Monday, July 12, 2010

TRAVEL TECH: Getting the most from our blog

Welcome Aboard!

As you explore our blog, you’ll discover that it is chock-full of interactive features.  Each one is designed to help you follow our journey, share with others, and join in the conversation. Here’s the road map for using each feature:

Tabs – Just under our road sign banner you’ll find the tab bar.  Each tab will take you to a different content area of our site:

  • Home is where the main conversation unfolds.  You’ll find our latest posts there along with comments from friends, family, fellow travelers and visitors to our blog.  Add your comments and join in the conversation!
  • About Us will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about your hosts.
  • Our Route contains an overview map of our journey.  Click the map for a larger view, which then allows you to zoom in even closer.
  • Our Itinerary gives you an ever-evolving look at where we'll be when and what we'll be up to.
  • Links is where you’ll find a categorized directory of our favorite travel and other resources.  No paid listings here—just a collection of sites we actually love and use.
  • Shop is your source for all kind of things that we recommend from our own use and experience.  Books, travel gear, music, DVDs, strange and wonderful souvenirs, essential oils, spices and much, much more.  We’ll tell you a little about it, why we recommend it, and how to get it.
  • FAQs is where we’ll answer those Frequently Asked Questions.  Pose a question in your comments or via Twitter and we will do our best to answer it.

Comments – Each post on the Home page has a comments link at the bottom of the post.  The link shows the number of comments received so far for that entry:

The same link appears at the bottom of each post on any page that displays multiple posts, such as when browsing by week or topic.  Click the link to read the comments, and then add your own if you wish.  You may want to ask a question, share you own experience regarding the topic, or offer a suggestion of things to do, places to see, or restaurants to visit.

To post a comment: 
  • Type your comment in the space provided.
  • Select the profile you wish to comment as from the drop-down list.  You may want to use your Google, blog or instant messaging account name.  If not, just choose Name/URL and enter a name of your choosing (if you have a blog or website, feel free to add the URL, too).  You may also post anonymously, if you wish, but we’d rather know what you’d like to be called.  That way, we can respond to your comments by name (which is much more personal than “Dear Anonymous…”).
  • Click the Preview button to see how your comment will appear.
  • Click the Edit link to revise your post, if needed.  Otherwise, type the letters you see under "Word verification" in the box below and click Post Comment.  An audio-based  verification word is available for those using screen readers.

Subscriptions – You can subscribe to our posts via email, Twitter, Google Friend Connect, or your favorite feed reader (we support both Atom and RSS feeds).  To do so, just use the corresponding tools in the right-hand blog column. 

  • If you are signed in with a Google account, you can receive follow-up comments to specific posts via email by clicking the Subscribe by email link at the end of the comments section of each post.  To unsubscribe, just click the link again (which now reads Unsubscribe).

  • If you prefer to receive follow-up comments in your feed reader, click the Subscribe to: Post Comments link at the bottom of the page for that individual post.  If you would like to subscribe to all posts, click the Subscribe to: Posts link at the bottom of our Home page.

Sharing – The sharing bar at the bottom of each post allows you to easily share that post with others via email, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook or Google Buzz.  Like my mother always said, “Sharing is good!”

Browse by Topic or Week – In the right-hand blog column, you’ll find a list of All Posts by Topic as well as a Blog Archive by week.

The topic list shows the number of posts in each topic.  Click a topic to open all the posts related to it.  If you click a topic link in an individual post, it will also open all posts related to that topic.

    The blog archive can be collapsed or expanded by week.  Click on the triangles to collapse or expand each section.  Click on a title to open an individual post.  Click on a week to open all of the posts for that week.

    For Best Results – You’ll have the best browsing experience with our blog (fastest page loads, seamless transitions, etc.) if you use any browser other than Internet Explorer.  Internet Explorer marches to its own drummer and, for some reason, it does a clunky job of rendering our pages.  All of the information is there, but page loads are slower and ugly black flashes appear as page elements paint in.  These glitches do not occur with any other browser we’ve tested.  If you have insight on how to correct these problems, feel free to share.  Meanwhile, we recommend you try one of the other browsers linked in the right-hand navigation column.  --Ted

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