperatives here... one is the urge / instinct to monetize everything, sell space, and make capitalism work on the web, and the second is the "spirit of the tag," a free label that enables the exchange, expression and location of ideas.I wonder if this is a mashup that will stick...

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Posted at 5:21 PM by John.
Blog SEO brings a tool that will take your Technorati Cosmos and "rank" you, ttlb style, based on the results. viz:

I'm a Proud Citizen of
Technorati Cosmos

How about you?

Pretty cool additional feature for T'rati data. I would be interested to know what the other stops on the ladder are called!! A cool graphic output of T'rati's cosmos data.... Check it out.

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Posted at 9:19 AM by John.
Blog Herald reports that a number of sites that post "supporting materials" for users of MySpace (templates, layouts, tricks, hacks, that sort of thing) have been cordially invited to stop, immediately:
The now Newscorp owned Myspace has sent out Cease & Desist To MySpace Domain Sites that actually support the Myspace service.

According to Search Engine Journal, the sites offer tools and downloads to a very loyal MySpace community including layouts, graphics and image hosting.

Hmmm. Let's imagine, for a moment, a site that collects material that enables users to customise their blogging service and to adapt it to their needs (shouldn't be too hard...) :-) Where's the benefit in the hosting service shutting the site down & denying their users access to those tools, resources and expertise?

That thing out on the water, on that surfboard... that's MySpace jumping the shark. Xanga, anyone?

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Posted at 9:10 AM by John.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Larry Magid & Anne Collier are running
where teens, parents, teachers and adult bloggers can learn about the benefits of safe blogging.
Looks like solid information, usefully organised. Well worth a look if your kids blog, & you'd like to know more...

via Blogger Buzz

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Posted at 6:01 PM by John.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
In response to a comment re: blogger archives and the reversing thereof, here's a couple of existing hacks that will get the job done.

To reverse the archives in a drop-down menu, use the Roveberg hack.

To reverse your archive display without a drop-down, try Witfits, about halfway down the page.

There's also a reverse archives hack offered on the Blogger Hacks page.

If you're more interested in making the list look neat, and less interested in reversing the content, you can use Li Zhao's drop-down list for your archives. All these hacks involve taking out the default archive code and replacing it with new code offered in the hack post, so backup your template before making the changes. Have fun!!

If you'd like to find yourself on the cutting edge of the interweb, road testing a new application that adds a great deal of value to the blogosphere, you could replace your default archive menu with the Freshtags archive used here.... of which more in the very near future....

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Posted at 5:25 PM by John.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Zoli's not that impressed with the new cosmos info in the T'rati search results, and I agree...
Until recently Technorati had...the actual link-count listed in the search results. If they insist on switching from meaningful numbers to cute graphics, could they at least be more granular, and have a color-coded scheme for major brackets, like 50, 100, 500 ..etc links?
Not a fan of mystery meat, or hover-over. Cut the info, I guess, if it is out of date or no good, but if it is useful, then just serve it up, plain-text style...

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Posted at 6:43 PM by John.
<     >
Google Pack
The consensus seems to be that it isn't about what you get right now, it's about what you might be able to get in 3 or 6 months, or a year, and that the big transformation here isn't what you get (at least right now) but rather how you get it....., via a pauseable updater that could deliver additional software to your machine in the months to come. Here's Improbulus:
Who knows what deals they could do with other companies eager to take advantage of Google Updater to get basic versions of their software onto consumers' PCs - reminiscent to me of Microsoft's arrangements with AOL etc to put their icons onto Windows desktops. If Google can get lots of people to adopt the model of one-click (or at least a few clicks) installation of software in the background over the Net, we may be that much closer to the Web replacing the desktop, or at least being the prime interface to the desktop. I wonder how worried Microsoft are?
and Charlene Li:
The real beauty behind Pack is Updater, the little program that automatically installs and updates the software. (In fact, it’s installing Pack right now as I’m writing this post I Word and posting it via TypePad – the computer hangs every once in a while, which is annoying, but for the most part, I see no degradation in my PC’s performance.) Once installed on the PC, Google has a direct conduit to the user’s desktop, which will be extremely valuable in pushing its own applications (current and future). Think of it as the next front in the portal/search wars to tie in user loyalty.

So I wonder how many people will accept Google's direct conduit to their desktop, and I wonder what extra services and software will be added for distribution this way? What will come along behind the brand loyalty?

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Posted at 12:54 PM by John.
Why, it's the delicious aroma of, er, To see stats from the service and to observe trends that will leave you wondering "why?", check out deli.ckoma.

from LibraryStuff

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Posted at 8:48 AM by John.
<     >
Stephane Hamel has set up a new blogger hacks blog at Scriptlet. There's a couple of goodies over there right now, and more to come, I'm sure.... I have subscribed look forward to seeing the good new stuff!!

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Posted at 8:45 AM by John.
Allow readers to tag your blog, & reflect their tags in the sidebar, using
What are the features and benefits?
By placing your Wanabo code on each of your pages, users can tag in real-time without refreshing your page, allowing the following:

* A taxanomy that is visitor generated
* A navigator that shows pages by context
* You have access to a nice tag cloud
* More internal traffic as users click on tags
* Valuable inbound links from our directory to your site
* We can build tags automatically from search engine traffic
* XML API access to your tag data
For some great thoughts about a publisher angle on this application, see LibraryClips

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Posted at 8:38 AM by John.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Jasper at Browservulsel has upgraded his custom backlinks script to make it run a little faster. If, like me, you're using the script, head on over there and upgrade to the new, faster version. Pretty cool! Thanks, Jasper.

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Posted at 9:27 AM by John.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Performancing have flipped their format. Now, instead of posting to their single & large-group blog, they're going to host a series of inividual blogs about problogging & link to the best & most focussed of those from the sidebar.
With the advent of PFF, and after some thought, and talks, we've decided to do away with the present format of submitting stories for review by Performancing, and have opened up blogs for all members. You can now register or login with the form on the top right menu and post directly to your Performancing blog!
If you have something to say about getting paid to blog, they'll host you while you do it.

I wonder where they're going next?

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Posted at 10:15 AM by John.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Johan presents a very neat hack for backing up your blog by saving your feed. For the code, and full instructions, see Ecmanaut:
Go to and type in your Blogger login information. This will yield you a very brief and to the point chunk of XML that at least Mozilla and Internet Explorer will render quite readably for you.... Mark and copy the URL in either (they are the same) href attribute of the blog you want to back up, and paste it into your browser's address field.
Much more efficient than sitting on e-mail copies of your posts, which has been my handy backup solution 'til now!!

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Posted at 6:12 PM by John.
Technorati have expanded their help section and co-opted some of the blogosphere's hints & tips, blogger-hacks stylee. Check out their new howtos and tools, and let's see how the collection grows.

via A Consuming Experience

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Posted at 4:36 PM by John.
Great looking category hack from A Consuming Experience. You might have seen the slick categories in the sidebar over there and wondered how to get something similar for your blog... Well now you can. The code is available in full with examples and detailed directions. On the upside, it looks great. On the downside, this is a manual method that requires a template edit to add a post.... but if you're an infrequent poster, want to keep your categories for just your best stuff, or if you'd like your sidebar to look very slick indeed, this is the way to go. Thanks for the how-to, Improbulus!!

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Posted at 4:21 PM by John.
Here's my initial thoughts about the integration between and Performancing for Firefox:In terms of features and such, I'd like to see:
* The ability to customise tag URL's, so that users can point the tags that they add to either their personal page on t'rati or to their acct.
* Features from the current dedicated extension, such as bookmark this / tag this / jump to my acct etc added to the performancing window. That way a number of additional significant features will be accessible from the performancing console, & it will be useable as a bookmarking tool as well as a blog posting tool.
* Perhaps the ability to bookmark to / ping could be added to the "posted successfully" notification page?
* If that's possible... (here we go!) could the bookmark to feature remember / read the tags that were added to the post and auto-insert them in the bookmark form to save on cutting and pasting?
I'm still thinking, but that's my first ten-cents worth. Head to Performancing to make your contribution. They have a general post about the coming upgrades, and one that is specific to

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Posted at 11:11 AM by John.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Many thanks to Johan, who has revised his excellent Greasemonkey Tagging Script to interface with the new Blogger Blogthis! It sounds like it was abig deal because blogger shook things up in the back room when they redid the tool. See ecmanaut:
I want to add native trackback support to Blogger, not make things that used to work fine keep working fine -- and within weeks of the time I embraced and extended some feature the first time too, at that.

Anyway, the script is updated to cater the changed BlogThis! page, and thanks to some other user feedback earlier today, I also fixed a few old bugs of mine. It's quite possible the script works with the ftp publication mode now, too, and not only the Blogger hosted mode of publishing, as before. Do tell if it does or not; I don't have any test setup myself.
Anyone publishing w/ FTP who can provide the necessary feedback?

Thanks, Johan, & thanks also to Jasper at Browservulsel who revised his script also. Your efforts are appreciated!!

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Posted at 7:37 PM by John.
If the neat one-button multi-rss image employed here is a bit too "mystery meat" for your taste (as I often think it might be) and you want a full suite of custom chicklets, see TwisterMC's Chicklet Creator 2, which lets you create and format "easy subscribe" & "easy post" buttons for many of the major readers and social bookmarking sites. Pretty cool.

via Paul Stamatiou.

Posted at 4:59 PM by John.
Performancing reports that their custom extension is going to interface more closely with when it is updated. They're looking for suggestions for features, and I think that Freshblog readers who tag for categories are well placed to help in that department.... Let's see what features we can come up with & request them!!

Posted at 4:01 PM by John.
Monday, January 02, 2006
Looks like Blogthis! got an upgrade? I almost fell off my chair tonight when I was presented with a full range of rich-text editing options and an interface that looks & feels very much like being logged into your regular account. Pretty slick!!

Out of interest, does the fact that the form is a proper web form now mean that we could greasemonkey it to add a tag entry field?

Hey.... just askin' !!

Update 1/3/06: For more, see Blogger Buzz

Posted at 8:13 PM by John.
<     >
Bounty County
News of a cool new service for the trading of open-source programming skills comes our way from HorsePigCow. Check out Bounty County's list of funded open-source programming projects, and leave a comment here if you pick one out to work on!! What's a bounty project? well....
"More often than not, a bounty project consists of fixing a known bug in a platform or product for a fee ranging between $50 and $300."
Sounds good, especially if you've already got the skills!!

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Posted at 8:10 PM by John.

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