Sunday, November 28, 2004

Styling the Cursor

On November 06, 2004 we discussed "How do I change my cursor?" In summary, we learned that by using HTML elements such as <acronym>, its title attribute, and a style we can provide additional content, definitions and meaning to our publishings. Hover your mouse over HTML and see how the cursor changes to an arrow with a question mark and the words "HyperText Markup Language" appear. We wrote HTML as <acronym title="HyperText Markup Language" style="cursor:help;">HTML</acronym>. The extra typing pays off in readability and extra information for the search engines.
We will continue to use <acronym> in today's example. Be aware there are many other tags that make great opportunities for this technique:

The W3C in section 9.2 Structured Text devotes a sub-section to Phrase elements. These include: EM, STRONG, DFN, CODE, SAMP, KBD, VAR, CITE, ABBR, and ACRONYM. In this article alone I have made use of EM, STRONG, DFN, CODE, CITE, ABBR, and ACRONYM.

Typing style="cursor:help;" everytime we make an acronym, abbreviation, definition or other reference that deserves further explanation can be tedious business. Fortunately, CSS comes to our rescue. By using a <style> block toward the top of your document, ideally within the <head>, we can type cursor:help; once and have it applied throughout our document. Your code would look like:
<style type="text/css">
   acronym {

With that code in place, now instead of referencing HTML as
<acronym title="HyperText Markup Language" style="cursor:help;">HTML</acronym>
we can simply use
<acronym title="HyperText Markup Language">HTML</acronym>.

We can now apply the same style to other elements and even classes by simply adding them into the <style> definition separated by commas:
<style type="text/css">
   abbr, acronym, .help {

By providing your readers with help and definitions within your document you will be providing those readers a more satisfying experience. Special thanks to Terreus for the use of his style sheet.

In upcoming articles, I will discuss:
The inspiration for this article came from frequent visits to Terreus who uses this technique and inspired me to ask "How does he do that?!" Terreus has to be one of the most exceptionally well marked up sites I have visited in recent times. Kudos to the developer!
djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Active Pinging

Just like in those submarine movies where they push a button and a loud "paahling" is sent out and eventually answered with a "plooongng" there are services that "ping" your blog to let others know when it has been updated. (see Scott on Feedster by Jethro on the 21st.) Jeremy from Ensight brings more ping services to our attention but ends by recommending Pingomatic. By the way, I discovered Ensight through Blogexplosion and highly recommend becoming a member of Blogexplosion.

Note: The above links have not been personally confirmed.
djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me

Foxylicious extension for Firefox

Robin Good posts an article about Foxylicious, a firefox extension that integrates your links.

Social bookmarking applications, such as, Furl and Spurl, provide online researchers and writers with three outstandingly useful tools, namely the ability:

1. Quickly and effortlessly to keep an ongoing record of websites you come across and that you'd like to return to later.

2. To label or 'tag' each bookmark, so that you can easily manage and organize them.

3. To allow others to subscribe to a live feed of your bookmarks (via RSS), so that every time you find and bookmark an interesting new website, others who have the same interests as you will be alerted and provided with the appropriate link. You, of course, also have the ability to subscribe to feeds of others' finds.

With Foxylicious, you're able to keep a local copy of all the online bookmarks you have in"> - all neatly grouped into the tags or categories you originally gave them.

Full instructions
on Robin's site.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Scott on Feedster

Scott talks about RSS, Feedster and Blogging.
Working for Feedster you'd expect him to know a bit about blogging - and he does!
He has a link to a technical explanation of how to Ping Feedster by adding to the list of sites that your blog notifies.
As blogger sites can't do this (Come on blogger - please change that! - why can we only ping you have to do it manually by clicking this link and entering your blog url.
Why should you ping anthing?
In short, pinging web crawlers like, technorati, and feedster will imporve your search rankings, and thus drive more traffic to your site - and we all want more traffic!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Use the Draft Luke!

Tim has done an exceptional job with "Creating a blog Part I," it's box office smash followup "Creating a blog Part II," and a strong finale on "Creating a blog Part III." That is not to imply that there won't be more. To compliment his great work I thought I'd talk about the "Save as Draft" button.

In school we were encouraged to draft our papers multiple times before submitting the final. Creating presentations at our jobs, marketing materials, landscaping designs, family vacations and so much more all go through multiple revisions. So why is it that our blogs are stream of conscious publishings? Blogger (and I assume all the other blog tools) give you this same opportunity but so few of us use them. Is it because blogging gives you the sense that if you don't publish daily or multiple times daily you will lose your readership? That mindset could lead to Blogging Burnout but it is a difficult trap to avoid.

"Sanity Adrift" is an exceptional blogger! His writing is witty, intriguing and a pleasure to read. He sometimes doesn't post for 12-15 days. He tends to average a post every 6-10 days. Does this cost him readership? Not a chance. Quality far makes up for quantity. With quantity people want smaller posts. With quality the longer posts will hold a person's attention.

By using "Save as Draft" to create multiple posts on a single topic you can write one long post but break it down into multiple days. Can you imagine taking a couple of hours on a Saturday to draft a psuedo-masterpiece? Then on Sunday fine tuning it for publication but breaking it into 5 different daily posts. This approach would mean you would have a week's worth of quality blogging done over the weekend and each day you would need only to click "Publish Post".

To work on a draft post click Blogger's "Posting" tab. Click "Edit Posts". Select "Drafts" in the pulldown. Click "Go" to see all your drafts. Click the "Edit" button beside the draft post on which you want to work.

Did I draft this post? No. Does it have errors? Could the thoughts have been better organized? Probably. I use the "Save as Draft" button often. Sometimes my drafts never see the light of day. Sometimes they becomes very nice posts. I encouarge you to do the same.

djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Creating a blog Part 3

Previous posts in this thread are:
Part 1
Part 2

If you have followed the instructions in Part 1 and 2, then you will have a functioning blog and be able to post entries to the blog.

I am going to walk you through making those entries and some of the tips and tricks to that.

First of all go to and log in using your user name and password.
The first screen you will come to is your dashboard, and it will contain a few elements. The left hand side will show all the blogs that you own or are a contributor to. If this is your very first blog then you will only see one.
There are 4 hyperlinks for each blog. The first and the last are the same and are the underlined name of the blog and the underlined number of posts. Clicking either of these will take you to the edit posts section.
The green plus sign is a hyperlink to create a new post, and the blue cog sign is a link to take you to the settings section. We will look at editing posts and altering settings later. For now just click on the green plus symbol to create a new post.

By the way the term "post" refers to the activity of posting or publishing an article on the world wide web. In effect as soon as you do you are a digital publisher. Each article you write and publish is called a post.

In the create post page you will notice a number of elements. First there are a set of "tabs" that identify the various tools available to you. The top set of tabs are Posting, Settings, Template and View Blog. You are currently in the Postings tab.
In this there are three tabs, Create, Edit Posts and Status. You should be in the Create tab. We will deal with the others later.

Up the top right hand side there are some additonal links, Back to Dashboard, Help and Sign Out. These should be self explanatory. The help is a substantial collection of how-to and help documents to help you get more out of Blogger. Search through the collection with Article Search (to the right) or send an email to the Blogger support team and they'll get back to you ASAP. I can vouch for them doing this - I have sent numerous emails over the last year and have been responded to professionally and promptly each time. They have also solved all my problems. Hopefully you won't need them but take comfort that it is there if necessary.
I am also happy to answer any technical (or seemingly stupid) questions you may have.

Ok on to posting.
1. You should see a Title Box. If not don't worry, we will deal with that later when we get into the settings and tweak them. If you do, type a title for the article in the box, else move on to the next section.

2. In the main article box below you can type or paste text in from another application, eg a text editor or word processor. A warning if you use paste from a word processor that special chacters such as dashes, apostrophes, ampersands and quotation marks may not transfer correctly due to automatic formatting in the word processor. I solve this by going through after pasting and deleting them and retyping them.

3. Format text how you want, change font, colour, bold and italic etc. as required.
Use the buttons on the toolbar in the middle of the page for that.

4. Preview your result by clicking the review link on the top right hand side of the text area. (end of toolbar).

5. Either Save as Draft or Publish by clicking the buttons below. In this case if you are happy wih the result then just click Publish.

6. The page should refresh a couple of times as it publishes the article and then finish up with a message of "Your blog published successfully"

Thats it.

If you have errors then please check blogger help (or email me if necessary). I will deal with troubleshooting errors later on.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Blogging for Dollars using Adsense

Darren at ProBlogger has a bunch of useful stuff in his Adsense category about generating income from blogs using Adsense technology.
I have taken some of his advice and applied it here to make money from these sites using the Google ads you see here.
If you want specific infomation on how to get the best from Adsense then the Adsense Tracker software may be for you.
He also reviews new features and provides other tips and hints for optimising the revenue that can be gained from using these ads.
A must read if you want to earn revenue from your blogging activities.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Promoting your new blog has an article called Don't let your blog get lost in the fog.

This includes using RSS or XML as a method of letting readers know you have updated without them having to visit your site to see.

Shortly I will show you how to turn this feature on in Blogger using the sample blog I created.

Previous posts on how to create a blog in Blogger
Part 1
Part 2

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Queen of Sky Blogger got sacked

I know this is old news now but the Delta Airlines Employee Ellen Simonetti who was sacked from her job as an airhostess for blogging pictures of her in uniform (only a little risque) is now looking to make a bunch of money from book deals, and other offers.
This illustrates what I would call a dubious method of making money from blogging and one that probably doesn't have a long term future.
She has obtained notoriety not from the photos but from the action of her employer in dismissing her.
She currently has an suit of wrongful dismissal being prepared.
Whatever money she gets is going to be chewed up by legals, her PR team and agent. She may end up with some money after that's all finished and she may well get some money from appearances and advertising etc, maybe even another job, but I wouldn't recommend this as a way of attempting to make money from blogging.

Even worse was the blog of the Washingtonienne who slept her way through her Capitol Hill office and blogged about it. This is up there with Monica Lewinsky for embarrassment and sheer idiocy. There is no way she will ever recover from that (deserved) slur on her reputation and I don't think any amount of money or book deals can ever repay that.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Use Technorati to see who has linked to your blog. Acknowledge these other bloggers by adding them to your list of links (blogroll) or by making a special post highlighting these other bloggers. By practicing such courtesy cross traffic will be generated between the sites as well as better search engine rankings.

djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

How do I change my cursor?

Note: The techniques in the article should work in most modern browsers. To see examples in action hold your mouse over any word with text that is not in a regular font (such as emphasized or bold)

In CSS Positioning the acronym CSS has a faint line beneath it and placing the mouse pointer over it changes the cursor (in most browsers) to an arrow with a question mark. How was this done?

First I should comment that I am amazed to find that in nearly a decade of coding websites I still find basic HTML elements that for one bad habit or another I either do not use or have overlooked. I now make an effort to periodically review the basics. The W3C has invaluable reference material concerning Internet specifications and W3Schools is an absolutely wonderful place to review a skillset or develop a new one for free.

What is the difference between an abbreviation and an acronym? gives the following definitions:

A shortened form of a word or phrase used chiefly in writing to represent the complete form, such as Mass. for Massachusetts or abbr. for abbreviation.
A word formed from the initial letters of a name, such as WAC for Women's Army Corps, or by combining initial letters or parts of a series of words, such as radar for radio detecting and ranging.

The W3C in section 9.2 Structured Text devotes a sub-section to Phrase elements. These include: EM, STRONG, DFN, CODE, SAMP, KBD, VAR, CITE, ABBR, and ACRONYM. In this article alone I have made use of EM, STRONG, DFN, CODE, CITE, ABBR, and ACRONYM.

Now that we have learned or relearned some basic HTML, let's combine it with some CSS to create a working example. Let's use the acronym CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) as our example. Since this is an acronym and not an abbreviation we will use the HTML <acronym>:
That changed the appearance but didn't give us text. The text is added with the title atttribute.
<acronym title="Cascading Style Sheets">CSS</acronym>
Now if we hover our mouse over CSS for a second or two the words "Cascading Style Sheets" appear. What about the cursor? The cursor needs to be done with, ironically enough, CSS. We will use an inline style in our example and discuss alternatives in a different article.
<acronym title="Cascading Style Sheets" style="cursor:help;">CSS</acronym>
Abbreviations (definitions etc) can all be done the same way.
<abbr title="Street" style="cursor:help;">St.</abbr>

In upcoming articles, I will discuss:
The inspiration for this article came from frequent visits to Terreus who uses this technique and inspired me to ask "How does he do that?!" Terreus has to be one of the most exceptional well marked up sites I have visited in recent times. Kudos to the developer!

djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me.

Search Engine Optimisation - Using Unique Titles for Each URL

Problogger and Search Engine Roundtable both have articles about the importance of using your keywords in your titles for each post you do. Then you need to ensure that your blogging software is set up to turn each post into a separate page.
I already do this, having learnt that keywords were the key to search engine optimisation.
I now daily get hits on my keywords and my apppearance on the search engines is getting closer to the top of page 1.
Check the full articles out.
Problogger Article Link
Search Engine Roundtable Article Link.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

CSS Positioning

Some blogs have such cool layouts! Many are using CSS to make it possible. I personally loved laying work out with LaTeX in college so you would think that CSS would come natural to me. It still somewhat eludes my grasp. If you are like me, will come to your rescue. This BrainJar article on CSS positioning will quickly clear up some of the layout mysteries of CSS.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Creating a free blog in Blogger Part 2

I will assume you have read part 1.
I will also assume that you have created a user name and logged into
This guide will help you create a free blog hosted at blogspot.

Your dashboard should be the first thing that comes up in blogger. Click the button to Create A Blog.

Type the title of your blog. This blog's title is Spy Journal Blog Tips.

Type the address you want. This is the web address of your blog. it will end up being so choose what-you-type carefully.

Cick Continue. If the name already exists you will need to choose another and clock continue again.

Choose a template. For now just pick the one that appeals most to you. I will show you how to edit that in another post.
Click Continue.

Thats it - click the Start Posting Arrow and type your first post - eg Hullo World.
Simply type a title for the first post, then type the text and then click Publish. Its that easy.

Now sign out and go to to see your blog.
Hooray - you are a web publisher! Power to the people thanks to blogger!

My sample blog created using this process is at createablogblog

The next article in this series will help you personalise your blog and set up some of the settings just right. I will use this sample blog to show you the changes and how to make them.

For now just write some stuff.
You just need to login at, then click the green plus icon next to your blog in the dashboard, type a post and publish it. Of course tell all your friends your new blog address.

And if you made your new blog using this article for help then please let me know, especially if you need more help.
Happy blogging!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

How to create a blog in Blogger Part 1

This is the first in a series of how to create a blog in blogger. In these I will lead you through the actual steps required to create a blog and start blogging.

What is a blog?
Very simply put a blog is a web log - or an online journal. They can be incorporated into an existing website or made as a stand alone site.

The first thing to do is read the blogger help and find out about blogging using their software. Check out particularly this article.

We use blogger as they are probably one of the easiest blog software sites to use.

Tomorrow I will lead you though the steps to create a blog hosted at blogspot for free.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Problogger links to Spy Journal

Darren over at ProBlogger has linked to me. I asked Darren for some advice on these blogs. He was more than willing to help and you may notice some minor changes over the next little while as I tweak.
Darren has been of immense help to me setting these sites up. His blog is a must read if you want to generate income from your site.

If you need help feel free to ask him or me.