Thursday, November 30, 2006

[Etiquette] Replying to Comments #2

ok - I admit I have a problem currently with comments replies. For over 2.5 years I diligently answered just about every single comment I received. Every one. Ok - not quite - I confess I had a "duh" moment for the same 2.5 years, where if someone commented on an old post, I couldn't always work out which post they'd commented on so I couldn't always reply. I didn't realise the link in the email notification took you to the post in question. Anyway, I digress...

Recently my readership has gone through the roof AND I have an intensive new job which has reduced the amount ot time I can spend on my blog by about ten fold.

Where I once had the time to answer every comment, I now keep getting behind with the task (which I really enjoy, by the way, so its not that I don't want to do it) and the more I get behind, the more terrible I feel about now not replying to everyone who so kindly made the effor to make a comment on my blog.

I don't know what to do - it's just not me not to reply - it's in my genetic make-up to respond and be polite, so the fact I am overwhelmed by it all is making me quite unhappy. I am consistently getting 10, over 20, sometimes 40 great comments a post these days which I love to get, how can I make all of those kindly commentors feel like their comments are really appreciated. I always thought a personal reply was the best way to go but I just can't quite cope with that any more and a global reply doesn't address all the individual comments presented.

Does anyone have any advice for me please?


This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

[Etiquette] Replying to comments

Not sure if Miss Manners has weighed in on this issue yet. I am always delighted when people comment on my postings. I love the exchange of ideas and would love to encourage more conversation on the site itself.

Initially, I used to reply to comments both on the site and also via email to the commenter, as I get an email notification on all new comments. I find this especially useful when I want to establish a one-on-one connection with a commenter, particularly if it's someone new to me. However, in so doing, that conversation gets derailed on the blog.

I don't expect that there is a single right or wrong way to go about this communication. I'm more interested in your thoughts. Do you reply directly to commenters via email? Do you expect direct communication? Or is it incumbent upon the commenter to return to the postings upon which they comment to continue the conversation?

(This dovetails with a previous posting, which I cannot find now, having to do with being able to track your own comments. I believe someone recommended a program called CoComment?)

This Post was written by Sean from Hedonia

[content] an Amateur on 'How to Food Blog'

Will you, or won't you agree with Adam's take on "More Blogging Advice"? Does he make points that make you feel umcomfortable, or is he simply airing publicly what you have been secretly thinking all along?

Agree or disagree, have your say here or continue the conversation over at Adam's blog.


This Post was written by "Cheeky & Charming"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I hate my hosting service!

So it's like this:

I've had the same hosting service for years and for years they've been just fine. Very little down time and they gave me a pretty good deal on a reseller account so I could host multiple domains and host sites for my web design clients.

Well. Ahem.

Two weekends ago, the SQL server at my hosting service crashed and I lost several days worth of blog posts and comments -- the service crashed on the 18th and hadn't performed a back-up after the 12th. Also that weekend, their email server went down, and though that's back up and running, the Mailman listservs haven't worked since. I was patient. I was going to give them a second chance.

Not anymore. Today, everything's down again, and while this may be a glitch and my sites may be back up and running soon, I've had it. I can't even get to the hosting service's main website to file a tech support request -- not that this will do any good: they used to respond quickly to tech issues, but since this last crash two weeks ago, they've been deathly silent.

All of this brings me to say: HELP! I need to find a new hosting service and I need it ASAP.

What I'm looking for is a reliable but inexpensive service that allows for multiple (25 at least) domains and the ability to continue purchasing added space & bandwidth as needed. I'm used to cPanel as a control interface, so that would be preferable. Also, I must have PHP and SQL installed, and various other scripting options & add-ons, like Fantastico Scripts.

If any of you techie types have recommendations for me, please let me know! I'm eager for personal recommendations and not just links to "top hosting services" rankings. (And I hope this info will be helpful to others who want to move to their own domains or from their current hosting services.)

The worst part of all this is that it's fallen during a week when Chopper's lost his temp job and we're still trying to dig out from all the wretched stuff the tenants did to our house while we were gone. Feh. Sometimes bad luck runs in streaks a mile long!

Many Thanks in advance,
Robin aka MizD of Belly-Timber.com

Monday, November 27, 2006

I installed Site Meter and it took my blog down.

Yesterday I added Site Meter to my blog. It worked fine for a few hours, then removed access to the blog and all I got was code.

I removed Site Meter and the bog returned.

Anyone else have this problem?

Thank you.


This Post was written by mimi from French Kitchen in America

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How can I delete "LINKS TO THIS POST:"

How can I delete access to Blogger's "LINKS TO THIS POST:"
I'm getting very strange links turning up at the end of
My Camera post :(
Such as:
Hi My Name is Paul and I am a Racist & THE GIRL WITH SIX FINGERS etc.
Totally inappropriate. I haven't a clue how to remove them.
Has anyone else had this problem?
This Post was written by Carolg from
ParisBreakfasts


From Food Blogging to Professional Food Writing

Hello Food Bloggers,

I have benefitted from so many of your posted questions and helpful responses, and, for the first time, am submitting a question of my own.

In truncated form: How many of you are aspiring to write about food in a professional or semi-professional capacity?

In a slightly long-winded form: I am working on my Ph.D. in a non-food related field, and have found my food blog to be a really enjoyable outlet to write casually about food while dedicating most of my time to my dissertation. I would eventually like to do some freelance writing about food-related topics. For those of you who do this sort of work, did you publish a food blog first? If so, do you think that your food-blogging opened up opportunities for you to move into professional writing? Have any of you been approached with offers for writing projects by way of your blogs? Any suggestions for how I can, in the future, use the writing I have done on my blog to get my foot in the door of professional food writing?

This Post was written by Sarah Miller from Food and Paper.

Friday, November 24, 2006

How to insert a blank line?

Until a few days ago, I hadn't much time to play around with the way my blog looks. Now I've added Technorati and a few other things but I find I cannot insert blank lines into my template, even when I use the proper html command. What am I doing wrong?

I used it here, and it worked. (I took it out because I have no idea how to disable it.) So why doesn't it work in my template?
What am I doing wrong?

Thank you.


This Post was written by Mimi from French Kitchen in America.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

[RSS] Name and Shame

Anyone else rely on RSS feeds to read blogs? YES I hear many cry... I want to apply pressure on those who do not offer a feed - without it I wont read you. I am now going to name and shame two (in the wild hope they will cave in under the exacting pressure)

This Post was written by Andrew from spittoon etc


Note added to this post from Sam Breach the Food Blog S'cool Admin : the blogs previously named by Andrew have since been removed from this post due to the fact that the creator of the blog in question was not happy about being publicly shamed. I agree that the point can be made adequately without outing people or embarassing them, and Food Blog S'cool is not the place for picking on people or bullying.

slide.com

Alright, I might be a bit slow but: I just wanted to say that I have been hooked on slide.com and think it's wonderful! I take tonnes of pictures and this is a wonderful way to share them on a blog (or on other mediums for that matter). It saves me play favourites with my pictures. Thoughts anyone? Maybe other new/old [free] useful programs anyone might want to share?


This Post was written by celine from black.salt

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Correcting Recipe Errors

I just corrected this recipe for chocolate pumpkin pie. (My original post was missing a line—and one cup of sugar). I also put up a subsequent message saying that the recipe had been corrected, but not giving details, because the less said the better, right? And I emailed one blogger who mentioned in comments that she might try it. I still feel terrible because this is my most hit recipe ever; I wish I could reach everyone who is planning to make it. Is there something else I should be doing? Have I fulfilled my obligation?


This Post was written by The Chocolate Lady from In Mol Araan

[adsense] Blacklist

Anyone used this? It's a list of sites to blacklist in your google adsense account that apparently increases the revenue. It came from top blog ProBlogger so I am sure it fine; just wondered if anyone had success with it.

http://www.adsblacklist.com/

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/11/22/increase-adsense-earnings-with-competitive-ad-filter/


Posted by Andrew from Spittoon extra

[Bloggers who bug me] How Does One Handle Them?

Hi Folks!

I really need some advice because there are a few things that are driving me nuts about a few Blogger Buddies. i am not too sure how to tackle these issues.

1. I often get mails from certain Bloggers telling me to leave a comment on this or that post or even why I have not bothered to comment on a recent post or why I have not visited their blog for a few days.
While some have the time and ability to cover 100 blogs a day leaving comments, I cannot. I have a day job and I can only visit a few, sometimes even none, a day. There are times that I do not leave a comment because do not see the need to. Is this wrong? I think many of us are well acquainted enough to realize this and there are no harsh feelings. There are others however who actually go by their stats and as soon as I have visited a blog and did not happen to leave a comment, I can be sure I will get a mail telling me why I have not. How do I handle this?

2. The mails also often have comments like "There have been 67 comments on my post, why have you not commented yet?" "My post today had 140 comments!"
Hello? Did we all go back to Kindergarten and someone forgot to tell me? A closer look reveals that out of the 140 comments 120 are from the blog owner themselves. So what is the deal here? Are our blogs judged my the amount of comments one gets or should this be a fun thing?

3. I have noticed many new blogs and while I know I cannot do anything about it, I just wanted to vent my frustration - I see that some are very much copying a similar style and layout. There are some things that are fine - for example the recipe boxes, this is not the annoying factor.
What I mean are things that I find personal. For example, the Google Reader bit on my sidebar under "Blogs I Am Reading". I noticed this on a certain blogger's sidebar too - that is OK I have noticed the Reader on many blogs - but what bugs me this blogger has the exact same reading list, contents and titles!! Are these people lacking imagination or are we so similar that we could have been long lost twins?
I added a little thanksgiving graphic to my Banner and I am wondering how long it is going to take these people to implement this idea too. As this is my personal touch for my readers it gets annoying when one sees the same thing everywhere. Am I being petty?


This Post was written by MEETA from What's For Lunch Honey

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

[img] problems with blogger img upload?

hi all!

for the last day, i have been having a very odd problem with uploading photos for my blog.

i use HELLO - the little tool to upload photos directly to blogger. when i look at the image in say, photoshop or in explorer, it looks fine - 200x150 px. after i upload it to blogger, the image is cut off at the bottom. the image itself is 200x150, but for some reason, the bottom part is white.

for example, this:

looks like this:

(i have no idea how it worked this time, but for everything else, it's getting cut off)

am i doing something wrong with photoshop? is there an issue with the HELLO tool, or is it blogger?

any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

This Post was written by sarah from the delicious life

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hiding the Blogger Navbar

Some time ago I searched out some code that I put into my Blogger template to hide the navbar at the top. Recently I've been looking at migrating from Blogger to Blogger beta and a search of the web quickly turned up the new code needed to hide the navbar in beta. It came with an add-on that gets rid of the space left at the top of screen.

The code can be found at http://tinyurl.com/yl6p3g - Technique 1, with the extra bit that you will find after Technique 3.

Testing the code on someone else's blog that has just migrated, I was very pleased with the result. That was until I realised that the code works properly in Firefox, but in IE it hides the bar but does not remove the white space at the top.

So does anyone have code that works properly in both browsers?

This Post was written by Trig from Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Blog redesign inspiration

I've got this major redesign looming over me and apparently the silly writing project I've been buried in has left me utterly braindead when it comes to graphics. To complicate things, I've got multiple sites that need a coordinated look/feel and I need to come up with a logo. (and I have no clue what I am making for thanksgiving dinner, beyond a 21 lb turkey, but that's another problem entirely!)

My problem is not that I can't do the design work, it's that I can't decide what I want. (any mindreaders out there to help?) I have some general thoughts but I think what I need now is to go look at a bunch of sites for inspiration. Which is where you all come in.

What are your favorite blogs as far as design goes?
Are there specific aspects of blog designs that you either love or hate?
Have you run across articles that helped you with site design?

Anything else you think might help would be great!

I have a few Typepad specific questions, but I'll save those for another post.

This Post was written by kitchenMage from kitchenMage

For Fans of Sugar High Friday

The Herald-Tribune just published a great piece about Sugar High Friday by Laura J. Cullumbine, who's another SHF fan. The story is here (and might require registration).


This post was written by Alanna from A Veggie Venture

CSS problems in safari

Hello,

I have some problems with my blog formatting correctly in Safari. It displays with no padding in between columns, making things difficult to read. I use wordpress using a found theme that somewhat suited what I wanted. Though from there I completely bastardized it, taking out entire sections and resizing the borders and padding and CSS styles. This is definitely where the problem lies though it displays fine under IE and Firefox. Does anyone know some quick fixes for such a problem or do I have to go back to square one and redesign with Safari in mind? Has anyone one had problems with Safari in general?


This Post was written by Conor from I Think Food is Great

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Error Message in German??

Hi all!

Does anyone know why when a page won't load I get an error message in German? Actually I am only guessing it is German.

Webseite reagiert nicht
Die Webseite, die Sie angefordert haben, ist wegen eines besetzten oder unterbrochenen Servers auf technischen Schwierigkeiten gestoßen. Bitte versuchen Sie es noch einmal, indem Sie den Button Neu Laden auf Ihrer Navigationsleiste anklicken oder - wenn das nicht funktioniert - kommen Sie zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt zur Seite zurück.
502f Verbindungsfehler

This Post was written by Gabriella True from

My Life As A Reluctant Housewife

Moving Photo hosting to Flickr?

I use Typepad, and for 99.9% of my posts, have inserted photos into my posts from my computer, basically hosting them at typepad, which is fine, except that I am really exceeding my bandwidth. One way they suggest of extending bandwidth is to host some content at shared hosting sites. I thought I might move all of my pictures to Flickr, which I already use but not really for blogging. Has anyone done this or another type of shared hosting for content? I don't want to lose anything.


This Post was written by Lisa from Restaurant Widow

[Ads] Problems with AdSense?

I searched and didn't find this mentioned yet, so forgive me if it has been discussed before.....

I recently added Google's AdSense to my blog more out of curiosity than anything else. I really don't get the traffic to make much money, but I figured I'd try it out just to see how it works.

When I first added it, I got a lot of blog-related ads. I followed some of the tips about removing the word "blog" from the sidebar which seemed to solve that problem and things were working pretty well for a while. Now I'm getting a lot of junk. "Find your soul mate" kind of stuff that I really don't want. I visited Kalyn's Kitchen and noticed that the same thing is happening on her site as well, although perhaps not to the same degree.

It appears that this is happening mostly on the main page. When I click on posts that are elsewhere in my blog, such as a specific recipe or the permalink, the ads at the bottom of those posts are generally relevant.

Is this normal for AdSense or is this a recent problem? I certainly am not going to make much money on this, so I'm tempted to remove it if it can't even generate relevant ads.

Any tips or suggestions?

This Post was written by Alysha from The Savory Notebook

Chain emails : Recipe Exchange

By now, some or all of you might have come across this chain emails that is circulating around the food blogosphere.

I don't mean any malice or cause anyone upset but i am terribly busy at work and home at the moment [i'm preparing for a 3 weeks holiday], that i have to decline participation. So please don't take it personally.

This chain email though, bugged me a bit.

This is how it looks:

1. name of person - email
2. name of person - email

You've been invited to be part of a recipe exchange!
Please send a recipe to the person whose name is
listed in the number 1 position above (even if you
don't know him/her)--preferably something quick, easy,
few ingredients.
Then copy this letter into a new email, move my name
to the number 1 position, and put your name in the
number 2 position. Only your name and mine should
appear on this list when you send out your email. Send
this to 10 friends. If you cannot do this within 5 days,
please let me know so it will be fair to those
participating. You should receive 36 recipes. It is
fun to see where these recipes come from. Seldom does
anyone drop out because we can all use new recipes.
The turnaroun
d is fast because only 2 names are on the
list.

I really don't get why whoever set this up have chosen to email to 10 people?
I mean, they've overlooked the fact that one person might get so many repeat participation email because of the amount of people to email.

Let's say i get 5 emails and reply to all of them, that means, i have to think of 50 new participants, right? Also, it would mean that whilst i only share 5 different recipes and pain-stakingly type them as email format, i would then receive a whopping [it says i will get 36 recipes in total for every participation- how did they get to this number?] 180 recipes if i participate to all 5 emails.

But my calculation tells me that i will get 100 recipes for each participation. So multiply that by 5, equals to 500 recipes. That's if my math's right? I had to draw up a diagram to understand and work this one out.

Wow. That's a lot of recipes. Do i really need all these? As it is, i haven't even had a chance to cook from my cookbooks...

What do you personally think of this?

This Post was written by Mae from riceandnoodles

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kosher cooking food blogs

Hello,

A reader of my blog asked me for recommendations on kosher cooking sites and "hip" Kosher food blogs. I haven't found anything, but I am sure there are some sites out there. This seems like a fun niche. Does anyone have some suggestions I can send along to him?


This Post was written by Chris from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen

Monday, November 13, 2006

Menu for Hope III, a call for participation

Hi everyone,

It's that time of year again for our next Menu for Hope campaign. Many of you were involved in the last year's very successful campaign to raise funds for UNICEF. Together we raised over $17,000, which was much more than any of us expected. Even more remarkably, we somehow reached that high number by selling raffle tickets that cost only $5 each.

Many of you were very generous in providing raffle prizes and in helping us raise the awareness for the campaign last year. This year, I hope that even more of you would participate in our third annual Menu for Hope campaign. The campaign is scheduled to run for two weeks from December 11-22. (Here's a link to last year's campaign announcement on Chez Pim for your reference.)

This year, I'm very proud to announce that the United Nation's World Food Programme will be our very worthy recipient. What better cause for us food bloggers to raise money for than the UN's World Food Programme, which has been feeding the hungry since 1962? The people at WFP are very excited by the prospect of this very novel fundraising campaign –only novel for them of course, this is our third year at this now, remember? They have assigned a Public Affairs (that's to say PR) person to help us publicize the campaign, and hopefully together we could break the record we set for ourselves last year.

Here's what I'd like from you in order to participate in our Menu for Hope III:

Preparation, before December 1.
1. Come up with a gift, or a set of gifts, to offer as a raffle prize. You could offer books, foods (your specialty or those of your part of the world) or solicit gift certificates from restaurants or food producers in your area. Remember that you will also be responsible for shipping the prize to the raffle winner, no matter where they live. So, please make sure you could afford the shipping cost as well.
2. Provide two images of your gifts, one at 75x75pix thumbnail and another a bit larger at 240x160pix. Please remember to optimize the images for the web as well.
3. Provide a description of your gifts. You're trying to sell the gifts to our donors, so be persuasive, be very persuasive!
4. Email all of the above to corresponding host blog in your region. Those of you who participated last year should remember that all gifts were hosted on Chez Pim. This year we are doing things a little differently. I'll still be the main host for the campaign, but in addition to that we will have 6 host blogs, who will each be hosting the list of prizes in their own geographical region, as followed:
  • West Coast USA –Sam of Becks and Posh - menu4hope.west at gmail.com
  • East Coast USA –Adam, the Amateur Gourmet - adrober at mac.com
  • The rest of the US -Kalyn, Kalyn's Kitchen -kalynskitchen at comcast.net
  • UK/Europe -David Lebovitz- davidlebovitz at hotmail.com
  • Asia Pacific/Australia/New Zealand (Helen of Grab Your Fork - grabyourfork at yahoo.com.au)
  • South America (Cooking Diva - pty_cooking_diva at yahoo.com)
  • Canada (Jasmine at the Cardamom Addict - cardamomaddict at gmail.com).
During the live campaign, Dec 11-22
1. On December 11, write a blog post about the campaign and your raffle prize and ask –no, beg- your readers to donate money to buy virtual raffle tickets to support WFP. Each $10 will give the donor one virtual raffle ticket for a prize of their choice. (They can specify their desired prize in the comment area of the donation form.)
2. Be active during the time our campaign is live. Monitor how your raffle prize is doing on our fundraising page, and encourage more of your readers to donate. You may also write about other prizes that your readers might be interested in.

A little note about how we will collect the donated funds. We are, once again, using the online fundraising company First Giving to coordinate the donations. No money will pass through my hands, First Giving will collect the donations and pass them directly to the World Food Programme. I'm also very happy to tell you that First Giving has given us 25% off from their usual fees. The fees is 4%, which is not very high, so the discount is only 1%, but it's still a very nice gesture from them.

One more little change from last year is this year's electronic raffle ticket will cost $10 instead of $5, and a donor can only select one prize for each set of donation –that is to say a $50 donation will give the donor five chances at only one prize of their choice. This is to make our lives easy during the raffling of the prizes.

I do hope you participate and help us beat the blockbuster success of last year's campaign. Please feel free to email me at pim at chezpim.com if you have any question or concerns. You may also contact the host blog in your area, they will be able to help you as well.

Thank you so much in advance for your help.

Pim
Chez Pim



This Post was written by Pim from Chez Pim


[charity] How Can I Participate in Menu For Hope?

Many of you already know that Pim of Chez Pim announced the 2006 Menu for Hope here on Food Blog Scool a few weeks ago. This year any funds raised will go to support the United Nation's World Food Programme. Menu for Hope kicks off in a week and a half and it is time to get organised. As the USA West Coast host of the event, I have had several people asking about the kinds of gifts they can offer. Here are some tips:

- Firstly, if you are not already familiar with the event, go and see what kind of gifts people donated last year. Think about which ones you find most atttractive and conversely make a not of those which you wouldn't bid for. Use this information to guide your own choice for a prize this year.

- Minimum bid for a prize will be $10. Bear in mind that people will be less likely to bid for prizes that are worth less than the price of a ticket.

- Value of the prizes does not have to be monetary. There are a couple of prizes from last year, that attracted high bids but did not cost their donators anything at all. Farmgirl Susan donated the opportunity for one lucky winner to name one of her sheep and VK from My Dhaba offered to give away her treasured cast-iron Kadai which, thankfully, the eventual winner refused to accept.

-Prizes that are unique, or funny, or unusual or valuable will be more attractive.

- Don't necessarily think of Menu for Hope as a way of getting rid of something you don't want yourself. The chances are, if you don't want it, no one else will either.

- Think of your own readers when choosing the prize. What would your readers like to win? The whole point of this is to attract your own readers to donate money first and foremost. We want everybody's readers to bid for prizes on the blogs they normally read, then we want them to discover everybody else's prizes and donate again.

- Some prizes will be tied to a locality. For example, the prizes I offered last year were only available in the Bay Area. This can be limiting, depending on your location and your readership. In the Bay Area where food bloggers have a decent readership and other similar metropolis, these kinds of prizes probably will hopefully attract a lot of bids, but in more remote areas the voucher for a local restaurant, for example, might not be so attractive.

- are you a personality? Offer yourself up as a dinner date?

- Be mindful of where you can ship things globally, particularly foodstuffs and alcohol. Check to see if you can ship your prize abroad. If not, then make sure that bidders know that they have to come from your home country, or change your prize to something that can be shipped globally.

- Be aware that the prize host is responsible for shipping the prize to the winner, perhaps anywhere in the world. Weightier gifts will cost more to ship.


- Not everyone can afford to host a prize. This is not a problem - there are other ways to help - in particular by buying a ticket or two, or even simply publicising the event on your own blog. Do not feel obliged to host a prize, we will be equally greatful for anyone who can't, but who chooses to publicise the event and send their readers to buy a ticket. In fact, I will write a thank you to our sponsors post linking to every blog who publicises the West Coast roundup to show my appreciation.

I hope that has given you all something to think about. Please address any questions here in the comments so that any of the hosts or previous entrants can dive in and answer the questions for everybody to see. I will write some more posts about the menu for hope over the next week on FBS. Don't forget - launch date is December 11. The main host and organiser is Pim and your global local hosts are as follows:

  • West Coast USA –Sam of Becks and Posh - menu4hope.west@gmail.com
  • East Coast USA –Adam, the Amateur Gourmet - adrober at mac.com
  • The rest of the US -Kalyn, Kalyn's Kitchen -kalynskitchen@comcast.net
  • UK/Europe -David Lebovitz- davidlebovitz@hotmail.com
  • Asia Pacific/Australia/New Zealand (Helen of Grab Your Fork - grabyourfork at yahoo.com.au)
  • South America (Cooking Diva - pty_cooking_diva at yahoo.com)
  • Canada (Jasmine at the Cardamom Addict - cardamomaddict at gmail.com).
During the live campaign, Dec 11-22

3 Comments:

*

At Thursday, November 30, 2006 11:49:48 PM, vkn said…

Dear Sam - This is great news. Count us in once again this year. We will come back and let you know what we would like to offer this time.

It was a sheer coincidence, we guess, or telepathy? My Dhaba has also embarked on a similar life-saving mission - "Feed a Hungry Child Campaign" on November 23, 2006. Please do check out the ongoing group book project - "You Can Cook for FAHC campaign".

*

At Saturday, December 02, 2006 9:39:44 AM, shelly said…

Menu for Hope is a truly wonderful campaign. Many thanks to those who are donating their time and effort to get this project going.

That said, I've been poking around the UN WFP site out of curiousity as to where our money will be going. The site is fairly informative, but it also raises some questions for me. For example, I'm not clear about how WFP chooses the recipients of the aid they give. All the recipients on the list of operations are certainly worthy, but I can think of several others who, strangely, are not on the list.

It's also not clear what foods they donate, where these foods come from, and how they are grown. Are the foods free of GMOs? Are they purchased from local farmers so as to assist the growers as well as those in dire need of sustenance? What is Unilever's role as a donor?

While providing emergency food supplies to people in need is highly commendable, I wonder what happens to those people when the emergency is over, or the supplies run out. There is certainly a place for providing immediate help to those who are hungry. But there is also the question of how to help people feed themselves when the WFP must move on to the next crisis. Is WFP involved in programs to help farmers through natural disasters, or helping farmers use natural local resources to improve their crops, rather than relying on expensive products they can't afford, or programs to develop school gardens grown by pupils which they then harvest to feed each other?

I've been thinking about this quite a bit and felt the need to discuss it, not as a criticism, but just as something to think about or perhaps open up for discussion. Again, I really admire the people who have organized this amazing campaign. That the foodblogging community can pull together to help those who are hungry is remarkable.

*

At Monday, December 04, 2006 10:31:58 AM, Sam said…

Hi Shelly

I wrote to Pim and asked her if she would respond to this comment, because they choice of recipient lies solely with her.

Personally I loved Blogathon because for that I was able to choose my own recipent.

Every individual has different reasons for wanting to support some charities more than others. And some people know more about what goes on behind the scenes than others which is why the points you raised are interesting.

When doing something like this on a global scale, it is difficult to find something that everyone is going to be happy with.

To anyone who isn't comfortable with this Programme, I would suggest you branch out on your own and run your own campaign if you want to. I did that with the Blogathon and it was satisfying to help the charity of my choice.

If you feel strongly, and it seems you do, maybe you need to raise and publicize these issues on your own blog. I definitely think it is something to consider and make more widely known.

Start a FBS post on the subject if you like, it might attract more attention than being buried in the comments.

This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh

[Menu for Hope] Update for US West Coast Participants

The deadline for Menu for Hope is drawing near, I just wanted to remind everyone about the latest details and deadlines. I am just working with participants who live in the Western United States (those ajoined to the Pacific including Hawaii). Please contact the host for your region if you are not situated on the US West coast, thanks. (list of global hosts here)

If you live on the West COast, USA, and have yet to send me notice of your prize contribution, please make sure you include all of the following information in your email and address it to: menu4hope.west@gmail.com

- the name of your prize
- an eloquent, persuasive description of your prize
- your name
- your blogs name (this should be the blog where you will post your
Menu for Hope Post on launch Day, December 11th)
-your blog url
-your physical location
-check shipping: Please let me know if there are any
country/regional/global shipping restrictions on this prize and if so
what they are. Be sure to include this information in your
announcement too. Please note that the onus is on each prize sponsor
to clarify shipping restrictions for their entrants, so as to avoid
disppointed entrants further down the line, Thank you.
- a digital photograph of your prize, preferably horizontal, (which you should understand may be cropped, colour corrected or resized for use in the prize roundup
on mine and Pim's blogs whilst promoting the event)

If you manage to send all of this information intact to me by midday
PST on Friday December 8th I will guarantee you will be included in the
initial launch roundup on mine and Pim's blogs on December 11th. If
you contact me later than that time, your prize, of course, will still
be promoted extensively during the campaign but might not make it to
the launch day post.

This next section is information for everyone taking part. This is a description of what is required of participants on launch day, Dec 11th and the post that participants will publish on their own blogs to announce the event.

Please Note: Once you have contacted me and pledged a prize (with all the details as outlined in this mail) I will assign you a code number starting with the letters UW. Please use that code number wherever specified in the instructions, thank you.

Participant Instructions from Pim:


On December 11:

1. Write a post on your blog, describing your participation in Menu
for Hope and your prize(s). Please include at least one photograph.
Please state your prize code clearly for every prize you offer.
Your donors will need to use the code(s) when specifying the prize(s)
he/she wants to raffle for. In your write up, be funny, be
irreverent, beg if you must. Get your readers over to the main Menu
for Hope campaign page on Chez Pim to browse the list of all the
prizes or go directly to the donation page to make a donation.

2. Link to the main Menu for Hope III page on Chez Pim: (
http://chezpim.typepad.com/blogs/2006/12/menu_for_hope_i.html)

3. Link to the regional round-up post on your regional host blog:
http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/

(on the day Dec 11th of you might want to change this to the permalink
url for the roundup post, which in blogger you can not set in advance)

4. Link to the donation page on First Giving: (
http://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhopeIII)

5. Provide the following instructions for donors:
Here's what you should do...

1. Go to the donation page at ( http://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhopeIII )

2. Make a donation, each $10 will give you one raffle ticket toward
a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd
like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when
confirming your donation. Do tell us how many tickets per prize, and
please use the prize code -for example, a donation of $50 can be 2
tickets for UW01 and 3 for UW02.

3. If your company matches your charity donation, please remember to
check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the
corporate match.

4. Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address
so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address
will not be shared with anyone.

5. Check back on Chez Pim on January 15 when we announce the result
of the raffle. (The drawing will be done electronically. Our
friend the code wizard Derrick at Obsession with Food is responsible
for the wicked application that will do the job.)

During the campaign:

1. Please monitor the donation page if you can, perhaps you could
help drum up support for great prizes that have not been sufficiently
noticed by the donors.

2. Please consider keeping a Menu for Hope logo on your side bar.
It can either link to the prize round-up page on Chez Pim (
http://chezpim.typepad.com/blogs/2006/12/menu_for_hope_i.html) or to
the donation page on First Giving (
http://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhopeIII ).

thanks very much for your participation

Let me know if you have any further questions



I would like to add that we are really excited that you are taking
part. This is a community event that can help the world be a better
place.

Thank you

Sam


This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh

5 Comments:

*

At Wednesday, December 06, 2006 11:46:50 PM, david said…

Great write-up!

I do advise also if you're donating something like a food tour, class, or get-together, to give an expiration date. I'm asking my donating parties to give a one-year deadline.

So far I have almost twenty amazing gifts, including wine tastings in a chic Parisian loft, language lessons, dinner in a typical Bavarian home, and glorious food packages from Italy, Sweden, France, and Israel.

Should be great; let the bidding begin!

*

At Thursday, December 07, 2006 6:20:36 AM, Mae said…

I have added a link on my sidebar, Sam.

Good luck everyone!

*

At Thursday, December 07, 2006 8:31:23 AM, Sam said…

ha ha david - does that mean my mum's ice cream with you has expired.

i wanted to come and share it with her but i am stuck in the US for the last year due to visa issues, argh.

*

At Thursday, December 07, 2006 11:01:38 AM, Kalyn said…

I don't have a high number of prizes for the central U. S., and would be happy to get more, even if it's past the deadline (even past my extended deadline of December 9, LOL).

However, although I don't have a huge number of prizes, the prizes I do have are quite fabulous. If I dared, I'd give a hint, but I better not.

*

At Thursday, December 07, 2006 11:18:56 AM, Sam said…

I am pretty sure, Kalyn, that once the campaign goes live, more people will want to help out.

That is what happened last year.

We'll see....

...sleepness nights...



[Menu for Hope] Shipping/Deadline Notes

Menu for Hope prize hosts: Please let your hosts know if there are any country/regional/global shipping restrictions on your prizes and if so what they are. Be sure to include this information in your prize announcement post too. Please note that the onus is on each prize sponsor to clarify shipping restrictions for their entrants, so as to avoid disppointed entrants who cannot accept their prizes further down the line.

*generally - unless you state otherwise, as a prize sponsor you will be expected to meet the costs of shipping your prize to whoever wins it.


David Lebovitz, the European host also suggests the following: "I do advise also if you're donating something like a food tour, class, or get-together, to give an expiration date. I'm asking my donating parties to give a one-year deadline."


I know that for evey one who is taking part, there are a lot of details to assimilate and it is a slightly trying process, but please do try and get back to your hosts as quickly as you can with all the information they ask for by the dates and times requested. If you think it is hard to cope with organising one prize, please spare a though for those of us who are trying to keep a track of a couple of dozen or more, Thank you all very much.


This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh


Logos to Use:

Hi everyone,

Here are some logos you can use for the Menu for Hope campaign post on your blogs.

The Menu for Hope main logo:



a small logo


WFP logo

Please email me (pim at chezpim dot com) or your regional blog host if you had any further questions.

thanks so much for your help,
Pim

This Post was written by Pim of Chez Pim



Charity Mention

If you are taking part in the Menu for Hope this year, you may have noticed that the final particpation instructions failed to mention the charity we are supporting. It is probably a good idea, since we are trying to raise money for their benefit, that we give the United Nations World Food Programme a mention. People will want to know where their money is going.

I will leave it up to individuals to read up on the charity and add it to their launch posts in whichever way they think suitable.


This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Google Analytics Problems?

From where I'm sitting, Google Analytics has been down for several hours both yesterday and today. It is simply junking website access data rather than queuing it, so the stats for the day are completely out. Is this just a UK server issue, or are others experiencing the same thing? Check your Executive Overview for the past two days and look for long periods of flatlining.

This Post was written by Trig from Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

More on Food Blog Search

Hi all,

An afterthought on the Google Custom Search post of a few days ago. If you would like to add a Food Blog Search bar to your site, and don't want to spend the time (in my case several hours) inputing hundreds of blogs in to a new search engine, you are very welcome to use mine on your site. The code is:

<!-- Google CSE Search Box Begins -->
<form id="searchbox_003084314295129404805:72ozi9a0fjk" action="http://www.google.com/cse">
<input type="hidden" name="cx" value="003084314295129404805:72ozi9a0fjk" />
<input name="q" type="text" size="20" />
<input type="submit" name="sa" value="Search" />
<input type="hidden" name="cof" value="FORID:1" />
</form>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/coop/cse/brand?form=searchbox_003084314295129404805%3A72ozi9a0fjk"></script>
<!-- Google CSE Search Box Ends -->

Note that Google will run ads on most search results. At the moment the ads for this particular Food Blog Search engine are tied to my Google Adsense account. If there was a way to set it up so that the adsense could be tied to other accounts as well, I would do that. But that's not possible at the moment. The Custom Search function is in beta, so maybe this will be something that they will change in time.

Enjoy. Please email any questions regarding this to recipes AT elise [dot} com.

This Post was written by Elise from Simply Recipes

Thursday, November 09, 2006

[Ads] Commission Junction

Has anyone heard of these guys, Commission Junction? I've noticed that Typepad has just started using them to manage its affiliate programme. I'm interested in knowing a bit more and seeing their stuff in action. I'd appreciate any points.

Thanks

Anthony at Silverbrow on Food.

Special Site Visitors

I get all sorts of people visiting my food blog, but recently I had a very special visitor and this led me to wonder how many of my fellow bloggers have similar experiences to relate.

A month ago I posted an article about eel pie and mash, a classic London dish from the 19th century until the 1960s, now undergoing something of a renaissance. A few days ago I received the following (absolutely genuine, I've checked) comment:

"My name is Frederick George Cooke.....I am the great-grandson of Fred Cooke who created/invented pie and mash in the late 19th century. I worked in the family business until 1994 when the original shop in Dalston closed down. It is now a Chinese restaurant."

So has anyone else received a comment from someone who can claim origination of a dish that they've written about?

This Post was written by Trig from Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef.

So, do you like it RAW, baby?

Just curious as to how many of you digital folk shoot in RAW. I go for jpeg/tiff just because I haven't made the time to learn how to post-process raw images.

Nonetheless, I keep wondering if I'm short-changing myself but not sucking it up and checking it out.


This Post was written by s'kat from s'kat and the food.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Subscriber List

I've had a minor uprising at my site, via email and comments, when I posted a message about the most recent newsletter I sent out (via email). I got a deluge of messages from disappointed folks that signed up, but didn't receive anything.

My web dude informed me that I need to upgrade to a heavy-duty subscriber service and suggested ymlp, which allows me to transfer email addresses from my previous list and is $10/month. (I use Movable Type.)

Anyone have any experience with this service or any others?


This Post was written by David from davidlebovitz.com

Food and Travel Writing Internship with Modern Luxury Magazines

Interested in a food and travel writing internship in Los Angeles? The internship is with Brad A. Johnson, who was nominated for a James Beard award in the journalism category. Here's the text of the flyer advertising this position:

America's leading publisher of luxury lifestyle magazines is offering an internship for a food-savvy writer (or eloquent gourmand) to work alongside one of America's top food critics and travel editors. This is an excellent chance to learn the ropes of restaurant criticism and travel writing and to gain valuable experience at a national publishing company. Based on performance, the intern might have the opportunity to write bylined articles for one or more of the company's award-winning glossy magazines. This is a nonpaid internship lasting 3 to 6 months, but, for the right candidate, could lead to paid assignments upon completion of the term.

It sounds like an incredible opportunity. Full details here.


This Post was written by Foodie Universe

[paid blogging/ethics] Thoughts on PayPerPost?

Someone emailed me a few weeks ago about PayPerPost. I looked at it and came to the conclusion that the only way I would do it was to establish a totally separate blog where I wrote only PayPerPost posts, and I don't have the time or inclination to do that. I would just not feel comfortable writing PPP posts on my regular blogs, especially not on Just Hungry, where I do often recommend products and things but those I really like/use.

Has anyone tried PayPerPost? How are you using it? What do you think of it? As food bloggers I believe we are a ready target for things such as this.


This Post was written by maki from Just Hungry.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

[content] Gannett Enlists Citizen Journalists

"Gannett Co., the nation's largest newspaper chain, plans to create stories with information from bloggers, people who post in Internet discussion groups and other non-journalists in hopes of winning readers from the Internet, television and other news sources"

read the rest of the article on SFGate...


This Post was written by sam from Becks & Posh

Monday, November 06, 2006

[blogger] Beta version users and Food Blog S'cool

I signed up a lot of new pupils yesterday but several are having problems joining as Beta users.

What should they/we do? Has anyone found a solution to this yet?

If I switch this blog to Beta persumably it will fix the problem for those who have it. But will it then cause a problem for all the current members who are still operating on their original blogger usernames and logins.

Several of us will be greatful for any ideas on ways around this.

thanks

sam


Becks & Posh

[Inquiry] Did IMBB go up in flames?

.
After a few inquiries around the blog-o-sphere, it has come to my attention that IMBB died out after the partial-round up at 'Ono Kind Grindz in June.

Can it be brought back to life?

Thanks!
Rachael

This Post was written by Rachael from Fresh Approach

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Google Custom Search

Hi Everyone,

I thought I would bring to your attention a very cool new feature of Google. Google is now letting us create our own custom search engines, based on a list of websites that we choose. I've started playing around with it here at FoodBlogSearch.com (got the domain name because it is a lot easier to remember than the long Google URL). I often like to link to other food blogs in my posts and this custom search makes it easy to search the food blogs I frequent.

Google is also letting us put the search bar, and the results of the searches directly into our own websites. I have an example of that working here at my list of food blogs. Susan V has also incorporated this feature in her list of food blogs on FatFree Vegan Kitchen.

You can set it up so other people can contribute to the list of sites searched (Alanna and Kalyn are contributing to mine.) You can include a little Google widget so that people can add the search bar to their personalized Google home page.

It's not perfect. It returns results based on page rank and not the most recent entries. It usually takes a week or two for new entries to show up in the Google index so you usually don't get the most recent posts. But I have already found it quite useful. The link to create your own custom search engine is http://www.google.com/coop/.

Enjoy!

This Post was written by Elise from Simply Recipes

Unwanted Links

I did a link search today for my blog and found myself linked to two sites I don't think I want to be associated with. One is Appetite from New Zealand, I can't tell if it is a spam site or not and the other is definitely just spam. I thought I remembered this question from before, but I couldn't find it on this site. How do I contact the web master and tell them to remove the link? Can I? Has anyone heard of the Appetite site before or know anything about it? My stuff isn't copyrighted. Could I avoid this problem if it was? Thanks for any info!


This Post was written by Meredith from Cooking 101

Blog Stats Package

I've been using Blog Flux to measure site hits and I really like the data it provides, with a good global map and with a daily, weekly, monthly and annual breakdown of data on referrals, search phrases, browsers, etc.

However... performance on Blog Flux has gone from bad to worse, to the point where the delays and failures now take up an appreciable amount of my time. Quite frankly, I can't stand using the package any longer.

Does anyone use anything offering a comparable or better package of data that actually works?

This Post was written by Trig from Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef

Saturday, November 04, 2006

[Event] today's UCLA Extension "workshop"

Hi folks!

Along with at least 10 other bloggers who identified themselves as such, I attended today's UCLA Food Writing "workshop".

I'm wondering if any of you who were there were put off by the amount of dissing that blogs took from the journos and other panelists. I was particularly peeved by Katie O'Kennedy from Bon Appetit discouraging newbies from starting blogs: I believe the quote was something like "When you blog, you only have yourself as a critic, and that's a dangerous proposition." And slightly less so, by Russ Parsons of the LA Times disagreeing with statements about the value of blogging as a way to generate clips and/or keep your writing chops tuned up. Feeling threatend by new media, o ye pros?

I found all of this highly ironic considering that they spent 10 minutes discussing Julie Powell at the beginning of the session, talking about how her blog was her springboard.

I was also more than a little put off by the fact that this course was billed as a workshop, and yet no actual *work* happened. I guess I didn't have a reasonable expectation of homework or critiques in a 1-day course, but I guess I did at least think that we'd be asked to write something brief in class, and then tweak it later using the tips and hints we'd been given. I was glad to have the chance to hear some interesting stories, and to meet some of you in person (Hi Erin, Jennifer, and Jeanne!) but I came away pretty peeved that I paid $130 for so little useful stuff. Oh, and many of the experts listed in the course catalog weren't anywhere to be found.

Most of the panelists were interesting, but I guess I would have been happier if the class had been billed as a panel, a seminar, or a Q&A session rather than a workshop.



This Post was written by Anita from Married ...with Dinner

[General Template Central] PsycHo: Free Template Generator

I am currently creating a new food blog called EAT - A Tribute to Mary Cantwell and, in looking for a new template, discovered this:
PsycHo: Free Template Generator. I like it (so far!) because it allows you the option of creating either a two or three column template, as well as customizing color elements and some of the fonts as well.

I have encountered one problem so far. When I designed my template, it had a title section on the same line as the date above the post, but, when I created my test post, there was no window in blogger to use for a title. Can anyone tell me if there is a way to alter the template to do this? In looking at the code which is there already, I kind of assumed it was set up that way to begin with, but even if there is no remedy for this, I still like the layout and hope it comes in handy for anyone else looking for a little bit of adventure ;-).

Many thanks for your input.

This Post was written by Willa Frank from SORRY FUGU

Blog not refreshing with new posts?

I'm not sure what the issue is, so I thought I'd ask here and see if anyone knows what could be wrong. I've received a couple e-mails now with people telling me that they are not seeing the new posts that I make (I put up a post every day usually). Most of them are seeing a post from 5-7 days ago and they need to manually hit refresh for them to be able to see any updates. Is there a setting or some other issue that I'm unaware of that I could change to fix this?

Thanks for any help!

This Post was written by Joe from Culinary in the Desert

How to Optimize Your Blogger Blog

If you're using Blogger I've put together a list of important settings and tutorials for doing search engine optimization on your blog. Login to your Dashboard, then access the Settings tab for the blog you want to optimize.

Basic
-- Add Blog to listings: Yes

Publishing
-- Notify Weblogs.com: Yes

Formatting
-- Show Title Field: Yes
-- Show Link Field: Yes (for article title links)

Archiving
-- Enable Post Pages: Yes (for individual post pages and page title tags)

Site Feed
-- Publish Site Feed: Yes

More Blogger tips...Turn your archive pages into an article index where you link to each article by the title.


If you want to learn more about SEO basics and how to optimize other types of blogs I posted more info here.

This Post was written by Kat from Kung Foodie.

Friday, November 03, 2006

[reader/commenter behavior] Trackback spam

Recently, I've been hit twice with what appears to be trackback spam. I'm running both Akismet and Spam Karma 2. The spam went through both. The URL of the spammer is listed as the URL of my post, but the IP address is obviously not mine. See the following links for examples:

trackback spam 1
trackback spam 2

Has anyone dealt with this sort of thing? If I block the trackbacks, will Akismet and SK2 be smart enough to block the bad IP address(es) and not my own URL?

This Post was written by shelly from an open cupboard

Search engine results issue

This is probably a very stupid, blogging 101 question but I have to ask since I haven't found the answer in the archives here. I've noticed that when my one of my posts comes up in a Google search, the link sends the person to my main page and not to the post itself. Obviously this would be a problem since I don't want people to have to search through my entire blog to find the information for which they're looking. Any suggestions about how to resolve this? Thanks in advance for your assistance and Happy Friday!

This Post was written by Sarah from girlgastronome.

Blogger Migration

I'm thinking of upgrading from Blogger to Blogger Beta, but in view of the blogging problems I've had before and rumours about problems posting comments when logged onto one version but posting to a blog using the other version, I'm a bit worried. Has anyone had experience of this migration and if so how did it go?

This Post was written by Trig from Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef

Thursday, November 02, 2006

[General Template Central] Hiding your email

Ok, I decided to go the image route. This site seems like a good one for generating an image:

http://safemail.justlikeed.net/

Hopefully this will keep the spammers away...


This Post was written by Amy from Cooking with Amy.

[blogging]Your other blogs?

One of the things that differentiates blogs from other writing is the opportunity to get a deeper look at a person. But most of us have food-specific blogs that don't let us stray from that topic, and so we often start other blogs. I find these to be fascinating looks at "the rest of the story" for a given person, and I'm more and more intrigued by them.

So do you have a non-food blog? What's the link? What does it cover?

This Post was written by Derrick from An Obsession with Food and An Obsession with Everything Else

Resource for your addiction

I know that some of you have it bad and you aint gonna kick it any time soon.. its that expensive and heavy addiction to .. cookbooks.

I like to check out the cookbook section of used book stores and yard sales. You can see a LOT of really kitchy revolting but fun food photography from the 50s through the 70s.

I was cruising the NYTimes dining section and in the article "Kitchen Classics, in the Eye of the Beholder" came across their reference to this website OldCookbooks.com and thought that some people here might find it interesting.

Due to my particular kink for the food photography I enjoyed the food promo sections with the brochures and the scary food shots.. here are a few examples! How can you pass up cooking with Dr. Pepper?! I wonder if they have one for Mr. Pibb.


(As seen on OldCookbooks.com)


You can find hard to find cook books there if you have given up on eBay.

This Post was written by Nika from Nika's Culinaria

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

[blog topics] Cookbook Reviews

You know what the blog-o-sphere needs more of? It needs more cookbook reviews written by REAL PEOPLE- like you all!

While researching whether I should buy a new cookbook online, I found myself amazed at the pile-up of recycled reviews straight from the publishers. Mmmm of course they're going to make everything sound like it should be bought!

I want to hear from my fellow foodies on their blogs about their recent cookbook purchases. And for those of you posting your reviews- keep it up! It'll take some punch to get up there on the google rankings, but I'll be digging through the returns for you.

btw, some great details to include when writing a cookbook review:

- roughly what percentage of recipes are accompanied by photos?
- how many recipes did you try out?
- and the most important, but most forgotten detail: what do you think of the cookbook? Nevermind for a moment the restaurant pedigree of the author... how does this book sit with you? Did it keep your interest for a day? A week? Two weeks?




This Post was written by McAuliflower of Brownie Points.
Dear Fellow Bloggers:

Here is a question for anyone who participates in the site Foodieblogs.net. I am wondering how to replace the "there's no banner yet" message on my posts with a customized banner--I don't see any instructions on the site, and my e-mails to the editors over the past month have gone unanswered. I appreciate any help you can provide!

Thanks so much--

This Post was written by Sarah from Avenue Food

[html] Table Trouble

There are likely newer, better ways to build a table but I found a Tables 101 tutorial somewhere and built one that to my eyes looks not bad, thank you, given its architect :-) ... ... except that once it's published (vs previewed) a large space has appeared between the title and the table, appearing in both Firefox and IE. Is anyone able to help close the gap? Here's the trouble.

Many thanks from Alanna at A Veggie Venture