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Sunday, April 10, 2005


Well, I had to go open my big mouth on Jill Twiss' blog and suggest that she add a sidebar with her upcoming comedy gigs. She agreed it was a good idea - but said she didn't know how to do it. Well neither did I, so I figured it was a good excuse to learn and do something that I had been thinking about for a while - thus to the left you will see an extremely exciting list of the crap currently jamming the pockets of my lab coat. I did consider listing the different stains on my lab coat, but most are unidentifiable and probably unpleasant.

The help section on blogger suggests that a potential method would be to create a second blog, but it looked far too complicated, so instead I went for the free tool Sideblog.

The principle is quite straight forward and not dissimilar to blogrolling or blogging brits for example. You create an account with sideblog then copy and paste the single line of code they supply into your blog template. I've inserted mine in between the blogging brits code and the Links code to my Tuesday Twats archives. To update the post, you simply log on to Sideblog and post. If its going to be a regularly changed and updated post, such as a list of gigs or your pocket contents, then you can simply edit an existing post, rather than create a new one.

Despite the exhortations of the Sideblog creator, it isn't quite that straight forward.

Firstly, the page that gives you the code recommends that you edit your CSS classes. Like most people I haven't the faintest clue what that means so I didn't bother. However, it does mean that your post is initially just a long line of text with no formatting.

So here are a few things that I have found by trial and error.
You can make the post title fit in with your existing blog style by adding the header tag that your other titles are using.
Thus, my post title is [h6]Contents of My Lab Coat Pockets[/h6], which makes it the same as my Tuesday Twat title. Replace the [] brackets with angled brackets.
To format within your post, use standard html tags. For example to make a list, you will need to use [br] instead of just pressing the Return key. I imagine that [b]bold[/b], [i]italic[/i] etc will work as well (I haven't tried yet).

I'm still playing around. For example, I got the blue text by using [h5] [/h5] either side of my post's text. h5 is a custom colour I designed, however if you go to the top of your blogger template, you should see the different [h] tags defined for your template, in a long list. Different templates are different (eg Jill's is a nice collection of blues) but [h1] and [h2] are usually huge so steer clear of them, but try using [h4] or maybe one of the other tags.

If you are having trouble, leave a comment - you never know I might be able to help. Failing that I'll make sympathetic noises and put the kettle on.

Sideblog will also allow you to insert links in blogger format. I have simply cut and pasted my Tuesday Twat Archives from my template and added them as a new post. I will still have to type them in each week, but it saves me having to edit my template directly. This opens the possibility of maintaining a second blogroll without having to pay for a Blogroll Gold account (yeah, yeah tight-fisted I know).



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