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Showing posts from 2007

Missing Archives And Template Corruption

This blog has a lot of posts for me to keep up with, and they have been developed over a couple years. To find relevant posts, I frequently look in the date sequenced catalogue, aka "Archives". One would expect to find a catalogue of posts for each month, since the blog was started.

One would expect. Before checking your blog, be sure to reload the view, if it's been sitting for a few hours. This seems to have happened maybe sometime after 18:00 PST today, give or take 2 or 3 hours. I didn't see consistency in all of my browsers, until I refreshed the view of the blog.



This is normal.



This, too, is normal.



This is not normal. The numbers in parentheses indicates that I have posts for those months. But when "opened" (note the arrows for August, July, and June pointed down), nothing shows in the posts lists, as it does for December and November.


If I click on a month label, I can see all of the "missing" posts in main page view. So the archives a…

So, Do You Want To Play A Game?

This is the game of "Porn\\\\Next Blog" surfing. Like all games, it must have some rules. You are welcome to make up your own, as you see fit. These are simply my rules, which I follow for consistency.
Use Firefox, on a computer properly protected with Layered Security.Start Firefox from within SandboxIE.Open half a dozen or so tabs, to start, in the window.The goal of the game is to hit "Next Blog" repeatedly, until you have surfed to 3 Adult Friend Finder splogs.The surfing, for maximum consistency, should be done as rapidly as possible. One of the problems of "Next Blog" surfing is that you constantly find interesting blogs which you will be tempted to examine. Don't spend time looking at blogs, keep going. When you find any interesting blog, or when you find an AFF splog, move on to the next tab.When you have found 3 AFF splogs, you will have 3 tabs with those splogs, plus any incidentally interesting blogs, displayed in the tabs.If you fill …

A New Game! Let's Go Porn\\\\Next Blog Surfing!!

Several months ago, I started a series of posts which I entitled "Adult FriendFinder", or "AFF". Adult FriendFinder has been long known for providing Internet advertisements using pictures of "local" women, with many of their pictures frequently described as pornography.

An unidentified criminal organisation is currently producing a large number of blogs, which are being hosted by BlogSpot, and which use Adult FriendFinder ads as their signature. These blogs are maintained in great volume, so when you use the "Next Blog" link in the Navbar for any amount of time, you will likely surf to one or more.

The volume of these spam blogs, or splogs, in BlogSpot, is one of the reasons why I, and a few other bloggers, now advise those with blogs read by sensitive people, to remove the Navbar from your blog. I make this advice, ever mindful of Blogger repeated advice that the Navbar should not be tampered with.

And this is why I currently refer to using th…

Surfing Unknown Blogs? Sandbox Your Browser!

Normally, when I instruct you to check out a blog or web site of dubious reputation, I explicitly advise you to protect your computer. One way to prevent installation of malicious software on your computer, when you must surf dodgy web sites, is to use a proxy server. Using a proxy server will protect your computer, by running all web site client activities on the distant server, and send to you only the visible components of the web site itself.

And that's the downside as well as the upside of a proxy server. Sometimes, you'll need components of a web site, that you wouldn't get through a proxy server.

When a proxy server isn't a useful solution, consider using a sandbox.

Antivirus programs, like Norton / Symantec, have been using sandboxes, for years. Now, you can run your browser in a sandbox too. SandboxIE was originally written to "Sandbox IE", as in Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer, before V7, was well known to be insecure, prompting the developm…

Deleting A Page Element? Delete It Through The Page Elements GUI

In articles like Can't Delete A Page Element?, I explain how to remove a page element from your blog, when it's locked. This is a two stage process.From the Template Editor, unlock the page element.From the Page Elements GUI, remove the page element.

Occasionally, I give this advice, only to have somebody ask meChuck, why make it so complicated. Just delete the entry in the template.

But it's not that simple. Look at a Linklist page element, for instance.



See all of the URLs in my "Blogger Help Links" page element, in the sidebar, for instance?


Now, look at the template code, for that page element.
<b:widget id='LinkList2' locked='false' title='' type='LinkList'>
<b:includable id='main'>

<b:if cond='data:title'><h2><data:title/></h2></b:if>
<div class='widget-content'>
<ul>
<b:loop values='data:links' var='link'>
<li>&l…

Commenting - Locked Down, Ever So Slightly

If you're accustomed to leaving anonymous comments on other folks blogs, selecting "Other" for Identity, and entering your Name and URL, you'll have to change your procedure - that option is now gone. In its place, you may find (at the option of the blog owner) a selection to use OpenID comment authentication.

If you have an account for LiveJournal, WordPress, or many other blogging platforms, you'll be able to comment transparently. Without an OpenID account, you'll only be able to use "Anonymous" (again, at the option of the blog owner). And leaving a BackLink, in the URL field, is now a thing of the past.

This may make comments a bit more secure, but a lot more unfriendly. Not everybody who reads your blog will have an OpenID account. Those who don't will be unable to leave anything better than an anonymous comment, and that if you enable anonymous accounts.

Try it out - you may as well get used to it.



Click on Google - Blogger In Draft, in …

Custom Domain Publishing, And The 404 Error

When you work with a custom domain, and endure / work around the frustration of DNS setup, and later the monolithic error "Another blog ...", you occasionally may see another error. After you finally manage to redirect your blog "myblog.blogspot.com" to "www.mycustomdomain.com", and possibly after you add Google Apps to your custom domain, you or your readers will try to load the blog, and seeNot Found

Error 404or its equivalent in another browserLive Search
Were you looking for: My Custom Domain?

When that happens, there's just one way to recover, and that involves repeating the previous setup.If you haven't done so already, and if you're able to do so, check and correct your DNS setup.If you just removed or edited a DNS entry, examine the TTL value of the entry that you removed or edited. To improve your chances of getting through this without seeing "Another blog ...", do nothing during the TTL period, while you wait, to know that y…

Making A 3 Column Stretch Template

Ever since I followed the pack, and experimented with making myself a 3 column template (and discovered how deceptively easy that was), I've been considering making a 3 column stretch template. I have enjoyed my 2 column stretch template so much, that I sort of suspected that a 3 column stretch template wouldn't be a great stretch (pun intended) of effort.

Can't Delete A Page Element?

In a Layouts template, the ability to add and delete page elements (gadgets) is one of the neatest tasks in maintaining your blog.

Sometimes, a page element added can't be deleted later. You can edit a page element either from the blog itself (if you have enabled Quick Edit), or from the Page Elements wizard. When you edit an element, it should have a button to "Remove Page Element".

The button isn't always there - and this generally happens when the gadget is locked.

The Vagaries Of Publishing Your Blog To A Custom Domain

Since the Google Custom Domain product was made available to eager bloggers, there has been a well known limitation - the inability to get both "www.mydomain.com" and "mydomain.com" to redirect to the same Blog*Spot blog. I've been writing about this limitation since March 2007, a couple months after Custom Domains was launched.

That limitation was resolved in October, 2007.

But the ability to make "mydomain.com" == "www.mydomain.com" brought more uncertainty. Not all DNS Hosts support "CNAME" referral, of both the primary domain ("mydomain.com") and a subdomain ("www.mydomain.com"). Yet that referral is essential to the success of custom domain use.

When you setup your domain, the domain setup wizard (provided by your DNS host) should provide you with two lists - "A" and "CNAME". All direct references ("Hosts") go into the "A" list, and all others ("Aliases") i…

Custom Domain Publishing - Another Symptom Of The Confusion

One of the challenges in setting up a blog, successfully published using a Google Custom Domain, involves getting DNS Hosting. You have to have a DNS server pointing your domain to "ghs.google.com", and so many bloggers don't get this detail.

I have written already about the confusion in Blogger documentation
Remember: you only need to get the domain name; you don't have to pay extra for hosting service.

Today, as I explored the possibility of publishing The Real Blogger Status to a Custom Domain, I found more misleading documentation.
Domains are registered through a Google partner and cost $10 (USD) for one year.
I went to Settings - Publishing, and selected "Switch to: • Custom Domain".



We are immediately offered registration through "a Google partner". No mention here of DNS hosting, or of any additional fees.



Selecting "Switch to advanced settings", we get the familiar setup.



Here's the well known advice "... you don't have …

You Can Go Back - But Be Sure That You Know The Consequences

New Blogger and the Layouts template, while a great improvement over the Classic template, is just a little rough around the edges. We've all learned that over the past year, though some have had a worse time than others.

Some folks have had enough.Maybe they can't take the problems or suspense.Maybe the promised features just aren't there.Maybe there are incompatibilities with some essential tweaks.Maybe the selections of third party templates, for New (Layouts) Blogger, aren't inspiring enough.Maybe they want to setup a blog that publishes by FTP.Whatever.

Well, if you can't work with the Layouts template, you can use a Classic template.Select Template.Select Edit HTML.Select Revert to Classic Template.
This will give you an old template, with the unfortunate limitations.You'll lose any tweaks that you made to the New template.You won't have new features like GUI template editing, or page elements.You'll still use your Google account for authentication,…

Publishing Externally? Going Back To Blog*Spot Isn't Difficult

If you're currently publishing your blog externally, because you wanted to use a non-Blog*Spot address, maybe you tire of the limitations of the Classic template, and want to use some of the shiny Layouts template features. Or maybe you have simply grown tired of the many problems with FTP Publishing, a circumstance shared by many bloggers recently.

With that motivation, it's not too hard to go back to publishing on Blog*Spot. Maybe you'll even want to move to publishing to a Google Custom Domain, later.


Not too hard to go back - just selectSwitch to: • blogspot.com


Of course, going back will be a bit easier to do if you have a Blog*Spot address available, to return to. And any time you change the URL of a blog, and especially if the blog has any maturity or reputation, you will do yourself a favour to think about the change, first.

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Please Don't Spread EMail Viruses

Last week, I got an extremely distressing bit of email, in my Inbox.

I get spam all of the time (I'm sure that you do too), and the content of spam you all know what I'm talking about. Disgusting. This was worse. This wasn't spam, from an anonymous sender.

A friend, who I respect highly, sent this bit of email to me.

I won't repeat the content of the email, but if you wish, you can read about The Budweiser Story, as analysed by Snopes.

This story has been going around the Internet since September 2001. I find it particularly distressing, sinceThe story is a lie, and it has been proven to be a lie. Read about The Budweiser Story, as analysed by Snopes.I've seen this lie, in my Inbox, several times.This lie stays alive because American citizens seem to want to believe that it's true. I've seen this lie several times, and not once has it been prefaced withHere's a nice bit of fiction.or even withHere's a nasty bit of fiction.No, it's almost alway…

Make An IFrame To Contain Another Blog On Your Blog

One obvious way to merge two websites (either or both being a blog), is to use the same template on each, and link between the two in a consistent fashion.

The reader of either blog never has to know when he's viewing the other, unless he habitually observes the content of the browser Address window.

But how about if you would like to display one blog, in its entirety, in the middle of the other blog page? That's a feature called an IFrame.

Identifying A DNS Problem

DNS, which lets you translate a host name or URL into an IP address, is a key process in Internet use. Sometimes, though, it doesn't work. You try to browse to http://www.example.com, and you get a cryptic
Firefox can't find the server at www.example.com.
or
We can't find "www.example.com"
or worse, sometimes the classical
404 Not Found
Or even, the white screen of death - no error - no response.

Now the above example symptoms could have been caused by any of several scenarios.

Host www.example.com doesn't exist.Host www.example.com isn't operational today.Your DNS (that translates www.example.com into an IP address) isn't working.Your MTU setting is causing a problem with accessing www.example.com.(This is not fiction, folks) - Your ISP, or a government agency, is intentionally blocking your access to www.example.com.You don't have Internet connectivity.

What to do now? Well, if your Internet connectivity is down, you've got different work to do. …

One Lamentable Mail-To-Blogger Weakness

Some bloggers, frustrated over the painfully limited design of the Post Editor and un helpful features like AutoSave, have skipped using the Post Editor entirely. They are simply composing their posts in a text editor, and emailing the content.

An interesting workaround, and like many workarounds, it has its good and its bad points.The Good.No AutoSave to slow you down.No more tiny Post Editor window to deal with.Composure of posts in the full featured text editor of your choice.The Bad.No way to include labels. To add labels, you still have to use the Post Editor, or the Edit Posts menu.Mail-To-Blogger is a known security risk, if not used carefully.

If you're going to create a number of posts, the Edit Posts menu will let you apply labels, to existing posts, without using the Post Editor. If multiple posts have the same label applicable, you can add a label to multiple posts simultaneously. You'll only have to type each label once. That should save a small amount of time.

Use Detective Work To Find A Blog Owner

Many times, you'll see an interesting blog, and want to contact the owner.

In other cases, you'll be unable to even see the blog, because it's private. Or maybe a popular blog, that you're used to seeing, has been deleted, or is now private. Or maybe you want to use a given URL, but that URL is already in use. How do you contact the owner then?

In other cases, maybe somebody has left comments on your blog, you want to read his blog, but he's not providing any link. And, his profile doesn't show any published blogs. Can you figure out if he's actually published any?

Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates #3

A new post starts out with wide vertical spacing. Look at what we have here, from line to line. Nice and wide vertical spacing. Clean and easy to read. The perfect look for a blog, right?

Now, let's throw in a quote.

In the past, and looking at my example shown in Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates, you'd start seeing the problem here. My immediately previous article Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates #2 suggested an obnoxiously tedious workaround to this problem, which involved surrounding each indent element, such as<blockquote> ... </blockquote>with an extra span set to give
<span style="line-height: 1.2;"><blockquote> ... </blockquote></span>


This was fine - it made my blog posts look neat and tidy again - but it had its drawback. It was a major pain in the ass to use - any of my blog posts, of any length, would include 2, 3, or more formatting elements, which I would have to surround each one.

So today, whilst browsing Bl…

Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates #2

(Note 11/25): The below content is informational only. The problem in question is not demonstrated, because of the workaround currently in place.

A new post starts out with wide vertical spacing. Look at what we have here, from line to line. Nice and wide vertical spacing. Clean and easy to read. The perfect look for a blog, right?

But don't get used to it - what does this look like in Internet Explorer? In my previous post, Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates, I showed the problem. Maybe the advice given by Paul R will help here.
Now, let's throw in a quote.
And now, look at the vertical spacing. It's fine now, until after the unsorted list below. Nice one, Paul.

So, how did this work? Well, in the above example in my previous post, I have

<blockquote>Now, let's throw in a quote.</blockquote>

and in this post I have

<span style="line-height: 1.2;"><blockquote>Now, let's throw in a quote.</blockquote></span>

Look at m…

Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates

(Note 11/25): The below content is informational only. The problem in question is not demonstrated, because of the workaround currently in place.

A new post starts out with wide vertical spacing. Look at what we have here, from line to line. Nice and wide vertical spacing. Clean and easy to read. The perfect look for a blog, right?
Now, let's throw in a quote.
And now, look at the vertical spacing. With enough lines in here, you can see a change in post layout. The vertical spacing becomes much tighter. This looks sloppy. I've also seen this happen when you include <ol> and <ul> post elements. It appears to happen with any indentation element.

But let's try a test, per advice outlined below.
Testing.

Look at my other posts, for instance. Enough! I Want To Go Back! and Beta Blogs: My 3 Week Evaluation both exhibit this behaviour.

Other folks who have observed this.
Problem with the line space of the posts. Observed 10/17.
problem with block quotes Observed 9…

Make A Popup Text Window

Occasionally in your posts, you might want to add a quick popup window, explaining some concept in slightly more detail.

The normal technique to add detail to an article, beside simply writing more text (D'ohh), would be to write a separate post, and link to that post.

But there's a quicker, more elegant way to do this. And you don't end up with another window, as the link above for "link to that post".

Check it out. Hover your cursor over the words "a quicker, more elegant way" above.

It's not hard to code.
But there's <a title="This is quick, and easy to do!">a quicker, more elegant way</a> to do this.

We can add a popup in text, or we can attach it to a picture.

Arranging Text And Pictures Within Your Blog Posts

When you use post editor to create a blog post, and you use the convenient picture upload wizard in the post editor, you notice one annoying behaviour. No matter where the cursor is when you upload a picture, the picture always gets uploaded at the top of the post. Multiple pictures get uploaded at the top, each one placed above the next.

If you like your pictures interleaved with the text, you then have 2 choices.
Upload the pictures in the post before you write the text. Plan the order and arrangement of the pictures, then add text, before and after each picture.Relocate each picture, one at a time.If you upload in Compose mode, learn how to grab, drag, and drop each picture, into the desired location.If you upload in "Edit HTML" mode, learn how to cut and paste the exact components of code, into the desired location.

If you relocate the pictures after uploading, do so carefully. There are known problems with certain browsers, using drag and drop under Compose mode. And …

Completing The Migration - Converting To A Layouts Template

New Blogger - what I will call here "New Blogger 2006" - has been with us now for one year, give or take a few months. This time last year, I had just previously written about the impending migration to Blogger Beta (aka "New Blogger 2006"). Now, we are completing the migration.

I say "completing the migration" because there are, currently, folks seeking guidance on how to complete the migration of their blogs.

All blogs are now under New Blogger - that's not the issue - Old Blogger was laid to rest some months ago. Not all blogs are using Layouts templates, however. Some blogs, which are published using FTP to external servers, will always be using Classic templates. Yet there are some blogs which can be migrated to Layouts, that haven't.

Anybody who has been posting, or helping, in any of the Blogger Help Group forums has seen this query.
I just finished entering a post into my blog. I previewed it - and it looked fine. Then I published it. …

Blog*Spot Connectivity In South Korea

A few bloggers in South Korea are complaining of inability to access any Blog*Spot blogs.

When reporting the problem, please include a PathPing log (if you can) or a TraceRoute log, targeting bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com.

For right now, please use a proxy server to access all Blog*Spot blogs.

>> According to one blogger, the South Korean presidential elections are prompting this action by the South Korean government.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00072

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00072

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The DNS Host Is Crucial For A Custom Domain

When you setup your Google Custom Domain, the instruction for the DNS addressing setup is rather basic.Add one or more "A" and / or "CNAME" records. Point "www.mydomain.com", and / or "mydomain.com", to "ghs.google.com", or to a series of Google servers.
Unfortunately, all DNS hosts don't provide multiple "A" referrals / "CNAME" referral to "ghs.google.com"; some only allow for a conventional "A" referral to a single, fixed IP address.

These instructions are most often seen when you purchase the domain directly from a third party registrar, and your registrar sets up the domain itself - since when you use "Buy a domain", all of this detail is done for you.

Background Images In Your Blog

Background images make the blog so much more colourful than plain old solid colour backgrounds. A background imageIs not clickable.Can be seen where no foreground content is present.

Look at using a background image under the text title, for instance. Note that this is the opposite from replacing the text in the title with a picture. If you put a picture in the title, no background will be visible, unless you intentionally make the picture too small for the title space, or use a transparent .gif file for an image.

Google Custom Domain - Case Study #1

If you're going to setup a Google Custom Domain, you have to start with DNS properly setup. In most cases, you will want the "www" alias, as well as the rest of the domain, to refer to Google. This requires you to properly use the setup procedures provided by your DNS Host, as a complement to the facilities provided by Google.

NOTE: This case study shows how a Custom Domain was setup, in the early days. A much more comprehensive tutorial can be found in Your Blog, Custom Domains, And Righteous Solutions. You may examine the illustrations below, for background, but the correct configuration is described in the latter article.

This case study uses my church website, martinezumc.org, with DNS service provided by GoDaddy. So, I logged in to the GoDaddy control panel, and followed the Google GoDaddy instructions (instructions for other hosting services are also in that document). Steps 1 - 4 were on target. So, I document below Steps 5 - 7 of the instructions, which beca…

Examining The Structure Of A Blog

Any time you examine a blog - either yours or a friends or strangers - you look at the content, and maybe the template. The content is obvious - you read what the blog has to say. Then you look at the template, and at the accessories and decorations.

How about the links? Any blog of any size has links - usually within the blog, and outside the blog. Maybe links to other blogs produced by the same person, to the close friends of that person, and to acquaintances and strangers.OMG, Chuck, that could take days. I don't have time for that nonsense.

But that nonsense can be a key to finding a contact to a friend or stranger, or a problem in your own blog. And maybe you do have time, if you automate your research.

IT-Mate provides a free useful product - vURL Desktop Edition - that walks through any blog or website, extracts each link, and presents you with an alphabetised and normalised list of all links found. You can look at the list presented to you, and find other links within …

The AFF Splog Farm #3

The Blogosphere currently has a real problem - active hacking, and obnoxious unwanted commercial "adult" content, is in 1 out of every 3 blogs being published. Do some "Next Blog" surfing, and see what I mean.

I wrote, originally, about this problem a little over a month ago. I published an update last Friday, indicating that the problem isn't going away, and Blogger hasn't done anything to solve it.

Yesterday, the problem changed direction.

This is what we had a month ago (and last week). That's a dead web site.

http://aff-friend-finderwvghpcb.blogspot.com/

Note the blog name, in the URL.
aff-friend-finderwvghpcb
aff-friend-finder <== Name
wvghpcb <== Suffix

Possibly to make their blog setup faster or more scalable, the sploggers stopped using dictionary words in the blog names.

Here's a (slightly altered) entry taken from the Recently Updated Blogs list, during the morning of 10/15/2007. That's not the actual URL, as I do not link to sites se…

This Looks Dangerous #3

This is a welcome improvement from the old ability to remove our own administrative ability, without knowing. Let's see if it works.


See an improvement? "grant admin privileges" is way more obvious than "admin".



So click on the link, and get a warning. So, we'll select "Grant Admin Privileges".



Now, we have 2 administrators. Click on the link again.



And now, the second and the key warning. Here, I hope that the default selection is "Cancel". Having observed the warning, we'll select "Revoke Admin Privileges".



And now, we have one administrator again.


A welcome improvement here, folks.

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The AFF Splog Farm #2

The Blogosphere currently has a real problem - active hacking, and obnoxious unwanted commercial "adult" content, is in 1 out of every 3 blogs being published. Do some "Next Blog" surfing, and see what I mean.

A little over 1 month ago, I went Next Blog surfing, and today, I repeated my experience. And the figures haven't changed. Today, I surfed through 20 blogs, 2 of them were financial scams, and 6 were obnoxious "adult" content. I should add, "adult" content of low quality. Total crap.

And of the "adult" content, one variant seen frequently has been found to contain active hacking attempts.

Until Blogger fixes the problem, I will encourage all concerned Bloggers to remove the Navbar from your blogs. And let Blogger know that you're concerned about the problem - use both the Blogger Contact Form, and the Blogger Wishlist.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00065

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00065

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Print Your Blog To Paper

It's a very good idea to backup your blog, periodically.

Making a mirror copy of the blog, on a local computer that you control, is a good idea for many reasons.

You also might like to make a printed copy of the blog. If you would simply like to print off your blog to paper, to save the text of the posts, here is code that will let you extract a selection of updates.

Mysterious Blank Spaces In Blog Posts

Various bloggers are complaining of mysterious blank spaces in the middle of their blog posts. The common factor noted, so far, is that the blogs affected are using a Rounders template.

The blank spaces appear to be the result of AdSense or Google Ads content, which some bloggers aren't even aware of.
<div style="float: right;"><script type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"
type="text/javascript">
</script><iframe name="google_ads_frame" src="http://
pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/ads?
client=undefined ... "
marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" vspace="0" hspace="0"
allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="" scrolling="no"
width=""></iframe>
</div>

Note the " ... " above, that represents a large amount of detail re…

Blogging And Your Gmail Account

With New Blogger, Google lets you use your Google account to access your blog, and your friends blogs. They do this for your convenience.

Not everybody wants convenience. Some folks see using their email account for Blogging as an invasion of privacy. Others are afraid of losing their email account, and losing Blogger access at the same time.

The good news is that Google accounts are free, and you can set up another, or as many as you like. And, you can use either an existing or new email address, GMail or other, as you like.Go to your GMail main window.In the lower left of the window, find "Invite a friend".Enter your email address (yes, the address displayed).When you get the invitation from yourself, open and accept it.Choose any new Google address that pleases you (and that's available).Log out of your current GMail account, and into your new account.Transfer your blogs to your new Google account.

If you're going to use one GMail account for your email, and anot…