Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Using the new Flock 0.9 Web Browser for blogging

I'm writing this post from the Flock 0.9 Web Browser.  Flock is based on Firefox and described as "The social web browser", meaning it interfaces easily with Blogger, Flickr, Photobucket and other (WARNING! Buzzword ahead!) Web 2.0 websites.

You can see from this screencap the extra buttons meant for specific services.  Instead of having to log into Blogger to write this post, I pushed the feather button on the tab (second from the right) to open a posting window.

All the features are there:  image placement, fonts...even tags. 

I used an earlier version of Flock and found it useful for updating several blogs on different Blogger accounts. You can type your posts while your browser stays on the same page.

The downside was Flock was a bit slow and ended up bogging down on my machine. That may not have been Flock's fault, I was using it on a Windows 2000 machine that could use some more RAM. I use Windows XP Professional now on a more powerful machine. I also like Flock's new interface, which is more organized.

Now the real test. Will I learn to love this browser, or will I find that Flock makes my life more complex? After looking through Flock's capabilities, I see features designed to make accessing RSS feeds, video, blogs, and other web services smoothly.

I'll keep you posted. (No...that was not meant to be a pun.)

Blogged with Flock

Google News Bar and widget overload

I have just added the Google news bar to this blog. I found the code on Google Code for the Google AJAX Search API - News Bar.

I picked topics for the news bar to search: blogging, blog marketing, RSS, Google, and more.

Then I chose if I wanted a horizontal news bar or a vertical one. If you get the horizontal news bar, it flashes headlines in a space using AJAX. If pick the vertical one, you get a bar with selector buttons for the stories your reads want to see.

Now I have so many widgets on the side of this blog that the widgets are longer than the content. I either have to add more content or start pruning widgets.

Let's see what happens after I post a few more entries.

- I found that the vertical stretch of the news bar was too much for more content to overcome. So I made it a horizontal element at the bottom of the page.

The book bar and the news bar are nifty tools, but I don't think they are quite ready for prime time. They make great eye candy, but I think they would be too distracting for readers. When they are docked on the bottom of the blog, they aren't too offensive.

I've noticed that the YouTube widget seems to be having trouble. I wonder how many widgets you could cram on to a Blogger blog before it slows to a crawl and widgets start canceling each other out?

Added the RSS feed to comments and a search box

I just added an RSS feed for the comments of this blog. I used the directions from Dummies Guide to Blogger Beta to find the feed address of my blog.

According the article, the feed for comments from Blogger blogs reads like this...


I took that feed address, modified with the name of this blog, and put it into an RSS feed widget from the Blogger dashboard. Now I have feed of all comments.

I signed into my blog from the Blogger in Draft page and found a new search widget. The widget allows reader to search my blog and displays the results at the top of the page. I can search the posts on this blog without being redirected to a new page. If you have a blog with many posts, this should come in handy for your readers who are looking for specific information.

Friday, July 20, 2007

YouTube widget added

You can now search YouTube from this blog with the widget I found on Google Gadgets. The space is kind of small, but it works.

Google Book Bar is back

The Google Book Bar is back. I removed a while ago because it was interfering with my template. Now that my template has white background again, it fits in nicely.

I wish Google had a way to edit the style and background colors of the book bar and other tools to make them mesh seamlessly with any blog.

Installed the Blogger video bar

Just installed the Blogger video bar in the lower right corner of the blog. I put in the keywords Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Planets, and others.

Every time you press refresh on your web browser, new videos should appear in the bar.

The videos play at the top of the blog page, keeping reader on the front page instead of a redirect to YouTube or Google Video.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Recharging the batteries..this blog lives again!

I'm finally posting here again. I've been away for a while, reading up on WordPress and other blogging platforms. There are new features on Blogger to play with, so I'm back.

Blogger now allows you to use a graphic for your blog header without having to get your hands dirty with that icky CSS code or HTML.

Now if you can make a topper in Photoshop and Fireworks, you can install a new header and to your blog as cute and purdy as you wish.

Blogger has also created Blogger In Draft, which features new tools like video upload and polls.

I'm going to get back to work on adding some more widgets and repairing some of the mess that switching templates caused.

Back to the lab.