Saturday, 31 December 2005

Backlinks etc: links to Delicious bookmarks of your posts






I'd previously posted on how to edit your template to provide a one-click link to see who's bookmarked your post on Delicious , and also posted separately on how to combine Google backlinks with Technorati's Cosmos, Icerocket's Link Tracker, and other searches for your particular post on Blogpulse and Bloglines, so that someone reading your blog can click to see who's linked to your post or commented on it.

I decide it made sense to combine the two, so I've amended my backlinks etc post to add the code for Delicious which you can add to your template. The link to display who's bookmarked your post on Delicious is now added to the list of backlinks etc at the end of each individual post. You can see it in action if you scroll to the end of that post or indeed the Delicious post, and click on the Delicious link (not this one as no one will have linked to it yet!). I also made some small changes to the code to shorten the displayed text.

If you're already using the code and don't want to copy/paste the code over again wholesale, to add the Delicious link just add this line of code to the item page/post page code, I put it just under the Bloglines code:
<a title="Who's bookmarked this post on Delicious?" href="http://del.icio.us/url?v=2&url=<$BlogItemPermalinkURL$>">Delicious</a>


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Thursday, 29 December 2005

How women and men use the Internet in the USA...






The Pew Internet and American Life Project have just released an interesting report "How women and men use the Internet" (covering the USA only, of course).

According to the Pew news release, which summarises the main findings, women under 30 and black women outpace their male peers but older women trail dramatically behind older men; men are slightly more intense internet users than women; and in most categories of internet activity, more men than women are participants, but women are catching up (see the Pew news release, report summary and report itself for more tidbits).

“If there is an overall pattern of differences here, it is that men value the internet for the breadth of experiences it offers, and women value it for the human connections” - a finding that won't surprise most of us.

However, I thought the most amusing finding was this:
"Compared with men, online women are more likely to: ... get maps and directions"
(ahem! I think we all know that too...).


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Nokia 7710: free Nokia 7710 themes and wallpaper






Just saw from the My-Symbian site's Series 90 page that they're offering some free themes for the Nokia 7710 smartphone/PDA including, most recently, 88 wallpapers from Mumu Designs (scroll to the bottom of that page for the link to the wallpaper and other free themes).

[Added 24 March 2006:] You can also make your own themes or edit existing thems on your PC if you're creative - just download the free Nokia Theme studio for the 7710 (you have to register on the Nokia developers' site first, which is free, and login before the download will work).

Also, there are free themes for download on the My-Symbian Series 90 forum shared by the creative and generous people who made them, see e.g. this thread for several downloadable themes, there's also a VB theme, Black theme, Fireball theme, F1 theme etc, even a Windows XP theme and other themes - just register on My-Symbian (which is free), login, and search for theme or themes in the Series 90 section.

More generally on the 7710, you may also be interested in:

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Saturday, 24 December 2005

Merry Christmas to you all!






I shall be offline for a few days but will hopefully be back next week.

Have a great holiday!

Imp.

Friday, 23 December 2005

Health, food and diet, people: tidbits






Gleaned mostly from the last few months' issues of my favourite offline read, New Scientist (yes I'm behind in my reading!). Some of this isn't new, but it was new to me... and of course it's not medical advice as I'm no medical expert, just passing on interesting and useful stuff I've read about.

Food and Diet

Bird flu

Chickens with bird flu have been cured by kimchi (spicy fermented Korean cabbage) and also sauerkraut. The active ingredient apparently is the lactobacilli bacteria which create the tangy sourness and preserve the pickle, and which are also found in other foods like properly fermented buttermilk and Kosher garlic dills.

Seafood

A 50 / 50 mix of cranberry and oregano extract plus a dash of lactic acid seems the best mix to kill vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bacterium which causes stomach cramps,vomiting and diarrhoea, in experiments with infected cod and shrimp

Sleep

Eating chillis has been found to deepen sleep (though apparently it also postpones bedtimes and shortens sleep time) and make the eaters feel more alert and physically active the next day; while men who ate high GI meals fell asleep faster than those eating lower GI meals (plus, GSM cellphone transmissions exposure for half an hour before bed caused more alpha wave activity in early non REM sleep and REM sleep to start later, than in people not exposed to mobile phones before bed).

Diet and genes

What you eat, even in adulthood, can change your genes (and personality) permanently - even well-adjusted rats started behaving like poorly raised rats on receiving L-methionine, a common amino acid and food supplement available online or in health food stores (and if rats don't get enough attention from their mothers - grooming etc - their DNA changes so that these poorly-raised rats produce more stress hormones and are less confident with new environments, for life). Hopefully the reverse should be possible with a chemical called TSA. Hmm, given what's been found about children's behaviour when they eat a lot of junk food, I wonder how much methionine there is in junk food compared with fresh food with lots of vegetables and fruit?

Aspirin

Is there no end to the goodness of aspirin? It may even protect against some types of skin cancer though this was noted only in the case of those studied who took at least 2 tablets weekly for 5 years (15 year Australian study).

Weight loss methods

Losing weight by eating less sheds lean tissue as well as fat tissue, and unfortunately the lower the lean mass as a proportion of total mass, the greater the risk of death; but losing weight through exercise helps preserve or increase lean mass, and there's some evidence that diets cutting out refined carbohydrates like white bread may reduce fat mass while retaining lean mass.

Children

Dirt is good?

Too much cleanliness or hygiene, particularly in childhood, may be bad for us - ever purer drinking water without cryptosporidium (a diarrhoea-causing protozoan) may mean we don't get the chance to develop protective immunity to water-borne diseases. Plus the substances added to purify water may even increase the risk of some forms of cancer. (3 Dec. 46) This reminds me of an April 2005 New Scientist article that the rise of allergic diseases may at least in part be due to the lack of exposure these days to harmless microbes - "contact with the hordes of benign microbes encountered by the body on a daily basis - deemed largely irrelevant by immunologists in the past - may be an essential step on the infant immune system's road to healthy maturity.. the shift to a western lifestyle may have short-circuited this development by cutting off the body's contact with certain microbes… One focus of attention is the microbes that humans would have regularly encountered when they drank from streams and other untreated sources of water and came into regular contact with soil and animals. Indeed, studies in Europe, Australia and the US have consistently shown that children who grow up on a farm have a much smaller chance of developing allergies than kids growing up in a city, or even than those raised in a rural home that isn't a farm… Work is now focusing on why the risk of developing allergies seems to be particularly low among children fed unpasteurised milk and who were in frequent contact with cow sheds during their first year of life... Even harmless microscopic worms may be important.."

Premature babies

Premature babies benefit from Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) i.e. continuous skin on skin contact with an adult, which helps regulate body temperature without incubators (until about 37 weeks after conception when babies can self-regulate that). KMC is associated (particularly in developing countries) with faster weight gain, improved breastfeeding rates, milder infection, and reduced stress in the infant.

Boring is bad

Boring environments make monkeys stupid for life, richer stimulating toy-filled environments produce more complex brain structures - and maybe that's true for human children too, obvious or what...

People and Society

Justice is innate?

Our sense of fair play and fear of loss may be built in - even monkeys have it.They are also loss averse (preferring to avoid the potential loss of what they already have in hand than to seek an equivalent potential gain), and care for justice not just their personal interests, feeling obligation or gratitude to those who help or cooperate with them, and resenting and wanting to punish unfair "cheats".

Risk taking, thrill seeking, the quest for the new - "the pleasure of maybe"

Experiments show that when rats anticipate a reward, the dopaminergic pathway in the frontal cortex is activated, and they get "the equivalent of a shot of cocaine straight to the brain". When the chance of getting that reward is not a sure thing but only a possibility, the activation happens twice, first in anticipation, then when the reward is due. And, interestingly, the greater the uncertainty, the greater the total amount of dopamine released. This may be the case in people too, which could explain lovelorn longing and chasing after someone you may never be able to have, why gambling is so addictive, and maybe also novelty-seeking, i.e. trying new stuff, the thrill of not knowing whether you'll like what you find.

Morality

Our sense of right and wrong may have an inbuilt emotional component as well as being influenced by our culture/society, perhaps more so than by rational thought and logic. The instinctive reaction of disgust e.g. to rotting meat (bacteria-ridden, could kill you!) is an example, and may result in people making moral judgements from emotion rather than reflective thought, with feelings of disgust or other strong emotions becoming cross-wired with our sense of morality (so that a disgusting but essentially amoral act may be seen, inappropriately, as morally reprehensible). The article featured a "moral compass" test based on the Forsyth Ethics Position Questionnaire which you can also take via that link. (I'm apparently an exceptionist - low relativism, low idealism ("You use moral rules to guide your judgments but remain open to exceptions to these rules. You are interested in the wider circumstances surrounding a moral decision, including the risks associated with violating rules and the personal benefits to be gained), bordering on Subjectivist (basing judgements on personal values rather than universal moral principles, etc, and the least "moralistic" type).

General

Building side please!

Walking on the road side of the pavement (sidewalk, to the Americans), you inhale up to 10% more of harmful pollution fumes than if you walk closer to the buildings.

Pillows

Modern synthetic pillows have more allergy-causing fungal spores that could aggravate astham and cause infection (maybe because they're less porous) than traditional cotton pillows, and the switch to synthetic pillows could be a factor in the general increase in the incidence of asthma.

Hand scrubbing

Washing your hands after you've been in a public place (like the Tube) before touching your eyes or face etc is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of catching flu (Radio 4 reporting on this being confirmed - so my mother was right!)

Depression

Depression is NOT necessarily caused by a chemical imbalance correctable by antidepressant drugs like Prozac or Celexa (in the context of a call to ban ads claiming that).

Dogs and human diseases

Dogs have been found capable of detecting, and alerting owners to, cancer in the areas of the owner's body they indicated, as well as warning owners of impending epileptic seizures, and blood sugar falls or impending hypoglycaemic attacks in diabetics - maybe because they can smell chemical compounds produced by tumours etc or sense electrical changes, who knows... (this from my other favourite offline read, Fortean Times. But quoting respectable sources, I assure you!)

Walking on the wobbly side

Walking on uneven wobbly surfaces, rather than flat surfaces, has been found to activate muscles in feet and legs, help pump blood to the heart, reduce stress on the cardiovascular system and reduce feelings of tiredness. In China people walk on cobblestone paths for their health and "barefoot parks" are taking off in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. There is now a US $35 cobblestone mat to replicate walking on cobblestones and in studies funded by the National Institute of Aging users improved in balance and mobility and even reduced their blood pressure. The Masai Barefoot Technology shoe (MBT shoe) also claims to replicate the effect of walking on natural uneven ground, exercising ankle muscles etc. I may well try those out, the mat is cheaper but I'm not sure you can get in the UK. Or else, as a friend points out, there's always those bracing walks in the countryside…

Chronic pain

People with e.g. fibromyalgia or neuropathic pain have been able to suppress chronic pain by learning to control brain activity through watching live scans of the rACC, a pain centre in the brain. They couldn't reduce the pain unless they could see the brain scan feedback, and of that particular region of the brain, no other.

Cognitive reserve, senility

People with more intelligence/literacy, education, complex or higher status occupations or socioeconomic status and more intellectually stimulating lives are somehow more protected from mental decline with old age (dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, even head injuries, alcohol intoxication, strokes); the higher this mental padding, the more damage can be sustained without visible signs of mental decline. Larger and better wired brains may be more able to cope with the loss of neurons. There's now evidence that mental activity really helps cushion people against age-related decline - even reading or crosswords (maybe just seeing friends or gardening) can maintain or boost cognitive reserve; physical exercise also helps but stress doesn't (neurotics decline faster and are at more risk of Alzheimer's), and a good diet high in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids (fish and olive oil), vitamin E, polyphenols and antioxidants (citrus and darkskinned fruits/vegetables) may slow decline too, although saturated fat should be avoid. The article also mentioned not smoking or drinking alcohol or taking street drugs! All of which is interesting in the sense that it's scientific findings confirming what most people would say is common sense! But good to know nevertheless.

Mild myopia

A non-surgical treatment, computer-based NeuroVision exercises developed by a Singaporean company, claims to train the brain to improve contrast sensitivity and sharpen images for the shortsighted - alas it won't work for people with advanced myopia of over -1.5 Diopter (150 degrees) or astigmatism of over -0.75 Diopters (75 degrees) or who are below 9 or over 55 years old… so my eyesight is too bad to give that a try.

Creativity

Both creativity and bipolar disorder (manic depression) may be linked to "artistic temperament" characteristics like irritability - so shaddap already, I'm trying to write here!

Hug me babeee

Hugging for 20 seconds reduces blood pressure, according to Google Blog!

Gerroff my keyboard!

Last but certainly not least, this from Microsoft Health & Fitness (via Pat Cadigan, told you I'm behind my reading): don't let anyone else lick your keyboard! So I'll be sure to wash mine thoroughly before I next lick it meself, then.


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Blogger: keep current time tool updated






The free "Keep Current Time" userscript by Jasper of Browservulsel for Firefox and Greasemonkey users has been updated so that the "Post and Comment Options" on the Create Post page, which Blogger recently hid away, will always be visible when you're posting. Hooray!

(For those who don't know: instructions on how to install Greasemonkey and how to install Greasemonkeyuser scripts)

I've explained about the Keep Current Time script before - to me it's an essential tool if you use Blogger and draft online, particularly now that he's fixed the "always checked" issue when editing a previously-created post, as well as unhiding the post and comment options and checkbox.

Thanks to Jasper for the heads up; I fully agree that the hiding away of those options causes more problems than it solved.


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Google's Newsletter for Librarians: info and tips on Google






Time to start reaching for your brown cardigans... Google have started a newsletter for librarians. The first edition December 2005 posted on 19 December 2005 had an article containing a helpful primer, in relatively non-techie speak, on how Google's bots crawl and index the web and then rank search results.

This newsletter looks like it will be useful generally, though no doubt it will be of particular interest to librarians like my fellow Corante Web Hub contributor John Tropea.

You can get the newsletter via the Google Group or by signing up for emails. Readers can write in with questions and "Every newsletter we’ll try to answer 1 or 2 of the most frequently asked questions."

(Only gentle teasing intended. In fact I've been called a librarian at heart, what with my interest in tags and taxonomies vs. folksonomies etc. No librarians were harmed in the writing of this post; indeed one of my best friends is a librarian, and not a tweed jacket in sight.)


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Thursday, 22 December 2005

test









Wednesday, 21 December 2005

Nominative determinism 7 and other funnies






More nominative determinism, mainly from the Feedback column of New Scientist.

Vasectomy expert Dick Chopp has a colleague who specialises in penile prosthetics for sexual dysfunction. His name? Stephen Hardeman.

In an instance of quadruple nominative determinism, a book called "The Imperial Animal" was written by Lionel Tiger & Robin Fox.

The chair of aneaesthesiology and pain management at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois is one William J Tranquilli, while a climate scientist at Purdue University, Indiana who is predicting floods across the USA is named Noah Diffenbaugh.

Nothing to do with nominative determinism but I like singer Katie Melua's redrafted lyrics to the song "Nine Million Bicycles", rewritten after science writer Simon Singh of "Fermat's Last Theorem" fame complained the original was inaccurate:

"We are 13.7 billion light years from the edge of the observable universe, that's a good estimate, with well-defined error bars, and with the available information I predict that I will always be with you".

(See my other posts on nominative determinism.)


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Friday, 16 December 2005

How to postpone or delay your blog posts






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.

You can only use Emailschedule if you have the ability to post to your blog by email, so first you need to set that up. To see an example, here's a draft of this post which I posted to a test blog using Emailschedule.
For Blogger users: there are instructions on turning on Mail-to-Blogger, which will enable you to post to your blog just by sending an email to yourusername.yoursecretname@blogger.com. Make up a hard to guess secretname, and note it down but keep it secret! Also make sure that the Publish box is TICKED before you Save Settings and republish. Otherwise the email you send won't be published until you login to Blogger and manually do it, which rather defeats the object of delayed posting.

Also note that if your blog has been wrongly classed by Blogger as a spam blog, and they make you fill in a word verification post before you can post even from within Blogger, you have to go through their channels to get that block removed - otherwise, you can't post by email, so you can't use Emailschedule. I gather that some people e.g. Toni have had trouble when they try to click the link to have their blog reviewed by a human to remove this extra step, getting an error message instead of confirmation that their blog will be reviewed. I can only suggest that you keep trying Blogger or (the following link only works when you're logged in to Blogger) contact Blogger Help.

Note that Emailschedule is relatively new and may need a bit of time and patience for the initial signing up process. It's the brainchild of Canadian computer science student Francis Robichaud, who's working on it in his spare time, so the site is not the prettiest yet, and there are still issues and possibly bugs; however, Francis is very good about sorting out problems, listening to feedback and implementing suggestions.

How to use Emailschedule to publish a delayed blog post

1. Sign up for the free service. Note that it didn't like long email addresses, I'm told that's been fixed now but use a short one if possible, and also note that you will not be able to change it afterwards. You should get an email with confirmation link and your password. If the link doesn't work (mine didn't, possibly because I used a long email address), contact Emailschedule via the Bugs/Suggestions link at the bottom of the registration form to get it sorted.

2. Once you're fully registered, login via the main page (username/password boxes on the right).

3. If you're not in Scheduler view, click the Scheduler link in the top menu bar to get to the page where you can write your delayed post. It looks like this (obviously I've blotted out my "secret" email addresses for posting to my own blogs):


You could just put the email address in the "to" box but I'd suggest you click "add contacts" and, in the popup window that appears, save your blog name and the email address that you use for posting to it, and click Submit. Then you can send an email to your blog or a contact in future just by clicking on the relevant email address in the list.
Note: to send an email to an existing address, do NOT click on the name in the Names column (that just calls up a popup window to edit the contact details), but click on the email address you want in the Contact Emails column.

4. As well as filling in the "to" (or clicking on the email address), fill in the "subject" line - this will be what appears in the title of your post.

5. In the box, write your post as normal. The beauty of Emailschedule is that you can use HTML and it will work! Great for control freaks like me. Not so good for people who like to use icons to insert bullets or blockquotes etc, I know, but it's better than not being able to add any links or formatting at all, and to me more straightforward than what you can usually have with Mail-to-Blogger. Maybe Francis will introduce a formatting toolbar in future if enough people request it.

Check out this example post which contains formatting and a pic, and this one with an a href link to this blog, and for the full works, an earlier draft of this very post, all posted by email to a test blog via Emailschedule. Of course you won't be able to upload images in this way, but you can link to an image that's already been uploaded, and it will display as you can see. Just for posting of text and links (including links to existing images), though, it's fine.

Tip: draft a post in say Blogger as usual, including uploading your photos or other images. Then go to the Edit HTML tab and copy the post, code and all. Then paste that into the Emailschedule posting box. That's what I did for the test draft of this post, and as you can see if you check it out, it worked beautifully (subject to the timezones issue! I set that test post to be published just a few minutes after I submitted it, so that wasn't too much of a time offset calculation job).

6. You can choose to receive confirmation (via an email to the address you registered) that your email has been sent after the scheduled time. It's defaulted to Yes and I'd leave it at that.

7. DON'T click Submit yet! You need to choose the date and time when you want the email to go (and therefore the post to appear on your blog). Here's the main gotcha with Emailschedule: time settings. Francis has been working on the timezones aspects, but it's not quite right yet. E.g. my settings should match London time, but they don't - in the "remind on" line (see the pic above), the time shown (which should be the time when you first went into the Scheduler page) is currently an hour ahead of London time. So I have to set the time when I want an email to go to be relative to the time shown on the "remind on" line, rather than my own real time.

Also, you may set it to go at say 16.30 (your time), but it may not actually go until 16.45 (your time), or arrive on your blog at exactly that time. The only thing you can be sure of is that an email you set to go later (by Emailschedule server time, i.e. whatever you picked in the "remind on" line) will go later than an email you set to go earlier (by Emailschedule server time).

So, I'd only use Emailschedule for where I want something to appear on my blog on a particular date, but didn't mind exactly what time it appeared.
Also remember that it might be Monday in England while it's still Sunday in Canada, so you need to allow for that - you may think you've scheduled it to arrive on Monday when actually it will arrive on Sunday! If you can calculate exactly how many hours later you want a post to be published, and add that to the Emailschedule server time as it is at the time you hit Submit, you should be OK but you'd be a more patient soul than me... (bear in mind too that the time on the "remind me" line isn't kept current, but just shows the time when you first entered that page - so you may be better off drafting your post elsewhere, then going into Scheduler and pasting it in, choosing date/time and adding your title, then sending it swiftly thereafter!).

8. On the day and hopefully the time you pick (assuming you've got the time differences etc right!), Emailschedule will send off that email and voila, one postponed post to your blog.

Other points on Emailschedule

  • Pending emails - You can check your scheduled emails, and delete or edit a post/email before the time when it's scheduled to go. (The window doesn't update itself, you'll have to refresh if you want to check that an email has been sent out.) Click the Pending Emails link in the right sidebar and click on the subject of the email concerned to edit it:


  • Sent emails - Emailschedule does NOT save your sent emails. So you should keep a backup, e.g. copy/paste the text of your post to a document on the computer you use to send the email, just in case. Once a pending email has been sent, there is no trace of it left on Emailschedule - not even a list of previously sent emails.
  • Your profile - To view your profile, the link is actually on the Pending Emails page, not the main page. And you can't change your email address for anti-spam reasons, so if you got it wrong when you registered, best to register again under a different .
  • Editing contacts - To edit or delete a contact, click on the contact name in the Contacts list, and the popup will include a "Delete" link.
  • FAQ - The FAQ is worth a look e.g. on what happens if you schedule an email for a past date/time!
  • Compulsory footer - This is a free service so, unless you donate, there will be a footer at the end of your delayed posts saying
    "Sent by Yourusername via the free Email Scheduler service.
    Register now at http://www.emailschedule.com".
    Small price to pay I think for the convenience of having this service available, and if you donate then no more footer.
  • Google Maps - If you're wondering what the "Google Maps added to contact" note in the left sidebar is about, Francis explained that when you click on the name of one of your contacts in your list it will popup a window that will allow you to modify the contact's info. In this window there will be a "Show Map" link to show a map generated from your contact's info (assuming you've entered their address etc). Unfortunately it only works for US addresses and didn't work for me at all - Show Map brought up details of the test (US) address I'd entered rather than a map! But this is minor, it would be fun if it worked properly but for blogging purposes it isn't really relevant...
I hope this post will help those who've asked about such a tool or service, like corpodibacco and Duplex Dude.


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BBC Open News Archive: free downloads of TV news clips






BBC News through their Open News Archive are, for an 18-month trial period, piloting free downloads of audio and video covering nearly 80 iconic news stories or events of the past 50 years including the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tiananmen Square, London poll tax riots etc, under their Creative Archive licence - which means the content may also be shared, remixed etc for non-commercial purposes, but it's only available to UK residents (there are fuller details of the terms of the trial, an FAQ etc).

See the index of news clips, which are available in QuickTime, Windows Media, MPEG1 and MP3 formats.

(I've blogged about the BBC's Creative Archive before.)

Via Creative Archive news, who have also provided latest download figures for Creative Archive licensed content as at 13 December 2005.


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Thursday, 15 December 2005

Web usability, accessibility and design guide: free download until 23 December 2005






"Webcredible Handbook - all you need to know about effective websites" (1.1 MB, 100 pgs) is freely downloadable until 23 December 2005 (single user licence, no copying) from usability and accessibility specialists Webcredible (you have to give your email address to be emailed the download link, but you can use something like Spamgourmet if you're reluctant to give your email address to a strange site, as I usually am). Normally they charge £170 for it! They say it's based on 2 years of research into user-friendly websites and it's aimed at "designers, developers, programmers and marketing and IT professionals. It does assume very basic HTML and CSS knowledge in some places."

I've just downloaded it and haven't had a chance to read it properly yet, but given the deadline I thought I'd mention it in case anyone else wants to grab a copy before the deadline is up - I figure for the price (as in, free) it's probably worth downloading.

The contents cover the following broad areas, with detailed points (what they call "checkpoints") under each of the subheadings. Some seem obvious (e.g. use CSS not tables; ensure the first 25 words contain descriptive content not navigation), but it never hurts to see what ideas others have about web usability, accessibility, design and (as they put it) web credibility, and it looks clear and practical in its approach:

Web usability

  1. Don't confuse users
  2. Have a fast download time
  3. Know how people read on the web
  4. Don't take power away from the user

Web accessibility

  1. Allow for different browsing technologies
  2. Create forms that everyone can use
  3. Make it easy for users to quickly process page content
  4. Separate structure and presentation
  5. Give users control over pages

Web credibility

  1. Prove there is a real organisation behind the website
  2. Show you have nothing to hide
  3. Put your point across effectively
  4. Create the image of a growing organisation with clients
  5. Exude professionalism and confidence

Search engine optimisation

  1. Help search engines work out the point of your website
  2. Use keyword phrases effectively
  3. Ensure web pages are accessible to search engines
  4. Make sure external sites link in to the website
(Via Out-law).


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Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Feedburner Feedflare: add interactivity to your feed - the future of feeds






Feedburner have just enhanced their free service still further by, as they put it, introducing "an interactive RSS service to engage subscribers... The company will also release a full set of open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to allow third-party developers to build and integrate custom FeedFlare services.".

What that means is this: if you activate the new Feedflare option (once logged in to Feedburner, Feedflare is under the Optimize tab for the feed), you can choose to add extra links to the end of each post in your Feedburner feed:


(you'll see I've ticked all the options except one which isn't relevant to this blog as it works only for Wordpress users; as it hides absent items I feel that picking all the options won't clutter up my feed too much. And I'm really pleased that Feedburner have added the ability to view the CC licence, though in a different way from what I'd suggested (clickable CC logo) in my post on full/partial feeds.)

Now my feed looks like this (in browser-friendly view and also in Feed Demon), with a new line of links at the end of each post:


They're pretty self-explanatory; the "Recent tags" link lists what tags people have tagged your post with recently on Delicious, and when clicked it will take you to the page on Del.icio.us showing who's bookmarked that post.

But remember that you have to enable Feedflare separately for each of your feeds, if you've burned more than one (e.g. to offer your readers both full and partial feeds).

[Edited later:] Feedburner have now provided more info about the new enhancements on their blog - it all sounds excellent: "This is just phase one of FeedFlare... Very soon, we'll provide publishers with the ability to tie FeedFlare into the originating web site content. This will give publishers the ability to ensure that a consistent set of actions and meta-data are displayed alongside the content wherever it is consumed. There have been numerous how-to's for integrating tags and other services into web content, but FeedFlare will simplify this process and provide publishers with an architecture for genernalized content item processing - a CMS-independent plug-in framework for web services, if you will (and you should)... Shortly after we launch FeedFlare for Web sites, we will launch our favorite part of this service: an open API for adding new FeedFlare services... we will publish a complete specification and API with examples. Anybody can write to the spec, and publishers will be able to start using these new services immediately. There is no application process or submission form at FeedBurner - services that implement the specification will just work..."

Issues?

[Edited later:] Thanks to John of Feedburner for his comment - I was just too quick off the mark and impatient, it does indeed work, and showed on Bloglines etc a few hours later.

One problem is that clearly there are still some problems with the new service, and it seems to me that more testing and tinkering is needed. While the new links display fine in some readers, it won't in others - notably, in Bloglines, where the post just looks like this, i.e. sans the whizzy new links that should appear:


It's the same with Google Reader, I won't include yet another screenshot, you get the picture.


Also, if you offer Feedblitz email subscriptions to your blog, note that the new links are really graphics, not text, so subscribers who have set their email not to display images won't see the link descriptions.

So, clearly there is still work to be done in getting the links to display in all feed readers (and perhaps Feedburner could consider using link text instead of graphics, to overcome a possible email pic display problem for some users - especially as the pics are of text anyway.) [Edited later:] John has now also explained why they use graphics, clearly they've thought all this through very well, see his comment below.

I also think that, while the link to bookmark a post on Delicious is useful, given that feeds are continually updated and changing (showing only the X most recent posts on a blog), it may be that in some cases the post in question will have dropped off the feed by the time it gets bookmarked on Delicious or linked to by a blog indexed on Technorati. However the link can be helpful when people are quick off the mark tagging or linking to a post, as you can see in the example pic above.

The future of feeds

These changes I think illustrate a trend: that feeds are increasingly converging with webpages in many ways, with similar features being added to feeds (e.g. "email this post", which was built into the standard Blogger template, and the ability to bookmark a post on Delicious, which I added to my blog a while back - see my howto). The future plans of Feedburner sound like just the start.

Another area of convergence is advertising. One supposed objection to offering full feeds is that people want to draw readers to their main websites where their ads are located, see e.g. this Guardian article last week). But, as that article also observes, ads are being introduced into feeds, e.g. Google's Adsense for feeds which is currently in beta. While there are views that advertising on feeds won't be as effective as advertising on webpages, I'm not quite sure why not, myself. Personally, as a consumer I'd be equally likely to click on an ad in a feed as in a blog or webpage, depending on its relevance to me and how it's been presented; and I'm confident that the way ads are presented in feeds will rapidly improve. As regular readers of my blog know, I believe in consumer choice - if people want full feeds, then give them the option.

People are doing more and more clever things with feeds, taking advantage of their flexibility - and I do believe that we're only scratching the surface so far in terms of the possibilities.


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Technorati Mini: automatic searches now include tags






Previously I mentioned the new Technorati Mini which lets you keep a window open showing live results for your chosen Technorati search, updated every minute.

Now Technorati have extended that feature, so that you can have a Mini window for the results of tag searches you do on Technorati.

Instructions and screenshot are in David Sifry's blog post about it.


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Monday, 12 December 2005

Feedblitz: full and partial email subscriptions for your blog posts






As promised in my previous post on full and partial feeds, here are step by step instructions on tweaking Feedblitz (as to which see this post and this post) in order to offer your readers the option of getting emails of your full posts, excerpts, or headlines only.

Feedblitz and truncated emails

Now in fact Feedblitz have been going from strength to strength, fantastic progress in just a few months, outpacing Bloglet just over a week ago. Improvements include a good FAQ, and "post truncation" - the ability to provide your readers with the choice of long or short email subscriptions for a single feed - partly because of my banging on about it (thanks to Phil Hollows of Feedblitz. Oooh I like a man who not only knows how to listen to a woman, but also actually does what she suggests! Not "does what she tells him", of course. I would never expect that. Oh no. But I'd mention too that Phil has also now made their tooltips for the icons visible in Firefox as well as Internet Explorer, thanks Phil!).

You may have noticed the post truncation change on your Details page for a particular feed (login to Feedblitz, click My feeds, click the icon against the relevant feed name under the "Action" column to get to that page). There's now a section that looks like this:


And as it says, put in a number like 100 for Maximum Entry length and your subscribers will get headlines plus the first 100 characters of your posts. Or put in 0 and they'll just get your headlines. Plus you can also add teaser text.

However, (sorry Phil, after all that!) the thing with Feedblitz is that if you choose truncated emails for a feed, that's what all your subscribers will get. They have no individual choice, it's all or none, all your subscribers will get whatever you decide, full or X characters or headlines only. Unlike with Feedburner, where you can burn the same feed several times in different ways, you can't offer different email subs from the same feed with different options as to length of email. (Although the new truncation option in Feedblitz is still helpful for those who are just offering one option and would like excerpts only etc in their emails, but full feeds say.)

So, if you want to provide your readers with the choice of different email lengths, my recommendation now is to burn multiple feeds, one for each type of email you want to offer, using Feedburner, as described in my previous post on full and partial feeds - and then use those. That way, you can offer both full and partial feeds, AND full and partial emails.

Step by step instructions

1. You should of course already be signed up to Feedblitz, which is free.

2. You should also have burned your multiple feeds - whatever options you want to offer, as per my previous post - and noted the URLs for each of them.

3. Login to Feedblitz, click New Feed, enter the URL of your first new feed and click Publish Feed. Now in the next page under HTML Subscription Form Code, note the feed ID for this feed and the type of feed (e.g. full) - look at the line that says <input name="FEEDID" type="hidden" value="ZZZZZ"> your feed ID will be whatever's the "value", ZZZZZ in this case.

4. Repeat step 3 for each of your other types of feeds, again noting the feed IDs for each type.

5. In your blog template you can then insert this code (e.g. in your sidebar), first changing XXXXX to the feed ID for your excerpts feed, YYYYY your full feed, etc. (if you're not offering a particular feed type just delete the line for it; you can also change the order of display if you like):
<form method="POST" action="http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?AddNewUserDirect">
<input name="EMAIL" maxlength="255" type="text" width="30" value=""><br>
<select name="FEEDID">
<option value="XXXXX">Excerpts</option>
<option value="YYYYY">Full posts</option>
<option value="ZZZZZ">Headlines only</option>
</select><input type="submit" name="Submit" value="Go">
<br />
<font size=1> (powered by <a href=" http://www.feedblitz.com/"> Feedblitz)</a></font>
</form>

Save your template and republish, and that's it.


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Robert Scoble London Geek Dinner 10 December 2005








It was interesting to meet Robert Scoble at the Geek Dinner on Saturday, albeit only briefly - a very nice, personable bloke. Here's the MP3 of his speech (not fab quality, but I was 10 feet away from the PA and didn't use a dedicated MP3 recorder):
Robert Scoble London Geek Dinner 10 December 2005 MP3 (2.4 MB, 2.28 mins).
Geekery: the speech was recorded on my Nokia 7710, converted from AMR to WAV using Miksoft's free mobile AMR converter, then edited down, for length/filesize reasons, to just his speech and exported to MP3 using Audacity). Pic above also taken with the Nokia 7710 which thankfully saves pics in JPG.
This time it seemed to me there were more bloggers, whereas previous geek dinners I've attended have been dominated by "hardcore" techies. I didn't recognise most of the people there but saw the usual suspects like Ian Forrester, and the regular Geek Girls - Sarah Blow, Deirdre, Helen and Rachel (all of whom I'd met at previous London Geek Girl Dinners: August and October 2005). (Oh and the table dancing Emma, who's moving on to asset management at London Underground - "physical assets", she says, I say no more. Though apparently she won't be shuffling Tube trains around, no doubt next time she'll enlighten me further.)

The bartenders were lovely as usual, and the starters better than the main course (though the main course was pretty good and I rather overfilled my plate and couldn't move much thereafter!). I met quite a few people I'd not met before, though there were plenty more I just never got a chance to speak to. The people I chatted to the most were:
  • Leila Boujnane, who sounds like she's on to a winner with her software for searching images (stills and video both), taken up by Adobe amongst others - but oh the travelling!
  • Henriette Weber Andersen, Danish blogger and entrepreneur
  • David Smith, who I met at the inaugural meeting of the Open Rights Group (still mean to blog about that!)
  • Mary Joyce, who's setting up a democracy site
  • Ian Saunders, computer science student interning at Microsoft, who doubles as an emo/punk guitarist and songwriter.

And though we didn't talk for very long, I promised to stalk him so I'll start here - Peter Nixey, who's working on a desktop RSS reader.

Given the guest speaker, it's not surprising that people from Microsoft were there in force (as at the last London Geek Girl dinner). But what is interesting is that Microsoft co-sponsored the event, paying for half the price of the food (Stormhoek provided free wine). I was a little surprised that I was charged a tenner instead of the expected twenty, but that was why, as they announced after Robert's speech.

Microsoft, acknowledging they have some catching up to do, seem to be making a concerted play for the hearts and minds of London geeks and bloggers (not just London, either; there were people there from as far afield as e.g. Oxford and Leicester (hi to Jared!)). Stomachs seems a good way to start - and they'll be inviting the people who signed up on the geek dinner wiki to participate in betas, I'm not quite sure of exactly what yet, but it will be interesting to find out. As they said, where were Google and Yahoo? I wonder if they'll turn up at future geek dinners.


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Updated multiple word Technorati tag creator for Blogger (Firefox 1.5, Greasemonkey 0.6.4) with added features






This post explains version 1.0 beta of the Magical Sheep userscript for the free Firefox browser (also works with Firefox 1.5.0.6) with the Greasemonkey extension - updated 20 August 2006 to work with Blogger Beta (reviewed in this post).

It's a tool designed to help Blogger users add code for the Technorati tags of choice to the end of their blog post easily and quickly (what are Technorati tags?), with various extra features.

(Note: this post was heavily rewritten in April 2006 to explain from scratch all the features of version 1.0 beta of this script, which Kirk has substantially improved, all power to him! A summary of the latest changes he's made plus technical details is at the end of this post.)
How to install Greasemonkey and other Firefox extensions. For those not familiar with Greasemonkey - it's an extension for the free Firefox browser (). You have to first go to the Greasemonkey site and install the Greasemonkey extension (Firefox users should be familiar with how to install extensions - click the installation link e.g. the "Install Greasemonkey" link. If nothing happens and you see, just below your Firefox tab titles, a message in horizontal bar that "To protect your computer, Firefox prevented this site (greasemonkey.mozdev.org) from installing software on your computer", then you should click "Edit Options" at the end of that line, then "Allow" and "OK"/"Close" to allow that site to install software, then click the Greasemonkey or other extension link again, give it a few seconds then click "Install now". Close and re-launch Firefox.)

How to install a user script. Greasemonkey won't do anything without a user script. To install a script (which is a text file whose extension ends with ".user.js"), you click on the link to the script. You should get a popup box - wait a few seconds if necessary for the "Install" button to stop being greyed out, then click Install to install it. [Updated for newer versions. For older versions: When you're on that page (which looks like just a bunch of text), click the Install button at the top right, or in your Firefox Tools menu choose Install This User Script. Alternatively you can just rightclick on the link to the script and choose Install This User Script].

Beware though, not all scripts will be innocent - some could wreak havoc if malicious. Only install if you trust the originator of the script. You can use the "Show Script Source" button in the popup to check the script's content before installing it (or for newer versions of Greasemonkey rightclick the link to get the View User Script Source option), if you understand Javascript/Greasemonkey.

How to update the Magical Sheep script for Blogger Beta, now known as New Blogger. The downloadable script has been updated already but if you're already using the script and don't want to download the updated version (it'll preserve your settings), here's how to do it the manual way.

IMPORTANT:
if you are already using the Magical Sheep script,
this version is not compatible with previous versions of the script so you MUST uninstall it first from Firefox - Tools, Manage User Scripts, click on the script name (Technorati Multiple Word Tags for Blogger), FIRST tick "Also uninstall associated preferences" THEN click the Uninstall button. Then install the new script as above. You will then have to re-enter your "MeTags" and own choice of separator, but that should only take a few seconds.

Get the userscript (version 1.0 beta) from Userscripts.org (UPDATED 17 Dec 2007 to fix a Blogger Post Editor change on 14 Dec which broke the script). If that site is down or slow, try rightclicking on the link for the following alternative location and then choosing "Install This User Script" (that's important - if you leftclick it, you'll have to save it to your computer then open the script from there, which takes longer; this is because of the way Google Pages handles Javascript files hosted there, unfortunately):
Third update of Jan 2007. There seems to be an issue with Technorati's tag pages (yes, another one! or rather, with the way their tag searching works) and multiple word tags don't work quite as expected. In brief, you might think that if you insert the tag "consuming experience", clicking on that tag should bring people to the tag page listing all posts with the tag "consuming experience". In reality, it takes them to all posts which have a tag (whether single or multi-word) with "consuming" in the tag, AND which have a tag with the word "experience" in it. Not the same thing. And they might get some irrelevant results because of that. However, if you put quotes round your multiword tags in the href bit to make it better for users who click on the tag links, your post won't appear on Technorati or other search engines' tag pages at all. See this post. So don't do it. But do lobby Technorati to tweak how their searching works!

Summary

What this script does is add a new section to the bottom of the posting box in Blogger, in both Compose and Edit HTML tabs. You'll see a box with the green Technorati icon, for entering tags, a green Append Tags button and a Tag Settings and Options link:


UPDATE Jan 08: the script has further been tweaked to make sure the Post Options section stays open permanently even when you switch between Compose and Edit HTML modes, because Blogger changed things so it closes if you switch modes. Links in this post are to the updated version.

All you have to do is to enter the tags of your choice in the Tags box, separating different tags using a comma (multiple word tags, i.e. tags consisting of more than one word, are fine) - for example Blogging, blogs, feed reader, Magical Sheep, Technorati:


Click the green Append Tags button, and the code for the tags will be added to the end of your blog post:


Here's what the code looks like if you switch to the Edit HTML tab:


(Note that there are problems with certain correctly tagged posts not appearing on Technorati's tag pages, but that is a different issue and not related to this script.)

How to edit tags

If later while you're writing or editing your post you want to change or delete your tags or add more tags, all you have to do is edit the tags in the tag box and click the green Append Tags button and it will update the code in the blog post - you don't have to edit the code in the post editor box.

(This version 1.0 fixes a bug that stopped this from working before, thanks to Clamatius for the spot. I should mention that the bug was in the original script which Kirk adapted to provide multiple word tag support, he didn't introduce it! It's just that no one had noticed or pointed it out before...)

Settings and options

This version of the tool has some extra features and options some people may find useful. To access them, click on Tag Settings and Options (under the Tags box), and you'll see this:

Tag Links Open in New Window

Select Yes if you want the resulting Technorati tag page, which appears whenever a visitor to your blog clicks on a tag in your tag list, to open in a new browser window rather than the same window.

You'll see there are now four items under Change User Defined Settings: "Set Me Tags", "Set Separator", and "Set Heading".

User Defined Settings - Frequently Used Tags (FUTags)

FUTags are just an option to let you add certain tags that you used frequently in your blog (e.g. if your blog is about music then you'd use "music" a lot) without having to type the tag in full, just by clicking on the tag you want, from a list you set up.

To produce your list of frequently used tags, click "Set FUTags" and you'll get a box in which to enter your frequently-used tags - you can enter them in any order you like, separating different tags using a comma:

Click OK and you'll get a confirmation of your FUTags:

Click OK again and the list of FUTags you entered will appear under the tag input box, magically rearranged into alphabetical order, as clickable links:


To use FUTags just click on the tags you want to add from the list, and they will be added to the tag box (in this case I clicked on humor and media):


Then click the green Append Tags button, and the appropriate code will be added to the end of your blog post box in a form which Technorati will recognise and pick up. In the Compose tab here's what it looks like:


And here's what the added code will look like in the Edit tab:


(Wondering why there are extra tags (Improbulus, Consuming Experience, A Consuming Experience) appearing at the end of the posting box, even though they weren't added to the Tags box manually and aren't in the FUtags list? They're my automatic "metags". I'll explain it all in a minute.)

To edit your FUtags, just click Set FUtags again, and the box with your list of FUTags will come up:


Click in the input line to unhighlight it (otherwise you might accidentally overwrite all your FUtags when you type something), then change a tag, delete a tag or add new tags etc as you wish.

Note that in this box the tags will appear in the order you originally typed them (which won't necessarily be alphabetical), even though when you click OK and then OK again to confirm, the list of FUTags added under the tags box will be shown in alphabetical order. So you don't really have to input your FUTags in alphabetical order. Nevertheless, for ease of future editing I'd recommend that both when you first add your FUTags and when you edit them, you put them in alphabetical order in the popup box so that you can find the tags you want to edit more easily when you need to.

Set MeTags - add meblogging tags

Click "Set MeTags" and you can then enter and OK specific tags which will always be magically appended to each of your posts automatically from then on, without your having to type the tags into the tag box or enter the code for those "metags" into your posts manually:


What are MeTags? MeTags are just unique tags you've decided on for yourself or your particular blog (more on "meblogging") - e.g. I tag all my posts "Improbulus" and also "Consuming Experience"; if you're ChickyBabe you might tag all your posts "ChickyBabe":


Several MeTags. As you can see, you can have more than one metag - just separate them with a comma. This also works where the tag consists of more than one word, e.g. A Consuming Experience, Consuming Experience. Setting "Me Tags" will save you typing your "me tags" afresh at the end of your tags each time.

Editing MeTags. To get rid of or edit a "meblogging tag" just click Set MeTags again and edit what appears in the popup box (remembering to click in the input line first to unhighlight it if you don't intend to overwrite the lot).

What's the difference between MeTags and FUTags? All your MeTags are added automatically to the end of the post when you click Append Tags, without your having to type anything. A FUTag is only added to a particular post if you click on the name of the tag from your FUTag list, and you can add as few or as many as you like. FUTags are just to save on typing where you have tags you use often, but not necessarily in every single post.

MeTags or Your Technorati Account? You might decide not to use me tags, but instead to point only to tags under your Technorati account (covered below) - but equally you can use both if you want to.

Set Separator - customise your displayed separator

By default, the separator symbol displayed in the list of tags at the end of your post is a comma. In other words, each tag is separated from the next by a comma e.g. Improbulus, Magical Sheep, A Consuming Experience. If you want to change that separator to something else e.g. a slash, click "Set Separator":


Then change it e.g. to space slash ( /) and hit OK. Note that the "Set Separator" button enables you to set the VISUAL separator that's displayed in your list of tags - NOT what you type when you're entering your tags in the Tags box. You must still separate your tags with commas when you enter them. But if you want them to display e.g. with a slash ("/") symbol instead, then you can do that with the Set Separator button.

You may need to add spaces before or after your chosen symbol as necessary (if you experiment but then decide to go back to a comma you may need add a space before the comma in the box - just try it, you can click Append tags a bunch of times with different separators and spacings to see the different results).

Set Heading

By default the tags list is headed or labelled "Tags:".

If you want to change that to something else, like "Technorati Tags:", click "Set Heading":



Then change the label (don't forget to include the colon or other separator if you want it in), and OK it. You could even head it "Categories:", especially if you use the feature described below to point links only to tagged posts from your own blogs.

Point Links to Your Technorati Account

This option, if checked, means that when someone clicks on a tag in your post, they will be taken to a page showing only posts from your own blogs bearing that tag.

To set this, tick the "My Technorati" box and you'll see a popup:


Enter your Technorati username in the popup (e.g. mine is Improbulus) and OK. Thereafter, the Technorati tag page which opens when a user clicks a tag in your tag list will, instead of listing all blog posts with that tag, list only posts from your blogs which have that tag. (They must be blogs that you've claimed with Technorati, so this only works if you've signed up with Technorati and claimed the blogs concerned - see this if you have problems claiming your blog. For techie details on how this feature works, see the history.)

This option offers one possible way to have a categories page (though as a separate Webpage on Technorati, rather than as part of your site), listing all the posts from your blogs which bear a particular tag. That page will even show your old tagged posts.

However if someone clicks a tag link from a previously-tagged post which doesn't use this new feature, they will see the Technorati page for that tag for all users not just you - in other words, this new feature of the script won't rewrite tags from old posts for you. It will only work in new posts written and tagged after you've activated this new "point links" option.

Also, it's a known problem that some properly-tagged posts just don't show up on Technorati's tag pages, so those will be missed out of the category listing if you use on this method for your blog categories. In other words, it's not the most reliable way to introduce categories for your Blogger blog.

Styling the look of your tags

For those familiar with CSS, the div for the tags section is given the class "tag_list" (with the tags themselves given the class "tags"). You can therefore style them anyway you like to suit your preferences, e.g. tweak text size, change the colour to match the look of your blog, etc.

If you're less familiar with CSS, examples are below - just copy and paste the code given to the head section of your blog template (i.e. between where it says <head> and </head>), just before the </style> line, then save it and republish.

To make tag text smaller

.tag_list {
font-size:0.8em;
}
(for an even smaller size, you can reduce the 0.8 e.g. to 0.5, etc.)

To display a horizontal line before the tags

If you want a demarcating horizontal line above the tags to separate them from the main part of your post:
.tag_list {
border-top:1px solid #ccc;
}

To make tags invisible

From time to time I get questions about how to make the tags invisible. For all sorts of reasons, that's probably not a good idea e.g. it probably goes against the purpose of tags. Kevin Marks of Technorati thinks it doesn't make sense, and more to the point many believe that if you try to make your tags invisible, Technorati and other search engines won't like it and may decide not to index your posts. While leaving out the link text worked once upon a time, that doesn't mean it will always work - I wouldn't be surprised if Technorati for one tweak things to penalise those who leave out link text for tags by refusing to index their posts properly, if they haven't already.

Nevertheless if you really want to try invisible tags (and on your own head be it!), the best way to increase your chances of having them indexed is probably to have them there on the page, but just not displayed (and who knows whether the search engines would want to penalise that sort of thing too). In the case of this Magical Sheep tag creator, you can do that by copy/pasting this code to your template again in the head section just before the </style> line, then save and republish:
.tag_list {
display:none;
}
See further my previous post about styling the tag text etc. For some more discussion on invisible tags yes or no, see the comments to this post.

History

Updated April 2006 - version 1.0 beta

If upgrading - IMPORTANT - this version is not compatible with previous versions of this script. if you have an existing version of this script, you MUST first uninstall it before installing this version. You may then have to re-enter your "MeTags" and own choice of separator (although if you're lucky they may be preserved if you've been using a previous version of this script), but that should only take a few seconds.

Bugfix:

Editing tags - after tags have initially been added, deleting a tag or adding a tag to the tag box (and clicking Append) now inserts it or deletes it from the main post box properly. (This bug was in the original script which Kirk adapted and expanded, so don't blame him for it! The script should have been doing that all along, but there was a misuse of single quote marks which stopped it from working before. No one seems to have noticed it until Clamatius pointed it out - thanks Clamatius!)

Improvements:

  • Better Blogger integration, now works in Edit HTML as well as Compose mode.
  • Tag settings and options - now hidden by default
  • Heading/label for tags list - can be changed from "Tags:"
  • New window - option to have links open in a new browser window (adds target="_blank")
  • FUTags - ability to set up a list of your most frequently used tags, to add them to the tag box with one click
  • Your Technorati account only - option to point tag links to tagged posts from your own blog(s) only, if you have signed up with Technorati and claimed your blog. In other words, if you select this option and someone clicks a tag in your post, they will be taken to a page listing all the posts previously tagged with that tag from your blogs only; if other people have used that tag, their posts will not be shown in the list. You must be a Technorati member and have claimed the blogs concerned (see also this page), to use this feature. It will only work in posts published after you install this new version of the script; old posts will not be affected.

    (Note: this new feature is set up via Javascript, so that Technorati can still crawl the link, since what they crawl and what points at the user's account are in different formats. From testing, Technorati hasn't had any problem so far picking up tags done in this way.)

    Example: If you display the Tag Settings and Options section and tick the Point Links... box and enter the Technorati username phydeaux3 and OK, then enter the tag "magical sheep" in the Tags box and click Append Tags, the following code will be added to the end of the Blogger post box:
    <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/magical+sheep" rel="tag" target="_blank" onmouseover="this.href='http://technorati.com/tag/magical+sheep?user=phydeaux3'">magical sheep</a>
  • Editing posts or drafts - it now reads tags back in from a previously published or draft post.
  • Blogger's post options field - nothing to do with tagging, but Kirk has made that field open all the time with this script (which many of us think is much better), and also added a border round that field just to cover up its previous "naked" look! Isn't he the gentleman...
  • Tag box/options now hidden in Preview view, unless you have Jasper's script for Keep current time on post, in which case they will be visible. Don't think anything can be done about that, just don't use that box in Preview view.

Updated 8 January 2006 for Firefox 1.5/Greasemonkey 0.6.4

For completists only! If you are working on how to update other Greasemonkey scripts, this is what Kirk/Truckspy did, in case it may help.

The html for the submit button was modified from this:
<input value='Append tags' type='button' onclick='appendTags()'>

To this:
<input id='t-submit' value='Append tags' type='button'>

Why? Apparently you can't add the onclick='function' like normal in Greasemonkey anymore, so that was removed from there and an ID added (needed to access the input to set the onClick below).

And this was added:
var setTsubmit = document.getElementById('t-submit');
setTsubmit.addEventListener('click', appendTags, true);

So apparently this is the format to add an "event" (onclick, onmousedown, whatever) to a Greasemonkey script now.

After that this needed to be changed also:
appendTags = function(){

To:
function appendTags() {


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