Blogger Hacks, Categories, Tips & Tricks

Monday, July 31, 2006
Not one to (often) use a teaser in the title, I'm blowing the surprise up front. Anyway, 7cMarketing links to John at FindingTheMoney, and John provides the ultimate traffic tip for bloggers both pro and am. The whole thing takes time, regardless of effort:
Time to get indexed. Time to get out of the Google sandbox. Time for the algorithms to do their thing with your rankings. Time to become like an old reference book to a few web surfers. It all happens in time.
John also suggests that you'll need some time to find your voice & build your community, & he's right, of course. Let's call this a late submission to Darren Rowse's "If I Had To Start My Blog All Over Again" series, which now consists of eighty insights into the evolution and development of the blogs of multiple authors, including a discussion of the time it takes to write a blog. As for building the site, If I had to start my blog all over again I'd know that it takes some time to get off the ground.

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Posted at 9:02 AM by John.
In a very cool viral marketing campaign which ought to pay off big-style, the folks at Plugaid have rolled out a version of the service with a slightly different (and freedback related) purpose. They're calling it CreamAid, & I can't decide whether to tell you what it does, or let the marketing do the work! Perhaps I'll update the post in 24hrs & we can discuss the idea in response to comments etc?

As my post title suggests, what interests me here is the idea of a bridge between blogs and "regular" websites!

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Posted at 8:46 AM by John.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
As regular readers will recall, a while back Technorati introduced the ability to limit tag search results to posts from a single user account. There was much rejoicing in this little corner of the blogosphere (do spheres have corners?) as JohnT, Imp, Nathan and myself put shoulders to the wheel to turn this into a viable method for tagging and categorising content.

All of which is a roundabout way of highlighting the implementation of said category hack by Carolyn at Field to Feast. Not only are the categories slick (esp. w/ Technorati's recent makeover) but the recipes are delicious (no pun intended.... really... well, alright, maybe a little......)

If you're looking for categories without the hassle of bookmarking your content, consider Technorati tags!

Update: Phydeaux3 points out that the tag-tool that's being used here is the Magical Sheep Technorati Tagger Greasemonkey Script. Greasemonkey once again enables the most integrated and seamless solution to the issue.

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Posted at 4:17 PM by John.
Bloggeratto reports on the latest Phydeaux3 greasemonkey script, and 'tis a doozie. We're waiting, as you know, for the ability to write a post in Blogger, save it on a Sunday, and tell it to publish itself on a Wednesday. We're not there yet, but Phydeaux has boosted one of the existing solutions (to manually change the date on the post when you publish) by extending the range of available dates via Greasemonkey to be infinite! Now you can pick any 4-digit year that floats your boat, & publish from there. A highly specific niche, to be sure, but an interesting tweak too. Cool.

The mainstream solution for automatically post-dated publication comes from Improbulus, and uses EMailSchedule to time the posting of content via mail. I wonder if you can tell it to send you an e-mail from 1947?

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Posted at 3:43 PM by John.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Highlighting some of the truly innovative stuff here on Freshblog, and road-testing a new hack at the same time, I've added in a horizontal menu underneath the page header. I looked at a couple of these, in an effort to help Chaim get one off the ground at Life of Rubin. We ran into an MSIE compatibility error with the first effort, but the menu at Alsacreations seems to be browser-proof and was pretty easy to install & customise. Chaim's implementation turned out even slicker than the implementation here, I think!

The installation is pretty straightforward. There's a pre-formed stylesheet for your template head, and a chunk of HTML that goes where you want the buttons to appear. I ran into an issue with my existing CSS, and had to make some changes to the code as provided. It took some work w/ the CSS at Freshblog to make sure that the formatting only applied to the buttons under the header, and not to all of the lists on the page, but formatting the list in its own class seems to work, and we're good to go. Check out the basic code at Alsacreations, and see whether it will work for you!
Posted at 3:21 PM by John.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Is there a Feedreader hiding their stats under a bushel? We dropped from 832 readers to 554 on Sun, & have yet to recover...

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Posted at 8:27 PM by John.
<     >
Doc to PDF
Had cause to make a PDF this weekend, wanting to create an electronic document that would retain formatting and look the way that I wanted it to for all eternity (bwahahahahah!) I used and was more than happy with the result. You upload your doc, specify a filename, and enter an e-mail address for delivery of the PDF. Pretty soon, the thing is in your e-mail as an attachment and can be downloaded to your desktop. Easy and quick. There's a 2mb file size limit, so that transcription of War & Peace that you're working on won't fly, but otherwise you should be in good shape. Give it a whirl if you're looking to convert a document to a PDF on the fly.

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Posted at 5:51 PM by John.
Friday, July 21, 2006
I've noticed that Google's Blogsearch seems to have been crippled for at least 24 hours now. When you restrict the scope of the search to a single blog using blogurl: it will return only one result.

Check it out:

Search all blogs for FreshTags (no problems)

Search Freshblog for FreshTags (only one hit - should be dozens!)

It seems to apply to self-hosted, non-BlogSpot blogs too, as well as across different time periods (12 hours, day, week etc) and the RSS/Atom search feeds.

Even using a different option (eg "Freshblog in the title") seems to produce the same (solitary) result.

Of course, this means the Blogger Navbar is broken too. Not to mention Aditya's Native Blogsearch.

I haven't turned up any buzz on the interweb about it yet ... is it restricted to just a few blogs?

Anyone got any theories? It can't be the indexing, since the pages show up in a universal search; things just go awry on the restricted ones.

What blog search engines do people like to use instead? Personally, I've never had a satisfying experience using technorati ... there's gotta be something better out there.

*** Update ***

It seems blogsearch is back!

I'm getting normal behaviour now with all the variants (RSS, Atom), and for all the add-ons (NavBar, native search).

I wonder what was going on?

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Posted at 10:41 PM by Greg.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
As part of a useful walkthrough of what Technorati can do for you, Kyle's Cove features Keotag, a tag generator that allows you to customise URL's for either Technorati,, or Icerocket. They also offer a tag search, and a social bookmarking link generator for static URL's. The tag generator is an alternative to other online tagmakers, and is well worth a look if you want to add tag code occasionally and don't have access to a customiseable browser.

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Posted at 2:06 PM by John.
Another new field of hackery opened up. Vincent Cheung brings us the option of encrypting posts. You use an offsite javascript encryption service to encrypt your text and assign a key, & then the code provided by Vincent to add the text to your blog. Multiple blocks of encryption are permitted, and each block of encrypted content can be decoded using the same key. If your blog is for a specific audience (your classmates?) or if you want to leave select posts for select readers, this looks like a fun way to go, as long as it is legal.

Another great thing about this hack? It's been wikified!

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Posted at 9:00 AM by John.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Question of the day seems to be "When does the for: feature on become a spamcatcher and not a recommendation tool?" Steve Rubel has featured a process by which a sales pitch, bookmarked to, might then be "pushed" to users of the service using the for: feature. Stowe Boyd responds that this risks turning into a mighty crapcatcher, and I'd have to agree. Seems to me that any time a mass communication is pushed through a network that was developed for personal communication, both the message and the network lose value. The For: feature in strikes me as one part of the system that is personal.

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Posted at 5:40 PM by John.
More goodies from Hackosphere, this time arising directly out of the previous hackosphere hack to reformat archives. Ramani has written a script that will pull a post out of your archive and display it on your blog for 24 hours, then the script will dip into your archive and pull out another post for display.

If your content is not time-sensitive, and if it is consistent in quality, this would be a great way to freshen your front page, cover for yourself while you take a vacation, & recycle your archives. Check out this hack on the BloggerHacks Wiki.

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Posted at 9:17 AM by John.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Comments are the life blood of a blog. Whether from regulars or people just passing through, having a say is the essence of blogging. In this post, I review the various methods for getting your most recent comments into the sidebar of your blog, where they belong. I also unveil a new hack, Hearsay, which helps format and display your readers' comments.


After writing up a few entries on comment feeds for the Blogger Hack Wiki, I thought I'd road-test a few methods to get it up and running on my own blog.

My brief was simple. I wanted "near-real-time" comments (say, 10 minute delay), displayed on each page along with a timestamp, the author and a link to the original post. I also wanted to show the first few lines of the comment and have control over the number of comments displayed. Any code should be lightweight and not stress my diskspace, bandwidth or the user-experience. Some AJAX-stuff might be nice. Oh, and did I mention it had to be free, secure and entirely lacking in hassle?

Dead Ends

The first method I looked at was Blogger's own recent comments "hack" (I use the term begrudgingly). They point out that this will only display comments for posts on the front page, in the order of posts. On my blog, most comments are on past posts and I only keep three on the front page (long articles), so this is useless.

Next, I tried the Farrago Recent Comment Hack (as featured here on Freshblog). I found this suffered from the same limitations as the Blogger one, albeit formatted a little better.

It dawned on me that formatting wasn't the issue; getting my hands on a comment feed (preferably RSS) was the thing. But how?

I moved onto one I was hopeful about: Singpolyma's Mailbucket hack. This involves setting up your email account to forward your comment notification messages to a Mailbucket email address, which in turn publishes it as an RSS feed. It is a mail2rss application and took all of two minutes to get up and running. Very cool.

Unfortunately, the HTML of each comment gets "lost in translation", so important information - like the URL of the post! - disappears while the rest is mangled. It can be recovered on HTML pages that Mailbucket provide, but then I'd have to scrape those so ... what's the point of getting it as RSS? I don't mind telling you that this was a big blow, and I even got underway a still-born effort to cobble something together with iframe elements pointing to Mailbucket's HTML page. (That is one hack will stay locked up in my dungeon lab, never to see the light of day.)

So I tried a variant of this approach, using Shantanu's Google Groups hack. The idea is to forward comment notification emails to a special Google Group setup for the purpose, and then tap it via RSS. A little more hassle to setup - fortunately I had a Google account - but the result was the same disappointment as with Mailbucket. Messages were truncated. Stuff got chopped out. Bits were missing.

I toyed with Thom Shannon's excellent Blogger Comment Feeds hack. Good as this is, it requires a BlogID and PostID to fetch all comments for a particular post. I doubted that this could be re-purposed to get recent comments across all posts. Not without doing something really, really, ugly. And regretable.

A Path Clears

OK - that left me with one option: Amit Argawal's Comment Feed Using Another Blog hack. The implementation was a breeze: create a new blog, strip out most of the template and set it up to receive (and publish) emails from my Gmail account. Then, setup my Gmail account to forward comment notifications (as above) to the new blog. Now I can securely and automatically capture comments and get the comments as HTML, RSS, email - and it took about six minutes! Brilliant.

[NB: Call it superstition, but I'm uncomfortable about search engines finding a large repository of content word-for-word identical with big chunks of my blog. I figure it would count against me in search engine rankings and something could accidentally get labelled a splog. For that reason, I try to keep the location of my comment group and blog a secret, using the various "do not publish/ping" type options ... I suggest you do the same too.]

One Hurdle ...

Now, I was getting fully-fledged RSS and Atom feeds, replete with well-formated HTML and important timestamp and other info. I pumped the resulting comment feed through good ol' Feedburner, to collect stats and other goodies. Now, for the display: Feedburner's RSS-to-HTML service was a problem in that the fields referred to the comment blog, not the post blog. That is, the titles of all the "posts" (actually, comments) were like this:

[The AFL Player Spectator] 7/11/2006 05:19:22 PM

the URLs pointed to my comments blog (instead of my "real" blog) and the author was always me (since the comments were forwarded from my Gmail account). This problem would also afflict the RSS-to-JavaScript solutions out there too. Fortunately, the required information about URLs, timestamps, authors etc was in the bottom of the RSS description field (as Blogger kindly put it in the footer of the notification email).

What's needed was a script to extract the info from the feed and make a nice presentable chunk of HTML for display. This would also mean you could publish multiple comment feeds from different blogs on any page - not just blogs. Mull that over!

The Way Out

Enter "Hearsay". This is a legal term for (roughly) repeating what someone else said. I call it this because comments go from Blogger, to Google, back out to Blogger, to Feedburner, to Ning and finally to the reader. (Honestly, I find it's best not dwell on it.)

Anyway, this script grabs the RSS feed of your comment blog (perhaps via Feedburner, perhaps not), runs it through Singpolyma's XOXOtools Ning app for conversion to JSON for some poor-man's AJAX-style asynchronous rendering, based on my backlinker hack. (No, I'm not just mashing my fist on the keyboard - these are all real words.)

Long story short, if you want recent comments in your sidebar, setup a Comments Blog, then put this in your main blog's template header:

<script type="text/javascript" src="">

And put this in your sidebar where you'd like your really most recent comments to magically appear:

<div id="recent-comments" ><center><br/><br/><br/>Please wait ... <BR/>loading comments.<BR/><BR/><img src=""/>
<script type="text/javascript">
hearsay("", "recent-comments");

Replace the URL with your comment blog's RSS feed. That is, not the atom feed (atom.xml) - the RSS one (rss.xml). That's it. You can check it out in action at The Speccy - scroll down and look for comments in the sidebar. (I apologise in advance if any of you blanch at the level of venom in the comments; it's the nature of my blog.)

It displays a list of comments, including a description comprising of the author, "friendly" elapsed time, title of the post and URL of the post. You also get a short summary and, on mouseclick, the full text of the comment. (Formerly mouseover - thanks Johan, for the advice.)

Of course, you can tweak it. (Hey, this is Blog Hacking, not Blog Cut'n'Paste!) You can set the number of comments (default is 5) and the maximum number of characters (truncated to the last whole word) by putting this in the script above, just before the hearsay(...)

comCount=5; comSize=100;

You can also add styles in your style sheet. The description has class="hearsay-descr", the summary is "hearsay-summary" and the full text is "hearsay-full". You might like to add some CSS like this:

border: solid black 0.2em;
padding: 0.2em;
margin: 0.2em;
color: #222;

to make a border appear around the expanded comment.

Lastly, I added a little button that will "grow" your list of comments:

<div id="more-comments"><center><span style="font-style: italic; padding: 0.5em;" title="Display next five comments"><a onClick='comCount+=5; HSProcQuery(JSONfeed);'>Older Comments</a></span></center></div>

You can change the 5 to what ever you like. Eg comCount*=2 will double the list with each click. Based on similar logic, you could make the summary size grow or shrink too.

Please feel free to use the hack (human-readable source code here) and make any modifications you like (it's licensed under Creative Commons). I'm still feeling my way with this stuff, so I'd be delighted to hear of any suggestions about the code or presentation; what would you want to see in a sidebar comment solution? Drop us a note below ... who knows where your comment might end up.

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Posted at 11:34 AM by Greg.
In response to a couple of reader e-mails this week, I thought I'd get into Trackback a little bit, & walk through the what, why, how for anyone who wants to add this feature to their Blogger Blog. So, some questions about trackback...

Update 10/11: The installation details apply to "old school" Blogger & not to Beta. For links to beta-approved code, see today's post.

Read on for a general intro to trackback:

1. What is Trackback?

Trackback is a system for letting someone know that their post inspired you, and that you wrote a response to it on your blog. This works by sending a "ping" to a specific post's trackback. Most trackback setups will then display an excerpt of your post, and a link to it, in the footer of the source post. This is a way of tying your content to the material that inspired you, and letting readers of the source post know that you've added to the conversation. True trackback also adds a little something to your blog's search engine profile, because the trackbacks count as additional inbound links. Read on (or find the **) to see why this won't help us at Blogger. For more, see Wikipedia.

2. I have Google Backlinks already. That's trackback, right?

Not so much, no. Google backlinks is a useful tool that reformats Google's inbound-link search results, displays them in your post footer, and shows you the inbounds to that specific post. However, it doesn't allow a user to choose to ping your post, and doesn't allow you to ping a post that inspired you. Trackback is backlinks that is made of people.... (Phil Hartman doing Charleton Heston doing......) Trackback allows readers to choose to make a connection, and to choose the extract of their post that will get the job done, independent of whether a given search engine can see the link.

3. Why use Haloscan?

Haloscan is the only way I'm currently aware of for a Blogspot user to receive trackbacks. You can send them using a number of stand-alone tools, including:
Forrett has the added feature of specifying a one-click send link that will pre-populate parts of their form automatically from your post, which is great. So, we have sending trackbacks covered!

Now sending trackbacks is good. That builds your presence on the web and helps you to open a dialog with your source blogs. Being able to receive trackbacks, though, is better. Imagine for a second that there are blogs out there responding to your stuff. Wouldn't it be great if they pinged you too? You can shout Marco all day. Eventually you're going to need someone to come on back with a Polo!

This brings us back to Haloscan. If you're on Blogger, there's no way other than Haloscan to generate trackback URL's for your posts. Blogger does not support trackback or generate trackback URL's by default, and in order to be pinged, you'll need to have trackback addresses on your posts. Haloscan gets you there.

**The one thing Haloscan won't do is help you with your search engine ranking. As Fritz pointed out in the comments on Freshblog last summer, & as Phydeaux3 has confirmed in another context, search engines won't follow links that are generated by a script, & so they won't see Haloscan trackbacks as additional inbounds. This is still worth doing, though, because blog readers will see the links with their good old-fashioned eyeballs! Are you convinced yet? Good.

4. How do I Add Haloscan to my Blog?

Head over to the Haloscan create new account page and, er.... create a new account.

You'll need your new username shortly, so keep it to hand! After you log in, the first page you'll see is the installation instructions. Now ask yourself a series of questions.
  • Have readers already left comments on your blog?
  • Do you like Blogger's commenting interface?
  • Have you made any custom edits to your blog template?
If the answer to any of the above questions is "Yes!" I recommend that you go the manual route for installation, and that you install trackback functions only, & not the Haloscan comment system. If you have a new blog, a "clean" template, & no comments, by all means try the auto-install. Both sets of instructions follow:

Manual Installation:

So, you like your commenting service, or have comments that you don't want to erase, & we're going to go the "trackback-only" route, as described in the Haloscan Forums. You'll need to make two template edits, and customise the code that goes in your template head so that it contains your Haloscan username.

1. Log in to Blogger & select the template tab.

2. Add this code to your template head:
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
3. Edit the code to replace username with your Haloscan username.

4. Locate the post footer section of your template, where the timestamp, signature, and comment link is located. Add the following code next to the comment count.
<a href="javascript:HaloScanTB('<$BlogItemNumber$>');" target="_self"><script type="text/javascript">postCountTB('<$BlogItemNumber$>'); </script></a>
5. Preview your blog, then save and republish the whole thing.

You should be good to go. To see the Haloscan code in context, with some neighboring code for context, check out Shamalama's post on the forum.


If you have a brand-new blog and no comments that you're concerned about losing, and if you want to add both Haloscan Commenting and Trackback, you can select the Automatic Install Link from the Installation Instructions page.

Provide your Blogger Signon and Password. Select "Next"

If you have multiple blogs on Blogger, choose the one that you want to install Trackback & Comments on. Select "Next"

You will see your template, & be given the chance to back it up. Select the "Yes, Back up this Template checkbox." Then select "Next"

The required template edits will be made automatically. Any errors will be reported at this stage. Select "Next"

Finally, Haloscan requires that you go to Blogger, log out, log back in, & republish your entire blog to ensure that the modifications are saved correctly.

5. How do I send a Trackback Ping?

To send a ping, log in to Haloscan, and select the "Manage Trackback" tab. You'll see a list of any inbound trackbacks that your blog has received, and you'll be able to report any bogus trackbacks as spam.

To send, select the tab labelled "Send a Trackback Ping." Complete the form, and submit. Be sure to provide a permalink to your post (rather than the URL of your blog's main page,) and to enter the trackback URL of the post that you're pinging. This will be different from the permalink.

6. How do I know if I've been Trackbacked?

The count in your post footer will change. To view the text of the trackback, click the link. A pop-up box will appear containing the trackback URL for your post, as well as information about the linking post, and an excerpt.

7. Can I Make it Easier to Ping a Source?

You can, if you're comfortable using Firefox & Greasemonkey. Stephen's Trackback Script, or the new consolidated superscript that he whipped up w/ Johan, will add a text box to the create post page that allows the input of multiple trackback URL's. These URL's will be pinged when you publish, & will save you the bother of logging in to Haloscan after the fact.

So fire up the trackback, and let your sources know that they inspired you! Readers will follow the links back to your blog... you know they will!

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Posted at 8:30 AM by John.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Markus at Performancing highlights some new features and functions of the one-click Digg link for your post-footer. Now you can download specifications and an icon pack to integrate title, description and topic to the link, or go one better with a script that adds a Digg button w/ count. You can't go wrong with integration, and Digg clearly see the benefit in making it as easy as possible to submit content. Interesting, & well worth a look. I'll download the specifications asap, & perhaps work on modifying my 6 Icons for your Footer hack.

If you're going to use a script for this purpose, though, might I recommend Popmarks?

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Posted at 6:12 PM by John.
Is your Greasemonkey in a mess? Too many scripts & widgets? Not sure which script does what a this point? Pause, breathe, consolidate! Stephen and Johan have put their heads together to combine Johan's publish, ping & categoriser script with Stephen's trackback script. Now, with one script install, you can get all the features and functions of both scripts.
  • Add tags to your posts
  • Customise the tag URL's
  • Ping several services from the "Publishing Complete" page
  • Use the Trackback field on the Post Create page to add the URL's you want to trackback
  • Auto-add the first 200 characters of your post to the notes field on
This script will override existing previous versions of Johan's script. To use it, you'll need Mozilla Firefox, the Greasemonkey Extension, and the script. Read Stephen's launch post for more.

For detailed instructions about installing & handling Greasemonkey scripts, see the Freshblog Archives.... Just be sure to install script 4712 to get the new features.

Posted at 8:27 AM by John.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Had cause to revisit my "effective participartion" post this morning in the course of offering a reader my limited insight re: building your blog's traffic. In one of those "blogosphere is serendipitous" moments, Steve Rubel articulated the same philosophy clearly & directly today, boiling down the discourse to one simple behavior: Generosity.
The generosity dynamic that exists in the blogosphere is really
important. If you want to have a successful blog - one that is read
frequently by even a small audience of import - you have to be
generous. There's no way around it.
There really isn't. This is all about constructing a community, and virtual interactions have to be civil &c, just the same as real-life interactions. Find and contribute to your microsphere through generous interaction....

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Posted at 1:54 PM by John.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
users, that is... We've probably been there for a long time, w/ some lurkers and quiet users, but with the addition of BlogU and EvelynKang we're now blogrolling 30+ declared users of the service. So what is Freshtags? Forgive me as I quote myself...
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.
Interesting, huh? To find out how to add this to your Blogger blog check out the Freshtags site and our launch post.

If you are a Freshtags user & you're not on the blogroll, leave a comment here or shoot me an e-mail. I'll be happy to add your blog.

If you want to add the Freshtags blogroll to your sidebar, & start to pass tags w/ other users, add the following code:

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

Freshtags is still under development, & has served as an inspiration for a number of other creative blogger hacks. Let us know what you think of the service, and watch this space for more goodies!

Update 9pm: 3 additional users have declared since lunch!

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Posted at 1:20 PM by John.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
The gaps in Blogger make the big time, with a post at Platform Wars being picked up on Scripting News. First Phil's assessment:
Is this simply extreme "federalism" in Google? Do they want to let each part explore for itself? Have they decided that, strategically, blog-hosting isn't something important to them? (Blogs elsewhere host AdSense.) Have they essentially decided to allow Blogger to atrophy and die? Are there no, actual, people at Google who really get (or have ideas for) blogging?
and Dave Winer's response:
They're fighting the tough battle, and not doing the fun stuff, adding features that make real users happy. It's kind of frozen in time. And it's not helping the blogging tools market develop, having a big free competitor in the middle of the market, removed the incentive for others to invest in new features.
Econ 101 notwithstanding, (I would think that a big free competitor would actually prompt innovation amongst pay services, so that they have something unique to offer the customer?) the splog war is sucking resources from the Blogger platform, but there are also missed opportunities for a more dynamic and integrated service going begging, & there's lots of "market research" out there (much of it discussed here or listed on the Blogger Hacks Wiki) about the features that users are looking for. I'm interested to see what's coming, as discussed by Aditya at The Last Word, and it should be obvious that I'm a big fan of the service and the format. Some upgrades would be great, although I don't want Blogger to put us out of business...just prod us to modify and innovate at a higher level!

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Posted at 6:04 PM by John.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
More good stuff at Hackosphere (subscribed, btw). This time Archive Browser, a tool that parses a year's worth of selected archive pages, and reformats the content onto a single page for quick browsing, as well as quick & broad "find-in-page" searches. Want to find that post that you wrote about Britney Spears last time she was pregnant? Want to search for the stuff you wrote about Wimbledon in 2004? Format your archives for browsing!

There are two options for implementing this hack:

1. For frequent use, you can add a widget to your sidebar which will allow you to select a year.

2. As a cure for occasional lapses of memory, you can head over to the Archive Browser page & input your blog's URL.

Some alternate uses: This would make a great backup tool, since the page containing a year's worth of archived goodies can be saved to your hard-drive, and stuff could then be cut & pasted back into your blog if required. On the same track, this might make a cool "publish your blog as a book" sort of tool.

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Posted at 8:34 AM by John.
Monday, July 10, 2006
David Nicholson has devised another great way to add categories to your Blogger blog. There are two template edits required. One new code string goes in each post that you want to categorise. You make a minor edit each time to make the code contain the category that you want. Use Blogger's Post Template to keep the code handy, then all you need to do is add the category. David offers two versions of this post-tagging script. The first tags the posts without showing the tags, by displaying a transparent single-pixel image. The second has some display customisation options, and will show the selected category on the post.

To display your categories, David has whipped up a spiffy ajax sidebar menu with a dancing-cube widget (looks very slick) & all you need to do is add the code to your sidebar where you want the list to appear. Very cool! The list of posts in a category also includes a "display all categories" link to reload the top-level menu.

Amit at NerdierThanThou has offered a couple of upgrade suggestions, one of which seems to have been implemented already. David is not requiring an account or signups, and has a great "how this works" section in his post that walks the reader through the process. Good stuff!!

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Posted at 8:50 AM by John.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Another great Greasemonkey-powered mod for Blogger. Thom has written a proxy to convert comment pages to RSS, & whipped up a script that provides an individual comment feed for each post. This way, your readers can just sub to the conversations that they want to track, or to the comment threads that they contributed to.

If you're not a Greasemonkey user, & you're not ready to dip your toe in there yet, you can also hard-code the links per the instructions on Thom's page. Offer your readers the chance to track the relevant elements of the conversation, with Blogger Comment Feeds!

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Posted at 8:25 AM by John.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
While we're on the subject of the wiki... we've also had our first independent hack request added to the requests page.
i need to create a page in blogger which had had link but not a post. i saw this in one blogger blogs. pl help me how to do this .
This points up the need for the request page to collect standard & detailed information in the same way as the submit page does. Watch for the upgrade. In the meantime, if you're making heads, tails or purple kittens out of the above request, head on over to the wiki and respond.

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Posted at 12:56 PM by John.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
The Blogger Hacks Wiki ensnares it's first victim... er, I mean, gets the first fresh hack added directly by a user and not one of the content import crew. There should be a prize, but there isn't, and so the link-love from Freshblog (such as it is) will be the reward!

have an admin console icon that you can use when you're logged in to Blogger to send e-mails to your commenters notifying them that you've written a comment in response to their comment... Pretty neat. There's an explanatory post, and a page of code chunks, at Hackosphere.

Thanks, Ramani, for making a home for yourself at the wiki.

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Posted at 7:03 PM by John.
Amit at Digital Inspiration finds that 4.5 Million Blogger blogs still have the default sidebar "edit-me" goodies attached. In super linkbait mode, Amit suggests that this is laziness, and Nathan goes a step further and calls these folks idiots.... OK, I'll bite...

Admittedly, leaving these things in your template isn't the route to stratospheric blogebrity, & some might even argue that a default blogger template is equally mundane. Freshblog recently highlighted the relationship between time spent blogging & increased geekiness / tech skills, suggesting that as time passes, at least some of these sidebars will see some love & get some links.

Let's take 1/2 a step back here, though, and acknowledge that part of the power / purpose of the platform is that you shouldn't need to be a geek to have your say. Maybe at least some of these folks aren't lazy or idiots, or lazy idiots, maybe they're just focussed on their message. It is also reasonable to assume, I think, that a reasonable number of these virgin sidebars are splogs, and that those particular site creators aren't interested in making their sidebars pretty. The fight goes on in that quarter, and an incisive comment on Matt Cutt's blog once again highlights the Google dilemma of keeping search, adsense and hosting under one roof.

Perhaps we could see this count of unsullied sidebars as an indication of the popularity of the medium as much as an indication of the user's mental energy? As the title of this post suggests, this is also validation of the audience for modifying Blogger. Let's keep offering great mods!

via Inside Google, where there's also a comment that speculates on Future Blogger, with a Google Pages style drag and drop editor, & no default sidebar HTML....

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Posted at 5:06 PM by John.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Jack at Blog4Bloggers has published a great how-to describing the method for adding YouTube clips to your Blogger blog. Screencaps of all the steps are included. Follow along, and you'll be posting video clips in minutes! Very helpful how-to!

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Posted at 6:18 PM by John.
Waldwicht leaves a comment wondering whether it is possible to place tags in the footer of a post rather than in the body of the post. None of the tools that I'm familiar with allow this, & it doesn't seem to be the most straightforward thing to do, given that the post body updates / changes w/ each post but the footer remains the same. That said, I figure if anyone knows how, you're out there. If you think this is possible, or you'd like to do it too, hit the comments!

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Posted at 5:58 PM by John.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Backlinks reveal the Museum of Modern Betas, a blog and digital screencap exhibit (?) dedicated to tracking innovation on the web and exploring the explosion of new services that are available. There's a bunch of different ways to browse the museum. Pay a visit!

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Posted at 4:37 PM by John.
Efendi at Zlythern has created a great next & previous post link hack that he whipped up with moo.fx. Check it out, especially the great-looking scrolling between posts. Only crawls down the main page at the moment. How great would this be in a mashup with Greg's archive ladder?

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Posted at 2:57 PM by John.
Another specific application for tags: Freedbacking. Chris Pirillo has created this tag specifically to encourage (and enable the discovery of) free and constructive feedback.
Become a freedbacker - say something! Tell them they’re not doing something right - tell them how they could make their product even better - tell them what you want! Users own the word: Freedbacking, labeling the art of offering free (constructive) feedback. explain further, and Bloglines are already actively looking for the Freedback. Interesting way to encourage companies to monitor tagged content. I'd like to think, though, that companies are already out there searching for themselves, and keeping control of their virtual reputations? Anyway... I guess subbing to searches for keyword+freedback may become the norm. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that this is going to be a problem. Freedbacking won't always be the grammatically correct way to refer to this process, will it?

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Posted at 2:17 PM by John.

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