Monday, January 30, 2012

5 Reasons Why I Removed Blogger Threaded Comments

I found out from Shilpa recently that blogger has finally introduced the "threaded comments" feature. In her post about this, she mentioned how we could get this feature enabled in our blogs. I followed the steps outlined by her, but couldn't see a "reply" button below every comment on my posts. I blamed it on the fact that I have a highly customized *old* blogger template, and perhaps those steps only worked for new templates from the "Template Designer" screen.

After some hunting on the net, I found out how to manually enable this feature in my blog template. It's a fairly simple hack posted by nitecruzr, that enables the "threaded comments" on customized blogger templates. Although, apparently, this blogger implementation does not give a complete "threaded" feature -- it's just a 2-level version as of now. See the image below:
The above is a screen shot from the post on Shilpa's blog, and as you can see, replies to replies are not indented further to the right... there are only 2 levels. And what difference does it make? I honestly don't know!

Anyway, following nitecuzr's post, I was able to get the threaded comments working on my blog, but eventually, I took them off again. Why? Here the 5 reasons why I removed blogger threaded comments from here:

1. Page Load Position
Clicking on post titles (or "Read more" links) from the homepage or any other "index" or "archive" page (e.g. search pages, monthly archive pages) shows different behaviors for posts with comments and without comments. For posts without comments, the page load stops at the beginning of that particular post page (where it ideally should). But for posts with comments, it automatically scrolls down to the embedded comment form section. So if you haven't yet read that post, you'll have to scroll all the way up, to the beginning of the post. Minor irritant, but irritating nevertheless. And this behavior is consistent across the old and new templates.

2. Missing Comment Form
The embedded comment form is not visible on the first loading of any post page. It shows up only when you refresh that post. In my blog, with "threaded comments" ON, when you first opened any post, instead of the comment form, it showed the last widget of my blog (which is actually placed in the footer section). But in other non-customized templates, even newer ones, it shows a block of blank space where the comment form should be. The form becomes visible once you refresh your browser.

3. Comment Timestamps
The threaded (or 2-level) comment feature of blogger is automatically converting all comment timestamps into the Pacific time zone, regardless of your blog's time settings. It seems to be a "known-issue" with this feature, so the blogger team will eventually get around to fixing it. Don't know when though.

4. Author Comment Highlights
I have added some CSS styling to highlight the author comments here. When I switched to threaded comments, I lost all that highlighting. But, I'm sure this feature is there for threaded comments too. As you can see in the screen shot above, Shilpa's comment is highlighted. I'm assuming that author comment highlights feature is already built-in with the new templates. If I spend enough time digging into this, I will eventually figure out what changes are required to make the author highlights work with threaded comments on this template. But, I don't have that much time right now. Moreover, I'm thinking... maybe it would be better to just switch over to the new templates now... whenever I DO have enough time to migrate all my customizations to one of the new blogger templates.

5. Comment Subscriptions
In the old non-threaded comment format, blog authors usually prefix their replies with the name of the person whose comment they are replying to, so that people who have subscribed to the comment thread, and are getting all the replies in their mailbox, know automatically which reply is meant for whom. But with threaded comments, we blog authors will obviously stop this practice of using "@xyz". Now, wordpress automatically adds a "in response to [xyz]: " in its comment notifications, but I haven't yet been able to test the email notifications of threaded comments on blogger. If blogger hasn't made any such provision yet, it could become very confusing for the comment subscribers.

All that being said, "threaded comments" was a much awaited-for feature in blogger. A lot of blogger users have switched to wordpress simply because of the lack of this one feature. Some have integrated third party comment forms (Disqus, Intense Debate etc.) in their blogger templates. I'm going to do neither. I will just wait patiently for blogger to fine-tune their threaded comments -- especially the first 3 points mentioned here -- and until then, I will continue using non-threaded comments.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Silly Saturday: Life On Facebook


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

When FarmVille Neighbors Meet In Real Life

"They got acquainted in the blogosphere, became neighbors in FarmVille, and finally became neighbors in real life too!"

This plot could have converted into such an awesome Bollywood 'masala' movie -- complete with a humor sideline, involving a thoda-sa-jhepu "gora" journalist and a super-bindaas Negro woman -- but alas, there's no "hero" in the story! And how can there possibly be a Bollywood 'masala' movie without a hero AND heroine?

Well, the two characters of this story are Shilpa Garg and "yours truly". And we're not exactly "neighbors", but then 8 kilometers isn't too far either, right?

So anyways, here's a pop quiz for you all. When one avid-blogger-cum-crazy-farmer meets another equally-avid-blogger-but-retired-crazy-farmer, what do you expect they'd talk about? Oh, and don't forget, they're both females too!

Yes, you're right. They'd talk about blogging (obviously!)... and its pros and cons. And they'd talk about farming... and its cons. And that's it?

Wrong! That's NOT it!

Always remember: Bloggers, by themselves, are a very talkative species. But if they are females, AND they've been crazy enough to get into FarmVille (and that too by FOUR different accounts each on Facebook)... then, God help you, there's no stopping them!

So Shilpa and I met last Monday Tuesday and went to the Jaipur Literature Festival, where there was little literature and more festival. Crisp sunshine, hot ginger tea in 'kulhars', and conversations that seemed to never end.

In the roughly three hours that we spent together, we naturally talked about blogging and FarmVille, but other than that, we also talked about professional writing, Google transliteration, adsense, entrepreneurial ventures of other blog buddies, bottles of Old Monk, clothes, pencil heels, stealing money plant, real estate in Jaipur, our families, salt and pepper hair, driving, twitter time lines, our work, and a hundred other trivial things.

In fact, we were so busy talking that we even forgot to take any pictures of our meet, and the camera was sitting right there between us all the while! I did make a mental note before leaving the house, that we'll take some pics for our posts. (Well, it was obviously understood that we both WOULD blog about it... we are bloggers after all!) But then it completely slipped my mind.

It's really strange, isn't it? With some people, even an hour seems so long, but with others, time just seems to grow wings and fly. And surprisingly, unlike the previous bloggers' meet at Delhi, which took weeks of planning, this one was so impromptu!

Looking forward to other hang outs with her. And hopefully, we'll remember to click some pictures of us next time! So that I wouldn't have to hunt for cartoons of bloggers meets on Google images.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Change Your Life

Buy New Shoes, Change Your Life!
Here's more in "Wordless Wednesday"!

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Full

In early March last year, I published this post here, "Myriad of Emotions: Emptiness", in which I talked about a part of my soul that seemed missing, and that I felt like re-visiting a part of my past to find that missing part of me.

I eventually DID go back to that part of my past... after almost a decade! And my feelings were right! I had indeed left behind a major part of my soul back there... one half of my soul probably... the half that I got from my mother!

While the past looks nothing like it used to now, the part of *me* that I left behind there is just the same. It's been preserved perfectly by the past. The past still remembers me as the "whole" that I once was... it still treats me the same way. And you know something... even I don't feel so empty any more!

Stuffed Pumpkin
2011 has been a good year.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Burnt Bridges

Disagreements and squabbles are an unavoidable part of all relationships. But where there is a strong bond of underlying love and friendship, it is usually easy to get over all those little disruptions and patch things up.

There are times though, when people say/do something so mean and hurtful that completely cuts through that bond too. Those relationships, then, are like burnt bridges. And if the fire isn't put out in time, it becomes impossible to salvage the bridge... i.e. the relationship.


You may have been very close to those people once upon a time, but suddenly they feel like complete strangers to you. And you realize that you just don't want to share any part of your life with them anymore.

That "bond" isn't there anymore, you see. The "bridge" that once helped you cross over to each other, regardless of the distance, is now completely destroyed... destroyed by the fire in their words and actions.

P.S. - May the bridges we burn light our way.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

K for...

Another silly "fun-app" on Facebook... :P


Here's more in "Who-Am-I"!

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Friday, January 6, 2012

PacMan

PacMan is perhaps one of the first games I played on a computer... back in those golden school days!

I must confess... I've never really been any good at it! Just can't seem to work the left and right keys fast enough. I suppose that's why I never managed to learn driving either!

(Correction: I couldn't learn driving because of this!)

But if you are any better than me at this game, I'm sure you'll enjoy playing it.

P.S. - Don't forget to "Mute" the sound if you're playing it at office. [wink]


And here's more in Games!




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Crossword Puzzle

How many of you like to solve the daily crossword puzzle in the newspaper?

Now you can solve one new crossword puzzle daily on miss_teerious too!

I don't suppose there's any need for instructions on playing the game. And the gadget is pretty easy to figure out too.

So go on then... enjoy the vocabulary-building fun exercise!


And here's more in Games!


Loading crossword puzzle. One moment please.



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