Saturday 30 October 2010

My {Nerdy} Creative Space #10 {Blogtoberfest #30}

My creative space this week has been spent entirely in the ether, in an attempt to have a bit of a template clean up and to organise my nerdy world a bit.

I’ve been wanting to change things here for a while, but haven’t had the time to sit and let my inner geek play with deeper stuff like code.  

I was so utterly physically exhausted after my trip to Cardiff & Bristol with 30 students (very slow walkers with no traffic sense!) that it seemed the perfect time to knuckle down and zone out in front of my screen.

I’ve embedded the links to where I found the nerdy tweaking tutorials/resources to save you time searching for this stuff.  If you want to cut to the chase they’re also in a little list at the bottom of this post!
EmbroideryHoop4So, first some blog de-stashing:
  • Out goes the polka dot template from Shabby Blogs - lovely as it is, it was doing my head in a bit – I feel the need for more white space! They do have some lovely templates, buttons and winkies though.
  • <-- In comes a third column to keep things tidy

  • In comes a ME ME ME page - tab at the top - to keep the sidebars free for NOW stuff!

  • In comes a new coloured tag/label cloud (using this great RGB colour chart – my top tip is to choose 2 colours that contrast strongly because then you get a better range of colours for frequency)

  • In come much more flexible comments from intensedebate – I first saw this on The Coffee Lady’s blog and really liked it - now I can reply to your comments inline with them, rather than under the latest comment – or directly by email.  You can either embed it as a widget (which is easier but may make your page load more slowly) or straight into the template code (not that tricky – but save your template first!)

EmbroideryHoop4Talking of Dashboards - I use the Blogger In Draft dashboard – I never knew it existed but it’s so much better than the standard one, if you haven’t tried it … settings and stats are easily navigated through.
I’ve been experimenting with widgets that let visitors post links, so far I’m quite happy with this one at inlinkz, but I’m going to try this one at Linkytools next for more blog-hopping opportunities.

EmbroideryHoop4 I’ve changed my Blog Reader - Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always used Google Reader and I love it.

But with my current state of dodgy internet connection and less time in the evenings because of work or being on the go, I really need a reader that I can use offline.  

It took a while, but then I found Feed Demon
feed demon

Yay!  Love at first sight – you can get it to “prefetch” all your unread items (you can customise this really well so that it even saves links) and then you can read at your leisure … 

If, like me, you’re subscribed to what looks like the entire interweb, it takes a while to fetch, so my next geeky task is to start tagging the blogs I follow so that I can further tweak the Demon …

And finally, I’ve changed how I write my blog – for good!
My daily blogging through Blogtoberfest left me increasingly frustrated with how New Blogger resembles New Labour with all its broken promises … so, I’ve been trying out Windows Live Writer for the past couple of weeks – you may have noticed how much better the pictures are ‘sitting’ within the page, and how much more consistent things like line breaks are? 

I can’t tell you how much it sticks in my craw to rave about a Microsoft product, but rave I must! It’s a quick and easy download, you can import your blog theme (and all the tags) for accurate previews, WORK OFFLINE, save locally and upload to draft or publish, including publishing in advance. 

It allows you to do so much more than the conventional Blogger interface. Tables are a doddle, as are pictures, videos, hyperlinking and colours.   

I love it to pieces and I thank all the people out there in the Blogolopolis who gave it a go and good reviews for me to follow suit.

Honestly, if you just try ONE THING, give it a go! You won’t look back and you’ll soon forget all that awful clunky action on Blogger. It also has a word count! 

ahem … 846 words – time to stop!

EmbroideryHoop4So, that’s the end of my geeky nerdy round up – *phew* Thanks for sticking with it and I hope you find something useful!  Here are all the links again, without my gabbing:
I’ll be back with some yummy sewing stuff to see out Blogtoberfest in style … 

In the meantime, why not take the new comments form out for a spin with your top nerdy/blogging tip, or tell me what you think of my new look? 


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