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Showing posts from December, 2008

Help Diagnose Your Mail-to-Blogger Problems

Mail-to-Blogger, like every Blogger / Google product, malfunctions periodically. Rare is the month when we see no postsIt has been several days now that I have been unable to publish to my blog, using my Mail-to-Blogger address. Is Mail-to-Blogger down again?

In the absence of a flood of complaints from other bloggers, maybe the problem doesn't strictly originate from a Blogger / Google problem. Maybe you can help to identify the problem.

I setup a blog which I publish using Mail-to-Blogger, and when a problem is reported, I can see if the problem is universal or not. Maybe you can help too, by trying some basic troubleshooting techniques. Your ability to use Mail-to-Blogger may benefit.If you're sending email from a cell phone or PDA, try emailing using a desktop computer.If you're sending email using a desktop computer, try using a different computer.Try emailing from another email account, or better, an account on another service.If you're sending photos in the e…

FTP Publishing - December 2008 #2

Last week, we had reports of another old friendConnectException: Connection timed out. That problem was reported to be resolved. Today, we see more reports of the same symptom.

At least one comment implies that the problem being reported to day is not the same as last week. Last week, the symptom of the problem was, in many cases, worked around by changing the host server name from "ftp.mysite.com" to "mysite.com", or vice versa, depending upon its current setting. That may not be the case, this weekend.

Let's continue trying to enumerate the symptoms.The blog BlogSpot URL (if applicable).When was the blog setup in Blogger? (If the blog was published immediately by FTP, say so).The blog domain URL.When was the blog setup for FTP publishing?The name of the server hosting company.The Blogger FTP server setting (name or IP address of the server), in use right now.What operating system, browser, and version of Java do you use?Where are you located, and what ISP d…

How To Use A Proxy Server

This blog is "bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com", and is currently accessed through its custom domain URL as "blogging.nitecruzr.net".

Depending upon how you are connected to the Internet, you may be able to access it using either, one, or neither URL. Some private and / or public networks, such as schools, private companies, and / or ISPs may filter access to "*.blogspot.com", for one reason or another.

If your access to the Internet is through a network which is subject to filtering, you may be able to access your blog by using a proxy server. Using a proxy server isn't difficult.

Preview Mode Isn't An Actual Preview

Occasionally, we see confused queries from bloggersI setup my blog, and it looks OK in Preview. When I look at it online, it looks like crap. Help!orNothing displays right, using Preview mode. When I look at the blog later in my browser, it looks better, but it is missing details.

And there are examples of bloggers who confuse Preview mode with reality.


Does this look like this post?


When the post is published, it is added to the blog with the template code providing formatting. Under post editor, the template isn't part of the display. See the type face in the picture? In Preview mode, all of the text displays in Times Roman, the Blogger default font. I hate seraph fonts, but in Preview mode, without the template, that's what I'll see for the text.


See the way the text wraps around the photo, where it shouldn't?


One critical difference (for me), between Preview mode and reality, is Preview mode doesn't observe "<br clear=left />". I use tha…

FTP Publishing - December 2008

This week, we have reports of another old friendConnectException: Connection timed out.

Possibly, this is a recurrence of last month's problem, or maybe an earlier problem.

If you are suffering from this problem, please provide diagnostic information:The blog BlogSpot URL (if applicable).When was the blog setup in Blogger? (If the blog was published immediately by FTP, say so).The blog domain URL.When was the blog setup for FTP publishing?The name of the server hosting company.The Blogger FTP server setting (name or IP address of the server), in use right now.What operating system, browser, and version of Java do you use?Where are you located, and what ISP do you connect through?If you have other blogs that are not having a problem publishing, the same information may be relevant too. Remember, we're looking for a solution for your problem, so be generous, and precise.

And spend some time reading about possible problems with FTP Publishing. All problems aren't caused by Blo…

Backing Up The Blogger Gadgets

As our blogs become more a part of us, and we connect more to our friends and their blogs, we use more gadgets that connect our blogs to our friends blogs. Things like lists, bloglists, and linklists become larger, and become more important in our blogs.

Responsible practices, as bloggers, include backing up our blogs and their contents. Backing up the comments, the posts, and the template, are all possible, and all are a good idea. Unfortunately, the gadgets such as lists, bloglists, and linklists aren't part of the posts (they aren't blog content), and neither are they part of the template (they aren't blog structure).

So occasionally, we hear the plaintive cryI just deleted my blog. I had the posts exported to an .xml file, and I back up my template regularly, but what about the blogroll in my sidebar? Oh no!!!and right now, we have no answer to that. Other thanStart over.orMaybe Blogger Support will restore the blog - if you are patient enough.

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One Blog, Multiple URLs

Having multiple blogs in a custom domain is a simple matter, with a custom domain array. Sometimes, you may want to publish just one blog, but use multiple domain URLs for that blog.

There are several ways to get what you want - each represent subtle variations from the several standard custom domain models, that are occasionally confused with each other. The variations will produce completely different results, so consider these details carefully.

Custom Domain Publishing, And Something Completely Different

Setting up a Google Custom Domain is not a complicated task, when you understand that, for all its simplicity, it is uncompromisingly rigid in its simplicity. There are but 2 or 3 possible solutions that will work properly. Much time is spent dealing with alternate solutions that won't work properly, in the long run.

Unfortunately, until Blogger fixes all of the problems that cause the "Server Not Found Error 404" symptom, even the righteous solutions will sometimes come up with the "404" symptom.

Here's an excerpted HTTP trace of a typical "Server Not Found Error 404" symptom. You may wish to compare this with a similar trace, but for a working domain.

Sending request:

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: mydomain.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:
1.8.1.18) Gecko/20081029 Firefox/2.0.0.18
Connection: close

• Finding host IP address...
• Host IP address = 209.85.171.121
• Finding TCP protocol...
• Binding to local socket...
• Connecting to…

Everybody Makes Mistakes

In February 2008, out of necessity, I developed (using publicly available code) my on-the-fly multi-lingual translator applet, which you can see in the top of the sidebar. When originally developed, the applet offered a dozen or so languages, a population which has now grown to 34, from several enhancements.

Some time ago, I became aware of an anomaly which bothered me mildly - if you were viewing an archived post in your blog, and you used the translator, you would get a nicely translated copy of the main page of the blog, not of the archived post. In other words, if you had attempted to translate Make Your Blog Speak More Languages, you would, none the less (today) have gotten a translation of Importing / Exporting Blog Contents Now In Production (Orange) Blogger.

This was slightly annoying, but just one more oddity which I never took the time to research. Until today.

To shorten this narrative somewhat, today I found a small code error which caused the anomaly. If you acquired thi…

Importing / Exporting Blog Contents Now In Production

For a long time, blog owners have been asking for the ability to transfer blog contents - comments and posts - from blog to blog.

Last week, Blogger announced that feature recently added to Production Blogger.Today’s release features a brand new graduate from the Blogger in Draft testing ground: Import and Export for Blogger blogs.

A Blog Recently Made Private Won't Be So, Immediately

Occasionally, we see the plaintive queryI just changed my blog so only my friends should be able to read the posts. My visitor log shows unknown visitors though. What is going on - has someone hacked my blog?and there we see a question from someone who doesn't know about search engine cache.

If you make your blog private, the search engines won't index your newer posts, but what's already indexed will stay in cache. And if someone sees a search page entry, and clicks on it, they'll get (among other things) "View Cached Content", and they'll read the cached posts.

The search engines won't care that you made the blog private. This will be similar to a deleted blog - you can delete, or make the blog private, and what's in cache will stay in cache. And you'll keep getting readers, to the cached posts.

When you make your blog private, the "robots.txt" file is updated. Here's a copy of the file for this blog, "blogging.nitecruzr…

Nobody Is Guaranteed The Blog URL Of Their Chosen Relevance

Almost daily, somebody writes in great anguish a complaint likeHow can some one use my FCC licensed callsign and set up a blog on Blogger?

I even sent in proof that I am who I claim to be, including my drivers license and my FCC license.as if (USA government assigned) FCC callsigns (or personal nicknames, or mothers maiden name, or whatever) have any significance in the Blogosphere.

Custom Domain Publishing, And Google Apps - December, 2008

In last month, I wrote about the details of the first change to the Asymmetrical (aka Google Apps) Custom Domain configuration, since June 2008. The Asymmetrical configuration started out as a trio of DNS servers, providing addressing for the domain root (aka "naked domain").

mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 64.233.179.121
mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 66.249.81.121
mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 72.14.207.121
www.mydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

In November 2008, "66.249.81.121" was removed from service, giving us a pair.

mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 64.233.179.121
mydomain.com. 3600 IN A 72.14.207.121
www.mydomain.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

Now, it appears that "64.233.179.121" is gone, too.

C:\>ping 64.233.179.121

Pinging 64.233.179.121 with 32 bytes of data:

Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.

Ping statistics for 64.233.179.121:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),


We see numerous reports this week likeI…

Deleting Your Blog

The process of deleting your blog has been a challenging issue for some time.

Prepare for the deletion first. Consider the issues.The implications of the deletion.An interaction with custom domains.The latency limitations of deleting a blog.All of these issues bear discussion, before you start.

The deletion process itself is not complicated. Start from the dashboard Settings - Other screen.


There's the link - "Delete blog" - right at the top of the screen. Easy to find, and to click on.



Having clicked on the link, we get a good stern warning.Deleted blogs can be restored within 90 days before they are removed forever.Plain enough?


And a link to let you export the blog contents, before deleting the blog. I'd export first, any time. Just note, you will be able to restore the blog for up to 90 days after deletion - and then, never.

Note that the blog may disappear from your dashboard - but removing it from the search engines may take some planning. If you truly w…

Removing The Navbar From Your Blog

The Navbar, and the Next Blog link, are great blog accessories, and make your blog part of the Blogosphere. Not all blogs need the navbar though, and not all blog readers appreciate a blog with the navbar on it. Blogger recently admitted that we are permitted to hide it on our blogs, if necessary.

(Update 2009/11/12): With the new "Next Blog" link, and the transparent navbar design, do you really feel obligated to do this?
Note that all that you can do, here, is prevent the navbar from being visible. The code still exists, in the blog template; the navbar simply isn't visible when the blog is displayed.

Fortunately, hiding it isn't difficult. With the new Designer templates, just Edit the Navbar gadget, in the dashboard Layout wizard. You'll have a selection, "Off", at the bottom of the color selections. Save, and you're done.

A useful alternative to hiding the navbar - especially if you find the various links useful - is to make the navbar tr…

A Second Small Step Towards A Cleaner Blog

A few days ago, I witnessed a transient implementation of a feature that many bloggers have been asking Blogger for, for quite a while. With any blog of any decent size, almost everybody has a few posts that really should be removed. But who has the patience to delete each post, one at a time? Until today, that would be how you would delete multiple posts - one post, then another, and another.

Not now.


I select 3 posts to be deleted.



I hit the "Delete Selected" button, and get a simple yet serious warning.



I hit the "OK" button, and now they are gone.


Quick, and easy.

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There Are No Abandoned URLs Available For Re-Use

Every day, some hopeful blogger innocently asks
Many people have a great idea for a blog only to find the name of the blog has already been taken, except these bloggers have created the page, put no content in it, and leaving no contact infomation.

This leaves the individual who wants the name of their blog at a complete loss.
as if Blogger will simply reverse their BHG FAQ statement (look under Custom Domains, FTP Publishing, & other URL Issues)4.) This blog address looks abandoned – can I have the URL?
Sorry, no can do. After a blog is deleted, the subdomain is reserved for the previous owner of the URL to reclaim if he/she so chooses. People claim blogs after years without use more often than you would think.and their earlier Blogger Help answerBlogger accounts and Blog*Spot addresses do not expire.I don't think that Blogger can have a more universally fair, and supportable, policy than that.

If the URL is taken, it's taken. You can't have it, unless you are able to…

Custom Domain Publishing, And New Google Apps Accounts

Most custom domain setup procedures focus on buying a new domain using the Settings wizard for the blog, or publishing your blog to an existing domain. When you see the well known errorAnother blog is already hosted at this addressyou're going to have to use Google Apps. If you're publishing to an existing domain, and the domain was purchased through "Buy A Domain For Your Blog", you'll already have a Google Apps account for your domain - just find and read the email. If you didn't use "Buy A Domain", you'll have to set a Google Apps account up - and this is the time to do so.

If your domain isn't registered in Google Apps, use the Google Apps Sign Up wizard. Here, you have the option of buying a new domain (similar to "Buy A Domain", except you don't have to associate your Blogger blog immediately), or registering an existing domain.

If you select the latter, you have to prove your ownership of the domain in question, by a…

Your Blog, Custom Domains, And Righteous Solutions

A Blogger / Google Custom Domain is reasonably simple to setup.

You get simplicity, when you understand that custom domain design uses three rigidly defined models, in the DNS addressing.

A lot of the trouble, that many blog owners experience, comes from doing it their own way.Sometimes, we make our own mistakes, in setting up our domain.It should work this way, so this is how I'm going to do it.In other times, advice from your DNS host / registrar may contribute to the problem.The tech support wizard at my registrar's help desk told me to configure it this way!Sometimes, we make our own mistakes and take advice from a third party.The tech support wizard at my registrar's help desk told me this is all that I need!!Some people overlook the possibility that recommended custom domain configuration could change.My blog was working fine this way, last year!

Your Blog, Custom Domains, And Spurious Solutions

To publish your Blogger blog to a non-BlogSpot URL, yet on a Google server (which gives you the ability to use dynamic HTML and a Layouts template), you setup a Google Custom Domain. Custom Domain publishing is very simple to setup - when you understand how simple it is, when you get it right - and how agonisingly complex it is, when you do not understand.

Some bloggers just give up, and look for simpler solutions.

The Blogger WishList

I setup my first Blogger blog with a Layouts template - The Real Blogger Status - Beta - in August 2006, and converted this blog to Layouts in early 2007. Since then, Blogger has developed Layouts Blogger, and made some great changes, to smooth out what started out very roughly.

But, there are still improvements to be made. Some, badly needed.

Open In A New Window. Blogs are simply specialised web sites, and one of the benefits of web sites is that they are designed to be linked, one to another, in endless chains. Many people, myself included, like to open a new window, for any links that lead to other web sites. This is a convenience to my readers - they can read my web site as they read another web site which provides complimentary information. And after they finish reading the other web site, they simply close the window, and they are back here.

Blogger gadgets and scripts don't provide for this need, unfortunately. Scripts like image embedding in post editor, and gadgets l…

Custom Domains, DNS, and Latency

One of the least understood details about Google Custom Domains is the need to wait, when setting up, or when making changes to, the DNS addressing for the domain.

This is important, before publishing the blog within Blogger, or telling our readers about our new non-BlogSpot blog. Daily, we see anxious queriesI just used the "Buy a Domain For My Blog" wizard, and paid for my domain with my credit card. The credit card company confirmed the charge. But I see that it's "In Transition"??orYou told me how to fix my DNS problem, and I did just what you told me. But I don't see my changes when I Dig the addresses for my domain. I know that I made the changes!
What is going on here? Why do I have to wait, unpredictably?

A Small Step Towards A Cleaner Blog

I was just routinely loading a short list in my "Edit Posts" screen, and in this case a list that didn't fill up the entire screen. This left the bottom of the screen visible. And, I spied two new bits of colour at the bottom, that I never saw before.


It didn't look like an April Fools joke.


But before I could try it out, it was gone.


Watch your screens - I bet it will be back. It's just not here, right now.


Thanks for the rush, Blogger.

(Update 12/10): I was right - it came back. Looks permanent, now.

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Why Isn't Blogger Solving "Another blog ..."?

Along with the similar cry, "Why Isn't Google Solving The Server Not Found Error 404 Issue?", this is a concern of many blog owners.

Many blog owners only want to publish to their newly setup non-BlogSpot URL, and have their readers able to access their blogs. Like the answer to the latter question, the answer to this question is simple.Google is solving "the problem". One problem, at a time.

Schizophrenia And Custom Domain URLs - December 2008

Last month, I reported an oddity in custom domain publishing - the observation that, for some domains, the selectionRedirect mydomain.com to www.mydomain.com.was apparently treated as selected, even if not so, by some custom domain scripts.

A number of bloggers reported seeing "Server Not Found Error 404" for custom domains that had been operational for some time, and subsequently revealed that they were only publishing to "www.mydomain.com", with no DNS address definition for "mydomain.com".

In the latter cases, my advice would beAdd a DNS address definition for "mydomain.com" (or "www.mydomain.com", as necessary).Wait for the appropriate TTL latency period to expire.Publish the blog back to BlogSpot, then forward to "www.mydomain.com" again.

Do You Really Want To Delete Your Custom Domain Published Blog?

Now that custom domain publishing is becoming progressively more popular, a different class of bloggers are using it - bloggers who are more concerned about the aesthetics or content of the blog, rather than merely the shiny non-BlogSpot URL. Occasionally, we see a reportI setup my blog, and published it to my domain. Then I decided that I didn't like what I was writing about (the looks of the blog, the way it was organised, whatever ...). So, I deleted the blog. Today, I decided to try again using my domain, just a different subject (style, design, ...), so I setup a new blog. But lo, when I try to publish the new blog to the domain, I get (drumroll, please)Another blog is already hosted at this address.Now what do I do?

In a perfect world, the Blogger script that processes deletion of a blog would include finding and removing all custom domain linkages. Having deleted a custom domain published blog, the domain entry in the Google database would be clean and shiny, and ready…

Following - The Limitations

As the Following product matures, and many blogs gain significantly large quantities of Followers, we occasionally see the anxious queryMy blogs now has nn Followers, but I can only see 18 pictures. What happened to the others?

More and more bloggers are discovering an odd limitation of the Followers gadget - it shows a maximum of 18 Followers. As your blog gains a new Follower, you lose the icon of the oldest Follower, previously displayed, from the display.

Obviously, the more popular blogs don't want to show all Followers - some blogs would have their entire sidebar reduced to one big cloud of icons, were that so. It would be nice, though, if we could select the number of icons which we wish to display.

A second limitation to Following is that we can only Follow up to 300 blogs, at any time. This is simply a Following limitation, that prevents our advertising ourselves on more than 300 blogs - which I cannot see as a bad idea, since Following should involve some activity by yo…