Friday, June 26, 2009

A Scary First on a Successful Day

It's rather late on a Friday evening, not a time when I normally make a blog post. But I just did a first for me. When I went to the blog of a fellow writer, I noticed they had a box on their site that showed their most recent Suite 101 posts, with links. I thought that would be rather nice to have on mine, so I went to the forums at Suite 101 and found two threads about this. Neither one told me how to do it. Then I noticed the link, over on the left among the writers tools: Add articles to my web site.

Now, this brought an immediate wave of panic over my still-overstuffed frame and in my somewhat tired mind. Should I do this? What if I mess it up and my blog goes "poof" into the vastness of the Internet forest, never again to find open land? I figured I should at least try, so I clicked the link.

The instructions were easy, so it seemed. A screen popped up with my name and a few default items selected (category of the articles are in and "widget" size). A button said "Generate Widget", and I clicked it. A text window came up beneath that with the html code in it. Pretty cool, I thought. So I came to this blog to see what I had generated, and soon found out: nothing.

Back to Suite 101, I actually read the directions: You had to copy the html text and paste it in the right place on the web page you were editing. Now the panic had reached a point the New England colonists were in when the earthquake of 1638 hit. I had never in my life done anything with html code, other than to stare at it in amazement and have a deja vu moment of mainframes and FORTRAN code that remained in gray cells not accessed since 1972. Oh well, I pulled up the Blogger editing screen and learned they had an easy way to add widgets. Who knew? So I added it, and went back to the blog, and nothing showed. I had a sneaky suspicion I had to refresh.

I did that, and there was the widget, in the upper right hand corner, above my pic and profile. It was too wide, cutting off some of the text, but the links worked! I went back to the forums at Suite 101 and learned another writer had the problem of the text being too wide, but never received any help on how to fix it. So I went back to the widget generation thingy, and saw where one of my choices was size of the widget. I picked a smaller setting, copied the code (much easier the second time around), pasted it into this blog's editing screen, checked the blog, and the widget had...disappeared.

The panic I now felt as if I was in the middle of a flood plain, the base flood coming at me in a wave. Then I remembered: refresh. There it was, but unchanged. I went back and forth, playing with two other settings, and finally got it to the size it should be. I even figured out how to move it to the position I wanted it, all my moving a mouse.

But, the widget was now a little too narrow, and had a pesky ad for Suite 101 within it, something about hiring freelance writers and a link. I didn't want that, and I wanted it a little wider. But the width options in the widget generation thingy didn't have the right width. However, feeling somewhat confident now, such as someone who has stolen away into an endless forest and has no intention of turning back, I actually went into the html code, found which line had the text for that ad and deleted it, and found which line had the width and increased it from 160 to 175. I clicked save and refresh. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

It's better now, as you can see to the right. I will probably increase the width a little more, but I'll give it a day. Too much excitement for one evening. I have edited my first html code. Can twittering and Facebook-ing be far behind?

Oh, and the successes of the day:
  1. My sixth post is up at Suite 101 (still no revenue yet)
  2. My flood plain is mapped! Finally! The full project isn't quite done, but I feel a huge weight having been lifted from getting this far.
  3. I have gone the entire evening without playing a computer game.
  4. Spent a pleasant hour at Barnes and Noble this evening, drinking the largest house blend, reviewing magazines, and taking notes (yes, I'm batching it again).
  5. My writing productivity has been good this week, especially today.
  6. I got in my noon parking lot laps on a 95 degree day (1 mile instead of 1.33 miles).
  7. I killed two miniature bugs here in the dungeon, the flying kind which you are not sure if they are fleas or chiggers or what they are. Come and get me, PETA!
  8. And, for the first time in over a year, bits and snatches of two poems are rattling around and starting to come out.

Sleep may be a little late coming to me tonight.

1 comment:

Gary said...

The nice thing about html is that once you catch on to the general idea, tweaking code is fairly easy.