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Showing posts from August, 2008

Nitecruzr Dot Net Is Now Online

After a 3 day outage, all 3 aliases of Nitecruzr Dot Net are now online. Obviously some intensive weekend work there by the Blogger team - good job guys.nitecruzr-dot-net.blogspot.comnitecruzr.netwww.nitecruzr.netare all ready to serve you.

Now, we will see whether the Custom Domain Recycle and the Custom Domain Republish procedures work - and whether they remain necessary. One day, neither will be true.

Happy Labor Day, Blogger Team.

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Blogger Is Not Defrauding Anybody

With the current state of Custom Domain Publishing, and the bX codes that have become so common as of late, we're seeing some unhappy bloggers.People are getting ripped off it seems like.
BLOGGER WHAT IS GOING ON!andI bought my domain from GoDaddy and it doesn't work! I want my money back!!

But, as has been mentioned before, once you buy the domain registration, it's yours, and you don't get your money back.

If you buy the domain using the "Buy A Domain" wizard, the domain is registered to you, and you get email from Google Apps, it's your domain. If the Blogger script doesn't succeed in connecting the domain URL to your Blogger blog (BlogSpot URL), the domain is still yours. Ditto if you buy the domain from GoDaddy and the DNS isn't setup for you.

You take your Google Apps email, sign into eNom or GoDaddy, and correct the DNS. Once the DNS is setup, you can publish any web site that pleases you to your domain. Maybe you can't publish a Blogg…

"www.nitecruzr.net" Is Now Online

But "nitecruzr.net" is still a problem.

I was able to publish the domain back to "nitecruzr-dot-net.blogspot.com", then republish to "www.nitecruzr.net", but when I selected "Redirect "nitecruzr.net to www.nitecruzr.net.", I got the old familiarAnother blog is already hosted at this address.

Attempting to publish back to BlogSpot again, I got the other old friend, the bX-f42977.


bX-f42977
Consistency, at least.



And, trying to access either "nitecruzr-dot-net.blogspot.com" or "nitecruzr.net" gives us a predictable
Server Not Found

Error 404

Oh well, it's 1/3 back anyway.

>> (Update 8/30 17:00): Nitecruzr Dot Net, in all 3 aliases, is back online.

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The Safari Browser And The FTP Blog Redirect Intersticial

I've been writing about browser display differences for a while - known differences between Firefox and Internet Explorer are legendary. Most differences, though, are in how the blog gets rendered - simply different display appearance. Cosmetic issues, not all so minor but still cosmetic.

Then we have the case of "run4istrun.blogspot.com", which is intended to be published to "run4istrun.com". The problem was originally reported as "blogspot URL not redirecting as Blogger says it should (for an FTP Published blog)", as indeed it wasn't redirecting, when viewed in Safari. In the latter case, it was just another "404 Not Found".

One intermittent problem with FTP Publishing is that blogs published using FTP are having an annoying redirect notice (called by Blogger Support, the "interstitial"), implying some degree of possible insecurity, inserted in front of the home page when the BlogSpot URL is loaded. I reported this, first,…

Following Is Coming - Have Patience

The newest Blogger feature - Following - was just announced yesterday, and already we see anxious queriesWhy don't I have the gadget?andHow do I add the Followers gadget to my blog? It's not in my Gadgets list.

Apparently, Following is being added on an account by account basis, and gradually. If it's not enabled for your account, you'll see the Followers gadget on other peoples blogs (the lucky ones who have it), and that's all that you will see.

Have patience - it's coming.

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Follow Me

In the spirit of meshed online communities like FaceBook, MySpace, and Orkut, Blogger now gives us a new accessory: Following. With a single mouse click, you can subscribe to any Blogger blog by its news feed, and create a link from that blog back to your profile. You can read the contents of Blogger blogs that you Follow either in your Following Reading List, or in Google Reader.

Do you see the "Follow Me" gadget, in the sidebar? There you can see two components of Following.
A link to add this blog to your Following Reading List.A grid of thumbnail profile photos, showing who most recently decided to Follow this blog.
Two more components are on your Dashboard, as your account gets the Following feature.
For each Followed blog, a link to a list of who is Following that blog.Your Following Reading List, showing blog content (snippets of ~150 posts), at the bottom of the dashboard.

And look in the navbar (for any blog that has not hidden the navbar), for a "Follow" t…

Nitecruzr Dot Net Is Now Offline

This evening, the Custom Domain problem hit my home blog, Nitecruzr Dot Net. In a routine reload of the page, I was greeted with the dreadedServer Not Found

Error 404

In attempting to recover the blog, I observed the equally unpopularAnother blog is already hosted at this address.

Having supposedly recycled the domain settings in Google Apps, I then received a final blow.

bX-f42977
Say good night, Chuck.


But do report it to Blogger, so they can diagnose the problem.

>> (Update 8/30 17:00): Nitecruzr Dot Net, in all 3 aliases, is back online.

>> (Update 8/27 15:30): Progress??

bX-e3i9af
Change is good
... or at least not boring.


We've got our top man working on it, round the clock.

>> (Update 8/30 17:00): Nitecruzr Dot Net, in all 3 aliases, is back online.

>> (Update 8/27 9:45): Blogger Support is actively looking at the problem.

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Custom Domain Repair Procedures Terminating With bX- Codes

A few months ago, I reported that many bloggers, in the process of setting up a Google Custom Domain, were observing a series of bX- codes instead of the eagerly anticipatedYou're publishing on a custom domain.Part of setting up a custom domain comes with the possibility of two well known failures.Another blog is already hosted at this address.and the equally feared404 Not Found / 404 Server Not Found

The latter two errors lead to two equally well known workarounds.If you get the "Another blog ..." error, recycle the domain settings in Google Apps.andYou're getting the well known "404 Not Found". Publish the blog back to "xxxxxxx.blogspot.com", then republish to "www.xxxxxxx.org".

Now, we appear to be taking another step forward. Recently, some bloggers have observed getting a bX code when trying one or the other workaround. It appears that Blogger is finally getting serious about the custom domain problems, and the mentioned chronic sy…

Your Blog, And Third Party Accessories

Third party accessories are a big part of many blogs.

As Blogger proceeds to command a larger and larger share of the free online web site market, they encourage (directly or indirectly) the development of third party templates, and accessories. This lets us make our blogs more personal to our desires, and shinier to our egos.

Layouts Blogger is more mature, and commands an ever growing share of Blogger. And so, the the selection of Layouts compatible templates and accessories, again provided by third parties, will grow.

And as the selection grows, so does the possible risk, from installing what's available on our blogs. As I wrote long ago, what better way to hack somebody's blog (or computer) than by conning the victim into installing the hack, on his own?

FTP Publishing - August 2008

So once again this week, we have various bloggers, publishing (wanting to do so, any way) to remote servers using FTP, and complaining of the well known errorYour publish is taking longer than expected.

Sometimes, having reported this to Blogger, a Blogger employee will come back almost immediately withWe reset the server, and you should be good to go.Other times, this symptom will drag on for days, and weeks. Occasionally - and keep an open mind here - problems with the host server can contribute to this error.

While awaiting action by Blogger, you might do yourself and others a favour, and provide details of your problem (as best you are able).Name of host server and connection type (FTP / SFTP).Geographical location of host server.Path, within the FTP server, of the blog.URL of blog.Name of template.How many posts in the blog?How many posts / days of posts in the main page?How many photos (average / best guess) in a typical post?How many photos (best guess) in the blog, but not in p…

Mail-to-Blogger - August 2008

Various bloggers in the Google Blogger Help forums are statingNone of my mail-to-blogger posts are making it to my blogs. And it is not till I actually go onto my blog and discover that all the emails I have done over the past 48 hours have not made it.

As of 11:00 8/22, there are no confirmed affinities to the problem. Some, but not all, complaints appear to relate to email from phone and PDAs - possibly because more people use MTB from phones and PDAs. And, the outage is not 100% - I personally have posted to my test blog, twice with no problem.

In my case, I initially tested yesterday, and got an immediate email bounce.

MTB Test 20080821-1

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

xxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxx@gmail.com

Technical details of permanent failure:
The email account that you tried to reach does not exist.

I went to Settings - Email, then verified and Re Saved my settings. I sent MTB Test 20080821-2, which posted fine. And ditto for this morning with MTB Test 2008082…

Custom Domains And Yahoo DNS Hosting

Custom Domain Publishing has come a long way since February 2007, when I wrote Custom Domain Names Hosted By Blogger. For a while, each custom domain was setup by hand, resulting in a variety of configurations. This prompted my Custom Domain Setup series of articles.

Then, Blogger developed the "Buy A Domain For Your Blog" wizard, and the Custom Domain Google Apps configuration, which provided an easy and standard setup. This worked for domains setup specifically to host Blogger blogs, as well as domains which host additional services. This lead, eventually, to my Righteous Solutions and Spurious Solutions pair of articles.

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.

That was a clean setup, and it worked for both "nitecruzr.net" and "www.nitecruzr.net", and for services besides a plain Blogger blog - for a while.

(Update 2008/12): Servers …

Custom Domains And Email Delivery

Most bloggers who setup a Google Custom Domain do it purely to serve a web site. That's what Blogger blogs are, anyway - easily setup journal style web sites. As your web site grows in reputation, you may think about the advantages of having email with the domain name. Most corporations, that have their own email and web servers, do that - so why shouldn't you?

What's In My "robots.txt" File?

When we setup a Blogger blog, we give up control of files and folders, and let Blogger maintain the structure of the blog.

When we publish a Blogger blog (either to BlogSpot, or to a Google Custom Domain), all that we do is post, and maintain the blog template. Even with the files and folders controlled by Blogger, and normally hidden from view, there are ways to examine the contents of some files.

Those who would be better off not examining file content do so anyway, become confused, and stress themselves needlessly. Every week, we read anxious queriesHelp! My blog has been hacked!!orMy robots.txt file is blocking my blog from being indexed!

Problems With The New Dashboard And Post Editor

Bloggers everywhere are now enjoying the new look of the redesigned Blogger Dashboard, and the improved buttons in Post Editor. With every change though, such as a redesign or improved functionality, comes problems. This change is no exception.I notice that there's a new dashboard but I also noticed that when I try to put my cursor over the "publish" button it turns into a line and the button doesn't work unless I rest it below the publish button.orThe button for NEW POST, PUBLISH POST & SAVE NOW are NOT working?orI can't upgrade my template. There's no "UPGRADE YOUR TEMPLATE" button!

Whenever Blogger makes a script change, like this one (that's visible), or similar ones that you can't see immediately, things will stop working. Sometimes, it will be because of old code, cached on your computer, interfering with their new code. Other times, it may be because of differences in the browser that you are using. And in many cases, you'…

Custom Domain DNS Addresses And Destination Addressing Conventions

When you setup a Google Custom Domain for your blog, the essential first step is to setup one or more Address referrals. An Address referral will be entered as either an "A" ("Host") or "CNAME" ("Alias") record, and will consist of 2 essential components.A "from" address.A "to" address.How you enter the "from" and "to" records is an essential issue - and is not universal in nature. Please note that the terms "from" and "to" are not well defined. If you find this confusing, my apologies.

New Blogger June 2008 - Embedded Comments

Many bloggers who depend upon comments as an essential part of their posts have never been content with comments in a separate window - popup or not. Occasionally, you see the anxious queryDoes anyone know how to make all comments appear directly under the post?

Until now, the answer to that question has always beenNot under native Blogger, unfortunately.

With New Blogger June/July 2008, that limitation is no more. Now, you have a third option for displaying comments.Embedded below post

Note that you may, or may not, see my test comment below this post. If you're viewing posts in archive view, or in main page view, you'll still see the comment link, and have to click on that. A page with multiple posts, and comments interspersed between the posts, would be too hard to read.

If you're viewing this individual post, inline comments "Embedded below post" make sense.

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Installing A Third Party Template

One of the neatest features of Layouts Blogger is the ability to backup and restore your template, using a wizard - without having to copy and paste code.

You use a single link to download the code, and a two step procedure to choose then upload a template backup.

If you're getting a template from an external source, you can upload what you get using the restore procedure, too. If you get a template as text, you'll install using the "Edit Template" window. If the blog uses a Classic template, the "Edit Template" window will, of course, be the only choice.

Blog Access Blocking, By Denying Individual Permission, Won't Work

In a corporate network, you have one or more teams of employees, whose duty is to assign and maintain authentication and authorisation information. Authentication validates who someone is, and authorisation validates what ability that person should be granted, when accessing corporate resources on the network. Each employee gets one and only one identity, and has one specific list of access rules (authentication / authorisation). This restriction can (must) enforced, because each employee provides proof of identity, when registering as an employee.

With Blogger (Google), as with most Internet services, there is no real proof of identity required. In the online world, many people maintain multiple identities. That is one of the features of online life, called "freedom". Freedom to be who you want to be, or at least to seem to be.

So you, and I, can have as many Google accounts as we wish. Google accounts are free, and if you have multiple lives, or interests, you can hav…

Cannot Upload Picture - Internal Error

For our third wildfire this month (and today being the 4th of the month yet!), we have a problem with Blogger, and Post Editor. When trying to upload a picture, the blogger sees
This image could not be uploaded due to an internal error.

One blogger reported seeing this error after installing a Pyzam template. From the volume of the posts in the forums, I don't think that's the only defining factor.

Some questions might be relevant, though. Answer as much as you can manage, please.Does the blog have a Blogger standard, or third party, template?Does the blog have a Classic or Layouts template?Are you in Draft (Blue), or Standard (Orange) Blogger, when you see the error?Has this blog ever been customised using Draft (Blue) Blogger? If so, what changes were made?Are you using Page Elements, or Post Editor, when you are trying to upload?What browser (name and version) are you using?What operating system (name and version) are you using?What security programs or devices (anti-virus…

Blogger, Internet Explorer, and SiteMeter

Yesterday, as Blogger started to deal with the massive false positive spam blog problem and the forums started to calm down, another problem became visible. Dozens of bloggers reported an inability of their blogs to load, under Internet Explorer. Several of my blogs, including this one, were apparently affected.Nitecruzr Dot Net.PChuck's Network.The Real Blogger Status.As the blog loaded, and toward the end, I would get a loud popup errorInternet Explorer cannot display the web page. Operation aborted.and frequently the well known full page displayThe page cannot be displayed

The page you are looking for is currently unavailable. The Web site might be experiencing technical difficulties, or you may need to adjust your browser settings.

The common factor in the problem reported involved the presence of SiteMeter code, on the blogs reported. All of my blogs, listed above, have that code too.

Given the choice of having a blog accessible only under Firefox (and trackable), or having …

Creating A Custom Template

When you first start blogging, you'll find a nice assortment of templates to choose from, to serve as the foundation for your new blog. After you've developed a few blogs, or tweaked one blog for a while to get it just right, you may decide that the Blogger provided assortment isn't so comprehensive as it looked earlier.

What to do now?

One solution would be to go wandering through the blogosphere, looking for other bloggers who have experienced the same frustration as you, and see what they did. In some cases, they'll offer the results of their efforts, frequently for no cost to you.

That's a third party solution - and third party solutions have both advantages and disadvantages.

Maybe you decide that you know what you want better than they do, so if they could create their own, why shouldn't you? And now, the fun begins.

What do I do now?

If you're completely new to this, then learn how templates work, and why they don't. Take an existing template, deci…

The Blogger Anti-Spam Bot Bites The Big One

Since January 2008, Blogger has been working hard to keep hacking, porn, and spam out of the blogosphere. This work is not by humans, though, but by an army of unattended computers, called by many the Blogger anti-spam bot.

The anti-spam bot is not static. It has to be constantly updated, to keep up with constant activity by the producers of the many large splog farms that inhabit the blogosphere. It's going to produce false positives, as well as false negatives, and it's going to produce inconvenience to many bloggers.

This week, a recently applied update appears to have taken an excessive amount of innocent blogs with it. Major inconvenience to many. Can you say "egregious false positive rate"?

One blogger seems to have a way around the problem - at least to let your readers know what's going on.
If you still have access to your blog, you can still post a new widget at the top of your blog that contains text to tell your readers what has happened.
Using Page El…

FTP Publishing and Complications From Authentication

Long ago, when you attempted a two factor authentication (account name / password) process with a server, the normal connection procedure would verify for the existence of a given account, and verify the password against that account. If either verification failed, a properly written server based script would tell the user what he was doing wrong - either "Invalid account" or "Invalid password".

Then security experts realised that if you issue an error saying "Invalid account", you were, in effect telling a possible intruder what accounts did not exist on the server in question - enough connection attempts would then tell an intruder what accounts did exist. This is a known hacking technique, called by some security experts "account name mapping". Knowing the existing accounts, the hacker can then try to guess the passwords on those accounts.

Some secure servers, made resistant to mapping, don't issue any error messages, they simply ignore …

FTP Publishing - Another Example Of The Complexity

Not all problems with FTP Publishing are caused by Blogger, directly or indirectly. Sometimes, the operators of the host servers, involved in the FTP publishing process, provide subtle yet significant clues to bigger problems. You have to keep your eyes open, though.

Here is an example, with a customer of Network Solutions.
My host is Network Solutions - yesterday they sent an e-mail reading
We are aware of an issue with FTP and UNIX packages. They will generally deny the first connection, but allow subsequent connections. We are requesting that our customers attempt to connect to their server twice until we have a resolution.

Blogger isn't going to (in reality, they can't, reliably) tweak their FTP publishing process to repeatedly attempt a connection with a host server, just because the operators can't solve their own server problems. This is a case where the customers have to get involved, and convince the server operators to fix their server problems.

>> (Update …