Sunday, October 9, 2011


I'm really not very technologically inclined.  I do blog, but that's only because Blogger does everything for me.  I just click, and type, and there it is.

But through the years of blogging, I've periodically had to mess with the HTML stuff, if the formatting of something periodically freaks out on me.  I'm not really very comfortable doing this, because I just don't have room in my head to store the translation of all the symbols and doohickeys that make up the HTML language.

So how it works for me, when I run into some sort of formatting difficulty on blogger, is to find something that is working correctly in a different blog post, or a different part of the same blog post.  I then click the little HTML option, find the code for the section I want to emulate, copy and paste that section, and then tweak it for the part I'm working on.

Most of the time that works reasonably well.

This last week, the gadget that links the ads for my Amazon associate account stopped working.  This is a handy little thing that doesn't really earn me any money, but it potentially it could.  I started it for my book review blog, so that if anyone was interesting in purchasing a book I reviewed, they could handily go to Amazon to purchase it.  And if they did, after coming from my link, I'd conceivably get a small portion of the profits for my part in the promotion of the product.  Now in reality, I don't have many readers, and those who do read are primarily low-budget, used book types like myself.  (Or kids looking for answers for their school assignments.  That's a big part, too, for some of the titles.  I can always tell when a certain school district or area has assigned a certain book.  All of a sudden I'm hit with people from the same geographic area checking my review.  Some of them are even silly enough to ask me for specific information about the book.  "What are the major themes in The Evolution of Calpernia Tate?" for instance.)  Since Amazon waits to send any "income" until an associate has earned at least $10, I'm still waiting to see that first payment.  Right now I'm sitting at about the $7 mark, so I have yet to see any earnings.  But it's still fun to include the links, so I keep on doing it.

So anyway, as I was saying, the gadget that Blogger provides to handily link these Amazon products, stopped working.  I went to Amazon associates customer service and asked what the deal was.  But since the gadget is apparently provided by Blogger, Amazon couldn't help me any.  But they did send me a link to some of their own gadgets and widgets and doodads.  So I went to their page and explored a few of their options and nothing worked exactly the way I wanted it to.  One option provided me with the same frame my Blogger widget did, but I couldn't wrap any text around it.  And who wants a big blank spot in their blog?  Not me, anyway.

I was getting a bit frustrated, until I suddenly remembered my former HTML experiments and thought to myself, "Ahaa!  I can do this!"

I simply took the "embed" HTML from the Amazon associates page, and pasted it in the HTML section of my post.  Then I copied and pasted the HTML code from a successfully posted Amazon Associates ad. 
I figured if I could compare the two, I could easily change the few things that were different.

But alas!  It was not to be so simple.

(OK, in this part of the post, I had actually included the html as I saw it, but in the Compose window fo Blogger.  I figured then it wouldn't be translated into anything, but still show the code.  But when I ran the preview, there wat the two adds.  One with text wrapped around, the other without.

So you'll have to trust me that the are very different.  Instead of just a few little differences to iron out, hardly anything was the same.  The entire set-up was done differently.)

These babies are quite different. What now?  What now?  What to try?

But wait.  This is like a math puzzle, or a problem on a standardized test.  Look for the patterns.  Figure it out, Mary.

Usually I checked for the differences.  The things that seemed out of place in the code.  But this time almost all of it was different.  Maybe I had to look for the meager similarity, instead.  Upon closer perusal, I noticed that the similarity was the part between the quotation marks.  Although the info was different, both sets of code had the quotation marks and the stuff inside the quotation marks began with http://.  Ahaa!  A web address.

Well, it was worth a try anyway.  I simply took the format that worked the way I wanted it to, but replaced the web address from between the quotation marks with the one from the code Amazon had suggested.

And voile!  I did it.  And since then, I've done it two more times.  I am so cool! 

Of course, I can't really figure out how to spell voile! or how to get the little accent I guess I'm not really all that cool.  Live and learn, live and learn...

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