Thursday, May 28, 2009

Internet Explorer and "Operation Aborted" - May 2009

The monolithic "Operation Aborted" error, seen with blogs being viewed through Internet Explorer, has been with us for many months. Last week, the problem took a much more serious turn, and affected many blogs - such as many of the blogs in Nitecruzr Dot Net.

After several days, and some intense work by Blogger engineers, the problem seems to have diminished significantly - yet it continues to be reported sporadically in the forums. As of yesterday 5/27, Nitecruzr Dot Net is still affected. Right now, it appears to be seen, primarily, by bloggers using Internet Explorer V8. Removal of the Following and Friend Connect gadgets, where present in a blog owned by a viewer of the problem, helps eliminate the symptom many, but not all, of the times seen.

Some bloggers have stated that changing from the inline comment form, to a popup or separate form, has helped eliminate their version of the problem. Presumably, the problem, if this is going to be effective, will be seen only in single post mode, not in archive or main page view.

Noting several comments that this blog is still issuing "Operation Aborted" to some readers, I have also changed my comments form placement, from "Embedded below post" to "Full page". That change has made this blog visible to at least one additional reader.

Blogger Support acknowledges the problem, and notes
This only affects viewers using IE to view the blog; for right now, blog owners can either move the Followers gadget lower in their sidebar, or remove it altogether. Either action will eliminate the pop-up dialog box in IE.


If you have recently seen, or are seeing, this symptom - either in a blog which you control, or a blog which someone else controls - help us to help you, and provide your observations.
  • What browser version (the complete version number of format "n.n.nnnn.nn" may be significant here) are you using?
  • What operating system (again, name and version, please) are you using?
  • In what blogs(s) have you observed the problem?
  • Is that your blog(s), and if so, did you see an improvement by removing the Follower / Friend Connect gadgets? By removing any other gadgets? By changing the comment form option?
  • Have you made any effort to diagnose your problem?

Your report here, of what you are seeing or have seen, may be invaluable.

(Update 2009/06/08): This problem continues to be reported, and not all bloggers report success from removing the Follower / Friend Connect gadgets, or from changing the comment form option.

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How To Not Make Your Visitors Happy #2

Many months ago, I discussed a legal (though highly antisocial) exploit of our blogs - a web site that devotes itself to hijacking those surfers who mistype "xxxxxxx.blogspot.com" as "xxxxxxx.blogpsot.com". Today, we see that in addition to "blogpsot.com", we have similarly "blogpot.com".

It's the same deceitful trash, too. The same picture of the Holy Land, and the same phony biblical prophecy and assorted fraud.

Please advise your readers to type your blog's URL with care - always type "xxxxxxx.blogspot.com", never "xxxxxxx.blogpot.com" or "xxxxxxx.blogpsot.com".

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

With Following, Anonymous Followers Can't Be Blocked

As people become used to Blogger Following as just another tool to connect people, they start to think about the implications. And we see questions like
How do I block someone who's been following my blog secretly? I couldn't see her in my Followers list (hence I couldn't use the "Block this user" link), but I have looked at her profile and could see that she's Following my blog.


Following, when you look at the bottom line, is no more than a feed subscription and an icon (possibly) displayed on your blog, and linking back to the profile of the Follower in question. If someone Follows your blog anonymously, all that they get is a subscription to the blog feed.

If you publish a feed from your blog, and if the feed is open to anybody (which, right now, is the case), then it's open to everybody. If someone wants to use Following to subscribe to the feed, you can't stop this. You can't block it before, or after, the fact. You can't Block what you can't see. Nor can you see an anonymous Follower.

Don't worry about what you can't see. Concentrate on what you can see, and on providing interesting and relevant content for your readers.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Making A 3 Column Denim Template

Since New Blogger, and the Pick New Template wizard, was launched, many bloggers have been wishing for a 3 column template. So far, Blogger hasn't provided us with one, so a while ago, I got ambitious, and made my own. You can see the basic result, in my 3 Column Template Laboratory, and in my previous article, Making A 3 Column Template.

Today, I was asked for help with making a 3 column template, but one with 2 differences. First, it's a Denim template, whereas my previous example used a Minima template. Second, it's a bi-directional template, a template change necessitated by support for Arabic and Hebrew, which print and read right-to-left. As it turned out, the second difference was more significant than the first.

A 2 column template has 2 columns, floating opposite each other.
  • Main, floating left.
  • Sidebar, floating right.

All that you have to do is split the Main column.
  • Main1, floating left.
    • Sidebar2, floating left.
    • Main2, floating right.
  • Sidebar1, floating right.


A 2 column lefty template is just a mirror.
  • Sidebar, floating left.
  • Main, floating right.

Again, split Main.
  • Sidebar1, floating left.
  • Main1, floating right.
    • Main2, floating left.
    • Sidebar2, floating right.


That's the concept. The execution is a bit tedious, but doable. But it really does work.

This is probably as easy as importing a pre coded template. Note that this example uses a Denim template, in mint condition. Most standard Blogger templates, in mint condition, should be pretty similar, though templates that stretch will need a different (and actually simpler) technique. If you've tweaked the Header code, or added main or sidebar objects, you'll deal with some variances. But you'll go through the same challenges if you import a pre designed template, and more.

First, backup the template that you have right now.

Next, go to the Edit Template wizard. Find two snippets of code.

The first, in the Header, at the top ...

#content-wrapper {
width: 760px;
margin: 0 auto;
padding: 0 0 15px;
text-align: $startSide;
background-color: $mainBgColor;
border: 1px solid $borderColor;
border-top: 0;
}
#main-wrapper {
margin-$startSide: 14px;
width: 464px;
float: $startSide;
background-color: $mainBgColor;
display: inline; /* fix for doubling margin in IE */
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */
}
#sidebar-wrapper {
margin-$endSide: 14px;
width: 240px;
float: $endSide;
background-color: $mainBgColor;
display: inline; /* fix for doubling margin in IE */
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */
}


And a second, in the Body, almost at the very bottom ...

<div id='main-wrapper'>
<b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/>
</b:section>
</div>

<div id='sidebar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar' preferred='yes'>
<b:widget id='BlogArchive1' locked='false' title='Blog Archive' type='BlogArchive'/>
<b:widget id='Profile1' locked='false' title='About Me' type='Profile'/>
</b:section>
</div>


And replace those two snippets of code with two slightly larger snippets. When you do this, carefully examine your current template, and what widgets you have in the Main (posts column) and Sidebar containers. Here, we have only BlogArchive1 and Profile1. If you've added any custom widgets to your main or sidebar columns (and almost everybody does, after any amount of time), be sure to copy the widget code from your current template to your new template!

The first ...

#content-wrapper {
width: 760px;
margin: 0 auto;
padding: 0 0 15px;
text-align: $startSide;
background-color: $mainBgColor;
border: 1px solid $borderColor;
border-top: 0;
}
#main1-wrapper {
margin-$startSide: 2px;
width: 560px;
float: $startSide;
background-color: $mainBgColor;
display: inline; /* fix for doubling margin in IE */
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */
}

#sidebar2-wrapper {
margin-$startSide: 2px;
width: 180px;
float: $startSide;
background-color: $mainBgColor;
display: inline; /* fix for doubling margin in IE */
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */
}

#main2-wrapper {
margin-$endSide: 2px;
width: 360px;
float: $endSide;
background-color: $mainBgColor;
display: inline; /* fix for doubling margin in IE */
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */
}

#sidebar1-wrapper {
margin-$endSide: 2px;
width: 180px;
float: $endSide;
background-color: $mainBgColor;
display: inline; /* fix for doubling margin in IE */
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */
}


And the second ...

<div id='main1-wrapper'>
<div id='sidebar2-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar2' showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='BlogArchive1' locked='false' title='Blog Archive' type='BlogArchive'/>
</b:section>
</div>
<div id='main2-wrapper'>
<b:section class='main' id='main2' showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/>
</b:section>
</div>
</div>

<div id='sidebar1-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar1' preferred='yes'>
<b:widget id='Profile1' locked='false' title='About Me' type='Profile'/>
</b:section>
</div>


Save your changes.

Test.

And finally, backup the template, again!

Yes, it's that easy!

Now in this exercise, you took a standard 2 column template, and simply split the main column. What you have right now is probably a little crammed together. When you see that the 3 column layout works, you can try and widen the columns just a bit.

>> Top

Nitecruzr Dot Net - Following / Friend Connect Gadgets Temporarily Removed

The problem with Blogger Follower and Google Friend Connect gadgets causing the ever increasing volumes of problem reports about "Operation Aborted", in Internet Explorer, continues. Bowing to public pressure, I have removed the Following and Friend Connect gadgets from my blogs at Nitecruzr Dot Net.

Note that I still have my Followers, my blog simply lacks the Followers gadget in the sidebar. Anybody wishing to Follow my blogs (or yours, if you do similarly) can find the "Follow Blog" link in the navbar. I made the navbar visible on all blogs, to enable this tactic to work. And the people who Follow my blogs will continue to Follow them.

I look forward to an update by Blogger Support, so I may restore the Following / Friend Connect gadgets, when this snafu is resolved - may it be soon.

(Update 5/29): Noting several comments that this blog is still issuing "Operation Aborted" to some readers, I have also changed my comments form placement, from "Embedded below post" to "Full page".

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Blogger Limits: Comment Length

Recently, we see perplexed queries from bloggers
I published a comment of over 8000 chars a few days ago, but now I get this message:
Must be at most 4,096 characters.
(for HTML, at least). Still, the Help Database says nothing about this limit.


And checking the referential Blogger Help: What are the limits on my Blogger account?, we indeed see no such limit mentioned.


Oh no, what to do now?



This is, possibly, a new limit initiated with recent changes to Blogger. I personally can't see how you would type anywhere near 4,096 characters in the tiny comment entry box, let alone 8,000 characters.

I got curious, and I generated an example. Here is 4,093 characters of text.

[32] Sed ut perspiciatis, unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam eaque ipsa, quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt, explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem, quia voluptas sit, aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos, qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt, neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum, quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci[ng] velit, sed quia non numquam [do] eius modi tempora inci[di]dunt, ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit, qui in ea voluptate velit esse, quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum, qui dolorem eum fugiat, quo voluptas nulla pariatur?
[33] At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus, qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti, quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint, obcaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa, qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga. Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio, cumque nihil impedit, quo minus id, quod maxime placeat, facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus. Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet, ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae. Itaque earum rerum hic tenetur a sapiente delectus, ut aut reiciendis voluptatibus maiores alias consequatur aut perferendis doloribus asperiores repellat.[2]
[32] Sed ut perspiciatis, unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam eaque ipsa, quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt, explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem, quia voluptas sit, aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos, qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt, neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum, quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci[ng] velit, sed quia non numquam [do] eius modi tempora inci[di]dunt, ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit, qui in ea voluptate velit esse, quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum, qui dolorem eum fugiat, quo voluptas nulla pariatur?
[33] At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus, qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti, quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint, obcaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa, qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga. Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio, cumque nihil impedit, quo minus id, quod maxime placeat, facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus. Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet, ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae. Itaque earum rerum hic tenetur a sapiente delectus, ut aut reiciendis voluptatibus maiores alias consequatur aut perferendis doloribus asperiores repellat.[2]
[32] Sed ut perspiciatis, unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam eaque ipsa, quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt, explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem, quia voluptas sit, aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos, qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt, neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum, quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci[ng] velit, sed quia non numquam [do] eius modi tempora inci[di]dunt, ut labore et dolore


Isn't that a mouthful? Why would you want a comment that long? How would you have the patience to type that into the little comment entry form, that you can edit only once? Make a single mistake, and you have to delete the comment, and re enter it.

Wouldn't it be more reasonable to write a blog post, in your own blog? Then post a comment summarising your blog post, with
For more information see my blog post.

For more information see <a href="http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2009/05/blogger-limits-comment-length.html">my blog post</a>.



That's the ticket.



Be kind to the other readers, particularly if the blog uses inline comments - write a short comment, linked to your blog. Don't write a book, attached to somebody else's blog.

(Update 6/3): Under the well known principle of "First come, first served", this totalitarian protection is now termed "The Paladin Limit".

(Update 5/28): A non quotable comment by Blogger makes it possible that this limit, though restrictive, was necessitated by comment spamming of uncontrolled limits, creating spam comments that could not be deleted.

>> Top

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Following / Friend Connect Requires Separate Login

We see confusion occasionally from bloggers trying to use Following or Friend Connect
I want to Follow this person, but when I click on the Follow button I'm asked to sign in. I'm already signed in to my blog, am I being hacked?
or
I clicked on the users picture. Where is the button to Block the user?
Both questions come from someone who isn't aware that Following / Friend Connect are applications separated from Blogger, and separated intentionally.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

bX-gc7ujn or bX-crozx2 When Trying To Delete A Comment

Recently, bloggers trying to moderate comments report problems when deleting comments.
After verifying that the comment should be deleted, I click the button "Delete Comment", then I get the error message.
bX-gc7ujn
Additional information
blogID: 5680604485477472083
host: www.blogger.com
postID: 4898049469364933536
uri: /delete-comment.do


This problem appears to have started late afternoon 5/19 PST. Details are needed, so please provide what you can.
  • Which error are you seeing?
  • When did you first observe this error?
  • What is the time stamp on the comment?
  • Are you moderating from email, and if so, what's the time stamp in the email?
  • Where are you located (city and country please), and what time zone are you in?


(Update 5/20 17:30): Blogger has acknowledged the problem.
Some users are having trouble deleting comments which contain certain special characters and/or certain HTML tags. We're looking into this issue and will update this post once we have a fix.


>> Top

Monday, May 18, 2009

Blogger Limits: Team Membership Limits Not Working

Some bloggers aren't pleased with the team limitation of 100 members. A few unfortunate bloggers can't even take advantage of that number
I have a private blog with 88 readers and when I try to add more the permission is denied. It says
Your blog may not have more than 100 readers.
I know I can't have more than 100 readers, but can I please at least make it to 100!?!
And when we add up the number of administrators, authors, and readers, we find a number significantly less than 100.

We're not sure yet whether the affinity here involves private blogs, though it seems that would be a logical triggering factor.

Are you limited to less than 100 members in your blog?

(Update 2010/04/20): Blogger Support has acknowledged the problem:
This is because our invite limit currently includes all invitations, including those expired, deleted, outstanding, or otherwise used in the past.



>> Top

"Error 400 Bad Request" When Using Blogger / BlogSpot

In terms of vague, monolithic error messages, I don't know of a more mysterious error. The referential WikiPedia article List of HTTP status codes tells us simply
The request contains bad syntax or cannot be fulfilled.
The relevant clue here may be that "4nn" errors are "Client Request" errors.

If you Google for information, you'll get dozens of supposed explanations. Here, a sample:
The problem with the Error 400 is that it is seen in very low volume - maybe 1 or 2 reports / week. It's consistent in volume - we simply don't see an affinity.


If you're seeing this, first try one of the most universally prescribed nostrums in Blogger land - clear cache, cookies, and active logins, and restart the browser. An alternative would be to try using a different browser - if this helps, you could rule out your computer in general, your Internet service, and Blogger in general being the primary cause of the problem.


Next, help us to help you and others - and answer as much as possible. Partial answers are better than no answers.
  • What are you doing - are you using Blogger (maintaining your blog), BlogSpot (viewing a blog), or a non BlogSpot URL (also viewing a blog, but one published externally)?
  • Are you logged in to Blogger when you see the error? If so, are you logged in using a GMail based Google account, or a non GMail based account?
  • What browser and operating system (name and version please) are you using? Do you have any download accelerator, download manager, or speed enhancement add-on installed?
  • What anti-malware / anti-virus / personal firewall product do you use?
  • Where are you located (city, county / region / state, and country are useful here)?
  • What ISP do you use? Does your ISP offer any bandwidth enhancement, download accelerator, or speed increasing option?
  • How often do you see this error? How often do you not see this error? When did you start seeing this error?
  • If the problem goes away mysteriously, you could tell us that, later, too.
    • Seeing a report "I am having this problem." is good.
    • Seeing two reports - "I am having this problem.", later followed by "I am now not having this problem.", is better.
    • Seeing two reports - "I am having this problem.", later followed by "I am now not having this problem - and this is what I know changed recently:", is better still.
    Again, help us to help you.


(Update 2011/06/30): Today, we are seeing a significant increase in Error 400 and related symptoms, reported from some portion of the Blogger community.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

UK / European Caching Problem May Not Have Been Solved

Several bloggers are suggesting that the caching problem experienced by a number of bloggers in the UK and Europe may not be resolved, as previously thought.

If you're experiencing this problem, please provide diagnostics in a comment below. We'll start this over, so help us out here. Everybody can subscribe to the comment thread for this post, to track this.
  • Where are you? Country and city is appreciated.
  • What ISP do you use?
  • What browser and operating system (name and version please) do you use?
  • What is the BlogSpot and domain URLs of the blog involved?
  • Is it your blog?
  • A log from either PathPing (preferred), or from TraceRt (useful still), would be very appreciated.
  • If possible, join the discussion in my forum (approval for membership required, be patient please).


>> Top

The Value Of Your Blog Is Based Upon The Content

The content of your blog encourages people to read your blog.

More people reading your blog gives the blog more value. What you publish today will be in your blog tomorrow - and if what you publish today has value, it will have more value tomorrow.

What you publish today will make your blog more valuable than what you publish tomorrow. Publish today, revise tomorrow - that's progressive publishing.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

An Easy "Contact Me" Form

One way of providing a contact procedure for your readers to use, other than the suicidal "mailto:" link, is a picture with your email address on it. But there's a simpler contact form, available as a native Blogger tool, if your blog uses inline comments.

Just write a post, designated as "General Comments". Setup a link to the comment form under the post, and make the post a static page in the blog.

See the right most entry in my menu bar above?
Contact
<a href="http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2005/06/leave-comments-here.html#comment-form">Contact Me</a>

Now, enable either comment moderation (which you should use, anyway), or comment notification (if you're daring enough to not moderate), and provide your email address in the setting. Your email address absolutely won't be visible, anywhere, to the public. And you'll be contactable through comments, that you can publish or not, as you (or the reader) wish.

If you disable anonymous comments, and require Google accounts to comment, you'll even pick up the email addresses associated with the Google accounts of your commenters.


Note that if you are using inline comments ("Embedded below post"), and / or CAPTCHA ("word verification") screening in the blog, you should advise your readers to enable third party cookies, if they wish to be able to comment on your blog.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Odd Occurrences In The Blogger Template

Recently, a couple bloggers have reported a mysterious snippet of code in their blog page.
Please, I've been trying to remove the --> at the top of my blog forever. I can't find in the templates where this is coming from. If anyone can help me please respond. Its driving me crazy.



So, we look at the blog. See the red circle at the top center of the blog page? Click on the picture, and view it full size, if you need.


So, do a "View" - "Page Source" in Firefox. This shows the published blog page code, which will not be the same as the raw template! You won't see the mysterious "-->", when you edit the template - it's embedded in the template macro library code, but it's there, I promise you.

table.sample td {
border-width: medium medium medium medium;
padding: 1px 1px 1px 1px;
border-style: outset outset outset outset;
border-color: red red red red;
background-color: rgb(255, 245, 238);
-moz-border-radius: 6px 6px 6px 6px;
white-space:nowrap;
}
</style>

--></style>
<link type='text/css' rel='stylesheet' href='http://www.blogger.com/static/v1/widgets/2300090209-widget_css_bundle.css' /> <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://www.blogger.com/static/v1/v-css/3727950723-blog_controls.css"/>
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://www.blogger.com/dyn-css/authorization.css?targetBlogID=7088093820350220800&zx=05ee26f6-7ace-4a89-936c-60d828d65f38"/>
<style type="text/css">#navbar-iframe { display:block }
</style>
</head>


When you edit the raw template HTML (Layout - "Edit HTML"), you'll see something like this.

table.sample td {
border-width: medium medium medium medium;
padding: 1px 1px 1px 1px;
border-style: outset outset outset outset;
border-color: red red red red;
background-color: rgb(255, 245, 238);
-moz-border-radius: 6px 6px 6px 6px;
white-space:nowrap;
}
</style>

]]></b:skin>
</head>


Remove the "</style>, giving you this.

table.sample td {
border-width: medium medium medium medium;
padding: 1px 1px 1px 1px;
border-style: outset outset outset outset;
border-color: red red red red;
background-color: rgb(255, 245, 238);
-moz-border-radius: 6px 6px 6px 6px;
white-space:nowrap;
}

]]></b:skin>
</head>


In the display "View" - "Page Source", you'll now see this.

table.sample td {
border-width: medium medium medium medium;
padding: 1px 1px 1px 1px;
border-style: outset outset outset outset;
border-color: red red red red;
background-color: rgb(255, 245, 238);
-moz-border-radius: 6px 6px 6px 6px;
white-space:nowrap;
}

--></style>
<link type='text/css' rel='stylesheet' href='http://www.blogger.com/static/v1/widgets/2300090209-widget_css_bundle.css' /> <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://www.blogger.com/static/v1/v-css/3727950723-blog_controls.css"/>
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://www.blogger.com/dyn-css/authorization.css?targetBlogID=7088093820350220800&zx=05ee26f6-7ace-4a89-936c-60d828d65f38"/>
<style type="text/css">#navbar-iframe { display:block }
</style>

</head>

All better now. But why is this happening?

>> Top

UK / European Bloggers Reporting Old Blog Content Being Displayed

If you're in the UK / Europe / Middle East, and viewing your blog, and you refresh the display - maybe because you published a new post, or changed the template - and you think that what you're seeing now isn't quite right, it may not be your imagination. We have various reports from UK / Europe / Middle East bloggers of seeing old blog content, periodically, when refreshing their browser. Some, maybe not all, seem to report their blog published to a custom domain ie Google server.

The symptom here resembles the presence of an upstream cache, but the cache may be in Google physical space.

Today being Patch Tuesday, and with this problem having apparently started in the UK / Europe, one might think of Microsoft Updates as being a contributing factor. But with the comments below mentioning Firefox and Safari as much as Internet Explorer, that's not a strong probability. Only time will tell whether bloggers in the Americas, and later, Asia, are also affected.

If you're experiencing this problem, please provide diagnostics in a comment below. Everybody can subscribe to the comment thread for this post, to track this.
  • Where are you? Country and city is appreciated.
  • What ISP do you use?
  • What browser and operating system (name and version please) do you use?
  • What is the BlogSpot and domain URLs of the blog involved?
  • Is it your blog?
  • A log from either PathPing (preferred), or from TraceRt (useful still), would be very appreciated.
  • If possible, join the discussion in my forum (approval for membership required, be patient please).


(Update 5/17 13:00): It appears that this problem may not be fixed, for everybody.

(Update 5/15): It looks like the emergency is over. Possibly related to the Asian routing path in the Google network.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Problems With Posting Comments To Blogs, Caused By Post Template Corruption

This month, we are seeing reports from various bloggers who report that they, or their readers, are having problems posting comments to their blogs. The blogs where the problem is reported are most frequently using the inline comment form, aka "Embedded below post" - although other comment form styles, and other symptoms altogether, seem to be observed too. There seem to be a few different scenarios reported.

In main page view, instead of seeing the comments and the comment entry form, you'll merely see a link, such as "2 comments". Clicking on "2 comments" puts the blog display into single post mode, and positions the browser below the post, at the comment entry form - or links to the separate comments page or to the popup comments page.

Most recently, this link, on some blogs, is reported to be inoperative or invisible. The first thing to try, in this case, is resetting the post template. If resetting the post template does not work, then try resetting the widget templates.

In another scenario, for blogs with "word verification" ie "CAPTCHA" enabled, the CAPTCHA either may not be visible, or if visible, may not seem to work - even when you have entered the correct answer, repeatedly. This will be observed by some, but not all owners and / or readers. If the CAPTCHA does not appear, or if it can't be solved in 2 or 3 tries (and you are certain that you have entered the correct answers), your computer has a security setting problem. This will generally be related to third party cookies, or a script being blocked.

In a third scenario, neither resetting the widgets nor enabling third party cookies or Blogger scripts will provide relief to the CAPTCHA problem. Like the previous scenario, this will not be seen by everybody. First, clear both cache and cookies, and restart the browser

If you're using Internet Explorer V8, and you're seeing any of these problems, please try using another browser.

If you or your readers have another problem with inline comment forms, or if the above procedures don't provide a solution to your problem, provide details as you're able.
  • First, as always, the URL of the blog.
  • What is the problem? Can you not see a comment form, or can you not enter a comment successfully?
  • Is the problem universal, or specific to some owners and / or readers?
  • What browser is used by the ones reporting the problem?
  • What security components (anti-malware protection, add-ons in the browser, etc) and settings are in the browser and on the computer?
If there is a problem which has to be resolved with Blogger Support being involved, details will be useful.

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Renaming Your Blog, and Your Mail-to-Blogger Address

If you've ever transferred control of your blog from one account to another, or renamed the blog and changed the URL, on a blog that accepts posts by Mail-to-Blogger, you may have wondered about the unchanging aspect of the Mail-to-Blogger email address.
I recently changed my Blogger "BlogSpot Address". However this change did not seem to effect my Mail2Blogger email address. Is this right?


Later, you may have noticed that none of the posts being emailed are publishing, after the URL change took place.

When this happens, don't panic. Just go back to Settings - "Email & Mobile", and change the private portion of the Mail-to-Blogger email address, update your email client with the new address, and try again. Apparently, even though the public portion of the address doesn't change, the private portion is being reset when the URL changes.

This is just one more detail, in the process of properly planning a blog rename.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Expired Custom Domain Registration Is Up For Grabs

If your blog is published to a Google custom domain, you may be happily updating your blog one day, and get a panicked email from a friend
What happened to your blog? I'm seeing a GoDaddy advertisement!
or
I'm getting 404 Not Found when I try to view your blog! What's the problem now?
and if that's the case for you, then you need to act, now.

Not long ago, I got an odd email.
Hi Chuck,

I'm Nagarajan from India. I bought your domain Nitecruzr.Net through a GoDaddy auction. I just want to make sure that whether you sold your domain to GoDaddy, or by any chance it went for auction ? Also, I would like to know about your willingness to get back your domain Nitecruzr.Net.


Long story short, I had thought that I placed the renewal last month, and omitted to verify that the payment went through. And I was very lucky that Jasa Nagarajan, who buys and sells domains, had noticed the auction, and that he picked up the domain.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Classic Templates - More Work, Not Quite As Customisable As Layouts

Have you surfed the AppsSpot Product Ideas for Blogger database yet? Lots of bloggers have submitted quite a few suggestions, including a few for new templates, and for more gadgets to install in the templates. Do this quickly, as time is limited.
Don't wait too long, we will be closing this series to new questions and votes on May 14, 2009.


If your blog has a classic template, you won't benefit from either new templates, nor XML based gadgets - you'll need gadgets written in HTML. An example of an HTML gadget is Google Friend Connect. Here's what I installed on my home blog, Nitecruzr Dot Net. (Note as always, I have inserted a few gratuitous line breaks, to make this readable.)

<!-- Include the Google Friend Connect javascript library. -->
<script src="http://www.google.com/friendconnect/script/friendconnect.js" type="text/javascript">
</script>
<!-- Define the div tag where the gadget will be inserted. -->
<div id="div-1235233700850" style="width:282px;border:1px solid #cccccc;"></div>
<!-- Render the gadget into a div. -->
<script type="text/javascript">
var skin = {};
skin['HEIGHT'] = '385';
skin['BORDER_COLOR'] = '#cccccc';
skin['ENDCAP_BG_COLOR'] = '#e0ecff';
skin['ENDCAP_TEXT_COLOR'] = '#333333';
skin['ENDCAP_LINK_COLOR'] = '#0000cc';
skin['ALTERNATE_BG_COLOR'] = '#ffffff';
skin['CONTENT_BG_COLOR'] = '#ffffff';
skin['CONTENT_LINK_COLOR'] = '#0000cc';
skin['CONTENT_TEXT_COLOR'] = '#333333';
skin['CONTENT_SECONDARY_LINK_COLOR'] = '#7777cc';
skin['CONTENT_SECONDARY_TEXT_COLOR'] = '#666666';
skin['CONTENT_HEADLINE_COLOR'] = '#333333';
google.friendconnect.container.setParentUrl
('/' /* location of rpc_relay.html and canvas.html */);
google.friendconnect.container.renderMembersGadget(
{ id: 'div-1235233700850',
site: '00360112972094312055' },
skin);
</script>

To install the above code in Nitecruzr Dot Net, which uses a layouts template, I simply added a new HTML / JavaScript Gadget, and pasted the code into the gadget. To install the above code into a blog with a classic template, I have to edit the template HTML.

Here, I will add a Google Friend Connect gadget to my blog which uses a classic template, Nitecruzr Classic Template Laboratory. As long as I can find the right spot to add the code, this is not too difficult. To make it easy to demonstrate, I'll add it right near the top of the sidebar, right below the Blogger Following link.

<!-- Begin #sidebar -->
<div id="sidebar"><div id="sidebar2">
<ul>
<li><a href="http://nitecruzrtest.blogspot.com/">>> Home</a></li>
</ul>

<!-- Begin #profile-container -->

<$BlogMemberProfile$>

<!-- End #profile -->

<h2 class="sidebar-title">Follow / Friend Connect</h2>
<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">
javascript:_FollowersView._openPopup("http://www.blogger.com/follow-blog.g?blogID=24854703&blogTitle=Nitecruzr+Classic+Template+Laboratory");
</script>

<!-- Include the Google Friend Connect javascript library. -->
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/friendconnect/script/friendconnect.js"></script>
<!-- Define the div tag where the gadget will be inserted. -->
<div id="div-5199007134918127325" style="width:220px;border:1px solid #cccccc;"></div>
<!-- Render the gadget into a div. -->
<script type="text/javascript">
var skin = {};
skin['BORDER_COLOR'] = '#cccccc';
skin['ENDCAP_BG_COLOR'] = '#e0ecff';
skin['ENDCAP_TEXT_COLOR'] = '#333333';
skin['ENDCAP_LINK_COLOR'] = '#0000cc';
skin['ALTERNATE_BG_COLOR'] = '#ffffff';
skin['CONTENT_BG_COLOR'] = '#ffffff';
skin['CONTENT_LINK_COLOR'] = '#0000cc';
skin['CONTENT_TEXT_COLOR'] = '#333333';
skin['CONTENT_SECONDARY_LINK_COLOR'] = '#7777cc';
skin['CONTENT_SECONDARY_TEXT_COLOR'] = '#666666';
skin['CONTENT_HEADLINE_COLOR'] = '#333333';
skin['NUMBER_ROWS'] = '4';
google.friendconnect.container.setParentUrl('/' /* location of rpc_relay.html and canvas.html */);
google.friendconnect.container.renderMembersGadget(
{ id: 'div-5199007134918127325',
site: '04818405130895930258' },
skin);
</script>

Having done that, you may check out the result in Nitecruzr Classic Template Laboratory.

And, as always, please backup the template, before and after making this change.

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Removing A Deleted Blog From Search Engine Cache

I've advised bloggers a few times that your blog is forever. This is generally, but not always, good news. One case, when it's not good news, is when the contents say something about us that we don't want to be publicly known. Sometimes, we panic, and make the wrong decision about how to resolve our problem.
I had to get rid of my blog, because of my employer, so I deleted it. But when I Google for my name, the first thing that pops up is my blog, and my profile.


Deleting your blog, as I've written before, needs to be done with care and forethought. If your blog is cached, the cache has to be managed properly, before the actual blog contents can be removed from the blog host (ie, Blogger).

You can manage your blog's cache, in the Google search engine, using Google Webmaster Tools. If you just deleted your blog, this won't be possible. You're going to have to re publish your blog, add it to Google Webmaster Tools, then use the Google Webmaster Tools "Remove URLs" wizard to instruct Google to remove it from their cache. This is just another detail that you should consider, before deleting the blog in the first place.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Embedded Comments And Main Page View

The option to display comments, embedded below the post, was made a blog option relatively recently.

This was a long requested feature - and many bloggers added it to their blogs, as soon as the option was presented to us.

Some blog owners like this feature so much, that they request its availability inappropriately. They prefer that the comments, accompanied by the comment entry form, should be visible when the blog is opened, in main page view.
I would like all comments, and the comment form, to be shown underneath the relevant post, automatically, for everyone to read without clicking on the number of comments link.
And this is not how embedded comments work.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bloggers Trapped In Draft Blogger

As many bloggers discover the new and shiny features offered in New Blogger June 2008, currently being tested in Draft Blogger, some decide
This is all that I need!
and don't look back. They go to their Draft Blogger dashboard, and select
Make Blogger in Draft my default dashboard.


Some of the latter decide later that the grass is not quite so green, after all. Unfortunately, getting back into the other pasture with the main herd isn't always possible.
Although I unchecked the box, it will not go back to the normal Blogger dashboard. This I find very frustrating.


There may be a workaround to the problem, though.
If you go into Draft Blogger and click on View Blog....when your blog opens...right up at the top right hand side...click on New Post and it should open in Blogger.


Essentially, load the blog from the "View Blog" link in the dashboard. From there, you can get into post editor using
  • The "New Post" link in the navbar.
  • The Customize ( - Posting) link in the navbar.
  • The Quick Edit pencil at the bottom of each post.
Hopefully, one of these links will work for you.

As a final resort, use the supplied Blogger User Settings wizard, when necessary.

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Custom Domain vs FTP Publishing - A New Direction In Blogger

I've been writing about the joys and tribulations of both custom domain publishing, and FTP publishing, for many months. I've provided a rough comparison about the two hosting options, as well as my opinion about the future of FTP publishing.

Now Blogger has provided a live forum, where you can make your concerns and questions heard.
A Q&A forum for comments and any questions you may have about the hosting options on Blogger (FTP vs. Custom Domains vs. BlogSpot)


The forum is a worthy complement to a possible shift by Blogger regarding the future of FTP Publishing. Rick Klau, the new Blogger Product Manager, offers a comprehensive analysis of the future.
If you use FTP today, I'd like to start a conversation about whether this is the right approach for your blog. I've been talking with bloggers over the last couple weeks on this subject, and have found most users, when presented with the option of hosting their blog using Blogger's Custom Domain option instead of FTP, find Custom Domains to be a far superior option.


And a second change was later made, as part of the new blog setup, "Name your blog" wizard.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Blogger WishList Is Temporarily Alive In AppsSpot

Some time ago, I reported that the Blogger Wishlist had been eliminated as a form in the Blogger Help database.
Yesterday, I was somewhat dismayed to learn that the Blogger Wishlist form is no more. In its place, a list of tips, with one suggestion
Have a great idea or suggestion? Let us know! We enthusiastically read and tally all your suggestions.
and the link "Let us know!" leads straight to the Blogger Help Group.

Blogger provides the AppsSpot forum, Product Ideas for Blogger, where concepts and ideas about the Blogger product are discussed. The specific URL changes occasionally, so check here from time to time for the current URL (and let us know, here, when it is not working), if you wish to participate in ongoing discussions. Note that you will need to sign in to Google, before using AppsSpot.

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Your Blog and the Blogosphere

Computers today are simply another consumer product - and provide challenges accordingly.

I, and others like me, can remember not so long ago, when that was not at all true. Blogs, which are in part a computer product, are simply another part of that scenario.

Not so long ago, my personal web page, based on a web host called Angelfire, was just a collection of links to a few dozen web pages which I enjoyed reading, linked in a static community called The Line Around The World. I did all of that because it was kewl, and because other geeks like me were doing that.

Now, people like my mother (who actually could do this if she tried) are creating online scrapbooks and diaries, and publicising their daily family activities online. My web page (which is now a domain cluster) provides advice to thousands of bloggers, daily.

And all of the above illustrates the expanding blogosphere - and the problems, too.

Friday, May 01, 2009

bX-r1ezpk

This seems to be the wildfire of the month (and yes, it's a new month, and what a way to start).
bX-r1ezpk

Additional information
blogID: nnnnnnnnnnnnnnn****
host: www.blogger.com
uri: /blog-publishing.do


It appears to be related to tweaks in the template widgets. Several blogger have reported resetting their widgets have restored their blogs. It's a 10 minute repair, when it works.

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FTP Publishing - May 2009

Last month, we noted two more episodes of the well known FTP Publishing symptom
Publishing your blog is taking longer than expected. To continue waiting for it to finish, click here.
that episode was fixed, twice. This week, it's back again, but with different bloggers reporting their own involvement. We also have more reports of
530 User cannot log in. Login failed
and similar symptoms.

The second episode last month seemed to involve publishing posts with pictures. Several observations this week seem to, explicitly, deny that affinity.

(Update 5/15): Blogger has solved the problem.
We believe we've isolated the FTP issue. If you couldn't publish before, please try again and let us know if you still experience problems.


(Update 5/14): Blogger has acknowledged the outstanding issues.
Some users are reporting failed logins when publishing via FTP. We are investigating.


(Update 5/3 15:00): Keeping an open mind, when dealing with Blogger issues, is a very advisable attitude. If your problem has been an issue for a while (say before late last week), or if your problem just started this weekend, it's possible that it won't be solved by Blogger, any time soon. The symptom
Publishing your blog is taking longer than expected. To continue waiting for it to finish, click here.
is one with many possible causes. And this month, Blogger is actively soliciting your opinion about FTP Publishing.

(Update 5/2 15:00): Blogger is actively researching this issue.
I'm a Product Manager on Blogger, and we're trying to isolate the last remaining issues relating to FTP publishing. If you're still experiencing problems, please fill out the form here:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=ci1UaTdWWFowdUt0Q3dId0pibWJYMXc6MA


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