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Showing posts from October, 2006

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, 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A deprecated element or attribute is one that has been outdated.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, 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…

Blogger Security Issues Continue

Last Friday (Friday the 13th yet), PCWorld Google's Blogger Suffers Outage reported
After getting hacked this past weekend, Google's Blogger publishing service suffered an outage yesterday morning that kept both and the Blogspot hosting service offline for two hours.

Then there was a long semi-outage 9/27 - 9/28, where any publishing of posts required repeated retries, and clearing of cache and cookies.

And, most recently, yet another hijacked blog.

What is going on here? Maybe a distributed attack, as I predicted some time ago?

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Disappearing Images #2

In my previous post, in this series, Disappearing Images, I suggested that this is caused by an MTU setting problem.

In thinking further, I think that the nature of the photos problem fits both a DNS problem, and an MTU setting problem.It's apparently random, by multiple factorsBlog.Photo within blog.Reader of the blog.Time.

From reading questions by Blogger, I am guessing that they are focusing on the blogs, and the photos. I think that we need to diagnose the DNS and MTU factors, since we are the ones affected.

Bothe DNS and MTU involve 3 groups of factors.The reader (you, or your friends), and client computer.The network, including routers and servers between the readers, and the Blogger servers.The Blogger servers themselves.

The problem is seemingly random by time and by person - some people will see the problem, while others won't, even when viewing the same blog. No two computers in the world, including what network activity they are involved in, how they are connected to…

A Blog Hijack?

I wrote Stolen Computers several months ago. I have been expecting that this moment would come, sooner or later. I'm still not convinced that it's as obvious as it appears, nor that I have any part of it described in my article. But that's why I'm here - I'm learning as I go.

I'm going to quote this story from the relevant posts in Blogger Help Group: Something Is Broken Blogs have been hijacked. . ....

The original post by Margie, 10/17.

I received an email from blogger saying that my account had been cancelled because I violated the TOS. However, there was no explanation at all. I had blogs that were not linked to websites at all. Instead of pointing out the offending blog, they took out all of my blogs. On Thursday Oct 12th, I went into my sites and double checked them all to make sure everything was working. I added an affiliate or two, a few links and a sign up form (only on my job search blog) for people to sign up for a free job search ezine. I add…

Improvements In Communication #2

A few weeks ago, I noted the existense of a new channel of communication, Known Issues for Blogger in Beta. The apparent intended focus of this web page is application issues related to Blogger Beta. This was a good start, and nicely complemented the Blogger Status, web page, which apparently is intended for system related problems.

The focus for Beta Known Issues (aka BKI) is limited to Blogger Beta. Noting that the migration from Classical Blogger to Beta Blogger is not all that complete, I recommended a similar web page for Classical Blogger. This recommendation was publicly denied.

Yesterday, I noted significant changes in the Blogger Help form and help request procedures. And a significant part of the help request procedures includes two new references - Beta Known Issues (an apparent alternate reference to the database which feeds the BKI blog), and Classical Known Issues (which complements the BKI, and provides a similar reference for Classical Blogger users).

Now, both the B…

Migration To Blogger Beta #4

In the previous articles in this series, I described a heterogenous migration process, and previously a homogenous migration process. In a heterogenous migration (which will be the case in 99% of the projects that you'll be involved in), you allow for differences between the principals, and you plan the process around those differences.

This is called a phased migration.10% - No challenges, lots of stress. Pilot.80% - A few challenges, less stress if you plan it right. Main.10% - Lots of challenges. Followup.

The pilot phase is probably the most exciting part. This is the first migration that you've done (except hopefully one or two black box tests that you ran in private in your lab), so deep down inside yourself, you're not totally convinced that it will work. This is normal.

For the pilot, you identify a few principals that are the easiest to migrate. Maybe they involve the people who trust you the most, and the systems that are the easiest to support. If you&…

Migration To Blogger Beta #3

In the previous article in this series, I described a homogenous migration, where all of the principals (involved computers, software, and users) are identical. In a homogenous migration, you can easily substitute one principal for another. Whatever works for one will work for another. No surprises.

Guess what? There is no such thing as a homogenous migration. There will always be some surprises, when you deal with computers, software, and users. You cannot easily substitute one principal for another, unless you enjoy being yelled at.

You can, though, use a phased migration process.Pilot.Main.Followup.You just organise it differently. You identify the differences between the principals, and customise the process to allow for the differences.

Identify the features of each principal. The people, network connections, software. Which features make the various principals unique? Here are just examples - I'm sure that you could think of a dozen more.A computer that is connected d…

Migration To Blogger Beta #2

The art of moving computer users from one computer program or system is called migration. One example of a migration, which we will discuss in this series, is Migration To Blogger Beta.

The simplest migration - when all principals (involved computers, software, and users) are identical - we call a homogenous migration. With all principals being equal, planning a homogenous migration is simple. Take the number of principals, divide by the number of days, weeks, or months allowed for the migration, and you get a count of how many principals must be migrated per day, week, month.

That's the simplest homogenous migration, and that works fine if there are no problems.

To allow for problems, you plan to work harder during the part of the migration when there are no problems being experienced. You migrate a few principals in the beginning, carefully. You work really hard in the middle, maybe twice as hard as you need to. And you hope for no problems, so you can coast at the end. That…

Migration To Blogger Beta

Blogger Beta has been out for slightly less than 2 months. I made my first Beta blog post on August 16.

The Beta rollout to date has been, to put it politely, chaotic. And has inspired various literary masterpieces in the help forums.

The question going thru everybody's mind, and asked here frequently, is
When must we all migrate to Beta? Weeks, months, years?
I would personally prefer the latter.

Today, we see that question answered, in Google Blogger Help: An Open Question to "Blogger Employee".
We're looking forward to migrating all users to beta in the next few months, so, as there's limited time left with regular Blogger,

So, there's the answer. Not one that brings joy.

And whenever we ask about migrating our blogs, to test Beta, we're told that migration is by invitation only.

Somehow, Blogger Staff, you better start listening to your unpaid staff. You need to develop a business model, with some real support, and think about how to rollout this product …

Size Limits On Your Blogger Account?

There are no real limits on the account itself, and there are not a lot of limits in Blogger, in general.

There is one major limit on your blog, though.
006 Please contact Blogger

You'll get this error if the main page is over 1M in size. By the time you see this, though, it's likely that you went past the limits of your readers patience, long ago.

If you like having people read your blog, keep the main page size down.

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Disappearing Images

If you use images (diagrams, pictures, photographs) in your blog, you may already have seen this problem. You or a friend will look at your blog, and where you should see an image, all you'll see is a blank space, or a blue or red "x", or maybe an empty box. This will depend upon what browser you use, what other security devices you have on your computer, and how the blog is coded.

Some folks see the problem when uploading pictures, and some after the images have been uploaded. In some cases, the problem will come and go, without any action by either the blog owner, or the reader. I've been a victim (my blog has shown this problem) too. I have yet to see this acknowledged on any of the Blogger issue lists.

The one thing that I will say in Bloggers defense is this
If you are experiencing this problem, and you haven't reported it, then you are part of the problem.

That's a faint defense though. This has been reported, repeatedly. I know that Blogger has hear…

Changing The Account Name On Your Blog

If you have a blog for a while, eventually you may decide that you would like to manage it from another account. Unfortunately, there's nowhere in Settings that says
Manage this blog from this account.
So what do you do? Basically, just add a second administrator to the blog. Then the second administrator may be able to remove the first from the blog.Go to Settings - Permissions.Invite a second person - enter an email address for that person (or your second email address, as you wish).The invitee opens her / his email, and follows the link included with the invitation.He / she identifies her / him self with a Google account. The Google account does not have to be a publicly known email account, but since it's a Google account, it will be an account with email possibilities.Once the invitee has accepted access to the blog, from a Google account, you (in your current account) can return to Permissions, and look next to the invitee name. Find and select the "Guest" l…

Using Images In Your Posts

One of the easiest ways to make your blog more user friendly is to add images - diagrams, illustrations, even photographs. But sometimes that's also one of the hardest - how do I start?

Well there is nothing special about an image. It's just a link to a file, where the file contains a picture or whatever.

How you include the link - embedded or not, makes the difference. An embedded link lets you view the image, directly, in the post. An external link lets you view the image, separately. Videos, aka moving photos, can be embedded in the blog posts.

And you do need to consider what you're going to do with the image. Replacing the default text title / description in the blog header will be a little bit of work. Blogger has a Configure Header widget, but it's not very replete with options yet.

Now having seen the possibilities, and the possibilities are practically endless, you need to be aware of the possible complications and limitations.Consider your readers, and lim…