Nov 30, 2009

The guys over the draft version of Blogger have been busy lately and they now present another nice little feature that will find its way into the Blog Post Editor:

A Dictonary that can be used in the Compose Mode and that lets you Define words  and phrases in 12 languages and look for synonyms in English.

 

A very nice feature to have and that has been very well integrated. Given the last new features for Blogger in Draft have been all about the Blog Post Editor. It looks like Blogger really wants to revindicate it for everyone that has been unhappy with it in the last i would say two years.  They are right, one of the most outdated parts in Blogger has been indeed the Blog Post Editor.  In my case i don’t really have used it in the last 2 years thanks to Windows Live Writer that is the very very very best Desktop Blog Editor that exists. This will not sway me but it should prove useful for everyone using Blogger since only 15% or less of Bloggers use a Desktop Blog Editor.

But i would truly like if they dedicated more time the most outdated thing in Blogger: The Comment System.

However, a new feature is a new feature and this one is also a good one to boot.

via Blogger In Draft




This little mod comes from Russia (with love, i hope) and it has been waiting for over a year in a comment that was posted in the Peek-A-Boo Blogger Navbar post.

Unfortunately Russian is one of the languages i truly don’t know anything about and it just puzzles me. So there is a bit of a language barrier there. But the guy who developed this is called Артем Ивлев and looks like he is a Lotus Expert (Domino, Connections, Quickr, etc) and he has this blog with the name Homo Ludens that i guess refers to the “Play Theory” of the dynamic of Society and Culture and how that dynamic create art that reflects on the society that at the same time creates culture around the art as time passes and the circle goes over and over.

So this nice Mod (or Hack to a degree) comes with a instant Blogger page element install button. So thanks to that i can now offer it to you all since then the language barrier is not much of a problem but merely a bump.

This comes as a Blogger Navbar Mod that makes it retractable for 5 seconds.

So you can have the Blogger Navbar without having to remove it and without having to show it. It only will be shown if the visitor of your blog wants to access it. To do that he only needs to click a little rectangle in the top left corner of your blog that shows as this:

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Once it is clicked, the navbar shows.

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5 seconds pass and it hides.

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The hiding happens in a nice one second motion.

An Actual Ideal Way To Hide The Blogger Navbar.

When i remember back on my idea of the Peek-A-Boo Blogger Navbar thing. The truth is that it was not the first take. My first take was exactly a Retractable Blogger Navbar just like this. It was never done because it required more of anyone wanting to use it since they had to install it themselves. So it didn’t had the mass appeal of my other idea. That i must say that it is heyday i would not be surprised if it was used by at least a 1000 blogs. 

That is quite a high number because it still needed to be installed but since the installation was only two lines of css code, it was adopted very well.  Another reason why it was chosen over is this was because it didn’t needed JS so there were not going to be issues with it.

This in the other hand don’t has that problem because the code needed for it (JS) auto-installs for the user thanks to the fact that it uses the One Click Install Button concept brought by the Blogger Page Elements and Blogger Gadgets.  This also reminds me to think that every single new Mod and Hack to Blogger should be archived this way. As a Auto-Installable Blogger Page Element or Gadget.

So i take my hat off because while the whole thing is simple, it is very well executed.

How To Install

Well, you only need to visit Артем Ивлев blog post and look out for this button:

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You click it and it will ask you to log into your Google Account and then will take you to this Settings page:

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Since the Page Element calls for a function that positions the little rectangle in the Top left corner of your Blog to show the Blogger Navbar. The little space it uses in your sidebar don’t shows a thing. For that reason i recommend you to leave the title field blank or just put a “.” or a “-“ simple to identify the element in your layout. You can then just drag it down to the bottom of your sidebar and leave it there.

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Some Notes

While the Retractable Blogger Navbar mod is very well done. One of the rough things about it is that you cannot customize the text in the rectangle that serves as the “show navbar” button. So it will show as it is in Russian. Another thing is that it would be great if it not only the text could be customized but you could add a little favicon sized element you could link to that would really make it stand out, or that it already came with a arrow pointing down as a way to better indicate the action of what it does.

But at least i can tell you that it works very well and in my test of it cross browser. It worked perfectly in every current browser and that when it came to IE6 or IE7 the times it didn’t worked it just didn’t do nothing. So it will not get in the way of your blog if someone visits with a old browser. They simply don’t see the feature and that is that.

So a good feature to have if you are willing to look away from the peeve it has of not being customizable.

Linkage

Retractable Blogger Navbar

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Nov 21, 2009

If you are using the draft.blogger.com dashboard or stopped using it because previous new features didn’t convinced you. Maybe better media handling will. It looks like Blogger is finally trying out seriously needed upgrade for those that use the Blogger Dashboard as it now will offer full Picasa integration in the Image Posting option and that you will also have a better looking dialog for when you want to use the Blogger Video Service and upload a movie into your posts.

 

The Image posting dialog will now let you:

Upload Pictures

  1. Add multiple Images
  2. Choose what Picasa Album you want to save the picture you are going to upload
  3. Choose a image from url and preview it in the same space before posting it.

Picasa Web Albums

  1. See all your Picasa Web Albums
  2. Choose any picture from any Picasa Web Album for image reuse
  3. Search a photo if you know the name or search for format.
  4. Choose a photo from a url

The video posting dialog will now let you

Upload Video

  1. Simplify the uploading of the video with a better selecting and uploading window.
  2. Mark it
  3. Post it

If you are thinking how on earth this was not already there or why it is still in the draft version of Blogger..you must be new here since you should know that Blogger works on its own special pace.

But at least the features are not finally there and that means they should be added to everyone soon.

Better Image Posting on "Blogger In Draft"  via Blogger In Draft

 




Nov 19, 2009

If you have been wondering if Geotagging is still off in your Draft.Blogger.com dashboard. It is not. You can use it again.

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via Blogger in Draft




Nov 15, 2009

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kranthi from BloggerTricks.com got a nice reminder of some basic health reminders for Bloggers and i would say anyone that is 6 hrs and up in front of a computer every day.

Some of the reasons for these health risk are:

» Carelessness on their own health
» No time to take care of themselves
» Long hours work
» Mental strain or stress

But as with everything, it is not as simple as that and there other many factors to take in, some are not even politically correct to discuss nowadays. What it is simple are the Tips Kranthi gives in, so go and give that blog post a read:

 

Must Know Health Tips for Bloggers via Blogger Tricks

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As stated in the post “Bloggeratto on widgets, gadgets and mashlets”. Bloggeratto will be also covering widget/gadget/mashlet related services too and will also link to stories in Appatic on that very subject only when they are related to that theme and relevant to Bloggers .  I decided that i would go with weekly posts to what was covered Appatic in that very vein.

Silvester: A Silverlight Twitter Badge For Your Blog

Silverster is a Silverlight based Twitter Widget Badge. You can use it for your blog and it makes for a good option against a Flash based one since it is lighter

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If you are wondering it the widget works in Blogger blog, don’t worry you can see it live in the linked post. it is fully customizable in terms of size and color too.

http://www.appatic.com/2009/11/silvester-silverlight-twitter-badge-for.html

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Mag.ma: Now With Bookmarklet, Widgets, Video Importer, Feeds And API

Magma (Mag.ma) is a Social Online Video Portal aiming to become The Guide for Online Video in the web. Think off it as a Stumbleupon meets Digg that happens to  focus on Online Videos, and you will get the right idea of it

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Magma counts with 3 different Widgets and should be of relevance to Blogs based around video, personal blogs to show your content if you decide to join that site or if your blog is based around the aggregation of all your online social activity (lifestreaming)

http://www.appatic.com/2009/11/magma-now-with-bookmarlet-widgets-video.html

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Nov 14, 2009
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One the new improvements Blogger is touting  that is going to apply  soon will be in the Blogger Navbar by making the “Next Blog” button actually useful, instead of just a mere novelty as it has been since introduced.

 

So in order to do that, it will behave more like StumbleUpon does and will try to bring you similar Bloggers Blogs to the one where you first clicked the Next Blog Button.

In Your Language

The good thing about it is that it should bring you blogs only in your language or in a language you understand. If you are logged it should take the language settings as reference from your account, if you aren’t it should take the browser language.  This is the part that should pretty much always be accurate. That along is a improvement since before  if you clicked the Next Blog Button, you usually ended up in not only a random blog, but a random blog in a random language.

Within The Subject Of The Blogger Blog You Were On

The second part i guess would be trickier, If it is based on Labels. It should work very well, but many have done some serious Label abuse or lack labels completely and that could took you to pretty much to any blog. The other way is if Google is looking for specific keywords based on the blogs you clicked the Next Blog Button to take you to the next one and they get to be similar.  My guess is that it will be based on the Labels, Blog Title and Sub-Title. Only because i think the second option is harder to tune up and also because i doubt they would went with such a trouble for such a feature.

More Value Added To The Navbar, More Incentives To Keep The Blogger Navbar?

As i have said many times before. Blogger seem to be avoiding to make any clear statement on those who remove the Blogger Navbar. But may be instead looking for ways to make more and more Blogger users to keep it as the last updates have been centered on that. But like i also have said before. Unless they let you fully customize it, that is never going to happen effectively with the most prominent and most popular Blogger users. Still good they finally got around to update it.

 

Coming Up Next...   via Blogger Buzz

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Actually more of Blogger saying what those that took the survey of describing Blogger Today and for the Future  in 3 adjectives according to what you thought of the service said.

TODAY

The 3 adjectives that users thought that better described Blogger TODAY were:

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Simple, Fun and Easy

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Runner-ups for the 3rd place were Free and User-Friendly.

[bloggernow

Absolutely impossible to disagree i must say.

THE FUTURE

The  3 words that Blogger users thought that should better describe Blogger in THE FUTURE were:

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Better, Integrated and Customizable

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Very close Runner-ups for 3rd pace were Interactive, Innovative, Flexible, Accessible and Easier.

 

[bloggerfuture.png]

(Hell, you can even change the third place for whatever other adjective from the runner-ups as it will be a matter of opinion since it is so close to call it with 100% certainty)

So the opinions on the future were more diverse and in my case. I think, that if i had to choose from this set of adjectives i would go with:

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Customizable, Flexible and Innovative.

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Overall a good exercise from Google. Now lets hope they deliver.

 

via Blogger Buzz

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Nov 9, 2009

 Bloggerato B

I decided i will return to covering them. After blogging about them for 2 years in Widgets Lab and previously to that Blogging about them sparsely on Bloggeratto for almost 1 year before the  2 years on Widgets Lab. I could be considered one of the few expert bloggers on the subject not working or developing them for a widget company. After all, i wrote around a 1000 blog posts on the subject and i have seen and tested thousands of them.

The Category for that will be “Embeds”. Otherwise you can look at the Labels for the specific words that i will keep separated according to source.

I do must note that there will be a cross posting of the widgets that make sense to review them in Appatic and those that make more sense to review them here. I will sort that out with weekly compendium posts in order to keep the cross pollination to a minimum.

 

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Nov 5, 2009
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No, it was not your imagination and yes, if your blog was not behaving normal in the weekend  is because Blogger had a unannounced Service Interruption last week that they should have said someone about:

After a recent service interruption, we started talking about how we could improve our communications about these (hopefully infrequent) issues. Going forward, in the case of significant service interruptions, we plan to publish a post mortem on the Blogger Status blog within 3 business days to provide details about what went wrong and what we're doing to help prevent similar problems in the future.

I didn’t put much mind to it since it is not that rare, even just before writing this post i experienced a mini-outage as i found that some blogs including this one was not loading up correctly.

But Blogger statement is worth a read so have at it:

Improving Our Communication of Blogger Service Interruptions

via Blogger Buzz

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Nov 4, 2009

If you were using geotagging via Blogger in draft or was about to start using it, you should know it is now off:

“We’ve temporarily disabled the geotagging feature in the Blogger in draft post editor due to it not working and showing that annoying JavaScript alert.


The feature will come back once we fix it up. Sorry about the inconvenience.”

But it must be said that it always had its glitches. No wonder it has not been added to the regular blogger. Another thing is that i don’t think it is compelling enough unless a handful case scenarios.

via Bloggerindraft

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Nov 1, 2009

Bloggerato B

Now that i have finally finished in cleaning every single bad comment, bad backlink and formatting issue. I will start the long and boring task of fully Categorizing, Labeling, Tagging, Updating and Editing every single post in the Blog Archive. There are some notes on the last two to know:

  • 1.-It may shake up the blog feed, mail subscriptions  and the blog twitter stream. I seriously hope that don’t happens and if it happens please let me know.
  • 2.-There may be some blogs appearing and disappearing while i do this general boosting of the blog,if you happen to find a inexistent blog post that you were directed to via the archive or feed. Tell me about it.
  • 3.-Blog will change with new features and tweaks here and there. Something may break in the process. Also let me know if that happens.

All the comments on the last 3 things should be posted in this entry.

In the meantime new content to come on what i hope is a almost daily basis.

-Thanks.




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