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Showing posts from August, 2006

Predicted Effect Of Blogger Beta

In my previous post, The Real Blogger Status - Beta, I predicted that the Blogger Beta would cause resource reallocation within Blogger, and stubborn holdouts who continue to use Classic Blogger will soon find themselves without service or support.

Today, in Google Blogger Help - Publishing Trouble: Is something wrong with Blogger today? (and there is an open ended question that in itself should have acquired 200% more trolls than it did), I see a copy of the latest botmail:
Hi there,

This is an automated update from Blogger Support. We are currently focusing all of our efforts on Blogger in beta, and are unable to provide personal responses to other issues.
What the hell? Personal responses?? Whenhave they ever provided personal responses? And please don't try and count Blogger Employee appearing in Google Blogger Help as a personal response.

This was a true C&C moment.

(Edit): In Google Blogger Help - Something Is Broken: Unable to provide responses - because they're tryin…

Replacing The Blog Title With An Image

Those of you who are artistic, and handy with Photoshop or another image processor, eventually decide that having a blog labeled in text is boring. So you spice it up. And one of the easiest things you can do is to replace the blog title with a picture.

(Question): Does this blog use a Layouts template? If so, read about Customising The Header In A Layouts Template Blog, first.

(Note): The code below has extra line breaks liberally inserted, to avoid yet another post / sidebar alignment problem.

The hardest part in doing this is to get the image hosted somewhere. If you use Flickr, Photobucket, et al, this is not an issue (hopefully you know the URL). You can't do image upload when editing your template. If I want my image hosted by Blogger, this is what I do.
Create a new post in the blog, and Title it "Photos" or whatever.Upload my picture to the post.Look carefully at the code created in the upload. In my case, I have<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerIm…

Migration From Blogger Classic To Blogger Beta

I have several Blogger blogs, among the various websites and other web presences that I maintain. Two of my biggest blogs - PChuck's Network, and The Real Blogger Status - simply can't be migrated, given the current level of problems, and of design deficiencies, to Blogger Beta. The latter blog (this blog), which I call RBS, absolutely won't be migrated to Beta, until there are no more Classic blogs. Maybe this blog won't ever be migrated.

Having said all of that, I will move ahead with using Blogger Beta. There are just so many improvements in Beta, which I have discussed in detail, separately, that I intend to enjoy.

This blog will continue to exist, though, probably as long as I base my web presence in Blogger. I'll use static links between this blog and the Beta, in various mirrored posts. And, I'll have dynamic digests - syndicated feeds, for instance my Blogger Beta feed. See the RBS Beta mirror post for a project description, complete with code example…

Login Problems In New Blogger

Possibly the biggest problem with New Blogger 2007, right now, is the confusion over authentication. Under classic Blogger, you could have a Blogger account, with an account name. That account could be tied to any email account, with any email service. By default, New Blogger 2007 ties your Blogger access to a Google account.
Blogger BetaGoogle AdsenseGoogle GroupsGoogle MailGoogle TalkGoogle SitemapsWhat happens if you want to switch accounts for various reasons?

One of the desired features in Blogger blogs was the ability to restrict access, ie allow only authenticated users to view a blog. Google decided to include this feature in its Beta Blog release, and decided to use Google accounts for the authentication. Unfortunately, this creates a problem with people who are currently authenticated using Blogger accounts. And Classic blogs likewise have trouble with people who are authenticating only with Google accounts.

Remember, you can have any Google account managing your blogs, with…

Login Problems Related To Blogger Beta

One big problem with Blogger, right now, is the confusion over authentication. Under classic Blogger, you could have a Blogger account, with an account name. That account could be tied to any email account, with any email service. Blogger Beta ties your Blogger access to a Google email address.

Unfortunately, even though you're not using Blogger Beta, you may be affected by changes to Classical Blogger, which support the Beta.

Blogger Employee seems to consider this possibility. And Blogger Buzz: Beta Update! describes issues that are relevant here too.

One reader writes of using the same account and password, in both Blogger and Google, and experiencing this problem. He reports a successful workaround, achieved by changing the password on one account.

Changing Your Blog URL? Plan the Change!

Occasionally, after you have your blog for a while, you tire of the URL. Maybe the blog content changed in focus, or maybe you discovered that the current URL is too similar to another better known one. So you decided to pick a different BlogSpot address. Whatever.

So you selected an available URL, went into Settings - Publishing, changed the address, and republished to the new address. Fine.

Then you discovered that you can still see the old URL. Not so fine.

What you did was similar in effect to someone switching to external publishing. Like someone who switched to external publishing, you can still see the old blog. Hopefully, it still has your contents there.

BlogSpot Network Problems?

I'm a network troubleshooter, and got into Blogging only recently, when I needed to setup a website quickly. So when I hear Bloggers describe problems that may well be network related, not related to the silence at Blogger, my ears perk up.

So today I see mention of possible DNS or MTU problems accessing blogspot.com.

Before Upgrading to Beta - READ THIS, first seen 8/23 in a subthread.
We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request., first seen 8/23 in a subthread.

And here's an ongoing problem. When you're in Post Edit, you see (on and off, constantly)
Could not connect to Blogger.com. Saving and publishing may fail.Google Blogger Help - Something Is Broken: Image Uploading Update

DNS / MTU problems can have varied symptoms.
You try to browse to http://www.example.gov, and you get a cryptic

Firefox can't find the server at www.example.gov.
We can't find "www.example.gov".
The classical
404 Not Found
The also classical white screen, with "Done&q…

I Want Back

Some folks have moved to Blogger Beta, and a few are trying to move back. Some of them just plain aren't satisfied, others can't take the frustration and uncertainty, and some unlucky ones have a corrupted template.

Switch back?
I Want off of Blogger Beta


Now, if you're lucky, you'll find that you have a corrupted feed linked in your blog. Remove the bad feed, and you could be back in business.

If not, you have to use a classic template.Under Template, select Edit HTML.Select REVERT TO CLASSIC TEMPLATE.
This doesn't work for everybody, though. And you will lose some featuresDrag and drop layout editing.Labels.
And how long can you keep a classic blog? Who knows?.

>> Top

The Silence Continues

As Blogger rolls out their (vastly improved) Beta blog template, the problems arise. Now, I have been part of many roll outs of software and hardware, and problems are normal. So the Blogger Beta, though it may seem catastrophic to most Bloggers (the unpaid employees, I mean), these problems are not unusual.

What is unusual though (at least compared to the real business world), and what has fueled many posts in The Real Blogger Status, is the silence.

An example of the frustration and uncertainty felt, by many Bloggers, is this bit of genius, which I quote in its entirety.
An actual fictitious conversation at google....

Tech 1: Hey lets update blogger with a new beta!

Tech 2: Yeah that would be fun...should we test it first or just make it live on the web?

Tech 1: Hmm...lets just make it live and watch all our faithful bloggers panic.

Tech 2: Haha...man you have a sick sense of humor, but I like the idea. Oh and while we are at it, lets ignore their emails as well.

Blogger Staff: Your Beta…

Publicising Your Blog / Website - How Not To Do It

There's one helpful and knowledgable guy, in a tech forum, who would, at one time, end each post with
Please link to my blog.And there are some online communities with a "staff position" of publicist or recruiter. The "job" of the publicist / recruiter is to go into the Internet, and convince folks to check out the community being started. In some cases, the first thing the person starting the community does is to "hire" the publicist / recruiter, before there are even any articles to read, or members to interact with.

And still other online communities will be formed with one purpose - to have everybody link to everybody else. You can go into discussion areas in some forums, where everybody posts
Hey everybody, check out my web site.Neither of these strategies make any sense to me, for technology websites. In technology communities or web sites, you provide peer help. That is content, that's relevant, useful, and valid, to your peers.
Answer q…

Bypass, or Clear, Your Local Cache

In every Blogger forum I read, you see occasional complaints
I just made changes to my blog. Other folks can see my changes, but I can't. What is the problem?The buttons on my Post Edit toolbar / my Navbar won't do anything. Help!!The problem is quite simple. Portions of your blog, and of every other website that you've accesed recently, are stored locally, on your computer. The next time you access that blog or website, your computer won't have to waste your bandwidth downloading the same files. Have you ever noticed that the first time you visit a new website, you computer seems to run slower than subsequent times accessing that same website? This is not your imagination.

In some cases, as when you make changes and can't see those changes immediately, this is not a good thing. Until a file reaches a certain age (sits locally on your computer for a while), your computer won't even bother to check for its update. Your friends will see the changes, but you…

The Real Blogger Status - Beta

The Real Blogger Status will soon be continued as a Blogger Beta. For the most current articles in RBS Beta, see the Bridge Feed, at the bottom of the page. And see Migration From Blogger Classic To Blogger Beta, for my mirror strategy to move ahead, without actually migrating this blog immediately.

So far, just random thoughts about functionality, many noted by other folks.Template Customisation. Not granular enough. Inability to edit the title, and use graphics there, will be one problem. This has already been mentioned in online discussion.Publish - and update - on the fly. Switch back and forth, between blog edit and blog view, instantaneously. Switch between blogs, instantaneously.More intuitive than WordPress.Really works.If you do this much, you will get used to it.If many people move to Blogger Beta, resources - both hardware and support - being switched to Blogger Beta may make Blogger Alpha unusable.This feature, IMHO, will drive the migration. As soon as Bloggers get…

A New Blogger

A new version of Blogger is coming (An improved Blogger interface, not another unpaid employee). The first hints of its features are found in the Blogger New Features web page.Multiple posters for a single blog.Private blogs, viewable by permission.The long awaited RSS 2.0 feed, officially announced.An improved dashboard.Immediate publishing of all updates, with no "Publishing 0%..." spinner.

With all of that said, I hope that some of the existing problems can be resolved.

How To Not Make Your Visitors Happy

A year or so ago, I started attending a new church. It's a small church, with an active core of members, and it needed a website. I decided that a Blogger website would be fitting, so I setup Martinez UMC. And after I had it working, the pastor announced its existence to the congregation.

A few weeks after it was announced, one of the members came to me after service one Sunday, and said (to this effect):
Chuck, we looked at the website yesterday. And there was a lot about the Bible, but nothing about this church.

So I showed them our website, and they were surprised.
It didn't look anything like that.

And I told them that they made a mistake, and typed the address wrong or something, and we left it at that. But I had no idea how right, and yet how wrong, I was.

Apparently, my fellow church member typed "martinezumc.blogpsot.com", instead of "martinezumc.blogspot.com". The domain "blogpsot.com" has been setup to respond to all subdomain requests, …

Know Your Inlinks

Active visitors produce, and are produced by, search engine weight. I talked enough about knowing who your visitors are, but that's not the only relationship that you need to consider.

Besides incoming search engine links, there are links to your website on other websites. Some are provided by your friends, others by folks you never meet. The latter are gold. Many search engines will give weight to your website based upon incoming static links. Occasionally, you'll see, in your visitor logs, a referral link from an unknown website - and not from a search engine.

When you see an incoming static link in the visitor log, investigate it. If the website has similar content and style, you'll both benefit if you add a backlink to that website.The other website owner will benefit from your new static link.You'll benefit when other folks visit your website, and see your outlinks.These other folks will benefit, because they will be encouraged to link to you also.Which will f…

Patience

So today I see the report (paraphrased to protect the guilty)
I just finished publicising my blog, My Blog. I setup a Google Sitemap for my blog myexample.blogspot.com. I submitted it to Google, MSN, and Yahoo. I even did Dream Submit. I waited a couple days, and Googled some of the keywords in my meta tag. My blog wasn't in the search list. I even Googled for my blog by name - nothing. What now?

Well, what now is that you have to wait. The search engine spiders won't be there, checking out your blog, immediately. It could be days, or weeks, before your blog is even noticed. And weeks before it's indexed to any degree of usefulness.

Even after your blog is indexed, if it shows up in any typical search lists, it will probably be at the end. To get listed on the first page, you have to have weight. To have weight, you have to have content, plus people have to click to your blog, and hopefully link to it. None of this will happen during the first week.

And BTW, if yo…

Stop The Comment Spam

So you just wrote a kick ass blog. And here's your first comment, posted by a stranger. Yay.

But look - what does it say.
Great post. See my blog.
And when you look at the linked blog, it's crap. Another splog - and your blog now provides a nice link to the splog. Gack.

Don't let this happen again.In Settings - Comments:Set "Who Can Comment?" to "Only Registered Users", or maybe even to "Only Members of This Blog".Set "Show word verification for comments?" to "Yes".Set "Enable comment moderation?" to "Yes".Enter your email address for reading the comments.Discard the email, when you get a comment notice that indicates comment spam.
Make the jerkwads work (answer the Captcha) to even send the spam. Then make sure they don't even get a reply back - just trash the email, and ignore the spam entry. Maybe they will even shoot themselves in anguish (we could only wish).

>> (Edit 2005/1/18): Google i…

Polling Blogger

In any computer network with any number of servers, you should actively monitor their status. In a small or home office, you can use a product like The Dude (what a name and what a product) to track the status of all of your computers.

With the thousands of high power servers in the Blogger / Blog*Spot infrastructure, you can bet that Blogger Support uses some polled monitoring system of incredible complexity, probably way better than The Dude. Unfortunately, whatever they use, you can't see it.

So if somebody chatting with you asks
Is Blogger down right now? I just posted to my blog, and I'm seeing the old 0%.
what are you going to say?

Nothing authoritative, unfortunately. But you can, at least, look at the current blog activity, and see if Blogger is totally dead. The Recently Updated Blogs page lists all blogs updated in the last 10 minutes, at any time, with timestamps by the second.

The list is thoroughly dynamic, and takes a few seconds to load completely (it will h…

Limit The Size Of Your Main Page

Patience has its limits. Waiting 5 - 10 minutes, for the main page of your blog to load, is too long. You simply cannot load the entire blog every time somebody surfs to it.

Generally, loading half a dozen posts of average size is sufficient, though with smaller posts, you can load more. Putting a picture or two in the blog is not a bad idea at all, but a picture in each post will slow down its loading significantly. Be aware of the possible problems - and various solutions.