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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Printing Your Blog - 3



In my previous post, and to finish this series of posts on Printing Your Blog with Blog2Print, editing and ordering are the options.

Once you have registered an account with Blog2Print, and saved a book, it will appear in My Books. It is from there that you can edit the various sections of your book, or Share your book with others.


You have three choices - Open the book, Share the book, or Delete the book.

Image 1.




This next image shows the options for the contents editing. In this instance, I chose to edit Posts. Of course, if your book doesn't need editing, you can go straight to the shopping cart from this screen. On this screen, you'll also see an option for a preview, which comes in the form of an Adobe Reader layout... see Image 3. (below))

Image 2.




A Preview

Image 3.





In the next image, you'll see the options for removing posts from the book. You can also add, or remove, comments from the book.

Image 4.





The option to share your book provides an opportunity for others to contribute to a project.

Image 5.





If you are happy with everything, your book is finished. The shopping cart shows the finished book. You can select the quantity, see the price - or, if needed, update the book.

Image 6.





All details for shipping, are to be completed. It is this information which will give you the total price. You can obtain the shipping costs for overseas delivery, or add a message to a recipient.

Image 7.





In summary, to make a book from your blog seems simple enough, but, for my money, I'd like more flexibility. The Blog2Print system looks to be good for someone who has, say, a photographic record to keep, but with individual blog posts, like poems, or short posts, I think it leaves much to be desired. Why?

see: Image 3. above -

  • You can't select individual posts - you can only select date parameters (Oldest / Newest).
  • You can't publish one item per page.
  • Blog2Print picks up everything on the page - even the 'Posted by' tag. You cannot remove it!
  • You can't edit pitch, or font.


There may be other downsides, but I haven't noticed them - yet. On the other side of the coin,

  • The presentation is most professional looking.
  • It is very quick.
  • The prices are very reasonable.
  • Shipping costs for overseas customers, like me, are reasonable, as well as expected.
  • Delivery times are fast - two options - Standard and Express.
  • I like the ability to upload my own photo for covers.


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Friday, May 28, 2010

Printing Your Blog - 2



I have mentioned previously, that Sharedbook.com/Blog2Print is an option for printing a book from your blog. To expand on that, here is a quick look at Blog2Print.

Blog2Print now has an association with Google - especially for bloggers.



The first thing I recommend, is to Register - It's FREE. By establishing an account, editing options vary slightly for you. You can also save the work you do on your blog book, and come back later to either do more, revise it, or finish it.





You'll get an account and a welcome email from SharedBook.com - once you are registered, familiarise yourself with the very easy steps:

Type in your Complete blog URL and click Print My Blog.




Choose the content (by dates) for your book. Do you want to include Comments? Also, you get to choose the set up of the page - make text and images compact, or leave them as is. This is where you choose the order of posts, as well.




There are lots of default cover designs, or you can choose to upload an image of your own.




You can add a Dedication of up to 350 characters. To see what your book looks like, click Create My Book. This does NOT tie you in to purchasing. It is just a Preview.




Processing takes just a few seconds...




Your book then appears for preview. You can leaf through it and see what it looks like. The price of the book, as created, is displayed. Soft or Hard cover prices are displayed. Delivery is FREE in the USA (For overseas destinations, it would vary. eg: Australia, is US$15.00 for Standard shipping, or US$37.50 for Express.)

Blog2Print also has a good inter-active Support.

You can also make changes at this stage, or save and come back. When you do come back, log-in and find your 'saved' work under My Books. You can also delete your attempt at this stage, or any, for that matter.




In the next post on this subject, I'll cover Editing a saved book. I'll also cover what I like, and don't like, about Blog2Print, and suggestions for making the end result more like you'd want it to be.


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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Printing Your Blog



Originally posted on Nov. 17 2009.


Many bloggers will ask;

"How do I print a copy of my blog?", or,
"I'd like to make my blog into a book. How do I do that?"


There are a few ways, recommended, to achieve the desired result. You can print your blog to paper, or... make a book of your blog.

Since September, 2009, when Blogger joined-up with a company called SharedBook, and have called the project, Blog2Print, lots of bloggers who were not already using SharedBook, became aware of this facility.


The presentation looks very smart, professional, and versatile - and is cheap as chips at US$14.95 for 20 pages, softcover - or, US$24.95 for hardcover. Extra pages are .35 cents each. Shipping of your finished book is 'always FREE' - inside the USA, that is. International Postage rates apply elsewhere.




With Blog2Print, you choose what you want. Maybe, it's the ...

  • Cover
  • Images
  • Number and Order of Posts
  • Comments


You can edit your book, add, or remove, comments, and pictures. For more, see: - HERE


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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The New Designer Templates - Stage 1. - Template



Designing your New Template is basically, a four-stage process. This post details the first of these four stages - The Template. Soon to follow, in this post series, will be the remaining three stages; Background, Layout and Advanced.

It might also be advisable to ease into changing, if you have multiple blogs.


The usual step of making a back-up copy of your existing blog template is required.


When you log-in to either, Production Blogger - (Orange), or Blogger in Draft, - (Blue) Dashboards, the Template Designer, is available via your newly named Design Screen option, which replaces the Layout/Customise Screen option, for a particular blog, on your Dashboard, or Navbar. see: Images 1 to 3.

Image 1 -




Image 2 -




Image 3 -





Once you are have navigated to the Template Designer (Image 3), the blog you wish to upgrade, or change to a New Designer Template, should load - Image 4 - in the main window, and in the Live on Blog window. Note: This can sometimes be slow, depending on your Browser. I use Chrome Browser, as opposed to Firefox, when changing a template, as I believe Blogger has tailored the New Template Designer and Blogger in Draft to operate more successfully, in Chrome Browser. Internet Explorer 8 also expedites this.

One aspect to note is that individually customised gadgets will not function, or appear, as they did before changing to the New designer Templates. You should back them up, as you will have to add them again - eg: the Hidden Topics/Labels gadget I have in my sidebar.

Image 4 -




There are now, FIVE various basic templates to choose from. Simple, and Picture Window by Josh Peterson, Awesome Inc. by Tina Chen, and Watermark - again by Josh Peterson, and the new Ethereal, by Jason Morrow. This information has recently all changed with the release of the New Designer Templates into Production Blogger, so it may vary slightly in reality, from my images etc on this post.

To select a template, click on the picture of the style of template, such as Simple, and a variety of default colour schemes will appear under it. You can click on these and an example will load in the main window.

The following images are examples of the varieties of templates.

Image 5 -




Image 6 -




Image 7 -




Image 8 -




When you decide on the variety of template you want, you can then either save the changes you've chosen, by clicking on Apply to Blog, or move on to the next stage, which is choosing the Background you desire. It is in this stage that you can really personalise the look of the template.

Of course, New Designer Templates may not be for everyone. If you have changed from the Layouts template style, to the New Designer style, and don't like it, you can still revert. There's some good news for you!

The next stage is Background - Stage 2.

see also: Blogger Help


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The New Designer Templates - Stage 2. - Background



Continued from Stage 1.

Having completed Stage 1, if you desire other than a default colour theme for your template, then the second stage of a New Designer Template is to choose a background for your new template.

Here you have many, many choices. One thing to remember is the drain on the CPU, when loading these new designer templates, because of the colour and repeated renewing of the photo. This will have a slowing effect for some readers of your blog, depending on the equipment they have available. see: Blogger Help, for information on Backgrounds and Transparent views. It can be another case of Know your Options.


In the following Image 1, you have the options of choosing the default themes for that particular template, or, you can click on the down-arrow (circled in white) in the Background Image window, to select one of numerous designs / themes / images which will enhance your blog's appearance - see: Images 2 and 3.

Image 1 -




You can choose to have NO Image,

Image 2 -




or, you can choose one of many Images to act as a background.

Image 3 -




The default themes are quite attractive, too.

Image 4 -




Image 5 -




Once you have chosen the background you desire, then move on to Stage 3 - Layout.


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Monday, May 24, 2010

The New Designer Templates - Stage 3. - Layout

THE NEW DESIGNER TEMPLATES - STAGE 3. - LAYOUT


Continued from Stage 2.

After choosing the blog template background image, or pattern, (Stage 2.), the next step is to select the Layout you would like. This is Stage 3.


There are several layouts available, with various combinations of sidebars, footers, and main post body positions. The width of the blog and sidebars can be adjusted, as well, to further assist you to find the exact look, and functionality, for your blog.

The next image shows the eight combinations for the Layout. Simply click on the one you want, then arrange the Page Elements to suit. It should be noted that some customised gadgets may not appear, or lose function, during the initial set-up of a New Designer Template, so you will have to add them, again.


Image 1. -




Adjusting the Footer...

Image 2. -




Adjusting the width of the body, or sidebars...

Image 3. -




an example...

Image 4. -





Once you have chosen the Template, Template Background, and Template/Blog Layout, the next, and last stage, is the Advanced Settings. This will be covered in Stage 4.


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The New Designer Templates - Stage 4. - Advanced



Continued from Stage 3.

The last stage (Stage 4) of setting-up your New Designer Template is Advanced settings - to adjust, chose, add, or whatever, the final touches to achieve the look you want. Of course, this can be varied, or edited, in the future. Indeed, this option is where you will occasionally visit to 'tweak' the display of your template, along with the usual customise screen.

Each of the four template styles - Simple, Picture Window, Awesome Inc., and Watermark, have different options available in the Advanced settings section. Why? I suggest it is because they were designed by various people, and Blogger should address the standard - so you may need to bear that in mind when choosing a Template in Stage 1. - eg: see the differences between Watermark and Awesome Inc.

Basically, you click on Advanced, and scroll down, setting-up each option as you go. In this example, the first choice is for the Page Text - Font, Pitch and Text colour ... note: - All colours and Backgrounds can be made to look transparent, to meld with the backgrounds, or obtain a particular effect. Test them out.

Image 1. -




Next is Backgrounds for the Page and Sidebar and the Footer - as distinct from the Blog Background (Stage 2) ...

Image 2. -




The Links colour options ...


Image 3. -




In the next option, you choose the Blog Title Font, Pitch and colour - as well as the Description colour ...

Image 4. -




If you decide to use a LinkList, as Tabs, on your blog, this next option is a must. It gives you the ability to adjust not only the Font, Pitch and colour of the Tabs Text, but to choose the Selected colour. The Selected colour shows the Tab text in a different colour, when it is clicked on, or hovered over. It's a nice addition.


Image 5. -




To compliment the Tabs text, you also have the Tabs Background and Separator colours. These can be designed to compliment your colour scheme and change when hovered over, or clicked on, too ...

Image 6. -




The option for changing the Date Header - Font, Pitch and Text colour, as in this next image, is only available on the Awesome Inc. and Watermark templates ...

Image 7. -




The next option is very important - it is for the Post. You can change the Title Font, Pitch, and Text colour, as well as the Post Background colour and the Post Border colour.


Image 8. -




The Post Footer Text colour...

Image 9. -




With the Gadgets option, what it controls varies from template style to template style. In the following example, the Gadgets option controls the Gadget Title, Pitch and Text Colour, as well as offering an Alternate colour, and I have not yet found out how to get it to work! Certain colours will only be available with certain templates, and if the background is transparent - see: Blogger Help.


Image 10. -




In some templates, you have the choice to alter the blog Footer - Text, and if you have included Gadgets, the Gadget Title Colour ...


Image 11. -




The Footer - Links - Link Colour, Visited Colour and Hover Colour ...

Image 12. -




One of the most important changes to Blogger Templates, is the opportunity to add CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) code, directly to the Template. This is a wonderful addition. There are, immediately, two additions of code which I consider with each blog template - Centering, or Positioning, the Title, and ensuring what I call, Word-wrap in my blogs.


Image 13. -




An example of a finished product -


Image 14. -




Last, but not least, make another Back-up copy of your Template.


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Friday, May 21, 2010

Strange happenings in Editors.

Location: Newcastle, NSW. Australia. Newcastle NSW, Australia


Have you ever heard of the fellow who was standing against a brick wall, and banging his head against it? Another person walked up to him and said; "Why are you doing that?" The fellow replied; "Because it feels so good when I stop!"

So, it was with me, when recently, I wrote a post on weird things that happen when I swap from 'Edit html' editor and 'Compose' mode editor. Well, others are experiencing this, too - check the comments on that post.

One blogger, Deirdre, is experiencing the same problems I have seen, when adding Anchor Links. It's a strange happening, but my friend, Nitecruzr, suggests that it is caused by my continual swapping from one editor to the other. I can't argue, either, because when I stopped doing it, the problem went away.

Basically, what happens is this. Say I add an anchor <a name="D"></a>, then for some reason, known only to me, I view my post in Compose mode, then switch back to the html Editor. That's when Blogger changes that to make it a link, with <a href ....etc></a> - to a non-existent URL. I forget to check, and the mistake is published. Then, my anchor links do not work, as they should.

Why it happens, I do NOT know. How to stop it happening, we suggest, is not to toggle between editors.

Works for me, now.


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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Known Issues - How Frequently are Entries Updated?



When something goes wrong with my blog, for instance, like not being able to upload an XML file via 'Import', I always check Blogger Known Issues, then Blogger Help Forum, firstly, to see if it has been reported and is being worked on, and secondly, to see whether other bloggers are experiencing the same problem.

In Blogger Known Issues, I have, basically, three choices. I can check;

  • ALL Issues being investigated,
  • OUTSTANDING Issues being investigated, or
  • FIXED Issues

All Issues...




OUTSTANDING Issues ...




FIXED Issues ...




In the case of IMPORT, I click on the Label which I am interested in, to see all Issues being investigated. All outstanding will be displayed here, as well as some older 'fixed' issues. One of the problems is, of course, does Blogger Update Known Issues? Well, I don't think that it's done all too often. If it is, then I apologise to the boys at the big B.

In the next image, you'll see that I have selected IMPORT. It is listed as an Outstanding Issue - since December, 2009. It gives a brief description of what bloggers are, or will experience. It also tells us that 'they' are working on it. There is also a 'Report it' button which you can click, to add your situation to the stockpile of bloggers' problems. They'll say 'Thanks', and that's it. You have to just wait.




What happens if the problem is Fixed, or becomes a problem - again? In this next image, that situation is an Issue with WMX verification - shown as having been reported and fixed, in Blogger in Draft platform, in August 2008, but is currently an outstanding problem in Production Blogger, in October, 2009 - I presume.





It's a little bit too techie for me. I just want to know:
  • Has my problem been reported? If so, I will just click the Report it button, too. If you have a problem you must add yours to the list so that the problem will become significant enough for Blogger to really take it seriously. It's no good having a million bloggers with the same problem, if Blogger only gets, and is aware of, ten complaints.
  • Is it being worked on?
  • How long before a problem I have, will be fixed?
  • When will Blogger let me know? When will they post an Update?

Blogger has to be kidding if they think six months is good. I would expect an update well before six months had elapsed!


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