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Showing posts from June, 2006

Putting A Post At The Top (A "Welcome" Post)

Many people have asked how they can have a Welcome or Index page in their blog. I have a Welcome page, on PChuck's Network, or on this blog, for instance.

The most obvious way to do this is to set the post date far into the future, so it always displays above any other posts, including ones which you may make in the future.

This is, fortunately, not hard to do. You can change the post date on any blog post, any time you feel the need.

Problems Uploading Pictures? Try This Process

In my work as a network troubleshooter, I work on many problems similar to this photo upload problems situation. We have:

Multiple people.
Multiple computers, all different.
Different browsers used.
Clearing cookies.
Some work in Compose mode, others Edit Html.
Incanting various runes and spells, while they work.

and some are successful in uploading photos, others not. WTF?

In my professional opinion (FWTW), this indicates at least two separate problems, in various combinations, causing variant symptoms.

Maybe we have a breakthru. In Google - Blogger Help - Publishing, we have pictures by trial and error... maybe help?, by Theodor.

By trial and error I found that when starting a posting by first
- giving some enters
- upload allt the pictures
- AFTER THAT adding my texts
has been working most of the times.


That agrees with MY experiences anyway. This is how I make a post with pictures.

I look at all of my pictures.
Sort them in the right sequence.
Upload in reverse sequence. The upload process alw…

Why The Hijackings?

This is frustrating as hell. I've been suspecting this situation since 5/2, when Geeta reported Temporarily Out of Service. Being as I'm not an employee of Blogger, just another Blogger like everybody else, I have to sit on the sidelines with everybody, and watch the fun (NOT).

I can only remind each person with a hijack situation, to Report The Problem To Blogger Support. And anybody who has a clue about this situation, if it differs from what I am writing here, Please! let us know.

But I suffer, as does everybody else, while I wait for my turn at being hijacked. And wonder WTF I'm doing to protect myself (if I am), and why I haven't been hijacked.

Why (how) are all of these blogs getting hijacked?

The Possibilities

The bad guys are attacking thru Blogger client (unpaid staff) personal computers.
The bad guys are attacking thru Blogger or Blogspot servers.

The bad guys have brute forced a security hole in a Blogger or Blogspot server.
A recently applied Blogger software …

Is Your Blog Getting Hijacked Thru YOUR Computer?

I'd hate to be the guy who stood in a crowded theatre (concert hall) and yelled
FIRE
so I'm sort of wondering if this advice is superfluous. But knowing computer security, it's all possible. All of the shite that I write about is very real.

And right now we're all smelling a lot of smoke.

Hijacking blogs is ONE practical use for malware.

Now, if there is a security weakness in Blogger that we don't know about it, that's up for Blogger Support to find and fix. And we have to pray that they do, and we have to feed them clues, when we have any, about what to look for. Which means, if we discover that our blog has been hijacked, we have to report the problem.

If there is a security weakness on our end, we need to know about that too. And fix the problem. Here are several possible problems.

Weak passwords, that are susceptible to password cracking, generally brute force activity. Strengthen your password!
Password logging malware. This is a very common problem in co…

Moving To Your Blog To External Publishing? Plan Carefully!

Not everybody is aware of this detail, but Blogger One Button Publishing has 2 components:

The Blogger web site creation database, ie "Blogger.com".
The Blogger hosted web sites, ie "Blogspot.com".

Look carefully at your blog address. Is it "whatever.blogger.com"? Nope, it's probably "whatever.blogspot.com". Or it's something else entirely, in which case you've already done what I'm discussing.

If you've had your blog for a while, and you tire of the limitations and problems that are common with Blogspot web sites,

Storage limitation, ie 300MB of pictures maximum.
Name limitation, ie "whatever.blogspot.com".
The ugly Navbar at the top of the page.

Then you may be ready to publish your blog externally, ie outside of "Blogspot.com".

But, if you're going to switch to external publishing, think first.

If you ever tire of external publishing, and want to move back to your original blogspot.com address, you may hav…

Ticket Numbers #2

In No Ticket Number For Help Form Entries?, I expressed my dismay in submitting problem reports, and getting back acknowledgement, but without a ticket number.

Today, I submitted a Spam Blog Notification, and got an interesting botmail (and the typo is in my original report):
Re: [#545569] Spam Blog Nitification

Hi there,

Thanks for contacting Blogger Support. We will review your message and respond as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.

Sincerely,
Blogger Support


Did they restore the ticket number, and simplify the message content? Or does this vary depending upon which of the selections in the list is used:

My blog is gone!
I can't post. (I'm on Blog*Spot)
I can't post. (I'm on my own server)
I can't post pictures.
Template or Display Problems
Comments and Backlinks
Profile Issues
Team Blogs
Mail Features (BlogSend, Blogger Mobile, Mail-to-Blogger)
Add-Ons (Blogger for Word, Picasa, hit counters, etc.)
AdSense Issues
Blogger is Down!
Report a TOS violation
Other

Update (13:…

Report Spammers

These forums are for getting, and providing, help in using Blogger one button publishing. They are not forums for advertising whatever commercial products or services you supply. Spam is simply not permitted here.

Spam is like dog shite. The longer it stays:

The more it stinks.
The more dog shite you end up with.
The harder it is to remove completely.

You have to remove the spam immediately. The quicker it's removed, the less return the spammer gets, and the quicker he moves on and leaves his shite somewhere else. The less everybody complains (the stink), the less other spammers feel encouraged (the quantity), the easier it is to remove (the cleanup details).

If you see it, get rid of it. Only Blogger Support can remove it, and they will only do so when they get enough reports about it, and it rises to the top of their queue. So everybody reading the forums, and this article, has to do their part, and report the spam.

We laugh at, and curse, Blogger and Google, almost daily for th…

Here's A Neat Trick

Here's a link to PChuck's Kitchen.

Here's what looks like a link to PChuck's Kitchen. To the unwary, who are like the blogpsot victims, this might be a reason to post
Help! My blog has been hijacked by W3.org!

Let's look a little closer at the two links above.

The working link:
http://nitecruzrrecipes.blogspot.com/
The "hijack" link:
http://http//nitecruzrrecipes.blogspot.com/

See the extra "http//" in the second link? Now you know.

So, the next time you setup a link in your post, and the link goes somewhere weird (and ALWAYS test every link after you add it, and this is why - and I learned this from experience), don't get into the forum of your choice and scream
Help! My blog has been hijacked by W3.org!
because it hasn't. W3.org is a very well respected member of the Internet community.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potentia…

Splog With Navbar Disabled? Ha

So the latest trick, when a spammer plants another splog out there, is to Hide the Navbar. This may, or may not, also be a Hijacked Blog. It's done through a very simple modification to the template code.

This supposedly prevents us from finding and selecting the "Report Abuse" link, which would let us report the splog, and block it from being promoted. We are also not able to hit "Next Blog" and get away from there. Two common splogger tricks.

Blogger told us sometime ago that we are allowed to remove the navbar from our blogs (though they do not recommend such action). And removing the navbar is not at all a difficult task.

If you run into a splog, or otherwise offensive blog, open a new tab or window in your browser, and go to Blogger Help: Report a Terms of Service Violation, where you see the improved navbar "Report Abuse" wizard. This is the same wizard that you would get from the "Report Abuse" link in the navbar, you simply have t…

Why Are You Doing THIS?

Long ago, and oh so far away (no, that's a popular song from when I was young), I wrote an article Why Do I Do This?. This is not a rehash of that article.

I've had a few folks, (maybe misunderstanding my motives, maybe wanting to interfere with my message, who knows?) tell me, in not so many words but close
Chuck, you have your head where it won't see any sun.

Of Fables And Blogger: Comment #3.
To the Blogger Staff Reading This Group
Damn, Down Again, Is There Someone Smart Enough to Fix This Mess?

It appears that my pointing out thatThere are no blog hijacks (in these cases).There is no major outage of Blogger or Blogspot (right now).Blogger shouldn't be expected to respond to every complaint immediately (without any work on our part).
... all of these posts, in general, mean that I am trying to be a shill for Blogger.

Simultaneously, though, I wonder whether Blogger might become tired of my prodding them. I prod them to get off their coffee breaks and fix the problems. …

Nobody Has Hijacked THESE Blogs

My blog (one of them anyway) was http://nitecruzrrecipes.blogspot.com/ (now, it's http://recipes.nitecruzr.net/ - but, I digress). Now, I'd hate to have to type that by hand. But that's MY blog.

On the other hand, neither http://nitecruzrrecipes.blogpsot.com/, nor http://nitecruzrrecipse.blogspot.com/ is my blog. If you typed http://nitecruzrrecipes.blogpsot.com/ into your browser, you'd hope to get
Server not found

Firefox can't find the server at nitecruzrrecipes.blogpsot.com.

Check the address for typing errors such as www.example.com instead of www.example.com.
If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer's network connection.
If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure that Firefox is permitted to access the Web.

If you typed http://nitecruzrrecipse.blogspot.com/ into your browser, you'd hope to get
Not Found

The requested URL was not found on this server. Please visit the Blogg…

Of Fables And Blogger

In the story of Chicken Little, the main character runs around screaming
The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!!

Last week, Blogger / Blogspot had yet another major outage. Thousands of Bloggers were left with nothing to do but gather round and scream
Blogger is down!! Blogger is down!!

This week, we have some Bloggers who continue with
Blogger is down!! Blogger is down!!
even though they could be blogging. What's up with that?

And unfortunately, like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, the more they scream
Blogger is down!! Blogger is down!!
the less folks will listen. Including Blogger Support. This affects all of us.

Please, if you're able to post, and to read others posts, don't get online and scream
Blogger is down!! Blogger is down!!.
Because it's not.

STFU unless you can contribute something useful.

Update (10:55, June 17):
I was wrong - Blogger really is down. I'm imaginarily typing (and publishing) these words, and you're not really reading them. If you believe that…

Interesting Posts In Google Blogger Help

Even though There Is No System Wide Failure, Bloggers are in shock. This is like any natural disaster; every time earthquake surviviors hear a noise, they think it's another quake. Here, every time Blogger times out, or gives an error message, people think that its down again.

But we still have to analyse, and report, the problems. So, what do you say to posts like these?

To the Blogger Staff Reading This Group
Damn, Down Again, Is There Someone Smart Enough to Fix This Mess?
It's now Tuesday and Blogger has died yet again
BLOGGER is down. Again. Just as it has been repeatedly for the past three weeks. I'm out of here next month.

How to best reply to these posts?

What is the problem? Publishing (Blogger.com), or Viewing (Blogspot.com)?
Does the problem affect all blogs, or just specific ones?
Is the problem seen from all computers, or just from yours?
And finally - - wait for it - - HAVE YOU REPORTED THE PROBLEM??

It almost seems as if some folks live to post
This is getting c…

No Ticket Number For Help Form Entries?

Let's see if this goes into the bit bucket.

When your unpaid staff takes time to fill out one of these forms, and gets back botmail saying "We don't have time to read your form", that's one thing.

When we get back botmail without a ticket number, there's no illusion even that you read our forms.

So why have the form? Why not simply tell everybody to email directly to "nosupport@blogger.com"? It's hard to sincerely advise folks to fill out the form, when there's absolutely no illusion that it doesn't go directly into a bit bucket.

Help us to help you, please.

Here are the threads where we will explore this issue.

more about my broken pipe - please advise
Can't publish, Can't upload photos (wrong thread subject and thread somewhat hijacked)
external publish problem since 5/31/06 (replacing second thread)

Update (June 22, 2006): TOS violation notifications, at least, appear to warrant a ticket number.

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There Is No System Wide Failure

...with Blogger / Blogspot right now, 10 June 2006, 11:30 PDT. I created this post, at 11:00, and have been adding to it and others in this blog since then.

Neither

Blogger - the infrastructure / system to build websites.
Blogspot - the infrastructure / system to display the websites.

is down. I just wrote this post, and you are looking at it right now.

There are two known open issues right now. These issues affect specific people, not everybody, and neither are part of a systemwide failure. If either of these issues affects you, saying "Blogger is down", indiscriminantly, won't get you help.External publishing.Photo uploads.

Both cases might be easier solved, by more people providing input. You need to provide your input in the proper manner, though.

So, what do you want to do?

Gripe about the problem.
You are doing fine - just keep at it.
Solve the problem.
I want Blogger to solve the problem. Then submit a problem report.I want to solve the problem, with peer help. Then t…

Improvements In Reporting #2

Wow. Look at Blogger Status now.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Late last night we pushed new code and once again replaced harware in order to combat the problems of the past few days. As of this morning it appears to have improved the responsiveness of the site, altho' there are still fixes we want to make to get Blogger faster for everyone.

Also, we are working on fixing the problems some users are seeing with photo upload failures.

Posted by Jason at 10:46 PDT
Thursday, June 08, 2006

For many users, Blogger will have been extremely slow or down for most of the morning. We continue to work on fixes for this problem and hope to have it resolved as quickly as possible.

Update (4:45p): We are planning another infrastructure overhaul to address the significant problems we've been having in the past several days.

Update (6:59p): We've made another change that has improved performance, but we are also planning to make additional changes this evening.

Update (10:45a, June 9): The issues with …

The Real Blogger Status / WordPress Edition #1

The Real Blogger Status / WordPress Edition is now online.

All I did was run a script from the WordPress Dashboard - Import. It was predictable, and simple.

Indicate Blogger as my blog host.
Backup settings in blogs being imported.
Log out of Blogger, from the Dashboard.
Log in to Blogger, thru the Import script.
Select the blog to be imported, from my Blogger blog list.
Watch and pray.
This blog is not terribly large, just a few pictures (no, actually just 1), and maybe 50 posts. It took a good 5 minutes, with a nice console type display showing what was going on.
The Import script finished, and that was that.


Having finished, I now have a blog in WordPress. That being said, it's just a blog.

Look at this blog, almost every post contains a link to another post. This is not a blog. I don't write blogs, I write hypertext documents, using a blog framework. The concept of hypertext uses articles linked to each other, as the web itself is constructed.

All of the links in The Real Blogge…

I Blog Slowly

I publish each post dozens of times - that's why I like blogging. I'm still working on my most previous blog, Another Day Of Anguish.

My current project, The Real Blogger Status / WordPress Edition, is just a stub right now. I just started it, and as any new blog, the Wordpress blog starter puts in a welcome comment. So this morning, I went to remove the comment - cleanup the stub, and get ready to mirror it from The Real Blogger Status / Blogspot Edition. And imagine my surprise when I found a real comment from a real blogger. Already.

Blogger Employee: Are you reading this? Check this.

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Spam Blogs #3

In Spam Blogs #2, I briefly touched on the issues of spam in the blogging world. The problem is worse than the previously referenced articles.

In Washington Post Security Fix: Fake Blogs Use Security Fix to Support Bad Advice, Brian Krebs discusses how the splogs are being used to advertise, among other things, fradulent security products.

...they will link to one or two anti-spyware products that either aren't worth a fraction of what they cost or have earned a reputation for marketing by scaring people into thinking -- often falsely -- that they have massive spyware infections on their computers.


In TGDaily Number of websites grows at record pace, they mention that Blogger reported 660,000 websites added just last month. I wonder how many of them were splogs? And how many of the chronic Blogger failures are due to the increased load caused by the splogs?

See Splogging Bots, for a discussion about how splogs are being created in such volume.

Another Day Of Anguish

Blogspot appears to have been up all day, so my blog viewers, apparently, didn't lose interest. My hit counts are almost equal to a month ago; though discounting the fact that half of my viewers are reading this blog, not my main one, we are still suffering. But Blogspot, today, was not the concern.

Blogger was the story today.

Since today, the action was in the forums, mainly Google Blogger Help: Something Is Broken, and Publishing Trouble, that is where today's story comes from.

From What the *%^%$ Is going on with Blogger?!, drjewest writes

It really is tragic because its just another example of American indifference to customer service. When the country is bankrupt and has to receive foreign aid in a few years maybe folk will wake up and do their jobs. But of course then it will be too late.

From What the *%^%$ Is going on with Blogger?!, Blogger Employee writes

We're currently having some trouble with one of our databases. This is likely the cause of the problems that y…

Of Blogger and K-Mart

Having written about my early memories of shopping in Richmond, Virginia, I was saddened to read the news from a fellow Blogger and Richmond resident:

...Miller & Rhoads and Thalheimers are alas, no more. Both went out of business and their buildings are slated to be torn down in some downtown renovation.



Miller & Rhoads, Richmond VA, c. 1931 (gone)


That sad news was delivered thru my website GuestBook, as it was impossible to write a Blogger comment.


Thalheimers, Richmond VA, somewhat later (gone)



K-Mart, on the other hand, however questionable their service, is still with us. And K-Mart is getting bigger, having recently bought out Sears / Roebuck (aka Sears).

So many Bloggers are thinking about moving to alternate blog hosts, like Wordpress. Well, The Real Blogger Status is being mirrored there, this week. But do I expect that to be a long term solution? Regretfully, no.

K-Mart, though known for providing less customer support, outlasted both Miller & Rhoads and Thalheimer…

Here's The Problem

I don't know what was down, nor what was fixed. I can read a brief note in Google Blogger Help, by Blogger Employee. And I can read the latest Blogger Status post.

For me, I was unable to publish anything for several hours today, though, as far as I can tell, my blog was still accessible. And the GBH note tells us that something was done, and that Blogger is somewhat aware that we were concerned.

That's a good start, but only that.

The problem here is that there's never enough information provided for any Blogger "customer" to determine the nature of a problem, when it happens. The only thing we can ever do is submit another Blogger Help form. And since we never get a reply back from that (please don't call the botmail a reply, that's purely an acknowledgement), we never know if our problem is something that gets fixed, or if it just randomly went away.

The Blogger Status page refers to "a hardware problem", and "new hardware" to &qu…

How Did He Do THAT?

That's a question I ask myself almost daily - when looking at websites in general, and at blogs in particular. Just about everything I do in my blogs is copied from somebody else. There's no classes "Blogging 101" etc.

Well, here is yet another reason why I push Firefox.

View Selection Source


If you are looking at a web page or blog, and you see a feature that intrigues you, simply:Highlight the portion of the webpage that interests you.Right click and select "View Selection Source".A view page source window will pop up, with the code to produce just the highlighted elements, from step 1, highlighted.

What better way to learn? Try my sample article.Click on the link.Highlight the portion of the page beginning with "yesterday", and ending with "Experience". It helps to highlight objects before and after the area that interests you, to get the context.Right click in the highlighted area, and select "View Selection Source".If you …

Image Uploading #5

Image uploading is down again.

Haven't been able to post photos for 4 days!... Opened 6/5.
72 hours of no photo posting Opened 6/2.
My photos aren't loading... Opened 6/5.
Photos don't publish Opened 6/5.


(Update, 10/27): This issue is continued in Image Uploading - 6.

(Update, June 29):Problems Uploading Pictures? Try This Process may provide a start in isolating the multiple problems.

(Update, June 15): Diagnostics requested by Blogger Support:

After a failed image upload in Mozilla Firefox, please complete the following steps:

Go to "Tools">"JavaScript Console."
Select "Errors," and copy and paste the messages that you see (if any) into your response.


(Update 11:17, June 14): By Jason, in Blogger Status:
We continue to upgrade hardware and make changes in response to last week's problems. Additionally, we are still investigating the photo uploading problem seen by some users. While this problem has been reported by a number of people, it is …