Saturday, March 12, 2005

Search me...

The Blogger software provided for Blogspot-hosted blogs is basic and serviceable. I chose it because I liked the wide range of subtle templates they offer.

Blogger allows you to dress up your blog with all the trendy extras. You can alter templates, code completely original templates, and add RSS feeds, Atom feeds, Blogrolling lists, HaloScan commenting and trackback, favicons, and Technorati tags and searches. When I say Blogger "allows" these additions, I mean just that. You won't get any built-in code, or any handholding, but installation of these features from other sites turns out to be pretty much intuitive and the Blogger templates are very forgiving.

I don't pretend to understand all this stuff, but if a feature sounds like it might be useful, I get the code from one of the third party sites listed above, paste it into my blog template, and preview the results. If it doesn't look too hideous, I republish the blog with the new feature and try it out for a while. Features I'm testing (such as blogrolling) often appear at the bottom of the sidebar.

This week I cleaned up the sidebar a bit (fixing formatting, and condensing the archives from a long list of weekly archives to a shorter list of monthly archives) and added a search feature provided by Technorati that lets you search the Mysterious Traveler archives by keyword.

Recently a friend sent email to ask about a car repair service I'd mentioned in my blog--he couldn't find the entry. With the new search feature, a search on the word "car" will take you to the entry about the car repair place--or at least to the entry about how I trashed their loaner car in an accident. Turns out in this case the best keyword to search on is "Honda."

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