Archive for October 17th, 2007

Uncomfortable

What's Bad: Coming out of a stall in the bathroom to find someone anxiously waiting for you to get out of the way so they can use the stall.  (Uncomfortable, to say the least.)

What's Worse: Being that other person anxiously waiting for someone to get out of the way so you can use the stall.

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How to “Draft” an Entry on Vox

A big shout-out to Foxsydee, who originally suggested this tip to me!

Vox is a great blogging site.  But there is one area that for a while, I thought was lacking – the ability to write a draft entry.  Sure, you can save an entry as viewable only by "you (hidden)", but all this does is publish your entry to your blog, but hide it from the world.  The published date is set (albeit changeable), and the post doesn't appear in your neighbor's recent posts or on the explore page, AND – here's the catch – probably won't EVER appear on these where you want it to, even if you later change the post's privacy level to viewable by anyone and update the date.  Too many new posts will have gone by for people to have seen what you posted unless they come to your personal blog page.

For those who do like the exposure that a new blog post can bring, there is a simple and quick solution to this problem:

1) Write and save your post as you would normally do, viewable only by you.  Make sure to make all links, photos, media, etc that you are embedding in the post ALSO viewable only by you, unless you want people in your neighborhood to see them ahead of time.  Optionally, add a tag like "draft" so you can search for the post later (this will be helpful if you're building a backlog of draft posts). 

2) Once your post is saved, you can view and edit to your heart's content to make sure it is exactly the way you want it.  Nobody but you can see the post, so this gives you a chance to view how the layout will actually look on your blog template, and give it a complete makeover before anyone even has a chance to see it, if you so desire.

3) When it comes time for you to actually open your post up to the public, instead of just changing the privacy setting of the post, do the following:

    a. Open the post for editing

    b. In a new window or new tab, go to Vox and choose to compose a new post

    c. Select all the text in your hidden post, and copy over to the new post.  Copy the title and tags as well. (Remove the "draft" tag if you had added this previously.)  Your intent is to end up with a DUPLICATE of the original post, but in a new post window.  Tip: Use keyboard shortcuts for select-all (e.g. for Windows, CTRL-A) to get everything in the body of your post to copy over in one copy/paste action.

    d. Change the privacy level on all embedded media items on the new post (anyone, neighborhood, friends and family, etc)

    e. Do the same with the new post's overall privacy level

    f. Save the new post, and it will be visible on your blog with a current published timestamp, AND will show up in the explore and neighbor's recent post areas

    g. Once you've published the new entry, simply delete the old post (still marked as viewable only by you).

Once you get used to the steps, it should only take about 30 seconds to republish your "draft" entry as a new post (3a-3g above).

Extra things to consider:

1. If your draft post and your new post have the same title, vox will append a "-1" to the URL.  If you're really picky about your URL titles, delete the hidden post BEFORE you hit save on the new post.  When you save the new entry, Vox will name the URL the same as the original draft post's URL.

2. Don't add the draft post to any groups, or that group will see the entry before you intend it to.  Wait until you set up your final post, and only then add to the specific groups you want the entry to be cross-posted to.

3. This probably works best for people who want a time-delayed post or those who write a bunch of posts at one time but don't necessarily want to publish them all for public consumption at one time.  Anyone can get some viewing/editing benefits out of it, but these are the people that will really find this useful.

4. Vox may at some point add in a full "draft mode" to the compose process, making this whole process obsolete.  But it's still useful for now.  For example, I wrote this post a couple weeks ago, but saved it as a "draft" for a day when I was busy but still wanted to post something.  Total time to go from draft to post for me was about 90 seconds, including doing one last pass over the text to make sure I didn't want to change anything else.

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The DQ #56 – October 17, 2007

"A good programmer is someone who looks both ways before crossing a one-way street."
    -Doug Linder

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