Tuesday, June 09, 2009

There Are No Elephants In My Back Yard

I'm scared of elephants, if they're allowed to run wild. What time is it, when an elephant sits on the hood of your car?

OK, Chuck, I'll bite - What time is it?
Time to get a new car. LOL.


Many years ago, when I moved to California, and having heard of the possible damage to your car (probably, an uninsured expense too) should an elephant sit on it, I put up a sign in my back yard.
No Elephants Permitted Here!
And, apparently the sign served its purpose - I haven't seen a single elephant in my back yard - or sitting on my car - since I moved here.

An unlikely tale, you probably say. More crudely, you'd ask me
What have you been drinking today, Chuck?


So, what's the point of this narrative? Just this, that most bloggers may not waste time in putting up signs to keep elephants away - but they have other, stranger superstitions. My favourite examples of the latter would be advice from some bloggers about how to avoid the mysterious bX codes, the equally mysterious "Error 400 Bad Request", or the well known custom domain problem of "Another blog ...".

The bX codes are symptoms of problems, they aren't the problems themselves. In some cases, they signify specific errors, to provide more specific error diagnostic than simply the earlier seen monolithic error
We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are unable to process your request at this time. Our engineers have been notified of this problem and will work to resolve it.
Do you remember seeing that message, long ago? I sure do - not fondly, though.

In other cases, they may simply be unique trace points in the Blogger code base. If you just now see a new bX code, when you are using Blogger against your blog, this may signify one of two conditions.
  • You just made a change to your blog, and caused a problem.
  • Blogger just added or removed a coded termination point, in an effort to observe the blogging process in general, and to diagnose the cause of a previously reported problem.
Only Blogger Support will know the difference, and that only after you submit the details about your experience with the newly observed code.

If you see a bX code, you're welcome to try to diagnose your problems - and to correct the problems in your blog, when you find any to correct. Try affinity analysis and / or differential analysis, if you're willing and able.

Like signs forbidding the presence of elephants, though, keep a proper perspective. Don't ascribe any special effectiveness to the signs - and let other folks tell you, authoritatively, what is wrong with your blog, based only upon their own personal experience with their own blog.

The number of possible bX codes is close to 326. Anybody who starts a blog, containing posts guessing at the "meaning" of a couple hundred bX codes, has a statistically small number of codes - which is insignificant compared to 326 (1,073,741,824). Avoid anybody who offers you the privilege
Hey, wanna see my bX code list?
Any blogger who compiles a list of bX codes, and their observed meanings, is wasting his time. Don't let him waste your time, too.

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3 comments:

Dorothea said...

OK If I get what you are saying right: there is no way to avoid this kind of errors.. So what do we do? Grid our teeth and bear them?

P.S. Thank God we don't have any elephants around here.. Because I don't think they'd be able to read if I put up a sign banning them from entering my back yard! lol

Chuck said...

Dorothea,

The bX codes are symptoms of problems, they are not the problems themselves. They are simply uniquely identified termination points, in the Blogger code base.

As Blogger works on isolating a problem, they may add or remove any termination point, to observe the effect on the blogging process in general. You starting to see a given code may result from a problem which you just caused - or it may result from their having added a new termination point.

Only Blogger will know the difference, and that only after you report your new observation.

Daniel McIntosh said...

I've been having problems for several weeks: accessing dashboard, posting to a blog, joining a group blog. Sometimes, I'd just go back a page and try again, and eventually things would work out.

It's not working our any more. I've changed my template back to one of the basics, and I've been using the most recent versions of Firefox. I've cleared my cache. I've cleared my cookies. I'm running out of ideas. The error message I get gives the code

bX-1m8f3w

When I try to report that code, I use the link you provide (since it's the only one I've been able to find--on the forum, and in your message above), and I get the following message:

*Report your bX-code bug here!

Hi Bloggers!

If you have received one of our infamous bX-codes while using Blogger, please help us help you. In the form linked below provide us with the bX-code you received, a description of what you were doing when you received the code, your blog's URL and the browser you were using.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=pDGYK68-cO4sA0J2wa9fYBQ


Thanks for helping us improve Blogger!

- Pat



Fine. So I try that link and this is what I get:

Google Docs Google Docs

We're sorry.

The form at this URL could not be found. Make sure that you have the right URL and that the owner of the form hasn't deleted it.

Find out more at the Google Docs Help Center.


So I press the link provided for the Google Docs help center (wondering what that has to do with Blogger) and I find:


Docs Help

* Google Docs Home
* Help topics
* Google Documents
* Google Spreadsheets
* Google Presentations
* Help forum
* Take a Tour
* For work or school
* Team Blog
* Help us improve Google Docs!
* Videos from the Google Docs community
* Printable guide to Google Docs (1.2 MB PDF)
*



Google Help › Google Docs Help › Google Spreadsheets
Google Spreadsheets

In other words, the help page for spreadsheets. I know I'm not typing in the addresses wrong; I simply use the links provided.

Any suggestions? I aplogize for taking up so much space in the comments, but I'm running out of places to go. My email address is daniel.mcintosh@sru.edu

Thanks for whatever help you can provide.