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Showing posts from May, 2007

Beware Gratuitous Line Breaks In Code Listings

Displaying code for complex objects - multimedia (audio / video), and also photographs (thumbnail / full-size) - takes a lot of browser window space. Generally, more than a single line of text is required. Some browsers can't make line breaks on their own, and if I display a single, unbroken line of code, the code will run off the end of the post column, through the sidebar, into the background margin of the blog, and off the end of the screen.

This creates two problems.It makes the code hard to read, with some code not at all visible.With some browsers, it can even cause the post column, or the sidebar column, to end up at the bottom of the page.No good for anybody, that.

Whenever I display such code in my blogs, I take care to insert lots of extra line breaks. Adding line breaks makes the code easier to read, which is good. But it creates another problem. If you copy the code from the browser window, you'll copy a lot of extra line breaks, and the code won't always wo…

Blog Comment Window In The Wrong Language

Earlier this month, we had a problem with the Archives menu in the sidebar showing up in the wrong language. My Beta version of this blog had that for a day or so. Now, we have people reporting
Some of the people that wanted to comment on my page have their comment pages in Thai. I do live in Thailand but my blog is all in English and I do get the comment page in English.

Remedies suggested in Make Your Blog Speak Your Language are relevant to the blog body, but not the comments page.

>> (Update 5/25): Blogger states that the comments page language is determined by the blog readers language setting, or location.
If they are a Blogger user, Blogger will try to use their account settings for your comment page. If they're not a Blogger user, then Blogger will try to detect language settings from their browser.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00038

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00038

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Disappearing Images #4

Here's a picture that my bud, Roberto, sent me from his computer.

This is Roberto's view of his blog, in Firefox.



This is my view of the same post, again in Firefox.



This is my view of the same post in Internet Explorer, and according to Roberto, is exactly what he sees from his computer.


You are welcome to view Roberto's blog, and his post, The New 'Save' on Post Editor.

Bloggers current advice is that missing images are from blog posts where the pictures are uploaded, then the post deleted. Roberto and I had an IM conversation, on May 22, where he assured me that he had not deleted his post. As a matter of fact, he had created it that very day, yet Firefox was omitting the images right in front of his eyes.

I've been writing about this problem for many months, before New Blogger (or even Beta Blogger) was even public.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00005

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00005

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Blog*Spot Not Accessible In Thailand?

It looks like Blog*Spot may be another victim of Thailand governmental control.

Until we know what's going on, the best advice is to use a proxy server. If only Blog*Spot is affected, this should serve as a workaround.

>> (Update 5/22): It appears that the Thai government indeed has problems with Google right now. Discussion of the problem in I think Thailand is blocking Blogspot.com.

>> For diagnosis of the problem, let's start with a TraceRoute Log.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00045

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00045

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New AutoSave Function In Post Editor May Be Causing Problems

Blogger now has an AutoSave function, which will hopefully cut down on the well known pink warning "Could not connect ...", caused by cookies involved in saving our posts automatically. AutoSave works automatically, for all new or draft posts.


See the new button? It changes from "Save Now" to "Saved" periodically.



But some Bloggers are now having problems with Post Editor. Some problems appear similar to the recent Singnet issue, but the Bloggers involved have explicitly stated that they are not connecting from Southeast Asia. Users of Mac and Safari seem to be having the most problems.

Other Bloggers report that Reader Comments may be disabled for some posts. If you're creating a new post, and you like having your readers comment on your posts, click on "Post Options" below the main post editor window, and make sure that Reader Comments are Enabled.

Known Issues (being actively investigated):Publishing problems in Safari (The Save Now, …

Producing a TraceRt Log For Analysis

Many network problems that affect your use of Blogger, such as the currently obnoxious "Server Error 1-500", can be diagnosed, if we can understand how you are connecting to Blogger. A TraceRoute log shows us the path that your connection takes to a given server, and is very useful in this case.

On most systems, TraceRoute is run as "tracert". Here we have a tracert targeting "www.google.com". Choose your target according to your need.
Open a command window.Type "tracert www.google.com >c:\tracert.txt" (less the "") at the command prompt.Type "notepad c:\tracert.txt" (less the "") at the command prompt.Copy, and paste, the entire log, as displayed in Notepad, into your email or forum post. Please don't munge, or disguise, any details.It really is simple - when you know how. Just be generous - and precise (see the spaces in the commands?).

Here's a sample log.

C:\>tracert www.google.com

Tracing route to …

You, And Your Browser

When it comes down to the basics, that's all that you should care about. You want to view this website using your browser. What your browser does is not your business.

Unless you want to get more technical.

Your browser is an application, running on your computer, and on the computer network. Your computer is simply a small part of the network.Your computer (your other client and server computers, and your routers).Your ISP's computers (routers and servers).Other ISP's computers (routers and servers).Google's computers (routers and servers).

This thing that you call a network is just a huge collection of computers connected by wires. A network has a structure, and the structure can be seen (and understood) if you know about the layering. You can understand the layering as a burrito, or you can see it as a spy delivering secret messages, or just as it is, a layered delivery system.

Your browser is an application running on your computers, and it sends data to other app…

May 2007: The First 2 Weeks

This month started out with the termination of Old Blogger.

And then the fun started. Problems which were carefully analysed, and aren't randomly experienced by all Bloggers. Very few have approached epidemic level proportions, but do have odd, non-random distribution.

Several problems seem to be centered around Singnet in Singapore - Bloggers either directly paying for service from Singnet, or having ISPs that connect thru Singnet.

This isn't the first time that Singnet has been involved. What is unique about Singnet, that it can cause misery to its customers so easily? How do we know that this weakness in Blogger - and that's what it is guys - a weakness - how do we know that this weakness won't be visited upon other Bloggers using other ISPs? Maybe any of us might be affected, at any time.

Blogger needs to start telling us what is going on.

But the Singnet problems aren't all that's disturbing us. From last month (and some time previous), we have the pink w…

Server Error 1-500 Victims, Not Singnet Customers, Can't Use Workaround

Blogger Support is telling us, repeatedly, that the Server Error 1-500-nn ("5nn") (and possibly the dashboard / post editor toolbar problem too) is a Singnet (Singtel) problem. A possible workaround, using a proxy server owned by Singnet, was discovered by another Blogger.

It appears that use of the workaround may be limited to direct customers of Singnet. Everybody victimised by the problem may not be helped by the workaround. And everybody victimised by the problem may not be in a position to complain to Singnet either.


Bob isn't a Singnet customer - but his ISP connects through Singnet. No luck for him though.



C:\>tracert www.google.com

Tracing route to www.l.google.com [66.249.89.99]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms 192.168.1.1
2 40 ms 43 ms 41 ms 10.122.84.253
3 42 ms 41 ms 43 ms 10.122.84.254
4 54 ms 55 ms 55 ms 10.121.20.1
5 * * * Request timed out.
6 51 ms 53 ms 51 ms 58.147.0.52
7 53 ms 51 ms 53 ms 58.147.0.46
8 268 ms 275 ms 271 ms 202.47.254.161
9 270 ms 2…

Distorted Dashboard / Post Editor and Server Error 500 Have Common Cause?

I've been suspecting this for a while. We're seeing correlation between the two symptoms.

>> In Status code: 1-500-19, MeezNur writes
the problem is solved...
thanks somuch..
even the supposedly horizontal icons have returned to their original
position..

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00041

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00041

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00042

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00042

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Strange Formatting In Post Editor

This particular oddity has been observed by several Bloggers. At least one Blogger is an indirect customer of Singtel. It's possible that this is a variant of the separately noted dashboard / post editor problem.


What's going on here?


(Edit 5/15): Blogger is looking into this.
We're looking into it right now, thanks for reporting.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00043

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00043

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We Have To Trust Blogger

A long time ago, if we were setting up trusted hosts, in a browser trust list, we would add "www.blogger.com" to the list. The "www" alias is what would be used by any web services in our browsers.

Then Blogger rolled out New Blogger, and started using "www2.blogger.com" to separate migrated blogs from unmigrated ones. And a lot of Bloggers lost the ability to maintain their blogs, because their browsers were setup to trust "www.blogger.com".

Just recently, when Old Blogger was decommissioned, some ISPs providing access to Blogger as "www.blogger.com" again found their customers unable to maintain their blogs.

Similarly, we have to trust all Blogger content. Some security filters examine each script, one by one, to decide if it is safe to allow on the computer. If Blogger scripts have to be examined, one by one, before being allowed to run, what happens to the programs that are waiting for the scripts to run?

The Blogger dashboard invo…

Sorry - That Blog*Spot URL Is Already Taken

If you're a fan of the classical rock group Rolling Stones, you may remember their 1960's hit You Can't Always Get What You Want.

Regardless, many Bloggers may decide to setup a blog based upon their favourite rock star (porn star, TV show, whatever). But when they select the URL of their choice, they see



Oh noooooo! What do I do now??


So what to do now? Well, the obvious solution, for many, is to get into the Blogger Help Forum, and whine.
there are tooo many users who sign up with blogger, and chose some url, which i wanted to use, and yet, they left the pages blank.. this led me to the final resort of choosing a very silly url for myself.

Unfortunately, they are wasting time, as Blogger has explicitly stated in the Google Blogger Help database.
Blogger accounts and Blog*Spot addresses do not expire.and again in Google Blogger Help online forum FAQPeople claim blogs after years without use more often than you would think.

That's whether any given blog was created 5 years…

Change The Width Of Your Blog Display

It's not hard to widen the display of your blog. There are 5 containers in a standard 2 column template, each with a separate width to change.Outer (contains, in turn, post and sidebar).Header.Post area ("Main").Sidebar.Footer.There will be challenges here, so prepared.

With a "standard 3 column" template (left sidebar - main column - right sidebar), #3 Main will be divided into Left Main and Right Main, with one being a second sidebar, and the other being the posts column. A variation on the "standard 3 column" template puts the left and right sidebars next to each other, as you can see in my home blog, Nitecruzr Dot Net. In the latter case, the Post ("Main") column will float opposite the sidebar column, and the sidebar column will contain the left and right sidebars, each floating opposite each other.

You'll generally make Outer, Header, and Footer equal width, but you don't have to. It's OK to have the header wider or narro…

Server Error 1-500 ("1-500-nn")

A lot of Bloggers are reporting these.

This server is currently experiencing a problem. An engineer has been notified and will investigate.
Status code: 1-500-nn
Please visit the Blogger status page or the Blogger Knowledge Base for further assistance.

or

HTTP Status 5nn - Servlet NewFrontend is currently unavailable
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
type Status report
message Servlet NewFrontend is currently unavailable
description The requested service (Servlet NewFrontend is currently unavailable) is not currently available.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Apache Tomcat/4.1.24

Initial Diagnostics:Check how you are logging in to Blogger.Clear your cache and cookies.

>> Blogger Employee has associated these errors, as earlier, with Singnet customers in Singapore. We have also heard from people in areas near Singapore, most likely using ISPs who get service through Singnet.

To confirm the latter…

Internet Explorer And Cross-Frame Scripting #2

If you're going to use Blogger, whether you want to setup and maintain your own blog, or simply to make comments on other people's blogs, you have to have a Google account. And you have to login to your account.

To protect you from possibly malicious code in an unknown blog, Blogger separates the code, used for logging in to Blogger, from the blogs themselves. If you're going to use Blogger, your browser has to be setup to trust Blogger code (Only trust "blogger.com" - do not trust "blogspot.com" or "google.com"), when you login.

You'll make these changes with Internet Explorer closed.



Open the Internet Properties wizard.StartSettingsControl PanelInternet Options



Select "Trusted Sites". This step is very important! Hit the "Custom Level" button.



You should now have "Security Settings - Trusted Sites Zone". Find Miscellaneous (about 1/2 way down the screen - see the scroll tab?).



Below Miscellaneous, find "…

Required field must not be blank #2

Look carefully at this picture. You may have to click on the small image, to see the detail in full size.

Do you see the URL window at the top, where you might type "www2. blogger. com", for instance, to login?


http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?
blogID=24069595

When you use something like the Post Editor, you go thru a series of screens. That is the first screen.

And this is the second screen.

Look at the URL at the top now.


http://www.blogger.com/publish-confirmation.g?
blogID=24069595&postID=7449672810113528192
&timestamp=1178898790159&javascriptEnabled=true

And if you select Edit Post, to update what you just posted, you're back here.

And again look at the URL at the top.


http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?
blogID=24069595&postID=7449672810113528192

So what, Chuck, are all of those URLs? And why should I care about that?

Well, the next time you get an error
Required field must not be blank.
look at the URL more carefully. You'll see a malformed URL, that'…

New Video Drivers May Cause Problems With YouTube Content

Several weeks ago, Adobe issued an update to its popular Flash product, to V9.0.45.0. Last week, it updated Shockwave to V10.2.0.022. And recently, Apple updated QuickTime to V7.1.6.

If YouTube, and other video content providers, updated their content to use the new drivers, because of security concerns, and you didn't upgrade the corresponding drivers on your computer, you may be unable to play their content.

Upgrade, or suffer. You're better off upgrading, so your computer will remain as safe as possible.

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Distorted / Unusable Dashboard or Post Editor Toolbar

Several Bloggers have stated that the dashboard or toolbar area in the post editor is distorted or out of shape, and the buttons don't work.

Blogger Employee seems to believe that the problem originates with the Blogger's personal computers.
I looked around and things displayed normally for me. Therefore, I'm inclined to think it's your browser that's causing these problems.

And later has started asking for diagnostics.
Could you folks tell me what your blog URL is? Also, as Ed-T has done, will you tell me if this happens in all browsers you use?

>> Some Bloggers reporting this have also reported the Server Error 1-500 ("1-500-nn").

>> If you are a Singnet customer in Singapore, there is a possible workaround for the problem.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00041

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00041

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News Flash: Old Blogger Officially Dead

Pete Hopkins has declared Old Blogger now dead.
Today at Blogger HQ we accomplished one of our most significant milestones ever: we changed old Blogger’s monitoring from “page us when it goes down” to “page us if it comes back to life in a horrifying, zombie state.”

I don't think that all Bloggers are sure how this will work. Some think that their blogs may be unmigrated. Maybe they never got an invitation.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00039

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00039

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403 Forbidden Again

Long ago, 403 Forbidden was the first subject of this blog.



Not a good way to start the week.


I couldn't even publish this, for 1/2 hour or so, this morning (7:00 - 7:30 or so PDT). Even the navbar was affected, and from another computer too. And the old standby, clearing cache and cookies, had no effect. Then suddenly, it started working.

Look at the forum search results - this actually started yesterday, and quite a few reports there too.

(Edit 11:00): Problem solved, status provided by Pete.

>> Forum thread links: 403 Forbidden

>> Copy this tag: 403 Forbidden

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Blog Archives In The Wrong Language

This appears to have started a week or so ago, with maybe a dozen threads and multiple posters. Today, more reports than previous days.

Remedies suggested in Make Your Blog Speak Your Language appear to provide mixed levels of success.

>> (Update 6/25): Blogger tells us:
The fix is coming out shortly - most likely this week.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00038

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00038

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Getting A Custom Template For Your Blog

Blogger has been around a few years, and there are a lot of people who have developed custom templates. Unfortunately, most custom templates available are written for Classic Blogger.

A New Blogger blog, when normal, uses a Layouts template. A Layouts template, with the dynamic HTML and the widgets, requires XML. A Classic template contains only HTML.

To use a template developed for Classic Blogger, you'll first have to revert your blog. Then, you can upload the custom template, and publish your blog.

Be aware of what you'll be losing when you do this.

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Please Don't Use Microsoft Word To Compose Posts

Here's a sample of a Word document, copied directly into Post Editor.

Now is the timeFor all good menTo come to the aidOf their country.The quick brown foxJumped overThe lazy dog.The fountain penOf my auntIs filled with whiskey.

And this is what we now have. How can you edit this, when you need to? Auuugh.

Content composed in Microsoft Word, with lots of "<div> ... </div>", a "<div>" tags, may be a cause of problems with the New Post Editor 2008, and the "Read More" feature.

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;" align="center">Now is the time</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;" align="center">For all good men</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;" align="center">To come to the aid</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;" align="…

Could Not Connect To Blogger.Com - A Possible Workaround

One possible reason for the odd distribution of the well known pink warning
Could not connect to Blogger.com. Saving and publishing may fail.
or similarly
Cannot View Webpage
may be that it involves several different problems, coming together.

It's possible that Pete Hopkins explains one of the problems as a side effect of the cookies generated by Blogger, some of which are used in post editor.
Cookies are normally small and unassuming, but there's a bit of unusual behavior in that Blogger automatically saves the first few k of your post in a set of cookies as you're typing. That way, if your browser crashes you can use the "recover post" link to get at least the first part of it back. However, the side effect of using cookies in this way is that even though they're only being used (abused?) for local/offline storage, your browser will send the cookies with every request to a blogger.com server.
This might explain why some Bloggers report temporary relief by cleari…

Required field must not be blank

The typical problem report is
I get this message at the top of the web pages when it doesn't work.

We're sorry, but we are unable to complete your request.
The following Errors were found:
blogID: Required field must not be blank

>> Since this is a post editor problem, and at least one instance of this problem also involved the Could Not Connect symptom, let's see if a possible workaround, provided by Pete Hopkins, has any use here.

>> Blogger Employee has now become involved, in one scenario involving this error.

>> Help us to help you. Check how you are logged in. Then, read more about the problem.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00037

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00037

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