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Showing posts from June, 2010

Static Pages, With Multiple Posts, Using Labels

If you want to publish multiple "posts" on a static page, using a standard Pages Index gadget, you just edit the static page as required. That gives you multiple "posts" that never appear in archives or label retrievals, or on the main page, on one true static page.

If your need for a "static" page is simply to have a collection of "posts", linked from a tabs index, make a custom pages / posts index gadget, and index label retrievals. This gives you multiple posts that will initially appear on the main page, and on any number of dynamic indexed (archives / label retrievals) pages.

Continuing my "Contact" example from Static Pages, With Multiple Posts, I can publish any number of individual posts using the label "Contact". Then, my "Contact" tab uses a label search for "Contact" as the target, replacing the URL for a static "Contact" page.

Any time that I need an additional post published on th…

Blogger Does Not Moderate Comments For You

Almost daily, some optimistic blogger asks in BHF: How Do I? the questionHow do I report unwanted comments?as if Blogger has a classification in the Report Abuse form for spam comments. Unfortunately, they do not.

There are 4 levels of authentication, permitted at the option of the blog owner.Anyone / Anonymous.Registered Users / OpenID.Users with Google accounts.Blog members.With options #1 and #2, Google has no control at all. If the blog owner chooses to allow comments to be published by anybody, or by anybody externally authenticated, Blogger commenting has no choice but to accept the comment being published.

With option #3, and since a Blogger account has no intrinsic value comparable to a FaceBook or Twitter account, were Blogger to block or delete any Blogger account for attempted spam comment publication, it would be a trivial effort for a spammer to switch to another Blogger account.

The more active and persistent spammers use many different identities, and many different I…

Static Pages, With Multiple Posts

Let me very clear here. Static pages, and posts, are simply two different things. You cannot publish posts on a static page. You can, however, have posts on a page. (Update 2012/05): This post is now obsolete, with Blogger now offering the combination of Pages (dynamic and static), and the ability to redirect any URL in the blog to any other URL in that same blog. The default Pages gadget is simply a linklist that only indexes static pages, as maintained by the Pages gadget in Post Elements. If you replace the Pages gadget with a linklist that you maintain as a linklist, you can index archive retrievals, label searches, single posts, and URLs of other blogs and websites in your linklist.

Label searches are a popular way to publish multiple posts on a page.Publish your posts using various labels.Index various label searches, in your linklist.
Alternatively, a true static page, with multiple sections, is easy enough to setup - if you like static pages.

Click on a tab labeled "C…

The "Layout" / "Page Elements" Wizard

With New Blogger 2006, Blogger added another layer of simplicity in web site development. They redesigned their templates, using Dynamic HTML, and XML, for more flexibility and options. And they added two key improvements.

Template objects (aka "Page Elements", which are now called "gadgets").A GUI Page Elements editor, to setup, position, and maintain the template objects.
The Page Elements wizard lets you add and re locate objects on the blog page, and maintains the blog template.



This is Page Elements, in the Classic GUI.




This is the Layout page, 2016.




This is more of the Layout page, 2016.



The Page Elements wizard is reached from the Design link in the dashboard or navbar (when you use the Classic GUI) - or from the Layout menu entry (when you use the New GUI (2011)). If the blog is setup to use a dynamic template, "Page Elements" won't apply - and "Layout" won't even be part of the New GUI menu.

The Blog Posts widget, which is the…

Custom Domain Published Blogs, Migrated From FTP Publishing, May Not Have An Alternate BlogSpot URL

Many problems with custom domain publishing are transient, and can be fixed by republishing to the domain URL. When encountered by a possibly transient problem, my advice is very basic.Publish the blog back to BlogSpot, then re publish it to the domain URL. And recheck the redirect option.This is good advice, and generally easy enough to execute.

One case, when this advice is not easy to execute, is with blogs that were previously hosted externally, and never published to a BlogSpot URL. A blog that was never published to BlogSpot can't be published back to BlogSpot. The FTP Migration effort, completed just recently, retained that option for many blogs. Blogs migrated from an externally hosted non BlogSpot URL, to a Google hosted non BlogSpot URL, won't necessarily have a BlogSpot URL.

When this happens, pick any available BlogSpot URL, and change the blog temporarily from custom domain publishing to BlogSpot publishing. You won't necessarily use a BlogSpot name even…

Gadgets Can't Be Saved With Blank Title

Bloggers everywhere are reporting that when they try to "Add a Gadget", or edit an existing gadget, and save without providing a Title for the gadget, they get sad news.Required field must not be blankNo title, no new / updated gadget.

Blogger has accepted responsibility for this, and has promised a resolution, at an unspecified time. In the mean time, if you wish to publish your blog, with a gadget with no visible title, simply save the gadget with the title of This will give you a gadget with a non visible, non blank Title.

Network Problem In Pakistan Affects Blogger Access As Well As Non Google Services

We are seeing reports that some bloggers in Pakistan, who are customers of PTCL Broadband, are logging in to Blogger and are being presented with the dashboard for somebody else's account. Specific details, about ability to actually use the other dashboard, are not clear.

One blogger has reported that other Internet services, such as Facebook, are also affected. Facebook has blocked access from the PTCL address blocks involved in the problem.

More detail is available in Further PTCL Broadband Blues.

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Cookies Disabled / The "Remember Me" Option Is Not Working

Starting in early June 2010, we have been getting a few reports from bloggers about disabled cookiesWhen I login to Blogger, I am getting a message that I have cookies disabled.

Blogger Sign In We found the following errors:

Your browser's cookie functionality is disabled. Please enable JavaScript and cookies in order to use Blogger.Alternately, some bloggers report that "Remember Me" does not work, or that they have to sign in, each time they wish to post a comment to somebody else's blog.

The ongoing problem with blocked third party cookies is not unknown, and is most likely the basis for this symptom. The question right now is what has caused the blocked cookies.

One possible cause for the problem is changes to computers running in Microsoft Windows, since Tuesday of last week was Microsoft Patch Tuesday. It's possible that other companies are releasing significant updates on or before Patch Tuesday.

If you are seeing any of these symptoms, please help us to …

Making A New Blog With A Layout Template

The new Designer templates are now a part of Production Blogger - and new blogs, created by "Create a blog", will have a Designer template. Unfortunately, the Designer templates are not 100% usable, on all blogs. Some extra effort will be required to publish a new blog, using a Layout template.


Here's the new reality - right after I solve the CAPTCHA, on the first page of "Create a blog".




So, I select "Simple", and now I have a new blog.




I bet I can use "Simple", as I used to use "Minima".



Here's where I have a choice. Move forward, and use "Simple" as a Designer equivalent of "Minima". The choices of backgrounds, layouts, and styles certainly makes Designer look pretty good.

Or, revert my new blog to Layout, and to the original Minima.


Our old friend - Minima - back again.



This gives me some breathing room. I can upgrade to a Designer template later, when it's more convenient. I'll still be us…

"Fonts and Colors" Is Now A Template Designer Menu

There were months in 2010, when the Template Designer was a Draft Blogger feature.

During 2010, we saw a few reports from bloggers who tried to use the "Fonts and Colors" wizard to make changes to a blog with a Designer template - or tried to use the Template Designer to make changes to a blog with a Layouts template. Since the CSS rules used in Designer templates are significantly different from those in Layout templates, this was a source of a few problems.

Inconsistencies In Template Designer Layout Are Disturbing

As I noted in an earlier article, the Template Designer is now a part of Production (Orange) Blogger - and now, merely a day after having noted the fact, inconsistencies in the design of the displays are becoming visible.

A very lamentable omission from the Template Designer screen itself is the lack of the Blogger "B" logo, which should link to the dashboard. Such a basic feature, and now it's gone.

The schizophrenic nature of the "Design" link is also disturbing.From the dashboard, the "Design" link leads to the "Page Elements" display. You click on "Template Designer" to get to the Template Designer.From the navbar, the "Design" link leads to the Template Designer. You click on "Back to Blogger" to get to "Page Elements".
The "Page Elements" GUI appears to be where we will add and rearrange the gadgets on the screen. A former "Layout" component is thus necessary for a Designe…

Getting Out Of the Designer Templates

The new Template Designer, previously a Draft Blogger feature, was added to Production Blogger this week. And just as some bloggers are discovering how exciting they are, others are discovering that the Designer templates have downsides.

Fortunately, even though the Template Designer wizard is part of Production (Orange) Blogger, you can revert your blog and recover the Layout template, if you decide that the Designer template isn't to your taste.

Just go to the "Edit Template" wizard, and look at the bottom section "Old Templates". If your blog has a Designer template, you should have a link to "Select Layout Template".

Under "Old Templates", find "Select Layout Template".




Next, pick a new Layout template. Hopefully, you remember how to do this.



Now that the blog has a Layout template again, and hoping that you backed up the Layout template before you setup the Designer template earlier, just restore your backed up Layout templa…

The Template Designer Wizard Is Now In Production

The "Template Designer" wizard is now part of Production (Orange) Blogger. Where you used to see "Layout", you'll now see "Design" or "Designer".

From your Blogger dashboard, click on "Template", then "Customize". You'll get the "Page Elements" wizard, with a link to the "Template Designer".

Click On The "B"

The Blogger navbar always bothered me, because of its lack of one key link. When you're logged in, it has "New Post" and "Design" (previously "Customize") links - and that's OK. When you're not logged in, it has a "Dashboard" link - and that's OK. But when you're logged in, there is no "Dashboard" link - and that's not OK.

Even though there is no "Dashboard" link, there is a link to the dashboard. Try it, and see. Click on the Orange / White (or Blue / White for Draft Blogger) "B" at the far left of most Blogger displays, and there you'll see - your dashboard. The "B" is simply a logo, that links to "Blogger.Com".If you're not logged in, you get to login.If you are logged in, and your default dashboard is Draft (Blue) Blogger, you see a White on Blue "B" logo. Click on the logo, and you get the Draft dashboard.If you are logged in, and your default…

The "Undelete this blog" Option May Not Be 100% Available, For All Blogs

The option to un delete a blog previously deleted was added to Blogger in March 2009. It was a popular feature when added, as it's been long requested by many bloggers, and was badly needed. It may not be 100% available, however.

When it was initially added to Blogger, the ability to un delete blogs was available only for blogs deleted after March 2009. That's one obvious limitation. Recent discussions make it apparent that there may be at least two other interesting limitations, to the option that provides both a blog that can be undeleted, and a publicly available deleted URL.Blogs created before March 2009 may not provide this option.Blogs deleted, when the owning Blogger account is deleted, may not offer this option.
When a blog is "deleted" by the owner, its content is taken offline, the URL remains unavailable to the "Create a blog" and "Rename a blog" wizards, and the 90 days countdown starts. Depending upon how the 90 days clock is ma…

Spam Review Requests Now Using Mobile Phone SMS For Verification

In the never ending battle against spam, and the unending attempts to make it easier for innocent bloggers to get their blogs restored, when falsely accused of hosting spam, Blogger is now using SMS and mobile phone service in the spam review verification process.

As with every feature that Blogger adds, problems are reported. SMS based verification is a process that should maybe be thought out a bit more. Some bloggers report the SMS verification is not 100% reliable.Sorry, there seems to be a problem. The service you're looking for is temporarily unavailable.
If you're trying to verify blog ownership, with your blog falsely accused, and you're seeing this message, or something similar, please provide some details.What's the blog URL?What phone service do you use?What's the area code of the phone?What location is the phone registered in?What's the message, if different from the sample above?
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Blogger Outage In North America

Over the past weekend, numerous bloggers in various areas of North America (Canada / USA) have reported an problemBlogger is currently unavailablewhen trying to login to Blogger / access the dashboard, and to publish posts. The problem is most frequently reported by bloggers in the MidWestern regions of Canada / USA, but has been reported in Canada as far west as British Columbia.

In the rollup discussion, Blogger Support provides a statusThanks for your patience and help everyone. This is now fixed.
Some idea of the scope of the problem might help Blogger focus on the problem a bit. If you are observing this problem, some details would be good.What ISP do you use?Where are you located (City, State, Country)?A PathPing or TraceRt log might be useful.
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Blogs With Designer Templates Require Use Of The Template Designer Wizard

Now that the designer templates have been available for a couple months, and they are becoming "just another option" that's used by some (maybe not all) bloggers, we are starting to see some confusion expressed. The CSS code in designer templates, used in defining colors, fonts, and template objects, is considerably more complex. One of the first discoveries made was that "Fonts and Colors" can't be used to adjust font and color settings, for Designer template blogs.

Not all functionality is available, in any one wizard, however.Fonts and Colors have to be changed, using the Template Designer - Advanced wizard.New Gadgets have to be added using "Page Elements", because the Template Designer - Layout wizard lacks the "Add a Gadget" link found in "Page Elements".Gadgets can be re positioned on the screen, using either the "Page Elements" or "Template Designer" - Layout wizards.
Right now, it looks like both …