Wednesday, December 30, 2009

People Follow Blogs, Not Templates Or URLs

Occasionally, we have people expressing confusion about loss of Followers.
I updated my template, and I lost my Followers!
If you only update your template and nothing else, your blog should still have its Followers. You may lose various gadgets from the template, when you make changes - but even if the Followers gadget is lost, the existing Followers continue. Just look at the Followers community, from your dashboard, and you'll see the Followers.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Identify The Template In Your Blog

My preferred policy in Information Technology starts with
Everything has a name.
Having worked with Blogger for several years, I have compromised that, and now say
Everything should have a name.
Unfortunately, there will always be things that have no names, they are just there.

When you work on the template in your blog, and especially when you ask for help with the template, the first thing that you must provide is the URL of the blog. The first thing that I do, when providing template help, is look at the blog, and determine.
  • Is the template classic, or layouts?
  • What is the make and model?
    • Is it a Blogger standard template, or third party?
    • If Blogger, what "model" is it?


While you're reading this article, do "View", then "Page Source" (for Firefox), or "View", then "Source" (for Internet Explorer). Alternately, use an HTTP text proxy. That will give you a display of the code behind the page. You'll find a couple relevant and useful clues, in the display.

At the top, and since this blog uses a Blogger standard template, you will find the template "model" information. Third party templates may, or may not, have this. Likewise, highly customised templates may, or may not, have this.
/*
-----------------------------------------------
Blogger Template Style
Name:     Minima Stretch
Designer: Douglas Bowman / Darren Delaye
URL:      www.stopdesign.com
Date:     26 Feb 2004
----------------------------------------------- */

That tells me that I am looking at a blog that uses the Blogger standard "Minima Stretch" template.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Identifying Your Visitors

Just about anybody who owns a blog has, one time or another, wanted to find out more about a specific visitor to a blog. Generally, we might need to find out about a person who leaves a specific comment, so we can block or take other action to prevent unwanted comments. With a properly chosen visitor log, this isn't difficult.

With a comment, for instance, we start from the comment.
  • Note the date and time of the comment, and what post it was published against.
  • Examine your visitor log, and find all clicks against the post in question, immediately preceding the comment in question.
  • Find the visitor log entry that contains a reference to the comment viewing and / or the comment posting process.
  • Now, you have the IP address of your malicious commentor, and an assortment of demographic details, possibly including an approximate location.

This is a key process in keeping malicious comments out of our blogs. But note the limitations here.
  • You cannot say, for sure, that two clicks from the same IP address are, in reality, the same person. On a shared computer, say in an airport or a library, one IP address could be shared by any number of readers.
  • You cannot say, for sure, that two clicks from two different IP addresses are, in reality, two different people. One person could have Internet service that provides a dynamic IP address assignment. In a space of 30 minutes, one person could, sequentially, use 3 different IP addresses.
  • In no case can you say, for sure, exactly where a person is located.

And if you examine the visitor log of your choice, you might observe the URL which was viewed by one or more visitors immediately before they viewed yours. This is known as the "referer" URL. Try not to be concerned or offended, if you see indications of visitors from an unsuitable website name - or maybe from a country or geographic region known for inhabitants who engage in hacking and other misbehaving. People in China, India, Russia, the USA, and other countries, have legitimate reasons for reading your blog - just as people in other countries do.

Neither the demographic details, nor the "referer" URL, should by themselves indicate any hacking activity taking place, in an attack against your blog. And there is no law or regulation which restricts the right to link to any website on the Internet. If you have a public blog, and you spend time publicising your blog, you're going to get visitors.

So use a visitor log - but use it wisely.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Justice Is For The Poor And The Weak - And Blogger Justice Is For The Owners Of Small Blogs

In the modern legal system, justice is (supposedly) available to all citizens - regardless of colour, crede, or financial status - equally. In the Blogger legal system, justice (as in porn / spam classification, or URL availability) is available to all bloggers - equally.

If your blog is unjustly accused of hosting hacking, porn, and / or spam content, or if your blog is unfairly placed behind a content warning, you (the blog owner) are responsible for getting the wrong righted.

Due diligence requires that the blog owner has to report any problem with any Blogger blog. Regardless of how many anxious readers your blog may serve, you the owner have to request a review, when the blog is unjustly classified, deleted or locked. And, you have to do so promptly.

Blogger must serve owners of small and unpopular blogs equally, with owners of large and popular ones. The blog readers are not part of the review process. The only question is
Does the blog host hacking, objectionable, porn, or spam content?

Please, no coyote attacks in Blogger Help Forum.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Following - Like Sales - Depends Upon Referral Traffic

Do you know any professional sales people? I'm not talking about sales clerks, who wait in stores for people with merchandise already picked out, or who just hang around
Do you have a question about the merchandise?
I'm talking about people who actually sell a product. Real sales people will sell you something so you'll come back and buy more later - from them. And the really successful sales people sell you a product, and will make you want to tell your friends about it later.
Do you need a new xxxxxxx? See this guy - he knows what he's talking about.


Blogging and Following is similar to sales. It's easy to get your blog read. What you want is people who read your blog, and let other people know that they read your blog. That's Following. People Follow your blog, and their Following profile shows their Followers - people who Follow their blog - that they Follow your blog.

Just as Sales depends upon referrals (people who tell their friends about you), Following does too. You'll get some traffic to your blog from your Followers - people who read your blog repeatedly. What you really want is people who read your blog, Follow your blog, and have Followers who will Follow your blog.

And that, again, is based upon relevance of your blog. People who are interested in what you write are more likely to Follow your blog. Very few folks will Follow your blog simply because someone else that they Follow already Follows your blog. The readers, and Followers, of the blogs that Follow yours are prospective, not confirmed, Followers of your blog.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ambiguity Over The Social Networking Concept Of Blog

As I write in Your Blog Is Like You - Unique, the name of this blog is "bloggerstatusforreal", and its URL is now "blogging.nitecruzr.net" (it's also known as "bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com"). There are many articles in this blog, and the articles are called "posts".

If you have a social networking account, like FaceBook (Friendster, Multiply, ...), you may write a blog, to discuss a specific concern or interest which you may have. Both you and your friends may reply to your blog. If you have another concern or interest, you may create another blog for your account.

A FaceBook (Friendster, Multiply, ...) blog, with many replies, is the equivalent to a Blogger (WordPress, TypePad, ...) post, with many comments. One FaceBook (Friendster, Multiply, ...) account can contain many blogs, just as one Blogger (WordPress, TypePad, ...) blog can contain many posts.

All FaceBook (Friendster, Multiply, ...) blogs, and other accessories and options are part of one account, and share one template and one base URL (your account name). A Blogger (WordPress, TypePad, ...) blog, likewise, shares one template and one base URL.

It's fairly simple to create a new Blogger blog. If you're used to creating blogs in FaceBook (Friendster, Multiply, ...), you may be doing this, needlessly.
  • Start from your dashboard.
  • Click on "Create a blog".
  • Select any available blog name (URL).
  • Select a template.
  • Start composing your first post in your new blog.
It's still simpler to create a new post for an existing blog. If you're used to creating blogs in FaceBook (Friendster, Multiply, ...), you maybe should be doing this, instead.
  • Start from your dashboard.
  • Find an existing blog.
  • Select "New Post".
  • Start composing your new post.


With Blogger, you can have one blog - many posts sharing one template and base URL, and the many posts can share one common subject, or have many subjects. Or, if you like to organise your interests, you can have a different blog for each of your many interests, each with a different template and base URL. This is an option that is not provided by FaceBook (Friendster, Multiply, ...).

Just choose what you need, and be aware of the possibilities that Blogger offers, that FaceBook (Friendster, Multiply, ...) does not.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

It's The Buzz

To help me spotlight my most important issues, I have started my new blog - Nitecruzr Buzz. I just setup a FeedBurner URL, and installed an email subscription gadget, a few minutes ago - so you can get the updates as you like.

And look in the top linklist on the right, for the link to The Buzz.

Google Now Requiring A Password Recovery Email Address

Recently, we see a few reports from nervous bloggers.
From time to time, the following message appears in a box at the top of my main Gmail (My Blogger login, my Google login, etc) page:
Hey, this is important: we don't have a password recovery email address or phone number for your account. If you lose your access, we may not be able to help you.
Is this a scam (Is this phishing?) (Is this spam?)...


In computer security, it's never a bad idea to be skeptical. It's one way of limiting the effects of CKI Faults. But when you are doing something intentional, using (what should be) a trusted product, like Google, and you get advice like this, heed the advice - please.

You don't need to do something dodgy, like answer an email, and provide your account name / password / drivers license number. But take this as a warning.

Check the email address associated with your Blogger account, and make sure it is one that you can use easily, when needed. Now. If your account does not have a working email address, and you ever forget the password, you'll not be able to execute a password reset. Then, you will be hurting.

This message, if you see it when logging in to Blogger, GMail, or Google, is not a scam. It's Google strongly suggesting that you ensure that your password recovery (account backdoor) email address is operational.

Check your email addresses, now. Now!

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Blogger Magic - The FeedBurner Redirected Feed

One of the neatest bits of magic in the Blogger trickbox is the FeedBurner (external) feed redirection. A redirected FeedBurner feed requires 2 steps.
  1. Setup a FeedBurner feed, sourced from the blog native feed.
  2. In Settings - Site Feed, redirect the blog feed to the FeedBurner feed.


The native feed from this blog, "blogging.nitecruzr.net", is "blogging.nitecruzr.net/feeds/posts/default". That's how my blog started out (after I republished the blog to the custom domain URL). I setup a FeedBurner feed, "feeds.feedburner.com/Nitecruzr-Blogging", after this blog had been long in existence.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Blogger Doesn't Care About Frequency Or Quantity Of Blog Updates

The process of "bidding" determines who is best suited to take on a given task, in some multi party games and relationships.

In the game of Contract Bridge, the players of the game get a chance to assess their personal holdings of the cards dealt to them, and the probable holdings of their prospective partner and opponents - and predict the number of rounds ("tricks") that they expect to win, in the game to come.

In the "game" of construction bidding, contractor firms get the chance to predict how much funds they will require, to perform a given project, given the chance by the firm bidding the project.

In both cases, different parties bid for the right to perform a task. Some would be blog owners think that procedure should apply to blog ownership.
I want this URL - It's the perfect URL for my needs - for my blog. The URL is in use, but it hasn't been updated, recently. Why can't Blogger give me that URL?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Please Google, Restore My Deleted Account And Blog!

A frequently seen sign of confusion in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I? is the question
How soon after deletion can I reuse a blog?
And the answer is two part.
Immediately, if you can just undelete it using the same account. Never, if you are trying to transfer the blog.
Occasionally the response to that involves a complication.
But I deleted the account, to make sure that the blog gets freed up.
And now, the blogger gets no choice.
You have to reactivate the account, because the URL is locked to that account.

Now, the blogger has a four fold task ahead of him.And next time, plan the change.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Please Blogger, Restore My Deleted Post!

As many bloggers are periodically enjoying the ability to restore their deleted blogs, other bloggers are discovering the limitations of that ability.
I typed for hours. I made one mistake, the whole post vanished, and just as I realised my mistake, AutoSave executed, and saved the empty post. All of that work gone, in an instant!
or
I deleted the wrong post! How do I get back the post that I deleted?
These folks are discovering the difference between deleting a blog (which can be recovered), and deleting / erasing a post (which cannot be recovered).

When you delete a blog, it's moved into a "Deletion in 90 days" status, and during the 90 days, you get the chance to change your mind, and restore the blog to operational status.

If you want to prevent AutoSave from saving an empty post at the wrong time, disable AutoSave.

Deleted posts are a different issue. From the "Edit Posts" menu, select one or more surplus posts, and hit "Delete Selected". You get one chance to change your mind.

"This action cannot be undone". That looks pretty final.


That's your one chance. Hit OK, and you're done. When you get past that point, your only solution is recovery / rebuilding - if possible. Blogger Support does not provide support, for recovery of deleted posts - sorry.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Nitecruzr Dot Net Et Al With New Language Bar Design

This month, Roberto (of Robertos Blogs) and I present a new Cumulus Language Bar, with better designed buttons, plus an enhanced complement of 54 different languages.

In Make Your Blog Speak More Languages, you will find the updated code block, with the new language complement.

We hope that you will enjoy the new look!

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