05 July 2009

Authors wanted! (No special skills necessary.)

You don't have to be an experienced blogger or a computer geek to post on this Manitoulin community blog. Just send an email message to gnox -at- xplornet (dot) com saying you'd like to be an author here, and the administrator will send you an ‘invitation’. This will include a link that you can click on, which will take you to a Google page (since Google is the provider of this free blog space).

The next step is to create a Google ID (if you don't already have one), which is also free and easy to do. Click on the link you will see for creating a Google ID. This will open a page where you enter your existing email address, and create a password (for your future security as a user of this service. Make a note of the password so you don't forget it – you will need to ‘sign in’ with it in order to post messages on the blog. That way you never have to enter your email address again, and it remains hidden from the public.)

After confirming your email and password, you will need to enter a code which is presented on the page in a distorted but legible form. (This is another security measure, designed to exclude automatic spamming machines, which can't translate these pictures into letters or numbers.) Then you have to click on the box which says that you accept the terms of use of this service; and finally, click the ‘submit’ button.

If you've done all this successfully, you should be taken to a ‘Dashboard’ page, where you can enter the name that will show on the blog as the author of your posts. Most people simply use the name they ordinarily go by, but you can use whatever you want (i use ‘gnox’). By the way, once you have this password-protected ID, you can use it to post comments on this or any blog hosted by Google, or start a new blog yourself, without having to go through the security filter again.

You can bookmark your Dashboard page and use it when you want to post something on the blog. You can also ‘Sign in’ from the blog site itself, or click on the ‘New Post’ button which appears in the blog window if you are already signed in. This opens a box that you can type your message into (or copy-and-paste it into, if you already have the text on your computer). This entry page is pretty self-explanatory, but there's also a ‘Help’ button if you need it.

I look forward to having a wider range of authors here! Besides, once you're an author, you can more easily use this space as a ride board, which was in fact its original intention back in 2007. But i'll explain that in a later post.

One last technical tip. You might wonder why i give my contact address as gnox -at- xplornet (dot) com rather than the usual format with the ‘@’ symbol and real dot. This is a disguise to elude machines programmed to collect addresses from the Internet by recognizing the normal email address format. If you put your address on the Internet in that normal format, eventually you will get more and more spam sent to that address. The format disguise works pretty well at avoiding spam; hence i don't have to use any of those spam filters which often block a lot of legitimate email along with the spam.


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