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The images above, are actual Image Links, and are click-able. Use them to navigate to the sites indicated!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Labels Choice



Not too long ago, Labels on a Blog, meant a ghastly spread of text - sometimes extending all the way down the sidebar.

Thank goodness for Ramani, from Hackosphere. Ramani developed a hack which contained, and presented, Labels in an attractive module. He called it Multi-style Labels. I added it to my blogs, at the time, and liked it. I realised, after a while, that it might be more useful to be able to HIDE the labels away, or contain them, so they didn't spread all the way down my sidebar.

I asked my friend, Chuck, from the Real Blogger Status blog, about this idea, and he worked on Ramani's code to add the hide feature. He ended up with a viable code, which I tested - and tested.

Me: "It's GREAT! It's exactly what I envisioned - and it WORKS! What about 'Cumulus' as a name?"
Chuck: "Cumulus 'Topics' sounds good."


The rest is, as they say, history. Once again though, with due deference to Ramani for his creation, and Chuck, for his improvements, I am posting about the Cumulus Topics - Hidden Labels - and also, Cumulus - Hidden LinkLists - which was a natural follow on.


LinkList module can be used in a variety of ways. I have used it as :-

  • A Labels LinkList
  • An Index LinkList - (Blogroll)
  • A Blogroll Linklist.


Chuck's hack gives the added HIDE functionality to this module, in addition to its ability to present the information in four (4) various ways - as per Ramani's design...

  • Hide away - after viewing, click on the HIDE box, and the List disappears.
  • List - style - an alphabetical list
  • Menu-style - a Drop-Down alphabetical menu
  • Zoom - style - where Topics/Labels with larger volumes of Posts, are larger, and bolder in text.


I thoroughly recommend them for ease and flexibility of use. For the 'codes', See:Cumulus Blogs


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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Translator Option - Use



Latest update : Mar. 2017 - This Language gadget is no more, a viable alternative to the Blogger gadget, seen in my Sidebar. Thanks to all who supported us.


As with all products, there is a learning curve. It's no different with the use of the Language Options available on the Report blog. If you look on this page, you'll see them - just waiting for you to click on them.

Using the Language Option, or as Chuck calls it, the Multi-Lingual Translator, is easy. Once you have it installed correctly, on your blog, which is easy, it'll be a snap to use. Simply follow these instructions.

From your normal blog, choose the Language you want. There are currently 54 available, of which I have all displayed on this blog. If you don't recognise a flag, simply hover your mouse over it, and a 'pop-up' will describe the language available - on that particular flag.




Once you have selected the Language you want, Google Translator will navigate/transport you to that Translate Screen. You can view one page per time, or the whole Blog. If you wish to view the Original English again, simply click the Back-Page Arrow in the top left-hand corner of your screen, or click where it says, Original, in the top right corner. Let's suppose you selected Greek, as I have here. You'd click on the blue and white Greek Flag, and would be transported to this following screen.







Once on the translator screen, you can navigate to the original language without leaving the translator. Simply select Original view. Then, hover the mouse over any word, or phrase, to have it translated.

You'll also notice when you look at the above image, there is a 'pop-up' showing. When you hover your mouse over a word, or phrase, and you'll see Google has also provided an option which allows you to contribute a proper/decent suggestion for better wording. Google realises that sometimes a word may vary in meaning, from region to region, or dialect, so they give you the chance to make suggestions which would be more suitable.


If you translate a blog to another language, and decide that you would prefer a different language, you can now select a new language from the Translator screen - without returning to the original blog. Simply change the languages in the 'from' and 'to' boxes and click 'translate'. In the following image, I changed from Greek, which was my initial choice, to Estonian. I can still view the Original blog, too ...




Pretty smart, eh? I think Google has done well, here, and I also believe there's a lot more Languages soon to be available. Keep watching!

*See the latest: Update - Dec. 2009


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Friday, 15 February 2008

Language Translator Option



Latest update : Mar. 2017 - This Language gadget is no more, a viable alternative to the Blogger gadget, seen in my Sidebar. Thanks to all who supported us.


As with most of you, my friend, Chuck, and me, Roberto, have friends, or acquaintances, in far-off lands, who do not use English as their main tongue. Even my ex-wife, being Thai, cannot make it entirely through one of my posts, without getting confused about the semantics of my language - meaning, grammar, spelling, or content, and having to clarify something. Then, I have to try to translate it for her. Thai is now available in my Sidebar Language Options.


I know these Translators have been around for 'ages', as I have seen them on other people's blogs. There appear to be many more languages than I have available, or at least, it seems that way.

The big difference with the Google Language Tool, is that it can translate your whole blog, not just words, or phrases, 'on the fly'. Chuck and I have knocked out some hours constructing this to a workable stage. Updating it is very easy.

This Cumulus in Your language gadget, utilises the Google Language Tool. There are, currently, only 50+, languages available, other than English, of which I have all on this Blog:-

  • Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Andorra/Catalan
  • Belarusian, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional) Croatian, Czech
  • Danish, Nederlands (Dutch), English, Estonian, Finnish, French
  • Galician, German, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian
  • Icelandic, Indonesian/Bahasa, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Kenyan/Kishwahili, Korean
  • Latvian, Lithuanian, Malaysian/Bahasa Melayu, Maltese, Norwegian
  • Pilipinas/Tagalog, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish
  • Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish
  • plus others


It provides an 'on-the fly' translation of the whole Blog, and is extremely easy to install, too. Open an html/Javascript Page Element, and save the code in it. Done.

The code is available for this Translator, from here, on the Report.

Each Language Flag/Code has a 'modular' appearance, and is easily added into the 'main' code, as more Languages become available.

Note: We have also created a series of blogs on our Cumulus range, which have Foreign Languages as the base.

As at August, 2010, there are Chinese (2), Italian, Russian, Spanish, Hindi, Indonesian, Portuguese, Arabic, French and Japanese - as well as English. So, if you have a blog in a foreign language such as these, you can provide easy translation for your readers!

I think it's great. It took me all of 20 minutes, to add it to all my Blogs (over 20). The hardest bit, and most tiring, was the accumulation of all the data - and the construction of the codes, based on Chuck's initial script for the Applet. Well, I suppose, as he calls me his apprentice, I have to do most of the work! Ha ha.

n.b. - Translator Bar doesn't work on a Private Blog!

Once you have it installed, click on any of the Flags and the blog will be translated for you. When you've finished, click the Back arrow in the top left-hand of your screen. The Language Translator will not translate multiple languages, at this time, so if you want to change languages, you have to navigate back to the 'mother ship' (blog), first, then choose another flag. Easy!

In this post, I have described some of the techniques of using the Translator.


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Thursday, 7 February 2008

HTTrack Website Copier - 1



It took me a long time to realise that backing-up my Blog wasn't just saving a copy of the Template, which is a must, incidentally. I was continually told by my mate, Chuck, to back-up your blog!

I searched for, and found Chuck's Post on Back-up, from March 27th, 2006, and followed the instructions - to the letter! Here goes...


HTTrack is a Website Copier, and is simple to download, operate, and feel safe about. It's also FREE!

* see: Latest version


If you are like me, you'd download it to a file folder somewhere, maybe on your 'D' Drive, and Install it from there.



I downloaded the Version HTTrack-3.42,exe (mirror)...




Once installed, there are a few things to do, before you do start copying.

  • First, start thinking about what you are going to call your Project, your Project Category, and your Pathway, and where you are going to store your copies.
  • Second, make those folders and have them ready.


OK - an example...




Then, I knew my Pathway




Having done that, I was ready to start making a copy of my Blogs!


See also: HHTrack Website Copier - 2

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HTTrack Website Copier - 2



Continued from HTTrack Website Copier - 1

OK, so now, you have created file folders to store your copied Blogs in. Great. You have decided on your Project Name (easy), you have your Project Category Name (easy), and your Pathway (easy). Let's start...

Once you open HTTrack, this next Image screen appears. On that screen, click Next.


You are then taken to this screen. This is where you enter all the relevant details of your Mirror Copy.


This next screen requires the URL of your Blog. I don't worry about the 'other' options, as I don't need/haven't needed, them, yet - (that's technical stuff). I just enter the URL and click Next.


The next screen is also easy for me to complete, as I just make sure the first option is selected, and click Finish.


HTTrack then starts copying from the information I gave it - My Blog. It's a very interesting screen to watch. It tells you how everything is progressing - how many files have been copied, how fast it's copying, how much has been completed, how big your Project is etc etc. It also tells you the time taken. I found that, for several of my Blogs, which were around 13-18Mb in size, it took around 10-12 minutes on a 256/64 Broadband. Longer for larger files, naturally.


Once the job is done, this next screen gives you the opportunity to inspect the copied Website/Blog. Or, you can just Finish and view it later.



The job is done. The Copied Blog (Mirror) is now in your storage file folder. There are several files included. The only ones I care about, are the INDEX file, and the one with the HTT logo.


By clicking the INDEX file, it will take you to this next screen, where you can see your Mirrored Blog, by clicking on the indicated name.


By clicking the HTT logo, you'll be taken to this next option - Updating your Mirrored Copy of your Blog - in case you've done work on it.


I also copied my 'D' Drive file to CD, so I have a back-up/back-up. It's a simple thing. Now, if Google/Blogger is down for any length of time, I can work on my Blogs - offline! Naturally, you still have to use the Blogger Post Editor to update your actual Blog - online.

There are plenty of Help features, too. Plenty of technical stuff - if that's your thing. There is also an HTT Forum.

HTTrack is a wonderful, powerful piece of Software. Well designed, yet simple enough for the average 'Joe' to use. I love it, as it adds another security measure for me - a copy.

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Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Watch Out for the 'Robot'!



There is never a day goes past, when I am using the computer, that I do not read a few posts on The Real Blogger Status, or PChuck's Network. I do not have thirty years experience, like Chuck, and I need all the help I can get. I know I plug these two Super-Blogs when I get the chance. When you visit, you'll see why!

At the weekend, I came across an article on protecting my Email Address. Keep it safe, yet able to use it on your Blog(s). I was one person who would never have advertised my Email Address before I read this post. So, I thought I'd take some of Chuck's advice, set up an email address - through Gmail, naturally - and then re-direct it to another email address - (I could always 'ditch them' if any problem occurs). Simple. Or, so I thought.


After selecting the 'Sign-on' option, I clicked Pick My Name. That opened up my grey matter to my creative side - even further. I tried something. YES! It worked! First try I got one! Then another, then another. WOW! The only problem I encountered was, that, as I have quite a few Blogs, and I always like to 'play around' individualising, the Google SPAM Robot picked up on me. It gave me the next notice, when I tried to create...


There was a Feedback Reply section which I completed and submitted. When I clicked Submit, I got this next page. (This notice is a nice way of suggesting that Google thinks I am a Spammer. Now, judge for yourselves, I am NOT a spammer.


It's not the first time I have run-foul of the Google Spam Robot. A year ago, I was moving all the posts from one blog to another, or copying them, something like that, when all of a sudden - I was getting Word Verification Captchas! The Spam Robot had got me. That didn't take too long to clear up, (Un-listed - White-Listing), but it was, nevertheless, inconvenient and embarrassing, as well as a perceived insult. However, I appreciate Google's efforts in trying to stem the tide of these malicious bastards and their spam/viruses/bots etc. Keep up the good fight, boys and girls! You've got my 100% support!

Now, back to the point at hand. I knew, from the above experience, that posting over 50 posts in a 24 hour period, would most probably get you nailed as a Spammer. However, I didn't think for one minute it would happen creating Email Accounts! If you don't think like a 'crim, it's OK. You just make dumb mistakes! It's where experience comes from.

Watch it! Be careful how you do things. You have to be aware of the bigger picture! I am learning - every day. Incidentally, Google 'cleared' me inside 8 hrs - while I was asleep downunder.


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Saturday, 2 February 2008

PROXY SERVERS. What are they?



Have you ever wondered what a Proxy Server was? I have. Of course, I got some heads-up information from the Real Blogger Status Blog. That's a given, because, if you can't learn from a Professional IT man, who can you learn from?

A Proxy Server allows ONE-WAY traffic - to the site you want to visit - while protecting your secure information, such as your Internet Protocal (IP) address, and therefore, information about your computer, etc. Read this article - well!

If you are thinking about protecting your privacy, while still enjoying the ability to surf the 'web, use a Proxy Server. It's easy - and SAFE.

Some of the more popular Proxy Servers are:


and if you Sandbox your Browser, before you use a Proxy Server, you multiply your security, many times!


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Friday, 1 February 2008

Part of your Protection, Defence



Every week, I check all my defences for updates. It's important, even though I NORMALLY run my system through a SandboxIE) defence. I also take the advice of my friend, Chuck, and try to incorporate his suggestions into my daily computer routines. You don't have to run your Spyware every day. Just make it a regular routine.

As well as my Sandbox, part of my defence layering, as Chuck suggests, is a structured one. I run Windows Firewall, Avast Antivirus 4.7 Home Edition, AdAware 2008, Spybot Search and Destroy 1.6, and SpywareBlaster. I also didn't pay a centime for any of them. They are FREE! I know it's all over-kill, but it makes me feel good!

One in particular, is SpywareBlaster 4.1, from Javacool Software.


This is what they say on their Webpage...

" Spyware, adware, browser hijackers, and dialers are some of the fastest-growing threats on the Internet today.

* By simply browsing to a web page, you could find your computer to be the brand-new host of one of these unwanted fiends!
* The most important step you can take is to secure your system. And ...
* SpywareBlaster is the most powerful protection program available.

* Prevent the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, browser hijackers, dialers, and other potentially unwanted software.
* Block spyware/tracking cookies in Internet Explorer and Mozilla/Firefox.
* Restrict the actions of potentially unwanted sites in Internet Explorer.
* SpywareBlaster can help keep your system spyware-free and secure, without interfering with the "good side" of the web.

And unlike other programs, SpywareBlaster does not have to remain running in the background.

SpywareBlaster is freeware for personal and educational use".

You won't even know it's working for you, a watch-dog with big teeth, if you will, but it is a significant fighter against the 'baddies', that will only enhance your protection. I thoroughly recommend it.

Don't forget to keep your defences updated! Regularly!

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