Thursday, August 30, 2007

Layouts Templates Use Dynamic HTML, And Dynamic Server Access

Every week or so, someone writes
I 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 all access to the blog is against a static image on that server.

One blog post could be displayed as a post page, as part of an archive page, as part of a label search page (and with any number of labels relevant), or as part of the main page - you can't publish all of the possibilities statically. You have to build each page dynamically, based upon the link just clicked on. That requires access to the blog content - and that won't happen with an FTP host server, because the blog content is on Blogger, which is another server far away.

It's not a conspiracy, nor a coercive tactic, just a technical impossibility. If you have a blog with a classic template, consider upgrading your blog to a layouts template. If you are using a classic template because you like HTML based blogs, upgrade to layouts anyway - and combine the layouts template with your current HTML code.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

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 instruction
If 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", and posts with titles like "this video rocks" and "not yet seen on MTV". The blog posts then link to a web site which will instruct you to download and execute "video.exe".

Alex Eckelberry of Sunbelt Software says
This worm is vicious and nasty, and the spams are quite ubiquitous.
and offers a blog post illustrating a typical Blog*Spot infection. Symantec Software describes the email problem as
one of the largest identified surges in the last several months.

This YouTube video by F-Secure is kind of dry, but it should give you an idea what a problem this attack is becoming.
»http://www.youtube.com/v/fm9ikZs5o38

>> (Note): If you go "Next Blog" surfing, watch out for posts like what's illustrated in SunbeltBlog: Storm worm hits Blogger. Any blog, that you encounter through "Next Blog", suggesting a new video that requires you to download and execute any installation program, should be immediately suspect. Ditto any similar email.

We are currently trying to determine the exact nature of the blog posts offering the worm, and whether they are
  1. New blogs, created specifically for the purpose of distributing the worm, by the bad guys,
  2. Existing blogs, hijacked by the bad guys, stolen from the legit owner,
  3. Existing blogs, with posts added by the worm, from a hacked computer used by the legit blog owner.
The reality here affects how safe you are, from blogs published by your friends, and from blogs published by strangers. And it affects how safe your blogs are, should you surf "Next Blog".

Also worth asking is the question
Is the worm spreading through Blogger, or Blog*Spot? Remember, Blogger is not the same as Blog*Spot.


As Avert Labs advises
McAfee Avert Labs expects the spammers to continue using these types of tactics and it will be imperative that users are educated on how to avoid becoming a victim.
So become educated, as that is the best way to protect yourself.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00065

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00065

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Monday, August 27, 2007

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.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

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.
and
It'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.


Both of these complaints have a single cause. Spammers. 90% of the porn in Blog*Spot is on splogs, spam blogs that are obvious clones of each other. I went "Next Blog" surfing for a short hour this morning, and found one set of splogs ("splog farm") with over 2 dozen members, and other splogs too. 2 dozen of the same dreck, that I found in a short hour, randomly. And it's not real porn either, it's garbage. Garbage connected to hacking attempts, hacking attempts that are targeting the unwary.

The splog volume is part of the problem. You have one or two blogs. Several splog farms contain hundreds of thousands of individual blogs, each. Blogger fuzzy spam detection, in an attempt to detect a significant portion of the splogs, is going to detect innocent blogs as spam.

Non Google services may even detect references to Blogger blogs, as spam, because of the spam. And some anti-spam measures inconvenience everybody - not just spammers.

Even a significant portion not detected causes more complaints from bloggers tired of seeing porn spam in "Next Blog". There will be both false negatives (splogs that are not detected), and false positives (legitimate blogs that are detected).

Many legitimate blogs, falsely detected, won't be even marginally suspicious - they will have normal content, of widely varying subject matter. To reduce the false negatives count, you'll see more false positives, and vice versa. And the criminals behind the splog farms are constantly tuning the content of their blogs, to make them look more like normal blogs (such as yours) - further increasing the false negatives count.

Blogger #1 (above) claims
there is nothing in our blog that even remotely violates the terms of service.
and demands that Blogger unblock his blog. Blogger loosens the filters, Blogger #1's blog is declared clean, and we get false negatives - spam blogs declared clean, too - and we get more complaints from Blogger #2.

Blogger #2 (above) claims
I'm embarrassed to be asking my friends to read my blog because there's so much porn everywhere.
and demands that Blogger block the porn. Blogger tightens down the filters, blocks some of the porn, and we get false positives - innocent blogs (like yours) detected as spam - and we get more complaints from Blogger #1.

This is just two sides of the same problem, neither side recognising the real problem, and neither side solving the problem.

Things that might help mitigate the problem.
Stop whining and start doing something. Blogger can't do it, on their own.


If you feel the need to discuss the problem online, do so, and list the problems so they can be examined and / or dealt with. You may read more about the problem, in The Attack Of The Clones. You can read about recent changes in the "Next Blog" link, in It's Here - The New "Next Blog" Link.


>> Forum thread links: bX-*00065

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00065

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Friday, August 24, 2007

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.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

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, see

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

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 potentially using "Next Blog" to click from yours).

(Note 2007/9/4): I was officially informed today by Blogger Support
While it's not officially against our TOS, we discourage folks from removing it because we think it's a great feature with more improvements to come.
Follow the above instructions at your own peril, as Blogger controls the TOS and has been known to change it. Their ball, their ball game.

Besides imperiling the future of the Blogosphere in general and your blog in particular, you lose functionality. If you make a lot of formatting changes, or new posts, to your blog, you'll notice the lack of the "Customize" and "New Post" links. And your readers may not care for the lack of the "Search Blog" link either.

But, it's your blog, and your responsibility.

If you have your own LAN, or control your computer, you can prevent use of "Next Blog", without mucking with your blog. As pointed out in Blogger Help: How can I block access to NextBlog on my network?

All you have to do is restrict access to this specific URL:
"http://www.blogger.com/next-blog?navBar=true"


All that you need is a firewall or proxy server that filters by URL. Add that specific string
http://www.blogger.com/next-blog?navBar=true
as not permitted.

You can do this for your entire LAN (by configuring the firewall or proxy server), or for your individual computer (by configuring a filtering proxy client). Result - no "Next Blog" surfing, and safer readers. And no TOS violation.

And in the long term, education of your readers would be a good idea. They need to learn that clicking on "Next Blog" may take them, sometime, where they don't want to go. Everything in the Blogosphere will be distasteful to somebody, though everything cannot be forbidden. Your readers need to know how to deal with the world in general, and the Blogosphere in particular. The Blogosphere is nothing more than a slice of the world.

Do you see the Navbar on this blog? It's here, but may not be completely obvious. If your issue with the Navbar is its appearance, try changing the colour. For a blog with a Layouts template, go to Layout - Page Elements, and click on the "Edit" link for the Navbar page element. You have your choice of Blue, Tan, Black, or Silver. Most likely, one of those selections will blend with some colour used in your blog.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Blogs Flagged With Content Warning Can't Be Accessed

Bloggers are stating that they are seeing advices regarding Content Warning when trying to access some blogs. Upon clicking "I understand", they still can't access the blog - they are simply dropped on their dashboard.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00064

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00064

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

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.
Both processes have problems - daily we'll see typically half a dozen trouble reports, from folks using one or the other. Neither Custom Domain publishing, nor FTP publishing, is foolproof; and as Blogger becomes simpler to use, we will see increased use by folks less experienced with computers. Computers and the Internet are becoming less toys for geeks, and more simple appliances for universal communication.

The latter factor will make Blogger Blogs increasingly problematic. Neither Blogger Help Forums, nor Blogger Support, will become redundant in the near future.

Both Custom Domain Publishing, and FTP Publishing, have their advantages.
  • Both Custom Domain Publishing, and FTP Publishing, now give you
    • Forwarding of the current Blog*Spot URL to the non-BlogSpot URL, so you don't lose readers that continue to use the Blog*Spot URL to access the blog.
    • Retention of the current Blog*Spot URL, should you ever need to return to publishing there.

  • Custom Domain Publishing gives you
    • Ability to use Layouts templates.
    • Availability of private blogs.
    • Avoidance of known problems with FTP publishing.
    • Dynamic HTML, and the many Layouts template features that require Dynamic HTML. This includes the GUI Page Elements wizard, XML based widgets, and full featured labels.
    • Dynamic publishing, giving speedy publishing even as the blog gets larger.
    • Hosting of your blog on a Google server. This will be more important, as your blog ages.
      • Local publishing, eliminating excessive network traffic (which will be more significant, as the blog gets larger).
      • No Content Hosting charges (which will increase, as your blog gets more traffic).
    • No space limitations.
    • No Spinner of Death when publishing.
    • Simple setup, just like publishing on Blog*Spot (once you get DNS properly setup).

  • FTP Publishing gives you
    • Ability to publish on a non-Google server.
    • Ability to publish your blog on the same server as the rest of your personal domain.
    • Ability to use server side code such as PHP (on host servers that support PHP etc).
    • Avoidance of known problems with Custom Domain publishing.
    • Control over folder structure in the blog - ability to setup "mydomain.com/blog".
    • A GUI control to turn the Navbar Off - no changing template code.
    • No worries over blog outages that you can't control (subject to how good your third party server host is, when resolving its own outages, of course).


My suspicion, though, is that FTP publishing has a limited life span. From an economic and support viewpoint, it makes more sense for Blogger to concentrate its attention on Custom Domain publishing, where they control everything but the domain directory process, and can eliminate the uncertainty of supporting communications with hundreds of third party servers, complicated by geographical and network distance issues. I'm going to predict that, as Blogger gets the bugs out of Custom Domain publishing, they'll start to de emphasise support for FTP publishing.

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Protect Your Mail-to-Blogger Address - It Is The Password To Your Blog

Sal X (name changed to protect) writes
I 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, unless you like spam.

The private component is the password to your blog, when you use Mail-to-Blogger. Give it a non-trivial value; the more complex the better. If a spammer can guess it, he will. Make guessing impossible, if you want to keep spam posts out of your blog.

If you have 2 (or more) blogs that you're using Mail-to-Blogger on, use different private component values for each blog, to keep the posts separate. If you setup Mail-to-Blogger so your friends can post to your blogs, and if you don't totally trust any individual who you disclose a private value to, make sure that knowing the value of one won't provide a clue to the other. If you have a cat and a dog, don't make one equal the name of the cat, and the other equal the name of the dog.

And here's one more detail. If you are using Mail-to-Blogger to let unregistered friends post to the blog, remember to only share the private component with those who you trust. And note that when anybody uses Mail-to-Blogger to post, there's no identification of that person, provided by Blogger - all posts are anonymous, and only based upon the Mail-to-Blogger public and private portions of the address used. You'll have to setup an agreement with all of your friends, and have everybody include their name in the content, if you want the posts to identify anybody.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

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.
  1. Setup a (free) Flickr account.
  2. Get and install the Flickr Image Uploadr.
  3. Upload a set of images.
  4. Setup a Flickr badge from the image set.
  5. Take the badge code, and drop it into an HTML / JavaScript gadget in your blog.
  6. 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 Uploadr will optionally resize the images for you, to any of 4 predefined sizes.

Once you get used to using the Uploadr, you can create or update a set of several dozen photos, and setup a slideshow for the set, in a few minutes.

The Flickr badge, which you've probably already seen on a blog somewhere, is a small, Flash based slideshow, randomly sequenced, of all the photos in a given photo set. It runs automatically and continuously, when the web site hosting it is displayed. When you are logged in to Flickr,
  • The Badge Setup generates the code for you in a 5 minute dialogue (you can choose either a Flash badge, or HTML badge, here).
  • Copy the code.
  • Paste the code into an HTML / JavaScript page element in the sidebar of your blog.
  • Save your blog changes.
  • Enjoy the admiration of the blog readers (at least those who haven't seen it before).


The Flickr slideshow is hosted on the Flickr website, and displays each photo in a set in a full screen display - with self hiding thumbnails, mouse over thumbnail magnification, speed, and forward / backward controls. You can hot link to the slideshow; I like to add a link to each slideshow under the badge, so my readers can see the pictures in full size.

All of these features, considered together, make Flickr my image gallery host of choice. I suspect you will agree with me, once you check it out.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

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" aspect. 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.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

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 web sites hosting malware, or to web sites hosting links to other web sites hosting malware, especially links that might pump up the search ranks of evil web sites. And note the deliberately doublespaced names, again to prevent search engine hits against the evil product.

E r r o r P r o t e c t o r is called a "rogue" product by the security community. It is a clone of the well known SystemDoctor, typically bundled with malware, and will make the victim's computer worse, not better, when it's installed. The "free" version will display a list of "problems", which it will offer to fix after you purchase the pay version. This is also known as "nagware". It's advertised to people who have no knowledge of rogue security products, and who are fooled by its claims. The Blogger community makes a perfect target here.

In short, it's a product that should not be hosted on, or advertised from, BlogSpot, or on any Google facility.

Read these articles, on known security web sites, for more information about E r r o r P r o t e c t o r.

And if you're a Blogger Employee, remove this blog
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


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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"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 to find less trafficked forums, where their threads don't get renamed to "Another Spammer". They feel more welcome there. That's kewl.

Maybe the folks in the other forums will adopt similar tactics, when they see how clean this forum is (and how rudely we treat spammers here). That's kewl too.

Maybe we can eventually all join forces, and declare the entire Google Groups (non Usenet section, anyway)
Off Limit To Spamming.

Dare to dream. Then do something about the problem.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

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.
  1. Open a command window.
  2. Type
    pathping www.google.com
    at 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 upon the complexity of the path between you and the target, for statistical accuracy.
  3. Type
    pathping www.google.com >c:\pathping.txt
    at the command prompt.
  4. Wait patiently, while pathping runs again. Having done step 2, you will know how long to expect to wait.
  5. Type
    notepad c:\pathping.txt
    at the command prompt.
  6. 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:\>pathping www.google.com

Tracing route to www.l.google.com [74.125.19.103]
over a maximum of 30 hops:
0 PChuck1.martinez.cacroll.net [192.168.1.1]
1 209-204-140-9.dsl.static.sonic.net [209.204.140.9]
2 111.at-4-0-0.gw4.200p-sf.sonic.net [208.106.28.177]
3 0.as0.gw3.200p-sf.sonic.net [64.142.0.225]
4 200.ge-1-2-0.gw2.equinix-sj.sonic.net [64.142.0.210]
5 eqixsj-google-gige.google.com [206.223.116.21]
6 209.85.252.2
7 209.85.251.94
8 74.125.19.103

Computing statistics for 200 seconds...
Source to Here This Node/Link
Hop RTT Lost/Sent = Pct Lost/Sent = Pct Address
0 Dell1600.martinez.cacroll.net [192.168.203.101]
3/ 100 = 3% |
1 37ms 3/ 100 = 3% 0/ 100 = 0% 209-204-141-1.dsl.static.sonic.net [209.204.141.1]
0/ 100 = 0% |
2 33ms 3/ 100 = 3% 0/ 100 = 0% 111.at-4-0-0.gw4.200p-sf.sonic.net [208.106.28.177]
0/ 100 = 0% |
3 40ms 3/ 100 = 3% 0/ 100 = 0% 0.as0.gw3.200p-sf.sonic.net [64.142.0.225]
0/ 100 = 0% |
4 42ms 5/ 100 = 5% 2/ 100 = 2% 200.ge-1-2-0.gw2.equinix-sj.sonic.net [64.142.0.210]
0/ 100 = 0% |
5 35ms 4/ 100 = 4% 1/ 100 = 1% eqixsj-google-gige.google.com [206.223.116.21]
0/ 100 = 0% |
6 41ms 3/ 100 = 3% 0/ 100 = 0% 209.85.252.2
3/ 100 = 3% |
7 42ms 7/ 100 = 7% 1/ 100 = 1% 209.85.251.94
0/ 100 = 0% |
8 45ms 6/ 100 = 6% 0/ 100 = 0% 74.125.19.103

Trace complete.


Q: Chuck, this is nice and shiny. But what does all of this gobbledegook do for me?

A: This is similar to a traceroute log, but it's better organised. What you see above is 2 sections, and either section may be useful, depending upon your problem.
  • The top section describes the path between you and the target. By observing the physical location of each node in the path, we can get an idea of what physical connections are involved between you and the target. This is extremely valuable when looking for regional outages.
  • The bottom section statistically analyses the connection between each pair of nodes, and shows percentages of dropped packets. When there's a specific link between you and the target, that's unreliable, this section helps to isolate the unreliable link.


Combining the path, and the reliability statistics, we can see if a given problem is unique to your end of the network, to the overall Internet infrastructure, or to the network at the target (maybe Google) end. This is how network troubleshooting starts, and your contribution may help us isolate a major problem.

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Blog*Spot Connectvity Issue in Brazil

Bloggers in Brazil have been reporting inability to access any blogs.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00062

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00062

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Friday, August 03, 2007

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.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

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 complaint
I just added a link in my blog, but the link vanished.

No, it wasn't your imagination.

With some web sites, you
  1. Decide where to put a link, and position the cursor there.
  2. Hit the Insert Link button.
  3. Paste or type the Caption (visible text).
  4. Paste or type the Target (non visible URL).
  5. 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. You
  1. Paste or type the Caption, as you compose the text of the article, in the body of the post (or the page).
  2. Decide where to put the link, and highlight the link Caption, in the body of the post (or the page).
  3. Hit the Insert Link button.
  4. Paste or type the target URL. Be careful, and get the syntax absolutely right.
  5. 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. And having been through the above, you may find Blogger Help: How do I make a link to another webpage? to be of interest to you.

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