Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Images Uploaded Through The Page Elements GUI Are Distorted

Bloggers are enjoying the ability to upload simple photos, using the Page Elements wizard. The photos uploaded are unclickable, and are automatically sized for positioning in the sidebar, post, or title areas, without any effort required. Unfortunately, for a few days, the automatic sizing mechanism seems to be losing the aspect ration of the photos, so what is displayed is either excessively narrow or wide.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00061

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00061

>> Top

Monday, July 30, 2007

Geolocation: Where Are My Readers Located?

Free visitor meters, like SiteMeter and Statcounter, are great for telling you who looks at your web site, how they get there, how long they look, and many other useful details. One useful detail, not always completely understood, is where your readers are located. The process of determining this is called Geolocation.

How accurate is geolocation, anyway?


Not very accurate for me. My ISP is in Santa Rosa. I'm not.



Using the IP address of your computer (or more frequently, the external or WAN address of your network), many experts claim to know where you are located. Unfortunately, as in the example above, this shows where your ISP is located. Between you and your ISP is another network, called by the experts the "backhaul", that is transparent to IP and the Geolocation databases. Your ISP could be in another city, county, state, or even country.


My location is no secret. How far is Martinez, from Santa Rosa?


Not anywhere within walking distance, obviously.

For a more graphic example of geolocation, see And Now, A Dose Of Paranoia For You.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Blogger In Draft Is Just That, No More

Recently, Blogger added an exciting feature set to Blogger - Blogger In Draft. New features are tested, by us, on a blog by blog basis, when we intentionally decide that our blog can be safely subjected to the stress of BID.

Blogger In Draft provides interesting new components in Blogger, but at a cost. Two costs, actually.
  • Functionality. As each component included in BID is simplified, it will lose features.
  • Stability. Components in BID have been known to damage blogs. I won't apply BID to any of my established blogs.


As each new component is added to BID, Blogger will improve functionality and stability, based upon feedback. People testing new Blogger features, released as part of BID, need to be experienced Bloggers, who know how Blogger blogs work, and how to diagnose problems. This qualification probably won't be found with those who write into this forum
How do I do this?
Anybody reading this is, of course, entitled to ignore my advice, and jump in head first. And somebody, each week, will surely be writing into the other forum
My blog is broken. How do I fix it?


At a minimum, setup a test blog, for playing with Draft Blogger. And know how to get out of Draft, when necessary.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

BlogSpot Connectivity Issue In NorthWest Florida

Some Bloggers around Tallahassee FL, have reported inability to access any blogs. Pings return total loss of connectivity; traceroutes appear to show a connectivity loss within Google networks.

Here's a typical traceroute log, provided by one Blogger reporting the problem.

C:\>tracert bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com

Tracing route to blogspot.l.google.com [72.14.207.191] over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 8 ms 7 ms 7 ms 73.10.128.1
2 8 ms 7 ms * ge-2-1-sr01.wakulla.fl.tallah.comcast.net [68.85.237.81]
3 8 ms 9 ms * te-9-2-ur01.pershingst.fl.tallah.comcast.net [68.85.236.65]
4 9 ms 9 ms * te-8-1-ur01.capitalcircl.fl.tallah.comcast.net [68.85.236.38]
5 10 ms 10 ms * te-9-2-ar02.tallahassee.fl.tallah.comcast.net [68.85.236.33]
6 10 ms 10 ms * 68.85.236.102
7 18 ms 15 ms 15 ms 68.85.202.42
8 15 ms 15 ms 15 ms 68.85.202.34
9 39 ms 37 ms 37 ms 12.119.213.53
10 33 ms 33 ms 31 ms gbr1.hs1tx.ip.att.net [12.123.212.98]
11 34 ms 33 ms 33 ms tbr2.hs1tx.ip.att.net [12.122.12.145]
12 42 ms 40 ms 40 ms tbr1.dlstx.ip.att.net [12.122.10.129]
13 38 ms 40 ms 40 ms ggr3.dlstx.ip.att.net [12.122.86.205]
14 36 ms 33 ms 31 ms br2-a340s5.wswdc.ip.att.net[192.205.34.138]
15 39 ms 36 ms 35 ms ae-31-51.ebr1.Dallas1.Level3.net[4.68.122.30]
16 39 ms 36 ms 36 ms ae-1-100.ebr2.Dallas1.Level3.net[4.69.132.46]
17 53 ms 54 ms 54 ms ae-7.ebr3.Atlanta2.Level3.net[4.69.134.22]
18 74 ms 72 ms 71 ms ae-2.ebr1.Washington1.Level3.net[4.69.132.86]
19 71 ms 72 ms 72 ms ae-81-81.csw3.Washington1.Level3.net[4.69.134.138]
20 66 ms 69 ms 71 ms ae-83-83.ebr3.Washington1.Level3.net[4.69.134.169]
21 72 ms 72 ms 73 ms ae-3.ebr3.NewYork1.Level3.net[4.69.132.90]
22 77 ms 73 ms 71 ms ae-93-93.csw4.NewYork1.Level3.net[4.69.134.110]
23 73 ms 72 ms 72 ms ae-43-99.car3.NewYork1.Level3.net[4.68.16.197]
24 79 ms 79 ms 78 ms GOOGLE-INC.car3.NewYork1.Level3.net[4.71.172.82]
25 79 ms 77 ms 76 ms 72.14.236.215
26 81 ms 79 ms 79 ms 72.14.233.115
27 79 ms 79 ms 79 ms 66.249.94.94
28 84 ms 89 ms 86 ms 66.249.94.118
29 * * * Request timed out.
30 * * * Request timed out.

>> If you are experiencing a similar issue, in NorthWest Florida or wherever, post in the Something Is Broken thread, and include some details.

If your problem is similar, but the details don't match the above, you'll simply be asked to open your own thread, so you can be properly helped. Help The Helpers, please.
>> Forum thread links: bX-*00060

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00060

>> Top

Removing The "Showing posts with label" / "No posts were found which match your query" Message

I say every chance that I get, that Labels Rock. They are very user friendly, and produce attractive results. In general.

There's one feature of labels that not everybody finds attractive, however.

Friday, July 20, 2007

What Is My Blog (Site) Feed?

This is The Real Blogger Status - and you are looking at the blog itself.

What you see is a lot easier for you to digest, than for computers to do so. There's another copy of your blog, though, that's designed for computers to digest, so the information can be passed to other places, maybe as part of another web site or blog, or to a reader who is subscribed to your blog, using a newsreader. The other copy is called the site feed.

The site feed contains each individual post, rewritten in XML. XML is a structured data language, making it easier for computer programs to read and process the contents. The site feed contains only the posts - nothing from the template. If the nature of your blog requires access to a gadget in the sidebar, your readers will need to visit the blog directly.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Publishing Updates To Your Blog

There are millions of websites out there on the Web, and not all of them are updated regularly. Anybody who uses the web, with any regularity, has dozens of favourite websites, and checks each one periodically for updates. And anyone who uses the web, with any intensity, knows the frustration of either checking one website repeatedly and seeing the same material, or checking one website one day and seeing some information several days old, that you would have benefited from, if you had seen the information sooner.

So what to do? Originally, folks who ran websites that really wanted visitors would get an email address from each visitor. Periodically, or when they had written a particularly interesting article, they would email to all of their registered visitors
Check out the website, read this article.


But the problem with most "Hey check out my website" email was myriad.
  • Many folks wouldn't give an email address, for fear of spam.
  • Some email systems would treat the email, received as spam.
  • Folks even getting the email wouldn't read it promptly.
  • The email never went out often enough to suit some folks, yet it went out too frequently to suit other folks.


Nowadays, properly designed web sites, and blogs, include a replica of each page, that you never see when viewing a page in your browser. This replica, called a news feed, can be read only by a newsreader. You subscribe to a news feed by adding its URL to your newsreader.

The web site is updated when convenient to the author, and you read the updates when convenient to you, using your newsreader. Your newsreader tells you which sites have changed, and you only spend time reading the changes. Simple.

>> Top

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Posts not posting promptly

Various Bloggers report that their new posts, being Published, do not actually show up in the blog promptly.

The usual advice to clear or refresh cache doesn't seem to be consistently useful, though that's still a good place to start. Also, please note whether the missing posts show up in the post editor menu.

>> (Update 8/15): One Blogger reports relief from this problem by forcing a republish of the blog. This was achieved by changing to a different template, and then changing again, to return to the original template.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00059

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00059

>> Top

Monday, July 16, 2007

Three Column Templates - And Other Third Party Products

Since migrating to New Blogger, various Bloggers have been lamenting the lack of 3 column templates. Many efforts - such as long threads in some forums - have sprung up, discussing the oversight. Eventually, hacked versions, of the standard Blogger templates, were made available by various template providers.

The hacked templates, nice though they are, have several shortcomings.
  • You can't load them using the "Pick New Template" wizard in Templates.
  • When you do load them, you may lose your custom widgets.
  • Blogger doesn't support them.


Since Blogger doesn't support the third party products, when Blogger makes changes, it's doubtful that they test any changes against blogs that use them. And the Bloggers using them will occasionally experience problems.

In one case, the problem was related to the server hosting the blog components; the template in question was apparently a victim of its popularity, which caused the creators bandwidth limits to be exceeded. There have been other issues with other templates, in the past. Sometimes, the creators have simply stopped hosting some templates.

Blogger Help Group is an open forum. Anybody can post there, who wishes to do so. Helpers who post within the rules can continue to post there, can gather posting history, and can seem reliable by their history. It's their advice, but it's your blog, and you are responsible for your blog.

>> Top

Sunday, July 15, 2007

bX-t0ou3g

A side effect of, or peer to, the correction of the bX-mzm63b error maybe?

Invalid Post template.
Your post template contains invalid html. This typically means <script> tags. You can get rid of this error by either removing the post template altogether or by editing it on Settings->Formatting-.


If you actually have code in there that you prefer to keep, copy what's there to Notepad, then remove it for now, and see if the problem ceases. Once Blogger figures out what's actually wrong, and fixes the problem, you can restore what you copied.

>> Forum thread links: bX-t0ou3g

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Problems With FTP Publishing To Network Solutions Servers

Publishing Blogger blogs to FTP servers is, surely, a constant challenge. Talking responsibility for communications with dozens of different servers, none of which you control, must be a constant headache. Today we appear to have a consistent report of trouble - Network Solutions FTP servers.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00058

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00058

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Removing A Page Element

Sometimes, when you work on a blog, you have page elements that need to be removed. All page elements can be removed - but some can't be removed immediately. Some take just a little bit of template tweaking.

Let's remove a standard header for instance. First, if you care about what you're doing, backup the template.


If you were lucky, you could just remove the Header page element.




You can't this time, though. There's no "Remove Page Element" button.



So, go to Edit HTML. Find the section of code
<div id='header-wrapper'>
<b:section class='header' id='header' maxwidgets='1' showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='Header1' locked='true' title='The Real Blogger Status Beta (Header)' type='Header'/>
</b:section>
</div>


and change "locked='true'" to "locked='false'".

<div id='header-wrapper'>
<b:section class='header' id='header' maxwidgets='1' showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='Header1' locked='false' title='The Real Blogger Status Beta (Header)' type='Header'/>
</b:section>
</div>


Then Save Template. Go back to Page Elements.


Now you can just remove the page element.


And after you finish, backup the template again.

>> Top

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

People Losing Adminstrator Status On Their Blogs

On June 12, Blogger finally gave us the ability to transfer blog ownership. With that ability came the ability to remove ourselves from ownership, if and only if there was a second blog administrator.

Unfortunately, the display, and the change option, is confusing. People are removing themselves (or a friend), from administrator status, when they think that they are making themselves (a friend) an administrator.

If you're looking at the blog permissions display, and you see a clickable link besides your name saying "admin", wouldn't you think
Heck yeah, I'm an admin!

If the link says "admin", that means that you are currently an admin; clicking there makes you a guest. You click on the link, and now, you're a guest, with no warning. If you just clicked on your own entry, you are out and can't get back.

What's needed is a popup that says
Blog member xxxxxxx is currently an administrator. Do you want xxxxxxx to be a guest? Yes / No


But note that I said above
... the ability to remove ourselves from ownership, if and only if there was a second blog administrator.
You could only do this to yourself, if there was another administrator. Have that person restore your status, when he / she is available. And don't do this again.

>> (Update 7/11 10:45): Blogger Employee says
I agree! This is something we're looking into.


May the day come soon.

>> (Update 10/15): The day came, finally.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00057

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00057

>> Top

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

You Are Mortal, But Your Blog Is Forever

Many Bloggers are considering the pros and cons of the Blogger eternal blog policy
Blogger accounts and Blog*Spot addresses do not expire.

If you setup a Custom Domain, things are a bit more complicated. If you don't pay the periodic DNS hosting, or the name registration, fees, the domain will expire, and eventually go out of service. Google for "Black Viper", if you want an example of what the readers go through, when that happens.

Your blog will continue on BlogSpot, but won't be accessible. Both "www.yourblog.blogspot.com" and "www.yourblog.blogspot.com" will be forwarded to "yourdomain.com". With no DNS entry to forward "yourdomain.com" to "ghs.google.com", all 4 aliases ("www.yourblog.blogspot.com", "yourblog.blogspot.com", "www.yourdomain.com", and "yourdomain.com"), will be discontinued.

You'll need to have your blog switched back to publishing to BlogSpot, when DNS service is discontinued. Many Bloggers will do this, for one reason or another. Maybe you can give a friend backup administrative authority over the blog, so it can be switched back to BlogSpot, when you are gone. At least with that strategy, "yourblog.blogspot.com" can continue forever.

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bX-7mplh0

You'll see this error when trying to upload pictures. Currently, over 100 threads discussing the problem.

This one appears to have started over a month ago, on May 30. Blogger is aware of the problem, but apparently has no solution yet. Blogger Employee has started asking for diagnostic data.

>> Forum thread links: bX-7mplh0

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Don't Advertise Your Blog Improperly

If we use each Google Blogger Help forum for its specifically intended purpose, each forum will be more effective. When people have individual problems, those problems will be easier to find and to solve. And when there are widespread problems (like the WildFires from the past weekend), those problems will be easier to identify, and to show to Blogger Support for resolution.

You can have any content in your blog that isn't against the Blogger TOS. But advertise your blog in a forum where advertising is welcomed, not in the Google Blogger Help forums.

If you advertise your blog using gibberish, posted as technical advice, you'll be seen as a spammer too. Helpers here have no patience for gibberish, or similar trollish activity.

The Google Blogger Help forums are for asking for help with technical blog problems, and for providing genuinely useful advice to others who report problems. They aren't for advertising your blogs, worthy though they may be of promotion.

Share Your Blog is for blog promotions. Use Share Your Blog, for showing your blog to others, and for similar social interactions.

But don't despair, you can correct your mistakes - if you're repentant. Just remove your unwelcome blog promotions from the technical Blogger Help forums.
  1. Go back to each post. Find your name at the top.
  2. Find "More options" to the right of your name, and click there.
  3. Find "Remove".
  4. Click on the "Yes" button.


Encourage others to use the Google Blogger Help Group forums for what their intended purposes. Remove your advertisements.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Oh No! I Just Reverted My Template!!

What do I do now? All my work on the blog!!??

I've written a few times about template conversion, and migration between Classic and Layouts, and migration between Layouts and Classic too. Reverting is easy, but I'd never tried reverting from Layouts to Classic, and back again.

So can you go back and forth, without losing template content?

When you revert, you get a popup advice
If you revert to your Classic template, you will still be able to recover your current design.

It's not lying to you. The path back isn't obvious, but you can get back. Until you elect to publish the blog by FTP or SFTP, that is.

Here's my test blog, http://nitecruzrtestnew.blogspot.com/, which has lots of odd and complex objects arranged in it. I just reverted it to use a Classic template, as a test.

When I view my blog, it indeed has a Classic template.

So you go back to the Dashboard, click on the Template link. From the "Edit HTML" tab, you may have to select "Customize Design". You'll now have the advice to "Give your blog a whole new look!" (again!). Hit the orange button, and you get to "Select a new template". Pick the same template that you had before you reverted, and it should come back with the Layouts Template blog just as it was previously.


Click on the orange button, to recover the template back to Layouts. If you don't see a button, or if the button doesn't do anything, you may have the New Blogger 2008 Upgrade button problem.



>> Top

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Adding A Google Map To Your Blog

Want to direct folks to your house (place of business, party location, whatever, ....)? What's better than a live map, starting from where the reader is located? You can link your blog to a map of anywhere that Google maps - which is probably the entire globe by now. And each reader gets his own personal map, relative to his needs.

Load any Google Map. In the upper right corner of the map, you'll see "Link to this page". That link will contain the link to the map as displayed, as in:

<a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?oi=map&q=100+Church+St,+94553">Link to this page</a>


Start from my church web page, for example, and click on
Here Is A Google Map With Our Location


Then, look for
Link to this page


But wait. There's more.

Look below the "Link to this page" link, and you'll see a choice of 3 views.
  • Map
  • Satellite
  • Hybrid


Instead of showing folks a spot on the map, show them what the house looks like, from the air. And let them zoom in and out, as convenient.

>> Top

Labels

Labels are one of the more useful features in Layouts Blogger, and full use of Labels can be a motivating factor, in migrating a blog from a Classic (HTML) template, to a Layout / Designer template.

Here's my latest Label - WildFires. This shows you the latest major Blogger problems. We currently have 0 wildfires active.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Entering The Title (Or Link) In A Post Isn't Easy

Recently, you may have started, in Post Editor, to create or edit a post, and found that entering the title to the post wasn't obviously possible. You go to click in the Title box, to put the cursor in there and start typing, but the cursor isn't clickable when positioned there. This has also been observed as a problem in the Link box, though that is used so rarely that reports of this problem will be rare.

Instead of positioning the mouse pointer in the vertical center of the Title (or Link) box, as is normal, you have to move the pointer upwards very carefully. With the pointer positioned just below the top edge of the box, the pointer will turn into the standard insert icon, and you can click in the box, and start typing.

This has been observed in both Firefox and Internet Explorer. You won't solve (workaround) this by changing to another browser, or by clearing cache and cookies.

It's the weekend, and this is a fairly simple and non-intrusive workaround (unlike the one for the bX-mzm63b error). I'm betting that this won't be fixed for a few days, so we better get used to it.

Other folks are seeing this problem in the edit windows for HTML / JavaScript / Text page element widgets, where the formatting toolbar, and the link to switch between Rich Text and HTML, is totally inoperative. No moving the cursor gets any of the toolbar objects, or the link, to work. This pretty much leaves the page element editor useless.

>> (Update 7/9 11:15): Blogger Employee tells us
It seems that this issue is a result of a fix we pushed out on Friday. We're working on fixing things up as soon as we can.

>> (Update 7/9 13:00): Blogger Status advises us
Some users are reporting that they are unable to enter titles for their posts. We are currently investigating this problem and working on a fix.

>> (Update 7/10 17:30): Blogger Employee tells us
We're almost finished w/ the fix for this issue, which means it should be out shortly (I give it one day max).


>> (Update 7/11 13:00): Looks like this has finally been fixed.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00056

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00056

>> Top

Draft Blogger - The Next Frontier

Development of Blogger One Button Publishing, aka Blogger Blogs, never ends. And, having declared New Blogger (2007) stable, Blogger continues to move forward with the addition of new products.

But new products are nothing without new names. Having used the term "Beta" already, to designate the pre-release version of New Blogger 2007, the next term is "Draft". Draft Blogger will contain pre-release features of New Blogger, for test.

To use Draft Blogger, you start from the Draft Blogger Dashboard. Having a separate dashboard requires bloggers to have to work to access products that some bloggers may not be ready for - or may not be ready for them.

If you decide that you are ready to always use Draft Blogger products, you can select "Make Draft Blogger my default", and your normal login will redirect to Draft Blogger. Note links in the navbar will still give you Production (Orange) Blogger, even if you have the Draft Blogger dashboard active.

How well the Draft Blogger environment meshes with the Regular Blogger environment - with features either separated or shared, as appropriate - will be an issue to be explored. Having experienced the debacle that is New Google Groups - like Google Blogger Help, I intend to watch Blogger Draft with all possible scrutiny.

PKBlogs - Not The Only Solution

PKBlogs goes down periodically. It looks like they're down right now.

I use PKBlogs so I can package the URL of my target with my advice, as in
http://www.pkblogs.com/bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com/
2007/03/connectivity-problems-with-blogspot.html


Clicking on that URL takes you directly to my blog (when PKBlogs is up). Other than that, you can use any other proxy server, to access any blog or web site, anonymously and safely.

Google for "free proxy server", and pick one. You'll have to type the URL of the target (your blog) each time unfortunately.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

bX-mzm63b

As of right now, 9 threads in Google Blogger Help forums, apparently all started today. As WildFires go, this isn't a big one, but it's got growing potential (not a big one in the beginning!). This is surely the problem of the week, and might be for next week too.

Blogger Employee advises
I believe that message means that you've got some invalid HTML in your post template. You can reach your post template on the Settings | Formatting tab.


It's quite simple.
  • Go to the Settings - Formatting wizard.
    • The bottom most window on the page, "Post Template", will contain funky code.
    • Copy and paste the code in the window, if you wish, so you can restore it later.
    • Clear what's in the window, and Save Settings.
  • Go to the Settings - Basic wizard, and look under Global Settings. If the transliteration button is enabled, disable it and Save Settings.


>> (Update 7/6 8:00): Now 21 threads in the forum.

>> (Update 7/6 14:00): Blogger Employee advises us
We are looking into this issue to see how the problematic code got inserted into the post template.


>> (Update 7/8 12:00): This WildFire is still burning. You need to clean out your post template, under Settings - Formatting. Then, report it to Blogger. This is a fairly simple (though intrusive) workaround, and I'm betting it won't be solved immediately.

I'm wondering if there's a connection between the earlier post template corruption problems (or maybe to efforts to resolve them?)?

>> (Update 7/8 16:30): Latest forum thread count: 136.

>> (Update 7/9 19:00): Latest forum thread count: 193. 8-0 8-0 8-0

>> Forum thread links: bX-mzm63b

>> Top

Allow Or Prevent Your Readers From Knowing Your Visitors

For some Bloggers, knowing who's reading the blog is as important as writing it in the first place. And some want to let everybody else know (or prevent everybody from knowing) who's reading the blog. The choice of allowing (or not) the readers to see who else is reading the blog can be as natural as writing it too.

Both SiteMeter and StatCounter provide this selection, with a varying amount of effort required to select what you want.

With SiteMeter, select "manager" at the top. From the manager menu, select "privacy level". You'll have 3 privacy levels, and you can choose any that fits your needs.

With StatCounter, go into Configure, then Install Code. You'll have to go through the Install Code sequence, make the appropriate changes, then retrieve the new code and install it on your blog.

Unmoderated Comments With JavaScript References

We have seen reports from several Bloggers that anonymous posters are making unmoderated comments to their blogs, containing a JavaScript reference, which redirects the reader to another web site. Right now, the reference, and the redirection, appears to be used for pumping up the reputation in individual quotes in QDB.com, but it doesn't require a lot of imagination to see how versatile this vulnerability could be in the long run.

Start by immediately moderating all blog comments, until this vulnerability is fixed.

>> Blogger Employee says
I pass it along (again) and we'll see if we can do anything about this.


>> (Update 7/6 10:00): Blogger Employee says
We made some changes to address the vulnerability issue (yesterday) so this should no longer be a problem.


>> Forum thread links: bX-*00055

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00055

>> Top

Blogger Limits: How High Can I Go?

Everything good has limits, and Blogger is no exception to this rule. I, personally, can name several limits which might influence my use of Blogger sometime in the future. There are a few known limits - and some rumoured limits that do not actually exist.

Blogger Limits: Label Field Length

As I wrote so long ago, Labels are probably the most significant feature of (New aka Beta) Blogger.

But everything good has its limits. If you use Labels enthusiastically, as I have, you will discover them (they will find you) periodically.


You have too many labels, or the total length of your labels is too great.


You are limited to a total of 200 characters, in the Labels string, for any post. I believe that this includes all commas and spaces between labels.

Look at my example.
Labels for this post:
Label1, Label2, Label3, Label4, Label5, Label6, Label7, Label8, Label9, Label10, Label11, Label12, Label13, Label14, Label15, Label16, Label17, Label18, Label19, Label20, Label21, Label22, Label23, Label24, Label25, Label26, Label27, Label28, Label29, Label30, Label31, Label32, Label33, Label34, Label35, Label36, Label37, Label38, Label39, Label40, Label41, Label42, Label43, Label44, Label45, Label46, Label47, Label48, Label49, Label50, Label51, Label52, Label53, Label54, Label55, Label56, Label57, Label58, Label59


Like limiting the size of your main page, you really have to exercise some judgement about labels. A blog of any appreciable size, with 200 characters of labels in some posts, would have a rather large label list. The above example, with 59 labels, is waaay to many. Think of your readers, please.

>> Top

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Transitioning Ownership Of Your Blog

Years ago, when blogging was just being started, a blog would be purely personal, and purely ephemeral. You start a blog, it's yours, and who cares if you stop publishing?

Today, that's not the case at all. Google for "BlackViper", if you want an example of what can happen.

I started a blog for my church, Martinez United Methodist Church, 2 years ago. As blogs go, it's kind of small, but so is the church.

But, as Jesus said in Matthew 18:20
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.


So I continue to develop this blog, and the church members seem to appreciate it.

But I occasionally wonder
What will happen after I'm gone?


Well, for one thing, if someone else in the church isn't a blog administrator, or doesn't have access to the blog administrative account, nothing.

And I'm sure that I don't maintain the only blog in the Blogosphere where this is (should be) a concern.

From reading the Blogger Help database, I am aware of 3 relevant factors.
  1. Blog ownership, by definition, is anonymous. You, as the blog owner, can choose to have its existence associated with your "identity", but that's incidental. Ownership of the blog is primarily from access to the Google account that owns the blog. In the past, it was possible for blogs, by mischance, to be without ownership, but Blogger closed that hole last year. Now, every blog has an owner.
  2. A secondary identity, the email address of the owning account (with correct password to that email account) is available, should you forget the owning Google account name or password. You will require access to the owning email account.
  3. Blog existence is eternal. As Blogger puts it,
    "Blogger accounts and Blog*Spot addresses do not expire."


With those 3 factors in mind, there is no alternate access, to a given blog, defined. Should a blog have only 1 owner, and that owner be unavailable (temporarily or permanently), there is no procedure that Blogger has published to transfer blog ownership.

For a personal blog, like my Techie Musings meanderings, I don't think too many folks will care. I'd like to think that a few will care about my Windows Networking advice, or maybe my Blogger advice, but both of those are provided by others in my field too. Eventually, those blogs will disappear from the search engines, and then from peoples minds.

Then there are business or political blogs, like Martinez UMC or maybe SF Team Tibet. These are a different issue - they represent ongoing concerns that will (should) continue, long after I'm gone. Maybe you, too, have concerns about one or more blogs that you provide. Not everybody may, though, and in the struggle to develop their blogs, some people may overlook the issue of ownership when they aren't available.

When somebody isn't available to continue the work, and if they were the only person with access to such a blog, what happens? Right now, nothing. When businesses and other organisations become involved, this may change. But this isn't purely a matter of blog preservation. Some blogs should, righteously, be destroyed upon decease of the owner.

The question is, who makes the decision to continue, or to terminate? And how can either be done, without legal access to the blog?

This is an issue that Blogger must address. Or we must address, and urge Blogger to address also.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

FTP Publishing: No Error, But Posts Don't Publish

Various Bloggers are seeing problems with publishing by FTP to external web servers. In some cases, no error but the post doesn't show up in the blog. In other cases, the
FTPConnectionClosedException: Connection closed
message
.

Let's try and look for a pattern.
  • What's the BlogSpot URL (if that option was provided when you setup your FTP publishing)?
  • What's the IP address or URL of the web server?
  • Who's the server provided by?


>> (Update 7/3): This problem is noted in several forum threads as being apparently resolved. No official notice by Blogger though.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00054

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00054

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FTPConnectionClosedException: Connection closed

Various Bloggers are seeing problems with publishing by FTP to external web servers. In some cases, the above error message, in other cases, no error but the post doesn't show up in the blog.

Let's try and look for a pattern.
  • What's the BlogSpot URL (if that option was provided when you setup your FTP publishing)?
  • What's the IP address or URL of the web server?
  • Who's the server provided by?


(Update 2008/09/22): We have 3 different possible causes for this symptom, being reported this month.

(Update 2008/07/03): This problem is noted in several forum threads as being apparently resolved. No official notice by Blogger though.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00054

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00054

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Blog Posts: Every Blogger Is Unique

Every person who maintains a Blogger blog (or other web site) has his or her own idea about what features she or he wants to present on his or her blog / web site. Under Classic Blogger, this need was provided only by editing the blog template. With a Layouts template, besides letting us add and move template objects all over the screen, Blogger also provided us the ability to make common changes in what information we want to see included with every blog post, without even opening the "Edit HTML" Template wizard.

The Archives Tower Of Babel Continues #2

Last week, I reported of my personal experience with the Blogger Tower Of Babel aka Archives language problem. That was a one day experience.

Today, we see numerous folks reporting that their Archives are now showing in Albanian.

Interestingly, some state that changing the Language setting under Publishing corrects the immediate symptom. So now we have to ask why language settings are changing? And was the previous problem actually fixed, or is this another symptom of that problem?

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00038

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00038

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