Saturday, May 26, 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 work.

Here are two examples of code.

First, code that absolutely won't work. Here we have lots of line breaks, in code which I copied from an online discussion.

<a href="http://www.gabcast.com/index.php?
a=episodes&b=play&id=10444&cast=30810" target="_BLANK">Caracas FC Blog
#2 - Caracas FC Audio</a><br><br><object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-
ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="150" height="76" codebase="http://
fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/
swflash.cab#version=8,0,0,0"><param name="movie" value="http://www.gabcast.com/mp3play/mp3player.swf?
file=http://www.gabcast.com/casts/10444/episodes/1180193061.mp3
&config=http://www.gabcast.com/mp3play/config.php?ini=mini.0.l"/><param
name="wmode" value="transparent" /><param name="allowScriptAccess"
value="always" /><embed src="http://www.gabcast.com/mp3play/
mp3player.swf?file=http://www.gabcast.com/casts/10444/episodes/
1180193061.mp3&config=http://www.gabcast.com/mp3play/config.php?
ini=mini.0.l" allowScriptAccess="always" wmode="transparent"
width="150" height="76" name="mp3player" type="application/x-shockwave-
flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"></
embed></object>


Next, code that might work, with less line breaks. Do you see the difference?

<a href="http://www.gabcast.com/index.php?a=episodes&b=play
&id=10444&cast=30810" target="_BLANK">Caracas FC Blog #2 - Caracas FC Audio</a> <br /> <br /> <object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="150" height="76" codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/
cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=8,0,0,0"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.gabcast.com/mp3play/mp3player.swf?
file=http://www.gabcast.com/casts/10444/episodes/1180193061.mp3
&config=http://www.gabcast.com/mp3play/config.php?ini=mini.0.l"/> <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /> <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /> <embed src="http://www.gabcast.com/mp3play/mp3player.swf?
file=http://www.gabcast.com/casts/10444/episodes/1180193061.mp3
&config=http://www.gabcast.com/mp3play/config.php?ini=mini.0.l" allowScriptAccess="always" wmode="transparent" width="150" height="76" name="mp3player" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"> </embed> </object>


My apologies for the extremely small type used above, but was impossible to use larger type, and not break the code still more.

So now that you see the code, and how it gets broken, learn to fix it.


Copy and paste the second set of code, into a post, or page element, in your blog. Use an "Edit HTML" mode window (either the post editor, or a page element wizard - your choice). Next, remove all line breaks, carefully. Start with the cursor positioned on the bottom line of the code just copied.
  1. Move the cursor up one line. Then move to the end of that line (use the End key, not the arrow key here). Observe carefully the first character at the beginning of the next line.
  2. Hit the Delete key ONCE. If the first character, formerly at the beginning of the following line, is now positioned at the cursor, you just removed one gratuitous line break. Continue with step 1 again.
  3. If the first character of the following line was just erased, you did NOT remove a gratuitous line break, you removed an essential character (the first character on the following line). Retype that character, having observed it in step 1, by hitting just one key (don't move the cursor). Then continue with step 1 again.


An alternate (and possibly easier) procedure would be to
  1. Copy then paste any dodgy code into Notepad, or any other text editor.
  2. Under Format (for Notepad), enable Word Wrap.
  3. Observe the text, and how it will "flow" to justify each line, with word wrap enabled.
  4. Move the sides of the window in and out, and observe how the text flows to justify each line, with automatic line breaks inserted dynamically.
  5. Observe any lines that do not re justify themselves smoothly - those lines end in hard line breaks.
  6. Remove each hard line break, which is what you do in the more canonical procedure outlined above.
  7. When all of the text flows smoothly as you move the sides of the window in and out, you have removed all of the hard line breaks, and you are done.
  8. Copy then paste the code into Post Editor, or the Page Elements HTML / JavaScript gadget.


That's how you remove gratuitous line breaks. Very carefully. Mess one up, leave one line break, or delete one essential character wrongly, and your code won't work. Get everything 100% correct, and it will work.

And finally, here is what we're displaying with the above code.

Caracas FC Blog #2 - Caracas FC Audio



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Thursday, May 24, 2007

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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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

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

>> Top

bX-rxaqrt

Some Bloggers are seeing this error when uploading photos.

The error seems to be intermittent, so trying again a few minutes later appears to be a useful procedure. If repetitive after a few tries, try clearing cache and cookies, and restarting the browser.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

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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Friday, May 18, 2007

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, Preview and Add Image buttons don't respond).
  • Comments get disabled.
  • Possible publishing problems and comment link problems when you use the back button in the post editor.
  • Extremely slow typing - you can type, but the text doesn't show up in the browser window for many seconds.



Initial Diagnostics:


Possible Mitigation Techniques:


When reporting the problem:
  • What operating system, and what browser, is this a problem on?
  • What operating system, and what browser (if any), is this not a problem on?



(Update 2007/06): It is possible to disable AutoSave, when composing your posts.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

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.
  1. Open a command window.
  2. Type "tracert www.google.com >c:\tracert.txt" (less the "") at the command prompt.
  3. Type "notepad c:\tracert.txt" (less the "") at the command prompt.
  4. 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 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 269 ms 269 ms 202.47.253.148
10 280 ms 283 ms 283 ms 203.208.191.197
11 297 ms 299 ms 283 ms ge-0-1-0-0.sngtp-cr1.ix.singtel.com [203.208.149.201]
12 283 ms 339 ms 285 ms so-2-1-0-0.hkgcw-cr2.ix.singtel.com [203.208.154.38]

13 114 ms 115 ms 113 ms 72.14.196.5
14 118 ms 117 ms 117 ms 216.239.43.68
15 144 ms 137 ms 141 ms 66.249.95.198
16 142 ms 137 ms 139 ms 72.14.232.166
17 178 ms 171 ms 167 ms 72.14.236.236
18 175 ms 173 ms 175 ms 66.249.95.197
19 176 ms 181 ms 177 ms 216.239.47.54
20 176 ms 177 ms 175 ms jp-in-f99.google.com [66.249.89.99]

Trace complete.

You have two classes of information there. The list of IP addresses are very important, to understand the path that your traffic may take, between your computer and the Google server. The timings (or lack of them, as in "Request timed out") are not so important.

In many cases, a router (represented by one of the IP addresses in the list), though it will identify itself in the list, will prevent you from probing it for a timed response. The error "Request timed out" won't be as significant as the IP addresses.

See hops 10 - 12, highlighted above? Those represent routers operated by Singnet ("Singtel"), which are the suspected cause of the problems when this article was originally written.

If your computer runs a current version of Microsoft Windows, you may be able to run an improved equivalent of "TraceRoute", known as "PathPing", which produces a better organised log.

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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 applications running on other computers. Google's servers are computers, running applications, and sending data to your computer.

In between your computers, and Google's computers, are the routers. All that the routers do is pass traffic (data) between your computers and Google's computers. One ISP's routers are the same as any other ISP's routers, and work in the same way.

So why can some ISP's routers cause havoc to Google's computers (and to your browser, and to you)?

The data from your browser is broken down into segments, then packets, by the network inside your computer. The packets are passed by your computer to your router, broken down into frames, and transported over the wires to another router, which reconstitutes the frames into packets again, and sends the packets on. Eventually, the packets are reconstituted into segments, then data, by the Google servers.

So what is special about one ISP's routers, that other ISP's routers aren't doing?

That's a question for Blogger to answer.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

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 warning "Could not connect ...", that most of us see from time to time. Some Bloggers see it more than that, and some few are prevented from posting. We have a workaround, provided by Pete Hopkins (though not officially issued Blogger code), which appears to mitigate the symptom.

Most websites are just websites - they show you text, pictures, maybe a movie. Some websites use some scripting - mainly to manipulate the data being passed back and forth. Blogger is actually acting like an application (aka thin client) and is sitting there polling the Blogger server, from your computer.

My suspicion is that there are other thin client functions, that Blogger runs on our computers, that they haven't thought to tell us about.

We are making progress. One recently discovered oddity, extraneous control language popping up in Blogger displays, is being looked into.

But a lot of questions remain. Maybe some that you can ask too. Some of you know how to make comments here, and the comment wizard is always operational here.

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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 269 ms 269 ms 202.47.253.148
10 280 ms 283 ms 283 ms 203.208.191.197
11 297 ms 299 ms 283 ms ge-0-1-0-0.sngtp-cr1.ix.singtel.com [203.208.149.201]
12 283 ms 339 ms 285 ms so-2-1-0-0.hkgcw-cr2.ix.singtel.com [203.208.154.38]

13 114 ms 115 ms 113 ms 72.14.196.5
14 118 ms 117 ms 117 ms 216.239.43.68
15 144 ms 137 ms 141 ms 66.249.95.198
16 142 ms 137 ms 139 ms 72.14.232.166
17 178 ms 171 ms 167 ms 72.14.236.236
18 175 ms 173 ms 175 ms 66.249.95.197
19 176 ms 181 ms 177 ms 216.239.47.54
20 176 ms 177 ms 175 ms jp-in-f99.google.com [66.249.89.99]

Trace complete.




I'm not a customer at all. Fortunately, I'm not a victim. But Bob is.



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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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Monday, May 14, 2007

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.

If we're going to trust Blogger, we're going to have to trust "*.blogger.com", or simply "blogger.com". Not "www.blogger.com". We have to be prepared for Blogger to expand use of the "blogger.com" domain, not restrict themselves to "www*.blogger.com".

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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 FAQ
People claim blogs after years without use more often than you would think.


That's whether any given blog was created 5 years ago and never updated, or it was created last week, and updated daily. That blog does not expire, the Blogger who set it up has it for eternity, and you can't have the URL. Maybe the blog was deleted by the owner - you still can't have the URL.

Why not concentrate on getting indexed, by the search engines? Content and Indexing - that's where your hits will come from, not from people who can (or can't) spell the name of the rock star (porn star, TV show, whatever) of interest. How many ways can you spell Jessica Simpson's name, after all? Pick something imaginative, for Pete's sake!

Now, along with the problem of wanting an unavailable URL for their blog, some folks want access to a private blog, without knowing the owner.
I find that for some reason, I can't access a blog I had regularly read in the past. According to Blogger, "It doesn't look like you have been invited to read this blog. If you think this is a mistake, you might want to contact the blog author and request an invitation."

How do I get the blog author's address to request an invitation or find a way back on?


But, as I've said before, if you don't know the owner of the blog, Blogger isn't going to help.
... we do not give out contact information for the owner of a blog.

If you had a popular URL, would you want Blogger to be handing out your email address, or emailing you monthly, or whenever some hopeful person (like you) decided to ask for your URL?

All that said, maybe you can do some detective work, find the owner of the URL, and persuade him / her to give it to you, or give you access. And, if she / he is willing to give the URL to you, have him / her transfer it properly - neither deleting the blog, nor deleting the owner account, will help you at all.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

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.
  1. Outer (contains, in turn, post and sidebar).
  2. Header.
  3. Post area ("Main").
  4. Sidebar.
  5. 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 narrower than the post / sidebar areas. Do this discretely though, so you don't waste valuable screen space.

The Main and Sidebar containers are the trickiest - they sit beside each other, and both have padding and margin widths to consider. If you make the Outer container 800px wide, you can't make the posts ("Main") 550px, and the sidebar 250px. There is padding inside the Outer container, and there are margins outside both the Main and Sidebar containers, that you must allow for. Ignore margins and padding, and you will have a dropped sidebar or main area.

Not all blogs, using standard Blogger templates, can be easily resized - some blog decorations will provide a challenge. The Rounders, Scribe, Son Of Moto, Thisaway, and TicTac templates each use fixed width page elements, as container borders. You can supposedly get custom versions of these templates, that are resizable, or that come in additional preset widths, but as custom templates produced outside of Blogger, they have various disadvantages.

A blog that uses the Minima template, however, is easy to resize. This is from one of my blogs, which uses Minima. Note the naming conventions, which are standard for many resizable Blogger provided templates.

As always, I'll advise you to backup your template, before and after making these changes!


#header .description {
margin:0 5px 5px;
padding:0 20px 15px;
max-width:700px; <== #2
text-transform:uppercase;
letter-spacing:.2em;
line-height: 1.4em;
font: $descriptionfont;
color: $descriptioncolor;
}

/* Outer-Wrapper
------------------------------------------- */
#outer-wrapper {
width: 670px; <== #1
margin:0 auto;
padding:10px;
text-align:left;
font: $bodyfont;
}

#main-wrapper {
width: 420px; <== #3
float: left;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text
breaking sidebar float in IE */
}

#sidebar-wrapper {
width: 220px; <== #4
float: right;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text
breaking sidebar float in IE */

}

...

/* Footer
------------------------------------------- */
#footer {
width:670px; <== #5
clear:both;
margin:0 auto;
padding-top:15px;
line-height: 1.6em;
text-transform:uppercase;
letter-spacing:.1em;
text-align: center;

}


Now, all of the discussion above describes a standard, old-fashioned fixed width template. I just migrated this blog to Layouts, and the Stretch Minima template. With Stretch Minima (and other dynamic / fluid templates), the blog fills the available horizontal space, automatically.

Check it out! Grab the sides of the browser window, and pull it in and out. Watch what happens as the browser gets narrower or wider.


/* Outer-Wrapper
----------------------------------------------- */
#outer-wrapper {
margin:0;
padding:10px;
text-align:left;
font: $bodyfont;
}

#main-wrapper {
margin-left: 1%; <==
width: 67%; <==
float: left;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */
}

html > body #main-wrapper {
margin-left: 2%; <==
}

#sidebar-wrapper {
margin-right: 1%; <==
width: 25%; <==
float: right;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */
}

html > body #sidebar-wrapper {
margin-right: 2%; <==
}



No more wasted space - the blog automatically fills whatever space the browser is given. All modern browsers should support this.

>> Top

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:

>> 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 possibility, provide a TraceRt log, in your next online post, when you ask for assistance.

>> Some Bloggers reporting this have also reported the distorted / unusable dashboard or Post Editor toolbar.

>> As a workaround to the problem, Singnet customers can use a proxy server, "proxy.singnet.com.sg". If your ISP gets service through Singnet, you may have this option. We note that people not getting service directly through Singnet cannot use "proxy.singnet.com.sg".

(Note): This will affect all of your web access through this browser, not just Blogger. If other services are negatively affected by your using the proxy, you'll want to contact Singnet directly. Or you may be able to use a separate browser for Blogging, for a while.

  • For Firefox before V2.0:

    • From the menu, select Tools, then Options.

    • Click on the "General" selection.

    • Under "Connection", hit "Connection Settings".

    • Select "Manual proxy configuration".

    • For HTTP Proxy address, enter "proxy.singnet.com.sg".

    • For HTTP Proxy port, enter "8080".

    • Click on the "OK" button 2 times.


  • For Firefox V2.0 and up:

    • From the menu, select Tools, then Options.

    • Click on the "Advanced" tab.

    • Click on the "Network" tab.

    • Under "Connection", hit "Settings".

    • Select "Manual proxy configuration".

    • For HTTP proxy, enter "proxy.singnet.com.sg".

    • For "Port", enter "8080".

    • Click on the "OK" button 2 times.


  • For Internet Explorer:

    • From the menu, select Tools, then Internet Options.

    • Click on the "Connections" tab.

    • If your computer is on a LAN, hit the "LAN Settings" button.


      • Under Proxy Server, select "Use a proxy server ...".

      • Click on the "Advanced" button.

      • For HTTP, enter "proxy.singnet.com.sg" for Proxy address, and "8080" for Port.

      • Click on the "OK" button 3 times.


    • If your computer uses dialup, select your setting name in the "Dial-up and Virtual Private Network settings" box, and hit "Settings".

      • Under Proxy Server, select "Use a proxy server ...".

      • Click on the "Advanced" button.

      • For HTTP, enter "proxy.singnet.com.sg" for Proxy address, and "8080" for Port.

      • Click on the "OK" button 3 times.



>> Forum thread links: bX-*00042

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00042

>> Top

Friday, May 11, 2007

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.
  • Start
  • Settings
  • Control Panel
  • Internet 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 "Navigate sub-frames across different domains" (about 3/4 way down the screen - see the scroll tab?). Select Enable. Hit the OK button.



For Warning!, hit the Yes button.



With "Trusted Sites" still selected, hit the Sites button.



You should now have "Trusted sites". Type "*.blogger.com" into the "Add ..." box, and hit the Add button.



Hit the Close button, then the OK button. Restart Internet Explorer.


If you followed these instructions precisely, your cross-frame script problem should be solved. If you continue to have problems, check all security settings and browser add-ons.

>> Top

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
×tamp=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's missing key fields. That's the symptom.

Many scripts in Blogger, that take several screens, and involve pushing buttons, will retain key information in the URL. That URL is a dynamic call to the web server.

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


The ? identifies a dynamic call. What follows the ? are the arguments (data passed) to the dynamic call. In this example, the blogID is the argument. If that argument was missing, guess what symptom I would get, when I edit this blog.

The next time you use Blogger, look at the URLs.
  • Creating, or editing, a post.
  • Logging in to Blogger.
  • Making a comment on a blog (yours or somebody else's).


Now that you know how to identify the symptom, help us to diagnose the problem.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00037

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00037

>> Top

Thursday, May 10, 2007

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.

>> Top

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

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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Monday, May 07, 2007

bX-juc1da

Appears when viewing some blogs. Nowhere as intense as 403 Forbidden - thank heavens.

bX-juc1da
Additional information:
uri: /
host: xxxxxxx.blogspot.com


>> Forum thread links: bX-juc1da

>> Copy this tag: bX-juc1da

>> Top

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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Sunday, May 06, 2007

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

>> Top

Saturday, May 05, 2007

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.

>> Top

Thursday, May 03, 2007

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 time

For all good men

To come to the aid

Of their country.

The quick brown fox

Jumped over

The lazy dog.

The fountain pen

Of my aunt

Is 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="center">Of their country.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p> </o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;" align="center"><i style="">The quick brown fox<o:p></o:p></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;" align="center"><i style="">Jumped over<o:p></o:p></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;" align="center"><i style="">The lazy dog.<o:p></o:p></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p> </o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;" align="center"><u>The fountain pen<o:p></o:p></u></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;" align="center"><u>Of my aunt<o:p></o:p></u></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;" align="center"><u>Is filled with whiskey.<o:p></o:p></u></p>


Please, don't do that. This is simpler, believe me.
  1. Edit your post, in Compose mode.
  2. Select the entire post.
  3. Hit the "Remove formatting" button, in the toolbar.
  4. Reformat everything, as desired.
  5. Finally, Save the reformatted post.

Of course, simpler still would be not using Word in the first place. But you can't always tell your friends what to do.

It's also possible that copying the Word content, directly into Post Editor, in Edit HTML mode, will strip away all gratuitous metaformatting. If you do this, though, be careful about "<" and ">" characters.

>> Top

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

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 clearing cache and cookies, and other Bloggers report relief by making shorter posts - Publishing, then editing repeatedly.

Pete continues in his discussion, to suggest a workaround, to block the problem created by the cookies. You'll have a little script, that you'll have to run each time you start a post editor session. You run the little script, having previously saved it as a bookmark (favorite), from your browser.
  • Go to Pete's website.
  • Make a bookmark from the code that he provides, per his instructions.
  • Each time that your browser links to a screen where the Blogger connection testing is done (anywhere you see the pink error message), execute the bookmark, created from Pete's website, after the page has loaded.
  • See the WikiPedia article about bookmarklets, for more information.

Various Bloggers have reported mitigation of the well known pink warning, when using Pete's bookmarklet. Give it a shot, and see if it provides you any improvement to your problem.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00016

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00016

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bX-2v7ys6

A new one, apparently started a couple days ago.

>> Forum search links: bX-2v7ys6

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

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

>> Top