Saturday, November 22, 2008

More tweaks

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend the weekend in a boat drinking beer with his friends." -- anonymous
In this sense, blogging is like fishing. I started to do just one thing, make the body of the post wider, and I am still making little changes. In addition to the new layout, I've:
  • added Creative Commons (CC) licensing. CC provides content creators a relatively simple way to maintain copyright over their materials while still allowing a range of usage, at their discretion. I, for instance, selected an Attribution, Non-commercial, Share-Alike license for all materials that I create for the Advisory Bored (see the footer of each page). This means that anyone is free to use my works if they: attribute the work to me, don't make money from it and share any derivative work under the same licensing. BTW (by the way ), this topic would be a great addition to any content creation class so that students start to understand the role of licensing in a professional/business setting. More on that later.
  • changed the position of the subscription details. In addition to moving the subscription box to the top of the left-hand navigation column, I've also simplified the display. I wanted to make it more prominent to encourage people to use some sort of syndication to get notifications of new posts. Syndication eliminates the need for the reader visit a site and look for new content. I use Feedburner for the syndication so that I am able to capture statistics about non-visiting readers.
  • made it easier to share with AddThis. At the bottom of each post you will now find a little icon that says "BOOKMARK". It's a tool from AddThis that makes it easier for you the reader to bookmark the post for retrieval later or to share it with friends via email or social networking sites. Click the icon and you get a box of common sharing/bookmarking options (see image at right). For instance, click on Email and you can quickly send an email to a friend, with a little message and a link to this post. In return, I get feedback about which posts are most intriguing.
As is often the case, the changes don't take long. It's troubleshooting all the little roadblocks that leaves you weary and sleep-deprived. I spent 90 minutes figuring out why I couldn't sign-in to Google in IE on my laptop - I almost never use IE on that machine. Somehow Google, Amazon and Blogger all were set as "never accept cookies" in the internet options, a requirement for Google/Blogger login. Then I spent another 2 hours trying to figure out why I couldn't add the AddThis icon to my blog template without causing an error. After 2 hours I put down my laptop, walked over to my desktop machine and made the change in 40 seconds. Why? I have no idea. Some days it is better to declare victory and go home early.

Let me know if you find any of these things helpful or merely a visual distraction.

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FJ Cruiser Blog said...

looks good. And the content is always great... keep up the good work.