May 30, 2007

Need your feedback on

Some of you have registered with bVibes and started using it. Would you like to give some feedback on the website? Specifically, I notice that voting has not yet picked up. I would like to understand why and if possible, do something about it. The website is still useful without voting as of now. But pretty soon, there will be too many posts and visitors will be lost on what to read first. All those registered, could you please take a minute and answer the poll in this blog (second column) titled "why aren't you voting?".

I also notice that many have just registered but not submitted any posts. What are you waiting for? It is true that the website has only few users now but please go ahead and submit your best posts so that we have some quality content. I am planning to promote the website in a few ways, so that we get more users and your posts get more visibility. Until then, please participate actively by submitting and voting and keep up the momentum.

May 28, 2007

bVibes gets 25 users and Neo wears denim

After just about a day of it's launch, bVibes now has 25 users. I welcome all those who joined the website. I thought I will share a few things with you so to make the website more useful.

I see that there are quite a few posts submitted but not many votes. Voting is an important part of the process because that's how we can identify the best posts once there are lot of posts in the New Vibes section. I also want to clarify that if you vote for others' submissions, that will NOT affect your credits. Your credits are determined solely based on the number of votes on your submissions. Even if many other submissions get more votes than yours, your credits will not be reduced. So, go ahead and vote on others' posts also.

If you have never used Digg and you are new to this kind of voting, I understand that not every submission will interest you to read and vote. My suggestion is to select few categories out of 10 and read those posts only (you can click on the category title at the top to view only the posts submitted to that category). By the way, I hope you know that you can vote once on your own submission.

A few things about submissions too: You don't always have to submit your latest posts. If you think one of your not-too-old post is very interesting or funny, you can submit it too. If you haven't written any posts this week, you can submit posts from other blogs that you read. Both you and the blog author gains by doing this. Let me tell you how. If your submission gets many votes, you will get more credits next week. Blog author gets more hits from without any effort from his side :).

If you like the website, please spread the word to your blog friends. I will come up with some banners and digg-like voting buttons for your blog soon.

In other news, Mosi has integrated Neo ajax functionality into K2 template with Denim style! If you liked K2, you now have the best of all worlds. You can read more about this and download the template here.

May 27, 2007

Launching : A Social blogmarking site

Today, I am launching, a social blogmarking (blog bookmarking) website where users submit and vote on blog posts and posts that receive many votes are promoted to the main page. The motivation behind this website is two-fold:
1. There are about 70 million blogs out there and it's a difficult task to find the best posts written. Technorati only helps in identifying top 100 blogs and these blogs grow more and more. But, how about others? Wouldn't it be useful if you can find posts that have been already reviewed and voted for?
2. If you write a good post, how do you increase it's visibility? Is it enough to depend on Google/Technorati search?

Social bookmarking website Digg uses a similar voting and promotion system and has lots of users. If one's submission reaches the main page of Digg, there will be enough hits to the article that might even bring down the website (called Digg Effect). But as many of you know, it's not easy to promote blog posts in Digg because the focus there is on news stories and web pages. I thought we need a dedicated website for blogs given the amount of posts that are being written in blogs. In, you can submit your own blog posts or others' posts.

I thought we also need a mechanism to bring in the best from the numerous posts that are written everyday. My solution is to limit the number of submissions and encourage the users to submit good quality posts. My approach in bVibes is to assign submission credits to users. One can submit as many posts as the number of credits (s)he has. Credits will be renewed every Sunday.

I invite you all to join, read the FAQ first and then submit/vote (To start off, I have submitted some good posts that I came across). Registration takes only 2-3 minutes (it just asks for username, password and email and it's free). If you join during the initial promotion, you will get a minimum of 5 credits every week and your submissions will remain for 30 days (if you join after a few weeks, both these numbers will be lesser). I will also publish the highest voted posts here in Hackosphere during the first few weeks to increase the visibility of your submissions. I encourage you all to actively participate in the submission/voting process because only by working as a community, we can identify good quality blog posts. Come, join the bVibes community!

May 24, 2007

Want to know more about me? Visit Wazeeland

Few days back, Waz, a long time reader of my blog, asked me if he could interview me! At first, I was not sure if I am a person worthy of interviewing. But I liked his questions and I thought this would be a good way to expose more of myself to you all. I have answered some personal as well as Hackosphere related questions. If you are interested, here is the interview post. He has also written about his experience of adopting Neo template into his own. Fun lovers would like his other posts about movies too.

(The answer to the last question of my interview is a hint of something big that I am coming up with ;-))

May 8, 2007

Neo speaks french

I am glad to inform you that Nym has translated Neo template to French. The french version is available for download here. She has also setup a demo blog. Thanks a lot, Nym! If you have a french blog, go ahead and give it a try.

As you might have noticed, in the free version of Neo, I have moved the javascript code out of the template into a file called neo.js that's hosted in my website. While doing this, I also fixed the problem that many were complaining about - old posts resurrecting in the recent posts list (second column) when you edit them. I used Phydeaux3's discovery of orderby parameter to fix this problem. With this change, the posts will appear in publish date order and not updated date order and so, you can edit your old posts freely. If you had bought Neo from me, your version doesn't have this fix. If you need this fix, send me your current template and I will add it.

Lastly, I have been getting some complaints that is not accessible in China. So, I have copied neo template under my googlespages account - (english version and french version). You can pick them up from these locations also.

May 4, 2007

Installing Neo template in your blog

[Haven't heard about Neo before? Read this post.]

Neo in other languages:
Spanish (thanks to Ayreonauta): Demo blog, Translated javascript file
Chinese (thanks to Guradian, GG): Installation instructions, Translated template, Demo blog
French (thanks to Nym): Translated Template, Demo blog
Portuguese (thanks to Ricardo Santos): Translated Template, Demo blog
Indonesian (thanks to Bikin Blogger): Installation instructions
Vietnamese (thanks to YHT): Installation instructions, Dang's translation
Norwegian (thanks to Laila): Installation instructions, Demo blog

As I had announced earlier, I will now explain how to install Neo and move your widgets without losing them (sorry it got delayed a bit). I moved the widgets myself for those who paid for Neo but for the free version, you have to do it yourselves. Here's something you need to understand about new Blogger. For any widget in your blog, only the code for the widget is in your template. All the data belonging to that widget (for example, all the links in a link list widget) are not part of the template. So, if you just move the code from your old template to Neo, Neo will pickup the data and all your widgets will work as before.

Another nice feature of new Blogger that comes handy is the unexpanded template (the template code that shows up when "Expand widget templates" checkbox is not checked). Here is an example of how it looks.

In this example, any line that starts with b:widget refers to a widget and each widget has an id. Widgets are contained within sections (lines that start with b:section). They could be present within sidebar or footer sections as highlighted in the image. So, all we need to do is to pickup all the lines starting with b:widget and add them to Neo (I was quite happy when I got this working first time). Let me go through the steps for installation in detail :

Disclaimer: Please note that you are taking the responsibility to copy your widgets to Neo. If you follow these instructions, everything will be smooth. So, read these instructions twice before you start.

Step 1: Backup your current template (Very important)

Step 2: Goto Template tab and click on Edit HTML link. Copy all the lines after < body > tag that start with <b:widget (except the widget with id "Blog1" which is the main blog widget) and paste them to a file.

Step 3: Right click here and save the template code. Open this neo.xml and find the portion of code shown below. Copy/paste all your widgets to the place indicated below (between </b:widget> and </b:section>). Save the file.

<div id='newsidebar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='newsidebar' preferred='yes'>
<b:widget id='Posts' locked='false' title='Posts' type='HTML'>
<b:includable id='main'>
<div id='LabelDisplay'>
<div id='LabelTitle'>
<div class='widget-content' id='LabelPosts'>
<script language='javascript'>fetchLatestPosts('<data:blog.homepageUrl/>', '');</script>
Add all your widgets here...

Step 4: In Edit HTML tab, browse and upload this file to Blogger. When you do this, you should not get the error shown in this image.

If you get it, DO NOT click on Confirm & Save. If you do so, you will lose those widgets permanently. Instead, click "Cancel". This error indicates that you have missed some widgets from your old template. In this example, Label1, HTML1, HTML2 are the ids of the widgets that you missed. Go back to the unexpanded template and pick up these widgets. Once you add them to Neo, your template will be accepted without error.

Step 5: Now if you goto the Page elements tab, you will see 3 columns as shown below. Leftmost column has the Labels widget and the second column has the Posts widget at the top. These two widgets come with Neo by default. Though they are better placed at the top, you could move them wherever you want but if you delete them, you will lose the Neo functionality (asynchronous loading of posts). Rest of the widgets in second column are the ones you copied over. You can now drag and drop them wherever you want.

Step 6: There are some final settings to be in place for Neo to work properly. Goto Settings/Site Feed and if you are still in basic mode, switch to Advanced mode and save. Goto Formatting tab and set it to show 1 post in main page (Neo will just replace this post whenever you click on another post's title. If you have many posts in main page, it will be wierd if only the topmost one changes).

It is a good idea to add Archives widget to your blog while using Neo because Neo uses javascript links to make your blog faster and these links will not be indexed by search engines. But Archives widget will still use normal links in Neo too. Just having monthly archives will ensure that all your post pages are indexed. I have been using Neo for several months now and all my posts are indexed by Google.

Some possible modifications to Neo are described in the Neo FAQ. Make sure you read that too. Good luck for your transition to Neo!

Testimonials: by Bobby, by Paula, by Waz

Here are some Neo Mods (modified versions of Neo) available for you to try out!

Neo wears denim by Mosi, Rounders with Neo by arephyz

EboNeo and NeoColors by diddy

NeoKubrick and iNeogle by 阿倫

May 3, 2007

Did you translate my hacks?

Many bloggers usually link to my blog or some hack but I believe some bloggers have translated my hacks to another language (this I know from the backlinks to my posts). I am not sure how good Google translation is, compared to human translation (I have read those wierd english translations and I believe it does the same for other languages too). So, I would like to compile a list of translations of my hacks for the benefit of non-english bloggers.

If you are one of those who have translated some of my hacks, could you please leave a comment here mentioning the language that you translated to and a link to your blog post which has the translated version? I will add links to all those translations at the top of the respective hack post and so you will get more visitors from my blog. If you blog in some unique language (which you think nobody would have translated yet to), you are welcome to do the translation. I would suggest you start with the most popular hacks such as Peekaboo posts, 3-column conversion, Neo etc. Please always link to my blog as the original source.

May 2, 2007

Digg succumbs to Mob attack

Kevin Rose (Digg admin) says "Today was an insane day. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying."

Michael Arrington says "To say what happened today on Digg was a user revolt is an understatement."

Forbes says "Digg turned into what one user called a digital Boston Tea Party."

Me says "Mmm... It was bound to happen someday :)".

May 1, 2007

Neo for everyone!

Today, I announce my Neo template as a free template for anybody to use. I think it's time to unleash the power of feeds and make blogs faster. Many who liked Neo but couldn't afford it before are now welcome to try it. Do you want to check out how your blog posts will show up with Neo before actually using it? If you have full feeds enabled in your blog, then you can. Just goto Neo demo blog and submit your blog's URL. You will see how Neo works with your posts.

If your blog is new and doesn't have many widgets, then you can download the Neo template (right-click, save as a file) and browse+upload to your blog in Template/Edit HTML tab. You can then recreate your widgets again with Neo. If your blog has many widgets and you want to move them as it is to Neo, just wait for my next post for the instructions.

Let the revolution begin :)

[Later, I wrote this post explaining how to transition to Neo]