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Showing posts from August, 2007

Layouts Templates Use Dynamic HTML, And Dynamic Server Access

Every week or so, someone writesI do not understand why Blogger tells me that I cannot change my layout using the GUI template wizard (add gadgets, use Labels fully, have the "Next Post" / "Previous Post" links, restrict blog access, ...), simply because my blog is not hosted on a Google server. Why do FTP published blogs get second class treatment?with the implication being that Blogger is shortchanging FTP published blogs, to coerce their owners into publishing on a Google server, either to Blog*Spot, or to a Custom Domain.

The answer here is a bit simpler. You can't use a Layouts template, or the GUI features, because a Layouts template is written in dynamic HTML. Dynamic HTML requires that the server with the blog content (ie Blogger) be accessed by the blog reader, as the blog is being read.

When you publish by FTP, to a server distant from Blogger, you are publishing statically. The publishing process sets up the blog on the distant server once, and a…

The Storm Worm Hits Blogger

The Storm Worm is a popular name used for a family of malware, properly classified as a Trojan, which has been plaguing the Internet for several months. It started with the widely circulated spam, about the Storms in Europe, which hit everybody's Inboxes earlier this year.

The spam email started out distributing the worm in attachments to the email, and later changed to delivering it from web sites linked in the spam. Symantec: New Storm Front Moving In tells us that the typical email would contain a link to a "secure" web site, and the linked web site would contain the instructionIf you do not see the Secure Login Window, please install our Secure Login Applet.

Now, it is being distributed through Blogger, from blogs marketed to those surfing the Blogosphere through the "Next Blog" link.

It can be seen in a Blog*Spot splog farm, with blogs using intriguing titles like "Dying To Live", "Katrina Thanks", and "Rocking Consumption", an…

Blogger, The CAPTCHA, And The Spammers

Recently, we've been seeing a lot of complaints from folks who claim that their blogs have been detected as spam.I have to solve a word puzzle each time I post. Help!Don't you just hate that word puzzle, aka CAPTCHA? Every time you setup a new blog, you have to solve one.

I capitalise the word "CAPTCHA", because it's an acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart". It's there to keep spammers from setting up hundreds of blogs, or email accounts, by simply using automated scripts. And, it's not working.

Get To The Root Of The Problem - Blame The Spammers

For some time recently, we have been seeing two basic complaints a lot, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.I tried to post on my blog, and it says my blog is under review for possible violations, and cannot be modified. I have read the terms of service, and there is nothing in my blog that even remotely violates the terms of service.andIt's getting so that I'm embarrassed to be asking my friends to read my blog because there's so much porn everywhere. I'm even thinking of changing blog hosts because of it.

Removing The Newer Post - Home - Older Posts Links

One of the neatest things about Layouts templates (OK, I know that I say that a lot) is the expanded main page.

Those of you who don't remember the Classic blogs, the short main page, and then the need to find the Archives links again, won't have the same feelings. OK, your loss.
Those of you that still have a blog with a Classic template can stop reading here, as the Newer Post - Home - Older Posts Links require dynamic HTML, and Layouts templates.

Evil Blogs #2

In my previous post Evil Blogs, I mentioned a blog pushing a rogue security product known as E r r o r P r o t e c t o r. E r r o r P r o t e c t o r is part of a family of rogue security products, which contains the infamous (in the security community) W i n A n t i V i r u s.

The latter product is being pushed from a splog farm currently resident in Blog*Spot. I went "Next Blog" surfing yesterday, and discovered half a dozen splogs in this farm. (Note): The splog census is being provided, in private, to responsible parties. Not here.

McAfee Site Advisor has a lot to say about the web site for W i n A n t i V i r u s, none of it good.

W i n A n t i V i r u s is part of the WinFixer family. For more information about WinFixer, seeSpywareGuide: WinFixerSunbelt Counter-Spy: WinFixerSymantec: WinfixerWikiPedia: WinFixer

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Blocking The Navbar "Next Blog" Link

The "Next Blog" link on the Navbar makes your blog part of the blogosphere. Someone clicking on "Next Blog" from their blog (or a third party's) randomly lands on your blog. The random nature - never the same blogs twice - makes the "Next Blog" appealing, and provides readers to new blogs.

But the random nature is a double edged sword. You never know where you're going, when you click there. Sometimes, you end up where you don't want to go. If you have a blog targeted to those of impressionable minds (children for instance), you may not want the readers of your blog next blogging from yours.

So you block the Navbar on your blog.

Now, no next blog surfing from your blog (though still possible from others). And now, your blog becomes less of a member of the Blogosphere. You're getting readers (from other Bloggers using "Next Blog" to click to yours), but you're not providing readers to other blogs (from other Bloggers poten…

Publishing Your Blog Externally

Blogger One Button Publishing is simple - you've been through the drill, I'd bet. Just choose a unique blog name, give it a title, pick a template, and you're ready to start publishing. That's because you let Blogger make a few choices for you.

The name of this blog was bloggerstatusforreal (that's the unique part). The URL, derived from the name, was http://bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com/ (before I migrated this blog to my custom domain, "blogging.nitecruzr.net").

Simple. But what if I didn't like http://bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com/? Maybe I would like my blog accessed as http://blog.myowndomain.net/?

The good news is - you're not stuck with http://yourblog.blogspot.com/ (or whatever you just setup). You have two choices, which will let you have a Blogger blog without the Blog*Spot URL.A blog published to a Google Custom Domain lets you use a blog with a Layouts template, physically hosted on a Google server.A blog published by FTP lets y…

Protect Your Mail-to-Blogger "Secret" Word

Sal X (name changed to protect) writesI have to continually delete spam posts from my blog. Help!
Sal,

The public does not, generally, have the ability to post to your blog. There is one known way for unknown parties to post to your blog, and that is using a Mail-to-Blogger Address, when you set one up. The Mail-to-Blogger Address is a protected email address that you (and your friends) can use to post to your blog by using email. The address has 2 components - public and private.The public component, that you can't change, is based upon your (if you are the original blog owner) email address.The private component, that you can change, is based upon a secret, that only you (and your friends) should know.
If an unknown party finds out your email address, and can guess the private component, they can easily email posts to your blog. If your email address is at all known, and you want to use Mail-to-Blogger for posting, you better make the private component pretty hard to guess,…

Displaying And Maintaining An Image Gallery

Google has a lot of features, some well integrated with others, which give great value to their product. Starting of course with Blogger, which is where we are right now, they have numerous excellent and useful web content products, which can give you a pretty flashy web site.

One product, unfortunately, that they do not have is Flickr. That's a Yahoo product. And Flickr is where I will choose to host my image galleries.Setup a (free) Flickr account.Get and install the Flickr Image Uploadr.Upload a set of images.Setup a Flickr badge from the image set.Take the badge code, and drop it into an HTML / JavaScript gadget in your blog.Add a link to the slideshow for the image set (optional, to let your readers see the pictures in full size).

The Uploadr works independently of your browser, and lets you drag and drop the images that you want uploaded, into your account. For each group of images that you drag into the Uploadr, you can have them put into any existing or new set. The Upl…

Photos Missing From Blogs Published To Custom Domains

Some Bloggers report that blogs published to Custom Domains don't display photos that are posted through Blogger / Picasa. When viewed in Firefox Tools - Page Info, the images are listed, but are not in cache, and are not displayed.

Current workaround is to post the affected photos to Flickr or directly to Picasa.


>> (Update 11/7): Blogger is aware of, and working on, this problem
We're looking into an issue w/ headers and custom domains as I speak,

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00063

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00063

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Renaming Your Blog? Plan Carefully!

One of the neatest features of Blogger "One Button Publishing" is the "one button" design.

Don't like the layout of the blog? Change the template! Don't like the colour of the background (the post area, the sidebar, ...)? Change the colour! Don't like the Title, don't like the URL, ...

Whoa. Slow down.

The URL, that is the Universal Resource Locator, is known all over the Internet. Or should be, if you're publicising the blog properly. That's your public name - don't be changing that on the spur of the moment.

Evil Blogs

Blogger Blogs is a big online community, and like most online communities, it has several problems.It is simple, and easy to use. This causes it to have a lot of newbies who need constant help.It is large, and easy to use. This causes it to have a lot of bad guys, operating in the chaos caused by the first group.It is large, with a support staff that concentrates on the overall trends, and seldom on the details. Again, making it easy for the intelligent bad guys to operate without punishment.
All of these factors make it a very nice place for malevolent individuals, which I simply describe as hackers.

Usually, the hacking isn't worth the time that it takes to post an article, or it's so well known that my writing becomes superfluous. So I generally don't bother.

This time, I'll make an exception.
E r r o r P r o t e c t o r DOT B l o g s p o t DOT C o m

Note that I'm providing the above link through PKBlogs, as I have no intention of providing unprotected links to we…

"Another Spammer"

John X (name changed to protect) writes
I post regularly in another Google Group, which deals with other aspects of Google products. In that group, we generally get 2 - 3 spams daily. Here, you get almost none. Why is that?
Well, John, it's not a coincidence. There are a few regular posters here who, some time ago, became fed up with the spam problem. And they started doing something about the problem.

It appears that threads in the forum, with a subject of "Another Spammer" or "Spam", get less casual traffic than "Free Music Downloads" or "Hot Babes Under The Covers". With some spammers starting threads using the latter titles, the antispam posters here would reply, and change the Subject to one of the former values. This would make the spammers feel less welcome. By re labeling the threads, thus cutting down on the traffic to their web sites, they get hit where it hurts - in the wallet.

A win for the good guys.

So the spammers decided …

Producing a PathPing Log For Analysis

Many network problems that affect your use of Blogger, such as the currently obnoxious "Server Error 1-500", can be better understood, if we can understand how you are connecting to Blogger. A pathping log, similar to a traceroute log, but easier to read, is very useful in this case.

(Note): A pathping log is easier to read than a traceroute log. Pathping is a new utility, though, and may not be available on all computers. If you try to run pathping, as in the instructions below, and get an error'pathping' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.or similar, substitute a traceroute log.

Here we have pathping targetting "www.google.com". Choose your target according to your need.
Open a command window.Typepathping www.google.comat the command prompt. Observe the output (as in the sample shown below), particularly the "Computing statistics for 200 seconds...". This time period appears to vary, depending…

A Template For Virginia USA

I've been telling jokes about Virginians, and their need to cling to the past needlessly, for too many years - both here, and in my networking blog.

I used to live in Virginia, so I'm entitled to joke a bit. Some blog owners must think that they're still living there. How do i add an 'Older Posts' link?or How do I get a menu of my Labels in the sidebar?or How do I change my fonts and colors without having to edit the template?The answer for those folks is simple. Move to a Layout (or Designer) template. You can stay with a Classic template, if you wish, but you will find less and less support by the month.

Use A CNAME Referral For Custom Domain Server Reference

Have you ever been in line at the bank, or the post office, waiting patiently access to the "next available cashier"?

Probably a lot, if you're like me. Have you ever watched someone stroll through the door, around the line, and walk up to the nearest cashier, occupied or not, and demand service now? Have you ever ended up just behind that person who just crashed the line? Have you ever been that person who just crashed the line?

Have you ever seen the line come to a screeching halt, while the manager tries to convince the line crasher to get back into the line, and wait politely to be served? Not fun for anyone, that scene. Nobody accomplishes much, while everybody calms down.

Adding A Link To Your Blog Post

Occasionally, you see a very odd, cryptic complaintI just added a link in my blog, but the link vanished.
No, it wasn't your imagination.

With some web sites, youDecide where to put a link, and position the cursor there.Hit the Insert Link button.Paste or type the Caption (visible text).Paste or type the Target (non visible URL).The editor adds the link to the caption, and adds both to the article, where you had positioned the cursor. With Blogger, and a few other web sites, the procedure is ever so slightly different. YouPaste or type the Caption, as you compose the text of the article, in the body of the post (or the page).Decide where to put the link, and highlight the link Caption, in the body of the post (or the page).Hit the Insert Link button.Paste or type the target URL. Be careful, and get the syntax absolutely right.The editor adds the link around the highlighted text, and to the article. This is yet another feature that makes Blogger different from a few other web sites…