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Showing posts from September, 2008

Blogger CAPTCHAs - How Many Can YOU Solve?

We all know that spam is an ever present problem. In our blogs, our email, and online forums, you can't go anywhere without seeing advertisements for something - frequently placed there by criminals, who aren't paying the owner of the host web site anything. Blogger, one of the largest content hosting services in the world, is not immune to this pestilence. So Blogger is trying to do something about the problem.

One of the things that they are doing is, supposedly, making it harder for the spammers to publish blogs. The Settings - Publishing wizard, which lets you change the URL of your blog - to another BlogSpot URL, or to a non-BlogSpot URL - is now subject to the word puzzle aka CAPTCHA. For every change made.

Re publishing your blog - whether the an external server using FTP, or to a Google server and a custom domain - is subject to stress. Every blogger using custom domain ("Another blog is already hosted at this address", "404 Server Not Found")),…

FTP Publishing and the Host Server Support Staff - Persistence Pays Off

This month, many bloggers are finding that their problems with FTP Publishing aren't all caused by Blogger. Many host server support teams, in an effort to protect their servers, are using IP filters in their firewalls. If you want to publish your blog to their server, the IP address of the sending computer has to be added, to a pass filter, in the firewall.

All server support staff aren't aware of this issue, and recently we hear the repeated complaintI asked my server support team about my problem, and they said that they don't have a problem - so Blogger has to be the cause of the problem. What is Blogger doing about my problem?

Many times, the diagnosis from the server support team is coming from their first level support staff. My observation has been that, frequently, the first priority of the first level support staff is to ensure that they have no problem, and to inform the customer that they have to go elsewhere (ie to Blogger Support) for relief of their proble…

FTP Publishing - Check Your Firewall Filters

If you have a server that is used to host web sites, you need to protect the server, and the web sites, from malicious access. One of the easiest ways to protect the server is to deny update access to computers with unknown IP addresses. As long as your clients publish from computers with known IP addresses, and those computers are never used by people with malicious intent, this is a good strategy.

If you're publishing your Blogger blog by FTP to a remote host server, and the host server protects itself by an IP filter, the filter has to allow access to any computers used by Blogger for FTP transfer. A list of IP addresses is provided in Blogger Help: Can I use Blogger if my server is restricted by IP address or behind a firewall?.
The IPs provided are:
74.125.66.132
74.125.112.132


It's not clear whether those 2 addresses completely replace the previously defined addresses:
66.102.15.83
216.34.7.186
64.233.166.192-207
64.233.178.192-207

During the past couple weeks, several bloggers…

The HTML / JavaScript Shell For Layouts Templates

With all of the predefined page elements that Layouts Blogger provides, that fulfill maybe 90% of the need for you to edit the template, there will be the 10% that they don't provide.

Services provided by third parties - like guest books, or news feeds, or even visitor meters - won't be provided by Blogger, to everybody's liking.

In some cases, Blogger / Google will provide one version of a given service - like Blogger Comments, Blogger Feeds, and Google Analytics - but their versions aren't the most popular in many cases. And some blog owners will develop their own simple applets, like the Cumulus / Google Translation Bar. Bloggers are like any people in any walk of life - they all want something different - better - or new.

Following - For (Even Less Than Not Quite) All

Recently, I wrote about Following, and two reasons why it's only available (currently) for bloggers that use the various dialects of English. You'd think that it should be available, immediately, to anybody with a blog that's properly presented in the language of their choice. And that would by preference be the possibility, but reality says not.

Today, we see one example why "not" is going to be seen more than "can", as more and more non English bloggers start to envy those of us who have Following.

Jane, in Hong Kong, has a blog that (until recently) had a bilingual titleReddie's Page | 鸿屋This was fine, for the blog, and it was good for her readers - some who prefer to read English, and others to read Chinese. But, she had no Followers for the blog, even though the Following gadget was properly installed.

Whenever someone clicked on the link from the Following gadget in her blogFollow this blog(try it!!), instead of the popup window Follow this Bl…

Your Access To Blogger / BlogSpot, and IP Networking

IP Networking is how your computer, and millions of other computers worldwide, connect to Blogger and to Blog*Spot, and millions of still more computers. The Internet is based upon IP ("Internet Protocol") Networking. IP Networking, which uses packet switching technology, was legendarily designed for a military / political need - to survive imminent military action during the United States / Soviet Union Cold War, in the mid 1900s.

I'm envisioning a legendary, top secret, conversation:

Military Strategist #1:Let's put computers on all of our military bases, and let's connect all of our computers with each other. Colonel Frimmis in Richmond can work better with Colonel Frammis in Dallas, with their computers directly connected.
Military Strategist #2:And what happens when the Russians find out? They'll sneak over here, cut the network cable between Dallas and Richmond, and we'll be in deep you know what. The Alpha project will fall behind schedule, and G…

Following - For (Not Quite) All

Those of us who have been enjoying following the development of the Blogger Following global community may have observed the Blogger Buzz announcement of September 11.Now it's available to all users in English.

Since not everybody that uses Blogger speaks English (nor is English even the most common language of the world population), this doesn't quite indicate a global release of the product. And those of you who do speak English may want to check your language settings, and make sure that your Blog and Profile languages are set to English. Hopefully, you'd already know that, but maybe not everybody has this as a priority.

So what happens if your Blog or Profile Language is set to something other than "English"? If you try to add the Following gadget to one of your blogs, you might observe the advice (in French, for instance)Ce gadget est experimental. Il n'est pas encore disponible sur tous les blogs.the keyword here being experimental.

See Roberto's R…

Strange Behaviour By Post Editor #2

Mindful of the volume of complaints seen in the forums today, I'll see if this post can be published.

Having tested in my previous post, it appears that posts can be updated. Now, we'll verify that new posts can be created. (1) Looking good, so far. (2) Test 1 was successful. (3) Test 2 was successful, and the updates show in the published post. And this post is visible in Edit Posts. (4) And test 3 was successful. (5) And so on. Back to work, now.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00083

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00083

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Strange Behaviour By Post Editor

Normally, when I publish a post, I'll re publish repeatedly, to get the right content. For this post, I won't be doing that.

I just spent 1/2 hour updating another post, Another blog is already hosted at this address. I had to copy and paste some changes, from the published copy to Post Editor, when revising other changes. Here's what I did, initially.Start Post Editor.Make changes to an existing post.Publish the changes.Verify the changes in the updated post.Go back to Post Editor to revise the changes.The changes just made are gone.

Other bloggers claim that AutoSave doesn't work either.Your request could not be processed. Please try again.
Auto Save failed.

And some claim problems with the posting date / time.when i post the time it is wrong and doesn't change. keeps showing 12.08.

>> (Update 9/20 8:00): Last night, Prashant declared this episode to be over.Recently, some of our users reported problems with editing, publishing and auto saving posts. We have …

Following - The Implications

As we all join the global community of Blogger Following, we should bear in mind the old adageYou are judged by who your friends are.

In the case of FollowingYou are judged by what blogs you follow.

If bloggers can see you, they can see what blogs you Follow. And, they can see who Follows those blogs. Did I hear someone mention "Nineteen Eighty-Four"?

So, it bears thinking that you might want to resist the temptation to Follow the kinky lifestyle or blatant abuse blogs, if you hope for a lot of friends at your church to Follow your blog. Similarly, folks who Follow kinky lifestyle or blatant abuse blogs might present a problem, if a lot of that type choose to Follow your blog. Remember, Following provides 2 way links, between the Followed and the Followers. Does anyone remember "Six Degrees Of Separation", a few years ago?


This blog should probably be hidden, using the Edit User Profile wizard "Select blogs to display" link. It's private, so the…

Internet Explorer: "Operation Aborted"

Recently, many bloggers, when loading the blog of their choice under some older versions of Internet Explorer, have been faced with a rather monolithic errorInternet Explorer cannot open the Internet site http://<Web site>.com.
Operation aborted
This error has been seen before - just last month, SiteMeter updated their script, and many blogs with SiteMeter code became unreadable. Right now, though, the culprit doesn't seem to be SiteMeter, though we can't tell for sure at the moment. Nitecruzr Dot Net does use SiteMeter, and it's apparently not affected by this problem.


This won't make your readers very happy.



As of March 2009, we are seeing some bloggers state that removing the recently updated Followers or Friend Connect gadgets resolved their issue. Of course, with Following / Friend Connect becoming an immensely popular accessory, this isn't a good long term strategy, but it may provide a way for you to at least diagnose your problem. Alternatively, y…

Blog*Spot Connectivity In The UK

Several bloggers in the UK are reporting inability to access any BlogSpot blogs.

For right now, please use a proxy server to access all Blog*Spot blogs. And read BHG Resources: My Blog Is Gone for insight into diagnosing this problem.

And find or start a thread, and post diagnostic details, in Blogger Help Group: Something Is BrokenWhere are you located, and what ISP do you use?What operating system and browser do you use?Can you provide a PathPing or a TraceRoute, log to assist us?

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Troubleshooting Problems With Your Blog, Or With Your Connection To Blogger

I'm a desktop / network support technician, and I enjoy troubleshooting problems with other peoples computers. I prefer that my own computers remain trouble free (of course, that won't always be the case). I can apply my skills in desktop / network troubleshooting to the tasks involved in troubleshooting problems with Blogger, and Blogger blogs.

So, consider this. Blogspot / Blogger hosts millions of blogs, and has many more millions of worldwide customers reading those blogs. You send in a complaint to Blogger Support, about your blog, or your connection to Blogger / BlogSpot, and your complaint goes into a long queue. And if it's just YOUR problem with YOUR blog, or YOUR connection, that's where it will likely stay. Problems affecting multiple blogs, and problems affecting multiple Bloggers, or customers, will always get higher priority. That's common sense.

So, if YOU notice a problem with YOUR blog, or with YOUR connection, it's up to YOU to do some in…

Nitecruzr Dot Net Et Al Is Now Available In 24 Languages

Following a rather intense effort yesterday, by Roberto of Roberto's Blogs, all 23 languages currently available in the Google On The Fly Web Page Translator are now part of the Cumulus Translator Bar.

We hope to see more languages made available by Google, in the future. As they come out in the Google Translator, we plan to add them to the Translator Bar, straightaway.

For a more pictorial description of the Translator Bar, and it's development process, see Roberto's Report: Language Translator Set-up.

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Following And Google Reader

Having noted a couple downsides of the new Blogger community, Following, I have been intrigued to note that a number of bloggers are in agreement with me on one issue - Following interaction with Google Reader is a bit rough. Or was, for a while. The advice we get about Following, in this capability, isfollowing a blog will create a subscription to the blog in your Google Reader account.
That's a rather vague statement, and says nothing about what happens if a given blog is already in Google Readers, or what happens when you remove a Followed blog from your Reading List.

So, I decided to find out what happens.


Having accumulated a small number of interesting blogs in my Reading List, I clicked on the View in Google Reader link. I see all of my Followed blogs, plus a few others that I added some time ago.



The advice isYou can also hide followed blogs if you'd rather not see them in Reader.Good advice, so now they aren't seen.



I click on the Manage Subscriptions link, and unde…

Following - The Ups And Downs

The new online Blogger community feature - Following - is now over a week old. Most of us who are using it actively, on our blogs, know the euphoria when loading our blog and seeing a new, unfamiliar faceAll right - a new Follower!But check those profiles closely, boys and girls - not all of them are the real thing. I've removed one bogie from my list already, and I'm looking at another 2 which look a bit dodgy.

What better way to pimp your splog, then to Follow a well known blog? What you get, when you Follow another blog, is an automatic backlink, through your profile, to your blog. Talk about a great target for sploggers.

And there are other downsides to the craze. When you add a blog to your Reading List, it's also added to your Google Reader subscription list. If the blog is already on the subscription list, it's now there twice. And conversely, when you remove a blog from your Reading List, it's still there on the subscription list - and it's there t…

Verifying Ownership Of Your Site To Google Webmaster Tools

As a web master (blog master), besides adding posts and enhancing the template, you have a third activity which is almost as time consuming.

You will be constantly connecting your web site (blog) to other web sites and blogs. In many cases, you'll simply send the owners of the other web site (blog) a request to link to your blog.

For links to some web sites, you'll not use email, you'll use an online wizard. To prove ownership of your web site, instead of sending email, you'll add a file of specific name, or maybe specific content, into the web site. You can't add a file to your blog, though - with blogs, you have no control over files and folders - all that you do is publish posts.

bX-e3i9af Error Possibly Not Resolved

Last weekend was a bad time for many owners of blogs published to custom domains, with numerous blogs returning the well known "404 Not Found" error in various flavours. When attempting to repair the problem, the owners were greeted with two error codes - bX-f42977 and bX-e3i9af. My home page blog, Nitecruzr Dot Net was offline for several days with this problem.

During the weekend, Blogger Support developed and pushed a fix which eliminated this problem. The fix was effective in most cases, but possibly not all.

Today, several bloggers have reported that the problem has returned. Analysis of the DNS setups show standard Google Apps style configurations; yet when attempting to publish the blogs back to BlogSpot, or repeat the publish to the custom domain, these bloggers are greeted by the bX-e3i9af error.

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FTP Publishing - September 2008

This month, we continue to see reports of several frequent symptoms, causing much anguish in bloggers who publish their blogs by FTP. The well knownYour publish is taking longer than expected. To continue waiting for it to finish, click here.andConnectException: Connection timed out.and a variant of the latterFTPConnectionClosedException: Connection closed without indication.

But this month, there is hope. Several workarounds for these symptoms have been discovered by various relieved bloggers.Change the Blogger setting for FTP Server.Ensure that the host server is setup to support PASV FTP.Ensure that your firewall IP address filter is up to date.


In several cases, bloggers have found use of the domain name, as opposed to the host server IP address, in the blog (Settings - Publishing - ) "FTP Server" setting, to resolve the problem. In one case, the reverse was true - changing from the server name (domain name?) to an IP address provided relief from the problem noted. It&…

The eNom Domain Manager

Making any custom settings to your custom domain, beyond what is done by the "Buy A Domain" wizard, involves the eNom / GoDaddy Domain Manager.

The eNom Domain Manager, like the GoDaddy Domain Manager, lets you setup the "A" and "CNAME" records for your custom domain. The similarity ends there. This is a very basic wizard - what you see is what they give you - it's just one big spreadsheet.

(Note): This article was written before Blogger deployed the 4 Google Apps servers now in use. Please use this guide only as a simple tutorial on using the eNom DNS Manager wizard. For actual DNS addresses, and up to date configuration advice, see Your Blog, Custom Domains, And Righteous Solutions.


You login, and there you are. No menu, no links, or scripts. Hit the "Edit" button under "Host Records".



Hit the "Add new" button, to add a record.



Add two "A" records. For each "A" record, enter "@" for &quo…