Wednesday, April 27, 2005

[Blogger] Save your Template

I just wanted to remind all the people who are using blogger(I have no idea how the other blogs work) to back up there template to a .txt file somewhere. The reason I am saying this is last night, blogger lost half of my template, after I had made a major modification to it. Whilst I did not publish the error, I only just noticed that half of the template was missing, luckily!
I had to redo all the changes :(, I was just about to backup too.So I would hate for my misfortune to befall any of my class mates.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

[Blogger] Profile Help

Managed to get a picture uploaded to my Profile/Blog - thanks for those that helped me with that. Two questions: How can I make the picture bigger on my blog? and how do I move the NAME and LOCATION over to the left margin. I've been playing around with it for awhile now and no success yet...

Monday, April 25, 2005

Removing Comments

I sometimes have comments that are accidental duplicates or, frankly, just bother me and I want to delete. Trouble is, even as the administrator of the blog, I cant seem to get that little trash can icon to show up. Does anyone know how to fix that? Refreshing (the Blogger solution) doesn’t seem to work. Thanks!

[Photos] Manipulating Pix without Graininess

My camera takes pretty good pictures - so when I post them to my blog in the main space (big picture) it looks pretty clear. However, when I resize them to aboput 200px wide, they get all grainy. How can I make my little pictures look not so grainy?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

[Content] First Impressions/Personality

To appeal fully to me, a blog has to have some personality. The first thing I do when I see a new blog is look to see "who is it writing this blog" If I don't see any clues somewhere as to who is writing it and where they are based, then I feel a little bit disengaged from it and am less likely to return so quickly. I remember when I first started blogging, I was a little bit scared of giving away too much about myself, but once I got over that problem, I think I feel more settled actually trying to be me instead of hiding behind a bland mystery persona. How do others feel about this question?

Friday, April 22, 2005

[Blogger] Template tweaking

This blog is a gorgeous example of tweaking a standard Blogger template and turning it into something unique and great looking. Those of you with skills to do this, will you enlighten the rest of us and share how you do it?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

[Blogger] Posting Pictures, Part 2

I'm using Hello to post pictures in my blog. Is there a way to run the text next to the picture, as oppposed to just the top and bottom? Hate the waste space like that if there's a simple way around it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

[Blogger]Posting Pictures

How do I make a picture that's on my blog smaller? I just put up a new post, but the picture is way bigger than I'd like. Help!

[Traffic] How do you drive traffic?

Being listed as a "blog of note" on Bloggers homepage really boosted my traffic! Now that I have been bumped off the list I'm wondering what others do to drive traffic? Beyond submitting your site to search engines and participating in online discussion boards and leaving comments, what are the best sources of traffic to your site?

[General] choosing font sizes

One of the biggest problems I have with many blogs is that many of the templates provided use such small fonts. I can barely see the posts on many blogs. It's a fairly simple fix though.

Look in your stylesheet (the template area of your blogger blog) to find instances of font-size:. If the font size is in pixels (for instance: 11px), chances are that it is too small. The real disadvantage to pixel for font-size is that IE viewers cannot resize the text in their browsers.

Please use relative sizes instead of pixels for font-sizes!

Instead of font-size:11px;, use font-size:small;

Or if you really want to specify the font-size, choose to use em. That way even IE browsers will be able to adjust the size of font.

For more information on this, take a look at:

Just remember that not everyone can read tiny fonts easily. Be kind to your shortsighted viewers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

[Tools] Language Translation

[Tools]Appropriately enough (with the forthcoming release of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) I ran across a neat translation tool today on 18thC Cuisine. The code to add your own to your page can be found by clicking on the link in the box to go to Babelfish and then following along as to adding your own.

(Typepad) How to Organize Archive

I have noticed that some people have organized their archive or category pages so that you see a list of titles at the top, each title is a link and takes you to the post. After each post is a "top of page" link. Can anyone tell me how to do this? I have upgraded to Pro so that I can control the html on all pages, supposedly, but I can't seem to get there. (follow the link to a Choc&Zuc page where she uses this method.)


Monday, April 18, 2005

[Misc] Making Money From Your Blog?


Just out of interest, do you do anything to make money with your blog, and if so, what do you do and how well is it working?

To kick start:

I will first say that I am hoping that I and all the authors of Digital Dish (I think Dr B is the only other activated member of this community who is a co-author of the book)will make at least some money and preferably LOTS from our book which is a compilation of the best food blog writing we could get our hands on from the Summer of 2003 to 2004. If it succeeds we will do 2004 to 2005 and hopefully have LOTS more participants!

However, that aside, I also have google ads and some odd links through to Amazon affiliates. I 'get' about $1.50 per month from Google (which means I haven't actually gotten anything yet since they wait until you have $100 to issue a check). I also 'get' about $10 from Amazon per year.

Anyone else?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

[Misc] Emoticons - How to?

Is there a way to put emoticons in a post, instead of the usual :)?

[blog software] Redirecting from one blog software to another

I have noticed some people have switched from blogger to typepad (or from typepad to some other configuration) and am wondering if that's hard to do. Interestingly (ha ha) blogger doesnt have an answer for that in their knowledge base. When I first started with blogger I was super happy with it, but these days it seems like it might be time to move on. Is there a way to 1. redirect people and 2. move my entire blog to another site, without just pasting it there?

[Blogger] recent comments hack

One of the things that appears to be missing from the standard blogger setup is a list of "recent comments" in the sidebar. But I found this hack that will add up to 10 links to most recent comments on your blogger sidebar:

recent comments hack from


[Misc] How do I get a personalized icon?

How do I get a personalized icon? You know - the kind that you see just before the http in a url. They also show up in the tabs.

Food bloggers I have noticed with these nifty little decorations include Brownie Points, Elise's Simply Recipes and the new, very engaging Travellers Lunch Box from Scotland.

I don't think I have seen it on blogger sites so I suspect it is something that only comes with certain software. Software I probably don't have and hmmph, frankly, I am a little envious.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

[Recipes] Speaking of legality...reprinting of recipes

I am wondering if anyone has ever been told to take down a recipe that was reprinted without express permission.

On the rare occasions I post someone elses recipes, I note where they are from, but am curious if this is actually a potentially bad thing.

Friday, April 15, 2005

[Photography] legality of publishing restaurant pics on the web

Related to the previous post. Does anyone know about the legalities of taking pictures in a restaurant (is it a public or private place?). Could they possibly sue you if they are not happy that you took pictures and posted them online without their permission?

[Reviews] Restaurant reviews

I’m sure that everyone has their own way of dealing with restaurant reviews, some more successful than others. I wanted to put these questions out there to see how other food bloggers deal with their reviews. When doing a restaurant review, do you ever let them know that you are writing a review of their restaurant on your blog? If so, do you do it before or after the meal? If not, how do you explain the fervent writing of notes and picture taking during your meal? What is considered respectful and courteous?

[Printing] Recipes

Is there a way for a visitor to print a recipe that I've put up, as opposed to printing the page, with all the text, etc.? Haven't noticed it on anyone else's blogs yet, but if there was a little tag or something at the end of the recipe that said "Print This Recipe," that would be a nice feature so they don't get all that extra chatter around it.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

[Misc] Blogshares - stats on your blog from a weird source

I was googling my blog and found Blogshares Fantasy League a sort of fictional stock market for blogs.

The interesting thing is it has a lot of stats about my (and everyone else's) blog. Check it out.

[Tags] what are they? what good are they to me?

I don't know much about TAGS except Blogger doesn't seem to support them like other blogging software does. Fortunately, Technorati has stepped in to help me get some of these fashionable labels.

Now you can add technorati tags to any posts that you publish. I started doing this about 3 posts ago, and it seems like an interesting concept.

But what I really want to know - is how will tagging my posts really benefit me? Is it actually worth doing?

How do services other than blogger handle the subject of tagging?

Check out the technorati explanation of all things tagging here

[Searching] on a Blog

I notice some bloggers have a search window on their blogs where it can search their blog and some of them also include searching Google as an option. Anyone know how to add this?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

[blog software] - which one to choose?

My food blog lives only in my brain at the moment because I haven't determined which software I want to use to publish it. I'd love to pick the collective brains of my classmates here and figure this out ASAP. Here's what I know that impacts my choice of software:
  • I have a (Windows NT) web server, which is currently hosting a parked domain for the site. Yep, you read that right: NT. (So nothing that requires *nix or Active Directory ,please.)
  • My server is parked behind a DSL connection that has reasonable bandwidth but if it becomes hugely trafficked I might have to reconsider the location...or generate enough income to offset the increased bandwidth costs.
  • Once my blog is going, my partner wants to host a few others (not at my site, but we only want to learn this once)
  • It will eventually be supporting a business associated with the blog, which eliminates blogging tools that are hugely expensive for multiple business blogs. (MT for example seems to get spendy if you have a multi-biz blogging venture)
  • I am an IT professional, so am not intimdated by code. :-) I do Perl so Perl-based blogging is extra cool.
Now here's the server is in another city, and getting to it to install all the software required for this isn't happening this week. But I'd like to get my blog going in the if anyone has hosted a blog somewhere (preferably free/very cheap) and then moved it to their own server, I'd really love to hear from you.

What's the downside to Blogger? There must be one somewhere, but I searched the TOS and can't find anything too egregious...they aren't claiming ownership of material or anything. And I see they let you host on their site or your own anyone redirecting their domain to a Blogger server? Switched back and forth between where it's being hosted? Run into trouble? Loved it?


[Blogger] How to Set up Sub Categories?

I'd like to know whether it is possible to create categories in Blogger as it is the case in Typepad. For instance, I'd like to gather my restaurants reviews in a category called "reviews", the recipes in "recipes" and so on. Is there a simple way to do that ? Thanks everyone.

[E-Mail Link] How to?

I notice some food bloggers (who use Blogger) have a link in their navigational bar that says "E-Mail Me," or something similar where people can click on it, and it will open up an e-mail to send to the blog author. I can't figure out how to do that. Help?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

[Photography] Image Site for Mac Users

I'm having some major issues with Flickr tonight where the pictures after upload to Flickr look nothing like the pictures I sent them. The contrast is messed up and the colors are just wrong. I noticed this before, but since it didn't really make a difference, I never cared much. But today, my asparagus is lacking its vibrant color once it's Flickr-ed, and I don't like it. I tried uploading it via different methods, and it still does the same thing. Anyone have any suggestions? The annoying thing is that when I tried to 'over-shoot', taking into the fact that Flickr was going to make its own adjustments, it still looks bad!

I also noticed that when I save a gorgeous picture on Photoshop and open the EXACT same file with another program like iPhoto or Image Browser, it looks different and the colors aren't the same, even though it is the EXACT same file and it is the EXACT same computer. I can even do a side-by-side comparison! What's going on?? Am I losing my mind??? Too much food photography???????

What photo service & photo program does everyone else use? The one that blogger recommends ( doesn't support Macs... Are there better services than Flickr that I should consider switching? I'm using Photoshop Elements. Is there some secret to this that I am totally not understanding?

[Blogger] Expandable/Collapsable Posts - How to?

I have seen other blogger blogs which just have the first few lines of the post in the main window with a little link called something like "Continue" which expands to open the post in its entirity. Personally i havent really done any research before because I don't want it for my own blog, but I it would be a good idea for this blog.
Can anyone tell me how???

Monday, April 11, 2005

[Mailing Lists] Do you have one yet?

I've been getting a lot of requests to start a mailing list. On my test blog I've tried out the free Bravenet mailing list service and it seems ok, except for the ugly Bravenet ads of course! Any thoughts about mailing list providers or tips?

[Tracking Visitors] Number of Users Currently Online

I added a piece of code which shows you, in the column on the right, how many people are online at the time you enter this site. You can easily pick up this piece of code for your own site. Just click on it for the link.

There are a few things to be mindful of when using this service:

1) The instruction tells you to relace with your own site name. Many blogs do not have a www so be careful to replace it with something like instead.

2) Why are they giving this piece of code away for free? Because they have a link to an adult site embedded, thats why. Ewww. I am sure none of us want that. Even though they tell you not to change the code at all, I suggest you remove this section. Without it the code will, hopefully, work just fine.

3) You can replace the word online in the script, for whatever sentence you want to see on your site. ie Pupils in Class at Food Blog School.

Right Mouse Button Click on this blog's main page and select View Page Source, to see how I incorporated this piece of code into the template for the Food Blog Scool. (Scroll down - it's nearer the bottom of the page)

Sunday, April 10, 2005

[Photography] What camera do you use?

For my food photos I am currently using an older digital camera that I originally bought "for the fun of it". I am now trying to learn all of it's features as I work on improving the quality of my photos. While I still have tons to learn about the camera, photo composition, lighting, etc. I am fairly certain that in the next month or so I will want to upgrade my camera.

I'm torn between getting something small and compact that's easy to keep with me at all times or getting something with more features and controls that would allow taking better photos under a variety of conditions.

I'm interested in knowing what cameras people are using and what they like or dislike about them. What do you use? Would you recommend it? What are you thinking of purchasing and why?

Saturday, April 09, 2005

[Tracking Visitors] Sitemeter or something else?

Let's get some kind of visitor tracker for this new site. I use site meter on my own blog. Is it the best option? We're looking for something free, with as much useful information as possible. Preferably something that is public so we can all have access to it for learning purposes. Any suggestions?

[Comments] Using HTML code when leaving comments.

Have you noticed how blogger doesn't let you leave a link to your non-blogger blog in the comments section? Annoying huh! Fret not, you can actually easily build a do-it-yourself link to your own blog using a simple piece of code:

photograph picture of html code for blogger comments
(The little square symbol represents a space)

I had to hand write this instruction because I am unable to type it in as an example to show you. Why not? This magic combination of symbols and letters actually creates an html instruction. If I typed it in as I wrote it above, you wouldn't be able to see the instruction because it would have created a link instead, which is what it has been asked to do by the code.

In other words, say you want to sign your comment in Blogger with your name, Sam, but you would like that signature to actually be a link to your blog. Here's how.

Breakdown Follows:
In this example, to create a link to my own blog, I am replacing the symbol you need to use <> with {}. This is so you can see the code without it creating the instruction. If you want to copy this example, just cut and paste it, replace the { with <, replace the } with >, replace the with your own url and the Becks & Posh with your own blog name.

{a href =""}Becks & Posh {/a}

the link itself:
Becks & Posh

Pretty easy when you get the hang of it.

Many, but not all, blog comments accept this kind of behaviour, so you can try it out anywhere and with other things. For example, if you visit another blog and you see they are talking about marshmallows, you want to leave a comment about the marshmallows you made last next month you could write your comment something like this:

Hey I enjoyed reading your marshmallow post its funny because I used the same recipe last month and my marshmallows {a href = ""}turned out like this {/a}

(again, relace the {} with <> to make this actually work)
In this example your the words turned out like this would turn a different colour, creating the desired link.

Note - although this will work with many comments, some websites disallow this type of linking in their comments. It will just be trial and error to find out which ones do and which ones don't.

[General] Welcome to your New School

The other night I was out with a bunch of wonderful San Francisco Wine and Food Bloggers. It quickly became clear that we all had varying levels of technical knowledge about our favourite hobby, blogging. Blogger bloggers, for example, have different queries than typepad ones. Everyone wanted to know about their google page ranking. How do you put those little pull down menus in your side bar? How do you get two side bars instead of one? Improving your photgraphy tips. There are lots of questions and lots of answers. It dawned on me, it would be great to have a blog where food and drink bloggers would be welcome to ask and answer these questions and more.

So here it is - your very own Food Blog Scool. *No Fees!* Make it what you will. If you are an existing food or drink blogger anywhere in the world, please join up so you have the capability to start a thread and ask a question, of your own choosing. Between us, I hope we can unravel some of those blogging mysteries and blogging questions we have always wondered about but never had the guts to ask.