Email subscriptions, labels, and exploring

2006 December 10
by David J. Ringer

DUNCANVILLE, TEXAS — [Update: Some of this information is deprecated after our move to WordPress in January 2007.] Every few months, I’m seized with a compulsion to tweak Search and Serendipity’s interface. When the urge becomes strong enough, I resign myself to hours of fiddling, hacking, research, and frustration. After achieving certain objectives (and giving up on others), I am free to carry on with normal life. Sometimes, after all that, nobody else can even tell what I’ve done.

I migrated my Blogger account over to Beta, but I have not “upgraded” my templates. To switch over while maintaining any semblance of this blog’s current look and feel would require more time and knowledge than I have at my disposal. This means that we’ll be missing out on some features for now, but it also means I will stay saner, which is good for all of us.

Without further ado, here are some changes of which you, gentle reader, should be aware:

  1. Email subscriptions: Thanks to a new FeedBurner service, you can now pipe Search and Serendipity directly into your inbox! You will receive a daily email (if I’ve updated) with new and edited posts. Look for the sign-up form in the gutter at right, or click here to submit your email address.
  2. Labels: Thank you, Blogger, for adding labels! I’ve gone back through my archives and labeled every post, which makes possible many of the features you’ll read about below. I’m now using labels instead of Technorati tags, though Technorati tags on old posts will remain in place. Technorati does index Blogger’s labels as tags. Labels appear at the bottom of each post. You can click one to bring up a page of other posts with the same label, though Blogger truncates this page at 20 posts. This appears to be a problem related to my sticking with the “classic” template. You can get around it by adding “?max-results=x” to the end of the URL, where x is an integer indicating the number of posts you’d like to view. (E.g., “http://thewanderling.blogspot.com/search/label/texas” (a maximum of 20 posts) becomes “http://thewanderling.blogspot.com/search/label/texas?max-results=75″, which displays up to 75 posts labeled “texas”.
  3. Search: I’ve removed the search box that was in the gutter because I like the search function on the new Navbar (the black bar at the very top of the page). Searching for “chickadee” will bring up a page with up to 20 posts containing “chickadee.” Unfortunately, adding “?max-results=x” doesn’t work here. Maybe somebody else has figured out a workaround?
  4. Navigation: The gutter contains a new section called “blog navigation.” There you will see four drop-down menus (or lists, if you’re browsing without JavaScript) and a map graphic. These tools present you with a variety of options for exploring previous posts. I’ve picked a few favorite posts — and I’m open to feedback about which posts should be included or removed. Also, I’ve had the map for awhile, but now it’s significantly updated, though there are still some locations I need to add (mainly in north-central Texas). Sometimes, the map markers are simply representative of a region, but in other cases, you can zoom in to see the very bridge or airport gate where I was standing. Cool!
  5. Links: I’ve added a long-overdue blogroll, or at least the beginnings of one. People on every continent are blogging about the birds they share their lives with. It’s fantastic! There are more links I’d like to add eventually, but I don’t know how soon that will happen. Would you rather have me add a handful of links that you could find for yourself on Google, or do you want me to hurry up and post about last month’s vacation in the New Guinea highlands? That’s what I thought.
  6. Ummm… I think that’s about all for now. Let me know if something seems broken or weird. Or, let me know if you appreciate the tweaks. Affirmation is good too.

Related posts:

  1. Search and Serendipity has moved!
3 Responses
  1. Mike permalink
    December 11, 2006

    Looks good, David. Thanks for the link!

  2. Bird Advocate permalink
    December 22, 2006

    You have a nice blog! How do you like this little popup method of posting comments? I’ve been thinking of switching to it.

  3. djr permalink
    December 24, 2006

    I like the pop-up comment windows. I toyed around with other methods during this redesign, but I came back to this. There are those who oppose all pop-ups on principle, but I think they have their uses — and this is one.

Comments are closed.