Jun 30, 2006

More Blog Tools

I added PDF this page and Fax this page buttons to the right side bar. These utilities let you do exactly what they say, Create a PDF file of this site or fax the content of this page to a FAX machine.

At first I wondered why would anyone want to do one of this items, then a application presented itself. I had added Kanoodle ads to Blogatech and they weren't showing up. I contacted Kanoodle and advised them of the problem and their response was "We see them just fine". So I created a PDF file of the site which showed huge gapping holes in the side bar where the ads should display and sent it to them.

I didn't get my problem solved but I was able to determine that Kanoodle and its Brightads program are total bullshit. You would think they would at least respond to my e-mail. I know they visited the site, as their ISP shows on my stat tracking record. Apparently their problem solving flow chart starts with "Blame the problem on the customer" and ends with " Ignore the problem and it will go away". Phew, feels good to get that off my chest.

I haven't used the FAX this page utility but I'm sure I will run across a situation where someone's ISP has gone done and I can use it to fax a web site to them. Maybe I can proxy surf for someone during a hurricane.

Anyway, you can add these features to your blog or you can visit the sites and utilize the service to FAX or PDF any URL you want.


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Jun 28, 2006

Custom Header Option

Here is another idea for you guys wanting something other that the stock blogger header. Go to fodey.com and create your Wizard Animation. Then resize the gif image, upload it to a host service and apply it as your header background.
Wizard Animation
You could adjust the size of the wizard image by copying the image to your hard drive and then use PIXresizer to change it's dimentions. For a typical Blogger header I would try a size of 720 x 200 for starters. Then you would upload the new gif image to a hosting service such as image shack. They would give you the new URL that you would place into your template. Here is the portion of the template where I set Blogatech's header background image. The area in red is where you would add the new URL of the Wizard Animation that you obtained from image shack.

#header {
margin:0 auto 0 auto;
height: 200px;
background: url(http://address of the image) no-repeat;
border-bottom:0px dashed #ccc;

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Jun 27, 2006

Image Mapping

You can create more than one link to a image with a process called "image mapping" The user will be directed to a different site or page depending on what portion of the image they click on.

For example, in the image below if you click in the white square with the Google name you will be taken to Google's site. Same with the square containing the yahoo name. The two black dead zone squares are not linked and as you hover your mouse over them you will see that the cursor's icon changes from a hand in a linked area, to an arrow in unlinked areas.

Here is the code used to produce the above image map:
<div style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://image address.jpg" usemap="#test" border="0" />
</div><map name="test">
<area shape="Rect" coords="0,0,89,89" href="http://www.google.com">
<area shape="Rect" coords="90,90,179,179" href="http://www.yahoo.com">
You can see by the areas highlighted in red that the linked areas are defined by X and Y coordinates starting from the top left corner of the image. These cordinates are measured in pixels. There are additional geometric shapes that can be used with the map command as well, here are some example areas and their corresponding coordinates"
area shape="rect" coords="0,0,0,0"
area shape="poly" coords="0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0"
area shape="circle" coords="0,0,0"
The cirlcle is defined with the X and Y of its center followed by its radius in pixels. The poly is defined by the X and Y of three or more points.

I typically use Corel Draw to determine the cordinates for creating my mapped images by setting the page scale to pixels. I then set the top left corner of the image to zero and as I cursor across the image the coordinates are displayed in the bottom left corner of the screen. Photo Paint also works for this in a similar fashion.

For those of you without access to these programs, there is a site online that will help you out. It's called the Poor Persons Mapper. Its free utility written by Chris Seidel that when you enter the URL of a jpg or gif image it will in turn create a web site of the image and as you mouse over and click, it gives you that points coordinates.

Image mapping is a great way to make custom menus for your side bar or even out of your header. Here is a more complex example. This should provide you with an introduction to mapping and for more detail tutorials just google "image mapping".

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Jun 26, 2006

Blog of the Week 06-19 and 06-26 of 2006

I've been slack on updating the blog of the week section. In an effort to keep the week numbers in order there are two winners posted today.

Week of 06-19 is awarded to a newbie to the blogisphere, Write Stuff Writing Service. The wordpress based site is published by freelance writer Dorothea Helms and it is rich in style. I really enjoyed the writing tips, great stuff for a hack like me. I expect fantastic things from this blog and hope you will visit and bookmark the site.

Week of 06-26 is awarded to The battle Rock Spot. Published by the Battlerocker who bills himself as a 2nd rate law student. I highly doubt the 2nd rate part.. The site is Blogger powered and sports a great template designed by Weblog Design Studios. Again I hope you all will follow the link and check it out.

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Jun 23, 2006

Practice Safe Browsing

Firefox is the free web browser that offers greater
privacy and prevents pop-ups, spyware and viruses.

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Jun 22, 2006

Use Terragen for a Custom Header

Terragen is billed as " photorealistic scenery rendering software, capable of near-photorealistic results for professional landscape visualization, special effects, art and recreation."

In other words it lets you create killer landscape pictures like you see in the movies. Its fairly easy to use, a ton of fun and its FREE! I created the scene above after spending about 30 minutes reading Carol Brooksbanks Tutorial. Its by no means of the quality of those seen in the Terragen user galleries, but not wanting to infringe on any copyrights this is the only example I can offer for now.

Although the software is intimidating at first due to the massive amount of controls offered. It is not difficult to get impressive results quickly, just from the short time I spent with the software I can see how devoting some effort to learning Terragen's interface could lead to the creation of some outstanding images.

Terragen appears to have a large following of digital landscape artists, resulting in quite a few plug-ins and additional resources being available to extend it's capabilities. Checkout how to create a beach scene by Dorothea Beer(Click Here)

As far as blogging, you could easily use Terragen to create a custom header. Just compose the landscape image in Terragen, size it to fit your header, some where around 720px wide by whatever, 200 to 300 pixels high, save your image. Then open it in MS Paint and add your text title and your good to go. (see this post for more info on creating a custom header.)

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Jun 19, 2006

Change the World

The blogisphere is fast becoming a powerful tool for shaping the future of the world. With your blog, you not only have the ability to express your personal opinion but you can point your readership towards sites and projects that carry important messages.

Dropping knowledge is one such site.

"dropping knowledge is a global initiative to turn apathy into activity. By hosting an open conversation on the most pressing issues of our times, we will foster a worldwide exchange of viewpoints, ideas and people-powered solutions. On September 9, 2006, 112 scientists, social entrepreneurs, philosophers, writers, artists and activists from around the world will come together in Berlin, Germany, as guests of dropping knowledge.

Seated around a vast round-table in historic Bebelplatz square, these inspiring individuals, renowned for their lasting creative, social or humanistic contribution will engage with 100 questions from the global public.

These questions, selected by dropping knowledge's founders, trustees and ambassadors from the growing pool generated by our 'ask yourself' campaign, will reflect the topics of greatest concern to the global public, highlight under-reported issues and engage key themes (climate change, for example) endorsed by dropping knowledge in 2006.

You can participate, submit your questions and find out more information on this wonderful project by visiting their site at this link. Dropping Knowledge. Register today and get involved!

You can also sign-up at Blog Clicker and find out how to get extra traffic to your site by getting involved.

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Jun 17, 2006

Free Music

If your a musician or just a music fan you got to check out this site.

They offer free MP3 hosting as well as:

  • A web page for each song, searchable by Google and other search engines
  • Unlimited streaming and downloads for life
  • Industry exposure to podcasters, A&R reps, etc who use our site
  • Free storage for your MP3s up to 200MB (that's 25-50 songs!)
  • And much more...FREE! Online gig promotion tools, built-in fan club tools, messaging tools to communicate with fans and other artists, profile page & pics to feature your band.

Music Fans:
A great place to find free music from up and coming independent bands. You can also interact with, rate and influence which artists will become tomorrow's big hits.


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Jun 16, 2006

Create a Favicon

One way to add a touch of spice to your blog is with a Favicon or a Favatar as we're going to call it. These are small icon's that are displayed in the browsers address bar next to the URL. In the past you only saw Favatars on larger corporate sites that paid web developers big money to create their online identities, but now a days even us lowly bloggers can add originality to our sites with a custom icon.

The first step in creating your Favatar is the graphic design, which can be challenging because the final image is displayed so small. If you try to include to much detail or use a photo for this image your going to end up with a Favablob, as that's what it will look like, a blob that no one will be able to tell what the hell it is. So, rule number one is keep it simple. Save the detail for your larger works of art.

Try to incorporate your sites color scheme into the design. You can use any graphics program you want, even MS Paint, the graphics program packaged with windows will work for this task as simplicity is the order of the day.

For Blogatech's Favatar, I started with the logo you see above and just used the letter "B" in the font style of that logo. As you can see, I kept to the color scheme of Blogatech as well.. The similarity to the Blogger logo is intentional as working with Blogger is the theme of Blogatech. Once I had created the graphic in Corel Draw I exported the image as a jpeg file. The next step was to get the image to a workable size which I did with the help of PIXresizer. You want your final image to be as close to a square as possible and no bigger than 96x96 pixels in size. I actually reduced it to 50x50 pixels which is very easy in PIXresizer (Read more about PIXresizer).

With our newly created graphic we headed to myfavatar.com to sign-up and upload our image. You will have to give them the usual info and verify your e-mail address in order to use their service. Once I uploaded the image and gave my blog URL and description I was given the HTML code I needed to add to my template. Here is the code they provided:

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="http://favatar.myfavatar.com/blogatech.ico" type="image/x-icon" />
<link rel="icon" href="http://favatar.myfavatar.com/blogatech.png" type="image/png" />

I copied this code and went to Blogger's dashboard and opened the template tab. Then I pasted the code between the head element of the template.(between <HEAD> and </HEAD>.tags. Then all that was left was to save the changes and republish.

The new Favatar showed up instantly in FireFox which is my browser of choice, but when I checked IE, I had to drag the standard IE icon to the right a couple of times, and restart IE to see the Favicon. It is also my understanding that in order for a Favatar to show up in IE the site has to be added to "My Favorites". So as I always suggest, get Firefox with Google Toolbar and see the internet the way it should be viewed.

With the whole process being so easy I decided to personalize my poker blog with this favatar. Again I was trying to keep it simple and incorporates the site colors, Check it out: Poker Chaos Blog

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Jun 12, 2006

Blog of the Week 06-12-06

It's that time again, Blog of the week. I've found a peach of a web log for this issue. The Best Sentence of the Day is another blog penned by a pro. Jane, you remember her don't you. Second grade, Mrs Collins class. Dick's little sister, or was she his girl friend? Hmmm.... don't know. Its been a long road littered with brain cells.

Jane's blog gets the B.O.W award for its outstanding originality and creativity. All you hardcore bloggers will love this one. Simple and smart and text laden No side bar content other that the archives and previous posts. I know, how could Strat like this one, no pictures. Well you know the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words. I must say, dear Jane has the ability to paint that picture and only uses a small portion of her allotment of words. A true Web Log Diary. Be sure to check out the comments section where she expands on The Best Sentence of the Day.

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Jun 9, 2006

Search Engine Optimization What is it anyways?

The Controversy of Search Engine Optimization Topic – Everyone is an expert. Yet everyone has their own way of optimizing sites for Search Engines. There must be thousands of articles floating around the net that touch on the subject of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The purpose of this article is simply to show in practice what does Search Engine Optimization mean.

Ah that The Geek Talk! What is the Search Engine Optimization?In plain English Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the process of manipulation of one website to attract more visitors by increasing ones site ranking on major search engines.
To better illustrate search engine optimization I’d like to resort to a practical exercise and you can try this yourself as well:

Exercise Description:

You are a proud owner of a brand-spanking new website www.fontsmadeeasy.com. Your goal is to drive as much traffic to that site as possible. Most obvious way is to get your site listed with the search engines and get as much free traffic as you can from that source. What do you do?
Step 1:
Submit your site to 3 major search engines.
Google.com (http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl)
Yahoo.com (http://submit.search.yahoo.com/free/request)
MSN.com (http://search.msn.co.in/docs/submit.aspx)

Note: A lot of time will go by in some cases it may take several weeks for these search engines to actually list your site. But for the sake of this exercise lets assume that It happens instantly.
Step 2:
With the use of Traffic Reporting software analyze the traffic you are receiving from these search engines. Note: If you don’t already have one you need to start tracking the traffic of your site. There are many different services and software you can use to track your sites traffic.

So here is a picture from the traffic reporting software:

This gives you the start. A baseline rather. It tells you under which keywords you are found on the search engines. Now you are ready to go to step 3
Step 3:
Figure out your site ranking for these specific keywords:
You can visit www.rankchecker.net to get the results shown on this step.

Step 4:
Comparative Analysis in Step four we compare the results from step 2 to the results in step 3.
So here is what we end up with:

Step 5:
Make a decision. As you can see now High rank does not always translate to high traffic. As it turns out not only do you need to worry about the rank but also you must consider which keywords are frequently used in your industry. In the case with fontsmadeeasy.com as it turns out you would need to concentrate on optimizing your site content for the keyword “dingbat fonts” why do you ask? Well its rather simple this keyword has a rank of 78 on Google yet it produces 8 visits. While “accent sf fonts” has a rank one and only produces 11 visits.
So what we just did is in fact Search Engine Optimization. It is important to note that this exercise is one of many different ways to Optimize your Search Engine Ranking and in now way implicated that this is the only way to do SEO.

About The Author
Steve Slavutskiy is co-founded MetaChecker.Net as well as RankChecker.net He has been researching and developing SEO strategies to achieve more prominent listings in search engine results since 1998.

Jun 6, 2006

Blog of Week , 06-05-06

For this weeks blog award Blogatech has chosen Little Nuances, a blog authored by professional writer Lee Warren, who's writing style makes his posts fun and enjoyable to read no matter what subject he has chosen.

Little Nuances uses a two column template design by Michael Heilemann whos has given this Blogger hosted blog a simplistic style that is uncluttered and compliments its greatest attribute which is the quality of the writing. Take a minute or two and check the site out, its merely a click away.

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Jun 5, 2006

Image Hosting

Image hosting allows you to store photographs and graphic images online. Anything from pictures of your family and friends to that cool header graphic you made for your blog. Whenever you want to post a picture on a internet forum, message board, e-bay auction or your blog the image will have to have a URL This is the address of where the image is stored and you get this address by uploading the image to a hosting service.

Uploading images is relatively simple. You go to the hosting service site. Find the browse button which will bring up a dialog window in which you select where the image is located on your computer, select the file name of your image, click the upload button and its done. The site then gives you the new address where your image is stored on the internet.

This is a list of the most popular free image hosting services with a description of their features:

Image Shack
Cost: free
Max Image Size: 1024 KB
Image Types Accepted:.jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .bmp, .tif, .swf (flash) and .png image types. bmp, tif, and tiff images will be converted to .png automatically.
Max Storage Space: Unlimited storage space
Max Bandwidth: 100 megabytes per hour. If an image exceeds this amount, it will be rendered inaccessible.
Direct linking allowed: yes
Image Tracking: Yes
Batch Upload feature: Yes
Image resizing features: Yes
Image editing: No
Video Hosting allowed: No
Registration Required: No

Photo Bucket
Cost: free
Max Image Size: 1024 KB
Image Types Accepted: gif, jpg, jpeg, png, bmp, swf
Max Storage Space: 1 GB
Max Band Width: 10 GB
Direct linking allowed: yes
Image Tracking: Yes
Batch Upload feature: Yes
Image resizing features: Yes
Image editing: No
Video Hosting allowed: Yes, 3 minute clips
Registration Required: Yes

Image Spot
Cost: free
Max Image Size: 650 KB
Image Types Accepted: gif, jpg and png
Max Storage Space: Unlimited
Max Band Width: Unlimited
Direct linking allowed: yes
Image Tracking: Yes
Batch Upload feature: No
Image resizing features: No
Image editing: No
Video Hosting allowed: Yes,
Registration Required: No

Additional image hosting sites:

Image ShackPhotobucketUpload ItRapid Share
My Temp DirQuizillatPic ShackFree Webhosts
RefrozenFile BucketImage DepotTiny Image
Up Load ItSoft LabPix PondImage Venue
Pixup XP UserUltra ShareYou Send ItFiles Upload
Ultra Sharexs.toImage SatelliteUp Volt

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Jun 3, 2006

Record Traffic Numbers

It's been a little over a week and the writers and staff of blogatech ( me, myself and I), have managed to create a sizeable amount of content for these pages. Hopefully we have answered some readers Blogger questions or inspired them to make a design change to their own blog.

We have spent some time on promotions as well, with URL submissions to all the major and some not so major search engines. We knocked on the door of a few blog directories and even got accepted to Googles Adsense program. You can look forward to articles on all of these processes soon.

With all that said and the truth be known, our traffic numbers really sucked! The Worlds Largest Ball of Twine had more visitors than we did. It's not easy getting people to a new site and I have seen from the past that you have to just keep at it. Build it and they will come. So this is for all the new blog builders out there. Don't expect to make the headlines of your local newspaper the first week of your blogging career. (The next best thing)

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Jun 1, 2006

Creating Links in Blogger

During my surfing sessions I have see many weblogs created in Blogger that still have the "Edit Me" links shown. Many times on a blog that the author has obviously devoted a great deal of time on by way of regularly updated posts. Yet Cyberphobia has kept them from entering the dreaded HTML code and adding some links. This has inspired me to devote time to explaining the basics of creating links.

What is a link? A link is either text, or a image that when clicked on will take you to a page on the internet. This is called the pages URL (Uniform Resource Locator), which is the address that specifies the location of where a pages source code is stored on the Internet. All URL's begin with: http:// (e.g. Blogatechs URL or address is http://blogatech.blogspot.com)

So the first step in creating a link in Blogger is determining what the address of the page you want to link to.

In this screenshot of Xtra's web page The red arrow is pointing to the browsers address bar. This is where you can find the address of whatever page you are presently viewing. In this case it is http://xtramsn.co.nz/home/

We are going to create a link to this site and place it in our blog. Once we are at Xtras site we go to the address bar, click and drag our mouse across the address to highlight it. Then we right click and select copy. The address is now stored on our clipboard and we can paste it anywhere we want. The clipboard cannot be viewed but whatever we have copied will remain there until we copy something else.

Now we go to Blogger, log in to the dashboard for our blog and select the Template tab. This is where the HTML code for our blog is stored and where we want to create our link at. Scroll down through the code until you see something like this in the sidebar section:

<h2 class="sidebar-title">Links</h2>
<li><a href="http://news.google.com/">Google News</a></li>
<li><a href="http://EDITME">Edit-Me</a></li>
<li><a href="http://EDITME">Edit-Me</a></li>

The above code show a list of three links. The first is of Google and the next two are waiting for you to enter the address and description of your links. The area in blue is where you want to paste the Xtra address we copied and the area in red is the description you want to be displayed for this link. Which i'm going to call Xtra Site.

Here is the code after these changes have been made:

<h2 class="sidebar-title">Links</h2>
<li><a href="http://news.google.com/">Google News</a></li>
<li><a href="http://xtramsn.co.nz/home/">Xtra Site</a></li>
<li><a href="http://EDITME">Edit-Me</a></li>

The link we just created would look and behave like this:
Xtra Site

You could edit the third link by entering any other address by following the sam procedures we used for the Xtra Site link. Also if you wish to add even more links, all you have to do is add additional line of code to be edited such as this:

<h2 class="sidebar-title">Links</h2>
<li><a href="http://news.google.com/">Google News</a></li>
<li><a href="http://xtramsn.co.nz/home/">Xtra Site</a></li>
<li><a href="http://EDITME">Edit-Me</a></li>
<li><a href="http://EDITME">Edit-Me</a></li>
<li><a href="http://EDITME">Edit-Me</a></li>
<li><a href="http://EDITME">Edit-Me</a></li>

In the next post in this series we will learn how to create a link using a image or photograph.

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Blog of Week , 05-29-06

This being the first appointment of Blogatech's blog of the week award, I felt it fitting to bestow this soon to be coveted award to none other than the Official Google Blog. As the owner and manager of Blogger and Blogspot, Blogatech would not exist without this companies contribution to the blogging community. I also figured it wouldn't hurt Blogatechs search engine rating if I kissed a little ass. No wonder Google thinks this is a spam blog with nine and soon to be ten variations of the word blog in the first paragraph. I'll never get my word verification turned off at this rate. Back to the subject.

Congratulation Google! Another first to add to your list of achievements.

It is my desire to use Blog of the Week as a reward to up and coming blogs that I think deserve credit. So if your a well established blog, with lots of traffic, I'd like to point out that you were considered for this inaugural award but to point out the obvious, you lost. Even tho I have no intentions of ever naming another well know blog to this position of importance. I could be influenced to alter this policy if you were to link to Blogatech and direct a massive amount of traffic to this site.

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