Archive of "Ecmanaut"

Archive for the "Ecmanaut" Category

User-Relevant Timezones

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Posts and comments on your blog display in your timezone (usually). This sucks for your readers. What makes sense to them is their timezone. Trevor Creech and I have written a WordPress plugin to fix this. Using a technique suggested by Johan Sundström and the formatDate JavaScript library by Svend Tofte, this plugin shows post and comment timestamps in the viewer’s local timezone.

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Blogger categorising, pinging, and trackback helper

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I have a version of this script for the new Blogger as well.

Many people have installed Johan Sundström’s Categoriser Script and reaped the benefits. Some have also used my trackback script to enable outbound trackback inside Blogger. Now the power of these two scripts comes together to benefit everyone!

With Johan’s full approval I have married the two scripts into one categoriser and trackback script. This script is set up in such a way that installing it should overwrite any previous installation of Johan’s script and keep your existing script settings. To find out more about the categorising and pinging functions of the script, please read Johan’s post.

The trackback features work slightly differently than they did in my previous script. On the post-create page there is now a ‘Trackback’ textarea, instead of a form on the ‘post complete’ page. Enter one or more trackback URLs (each on it’s own line in the textarea) to use the trackack feature. After publishing the post your trackbacks will be sent out automatically and the status will be displayed on the ‘post complete’ page. For more information on trackback, go to Wikipedia.

There are also a couple minor new features for the categorising in this release. One is the option to use the first 200 characters of the post body in the extended field on, instead of the datestamp. The ‘Tags:’ label that one clicks to change settings is now blue, and your cursor should change into a hand when hovering it. Also, when republishing your whole blog the link to from your last post will not be displayed.

Install the Greasemonkey Script

Commentosphere – Importer and Userscript

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After much trouble and headaches with the speed of the Ning backend, the Commentosphere Delicious Importer is working! Numerous recent updates and optimizations to Ning seem to have greatly increased the speed of the backend, which was what was dragging down the original. I created a test app clone of Commentosphere and successfully imported 70 comments from some test data Johan sent me awhile back to make sure that it really was working this time.

There is also now a Greasemonkey userscript for posting to Commentosphere! Based off of Johan’s commentblogging userscript, it adds a link to all comment post pages on Blogger blogs that links to the Add a Comment form on Commentosphere, already filled in with the necessary information for your new comment. One thing I would like to add to the script is the ability to select parent comments from the comment page, instead of having to get that data manually if you want it. It is still recommended to run with both the userscript and the bookmarklet — for posting comments from non-Blogger blogs.

Comment Blogging

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On some ‘closed’ blogging / forum services there are present some features you cannot, present, find elsewhere. One of the most prominent of these is the ability to see all comments by a particular user. Some people have decided to overcome this problem by posting their comments to Johan Sundström at ecmanaut has come up with a Greasemonkey script to automate the process. This then allows you to have an RSS feed and aggregation page (powered nicely by for all comments you place on other people’s blogs, and even to publish all or some of these comments to your sidebar. I fully agree with the concept here, however I believe that using in this manner is counterproductive, for a few reasons :

  1. is about posting URLs, comments are content with often no proper URL themselves
  2. is about tagging, and while there is much useful metadata that can be associated with a comment, I see little or no use in tagging it
  3. Because is not meant for this application, many features that would be useful to comments are not and will never be implemented (see below)

Viewing all comments by a particular person is certianly a useful option, even including comments posted on their own blog, however a way to filter them to just on other people’s blogs would be useful. Following all comments on a particular post is certianly also a useful option, since so many bloggers are forced to reply to comments via their blog and via email to make sure the reply is received. Following all comments for a particular blog would also be useful. While some of these features are already provided by some blogging platforms / services, they are rarely all offered and rarely in a conveniant way.

What we truly need is a new service, one that tracks comments (and possible trackbacks) from all blogs just as is being done now by those posting to It could provide feeds and aggregation pages for all the features I’ve listed above, and probably many I haven’t thought of. Aggregation could also be merged in-service to one page / feed, much like the inbox, so that you could add posts / blogs to monitor the comments of without overcrowding your feedreader with feeds for old posts or even for all the blogs you comment on. A single feed is much more conveniant for such practise.

Johan’s Greasemonkey script could easily be modified to work with such a service instead of with, and independant bloggers could even integrate the comment-to-commentblogger link directly into their ‘your comment has been posted’ pages. Eventually, services like Blogger could theoretically even allow you to store your commentblogger username and password in your account and auto-post all your comments to your commentblogger account.