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Showing posts from 2006

Another Use For PKBlogs

Every week or so, you'll see a complaint from someone.
Hey everybody - report http://somehateblog.blogspot.com - it's being used to spread lies about me (my employer, my girlfriend, etc).

And right now, there's an ongoing problem with abusive network activity, and the way that Google is protecting itself, that's generated some nasty side effects. Each day, we see a few complaintsIt's been a week and I am still getting the sorry message:We're sorry...

... but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now.

The only way to BlogSpot for some readers, right now, may be PKBlogs, and other anonymising proxy servers. PKBlogs was previously developed to provide access to Blog*Spot web sites, when the Pakistan government had a block against "*.blogspot.com". PKBlogs stepped up, and provided that access, as a public service.

But they can be used for any…

Logging In To Blogger

With the coming of New Blogger, logging in to the right account (Old / New) should be more straightforward.Clear cache and cookies, and restart your browser.Login using the new, improved Blogger Login screen.

You'll have separate, well defined choices.Old Blogger, using your Blogger account.New Blogger, using your Google account.Make the choice wisely. Blogs using the old template may or may not be visible and accessible from New Blogger, and vice versa. If you login, and your blog isn't listed, or if listed isn't accessible, then logout, and login again carefully.

But the first time that you use the new login procedures, be sure to clear cache and cookies, first. Blogger appears to be reusing addresses, cookies, and scripts, even though they are providing a new set of servers ("www2.blogger.com", instead of "beta.blogger.com", for instance). If one of your cookies continues to point your browser to "beta.blogger.com", guess what will happen…

New Blogger

Beta Blogger is now called New Blogger 2006 - and this is an Old Blogger blog. And now, we have The Real Blogger Status - New.

Does anybody remember New Coke?

Well, New Blogger 2006 is substantially improved over Old Blogger. The improvements are substantially more significant than New Coke over Classical Coke.

And now, you can see my improved blogs.Chuck's Kitchen, benefiting from Labels (Food Categories).Martinez UMC, with a spiffy sidebar, and with colour and layout changes pending.

The Name Has Changed

but the game remains the same. I just wish that I knew what the rules are.

Pete, in Blogger Buzz: The New Version of Blogger, writes
The new version of Blogger in beta is dead!
Long live the new version of Blogger!

So this is now "New Blogger", not "Beta Blogger". Well, I will call it "New Blogger 2006", as I know that, in 2007, 2008, or sometime in the future, there will be a second New Blogger. And New Blogger 2006 replaces "Classic" or "Old Template 2006" Blogger.

Even though this is now "New Blogger 2006", and it replaces "Old Template Blogger 2006", you will find numerous references to "Classic" and "Beta" Blogger here and there. This blog will be titled and addressed as The Real Blogger Status, at least for a while.

(Edit 12/20): And in commemoration of the new name, we now have Real Blogger Status - New. (p.s.) Does anybody remember New Coke?

A Tale Of Three Corporations

Here are three major players in the Internet / IT world.Google.Microsoft.Mozilla.

I'll wager that none of the three have any executives who play golf (throw a Frisbee?) with each other, regularly.

Each company released some software, recently.Google released Blogger Beta on August 14.Microsoft released Internet Explorer V7 on November 14.Mozilla released Firefox V2 on October 24.

Consider those dates, then tell me how likely is it that Google tested Blogger Beta to work with either Firefox V2, or Internet Explorer V7? I'll bet better than even money that neither Firefox V2, nor Internet Explorer V7, was part of the Blogger testing platform.

That being the case, maybe we can't blame Blogger for all of the problems with Blogger Beta, or with Blogger in general. If you upgraded to Firefox V2 or Internet Explorer V7 recently, and you're having problems with Blogger, maybe you need to look at your computer, before you complain to Blogger.

You probably (better) have other hardw…

Your Blog Is Forever

According to Blogger Help This blog looks abandoned, can I have its address?Blogger accounts and Blog*Spot addresses do not expire.
That's good news - if you're the blog owner. Short of your blog being hacked, what you publish will remain online - and your property, forever. Of course, your ability to maintain your blog and URL will be subject to your ability to maintain the account that administers the blog. And the future online status of the blog will be subject to how it's published, and its future after you're gone.

Error 550 When Publishing By FTP

If you're publishing to an external host (not Blog*Spot) by FTP (or SFTP), you may be seeing any of several errors in the log
Error 550: Access is denied.
Error 550: Requested action not taken: file unavailable.
Error 550: The system cannot find the path specified.
If so, you may want to check your FTP Publishing setting. The FTP Path setting points to the location of your blog, relative to the root folder in the FTP server.

If the value for your FTP Path is "/", you should change it to ".", or possibly vice versa. Some servers require a setting of "/", which points to the absolute path of the root folder on the server; others require relative paths, such as ".", which points to the FTP root. This issue is discussed in Blogger Help Group: Publishing Trouble Bizarre Blogger Publishing Problem, help!!, and in my article Path Variances When Publishing By FTP.

We've noted in some discussions that, after you change the path to ".", fo…

My Blog Is NOT Spam #2

One of the frustrations of dealing with the word verification aka captcha, when a blog is falsely identified as a spam blog, is that only the person that owns the falsely accused blog can truly experience the problem. Those of us who try to help cannot, in any way, reproduce the problem.

Any other problem - whether a dropped sidebar, or maybe a squashed navbar, or even an improperly centered snippet of code, we can either reproduce in a test blog, or examine in the blog in question. By carefully examining the blog, or the page source, we can sometimes see what's wrong, or at least see enough of a clue to tell the blog owner what to try next. Or maybe we can get an idea what additional diagnostics might be useful.

The problem of an inoperative captcha - where either the captcha text window shows up blank, or where the blog owner carefully types the answer, hits Enter, and nothing happens - sound to me like another problem with cookies or scripts. If this is being seen more freque…

Securing Your Browser - And Painting Yourself Into A Corner

The Problem History
In the olden days, long before Microsoft even came up with Internet Explorer, a browser was simply a program to display text.

HTML was just text files, with links ("anchor links") to other text files. Surfing the web meant reading text, and clicking on links to read more text.

Then someone decided to add colour to the text, and someone else decided to put pictures in, to make it all less boring. That was just the beginning.

Fast forward to today.

Now, we have music and movies, delivered as both complete files and files played while you download ("streaming" content) - I listen to streamed music, like XTC Radio London. And we have various files which appear to be either interactive movies, or video games, where you can control the movie elements / players with your mouse. Some games download to your computer and are played there, others may run from a game server. And we have still more code and scripting that nobody knows what it does. We hope …

Blogger Blogs And Permissions

With Blogger Blogs, not everybody can do everything with every blog. Blogger doesn't provide anything as simple (or as obnoxious) as Simple File Sharing under Windows XP. They don't call it Simple Blog Access, but the choices that they do provide aren't a lot more granular.

Except for Authors, who have access only to their own posts, all access is against the entire blog. If you truly have a need to have different levels of access for different portions of your blog, consider splitting the blog into two or more different blogs, each with the components with differing access needs.

You setup blog membership and permissions from the Settings - Permissions wizard. It's a pretty simple wizard. You will need a current and operational email address (and not to an address that requires sender verification either) for each prospective member.
Administrative access is at blog level. Anybody with access to any part of a blog has equal access to the entire blog. You have to b…

Your Browser Cache, and Web Sites With Dual Addresses

As you surf the web, and read various web sites, you'll occasionally notice oddities. Following one link, you'll see one version of a web site; following a second link, you'll see the same web page, but with different content.

Obviously, the web page was updated, between the first time that you visited it, and the second time. Nothing odd there.

But here's the oddity. You visit the web site a third time, using the first link, and you see the same, older content. Then you check the second link again, and it shows the newer content again.

What's going on here?

Blog Ownership Stuck With The First Google Account? Don't Delete It

Under Classic Blogger, it was possible to transfer a blog from one administrative account to another, by adding the second account, then deleting the first. Incorrectly done, though, you could end up with a blog with no administrator, and no way to add an administrator. And another trouble ticket for Blogger to resolve.

So Blogger changed the possibility, with Blogger Beta. Under Beta, you can add a second (or third, or ...) adminstrator, but you can't delete the first administrator. That takes care of the possibility of having no administrator. But it creates a second problem (which apparently Blogger doesn't find important) - you can end up with an account that has no need to administer a blog, but having been the first administrator, is stuck with that ability none the less.

Having accepted that fact, one bright person came up with the idea

OK, what if I delete the first account?

A drastic, but seemingly effective way to resolve the problem.

But today, it appears that procedure …

Including A Video In Your Post

Photos are an easy way to make your posts more interesting. Going one step further, we have moving photos, ie videos.

Just Link To The Video, Hosted Externally
Including a link to a video is as simple as including a link to a photo, hosted elsewhere.
>>The Perfect Plumber
&gt;&gt;<a href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?
docid=2638976382458360943&q=plumber">The Perfect Plumber</a>
>> Top

Or Embed The Video In The Post
But look at my post in PChuck's Network: Don't Do It Yourself - If You Don't Think About What You're Doing

Here we have a Shockwave Flash movie, Embedded in the web page.
<embed style="width: 400px; height: 326px;" id="VideoPlayback"
type="application/x-shockwave-flash"
src="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?
docId=2638976382458360943&q=plumber">
</embed><br clear="left"><a
href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?
docid=263897…

Use Post Pages When Advertising Your Blog

In one Microsoft help forum, some time ago, one wanta be helpful guy would answer dozens of help requests daily, by copying his entire library - 800+ lines of technical information - into each post.
This should take care of you. If it doesn't, post back here with your questions. Now, read my entire compilation of experience. Your answer is in here - somewhere.

Now that Blogger provides its easy to build online web sites, anybody can do the same using a blog.
Blah blah blah. The answer is somewhere in my blog.
>>http://myblog.blogspot.com

Possibly this is done from ignorance. He doesn't know about addressing his posts. This is how spammers and trolls operate too.
Want advice? Check out my web site - it's in there somewhere.

Genuinely helpful folks, when they give advice, make their advice complete and relevant. The easiest way for you to do this is to link directly to the right article. To do that, your posts need to be individually addressable.

Go to Settings - Ar…

Registering An Address For An Externally Published Blog? Be Careful!

When you register an address for a Blog*Spot blog, it's a pretty simple process. Setup a new blog, give it a Title, and a URL. The URL will be something like xxxxxxxx.blogspot.com, where "xxxxxxxx" must be unique. There is only one way to check for availability of any "xxxxxxxx", and only one way to register your choice for "xxxxxxxx", and make it unavailable for someone else.

Enter the blog Title.Select an available URL.Select a template.Add a post to the new blog.Publish the new blog (this step only necessary for a Classic blog).
When you publish your blog externally, it's a bit more complicated.

Hire a service to host the blog / web site.Register your URL.Hire a service to provide you a directory (DNS) entry.
You may hire a package deal, where all 3 components are provided by the same service, maybe even your ISP. You may get all 3 components for free, ie no actual hiring involved. But you will have to spend some time on step 2, choosing…

The Page Cannot Be Displayed (Error 404)

This is a very popular error message, being seen recently. And by popular, I don't mean well liked, as in
Chuck is a popular guy.
I wish.

I mean we are seeing it a lot, recently. Or it's being reported a lot. Or maybe, it's always around, but the other problems are down a lot, so this one is visible.

The problem here is, it's used so much we don't know what it means. It could be anything likeYour computer won't connect to it.We don't know where it isWe know where it is, but we won't let you connect.

In Microsoft Windows Networking, it might be a combination of the old Error 5 aka Access Denied and the Error 53 aka Name Not Found. Both of these are very popular (and again not well liked) errors in Windows.

So how do we fix it? That's the bottom line.

You start by identifying who's responsible for it. The message itself is coming from your computer. Start with a little basic troubleshooting. If the problem is just you connecting to one or more w…

Migration From Blogger Classic To Blogger Beta - Planning The Process

We've been seeing mixed experiences with the migration from Classic to Beta. Some folks are just closing their eyes and jumping - and landing softly with no problems. Others are finding it a bit of a rough landing.

If you spent any amount of time adding custom components to your template, when you set the blog up originally, it's possible that the migration process won't easily convert your custom template. You might want to do a little planning, and experimentation, before you migrate.Most standard template objects can be created in the Page Layout editor. Try setting up a Google account, with a new Beta blog, using a template similar to yours. Add your custom features, and see how well it works for you.When you get the invitation to migrate your account, first make a test copy of your blog, using a copy of the template in your Classic blog. Then migrate your account, and convert the test blog first. If you like, you can easily copy the template from the Beta blog t…

Changing The Post Date

When you write posts in your blog, generally you'll want them to show the date / time when they were written.

A blog is a journal, and sometimes you will want to insert posts with a different date.You may want a post to show a future date, to bring it to the top of the blog.You may want a post to show a past date, to reflect a past experience. Or maybe you want to make a new post, and keep it off the main page, as a separate section of the blog.Maybe you want all of the posts to be in forward chronological order, instead of (normal) reverse chronological order.

Post / Sidebar Alignment Problem In IE - A Cure?

I've written about differences between Firefox and Internet Explorer, and about one specific symptom which seems to result from this difference. One of the challenges here has been that not all blogs exhibit this symptom. Most likely because not all blogs (not many most likely) try to cram page elements into spaces where they don't fit.

But occasionally, you run across blogs that seem to be impervious to this symptom, even though they appear to be inviting it. And today, I ran across a possible reason why some blogs don't have this problem.

And it's not hard to make your blog, too, be impervious to the symptom. Just find the stylesheet code, and insert the portion in red.


/* Page Structure

#outer-wrapper {
width:740px;
margin:0 auto;
text-align:left;
font: normal normal 100% 'Trebuchet MS',Verdana,Arial,Sans-serif;
}
#main-wrap1 {
width:485px;
float:left;
margin:15px 0 0;
padding:0 0 10px;
color:#333333;
font-size:97%;
line-height:1.5em;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for l…

Squashed Navbar - And Only In IE

Not a major problem, but a trend. At least, two blogs identified with the problem. In Internet Explorer, the Navbar is squashed into a box, in the upper left corner of the screen. This is visible only in IE V6 and previous. IE V7 seems invulnerable to the problem.

This appears to come from a miscoded template - in both cases (below) the template has multiple <body> tags.

blogger toolbar goes to left in IE Open 11/9
navbar has shifted to the left!!! Open 11/4


>> Top

A Problem Resolved, Or A New Mystery Begun?

So today, Blogger Support, represented by Buzzie, reported in Blogger Help Group: Publishing Trouble 24 hours of no posting, no commenting, no nothing, at 11/4 12:00
We have fixed the problem. Again, sorry for the inconvenience. if you still have trouble don't forget to mention your blog url.

The above quote was in response to yet another report of
We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request.
an often reported problem recently.

Slightly earlier, at 11/4 11:57 we see a similar message
We have fixed the problem. Again, sorry for the inconvenience. if you still have trouble don't forget to mention your blog url.

This for todays problem, after 12 hours of hell,
Your post was not saved due to a database error. An engineer has been notified.

So what happened here? Did they fix two problems in one day, or was one problem present for the past week, and got fixed in 30 minutes? Was this yet another 30 minute fix?

For a livelier viewpoint, see Roberto's Report: Have The Cho…

An Improvement In Problem Resolution?

So here's the latest glitch, as chronicled in Blogger Help Group: Publishing Trouble, in PST.

First report 11/3 22:10.
I am getting this bizzare when trying to publish my posts:
"Your post was not saved due to a database error. An engineer has been notified. Please copy your post to your computer and try again later. You can check Blogger Status for information about known problems with Blogger."
A dozen or so other victims replied, during the next few hours. Increased concern, and discussion all night, about how long this outage would last. The suspense mounts.

The latest Google lamb, Buzzie, shows up at 11/4 11:33.
I am sorry to hear that you guys have problems. Can you tell me the urls for the blogs that give you trouble, so we can figure out what's going on?
An interim report 11/4 11:47.
we have identified the cause for the publishing problem and it is getting fixed as we speak. I post back, when we all clear on our end.
Problem fixed 11/4 11:57.
We have fixed the probl…

500 Internal Server Error

Everybody has seen this error. The more that you publish to your blog, the more that you will see it.
This server is currently experiencing a problem. An engineer has been notified and will investigate.

Sometimes, if you wait a few minutes and try again, you'll be able to publish. Other times, you could be an hour - or more - with the same thing. You cannot say what works or doesn't, as you can't ever reproduce the problem analytically.

You may be able to work around the problem, by using a different Blogger server. Of course, by the time you clear cache, and shutdown and restart the browser, Blogger might have fixed the problem. So you can't really tell, can you?

Of course, you could report the problem. Right.

>> Top

Deprecated Code - Why You Should Avoid It

If you're perusing one of my articles on blog coding, for instance Centering Complex and Multiple Objects, and you follow my advice to read the W3 Schools tutorials for further advice, you'll find a lot to read. They give you good canonical definitions of each HTML tag, and interactive exercises so you can see what each one actually does.

If you're reading about the <center> tag, you'll note the advice
The center element was deprecated in HTML 4.01.
The center element is not supported in XHTML 1.0 Strict DTD.
If you're not blocking popups from http://www.w3schools.com, you'll note a popup window advising you that
A deprecated element or attribute is one that has been outdated.
Deprecated elements may become obsolete in the future, but browsers should continue to support deprecated elements for backward compatibility.
In other words, you can keep using <center> ... </center> right now, but one day in the future, it may stop working. No guarantee whe…

Centering Complex and Multiple Objects

HTML, which is what blogs and other websites are coded with, is great for displaying text in a simple layout.

It's just like typing - what you type is displayed in paragraphs, cleanly and neatly laid out, with line breaks automatically inserted.

HTML is not so great for displaying objects, displayed with other objects. Displays written around HTML have to flow - horizontally and vertically. They have to accommodate displays of varying resolution, and windows of differing size.

You can't simply place two objects next to each other, in your code - and expect one to appear below the other - in all cases.

Image Uploading #6

The issue of uploading images has been with us, off and on, for months. I last wrote about this problem in June 2006, in Image Uploading - 5. Note this problem might be related to the current problems of Disappearing Images also.

Remember though, if you have this problem, you don't report it to Blogger Support, and the problem continues, you have only yourself to blame when the problem continues.


Still no images Open 11/1
Cannot upload photos Open 11/1
Unable to Load Photos Open 11/1
where's the picture? Open 10/30
More image problems Open 10/27



(Edit 11/3): If the problem is with the Add Images button not appearing on the post editor toolbar, and the blog in question is published externally (not xxx.blogspot.com), then check your FTP publishing settings.
The image upload button will not appear for users publishing via FTP who do not have their FTP login information saved in their settings. As a workaround until we fix this, go to the Settings | Publishing tab and fill in the …

Disappearing Images #3

In my previous article in this series, Disappearing Images - 2, I discussed the possibility of DNS problems being part of the ongoing photo problem. Today, Blogger and Blogspot (Classical blogs) were down for over 1 1/2 hours for a scheduled equipment replacement.
to replace the piece of network equipment that was causing the outages in the past couple of weeks

When Blogspot came back up, we were able to view our blogs, but still got errors. We then looked at Blogger Status, and we see an update to todays outage report (posted somewhat after 15:30):
blogger and blogspot are back up (you may need to restart your browser to pick up the DNS change)

Now, here is why I originally suspected that there is a DNS problem, somewhere in the Google structure.

Explaining, or even giving an overview, of configuring DNS service is beyond the scope of this blog. I will, however, introduce you to a referential tool which is used by many techies. DNS Report, which is a subset of the wonderful DNSStuff T…

Blogs Being Hijacked?

I wrote Stolen Computers several months ago. I have been fearing that this moment would come, sooner or later. Last week, I wrote my first article in this series, A Blog Hijack?.

As as we continue, we see new reports of this scenario.

porn site took over a blog Observed 10/23
System Doctor 2006 ... huge problem Observed 10/23 New discoveries, buried deeply down in the thread, may provide useful intelligence about what is happening 10/26


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Giving Advice In Online Forums

Online forums, which are part of the Internet (in general), and the Web (in particular) (and no, the two are not the same) are used for many purposes. Some are advertisements, others social, and still others for requesting, and providing, advice. Since they are part of the Internet, many folks find it useful to provide some information (advice, discussion, or other content) in the forum itself, and link to additional information elsewhere on the Web.

The discussion of whether to provide advice in the forum itself, or in linked articles, is a constant issue in many forums. Some argue that it's more friendly to the one seeking advice, if the help is provided in the forum thread. Others think that it's more effective when provided in a linked article. Only one thing is known for sure - you can try to help everybody, but don't expect to please everybody.

These are all results which can be obtained from a Progressive Publishing strategy.
Accurate. The post itself, and the li…