Jan 29, 2007

Are You Listed?

Google has a search engine database that is strictly comprised of blogs. In its beta version, Google blog search has a user base of over 20,000 which makes it a great resource for obtaining traffic to your site.

If your blog publishes a site feed and automatically pings an updating service such as blogspot, it should be found and listed by Google Blog Search. To see if your site is listed, vist the home page and do a search for your blog's URL. If your not yet listed you can manually ping them at blogsearch.google.com/ping but you will have to re-ping them each time your blog changes to keep them updated.

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Jan 28, 2007

Publicize Your Blog Feed

FeedBurner's BuzzBoost gives you the means to publicize your feed and cross promote your blogs. BuzzBoost gives you a snipet of Javascript that you paste in your template to display from 1 to all of the current headings of your blog feed. It also gives you the option of displaying the entire html of your posts. I used to have a feed in the sidbar that showed the last five post titles of another blog of mine. It has since been removed following a site remodel but this feature has been tested in Blogger and works fine.

A great way to utilize this feature would be to burn a feed of your own Blogger Beta blog and display the last 10 posts in your sidebar as "Resent Posts" a feature that Blogger no longer has.

Since BuzzBoost can output the full HTML contents of your feed, you could easily use it to create "mobile edition" of your blog. You could even combine multiple BuzzBoost scripts on a single web page to bring related content together.

If you haven't used FeedBurner before it's very simple and free. Just sign-up and create a feed for your blog. You then click on it's title and a series of tab menus come up. Select the publicize tab and you will find details for BuzzBoost.

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Jan 27, 2007

Google Gadgets

Google has come up with a new program where web developers create gadgets or widgets and then submit them for inclusion in their gadget directory. The gadget is then offered to webmasters and bloggersto use on their sites for free. Here are some of the gadgets in the directory.

  • Nasa Image of the Day
  • Weather by AccuWeather
  • Local Chat Gadget
  • IP Address Lookup
  • Google Videos
  • Bible Verse of the Day
  • Crossword of the Day
  • Chess

  • Pacman
  • Search Ebay
  • Spellcheck
  • Flight Status
  • Currency Converter
  • TV Guide
  • Japanese,Word of the Day
  • NFL Standings

  • This is just a small sampling of the utility and game gadgets available to upload. There are over three thousand included. Check it out, your bound to find a gadget that will enhance your blog.

    Google Gadgets Directory

    Developers, you can find more information on creating and submitting gadgets here.

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    Jan 19, 2007

    Add a Custom Header in New Blogger

    This post will cover adding a custom header image to the New Version of Blogger. The one that features a layout with widgets. If your bog is using a "Classic" template you will want to read these posts instead.

    If you are using New Blogger's Minima template this is the header you would have to start with:

    Minima New Blogger Header

    Lets say you want to customize the standard header to a photo or graphic you created such as this:
    Custom New Blogger Header

    You first want to upload your image to a hosting service so you will have an internet address for it. If your not familar with this process, read this post before you continue.

    !Remember to make a backup copy of your template before making any changes!
    Once you have the address of your image your next step is to set it as your headers background. This is done in the style sheet section of your template where the the code that formats the header resides. Note: the image your going to use should be 10px smaller than the width of the #header-wrapper. In the case of a standard Minima template this width is 660px, so you will want your image to be 650px wide. This adjustment is to allow for the set margins. You could also increase the width of the #header-wrapper to compensate. Be aware that the #header and #header-wrapper are two different elements.

    The CSS:

    #header {
    margin: 5px;
    border: 1px solid #cccccc;
    text-align: center;

    We will add the following lines of code to the #header element:

    background: url(http://your image address.jpg) no-repeat;
    height: 130px;

    Besides setting the background image, we added a height attribute equal to the height in pixels of our image. In our example it is 130px. I also suggest that you remove the border around the #header by changing the border attribute to 0px. You will also need to change the border setting of the #header-wrapper to 0px (not shown) This now gives us the following as the CSS for the entire #header element:

    #header {
    background: url(http://your image address.jpg) no-repeat;
    height: 130px;
    margin: 5px;
    border: 0px solid #cccccc;
    text-align: center;

    We are not done quite yet, we still need to make a change to the HTML portion of the template. When you created your blog you gave it a title and a description. These items can be changed under the settings menu and are automaticly added to your header. So that these items don't display on top of your newly created image, you want to eliminate them from the header. The best way to eliminate the description is to leave it blank under the settings menu. Blogger requires that you enter a title because not only does it display in the header but also at the top of your browser. In order to remove the title from the header you will need to go to the template section and with the "Expand Widget Templates" box checked, find the following code.

    Code for header

    Notice that there is a H1 tag that displays your title, you will want to delete the entire tag contents as shown in red below:

    New code for header

    Having made these changes be sure to save them and you will be good to go. To view the end results of this exercise in a New Blogger template Click Here.

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    Jan 17, 2007

    Code Jam 2007 (Latin America)

    Targeting programers located in Latin America and sponsored by Google, this timed contest allows participants to utlilize their choice of programing languages for solving a series of coding problems. Total cash and prizes equal R$75,000. Registration closes and qualification rounds begin January 23rd 2007. Sign up now!

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    Blogger Tip #1003

    If you want to type the copyright symbol © all you have to do is type ALT 0169

    Hold down your ALT key and type 0169 on your number pad. Don't use the numbers on top, this only works with the keypad off to the right, and make sure "NUM LOCK" is on.
    Link to complete list of ALT Codes

    P.S. Instructions for entering Alt Codes on a lap top
    Even if you have a laptop or a keyboard with no numeric keypad - you can still use alt codes.

    1. Look for a "function" or "fn" key normally near the bottom left of the keyboard.
    2. Look for a button with "num lock" written in the same colour which is usually near the top right of the keyboard.
    3. While holding "function" press and relase "num lock".
    4. Enter alt codes using the method above but to enter the actual numeric alt code use the keys with numbers in the same colour as the function (fn) key. Normally "U" has 4 on it for example.
    5. Switch "num lock" off in the same way as you switched it on to continue using your keyboard normally.

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    Jan 13, 2007

    Why download Firefox

    My visitor logs indicate that the majority of traffic to blogatech is via Internet Explorer's web browser. This only goes to show just how powerful Microsoft's marketing program is.. Having used all the major browsers in the past, I now rely on Mozillas Firefox as my primary browsing tool as it out powers them all in every aspect.

    Since different browsers display HTML code differently I still maintain copies of Explorer and Netscape on my desktop so I can verify that changes made to blogatech are compatible across these platforms but I definitely spend 99% of my time on the net running Firefox.

    If you haven't tried Firefox just because Explorer was packaged with you computer you really should give it a try. It's totally free and you can still keep Explorer exactly as you have it. Firefox will give you a whole new experience with the internet. With Firefox not only will web pages load faster but your computer will not be subject to many of the security weaknesses of other browsers.

    The best part of Firefox is it's thousands of add on features such as Web Developer, a onboard toolbar that gives hundreds of options for viewing different aspects of any web site you visit including your own. It has a HTML and CSS validator, tools for displaying all attributes of page images, graphic outline tools for all major HTML elements, and much more. It's amazing how this one feature makes debugging code so much easier. This alone makes it worth the time to download.

    Jan 7, 2007

    New Blogger Supports Custom Domains

    You can now use your own domain name such as yoursite.com and still have it hosted by Blogger for free. Another great way to customize yout blog by doing away with the .blogspot subdomain.

    All you have to do is purchase a dot com domain name and the new Blogger will publish directly to it. Start by doing a domain name search to see if the name you want is available. All of the below registration sites provide search and domain name purchase features or your can do a Google Search for cheap domains.

    To read more follow this link or you can find instructions for publishing to your custom domain here.

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    Jan 5, 2007

    New Smiley Sign Maker

    The Smiley Sign Generator lets you create small signs carried by a host of different smileys and expressions designed to help you display your message. The Generator is simple to use. Start by typing your message in the text box, select a size for your sign and click the Save image and create link box. The appropriate code is automatically displayed at the bottom of the page created for either, bulletin board, HTML or my space format. You will be able to use your smiley sign on your website, blog or favorite forum.

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