An Important Update

Dear Followers Of This Blog ...

If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stats And Session Cookies

The discussion about Stats, and the non persistent setting for "Don't track your own pageviews", has been a topic of discussion for some time now. I publicised the problem of people who filter third party cookies, stating that this is the primary cause of the non persistent Stats setting. Some people, hearing my advice, were able to benefit from it, and responded positively.

But not everybody who understood my advice found it to help them. Many people stated explicitly, that allowing third party cookies did not make their Stats setting for "Don't track your own pageviews" to be persistent. I recently realised that there is yet another level of detail, resulting from one more security strategy, affecting this persistence issue.

Some blog owners, mindful of the dangers of third party cookies, have resorted to compromise. They allow third party cookies, but set cookies to expire when the browser is closed, a setting called "Session Cookies". A reasonable compromise? Maybe so, for security purposes - but not for the Stats controversy.

If you set cookies to expire when the browser is closed, and you select "Don't track my pageviews", you're going to have to expect that setting to go away when the browser is closed. If you can choose between "Permanent" and "Session" cookies by domain, make sure that "" is set as "Permanent". If you don't do that, expect for "Don't track my pageviews" to be reset, each time that you close your browser.

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Sudden and Total Loss Of Followed Blogs

Occasionally in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, we see the panic.
OMG, all of the blogs - hundreds of them - that I was Following just disappeared!
Sometimes, this points to a major problem with Following - and combining a low background noise level in the forum, and understanding of epidemiological trends in the forums, we may unearth a new problem. Frequently, though, this does not point to any catastrophe at all.

Blog*Spot Connectivity In Nepal

A few bloggers in Nepal are reporting inability to access Blog*Spot blogs.

We have a problem rollup in Blogger Help Forum, where the problem is being explored.

If you are affected by this outage, please confirm your location, the name of your ISP, and the scope of the outage. If you're able to provide details about your outage, you can help Blogger Engineers to focus on the problem - and not on speculations.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The New "Next Blog" Link Is Lame Because (Insert Complaint Here)

The new Next Blog link has been out for almost a full year, and we still see daily complaints.
When I press "Next Blog", I get only religious blogs (My name is Jude).
When I use "Next Blog", I only get blogs in Spanish (I only speak English).
"Next Blog" is boring now - it only gives me "crafts" blogs by American housewives (I hate crafts blogs).
These are all complaints by people who want to randomly surf blogs, but don't care for truly random results.

If you can't accept random surfing results, try less random surfing techniques.
  • Blogger Profile surfing.
  • Following surfing.
  • Google Blog Search (Advanced Mode) surfing.
Focus your activity just slightly, and see if you don't get better results.

If you start your "Next Blog" surfing from your blog, and don't like the results, put more content into your blog. The more focused your blog content is, the more obvious your abilities and interests will be to "Next Blog" too. Or start surfing from any blog that's more mature and better filled out.

There are better ways to surf Blogger blogs - just ones that are not quite so convenient or tempting - or impulsive.

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Aliasing Of Non Root Custom Domain URLs Ended

Since the beginning of the Google Custom Domain option, the ability to publish a blog to "", and optionally have Blogger associate "" with "", has been an assumed feature in custom domain publishing.

Similarly, the ability to publish to "", and optionally have "" as an association, was an assumed, if slightly less popular option.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Conditionally Displaying Template Objects

Some time ago, I wrote how to make a static home page, where the key element was an HTML gadget, tweaked to display only with the home page of the blog.

That's a useful tweak - and it's a tweak that can be used in various other conditional displays also.

If you know a little template XML code, you can construct alternate conditional statements, and have template objects display in any of several other specific conditions.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Logging In To Blogger With Your Google Account

Recently, we're seeing various problem reports, in BHF: How Do I?, from confused bloggers unable to login to Blogger using a non GMail email account.
I created a Blogger account with a non GMail email address, and can no longer access it without a GMail account! How do I login now?
as if using a non GMail email address as a Blogger account name is no longer an option.

Please Blogger, Restore My Deleted Post! - Part 2

In December of last year, Blogger announced their ability to restore individual posts, when erroneously deleted by the owner, or abused by AutoSave.

Last week, Blogger informed us that this service can no longer be offered.

"This action cannot be undone". That's your last chance, now.

If your post is cached - either as newsfeed or search engine content - you may be able to un delete it. If you have a private blog, this won't be possible.

Now, it's still more to your advantage to disable AutoSave.

Death, spam, taxes, and Blogger service changes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Verify Your Administrator / Author Member List

Occasionally, we will see an ominous problem report in BHF: Something Is Broken
Somebody is posting articles in my blog, but it's not me!
When we see this, the first thing that comes to mind is unwanted comments, generally when comments are not actively moderated. That's not always the case, though.

Blogger Accounts, And Non GMail Email Addresses Based Upon Google Apps

One of the saddest problem reports, seen in BHF: Something Is Broken, starts with
Help me! My email address changed last month, and now I can't sign in to my blog!
Those of us who help blog owners, regularly, with this problem report know to read the fine print.
Help Me! I never bothered to remember my password - I used the Forgot Password wizard to reset my password every time I wanted to sign in to my Blogger account. My email address changed last month, I can't get the email from the Forgot Password wizard, and now I can't sign in to my blog!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Comments Published Using The Name/URL Option Are Anonymous Comments

Blogger allows for several levels of authentication - including no authentication - to allow blog owners to select what degree of anonymity they are willing to permit, in the comments published to their blogs. In Settings - Comments - "Who Can Comment?", we have several selectable authentication levels.
  • Anyone - includes Anonymous Users
  • Registered Users - includes OpenID
  • Users with Google Accounts
  • Only members of this blog
People posting comments, without providing any authentication (when allowed) are considered Anonymous commenters.

To provide convenience, and encourage some amount of sharing, Blogger provides a selection in the "Comments as:" list, to let anonymous commenters provide a link to any one of their blogs. The "Name/URL" selection lets anonymous commenters setup a temporary profile ("Edit profile") for the comment being published, without coding HTML.

Some bloggers think that the "Name/URL" selection provides some degree of authentication, and that people who post comments and provide a "Name/URL" entry for their comments are identifying themselves. Some blog owners even express a wish to have a separate authentication level for this.
  • Anyone - includes Anonymous Users
  • "Name/URL" Identification
  • Registered Users - includes OpenID
  • Users with Google Accounts
  • Only members of this blog
These blog owners have probably never seen a Joe Job dispute in their blog comments.

The "Name/URL" selection is purely a convenience for your readers who wish to publish comments anonymously, and who wish to provide a link to a blog / website, without the bother of knowing HTML code. This option, when used, does not provide any authentication. It simply provides unauthenticated identification, and should be regarded with some amount of discretion.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Blogger Limits: Picture Storage - Part 2

Several years ago, we explored the base limits of Picasa storage. The referential Blogger Help: What are the limits on my Blogger account? tells us
Number of Pictures: Up to 1 GB of total storage, shared with Picasa Web
Size of Pictures: If you are posting pictures through Blogger Mobile there is a limit of 250K per picture.

Even then, we were told of a known problem with Picasa when additional storage is paid for, with a clumsy workaround being recommended.
Users who have paid for additional storage space on Picasa Web Albums may not be able to use their additional storage space from within Blogger.

This month, in BHF: Something Is Broken, we are additionally advised
Sometimes after you add additional storage, it doesn't immediately take effect for Blogger. One way to ensure that you're able to use your new space is to log in and out of your Picasa Web Albums account after you add more storage.

The Picasa Web Albums settings are accessed from the Google Accounts menu, or directly as Picasa Web Albums Settings. You can use the Google "Basic storage usage" monitor, to watch all of your accounts, simultaneously.

My suspicion is that the log out and in strategy may be more effective if you clear cache, cookies, and authenticated sessions, after you log out of Picasa. This will ensure that you re authenticate, and cache your new, paid for, limits.

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Your Custom Domain, And Your Google Apps Account

Spam - unwanted advertising - is everywhere, and we can't get away from it.

Whether we read an advertising funded paper based tabloid (some time ago, called a "newspaper"), watch an advertising funded electronically broadcast audio / video entertainment service (some time ago, called "television"), or even pay bills using an advertising funded public bill delivery service (some time ago, called "postal mail" delivery), we are rudely subjected to endless onslaughts of unwanted and annoying advertisements.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Accepting Membership In Somebody's Blog

When somebody invites you to be a member of a blog
  • To read a private blog.
  • To become an author.
  • To become an administrator, or maybe the new owner of the blog.
You get a token in your email, attached to a membership invitation. When you exercise the token, by clicking on the link in the email, you connect the blog with your Blogger account. What you do, when you exercise the token, affects both your immediate and future access to the blog in question - and you need to understand the details.

Blogger Accounts, And Non GMail Email Addresses

It's as easy to setup a Blogger account based on a non GMail email account, as it is to setup a Blogger account based on a GMail / Google account.

We see the confusion, from time to time.
I have to reset my password, each time I login to Blogger!
This blog owner may not completely understand the relationship of his (non Google) email account to his Blogger account - and the difference between that account, and a Blogger / GMail / Google account.

If you setup a Blogger account that's based upon a GMail email address, you have to prove ownership of the GMail address. The GMail address is also a Google account - and you prove ownership of a Blogger / GMail / Google account, by providing the correct password for the account.

A Blogger / Google account, that's based on a non GMail email address, is different from a Blogger / GMail / Google account - when the account is not based on a Google Apps provided email domain.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Be Careful When Republishing Blog Contents

One of the features of blogs, which a lot of blog owners seem to take for granted, is the maintaining of the posts and structure of the blog.

With a static website, you design the URL structure, and you publish the pages in the website to the URLs as you wish. If you link the various pages to each other, this requires that you keep a glossary, of the URL of each page.

The larger your website gets, the more painful a task this becomes. Make a mistake with one URL, and you have a broken link. Search engines don't like broken links - so if you want your website to be featured in search result pages, you want to minimize broken links.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Improving The Designer Template GUI Advanced Menu

One of the kewler features of the Blogger templates is the GUI wizards that let you change settings, like fonts and colors for the various text elements in the template.

Of course Blogger programmers have one idea what settings are useful - and we may have other ideas.

When the Layout templates were provided in 2007, it didn't take too long to discover the fonts and colors possibilities there, and then to discover the limitations. So I found how we could enhance the GUI Fonts And Colors menus. And this evening, I decided to see how a Designer template could be enhanced, similarly.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Use Affinity Testing To Identify Problems

When you go to the doctor to report a health problem, you'll likely tell her (him)
Doctor, I have a pain.
and he (she) will likely ask you
Where does it hurt?
If you tell her
My stomach hurts.
he will probably ask
When does it hurt?
How long has it been hurting?
None of these are formalities or mere protocol, they are systematic problem identification procedures.

If you write in BHF: Something Is Broken and report
My readers can't access my blog.
or maybe
I can't access Blogger!
you'll likely get similar questions.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Use Of A Missing Files Host For FTP Migration

For a blog with any history, one of the most cherished features of your blog might be your search engine reputation - the ability of prospective readers to find your blog. Whenever people change blog URLs, that's one of the most anxiously asked questions in BHF: How Do I?. People preparing to move their blog from externally hosted (FTP based) publishing ask this question, too.

To satisfy your personal needs for your individual blogs, Blogger offers you three choices when migrating, from externally hosted publishing to Google hosted publishing.
  1. To Blog*Spot.
  2. To a Google custom domain URL, different from the current domain.
  3. To a Google custom domain URL, the same domain host as the current domain.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Which Queue Is Your Comment In?

The new Blogger commenting system has been out for several weeks now, and as some blog owners are becoming accustomed to it, it appears that others are occasionally confused. We see recent reports in BHF: Something Is Broken
I am moderating comments, yet I find some comments being published without my input.
I deleted the comments, and now I can't get them back!
All of the comments to my blog are going straight to Spam.
These reports may be from folks who are not observing what queue they are looking at, or what the buttons do, in the Comments wizard.

The Comments wizard has been moved from a small link in the Post Editor display, to a dashboard page. We now have "Edit Posts", "Comments", "Settings", "Design", "Monetize", and "Stats" - in that order, for the dashboard pages.

Under the Comments page, we have 3 tabs - "Published", "Awaiting Moderation", and "Spam". Each tab has its own unique set of buttons, for moving the comments selected to another queue.
  • Published
    • Spam
    • Delete
    • Remove Content
  • Awaiting Moderation
    • Publish
    • Spam
    • Delete
  • Spam
    • Delete
    • Not Spam
Note the relative effect of the buttons. "Not Spam", "Publish", and "Spam" move the comments from one queue to another. Comments moved to one queue, by mistake, can be moved to another, just as easily. "Delete" and "Remove Content", on the other hand, produce an irreversible effect - there is no "Deleted" queue, from where you might recover an erroneous deletion. So delete with great care.

When you are moderating the comments on your blog, occasionally take a second - look at the tab heading, and make sure that you're in the right queue. Doing that may occasionally save you some confusion, or worse embarrassment.

A Post Editor For Virginia USA

Recently, we have been reading comments from a few blog owners, who do not appreciate the latest version of the Post Editor, Some blog owners are so unhappy that they want Blogger to retain the old Post Editor, so they can avoid the changes indefinitely.

At first glance, this may seem like a reasonable idea - why not keep the old version indefinitely, to accommodate those who cannot move forward?. Unfortunately, that strategy is not really practical. As Blogger releases new features to Blogger, having two versions of Post Editor will require some features that have to be developed in two aliases, each alias being compatible with a different version of post editor.

Eventually, the next new version of post editor will be developed. Maintaining two old versions of post editor, or abruptly discontinuing the oldest version, would be an immediate necessity then. Neither strategy will really serve the folks who, right now, see the need to keep using the old version.

The answer here, folks, is that everybody needs to move forward, and start using the new version, sometime in the near future. As you move forward, you can help identify and report the problems found, so Blogger can fix the problems. To encourage reporting of problems, Blogger has developed an Issue Reporting Form, where you can report any issues found with the new (2010) Post Editor.

As you are able, move forward - and when you find a problem, or identify a feature that you don't like, report what you don't like. The sooner that you move forward, and report the problems that you discover, the sooner that your problems will be considered - and the more likely that your problems will be seriously considered ahead of the others who move forward later.

Help Blogger make the new post editor a good product. Move forward.

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Sunday, October 03, 2010

FTP Publishing Is Over

Occasionally, it appears as if not all blog owners have gotten the message, just yet. For the record, here's my statement.

FTP Publishing ended, in March 2010.

If you have a blog that is hosted externally, that you used to publish using FTP Publishing, your only option is to migrate to BlogSpot, or to Custom Domain Publishing.

If you're interested in the search engine reputation, which is the product of most well maintained blogs with any history, you'll want to carefully consider the several options for migration.

If you own a domain, and you have DNS control, then you can publish any Blogger blog to a non Blogger / Google URL, using custom domain publishing.

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Testing For A Problem With Cookies Filtering On Your Computer

Blogger has recently provided several optional blog features which are requested in Blogger hosted scripts, and exercised in BlogSpot or non Google hosted scripts - and has caused problems seen by people who who are trying to protect their computers.

Blogger options like Stats "Don't track your own pageviews", and the Inline Comment form, both of which run as scripts in "" or a non Google domain (depending upon how the blog is published), are going to depend upon cookies which transport the option setting from the Blogger Settings script (hosted in "") to the blog script (hosted in "" or wherever).

The confusion starts with the cookie / script filters present on many computers - but it may not end there. Recent discussions in BHF: Something Is Broken make it appear that there may be problems with the Blogger hosted scripts in general. These problems may not be entirely solved by adjusting cookie / script filters on each blog readers computer; unfortunately, isolating problems caused by Blogger scripts, from problems caused by cookie / script filters, may not be a simple task.

It should be possible to at least see which computers may still have a problem with filtering. People using computers that are causing problems are generally unable to post comments, to blogs with inline (embedded below post) comment forms. They should, however, be able to post comments to blogs with popup or separate page comment forms.

In order to improve my ability for this blog to accept comments, I recently changed this blog, to use a separate page comment form. This has resulted in a good 50% increase in comment volume - which tells me that a significant number of readers of this blog, at least, use computers which filter comments / scripts excessively. To really identify the problem, I think a more definitive test may be appropriate.

Anybody with a computer that does not suffer from cookie / script filtering should be able to leave comments on both this blog (with a separate page comment form, not affected by filtering), and on my home blog "" (with an inline comment form, affected by filtering). Please see if you are able to leave a comment on each of two posts, in this order.
  1. My home blog, Nitecruzr Dot Net: Does Your Computer Filter Cookies / Scripts Inappropriately?.
  2. Here, The Real Blogger Status: Testing For A Problem With Cookies Filtering On Your Computer. If you suffer from the well known Stats problem, and cannot avoid tracking your pageviews, leave me a comment stating that, on this post.
If you're able to comment on the second post (this blog, with a full page comment form), though not the first (my home blog, with an inline comment form), then it's quite likely that you have a problem with a cookie or script filter. Cookie and script filters can be found in the browser, on the computer, and even on the network - and your task is to look carefully, in all possible locations.

(Update 2011/08): Thanks to an apparent second change in comment form scripts, we're seeing a second report of problems posting comments.
I try to post a comment. When I click "Post" it tells me
Your account does not have access to view this page.
(Update 2011/06): Thanks to an apparent recent change in the Embedded comment form scripts, we are seeing a flood of complaints about inability to publish comments, on blogs which use the embedded comment form.
I can't comment on anybody's blog! I get in an endless loop to sign in!
The embedded comment form is vulnerable to overly aggressive filtering of third party cookies.

Please note that I moderate both blogs, aggressively. If you're able to comment, please do not include any content that would even make me suspect that you might be a spammer. And please be patient while I retrieve your comments from the "Awaiting Moderation" queues for each blog.

Let's see what we can find out. Your comments might be part of the solution, so go for it.

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Friday, October 01, 2010

Embedding A Video In Your Post

One fun and sometimes practical accessory to add to your blog is a video. When added properly, you get a picture, that your readers can click on, and watch a movie, right in front of their eyes. This is called "streaming video", where the video content is downloaded from the distant server while you watch.

Here's a demonstration video that I have used in another post.

This is one example of why I prefer to live in California.


<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>
This is one example of why I prefer to live in California.
<br clear=left />
»<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">

It's not difficult to get the code from YouTube. Just click on the link to YouTube.

And there's the video. Somewhere nearby, you'll find a button or link - in this example, a button below the video - labeled "Embed". Click there, and you get a window with the code.

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

Just paste the code into the blog post, and there it is. Easy, right?

Not all websites are as thoughtful as YouTube. Some websites may provide the code, but it's not quite as complete.

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></object>

That code is acceptable, in some applications. It won't work for Blogger though - the Blogger Post Editor will give you an HTML error.

Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not closed: EMBED

Here's a critical snippet of code, that you need to include, to use this in a Blogger blog.


Giving you the correct code block.

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

See the omission? Such a snippet - one obscure difference between liberal and strict HTML - and so essential, in Blogger.

Spam Classification Isn't Going To Be 100% Fair

Every week, we see the complaints from blog owners, whose blogs have been unfairly accused of hosting hacking, porn, or spam content.
This is so unfair! My blog was just getting started, and now it's been deleted!
How can my blog be spam? This other blog is worse!
These are just a couple examples of how capricious fuzzy spam classification can be.