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Showing posts from March, 2006

Either The Post Or Sidebar Ends Up At The Bottom

My Blog Is Missing! Oh no! Generally, this refers to a deleted or hijacked / stolen blog.

Other times, part of the blog is there, and the other part is not. This may be similar to the corrupted template problem, except part of the blog is clearly there, and looks just fine. WTF?

In the latter case, neither the content nor the sidebar is actually missing. One or the other has simply slipped to the bottom of the page. Of course, it never occurs to somebody to scroll to the bottom in search of the missing content or sidebar. Why should it? It's called a sidebar because it's a BAR (column) that sits at the top of the page, beSIDE the column with the content (Posts). D'Ohh.

Drop Back And Kick

Sometimes, you have to drop back and kick.

If you're reading this, please look in the sidebar for additional articles. If you can't find the bloody sidebar, which is why I'm doing this in the first place, please look at the very end of the page. Scroll all the way down. It's there, really!

If you'd get Firefox, you wouldn't have problems like the sidebar issue. I'll still have to struggle with them, but you won't have to see them.

I'll fix this real soon - I hope! Wish me luck!!

Update, 3/31 12:30: This is now fixed.

Twas an interesting bit of code causing the problem, and I have no idea how long it's been a problem.

Let's see what happens if we put the code in here:






So all it was, was 2 little buttons. The first, Powered By Blogger, has been in there for a while, I have no idea how long. The second, I just added today, right after I added the Firefox link above. I think I will leave all of this, as a reminder to everybody to periodically …

Musings About Blogger - And Retail Department Stores

When I was young - back in the middle of the past century - I lived with my parents in rural Virginia. There were no real suburban areas then - just little towns with a an A&P or Piggly Wiggly for foods, Ben Franklin for toys and miscellaneous stuff, and Western Auto for auto parts and hardware. Sam Walton was just a kid then too, I guess.

Anyway, the nearest town was the nascent metropolis of Richmond. It had a real urban downtown - with a Miller & Rhoads, and a Thalheimers (both chains now owned, I think, by Macys or Saks). And in the suburbs, a K-Mart.

Now getting to Richmond was a couple hours of boredom on the country roads, and 2 hours in the car with my parents was like 6 hours nowadays - the car didn't have a radio, or air conditioning. But 1/2 hour outside the Richmond city limits was the K-Mart, and we would stop there first.

After 2 hours in the car, K-Mart was always our favourite stop. But, we were always picky about actually buying anything there. For qua…

Why Do I Do This?

I had a friend ask me that question, recently. Wanting to know why I try to help other Bloggers deal with the vagaries of Blogger.

Why do you do this?

The implied second question (neither spoken nor written, and it didn't need to be so either) was

This isn't your problem.

I had not a clue what to say. At the time, anyway. But as I reflected upon the question, many replies occurred to me.

I wasn't affected by the "403 Forbidden" errors Monday, March 06, 2006.
I wasn't affected by the "403 Forbidden" errors Wednesday, March 08, 2006.
But I WAS affected two days later. My blog was unviewable for 4 DAYS.

Friday, 3/10, I started my day. I had some spare time mid morning, and I added a couple paragraphs to one of my posts.
I Published my updated post. And immediately discovered that I was now one of the lost. My updated post was not to be found. Just what I had been reading about for several days, but spared until that moment.

403 Forbidden

I found my way to…

Blog Not Found

Looks like this is the problem of the week. Pete acknowledged this last weekend. Now we have other examples, in varying flavours.


Diagnose the problem. Is anybody else able to see the blog? Many of the problems are seen only by the OP; others will post after with "I can see your blog fine". If so, clear cache and cookies, and restart the browser.
If the blog is missing, and nobody can see it, is it a new blog? Are you maybe publishing thru Blogger to an offsite (non-Blogger) service? Log in directly to the Blogger dashboard, and see if the missing posts are in Draft form. If that's true, Blogger may have labeled your blog as a spam blog, which causes offsite published blogs to end up as Draft. If your posts are ending up as Draft, you'll not see them online.
If the blog is missing from the Dashboard, see My blog disappeared from my account!.
If the blog is visible from the dashboard, did you actually post anything? Did you Publish? If you have no posts, or if …

Backup Your Blog

If you spend any time developing your blog, you'll probably not going to enjoy recreating it again. Occasionally though, mistakes happen.

Maybe you hit the "Delete This Blog" button, and realised it just a microsecond AFTER you hit the Yes button. Too late. Now you have to wait for Blogger to restore it, and hope that it doesn't get taken by the spammers in the meantime.
Maybe you just tweaked the template a little too much, and can't get it right again.
Maybe you're plagued by the problem of the week, Blog Corruption / Hijacking.
Maybe you would like to carry your computer around, and show others your blog (or look at it yourself), even if you're not online.


If you can, by a miracle, get Blogger to restore your blog, or if you're one of the lucky ones reading this who doesn't have a problem, take a couple hours and Backup Your Blog. One solution for this need is HTTrack, which is a free and very easy product to use. Note this caution when using H…

Deleted Blogs Can Be Restored

If you haven't backed up your blog, locally, on your computer, you may be able to have it restored by Blogger. To what state, will it be restored, is something you will find out. Blogger prefers that you fill out the standard Blogger Support form, of course.

You may also find success by posting at Google Blogger Help, as Deletion of my blog, No Response from Blogger shows. Here we see an example of personal attention by Pete Hopkins, who doesn't speak for Blogger, but still provides assistance, in odd cases.

Official assistance, according to Pete, will be provided under the bloggeremployee nym.

But don't be mislead. Getting a deleted blog back won't be easy. Be aware of the proper recovery procedure.

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Current Issues

I'm going to keep this index complete - and timely, the best I can. Achieving both goals won't be easy, so please forgive me - and let me know - when I err. I trust it will stay relevant, as it's pretty hard to identify truly closed issues.

This blog won't go away. Not right now, anyway. I certainly won't delete it!


Image Uploading - 6 Open 10/27, as a renewal of Image Uploading - 5.
Blogs Being Hijacked? This is becoming more common recently. I don't think it's going to get any better, unless we find out what's really happening. Open 10/23.
Disappearing Images. This seems to come and go, and isn't directly related to any changes in the blogs affected. Open 10/11.
Publishing Problems - Classic Blogs Open 9/28. Lots of rumbling in GBH about this, and it's been happening for several days. Closed 9/28 - a splogger problem.
BlogSpot Network Problems? Open 8/23. As a network troubleshooter, I suspect either DNS or MTU problems affect some B…

External Publishing Problems?

There seem to be a few issues with publishing blogs externally. When publishing, the Bloggers state that they are getting "Get Error: 001 Broken Pipe" or "001 Broken Pipe".

FTP Broken Pipe (Blogger's port range) OPEN 3/5
Broken Pipe 001 OPEN 3/23
Can't publish posts OPEN 3/23
Can't publish new blog entry OPEN 3/31
Unable to post... Same as external problem? OPEN 3/31


If you are getting this error, please add your thread to Blogger Help. And please report the problem to BS - and post the ticket number in your BH thread.

(Update, July 10): In Broken Pipe Issue Try this..., we may have a breakthru. Try publishing an individual post, rather than republishing the whole blog at once.
...the REAL problem is when you "Publish the Entire Blog". I had success publishing the "Index Only" and all the separate Posts individually.

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I Don't Get It

Here's the scenario as it looks from reading Blogger Help, and Blogger Status, when a typical problem is active.


Day 1: You read Blogger Help, and multiple reports about a problem.
Day 1: You look at Blogger Status, and it's empty.
Day 2: You read Blogger Help, and more reports about the problem.
Day 2: You look at Blogger Status, and it's empty.
Day 3: You read Blogger Help, and still more reports about the problem.
Day 3: You look at Blogger Status, and it's still empty.
Day 4: You read Blogger Help, and pretty unhappy campers by now.
Day 4: You look at Blogger Status, and it has one brief post.

From Pete (or Steve, or Prashant). We're having a problem.
Update (time stamped half an hour or so later): Problem fixed.



It's great that they're doing a status page, and that they're time stamping the posts (and the updates). But why do they write each post just 1/2 hour before the problem is solved? What goes on during the other 95 1/2 hours?

I've worked in Tech…

Image Uploading #3

Image uploading appears to still be problematic. No update on Blogger Status as of 3/23 8:00 PST.

If you'll look at my previous post Image Upload Again, at the comment from CD, she's actually had personal email from Blogger Support asking for details about her problem. I don't know why Blogger Status isn't updated to indicate that they are actually looking into the problem.

Again, if you are experiencing problems, maybe you should Report Your Problems?? The squeaky hinge gets the oil.

It's Called Blogger Support - Not Blogger Mindreaders

Here's an interesting thread in Google Blogger Help. (Paraphrased to protect the guilty).

Blogger 1: My Blog isn't working.
Blogger 2: My Blog isn't working.
Blogger 3: My Blog isn't working. What could the problem be?

The one noticeable item there? No mention of having reported the problem to Blogger Support.

I've said over and over - don't expect a personal response from them, except in rare cases. But you still should let them know when there's a problem. But when you report your problem, don't waste time looking for an email address.

I've seen this before in the forums. Somebody reads the discussions, and figures
No sense in reporting this problem, everybody else has it.
Well, consider this:

Problems that aren't reported don't get worked on.
Problems that affect more people get worked on by the more experienced staff. If you know about the problem, and don't report it, it won't rise in the queue as much as it could. So if it isn…

Troubleshooting Your Blog, and the 450

I'll be blunt here. Blogspot / Blogger hosts millions of blogs, and has millions of worldwide customers. You send in a complaint to Blogger Support, about your blog, and it goes into a long queue. And if it's just YOUR problem with YOUR blog, that's where it will likely stay. Problems affecting multiple blogs, and problems affecting multiple Bloggers, or customers, get higher priority. That's common sense.

So, if YOU notice a problem with YOUR blog, it's up to YOU to troubleshoot. Now, I'm a desktop support technician, and I preach diagnostic procedure. Constantly.

Note: This article started out when the 450 error became a problem, and it's now a part of my general tutorial on troubleshooting Blogger problems.

If you're having a problem, don't just drop it on Blogger Support. Involve Blogger Forum and Google Blogger Help, too. Update all 3 groups, regularly, when suggestions are made by any others. Be patient and persistent.

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450 - Resolved?

So late yesterday, I noted that my friend CameraDawktor was able to update her blog Trouble Always Has a Door, with pictures and everything. Which makes it apparent that the current state of emergency has been resolved, for right now anyway.

Dare we to hope that things will go smoothly for a while? Only time will tell.

NOTE: Just because the underlying problem has been fixed (we hope), there are still corrupted blogs out there. Blogger Support won't fix those, we the owners of the blogs must do that. If your blog continues to load badly:

Republish the Entire Blog.
Refresh your Blogger client setup.

450 #5

OK, I know that you're tired of reading this, and I am no less tired of typing the same shite over and over. But I can tell you again that publishing does work. And nowI can show you.

I tried publishing my friend's blog, 4 times with no success, at 22:15 PST. Then she IMed me at 22:30 to tell me that she had just published, and on her first try yet. And here is her blog, that you may examine in its completeness.

Note the time stamp on my post, this afternoon just before I noted Graham's status post. And since noting THAT post, both I and the owner of the test blog have been trying to repeat my success. And have now succeeded.

We will probably leave her blog as is until this is resolved. I think I have convinced her to put all updated thoughts on her new blog.

450 #4

If you're getting a 450 when trying to publish to your blog, retrying repeatedly does eventually work. Really.

But it's not reliable.

I just got my friend on IM, and she tried. And got more errors. And I tried for her. And got more errors. I tried 12 times or so (and didn't count). And still more errors.

But this was after I posted 3 or 4 notes in Blogger Help and Blogger Forum advising folks that it does work - really. And I'll bet some of them are blessing me, for telling them to retry. And others are cursing me.

But I know that it does work. Just be patient, and persistent.

450 #3

Well.

I looked at the previously experienced 450 errors.

450

450 Write error: No space left on device
001 java.net.SocketException: Connection resetblog/20/43/11/troublealwayshasadoor/archives / 2006_03_01_troublealwayshasadoorarchive.html

450 #2

450 Write error: No space left on deviceblog/20/43/11/troublealwayshasadoor/atom.xml


and I noticed that though they were the same error number, they were against different objects.

So I tried republishing. And got the first error again. The fourth time, I got the second error again.

And the fifth time, it published.

So don't give up. It may take a while, but eventually you get results.

This is still not ideal, but it is almost acceptable. Now, if I had a Captcha to deal with, I wouldn't be quite so objective.

450 #2

WRONG. Blogger still doesn't have a clue.

For publishing problems, simply wait a few minutes and republish, and that should take care of it.

I just sent an IM to my friend, when I noted the new post. They're working on the problem!

Then I tried republishing, per the advice.

450 Write error: No space left on deviceblog/20/43/11
/troublealwayshasadoor/atom.xml

This is really, really frustrating.

Cookies - Not Always Too Tasty

All too frequently, you read complaints
I sign in from the Navbar link, but it pops up my dashboard for the wrong account.
or
Help! I started my browser, but it says I'm logged in. I can't get to the page layout editor.
or
I checked "Remember Me". It still makes me login, each time. Why??
or even
Help! My blogs are missing from my dashboard!!

And even after clearing cache and restarting, the problem remains.

But besides what's stored in cache, you have another factor affecting what you see in your browser.

Cookies.


The cookies contain settings, used by the many web pages that you've loaded onto your computer, that affect how those pages get displayed. The cache contains the actual page contents, as temporary files. Cache and Cookies complement each other, but don't confuse them - they are not the same.

The problem is that many security experts believe that cookies are a major security threat. Many well trusted security malware detector programs, like

450

This problem is not going away, and it doesn't appear to be server specific either.

I can reproduce it at will too. I can post to this blog. On another blog, where I have administrative access, and COULD post, I get a 450 when posting.

When I try to mirror my "test" blog (it's not really a test blog, and my friend doesn't think so either), using HTTrack, I end up with the same problem that's being seen online.

The sidebar is truncated halfway thru its content.
Posts are missing from the display.
Looking at the download log, I see numerous entries

Warning: file not stored in cache due to bogus state (incomplete type)

which I'm pretty sure correspond to the missing posts (#2).

I can go into the Dashboard for my friend's blog, and I can see all of the posts there. Including the ones omitted in #2 above.

I just created a new post, and when I tried to publish it, it came back with the dreaded

450 Write error: No space left on device
001 java.net.SocketException: …

Warning: DO NOT Delete Your Blog

If you create a blog, and work on it, eventually it will rise in value. It may even get a Google Page Rank of some decent value.

So let's say you manage to make something of your blog, then tire of it. The normal thing would be to delete it. Delete it - it's gone - move on to something new.

Simple, right?

Wrong.

As RedRyder52 at Blogger Forum points out, you'll just be creating an opportunity for yet another spammer to move in, and to capitalise on your success.

And here's another experience. AS had his blog deleted (not by her), and before she could reregister the name, it was stolen by a bad guy. Fortunately, with some hard work, patience, and persistence, her experience had a happy ending.

If you decide to switch to external publishing, so you can use your own domain, you'll be doing the same. You'll give up your blogspot.com address, if you don't plan for the move to your new address.

The bad guys are out there, with automated tools. They can tell when …

Change Your Blogger Server

If you're a Blogger Unpaid Staff Member, like me, you just posted to your blog (and with no errors), and you're getting any of the several afflictions that so many are complaining of, when trying to access your blog:

A blank screen.
The blog will load as HTML, or look like garbage.
Only part of the blog will load. Any or all of the following may apply:

Posts will be missing from the body.
Part or all of the sidebar will be blank.
The footer will be missing.

Maybe your blog WILL load, but it will take like 5 minutes each time you open a new post. Obviously, your visitors won't stand for THAT, which is why your visit count is way down.


Or maybe you're trying to Create or Edit a post, and having no luck.

Maybe the Post Editor won't load properly. Or it loads so slowly, that you start to type into the post window before it finishes loading, then when it refreshes as it loads, what you just typed in gets erased.
Maybe you're missing key pieces of the post window - like som…

Filer Replaced?

So Blogger has replaced (finally!) the filer that was giving so much trouble. Can we now hope that things will smooth out?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The filer that we have been having trouble with in the last few days failed again. Those blogs that are stored on the bad filer are temporarily not available for publishing and viewing. We are working on replacing the filer and restoring access to the blogs affected.

Update (10:40 am, March 17): The filer has been restored. All affected blogs are available for publishing and reading.

Posted by Pal at 21:14 PST


I'm not too optimistic. Look at Blogger Help in Google Groups:
Problems continue
450 Write Error
Getting an error
... and many others.

Let's see if I can post this. If so, it's only after I applied my previously published workaround for many Blogger intermittent problems:
Blogger And Server Access

Thoughts About 403 Forbidden

So back to my immediately previous reason for publishing this blog.

One of my friends emailed me today, and he appeared to take the "403 Forbidden" message personally.

Chuck, if you don't want me viewing your blog, just let me know.

Or why am I getting illegal access?

In a later IM, I confirmed that what he saw as "illegal access" was actually our dear friend from the weekend, "403 Forbidden".

But that got me thinking. This was one friend, and HE was able to email me, and help me set the matter straight with HIM. But what of the hundreds of strangers who got this message? Will they ever try again? Possibly not, based upon this one thought on Blogger Forum.

My visit statistics, as measure by SiteMeter, are about back to normal. Except, 20 - 25% of my current statistics include THIS BLOG, which I added yesterday. Discounting this blog, which did not exist before last weekend (and which I started as a result of last weekend), my numbers are down 25% - 50…

An Improvement In Reporting

So our latest Blogger Status post contains a bit more detail:

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Currently photo uploading is not working for FTP users. We are aware of the problem and should have a fix within a few hours. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Update (4:10pm) : This has been fixed. Thank you for your patience.

Posted by Steve at 15:38 PST


It would be nice if they would actually describe which error, that we are seeing, should be fixed, when they work on any one problem. Else we just have to sit here complaining endlessly.

I personally did not experience any problem with FTP (I don't do that). But I did see a commonly reported problem when trying to publish upates. I can't describe the problem, hopefully, cause when I was seeing it, I couldn't publish changes to THIS blog. I'm hoping that what I'm typing now can be published. Of course, one never knows WRT Blogger. 8-(

Anyway, I see that I can, once again, post. So back to the purpose for THIS post. As we can …

Maintenance To Filers

This one appears to have been posted ahead of time somewhat.

Unfortunately, we have to do some maintenance on one of our filers today from 9 am to 9:40 am PST. Some blogs will be inaccessible while this is going on. Everyone is able to publish, however, regardless of whether or not the blog is down for maintenance.

We apologize to those blog owners who are affected by this.

Update: This maintenance is now complete.

Posted by Prashant at 08:54 PST


There are still folks caught unawares.

ARRRGGGHHH!!! Blogger down...AGAIN!

Of course, you can't access Blogger Status when the beast is down, can you?

This is the third outtage greater than 30 minutes this week for me; anyone else?

Posted on: Today 8:44:28


Odd - Prashant scheduled the work 9:00 - 9:40. He had it done, and the notice updated, at 8:54. Faster than the speed of light. 8-0

Unbelievable!

They updated Blogger Status!

They finally have a new entry Wednesday, March 15, 2006

We’re doing some maintenance on one of our Blog*Spot servers. Some blogs will be inaccessible while this is going on. Everyone is able to publish, however, regardless of whether or not the blog is down for maintenance.

We apologize to those blog owners who are affected by this. This partial outage is necessary to fix some of the transient Blog*Spot problems that have popped up recently.

Update: The maintenance is complete.

Posted by Pete at 12:32 PST

Again, posted after the work was done. Thanks, Pete.

So, the outage 3/10 - 3/13 was a transient Blog*Spot problem. That's real useful.

More Email From Blogger Support!

More from their bot.

Hi there,

Thank you for your honest feedback regarding our status page. We are constantly working on improving Blogger, so we will certainly keep this in mind for the future.

Thanks again for your input, and thanks for using Blogger!

Sincerely,
Blogger Support


I think this one was responding to my earlier:

A lot of people depend upon http://status.blogger.com/ to find out about problems like this. Wouldn't it be a good idea to either update that, or take it offline?

Right now, it shows a status of
Update, 5 minutes later: All fixed! Posted by Pete at 16:46 PST


I wonder if calling the status page "Blogger Status" was entirely a result of the name? The initials BS seem too good to be true.

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Replies From Blogger Support

Of my dozens of problems reports, submitted by both email and from the Blogger Help webpage, I received several form notes:

Hi there,

Thanks for notifying us of this problem. We have rebooted the machine that was causing these errors, and you should now be able to both view and publish your blog normally again. If you continue to have trouble, please clear your browser's cache and cookies, then log in to Blogger again. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Sincerely,
Blogger Support

So what do we have on Blogger Status? As of 12:30 PST, the most current post there is:

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Some users are currently getting “403 Forbidden” errors when viewing their blogs, and “Permission Denied” errors (or variations thereof) when publishing. You may recognize this problem from Monday.

The offending server is being replaced and then shot. We’ll let you know when things are back up. Shouldn’t be too long.

Until then, affected blogs will be unavailable and unpublishtoable.

Up…