Sunday, December 23, 2007

Labels below post title above post content: Test

Got a funny request from a blogger who is using an old classic Blogger template to move the labels to above the post content just below the post title. Although since I migrated practically all my blogs over to the New Blogger templates, I have hardly looked at an old classic Blogger template and not exactly what may have changed since Blogger forced all bloggers to migrate over to New Blogger (formerly Blogger Beta) though one still have the choice of keeping or using the old classic Blogger template.

However, after the change, there are some features added to blogs using old classic templates including the ability to add Labels (more commonly known as categories). The difference is that you will not have the New Blogger easy drag and drop LAYOUT and you will not be able to add a Link List in the sidebar. There is a work around at Label List for old classic Blogger templates. However, I would not know if I will be able to find the code to display the labels at the bottom of blogs using old classic Blogger templates or not. I tried looking in Furniture Center which uses Final Sense old classic Blogger template they called "109 business blog 1". I tried looking but failed. Maybe when I have time, I will try a standard old classic Blogger template and see if I can edit the template to put the labels below the post Header.

I tried that with a blog Blogger Help Pages which uses Hackoshere 3 column New Blogger Minima template and found that I could do it. You can get instruction on how to do it at Labels below post title.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Brochure stands to promote business blog: Test

I have recently been asked to help set up a blog to help recruit insurance agents for a sister-in-law of mine who is an insurance agency manager for a large insurance company. That is not a problem, but the big question is, how to draw traffic to the blog? There are various ways, one of which is using SEO (Search Engine Optimization). But that is a pretty time consuming task if you want to do a good job. However, once done, it is long lasting. What are the other ways? She said she is prepared to invest, which opens the possibilities of advertising. What are the alternatives?

Google AdWords

One easy way, if you are prepared to spend money, is using Google AdWords. But my sister-in-law will like to get only respondents from certain towns or region. I was told by AdWord that for my country, we can only target by country, not by region or town. However, it is possible to us a "trick", that is, using IP addresses. Problem is, I am not too familiar with IP addresses. I suspect that may be quite a task as I use ADSL with dynamic IP address, and I can see my IP address changes drastically from day to day. I will check with Contact Google AdWords Support and see if they can help me.

By the way, if you too are interested in using Google AdWords, you can apply for a Google AdWords account via the "Target your ads. Get Google AdWords" referral link at Advertising Tips and Tricks at the top of the leftmost sidebar.

Using brochures to bring regional traffic to website

brochure standSince using Google AdWords may be problematic, perhaps using brochures with information plus the URL of the website printed on the brochure may help bring the regionally targeted visitors to the website as we can choose only distribute the brochures in targeted regions.

I believe the least labor intensive way is to use brochure stands rather than go leafleting. All one need to do is to stuff the brochures into the brochure stands and place them at strategic places for people passing by to pick up the brochures. If one can spare the time and have sufficient budgets or manpower, one can stand beside the brochure stands plus get helpers to do the same at other locations to help explain what it is all about. Perhaps in our country where we cannot use regional targeting for Google AdWords, this may be the way to get the right visitors to the website.

Perhaps we should test this out and see if it is effective. I think I will discuss with my sister-in-law.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Favicon for your blog: Test

Here is the photo (in .ico format) of Enviroman, meant for the Favicon for Enviroman Says but don't know if photo in ico format can be uploaded:

Update: ico format cannot be uploaded from your photo. Looks like the site

http://www.genfavicon.com/

I want to test for Favicon for my environmental blog Enviroman Says cannot be used unless, I think, you host your own blog. The site only regenerate an ico format photo from your jpg gif and png formats and down download it into your computer. Attempts to upload it to both a Blogger post as well as Photobucket failed.

According to

http://www.genfavicon.com/

Once you have created your favicon.ico file, you are supposed to upload it to the root directory of your website and put the following code in the header of your HTML page:

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.ico" />

Now for Blogger or the free Wordpress blogging services, you have no access to the server, which means you have no access to the root directory. I have never hosted my own blog before, though I am now attempting to use custom domains for New Blogger (to be hosted for free by Blogger), so I have no practical experience to draw from to give you accurate information.

If anyone has any experience with the above and have some useful information, please contact me at bloggerfordummies at gmail dot com, replacing at with @ and dot with . and get rid of the space, or leave a comment. If the information you give is useful for my blog readers, I will link to your site and this will increase your link popularity and PageRank, very important for SEO (Search Engine Optimization),

Test stop here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Testing a hyperlink for a blog reader

A blog reader contacted me saying he is having problem in posting a hyperlink

<a href="http://www.****.com">abc</a>
(NOTE: URL and anchor text edited as that is a link to the blogger's advertiser with which I have no relationship)

as he is getting the error message:

Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tags cannot enclose tags a href="<a href="


To me, that HTML for the hyperlink looks perfectly OK, so just don't understand why he is having problem. So what to do? Simple. Test it. Published and tested, and the hyperlink worked exactly as it should. You can click on it to confirm if you wish.

Tips and Tricks for Blogger (NOTE: hyperlink changed to link to my own blog which is slated to be converted to custom domain)

The HTML for the hyperlink as originally given to me by the blogger obviously worked, and after demonstrating that it worked in this post, he replied saying that everything is OK now, and attributed the problem to the template. I am curious as to how the template can affect the hyperlink and will ask him how he managed to solve the problem. Just wondering if something in the CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) can cause such a problem.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Edit comment plus keep old date: Test

Testing to see if I can make some comments and then try to edit a comment with the date changed to other than the current date

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Display HTML tags in COMPOSE mode: Test

I have published a post on how you can display HTML tags in posts and comments using special codes at Display HTML tags in posts and comments.

As a result of a tip from a blog reader, I am testing to see if the HTML tags can be made to display by typing the actual HTML without using special codes in posts using the COMPOSE mode. If you see the HTML tag for a hyperlink rather than the actual hyperlink, it means this test is successful"

Blogger Tips and tricks

Conclusion: test failed as you can see the hyperlink HTML tag became an actual link. You can test that by clicking on the above link and see what happens. That isn't suppose to happen. If the test had been successful, what you should see above is

<a href="URL">anchor text</a>

where the actual URL of the target site has been replaced by just URL and the "Blogger Tricks and Tips" had been replaced by anchor text (which is the actual name given to such text) as I am afraid the HTML tag may become too long and extend into the sidebar, causing problems.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Testing email scheduler using Time Cave

I have previously made a post How to schedule post to be published in the future, but the site I use went offline, back online and now offline again. So I am testing a new site Time Cave to see if the same thing can be done with this site. It is now 24 September 2007, 7.37pm GMT+8, preparing the post to be published to Generating Revenue from your website, scheduled to be sent (published) at 12.00am, 27 September 2007. If this test is successful, I will update this post if the test is successful.

UPDATE: The post was published to Earn by adding Mpire widgets to your sites on 27 September as scheduled, but with problems. There were long, unbroken line of URLs which extended to the right sidebar. See screenshot below:

problem post dated (scheduled) post using Time Cave with problems

The HTML hyperlinks were not converted to clickable links, but became long unbroken URL extending into the sidebar (highlighted by arrows). I will have to edit the post from within Blogger post editor, so by the time you click on the link to go to that scheduled post, it will be different from what you see in the screenshot.

When I went into the post editor window, I found the reasons. Special characters were added into the HTML like addition 1 and and and

For clarity, I will paste one of the changed HTML for a hyperlink I got in the post editor window for that scheduled post before editing in the scroll box below:

addition 1 href=http://testing-blogger-beta.blogspot.com/2007/09/will-blogger-blogs-be-deleted.html target="_blank">Mpire: Everything you need to find the best deals online</aa onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_sEyw6txVACs/RvtEX4PeWXI/AAAAAAAAAzY/cfDUEnYfA7I/s1600-h/addition+4.jpg">


Perhaps one thing I need to test further is to just put the URLs into the message editor box of Time Cave without converting it to HTMLs for hyperlinks and test again. If I do that, I will test if posts containing images can be scheduled for future publishing.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mpire: Alternative to AdSense: Testing

I am retired and loved blogging, in fact spend practically all my awake hours online. I also have to support a son through college (used to be 2 sons) with my pension, and I need to supplement my pension to meet all the expenses of putting children through colleges. Google AdSense just fit in nicely as I love to blog, I enjoyed participating in Google AdSense plus they put ads RELEVANT to the content of my blogs, and they practically automate the whole process for me.

I have a blog AdSense Alert which had AdSense products on it for a long time, that is, until they contacted me and told me I can't put AdSense products on that site because it contained the trademarked "AdSense" in it. The answer is still no even after I changed the title of the blog to Earning Online because "adsense" is in the URL and I didn't want to change the URL. That started me on a search for alternatives to Google AdSense.

Recently, came across one more - Mpire: Everything you need to find the best deals online. This site is not only for people looking for ways to earn some income online, but also for those who want to search for products, compare prices online, seek trends, and get the best deals.

Testing earning as a Mpire affiliate

We will deal with the first part first, that is, earning some income online by becoming an affiliate of Mpire. On that site, if you want to join as an affiliate, you can click on the "Widget" button and you will be taken to Mpire: Make money on your site page where you will see an example of the types of widgets you can install on your site. The example I saw was an Mpire Trend Watch widget



where you can see the product names, the price trends, buy new (retail) prices and auction prices. There are other widgets you can install. Just click on the "See more Mpire Widgets" See more Mpire Widgets link link and you will see more examples of the kind of widgets you can install. I saw 4 - the one shown above plus "Mpire Price Check", "eBay Movers and Shakers" and "eBay Top Searches". To install the widget, you can either click on the "Add to your webpage" button below any of the 4 example widgets or click the "Register" link at the top of the page. Depending on which one you click, you will be take to a page where you will be asked for information like eMail address (optional) and password. Apparently, registration is optional and you can chose to "Skip registration", but the site explained that by registering, you can track how many people view your widgets, easily modify your widgets and be notified of updates and new widget skins. I was surprised that you can chose not to register, for in my mind, without registering, how are you going to be paid? The answer I found out later is that you can register later, or depending on which widget you chose, you will be required to give your eBay affiliate PID: (Optional) and/or Amazon Associates ID: (Optional). It is optional because you can add that later when you have it.

Anyway, since I want to test how one can earn via Mpire, I registered and I gave my Amazon Associates ID as I already have it. I did not want to install eBay widgets because eBay affiliate program work through Commission Junction, and the CJ terms state that if you do not get a commissionable click within a 6 months period, there will be a charge (forgot how much). I don't like that. What if I become indisposed and unable to manage my sites and thus become inactive? I don't want to become indebted to Commission Junction. Anyway, I installed 2 test widgets at Natural Remedies ("Mpire Price Check" near the bottom of the left sidebar) and Computer, Internet and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ("Mpire Trend Watch" near the bottom of the left sidebar). There will be a graph or arrow showing the price trend at the top and the categories you selected when you generated the script for the widgets at the bottom. Try clicking on one of the categories and see what happen. I tried clicking on "Search Engine Optimization" category with the FireFox browser with pop-up enabled. A bar at the top gave the message that pop-up was blocked and I had to click "Option" and then select to allow pop-up for that site. When I next click on the category again, and this time a new tab opened (I had chosen to make the page open in a new window when generating the script, but in Firefox, I had set it to open in new tab instead) displaying the Amazon page with a long list of products related to SEO.

Let us see if these two Mpire widgets will generate any income and it it is a viable alternative and/or addition to Google AdSense

Searching (shopping) online for products with Mpire

At Mpire: Everything you need to find the best deals online, near the top, there is a search box where you can shop for things online:

empire shop for search box

I tried searching for "computer" and found 28 items, out of which 6 are actually computers and the rest are computer related products. But just quoting the number of items found is deceptive, for at the right side of the items would be displayed a price range plus a button to click to "See All Stores". A search for "digital camera" got me 823 items. If you want to see the actual search result page, click on mpire search result page for digital camera. The number of items you will I would suppose will be time dependent, so you may see more or less than 823 items. In any case, if you are really searching for digital cameras, and you add in the number of choices you will get by clicking on "See All Stores", that would be a huge range of choices for you.

Searching (shopping) for products using the search box is not the only option. Below, that is a constantly changing display of products with accompanying price chart beside it, and below that chart, a link which may read "Price check iPhones", depending on what product is being displayed, and a list of products will be displayed, the number of products depending on the item being displayed.

And below this are a huge range of categories, with the panel of categories constantly changing from Panel 1 to Panel 7 (there is a button to pause it). Click on Computer hardware and a page of computer hardware related stuff will be displayed.

Below that again is a section displaying "Shop Popular Products" and if those lists of products is not enough for you, below the list is a link that may perhaps say "See more digital cameras". In that list, if a particular item interest you, say Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT, clicking on it will display a list of that item from eBay or from other online merchants.

That is not the end. Right at the the bottom of the page, you will also see a section "Get the Best Deals and Coupons". If you want to try your luck, go ahead and click on something that interest you and you may get a real bargain.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Will Blogger blogs be deleted?

Blogger says their blogs don't expire. This mean that if you set up a Blogger blog, don't even make a single post or make one or more and never update it for years, it is supposed to be still there.

Gmail Policy is different. Here is the Gmail Policy, last updated on June 28, 2004:

"Account Inactivity: Google will terminate your account in accordance with Section 9 of the Terms of Use if you fail to login to your account for a period of nine months."

Yahoo only have a Privacy Policy. I have not been able to find a Yahoo mail policy. I do remember when I first sign up for a Yahoo mail, the set up pages says Yahoo mail is for life. Whether that is still so I do not know as no such message is displayed when you sign up for Yahoo mail. I have only mangaged to find Yahoo Terms of Service which says "You acknowledge that Yahoo! reserves the right to log off accounts that are inactive for an extended period of time." What that means exactly I do not know. I do know if you do not sign in your Yahoo mail for extended time, it is inactivated, and you have a chance to reactivate it again. But how long such thing will last I do not know.

Now that Blogger have introduced New Blogger, a Blogger account is tied to a Google account which is the same as the Gmail account. Now if you start a Blogger account with a Gmail address as the username, and you don't sign into your Gmail for 9 months or more, what will happen to the Blogger account with its blog or blogs? This is what I to test.

I have set up 3 blogs:

Test Blogger Permanency

Test Blogger Permancy 2

Blogger Yahoo Permanency.

The first two were set up with Blogger accounts using Gmail addresses. I will not log into both the Gmail addresses, and not update the first, but will occassionally update the second occasionally. The third blog was set up with a Blogger account using a Yahoo email address as the user name. The first was set up yesterday - 19 September 2007. The other 2 were set up today - 20 September 2007. I will not sign into any of the emails Inbox used. I will check to see what happen to the blogs on 19 September 2008.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Read private blog with Google Reader: Test

Update: Blogger changed something and the work around I gave in this post no longer work.


I have a test (and demonstation) Blogger private blog Peter's Private Blog which is also used to demonstrate how one can make provision for visitors to request for an invitation to the private blog.

Now I want to test if it is possible to read the content of that Blogger private blog using feed and Google Reader. I signed into Google Reader, click "Add subscription", then typed "http://peters-private-blog.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss" into the "Add subscription" box. When I click "Add", I got the error message:

[No feed available for "http://peters-private-blog.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss"]

This is despite the fact the the feed option had been set to "Full". This test shows that it is not possible to read the content of a Blogger private blog using Google Reader.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Testing LaTex document

LaTex is, from the very short time I got to know about it, a program most suitable for producing academic papers, especially those with scientific and mathematical equations, symbols and notations. It is not a word processing program and the authors just concentrate on the content while the formatting is left to the program creaters. Testing to see if documents produced by LaTex as a PDF file can be embedded in a blog post:

You can find the instruction at Embed PDF file into blog post or website. It was written for embedding PDF file in general, but the same would be applicable for a LaTex document in PDF format.

Note: I have not the time to learn how to use LaTex yet. Will like to do so, especially play around with authoring documents with scientific notations. The above is a one-page high-level overview of LaTeX by Mike Unwalla of TechScribe Software Documentation who has given permission to use the document.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Testing Paypal online purchase again

I am sore at Paypal. I am a non-US resident and reside in a country where I can't withdraw funds from Paypal to a local bank, only to US bank. As a non-US resident with no social security number, there is no chance for me to open a US bank account. I don't understand because eBay. Paypal parent company, started operation here, though I think they are still a loss making operation because there is already an established local online auction site. They are finding it difficult to get people to switch from that local online auction site to theirs. I complained to eBay, but their support staff couldn't help. One said as local eBay user themself, they too would like to see Paypal allow withdrawal to local bank. But it looks like Paypal is not going to help their parent company's foreign operation get our of a loss making venture by making it easier for their sellers to use payments Paypal for their auctions, as proceed will be difficult to withdraw.

I discovered later that residents in China can withdraw by check, and I have written numerous times to Paypal about withdrawing by check. Invariably, the reply is the complexities of international banking poses a problem. I have asked what is so complex about sending a check. Invariably there is no answer, except one occasion. The Paypal staff suggested using the fund to make online purchases. So I am going around looking for online merchants that accept payments via Paypal.

My daughter and son-in-law had their honeymoon in Greece paid of Digi, the mobile phone operator. They held a contest asking suggestions on how to improve the company. My son-in-law (then future son-in-law) won the contest, and for that he got to go to Stockholm, Sweden for a conference plus a vacation to anywhere in the world for two. He reserved the second for the honeymoon. My daughter chose Greece for their honeymoon. When the time came for them to go, I specifically told them not to buy anything for me. But they still went ahead anyway and bought a picture frame for me. It was in the form of an ancient Greek building, just perfect for framing my family photo. That whetted my appetite for stuff Greek.

There is this site Greek Merchandise that sells Greek related stuff. Stuff they sell include Greek Wear. They sells custom made T-shirts. I am a retired scientist, and we use Greek alpahbets like alpha, beta, gamma, etc., very often. They can put Greek alphabets on my custom made T-shirt. I can wear that to gatherings with former colleagues. I think perhaps I can make them green with envy.

They also sells Greek Gear. These version of Greek stuff don't interest ms as much. They will lead to further clutter in my already cluttered house.

Finding the custom T-shirt with Greek alphabets appealing, I starting look for ways to pay for them on line. I found they accept payments via Paypal in addition to credit cards. So test number one passed.

Unfortunately, when I tried to calculate shipping charges, I found that they only ship to US and Canada. So test number two failed.

Looks like my choices are pretty limited. I will have to continue to pester their support staff with enquiries for payment by check. Let's hope they are responsive to customers requests, especially to persistent pesterer.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Testing uploading animated gif image

This is an animated gif image uploaded direct via Blogger:

gif image uploaded direct from Blogger post editor

13 July 2008: looks like something has changed. The above image uploaded direct from Blogger photo upload icon wasn't animated before. It is now. Looks like Blogger has upgraded.

This is an image uploaded via Photobucket:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This is an image uploaded via Photobucket and centered:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Conclusion: To upload an animated .gif image and for it to remain animated, you must host it with Photobucket. Instruction on how to do it (writing the HTML, getting it centered, etc. will be published later and a link to the post put here.

UPDATE: The instructions for making the above thumbnails are at Make thumbnail with Irfanview. There are other methods. When I have the time, I will test them and make a post giving instructions.

Related post: Animated gif image, Blogger and Photoshop

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Make thumbnail using Irfanview: Test

A reader requested for a post on publishing thumbnail in post. I have never done it before, going to try a test first. Below should be a thumbnail of places and activities of interest in Malaysia:



Amazon products for digital photography

These are photos of Malaysia which are copyright of Tourism Malaysia. The photos can be used to help promote Malaysia which is having a Visit Malaysia 2007 now. If you want to use the photos, please write in to Tourism Malaysia. You can find their website by typing or copy-pasting the search term "tourism malaysia" into the search box above, tick the box next to WEB and search.

I was not happy with the thumbnail above, so I did it all over again. I changed the background color to white and reduced the height to 200 pixels. The resulting thumnail is below:

Irfanview thumbnail done second time

I don't know about you, but I think the second thumbnail is better. Anyway, hope to see you in Malaysia.

Update: On second look, the height of the second thumbnail should have been made slightly taller as part of the word "Malaysia" is covered by one of the image. Instructions on how I did it is at Create thumbnails with Irfanview. I will be doing more tests on creating thumbnails when I find the time.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Testing embeding PDF file into post

I am testing embedding a PDF file using Scribd. This is a small PDF file. I will test embedding a larger PDF file with images later:



Result: Success. Even though I tweaked the script for embeding the file to fit the width of the main column, part of the embeded PDF file still extended into the right sidebar. I will have to check the width of the main column (posts) again and try once more.

Update: Turned out there were 2 places in the script where I had to change the width and the height, just like the script for embedding a Youtube video. As you can see above, the PDF file fits the main column nicely and does not extend into the right sidebar anymore. I will do a post on how to do this in my main blog and post a link to that post later.

Update 9 September 2007: Instruction on how to do it, including tweaking the script to make the PDF file fit into the post, is give at Embed PDF file into post

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Testing Paypal and purchasing light and lamps online

I have a grouse. I have a Paypal account and some balance in the account. I appreciate their service in providing a convenient way of sending and receiving payments via email. However, Paypal only allow withdrawal to local banks in certain countries, and mine is not included. For me, I can only withdraw to a US bank account. As a non-US resident without a social security number, there is no way for me to open a US bank account. Sure there are people offering information on how non-US residents can open a US bank account. Some of them charge quite a bit for their information. I did manage to find someone offering an e-book containing information on how a non-US resident can open a US bank account on eBay, the parent company of Paypal. I found I could "Buy now" for $0.99 and I bought it immediately via "Buy now". What I got was an email telling me I could open a US bank account with a certain investing and trading company which also happens to offer banking service. No e-book. I wrote to the bank. They replied saying that I can use their other services, but to open a US bank account, I need to be a US resident or have a social security number. I lodged a "dispute" with Paypal. To Paypal's credit, they ruled in my favour and I got my $0.99 back! Well, $0.99 is still money.

I found out that China residents can withdraw by check. I wrote to Paypal many times asking about withdrawing by check, but usually got a standard reply that Paypal is actively seeking to expand their services, but because of the "complexities of global finance"? no time frame can be given. Complexities of global finance? If it is EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer), I can understand. But what is so complex about writing out a check to send oversea? Google and other US base companies can do it, why can't Paypal do it, I asked. I have even received and banked in checks from US, Argentina and United Kingdom for work done with no problem. Without exception, I never get a response to this question about Paypal withdrawing by check. There was one exception. The support person suggested I used my balance in Paypal to make online purchases. I wrote back that that is as good as forcing Paypal customers to make online purchases and I considered that unethical. I never got a response to that.

It is fortunate that I have a niece, nephew and a sister-in-law in the United States and once enlisted my niece to withdraw my Paypal balance. But I hate to trouble them and I am now looking at how many merchants are willing to accept payment via Paypal. I live in a 30 plus year old house and some of the light fixture and lamps need to be changed. I found a site that sells lighting. I found that they have fine art lamps. I like fine art, so I thought I would try that. I found something I liked: A Midsummer Nights Dream Chandelier Moonlit Patina. Chandeliers are expensive in my country, so I thought I would try that. Unfortunately they never state what form of payments they are willing to accept, so I have to complete the rest of the steps of filling in the name, address, phone number, etc., to see if they accept Paypal. I found out they only ship to US and Canada, so I put a California address. This will be how much that online purchase will cost me:

Chandelier: $ 7,380.00
Shipping: $ 1,734.30
Total: $ 9,114.30

Their contact information indicated they are located in Florida, so I supposed that is where they will be shipping from. Shipping charges turned out to be 24% of the cost of the item. Looks like for e-commerce to really take off, some bright spark got to solve this problem of high shipping costs.

It is only at checkout time that I found out that they only accept payment my:

American Express credit card
Discover credit card
Mastercard credit card
Visa credit card
Mailing of Faxing Payment
Call me for Card Information

I suppose the last two are for sending credit card information by means other than using the Internet.

Now that I know how much shipping will cost for high priced items, I want to check shipping charges for lower priced items. I tried forecast lighting. This item Handcrafted Red Cirrus Glass Shade Only don't look too expensive. It says the price is $46.80 and ground shipping is free within Continental US. Well, perhaps e-commerce is not doomed after all.

I decided to look at one more: sea gull lighting because I was curious how a sea gull lighting would look like. Turned out they were just the normal range of lighting fixtures and Sea Gull is just a brand name, like "Apple Computer". Just as you can't eat an Apple Computer, you would see your money flying away after you spend your money purchasing Sea Gull lighting fixtures and installing them in your house. Your investment is safe.

Looks like there are not too many online merchants willing to accept payment via Paypal, other than peddlers of downloadable goods like PDF books. In any case, I doubt I would be willing to accept the shipping charges for tangible goods to my country even if they accept Paypal. So looks like I will continue to pester Paypal support or trouble my relatives in the States again.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Video Direct out of beta (Blogger in Draft

This month marks Blogger's eight birth and a birthday present for bloggers is the release of "Video Direct" which have come out of beta (Blogger in Draft) and bloggers will see a new "Video Upload" New Blogger post editor tool bar video upload icon icon in the toolbar of their post editor. If functions the same way as the photo upload icon, the only difference will be you will be searching for video files to upload to your post rather than photo.

I will publish this post, then go back to the actual post editor and do a test video upload using this new "Video Upload" New Blogger post editor tool bar video upload icon icon (I am preparing this post by clicking "Creat a Link" which gives me only a Rich Text post editor minus a lot of the toolbar icon.

Update 28 August 2007, 6.00pm: (see latest update at bottom of post) OK, I have done enough of testing, and sad to say, is mighty disappointed. I made a short .wmv video with the videocam plus Windows Movie Maker. I signed into Blogger, got into the Dashboard and the post editor window for this post, click New Blogger post editor tool bar video upload icon, browse to the short test video (.wmv) I made, typed in the title, tick [ ] "I agree to the upload Terms and Conditions, then clicked upload. Nothing seem to happen for a long time, excepting I saw "Contacting www.blogger.com" in the taskbar. Finally, I saw "Done" in the taskbar. I could see a script added to the post which I will put below:

<a href="http://buzz.blogger.com/2007/08/3-2-1-action.html#links" target="new">Blogger Buzz: 3, 2, 1, Action!</a><object id="BLOG_video-aff7a311bff96d1c" class="BLOG_video_class" contentid="aff7a311bff96d1c" height="280" width="320"></object>


Update 28 August 2007 6.15pm: Finally, after some 2 hours, I got to see the video in the post. So the video upload icon in the post editor toolbar does work (I call it Video Direct, but looks like you have to give it time to be displayed in the post. However, where is this video stored/uploaded to the web? Is it in Google Video? There is no link in the script to indicate anything. I checked in "Uploaded video" in Google Video and it is not there. I wonder if it is stored in Blogger servers and if this counts towards our total total storage limit. If this is so, I will be very reluctant to use "Video Direct" (That is what I call this new Blogger feature) as video files can be huge.

Blogger Buzz: 3, 2, 1, Action! video

Friday, August 17, 2007

Testing Digg Buttons and Badges


Digg!


Click on the button and see what happens.

Update: Test successful. Will edit this post later. Bookmark the blog or subscibe to the feed or copy the URL into Notepad file and save it into a "To do" or "to check" folder.

Belated update 11 September 2007: Instructions on how to add the Digg button is at Add Digg button to all posts. I will have to put a link to this post from my main blog Blogger Tips and Tricks

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Testing if images can be included in Blogger's comment

This is in response to a blogger query. I have already said that you can't put images in comment as only certain HTML tags are allowed. Anyway I said, come to think of it, I never tried. So as a retired scientist, I will do a test to confirm. I tried to make a comment in a post in this blog. I tried to use <img src="photo URL"> in a comment and back came this error message:

Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not allowed: <img src="URL">
You can use some HTML tags, such as <b>, <i>, <a>

So test confirmed what I had expected.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Testing "twitter" badge for Blogger

Read in Blogger Buzz: Twitter badge for Blogger and tested it on Blogging Ideas. Currently it is right at the bottom of the second left sidebar. However, as new Page Elements are added/deleted/moved, it may end up somewhere else, but it will still be in the sidebar, and most likely near the bottom as I don't put high priority in it.

Looks like Twitter is founded by Biz Stone. Biz Stone is co-founder also helped make Xanga, Blogger, Odeo, and Obvious. Biz sometimes writes books about what people are doing on the Internet. Biz Stone was Senior Specialist for Blogger until he left Blogger, so he should be very familiar with blogging and I believe Twitter will be very good for bloggers to connect with readers, family who may be far away, relatives, friends, etc. I think it is an especially good idea for a family blog.

Testin Poll widget which is just out of beta (Blogger in Draft)

Recently, there were a lot of requests for help and reports of poll not working, etc. So I decided to test it at Good Health Information. The poll is right at the bottom of the left sidebar (position may change as I add/subtract/move Page Elements). The poll is working fine. You can try it yourself. BTW I did it using the Flock browser, not my preferred browser FireFox (also recommended by Blogger), but it has been working OK so far except I can't have my useful Google toolbar with it.

However, some bloggers seem to have genuine problem with Poll, and in fact one reader of Blogger Error Messages requested for help with this particular problem. You can read my response to him in the above post or refer to Problem with Poll widget which is just out of beta (Blogger in Draft).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Testing "job wanted" ad for bloggers

Found out about this site jobs in Edinburgh. Well, I am not an Edinburgh resident, but in this world of Internet, we are world citizens (or residents). Plus people from US and as far away as Argentina have offered me payment for doing work for them (and it was done successfully, all via the Internet. No need to travel to US or Argentina). So I supposed there is no harm in my trying to post a "job wanted" ad for after all, it is free. And now I found out it will be online for 30 days. You can view my test ad at Consultation on Google Blogger, AdSense and others. Well it may be a test blog, but if an offer came along by any chance, and it is within my capacity, I am not going to turn it down. I will have to make a note to edit it before the end of 30 days so as to keep that "job wanted" ad online. If you get a dead link, it means my memory is failing, but me being the hopeful type, I will try my best to keep that link live for it may bring me an opportunity. Plus I wouldn't want the search engine to find a dead link on my blog.

In any case, Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and according to Wikipedia, has a temperate maritime climate, which is relatively mild. Plus attempts have been made to make Edinburgh more "cycle friendly", particularly by Spokes, the Lothian cycle campaign. Plus I have been told there is Park and Ride, with two new park and ride sites opened in 2005 at Ingliston and Riccarton on the western outskirts of the city, in addition to facilities in Fife and Newcraighall. I like that. It is more environmentally friendly and cycling will be much more pleasant there than here in tropical Asia. Who knows, I might even get an actual job offer to work in Edinburgh!

And if by any miracle, I really do get a job offer from Edinburgh and have to relocate, getting accommodation should be no problem, for there is Flat/House Share.

I have found that Gumtree have more to offer than just free "job wanted" ads in Edinburgh. They have similar sites for other cities in England, Ireland, Wales, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and well, of all places, Asia too. But I think I will stick to Edinburgh. It sounds more attractive.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Labels Drop-down Menu for New Blogger

I am testing Hackosphere hack for Drop-down labels - First blogger beta template hack! with Best Gardening Articles. It works. You can see the drop-down menu for the labels in the right sidebar.

Some tips for using this hack. First, backup your current template. See Backing and changing New Blogger template. Remember also to edit the Page Elements one-by-one, copy them into Notepad files, give them a suitable name like "blog name hit counter footer no 1" and save them in the same folder where you save the backup template.

Now it is best that you are using a browser like FireFox with tabbed browsing so you can be in Hackosphere page in one tab and in the Blogger page in another tab, all in the same window. Sign into Blogger, and in the Dashboard, click LAYOUT, then click the TEMPLATE tab followed by the EDIT HTML sub-tab. This will open your template editor window. Tick "Expand widgets template" and wait for the template to fully expand. You will then have to look for the block of codes as explained in Hackosphere page. To make your life simpler, press ctrl+F and you will see a "Find" search box at the bottom of the page. I would suggest you type or copy-paste all or part of

<b:widget id='Label1' locked='false' title='Labels' type='Label'>

into the search box and click "Find Next". This will automatically locate your search term and highligh it. Then somewhere below, you will see <ul>. Highlight all the codes between this tag and </ul> and delete it. Then paste what Hackosphere instruct you to replace all the highlighted (and deleted) codes with their replacement. Preview, and if satisfied, click "Save template".

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Embedding music with Imeen



Trying out embedding music using www.imeen.com to Blogger.

However, I got the following messages:


www.imeem.com is requesting access to your Blogger account so that it can post entries on your behalf. You can revoke access at any time under 'My Account'. www.imeem.com will not have access to your password or any personal information. Learn more

This website has not registered with Google to establish a secure connection for authorization requests. We recommend that you continue the process only if you trust the following destination:

http://www.imeem.com/edit/bloggerpost.aspx?id=-IutYgTin6



I am going ahead anyway, and then for security purpose, probably will change my password. I am going to click "Create Post" and see what happens


Update: By clicking on a song to select it, then click "play" Imeen play music button button, the music started playing. Test is successful.

Update 2: When I tried publishing the post after adding the Update above, got error message "<embed> not closed" althought I did not do anything to the script for embedding the Imeen music list. I edited the script (added a </embed> closing tag) and tested the post in another test blog, and it published successfully. So just to make sure I don't lose the original post, I created a new post with the edited script, and if everything publish OK, I will delete the original post.

I paste below the original script and and the edited script in scroll boxes below. Them embed tags highlighed in red:

Original script

<div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'><object height='290' width='300'><param value='http://media.imeem.com/pl/-IutYgTin6/aus=false/' name='movie'/><param value='transparent' name='wmode'/><embed wmode='transparent' height='290' width='300' type='application/x-shockwave-flash' src='http://media.imeem.com/pl/-IutYgTin6/aus=false/'/></object>


Edited script

<div xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'><object height='290' width='300'><param value='http://media.imeem.com/pl/-IutYgTin6/aus=false/' name='movie'/><param value='transparent' name='wmode'/><embed wmode='transparent' height='290' width='300' type='application/x-shockwave-flash' src='http://media.imeem.com/pl/-IutYgTin6/aus=false/'/></embed></object>


Update 3: I deleted the original post, click EDIT POST and saw another post related to Imeen: Embedding Imeen playlist using embed script (click BACK button to get back to this post). I saw that there was a </embed> tag in the script I pasted in the scroll box in that post.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Testing Another way of hiding the navbar

Update: Refer to Simple adjustable way to hide Blogger Navbar for the latest.

I have previously published a post Hiding the navbar. As had been mentioned in the post, the navbar can be useful in that it enables a visitor to search the content of the blog, it enables you to easily get to the LAYOUT by clicking on "customize", and to make a new post by clicking on "New Post" when you are signed into Blogger. However, many educators who uses Blogger for their blogs for the students will like to see the navbar gone because of the presence of "Next Blog". One never knowns what kind of blog you will get to when you click that tab. The chances of getting to a blog containing sexually explicit content is not negligible. Blogger has made it mandatory for blogspot blogs to have the navbar, but many blogspot blogs have hidden the navbar and so far no action has been taken. So I think it is justified and OK for educators to hide the navbar.

I do remember reading something about the navbar being compulsory using Blogger to host their blogs, but not compulsory for those who host the blog on their own (web host). However, accoring to Kawaljit of Maybe it is OK to remove Blogger navbar, Google did a series of road show in some Indian cities to promote their Blogger platform. Ankit attended the event and asked for clarification on the navbar policy from the Google representatives at the roadshow. They called up their office in Bangalore office and confirmed that it's legal to hide the navbar.

I have tested the method described in the post linked above before I published, but a blogger complained it no longer worked. I tested it and found it to be true. Fortunately Rat has posted a similar but different way of hiding the blog at Hide navbar where it advocate putting the code

#navbar-iframe {
height:0px;
visibility:hidden;
display:none
}

just before the closing style tag ]]</b:skin>

So what you need to do is to sign into Dashboard, clcik LAYOUT for the relevant blog, click the template tab and look for the clossing style tag

]]></b:skin>

If you have problem finding ]]></b:skin>, press ctrl+F and you shoud see Find end CSS in New Blogger template. Type or copy-paste part or all of ]]></b:skin> into the "Find" box and click find. That part of the code in the template editor window will then be found and highlighted

Paste

#navbar-iframe {
height:0px;
visibility:hidden;
display:none
}

just above that so that it become

#navbar-iframe {
height:0px;
visibility:hidden;
display:none
}
]]>≶/b:skin>

Preview, and if satisfied, click "Save template"

I have tested it at this blog Blogging Ideas and have found it to work.

Important note: Before you make any changes to your template, always backup you template. Refer to Backing and changing template. It will also help to edit each Page Element one one one and save the content into a Notepad file so that you can put it back if you need to revert to your backup template (with the New Blogger, many Page Elements (widgets) will be deleted when you change template). However, if you use the Link List to make you "blogroll" you will not be able to save that Page Element this way. It will only be possible if you use the HTML/Javascript Page Elemtent to create the "blogroll". Also, if you want a template that don't have the navbar without you having to tinker with the template, use templates from New Blogger templates by Final Sense

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Post content removed because of problems with linked website

The content of this post had been deleted because of the presense of dead links. Search engines don't like dead links and such dead links can affect one's search engine ranking.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Embedding Imeen playlist using the embed script

In the previous test, I had used the "Blog this" section to get the playlist into the post. For this I had to give access to www.imeen.com access to my Blogger account and got a security warning message. I checked Imeen site again and notice under the "Add to my:" section, there is a script for pasting into the post editor window, which means I don't need to give access to www.imeen.com. I put the script into the scroll box for you to see how the script look like to embed the playlist below:

<object width="300" height="290"><param name="movie" value="http://media.imeem.com/pl/-IutYgTin6/aus=false/"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://media.imeem.com/pl/-IutYgTin6/aus=false/" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="300" height="290" wmode="transparent"></embed></object>


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Testing another way of avoiding large white space above tables in Blogger

I have previously posted about How to avoid large white space above tables in Blogger.

Got some information from one of my blog reader about another way to do it, so will test it here to see if it works:



First table


This is the first table I am using for the test. The "data" in the table are actually hyperlinks.














My First Blogger blogMy Second Blogger blogMy Third Blogger blog testing
Blogger for DummiesBlogger Tips and TricksDummies Guide to Google Blogger


Second table













Heading 1Heading 2Heading 3
row 1 col 1row 1 col 2row 1 col 3
row 2 col 1row 2 col 2row 2 col 3




Update: As you can see, there are not large white space above the table.

For instructions how to do this, see Avoiding large spaces above tables in Blogger posts Part 2

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Testing embeding video (Youtube) Part 4

Testing to see if adding the attribute autostart="true" to the Youtube video script will make the video play automaticall:



Update: Tried it in 3 browsers - Internet Explorer 7, FireFox 2.0, Flock. All didn't start automatically.

Testing embeding video (Google Video) Part 3

Testing if adding autostart="true" to the script generated by Google Video can make the video play automatically:



Update: Tried it in 3 browsers - Internet Explorer 7, FireFox 2.0, Flock. All didn't start automatically.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Recent comments widget creator

There are frequent request to put "Recent comments" in the blog sidebar. Beautiful Beta Widget Installation and Downloads Page has provided a way for installing such a widget. If you scroll just a bit down the page, you will see a section "Recent comments widget".

I have tested the widget for the blog Blogging Ideas and found that it worked well. You can see it toward the bottom of the left sidebar.

To install the recent comments widget, click on "Add Recent Comments to Blog" and you will get to a configuration page:

Blogger recent comments widget creator

As you can see from the screenshot, you will be required to replace the "beautifulbeta" part of the blog URL and replace it with the blog you intend to install the widget in. However, I really don't see the need for this, for later, you will be required to chose the blog you want the widget to be installed in again. You may change the widget title from the default "Recent comments" to something else and to change the other default setting if you want. When you are finished, just click "Customize" and the "Add Widget to my Blog" will be activated. Click on that, and if you happened to be already signed into your Blogger account, you will be taken to Blogger page "Add Page Element" where there is a drop-down menu to chose the blog you want to install the widget in. Do that, then click "Add widget" and the widget will be added to the top of the first instance of the sections of the Layout, which in my case was the top of the left sidebar. I didn't want it there, so I dragged it to the bottom of the left sidebar and click "Save" at the top right of the Layout. You can see the result at Blogging Ideas.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Testing ClickComments

Came across this site that describe a common problem for blogs - reluctance of visitors to leave a comment and offer a kind of solution to it. Some of the reasons are they don't like to give their email address, they are too lazy to type a sentence or two (or even a word or two), etc. What they offer is to enable the visitor to just click from a choice of icons to express what is their feeling or opinion of the post.

ClickComments enable you in just a few steps to install a row of icons that your blog visitors can click to express what they feel or think about the post. This row of clickable icons will show above and in addition to your normal Blogger comment. To see an example, surf over to Good Health Information. You will see the row of clickable icons at the bottom of the post, above the normal Blogger comment. Hover your mouse over an icon and a "pop-up" will tell you what the icon is for, and if that express your feeling or opinion, click on it and the number below the icon will increase by one.

In addition to allowing your visitors to sort of "vote" for your post, you may also get extra traffic as your blog will appear in the list of blogs in the "Showcase" in ClickComment's site.

Getting ClickComment is easy. You don't even need to sign up. All you need to do is to give your blog URL, select a category and the language, provide your email address (optional).

ClickComment

I am wondering what exactly is the purpose of providing your blog URL because if you happened to be signed into your Blogger account, when you click "Get ClickComments", you will be taken to the Blogger page where you will again have to select your blog, which seem to me that you can chose a blog different from the blog URL you provided earlier.

ClickComments Blogger page

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Testing Autosave

New Blogger recently imposed Autosave on bloggers using Google Blogger. Now Blogger automatically save a post you are preparing without you having to click "Save as draft". There were a number of problems, some of which were eventually ironed out. There are still some who are not happy about Autosave, including me who are pleading with Blogger to give us the option to turn Autosave off.

A blogger in the Google Blogger Help group recently gave the reason why he don't want the Autosave. He says he like to edit his old posts, play around it, rearrange it, etc. Previously, if he don't like the alterations, he just don't publish the post. Now whatever changes he makes to the old post get autosaved and overwrite his original post irrespective of whether he likes it or not. This to me is a very good reason why Blogger should give us the option to turn Autosave off. I have been given to understand that this has been conveyed to the Blogger team, but it is unlikely they are going to act on it.

Another thing I would like to know. What if we are editing a previously published post, and the post got autosaved. Will it be saved as a draft without us knowing? This is what I am going to test in this post. I am going to publish it, then edit it and leave the post editor window opened for some time and see what happens. Here goes.

Update 6.30pm 22 June 2007 GMT +8: I am now editing this post. I will leave it for a while (for quite a while just to make sure).

Update 9.30pm 22 June 2007 GMT +8: I have observed when preparing posts that after a while, a message "Autosaved at ...." appears to the right of the "Save as draft" button in the post editor page. However, up till now, I still see no such message:

New Blogger: no Autosaved message

I also right-click the "EDIT POSTS" tabs to get to the list of posts, and saw this post as still published, not saved as draft.

New Blogger: testing autosave

I am going to sleep and leave this post editor window opened till next morning to see if there is any change.

Update 4.59am GMT +8 23 June 2007. I still don't see the " autosaved at ..." message. Further, which I rigth-click on EDIT POSTS and chose "open in new tab", I see the post as published and not saved as draft. Further, when I right-click on VIEW BLOG, I saw that the passage "I am going to sleep and leave this post editor window opened till next morning to see if there is any change" was not published. Either Autosave is not working for this blog or there is something I do not know.

Update 11 July 2007: The parargraphs in the post editor are still nicely separated by line breaks with no <br /> tags in sight. So I really don't know when Blogger will leave your post (in EDIT HTML mode) in the post editor window alone, and when it will jumble it up into a whole "paragraphs" with <br /> to separate the paragraphs when displayed on the web. This will probably be the last time I check the post.

Conclusion: test inconclusive. Time permitting, I will try the same test in another Blogger account.

Friday, June 15, 2007

iContact for your blog, especially business blogs

Blogger do not have provision for scheduling post to be published at future dates. You can click "Post Options" at the bottom left of the post editor and change the date to a future date. But when you publish it, it will be published immediately, just with the post dated at a future date.

I previously published a post for a work-around: Prepare post to be published in the future. Unfortunately the site that enable this work-around is no longer online. The domain was not renewed. The creator probably found his venture not viable as a free service.

UPDATE November 3 2007: Forgot to mention this post: Scheduling future posts using Time Cave (click BACK button to get back to this page).

Here is a possible alternative - iContact. iContact is an email marketing and blogging tool that makes it easy for people to create, publish, and track email newsletters, blogs, RSS feeds, surveys, and autoresponders. With the autoresponder, you can prepare messages to be sent to subscribers according to, say, 3 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, etc, from the date they subscribed.

I have examined the features available in iContact, and one thing that attracted me was the possibility to schedule messages to be sent in a future date. This feature can be used in the same way to schedule post to be published to Blogger as described in Prepare post to be published in the future. I have prepared a post, a preview of which you can see at Testing to see if post scheduled to published at future dates using iContact will be published as scheduled (click BACK button to get back to this page). If it works, you should see the same post published on Sunday 17 June 2007, 12pm.

I tested to see if I can prepare post with images uploaded via the Blogger photo upload icon can be published via iContact, however, it didn't work out. But they have a responsive support team. I received this to my query: "At the current time, it is not possible to include scripts in a message sent through iContact. You will not be able to use a script in your post to insert additional content". It says "At current time, but didn't state if they have plans to introduce that in the future. It would be a useful additional feature if they do eventually add the feature.

So I had to use alternative methods. I used Photobucket to upload a screenshot and used the <img src="photo URL" to include images in my messages. I have done so many tests and didn't keep a record, so I can't really state with 100% certainty if scheduling posts will work, but if you see the post I have scheduled for publishing on Sunday 17 June 2007, 12pm with a screenshot, that means it works. Will update this if and when I see that post published. Anyway, uploading photos to Photobucket and using the <img src="photo URL" width="W" /> to display images does work.

There is another feature available via iContact - using a template to prepare a message (post). They say they have extremely easy to use over 400 professionally-designed templates (I have tried one and I can concur that it is easy to use). I have actually published a post via iContact using one of their template, and you can see the result here: Testing publishing via iContact with a template. You can use different template for different post to suit the post content and you should have an interesting and attractive blog in this way.

However, note that the template is very wide and would not fit into the main column (post) width of most template. This may cause problems, particularly the 3 column templates and the template with a right sidebar. I have thus chosen to publish that post with a blog with 2 left sidebars.

However, note that the above post (published with a template) was sent by selecting "send test message". When you proceed to send a message via iContact, you will have to go through a long series of steps. You click the "Messages" sub-tab, then "create". You will then have 4 choices (sections) - "My messages", "My surveys", "My autoresponders" and "Image Libraries" (you will have to upload your own images to be hosted by iContact). If you are going to send a message, click "Create a message" in the "My messages" section. You will then be presented with 4 choices - "Create a new message using MessageBuilder" (this will include using a ready-made template without any need for HTML knowledge), "Create a New Message from Scratch" and "Copy and Paste a Messsage" (this will be your choice if you prepare your message using Dreamweaver, FrontPage or other commercial HTML editors including the Blogger post editor).

I have tested using the "Create a New Message from Scratch" option. You can select either HTML or Plain Text. You will have to enter a "Message Subject". I have found a very irritating "pop-up" whenever you try to type in a message subject that are similar to your previous message subjects. Each time you type in something, the pop-up containing all your past message subjects appeared and block your field and prevent you from completing your new message subject. You will have to click somewhere on the page to get rid of the "pop-up". You may have to do this numerous times, depending on what you are typing. If an iContact representative happens to read this, I hope he/she will consider my suggestion to place the "pop-up" so that it does not cover the subject field.

Your HTML message window will be below if you have selected "HTML and you will prepare your HTML message in that window. However, you cannot send the message immediately or you will get the message:

"This message cannot be sent.

* Your message does not contain a text version. Messages without text versions are much more likely to be tagged as spam. Please enter a text message."

You will have to click the "Copy Text" iContact copy text button button to copy a text version of your HTML message into the "Rich Text Message editor window". Further down, you will see a "Send Test Message" box:

iContact send test message box

That was how I publish the post Testing publishing via iContact with a template, by opting to send a test message to the Mail-to-Blogger Address. The other choice is to click on the "Send" iContact send button button. If you do that, you will get to another page where you have to click on the "Proceed to Send" iContact proceed to send button button. You will then be presented an "initial" field to enter, and some choices as seen in the screenshot below (click on screenshot to enlarge):

options when sending messages via iContact

For the scheduling post to be publish in the future test described above, I have opted for "Schedule Delivery". What will be the result, we will see later and I will update this when the result is out.

I have also tested "Deliver Immediately" and have got some disappointing result. When I clicked that button, I got the message "Your message has been queued and will be sent shortly". I have tested it numerous time, including publishing to Blogging Ideas and to date, I still have not seen the post published. I have also tested sending a test message to my mailbox, but to date, still have not receive it. (Update: the message was received OK).

Update 19 June 2007: Received a response to my query to iContact support, which I think is relevant to this post:


"Thank you for your email. When you click Deliver Immediately, that starts the send process right away, but depending on server traffic, the potential for human review, and the general nature of bulk email movement, we cannot guarantee immediate delivery of any message. We actually recommend allowing up to an hour at times, though, it almost never takes that long. We also had an issue over the week that was causing messages to appear stuck in pending when they were actually sending on schedule. This was caused by server crossover issues when we changed our name to icontact. I apologize for this, we are doing everything we can to prevent it from happening again.

It looks like the blog was published to URL:

Enviroman."


If my memory is not faulty, I had put the mail-to-blogger address to publish via email, but somehow ended up in a blog set up using iContact. I don't think I want or have time to test again. If you are interested, you can try as they offer 15-days freee trial period.


You can also set up a blog or blogs with iContact. I have set up a rudimentary test blog at Enviroman, but since I am only using a 15 days trial subscription, I do not know if this test blog will remain on the web when the trial subscription ends. A casual blogger may not want to subscribe to iContact, but with the number of features offered, a serious blogger, especially those who do business blogs should seriously consider iContact.

Update 27 June 2007: Got this response from iContact support team on 25 Jun 2007

"Last week, we were experiencing some difficulties with our sending queue. Messages were delayed in sending and there was a considerable backlog of messages in the queue for several days. I have a feeling that this issue was the reason for the schedule foul up.

The good news is that that issue has been resolved, so if you try scheduling a message again, it should go through without any problems."

So you may still be able to use iContact to schedule your posts to Blogger. You may want to test it. As for me, maybe I will have to wait for a less busy time to do it.