22.6.07

Google Page Creator - New Features For Blogger Users




This is an update to my post "Now You Can Add Static Pages To Your Blogger Blog With Links" on Tuesday (June 19). This is something that will make most Blogger users happy, I guess.

I'll not go into the basic details about Google Page Creator (GPC) which you can read in the previous post. Since setting up my Blogroll static page using GPC, I've gone back to it several times to dabble with its features.

I'm beginning to see a number of possibilities using GPC. Nice surprise here. Google have added new features which were not there when I first visited the site. They are:

  • Image editing (This is what Google say...)

BlockquoteNow you can make a picture look just right in the context of your web page. Once you add a picture, crop, rotate, lighten, darken, and add crazy special effects to it right from within your browser.

BlockquoteHow? When you click on any images you've uploaded from within the page editor, a small bubble will show up just below the image, giving you options for resizing, cropping, and rotating. Click the "Show more tools" link to explore even more image editing options. The "Mash-up" feature (available from the drop down list) is particularly fun."
  • Multiple sites (Quoting Google again...)
BlockquoteWhen you first sign in to Google Page Creator, we automatically give you a site with the same name as your Gmail address. Now you can create up to five sites with different URLs. For example, you can have joespizza.googlepages.com in addition to joe.googlepages.com."
  • Pages for mobile (Google say...)

BlockquoteEvery Google Page Creator site automatically has a mobile edition. So when people visit your site from their mobile browser, they will see a version optimized for their particular phone."




How do I start creating a page?

After you have logged in, click on "Choose Layout" and you'll be taken to that page where you have four layout choices to choose from (see above). Not many I would say, but just enough for most people. Remember you don't need fancy stuff at this point in time.

Let's call these basic templates. Each one has page element containers (or boxes) on it where you're supposed to place text and images. Just click on your choice and you're switched to the "Page Editor."

Like I mentioned in my previous post, the GPC interface is a bit clunky in my opinion but it's manageable once you get the hang of it.

Step One: Type in your heading, body text, listing, etc., and bring in your images. The task indicators in the Page Editor are easy to follow.

My advice: It's a good idea to plan the placements of your content before you make your move.




Step Two: Now you want to turn your "ugly duckling into a beautiful swan." Look for the "Choose Look" button and click on it. And presto! 17 designed templates appear on the page (see above). Okay, they're not exactly hot designs you'll go gaga over...but they will do.

As you can see, I picked the greenish one which is called "Branches" (See below). You can try each one out first by clicking on the "Preview." Once you have made up your mind, click on the template and it will be saved for you. It takes you back to the Page Editor for you to view and you can still modify your page elements - text and images - until you're fully satisfied.



The features on the sidebar are obvious to you, so I just keep my mouth shut.

That's about it! Now you can preview your finished page and if everything is hunky dory to you, just click on the "Publish" button.

Child's play, isn't it? I'll be glad to help if you run into some snags or whatever. Just contact me. Okay, enjoy yourself.

Related post:
You Can Add Static Pages To Your Blogger Blogs



20.6.07

A Tinkering Blogger Becomes A Thinking Blogger!

How cool can it be. Coming out of the blue. Thank you, Christy of Coffee Break.

Yes, I've been tagged by Christy as one of her fave blogs to be given "The Thinking Blogger Award." As a blogging friend, Christy has always being encouraging, showing generosity coupled with a positive attitude towards other bloggers.


Now I find myself in a fix trying to figure out whom I should tag. I never expected this. Reason why: I've not been as prolific or enthusiastic as other bloggers in trying to build up links via the meme way. It's just not me.


By the way, this meme originated from Ilker Yordas of The Thinking Blog. It has been going the round for a couple of months.


I don't get that many visitors to my blogs, and I hardly get comments from those who came by, except for a few who have been generous and kind enough to come back often to read my blogs.


If I were one of the A-list bloggers and post a one-liner, I will probably get from 50 to 100 comments, or even more. I've seen it with my own eyes! But I'm not. If I were to write a one-liner, then I'm afraid people will dismiss my blog without a second thought.


Now I've to pick out five blogs to tag for this meme. And it's like scrapping the bottom of the barrel. That's how tough it is for me.


If I'm going to hand out five tags for the "Thinking Blogger Award", then it's only fair and reasonable for me to select those who have been communicating with this blog through comments, community site messages, emails or posts.


These are the bloggers whose sites I visit, read their contents and they, likewise, come to my blogs. Therefore, I know them better than those I'm not so familiar with in my blogging journey.


So I'm tagging the following five bloggers for "The Thinking Blogger Award" :



Goodness Graciousness

Jennifer is a multi-talented person who has this great capacity to share compassionate thoughts with visionary essays (yes, I would rather call it that than posts). A deep thinker she is - ethereal, esoteric and exuding goodness graciousness.


A View Of It

Although Carol's A View Of It has already garnered the award I'm giving her the thumbs-up for her belief that war is not the answer vis-a-vis the situation in Iraq. She has been critical of President George W. Bush's administration for the way it handles the Iraqi issue. In this respect, she deserves the award a second time around for her thoughts on war and peace.


Blogging To Fame

Divya Uttam has gained fame for her insightful posts writing in Blogging To Fame. A Mass Communication graduate, she has been surfing the Internet for the past seven years. Obviously, she knows what she's talking about as a thinking blogger.


Modern Musings

Danielle already has three citations and I'm giving the fourth one to her for her perception and concern about major issues faced by America. She loves modern poetry...


Kumiko's Cash Quest

Is this a surprise? Here's a spunky young Japanese lady with an "evil mind" to make more money than John Chow. Although she's still a long way off target, I believe Kumiko will go far with her boundless blogging energy and street-smart thinking. That's the way I see it, so she gets the vote, too.


Stealing these lines from Christy's Coffee Break...
here's how the Thinking Blogger Awards work - These are Ilker's Rules:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.


2. Link to this post so everyone can easily find the exact origin of the meme.


3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote, there is also the alternative gold version.


Here's my brief view of "thinking bloggers"


There are many thinking bloggers surfing the Web. Truly those that are honored by being cited as "The Thinking Blogger" must be doing something right to deserve the mention from fellow bloggers.


A "Thinking Blogger Award" has got nothing to do with page rank or traffic. It's more associated with critical and analytical thinking, I guess.


I believe that the basic criteria in faving one to be "The Thinking Blogger" encompasses the following:

  • Appreciation of the blog's content;

  • The thoughts behind the writing;

  • The vision of the blogger; and

  • The blogger's ability to resonate with the readers.
Others may have their own definitions.

If I think rationally without prejudice of any kind, then I can say that "thinkers" are very diverse in their mindset.


Metaphorically, the playing field for "thinkers" is not level. There are different levels of thinking...and "thinkers."


It's a question of which level you're coming from. Yet everyone is a thinker.




19.6.07

You Can Add Static Pages To Your Blogger Blog With Links













A recent post by Vin over at BetaBlogger For Dummies had gotten me into action after a few days of chilling out. In his usual instructional manner, he reveals how to add static pages in Blogger.

All this while, Blogger users were sort of left in the dust when it comes to adding these static pages. This advantage is a given for WordPress users. No wonder they're always laughing at us Blog-gers!

Anyway, when push comes to shove, let's knuckle down and do something about it.

So how to overcome this handicap? Well, when the mountain doesn't come to you, then you have to go to the mountain - and that's Google.

Vin has shown the direction. Go to Google Page Creator and create your own account there. That's where you can create your own static page and place a link of that page on your Blogger blog.

By the way, if you have a Gmail account then you can log in using the same username and password. Otherwise, create a new account. Of course, it's free. Google allow free space for hosting your files there, and that's up to 500MB.

What did I do there? I created a blogroll page using their site manager (or a site builder) which is rather limited in features but, nonetheless, good enough to do up a simple-looking page that lists the blogroll of links to my fave sites. See "The Good Links" on my sidebar and click on the "My Blogroll" button to go to the new static page.

You have four simple layout choices. Once you have done up the page, you can then change the look of the page by choosing one of 17 different page templates. There are a few nice-looking ones.

Images can be uploaded to the page. Font manipulation is rather limited. On the whole, I find the interface is a bit "clunky" but it will do.


I really don't fancy the Blogroll on the sidebar because when the list gets too long, space becomes an issue. By moving your blogroll to a separate page you can build up a good list of links and adding more of them won't be a problem.


The only grudge is that I had to manually bring over my list and link each URL one by one. If someone knows a better way to do it, I'll be pleased to hear from this guiding light.


All my present blogroll links are intact on this new static page. I'm looking forward to adding more links from now on. Link love - what else to call it?




15.6.07

Chill Out: Catch "The Shadow Catcher"


Author Marianne Wiggins has seven novels and two collections of short stories to her credit. She is noted for the unusual characters and story lines in her novels. Her work is increasingly considered exceptional.

Her lastest novel "The Shadow Catcher" is out. When Simon & Schuster asked her to promote her book using modern technology via video, Wiggins took up the challenge although she admited she's really not up to it.


Coming from a family of Greek and Scots ancestry, Wiggins lived in London for 16 years and for brief stints in Paris, Brussels and Rome. During a Thanksgiving dinner for a group of friends, she met an Indian-born Englishman named Salman Rushdie.


She and Rushdie wed in January 1988. On a book tour in the US, the couple learned on Valentine's Day 1989 that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had ordered Rushdie killed for blasphemy in the book The Satanic Verses.


She lived in 56 different safe houses, under the protection of the British government. After six months, however, she decided to take a flat under an assumed name. In 1993, the two divorced. (via Wikipedia)





Of related interest

Chill out: Hungry for some good stories?

12.6.07

The News Room: New "Mash For Cash" Opportunity


A new opportunity is presented to bloggers when they join the The News Room. This is a new concept to present news content online via an individual's blog like yours and mine. And you're going to be paid for displaying their video clips in your post.


The News Room provide news video feeds that are all free and fully licensed. Select the video clip you think is of interest to your reader for a particular post and embed it in your blog, or "mash" it as they say in The News Room.

How does it work? What are the benefits?
  • For starter, you have to sign up for the service to participate in this program which is free.

  • After joining, select a video clip and "mash" it on your site.

  • Build an audience to watch the video news clip on your site. You'll earn up to $4 per thousand impressions (CPM) for news clips. The CPM starts at $1.

  • Every time a mashed news story is viewed on your site, you'll automatically get a share of the advertising revenue. There'll be an advertisement in the video clip.

  • It's a viral payment plan. You'll also make money when someone "mashes" your site's content and let it be viewed on theirs. All they have to do is click on the Mash button.

  • And the icing on the cake! Registered members will be able to earn "loyalty" program prizes that include electronics, vacations and cars!

  • And how do you get paid? There's a payment chart which is appropriately named myRevenue that tracks your earnings. You'll be paid every time you "mash" an image or text that is rendered or drawn by viewers. A guaranteed CPM is due to you each time a video or video feed is mashed to your site and viewed. Here's a view of the payment chart below:


Content-wise, The News Room have a wide range of fully licensed news stories from major content providers such as Associated Press (AP), Reuters, and Agence France-Press (AFP) that can be published or "mashed" on your site. Subjects include world news, politics, health, science and technology, entertainment, sports and more.

How do you do the "mashing up?" Pick a video clip from the site by copying a code and "mash" it as a new posting on your blog. Some of the videos, especially news, will have updates on events.

I can see it's going to be exciting if you know how to pick the right video clip and news story combination for an interesting "mashup" that can be relevant and interesting to your site visitor. Yes, you can now have news you can use on your site.

The only drawback is that not every blogger will be inclined to have news video on his or her site, mainly because of irrelevancy of content. Some may feel blog load-up time will be greatly affected.

But if this is up your alley, there's a wide range of subjects covered. If yours is a news focus kind of blog you'll probably appreciate this new concept.

Get a feel of it as you watch a sample of the video feed from The News Room.




8.6.07

How Paris Hilton Could Easily Avoid Such A Rash




What has MRSA got to do with hotel heiress Paris Hilton? And what is MRSA?


It's hard for those not in the know to associate Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) or staph infection with a young woman who just can't avoid the limelight of American celebrity culture.


The news is just out that Paris has been let out of jail for undisclosed medical reasons and put under house arrest. However, it was reported Paris had developed a rash on her body that could be attributed to staph infection while she was in lockup.

Knowing that staph infections are rampant in many American jails, somebody could have
recommended what Paris should use before serving her jail term, then she would not have gotten the rash. Yes, Paris should have used StaphAseptic if she wants to avoid MRSA.



An MRSA infection can be deadly if left untreated. We wouldn't want to see something bad happening to our sweet celebrity.

Update: Poor Paris Hilton has been sent back to jail in tears after a judge overruled a sheriff's decision to confine the 26-year-old socialite at her own home. This came about after complaints of special treatment. She'll have to serve her full 45-day sentence.




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