03 January 2006

Building this blog

Last updated: 07Apr06

I'll be adding to this post as this blog evolves and as I have time. This post will be accessible, as a link, from the upper left sidebar (under HOME). I'll describe elements I have currently and mention elements that were superceded by others and why.

I'll divide this post into the general sections which will also evolve with the blog.

general template

I tested a few of the blogger standard templates but I really wanted a 3 column template. I settled on this 3 column blogger template. This is from Thur Broeders template page. I was also influenced by the Minima standard blogger template. It's very readable with a clean look. I made additional changes based on "current web style" articles from Naked IT and web design from scratch. Am I done? Nope!

what's hot!
  • del.icio.us tagroll (this blog's tags): I created a new del.icio.us user for this blog called .. drumroll .. rifugioMestdagh, accessed here. After I create a post, I tag it in rifugioMestdagh. After that, it's a simple matter to create a tagroll, using this del.icio.us tool. The beauty of this is that the tagroll on the blog is updated dynamically.
  • Maps: These are fun and/or interesting links that I update manually. The mapped trip locations will be more interesting as the year continues. I recently switched to CommunityWalk after a strong look at other sites. (See What Got Canned).
  • RSS subscription and updates by email (email RSS feed): Feedburner
  • Flickr html badge: Faster than the flash version, which I used to use. Either badge can be set up here if you're logged in.

what got canned!
  • Babel Fish Translation and Google Translate. These look good on the surface but Margit said the translation to German wasn't even worth a laugh. She compared both Babel Fish and Google. They are pretty similar. Babel Fish is easy to add to a site. To put Google buttons on a site requires a bit of reverse engineering. In any case, it's not worth it the real estate and load time ... even though you see translation flags on a lot of sites.
  • Tagboard: This is fun but it didn't get much action. I tried ShoutMix before Tagboard. It looked nicer and with a lot of templates to choose from. The load time was bad though ..
  • Lazlo weatherblox: I like this but it's a slow load. I'd like to find a quicker weather box, without ads, but so far I haven't. Laszlo weatherblox also wasn't updating regularly.
  • Map Builder was used to plot our 2006 travels. All the mapping products had some non-intuitive idiosyncrasies but Map Builder fit the bill. I started to notice that the map display was sometimes displaced downwards w/ respect to the top of the window. A try w/ IE showed the same problem so I looked around. SEOmoz Web 2.0 awards gave wayfaring top billing in the mapping department. I spent a solid hour w/ this and liked it except for the difficulty marking a lat/long waypoint. Coordinates are a big one for me since I'm not a city slicker and don't frequent areas festering with city slickers. I went back to Map Builder and couldn't figure a way around the inconsistent display problem so I checked SEOmoz's honorable mention CommunityWalk. This worked great with coordinates AND has a large display map. I'm sticking with it for now. I'm sure I spent 3 hours on this comparison. Is there a better mapping tool? Probably. Tell me if you find one.
  • ZoomClouds: This didn't work as I expected. Canned. What I previously wrote - From the site: tag clouds are informative, appealing representations about what's happening in your blog. This tool analyzes my current rss feed and builds the tag cloud from the words. I like it so far and will continue to evaluate it as the cloud gets populated from new posts. This is similar to the del.icio.us tagroll (see above) but is automated based on the rss feed. I think the results are interesting and useful.
  • Updates by email (email RSS feed): FeedBlitz - Now that Feedburner offers this feature, I'm using that instead.
  • Flickr flash badge: Pretty fun but slows down the page load too much. I switched to an html badge.
  • del.icio.us linkroll (steve's recent fun bookmarks): For some time now, I've had a del.icio.us account under the user mestdagh. I created a linkroll from my tag: fun. As the tagroll above, the linkroll is updated dynamically as bookmarks are added to the fun tag.

1 comment:

KIP said...

Wow! I am impressed. Saw you on the MyBlogLog list on my own and jumped on over here. Love the extras, the way you've described what you use and had in the past.

Great job all around. I've signed up for your feed and can't wait to see where you'll be hiking next. Looks like my family needs to get out a little more. Thanks for the inspiration!