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Rooted Thoughts

A weblog of my genealogical search. Particularly pertinent to my RootsWeb relationship.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Blogger Templates on FreePages

RootsWeb recently updated their advertising banners and the change "broke" the formatting of these Blog pages. After investigating, I found that the problem most likely stemmed from the fact that their new ads cause all of my page content to be enclosed in an HTML <div> named userContentFP. To fix the problem, I updated my template by copying all the CSS instructions associated with the body and also applying them to that <div>. The code looks like this:

body {
  margin: 0;
  padding: 0;
  border: 0;
  text-align: center;
  color: #555;
  background: #bba 
      url(http://www.blogblog.com/moto_mr/outerwrap.gif)
      top center repeat-y;
  font: small tahoma, "Bitstream Vera Sans",
      "Trebuchet MS", "Lucida Grande", lucida,
       helvetica, sans-serif;
  }

#userContentFP {
  margin: 0;
  padding: 0;
  border: 0;
  text-align: center;
  color: #555;
  background: #bba
     url(http://www.blogblog.com/moto_mr/outerwrap.gif)
     top center repeat-y;
  font: small tahoma, "Bitstream Vera Sans",
     "Trebuchet MS", "Lucida Grande", lucida,
     helvetica, sans-serif;
  }
Once I republished the blog, everything was once again properly arranged on the page.

Friday, September 09, 2005

RootsWeb offers RSS

RootsWeb's mailing list archives now come with RSS feeds. Now, I'll have to admit that I hadn't even noticed until Carol asked about the little orange button --> RSS <-- on the bottom of each archive summary page.

RSS is widely used by web servers as a means of distributing a summary of new content—in other words, providing a syndication of the site. RSS is most valuable for web sites which add new content frequently such as blogs. Obviously, the mailing list archives fit that criterion.

So how can you use the RSS feed from RootsWeb?

One way is to install an RSS/news reader or aggregators on your own computer. There are many, many programs available. I have installed Wizz RSS News Reader into my Firefox browser.

You can also use an online feed reader or aggregator and access it through your web browser. One advantage is that you can read your RSS subscriptions from any computer connected to the Internet. I use Bloglines.

But in addition to just using the RSS feed to monitor for updates, you can also include the feed right there in your web page. Since RootsWeb doesn't allow you to install programs on the server, some of the usual ways of including RSS feeds such as PHP and ASP routines won't work on your FreePages site. But, the Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction provides a JavaScript generator that will churn out the JavaScript you can use in your webpage. I've added the feed for the Coleman-L surname mailing list to the right hand column of this page.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Plagiarism

I've read quite a few complaints from others about people who collect family trees, and post the data they find unedited and unchanged. I hadn't really worried about it until I was prowling around the WorldConnect site last week and found one site that had republished my notes (and thus the results of my own research) without even asking permission. Worst was that they hadn't even credited me as the source of those notes. Of course, the positive side is that if the data is found to be in error, I won't be identified as the one to blame, either.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Finding stuff on the Internet, part 1

John Fuller and Chris Gaunt maintain a super index to Genealogy Resources on the Internet. They list various Internet sites offering USENET newsgroups, mailing lists, and web pages. They even index sites offering less frequently used protocols such as gopher and telnet. Prominent among the resources listed are those housed at RootsWeb.

Since I'm very familiar with the services provided on RootsWeb, I often turn to this listing to find non-RootsWeb resources, particularly mailing lists. For sheer quantity of links, you can't beat Cyndi's List, though.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Introduction

A blank page. A new beginning. Here's a weblog (aka blog) designed to allow me to post interesting things that I might learn about my genealogy -- all in one place -- with links to whatever web resources might exist.

So, I suppose the first thing I should do is provide a link to my published genealogy in the RootsWeb World Connect Project. And then it might be useful to provide a link to my personal genealogical web site.