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Free Daily Content for Your Site

We’re often asked by web site owners if they can put our stories on their site, but we’ve had to refuse such requests — until now! We’re very pleased to offer True-a-Day (TAD).

By adding a single line of code on any page on your site, you can automatically show your visitors a new story every day. What a great way to get return visitors! With the default settings (plus centering), it looks like this:

This is True®

by Randy Cassingham

Stories from Our Archives ©1994-2008

The Healthy Alternative
Alfalfa sprouts, common on salad bars, contribute to health. Bad health, that is. “Sprouts can be a hazardous food,” says Dr. Janet C. Mohle Boetani of the California Department of Health’s Division of Communicable Disease Control. “Seeds can be contaminated before sprouting, and no method can eliminate all [contamination] from seeds.” After studying multiple outbreaks of salmonellosis and one outbreak of E. coli O157 in California, researchers found that alfalfa and clover sprouts were responsible for half, sickening nearly 23,000 people. Washing them doesn’t help, they warn, since “bacteria on the seed surface can become internalized during sprouting.” (Reuters) ...It will take some time, but eventually nutritionists will figure out the most healthy meal possible: a rare steak, buttered potatoes, and apple pie with ice cream.
Available in This is True: Book Collection Vol. 8

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Here’s all you have to do to get it on your site: add the following line to any page on your web site:

Make sure you have it all, and it’s very important to copy it verbatim — it’s best to use cut and paste. (And thisistrue.net is correct, do not change it to thisistrue.com or it won’t work!) It’s best to have it all on one line, but you can break it into two if you wish. That is the simplest way to do it, but there are some optional parameters you can add if you want or need to — see below. The above story was added simply by using that line — which means when you come back later the story will be different. It changes every day.

Advanced Webmasters:True-a-Day is also available in a SSI-PHP version [Note: Depreciated! We hope to be replacing the functions soon.]

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does this work?
A: It’s a program on our server that feeds the story to your site visitor’s browser. It uses javascript to do it, so it only works if your site visitor’s browser has javascript enabled. (Most browsers, including Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, etc., support javascript and it’s enabled by default.)

Q: The color scheme doesn’t match my site. Can I change the background color(s)?
A: Yes; see optional parameters below, which were used to create the second example to the right.

Q: The stories aren’t the same as the ones I’ve gotten in my This is True e-mail subscription. Where are they from?
A: They’re from our vast archive of thousands of stories — True has been publishing since 1994, so even changing to a new story every day won’t result in our running out of content for this program.

Q: I’ve missed some stories! Can I get copies of past days?
A: Not through this program, no. But all the stories (and more!) are in the This is True book collections, which you can order online. (Book info and orders.)

Q: Can I remove the subscribe box for This is True from the bottom?
A: No; that’s the “price” of getting new content every day, for free, for your site.

Q: Can TAD be on a page with other content or ads?
A: Yes.

Q: What are the optional parameters I can use?
A: You don’t need to use any of these, but they are available to customize TAD’s look for your site:

Parameter Use Example
align= sets horizontal position TAD appears align=right
(can also use center or left)
width= the number of pixels you want the TAD box to be, or the percentage of your page width (default: 55%) width=500px or width=55%37
(Note: “%37” is correct in all cases — it’s the hex code for “percent”. So width=60%37 makes the width 60%, width=75%37 makes it 75%, etc.)
headerbgcolor=  background color of the top and bottom cells (default: light blue — ADD8E6) headerbgcolor=white or
headerbgcolor=FFFFFF (Note: the FFFFFF is the standard hexcode without the #)
bodybgcolor= background color of the middle cell (default: beige — F5F5DC) bodybgcolor=FFFFFF or
bodybgcolor=white

How to add the parameters to the script call:
Include one or more, without spaces, after the tad.pl part. The first parameter must start with “?”. Any additional parameters are separated with “&”. Example:

Again, it should ideally be all on one line, even though it probably wraps for you here, in your browser.

Q: This is very, very cool! Did you create it yourself?
A: No; it’s a custom application from Randy’s friend Leo.

Q: Does this work on WordPress?
A: Almost: coming soon!

10 Responses to Free Daily Content for Your Site

  1. Will in Little Rock, AR February 24, 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    Is there any way to get TAD into a MySpace profile? Since MySpace blocks javascript, I can’t use the code listed.

    Not so far as I know, no. Sorry! -rc

  2. Will, Newcastle Australia May 13, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    Cool feature Randy! I’ve already bookmarked it on the iphone – definitely will be making use of it!

    Leo’s website looks pretty interesting too.

    Indeed it is. For others, the iPhone version of True-a-Day is at http://i.thisistrue.com -rc

  3. Michal, Norway July 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    I want to edit the text color. Is that possible?

    I believe the body text color is inherited from the page it’s on. -rc

  4. Stefan, Germany August 28, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    charset=”iso-8895-1″ should be charset=”iso-8859-1″

    And FWIW, I had to use

    echo system("wget -q -O - http://thisistrue.net/cgi-bin/tad.pl?ssi=1 | iconv -f WINDOWS-1251 -t UTF-8");

    to make the typographic quotes work on my site.

  5. Martin from NoVa September 11, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    I’d like to do this but I’m hopeless with HTML. I use blogspot and could add it easily if it were a gadget.

    You don’t have to know HTML. Just copy and paste the snippet, and you’re done.

  6. rewinn, Mercer Island September 11, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I use blogspot and added it here: http://rewinn.blogspot.com

    (Actually I experimented with a couple of ways, it’s just using the “html” gadget.)

    Feel free to contact me offline if you want help. This Is True is worth supporting!!!

  7. Jeni, OR October 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    I just wanted to say thank you for adding the “True-a-Day” for your site. I just started my site and was looking for some really different and interesting content to keep my viewers entertained. This is perfect. Best Wishes to you and thanks again.

    I’m glad you find it useful! -rc

  8. David in Boulder, CO November 6, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    I think this is a great idea. By adding something like this to by website, visitors can look forward to getting something new every time they come back. Very cool. Thanks.

  9. m nemzow November 15, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    What do I do to embed code into wordpress page?

    If you use the default “Visual” editor, WordPress will try to interpret what’s there as characters (e.g., the < character) rather than leave commands there to be executed by visitors’ browsers. So you have to use the “Text” editor to insert the code. Another way is to use the “text” widget. -rc

  10. Tom in Paradise, Utah February 21, 2016 at 9:41 am #

    I’m in the process of switching my blog over to HTTPS (lots of reasons for that!), but in the process I ran into a unexpected difficulty: your widget is being blocked by most browsers because it will only load with HTTP (not HTTPS as the browser is expecting). I tried changing the URL to HTTPS, but that didn’t work either — it seems your SSL certificate is thisistrue.com and not thisistrue.net. If that’s something you can fix, it would be GREAT to be able to continue using the widget on my new site!

    Definitely a good idea, Tom, and done! See update just before the FAQ, above. -rc

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