Monday, January 7, 2008

Update (Updated with a cool solution to a nagging problem)

Since I have not yet been able to devote time to finding an HTML widget to show 'most recent' posts in previous comment threads, I'm forced to do it manually (and if any of you know how to add this feature to blogger, please, post it in the comments under this thread, thanks).


Update: OK, for those of you using Blogspot, face Eric's house and bow. He has provided the answer. You may add a rudimentary most recent comments widget using the following procedure:

Step 1: Go to Customize.
Step 2: Add a page element
Step 3: Select 'Feed'
Step 4: enter the following: "http://.../feeds/comments/default" (replace ... with your url and leave off the quote marks)
Step 5: refrain from speaking poorly about lawyers for at least 24 hours (you can do it, unless you're a, you know, lawyer).

An example of this widget has been added to Stonekettle Station, over there ->
Yes, over there -> scroll down until you find it.

Thanks, Eric

--------------[end update]--------------

Michelle K. and I have been continuing the discussion under the Cloning post.

As Steve Buchheit pointed out, my original post contained a large bit of rather crappy science. I thought about going back and fixing it, and decided instead to let it stand as written. As I've said elsewhere, yeah, sometimes I'm a bit off-base when I get outside my area of expertise, and this was the case with the original cloning post. However, I'm learning things, which is always first and foremost the point of this blog, because really it's all about me. And I'm finding the discussion with Michelle fascinating and the rest of you might too. As I suspected when Michelle joined our little group, she's a worthy addition, especially since her view points are, to some extent, the polar opposite of my own - though I do think we have more common ground than not. Again, I find her comments interesting and thoughtful and you might too.


  1. I've rejoined the discussion. I agree that it would be helpful to have "recent comments," but I don't think blogger supports it.

  2. Jeebus, I get busy and all of a sudden you guys are blogging like mad. And I've got more work to do...and a chapter to edit and post...and a cat to force feed...and dinner to cook.

    I'm thinking of moving to WordPress. You can import a blog completely from Blogger. You can easily paste in the code that lets you collapse posts (and I'm still trying to figure that one out), and they appear to have the "recently commented on" widget.

    I'm gonna stay out of the cloned food thread. I'm still waiting for my Soylent Green.

  3. (blush)

    I'm using Wordpress right now and I'm rather fond of it.

    I also know enough to be able to answer basic questions, because I've done enough behind the scenes poking and prodding.

    The recently comment on widget is just a bit of code you can pull it. Works very nicely. You can also pull feeds from multiple blogs, so I can list the recent posts from my book blog on my other blog.

  4. Damnit, Nathan, you can't just drop a line like "and a cat to force feed" and just walk away. Are you feeding the cat? Or feeding the cat to something?

    And I was wondering how long it was going to take before somebody made the Soylent Green ref.

    Word Press, yeah, maybe. Right now I've too much going on to make the switch, but I can see I'm going to have to do it eventually.

  5. Well, if you've got a URL already, Word Press is ridiculously easy to set up. The install and import of my Movable Type files took a couple hours. And I'd say it took less than a month for me to redesign my own template and get things they way I want them--which is pretty fast for me, since design isn't my strongpoint. :)

  6. We have two cats. Ollie (Oliver Henry, Hardesty) our 12-year old male was recently diagnosed with diabetes. We're not sure why he's stopped eating, but the vet says its worth trying to keep that up while we're stabilizing the diabetes. Unfortunately, there's probably something else going on with the beast, but we're not going to spend literally thousands of dollars to find out he's got something we can't treat. We'll keep going as long as he doesn't seem uncomfortable.

    Note: The force feeding is done by shoving a syringe of gruel into his mouth. He thinks its a game.

  7. Jim, I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but on Blogger you can add an RSS feed widget using the feed "http://.../feeds/comments/default" (your blog in the ellipses). That's what I use for my "Comments from the gallery" sidebar at Giant Midgets; it seems to have a five-entry cap.

    If you already knew this and it wasn't what you were looking for, ignore me. I'll try to be more useful next time. :-)

  8. Eric, thanks! I think that's it. I'll try it.

  9. Kewwwwwwl. I'm gonna try it too.

    Now if Shawn will just stop doing his own work long enough to do some of mine, I may be able to get my site looking the way I want it.

    Poke. Poke. Poke.

  10. Hey, that totally works. Eric is my new hero. Now, Shawn, get to work on my problems or I'm forwarding it to another coding genius I've never met who has absolutely no reason to spend time on my problems.

    BTW (Oops, here goes Nathan off topic again), does anyone else here have trouble remembering how time zones work? Every morning for the last week, I've sat around in the morning thinking I've got time before I have to start working 'cause the people I'm working for aren't even awake yet. Then after the first cup of coffee, I have this moment where I go, "Shit, they're in London. They've been in the office for five hours. Shit."

    Hey, I never claimed to be anything other than an idiot. In this case a serial idiot.

  11. Yay! It works! We love Eric!

    Thanks to you, too, Jim, for asking the question. If you don't ask (or at least complain) you can't get answers.

  12. Very cool!

    Although I have an old stub of a blogger blog, I'm a Wordpress user too. There are two varieties of it. Wordpress.com hosted is a bit easier to get going with. Self hosted, downloaded from Wordpress.net, is a bit more work but it's fun for geeks. I did the latter.

    With the self-hosted version you can have the joy of breaking your theme with the wrong plugin, messing with domino-like stylesheets, and dealing with your web host's DNS and web account issues. Like I said, fun. ;)

  13. Update:

    Oops. That fix seems to be showing only the latest comments when you (and I) actually applied it. I have newer comments (and you do to), that aren't rolling back the previous comments. Did that make any sense at all?

  14. I've noticed on Eric's blog that it can take a while for the newest comments to make it to the widget. Not sure how big the lag is, but it usually gets there eventually.

  15. I noticed that too and looked on Blogger to see if it was a standard wait period, but I couldn't find anything.
    I was really looking forward to a more reliable notification of comments because I don't always get an email (not sure if it's Blogger or my email server).

  16. I've got comments that are about 6 hours old that haven't shown up as recent yet.

  17. Glad I could help.

    The RSS-feed method is, as Jim says, "rudimentry." It depends on pulling the comments as an RSS feed, and for some reason Blogger is pretty slow about doing this. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the feed itself, oddly enough, since the RSS feed reader I use (Beatnik for Firefox) seems to pull recent comments more quickly. (This isn't something I've rigorously tested, however.) Since it seems unlikely that everyone is using the same cache settings in their various browsers, and the problem appears to be widespread, the most likely hypothesis is that it's some problem with Blogspot.

    (Those of you who use an RSS reader in your browser may find that adding the comments feed to that may be a more reliable way to track comments, at least on your own blog. It doesn't solve the problem of making user comments more accessible to guests, but at least you'll have some idea when someone popped by and left you a note.)

    I also took a glance at my template's html with widgets "expanded" to see if there was a way to include more than five entries, and I didn't see any recognizable code. (It may be in there, and I'm just to ignorant to see how it can be done. At this point, my html-decoding ability involves guesswork and lots of reloading a page to try to figure out whether anything actually changed.)

    A dedicated comments widget would be better, but for a kludge on a free website, the RSS is... acceptable?

    And please, say whatever you want about lawyers, whenever you want. We deserve it.

  18. Oh, and if anyone stumbles across a solution to update speed or number of comments, I'd love to know, myself. Thanks in advance if you come up with anything!

  19. Damn, and me without a lawyer joke handy.

    My site updates the feed anywhere from uh right away to a couple of hours, I'm guessing it depends on server loading at blogspot. I've noticed that mine updates almost instantly around midnight my time, which means everybody else in the universe is asleep. But, Hey, it's free, it's simple, and it's better than what we had which was nothing, whatdoyawantferchristsake? And it shows that it is possible with Blogger, now it's just a matter of finding something better - or pestering blogspot until they implement it - which they will probably do, since they add new widgets all the time. I've see two new ones on the list today.

    Look at it this way, we're lucky that Eric gave us the tip pro bono...

    Hey, how about that? I did have a lawyer joke handy after all!

    I'm kidding, Eric, you know we loves ya.

  20. What, you haven't gotten the bill yet? Blogspot really does take too long to update....

  21. Can I pay in moose meat? That's considered a standard medium of exchange up here...

  22. Cash, VISA, MC, AMEX, small shiny rocks, and/or moose meat accepted--but no Discover.

  23. ...but no Discover

    Well, yeah, a guy's got to have some standards after all - even a lawyer - otherwise there'll be chaos.


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