Sunday, December 11, 2005

HTML, FeedBlitz and...Pumpkin?

Another three-part entry tonight.

HTML Basics


Last night, I went down the list of toolbar buttons you can use to pretty up a Blogspot entry without knowing any HTML at all. Tonight, I want to give you the HTML coding for most of the same functions. First, the list, and then the discussion:



HTML codes are called "tags." They all start and end with a bracket thingy, as shown above. Then comes the text you want the tag to affect (making it bold or blue or a link or whatever). At the end of that text, you put a closing tag. This is the same basic tag as the opening tag, but without any details, and with a slash in it. For example, a basic pair of font tags and a basic set of link tags look this this:


Blogger likes to change font tags to span tags, but let's not worry about that now. The font tags will work. And, as Shelly reminds me, the other tag for bold (instead of the letter b) is the word strong.

Now, if you don't know any HTML to speak of, you may be wondering at this point why you should bother with it, since the menu buttons accomplish the same stuff. The main reason can be summed up in one word.

Control.

If you learn these basic HTML tags, you can apply them in comments, where here are no buttons. You can also use them in the Edit HTML tab, to do things with more finesse than the buttons will give you. You can change existing tags rather than applying one tag on top of another. You can point to pictures that you've uploaded somewhere other than Blogger. You can put the pictures in the appropiate part of the entry, and make them the width you want, by adding width=400 (or whatever) to the img tag. And so on.

I'm very sleepy, so I'm going to stop here for tonight, as far as this subject is concerned.

FeedBlitz


I gather that people have had a few issues with Blogines and Bloglet, and are wondering about FeedBlitz. I've covered the subject before in dribs and drabs, but here are the basics:

1. FeedBlitz, found at http://www.feedblitz.com/, is a free blog syndication and clipping service. Like many free Internet tools, they offer a premium version that does cost money, but we'll assume you're sticking with the free version.

2. If you want people to be able to read your blog in FeedBlitz, you don't have to do anything. However, you can make it easier for them by signing up with FeedBlitz and pasting the code they provide into your sidebar. Mine looks like this:


Enter your Email


Powered by FeedBlitz

As you mess around with FeedBlitz, it will probably ask you to choose a syndication feed for the blog you want to read or promote. For Blogger, the URL for the syndication feed looks like this:

http://outmavarin.blogspot.com/atom.xml

You can find yours in the site feed subtab of the settings tab, but it will be similar,with the
/atom.xml at the end.

FeedBlitz lets you type or paste in the URLs of whatever blogs you want to read. Then every night, you get one email containing all the new entries from all of those blogs. I don't know what happens if you try to subscribe to a really long list of blogs.

The email looks something like this:

Subject: [FeedBlitz] There are 9 new posts in 6 Feeds

http://www.feedblitz.com/

Here are the FeedBlitz blog updates for mavarin@aol.com


There are 2 new entries in "Its All About Me...I Think!"

Bah Humbug.

and so on.

Overall, I like FeedBlitz. It seems to be pretty reliable, and once it's set up you don't have to do anything except read your email. There are just a few things to watch out for:

  1. AOL sometimes catches the emails with its spam filter. Adding FeedBlitz@mail.feedblitz.com to your address book should fix this.
  2. Unless you go for the premium services, you only get one email a day. If you want to read something the minute it's posted, this won't help you. If someone posted at 11:45 PM, and your email comes in just after midnight, it probably won't have that posting in it. But the next night's email will have it.
  3. Some bloggers set their feed to only show part of an entry. This makes the email a bit shorter, and encourages readers to click through to the blog itself. Unfortunately, the reader can't set this preference, only the blog owner.
  4. You don't get anything froom FeedBlitz until you sign up for it and subscribe to stuff.
I like it. I haven't been keeping up with Bloglines, but I mostly do keep up with my FeedBlitz blogs.

Pumpkin Everything: An Update

So far, in my silly challenge to myself to try "pumpkin everything" before the year is out, I've eaten:
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Harvest pie
  • Pumpkin cheesecake
  • Pumpkin tart
  • Pumpkin bundt cake
  • Pumpkin bread
  • Pumpkin cranberry bread
  • Pumpkin Clif Bar
  • Pumpkin Pie Yogurt
  • Pumpkin seeds
I have in the house, but have not yet tried, Pumpkin Butter. John's eaten most of it already.

Stuff I haven't had yet:
  • Pumpkin ice cream
  • Pumpkin frozen yogurt
  • Pumpkin cookies, with or without chocolate chips
  • Pumpkin muffin
  • Pumpkin fudge
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Pumpkin pudding
I know that all of these things either exist or have existed in the past. The ice cream I could have gotten by now, except that I don't want to buy a big tub of it. The yogurt place said the pumpkin flavor would be in next week - and that was two weeks ago. Sara says she's had the fudge. The pumpkin chocolate chip cookies were available at Smith's about a decade ago, but Smith's no longer exists in Tucson, and neither do the cookies. Before Thanksgiving, Safeway had a dump labeled Jello Pumpkin Pudding mix, but the dump only had vanilla in it. Even Trader Joe didn't have the soup when I last looked.

Any useful suggestions for tracking down these elusive pumpkin foodstuffs will be much appreciated!

Karen

3 comments:

Shelly said...

The other code for bold is strong within the <>. Also, I believe the strong and em codes are the newer ones. How thing render depend on how old your browser is, if I understand all this correctly.

Re: pictures. I never size it in the entry. I size the photo itself to fit the entry, and that's one reason I prefer to use a service like Flickr where the size of the photo is what I end up with in the entry, rather than letting Blogger size it or have to fiddle in the entry.

The point is, there are a number of ways to do things and some will feel more comfortable than others. The only caveat I can see is that not everything will look good in every browser. What looks good in IE doesn't always look good in Firefox and vice versa.

As for slowness in Bloglines, I didn't notice anything yesterday, but given I switched all the AOL journals I read to Bloglines back in the spring (or was it the summer?) when AOL alerts weren't working, I'd say any service will have its ups and downs. Or have people forgotten we went days without getting alerts? :)

BTW, I rarely click through to read a blog when I get only a summary in Bloglines (would be the same no matter how I read blogs). I simply don't have the time to click click click. That's why I went to Bloglines in the first place, so everything would come to me. :)

Bloglines updates regularly, every hour, I think. It's not perfect, but I have it on all the time I'm online and check it periodically.

As for the pumpkins, you're on your own. heh

Sara said...

Country Crock has pumpkin margarine out now. I was intrigued and bought a small tub but haven't trieed it yet. And Bruegger's bagels sells pumpkin cream cheese in Oct and Nov, but may not keep it past Thanksgiving. I'm also not sure if it's a national or regional chain, so you may not have it in Tucson.

Globetrotter said...

Hmmmm once again I had trouble!

I really do appreciate these tutorials....

Between all the nice people loke you and Carly and astaryth and Patrick, I'm starting to get a little more comfortable here.

Look what I can do now! Waaaahooooo!

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