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Showing posts from April, 2015

Editing Two Draft Posts, At The Same Time? Careful!

We've been seeing occasional reports of problems, vaguely described in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, referencing posts being overwritten by other posts.I have been working on my post, for days. This morning, I opened it, to edit - and discovered that it now contains material from another, newer post! How do I recover my older post?The answer is simple.You can't. Blogger is not a Content Management System - and when you destroy a post, it's gone.This report is a bit annoying. We can suspect that there is a problem - but we get no clue how to prevent the same disaster from destroying our own blog.

A Post Time / Date Stamp Is Not Legal Evidence

Many, many years ago, I was called to court, to provide testimony in a case that involved a co worker, during a weekend in question.

As part of my testimony, I provided a code listing ("compilation" log), with date and time printed on each page of the listing. The testimony also required presenting of the printed "system console" log, to substantiate my testimony.

I endured several hours of intense grilling, by attorneys for both sides, who examined virtually every hour of my day, to verify that the co-worker and I had been physically "at work" on that day. The code listing was but a small part of my testimony.

Even then, both the judge and both attorneys were very aware of the possibility that the code listing date / time stamp could not constitute legal evidence, without careful "chain of custody" backup. Anybody knows that a computer can be easily restarted, with the system clock reset, and made to produce a "code listing" / &…

Reset A Gadget Or Post, By Toggling Edit Mode

Sometimes, a problem with a specific gadget or post, when displayed, can affect the appearance of the entire blog.

We've known for years, about the mysterious dropped sidebar. Sometimes, we see similar problems, in other blog performance.Gadgets missing.Gadgets visible, but they don't work.Gadgets visible in the desktop view - but not the mobile view (or, vice versa).Posts that are unreadable - or worse, previously published posts, in that index page, that are unreadable.
Both the HTML / JavaScript gadget, and the page or post, can be edited either as code ("HTML"), and as displayed ("Compose" / "Rich Text"). If you spend a lot of time in "Compose" / "Rich Text" mode, when editing gadgets, pages and posts, you may not know about "HTML" mode - or its dangers.

Don't Accept Advice Or Code From Hackers

We're lately seeing a few problem reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, from owners of blogs now locked as malware / spam hosts.My blog was deleted because it is marked as spam. I never spammed so why my blog has been confirmed as a Spam Host?This blog owner appears to have simply accepted advice from the wrong person.

Using The Internet Archive (aka "Wayback Machine") we can sometimes find cached copies of blogs, even after deleted as suspected malware / spam hosts. In one case, though, viewing the blog was not possible - even having found a copy of the blog, in cache.

All Dodgy Links Do Not Stay In Our Stats Logs

Occasionally, we see a complaint about referer spam, from a known spam source, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue - but the spam entry is not in a Stats log.

Some people are recently reporting referer spam source, in Google Analytics, StatCounter, and more.When I check my Google Analytics, I See traffic on my blog from porn sites!andWhy do I see Russian spam, in my StatCounter logs?Why indeed? If referer spam is unique to Stats, because how Stats develops visitor activity counts, why would we see referer spam activity in Analytics, StatCounter, and other visitor logs?

It's normal to ask questions - but when you ask the wrong questions, in the wrong places, you help contribute to your own problems.

Combining A Blogger Blog And A FaceBook Wall

Many people who publish Blogger blogs also publish to FaceBook. Some have their own Wall, others post to friends Walls.

We see occasional questions, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger, about the desire to combine the two products.How do I publish posts from my Wall to my blog?andHow do I link my blog to my Wall?
Like any combination of Blogger and non Blogger content, there are techniques to combine a Blogger blog, and a non Blogger website. Some techniques don't work - and others may work, but won't be good for the blog.

Subscription Options For Private Blogs

Some blog readers wonder about how to follow blogs, recently turned private by their owners. We see some concern, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.I Follow a blog which was recently made private. Its entry in my dashboard Reading List froze, and I can't get it working by removing and re adding!This would be reader does not realise the results of making a blog private.

Private blogs do not publish blog feeds. When a blog is made private, the feed stops - and the Reading List and all other feed subscriptions - comments and posts - stop updating.

With no feed published, a blog cannot be added to Reading List - though the members picture icon may remain visible, in the Followers cloud.

Use Dynamic Accessories, With A Dynamic Blog

Drop down menus, and sitemaps, are tools used in static websites, to help the readers find various website features.

Occasionally, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger, we see a question from blog owners, who are accustomed to publishing static websites.How do I upload a custom sitemap, for my readers to use? orHow do I build a drop down, cascaded menu bar, to index the posts? The answer, for Blogger blogs, is that neither is truly useful.

Features like cascaded, drop down menus, custom sitemaps, numbered pages, and complex slideshows ("sliders"), are excellent accessories, for static websites. Blogger blogs, however, are dynamic - and don't really benefit from either accessory.

Backup The Template, When Making Changes

If you've ever done programming - including updating existing code (generally made by another person, who you grow to hate) - you know of the value of backups.

Any time you improve or repair existing code, there is always the possibility of making mistakes. Code is written by people - and people make mistakes. Sometimes, the mistake may be in the code, as originally created (and used for months, until you touched it). Other times you make one mistake on your own, and the whole thing crashes.

Experienced programmers know that making mistakes is part of programming. When you make a mistake, be prepared to recover from - and learn from - the mistake. This is true, when making template changes, in your blog.

"I've Been Hacked" - A Dreaded Cry Of Anguish

As long as computers exist, and people are needed to provide technical advice, the one problem report that many of us fear is anguished, and brief.I got hacked!To many of us, this means that we have not been doing our job - because the first job of technical support is, unfortunately, security.

Hillary Clinton got hacked, recently - and she was lucky. The hacker that attacked her was only poking around - and had no actual intent to cause harm. The owner of a successfully hacked Blogger blog may not be so fortunate.

If you act promptly. and plan wisely, you can prevent long term inconvenience.

"Location", Used In Posts, Breaks The Blog Feed

We're seeing a few problem reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, mentioning problems with the blog feed.I try to claim my blog in BlogLovin, but they tell me that my feed is invalid! orMy subscribers stopped getting my posts by email!! Both BlogLovin, and the FeedBurner "Follow by Email" service, depend upon the blog posts newsfeed.

The Stats "Don't track ..." Setting Is Unique, By Browser

Many people have multiple computers. That detail is becoming more and more normal, in the population in general, each year.

I own 3 computers - actually, 5 (two of them run Windows XP, and are off line). So, I use my 3 computers - 2 Google ChromeBooks, and 1 smart phone (no, not a Nexus), for Blogger and other projects.

Since I don't want Stats pageview counts, for this blog, affected by my browsing this blog, I logged in to Blogger as the owner, using the browser on each of my 3 computers - and selected the "Don't track your own pageviews" option.

The "Don't track ..." option is set, in a cookie. Cookies are unique, to the browser where they are set. On a ChromeBook, with only 1 browser - Chrome - this detail is not so interesting. One computer - 1 browser - 1 user - 1 cookie.

European Residents And EU Cookie Compliance

Blog owners who live in Europe have a recently added regulation with which you need to comply.

If you publish a blog, and host AdSense ads, you already have part of the requirement - the properly written Cookie Advisory. If you live in Europe, and view this blog, chances are that you have been offered the chance to view the Nitecruzr.Net Privacy Policy, which includes my Cookie Advisory.

If your blog displays the Blogger Navbar, you have a compliant Cookie Advisory Banner which is provided by Blogger, in the navbar. If you have disabled the navbar - or if the blog uses a dynamic template (and has no navbar), you can add a Cookie Advisory Banner as supplied by Google Cookie Choices.

Stats Components Are Significant, In Their Own Context

One popular Stats related accessory, which displays pageview information to the public, is the "Popular Posts" gadget.

Popular Posts identifies from 1 to 10 of the most popular posts in the blog, by comparing Stats pageview counts. Optional parts of the display of each post are a snippet of text, and an ever popular thumbnail photo.

Like many Stats features, blog owners have found imaginative uses for "Popular Posts" - and overlook the limitations of the gadget. Both the dynamic nature of Stats, and the timing of the various pageview count recalculations, create confusion, when Popular Posts is examined.

How To Report A Problem, To FaceBook Support

Since FaceBook is not a part of Google, they have concerns and problems which only they can deal with.

Some problems with FaceBook affect our enjoyment of our blogs. Right now, there is a problem with aggregation of Likes and links, when our blogs are referenced in FaceBook - where all references should be properly "counted" under the common "blogspot.com" URL of each blog, instead of the individual country code aliases.

FaceBook does provide a page to "Report a Problem" - and they have a "FaceBook Help Center" community page.

Posts Subscription Options For A Blog

We see occasional questions from blog owners, and readers, about options for reading posts, from a given blog.

The most obvious way to read the posts is to read the blog, as published, online. If the owner of a blog that interests you uses Google+ publicity, reading either online, or in the Google+ stream, may be your choice.

For Blogger hosted content, both owners and readers have a few more possibilities.

Is A Blogger Blog Free?

An occasional question, seen occasionally in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger, is about cost.Is Blogger free? Too many Internet services are free for the first month, then charge you once you are hooked.The answer here is (should be) good news.Blogger blogs are free - for eternity - as long as you follow the rules.But please, do follow the rules, for best results.

Free Domain Registration By "UNONIC" Is Fraudulent

Blogger blog owners, like everybody else, like to save money.

Some blog owners prefer to save money when registering a custom domain, for their blogs. We've seen several free domain registration services, providing what is claimed to be a two level Top Level Domain "co.xx" (where "xx" == various country codes).

The latest in this ongoing story appears to be "net.tf" - and 13 other "top level domains".There is also an additional free service offering third-level .tf domains, under the name United Names Organisation. They occupy 14 second-level domains, including .eu.tf, .us.tf, .net.tf, and .edu.tf. They are run by the same company as smartdots.com, and are given away as URL redirections.

Google Domains Purchases Should Involve Transition

One of the features of custom domains, when purchased using "Buy a domain", was the Transition period.

Transition was Blogger, allowing that even with Blogger / Google controlling the domain authoritative servers (which they did, indirectly, by using eNom / GoDaddy as the registrars), and the initial DNS address setup (offered for GoDaddy purchased domains), the stability of custom domains only starts with the domain authoritative servers, and the Root Name servers.

Custom domain published blogs, to be consistently stable, can only rely on the DNS addresses being available on the local DNS servers, on a worldwide basis, 48 to 72 hours after the DNS addresses are added. This built in latency period has nothing to do with how custom domains are designed - and it's an issue over which Blogger and Google have no control.

You Have To Request Spam Review

Many blog owners, alarmed by their blogs being classified (righteously, or spuriously) as spam hosts, decide to pack up and move to another hosting service.

We see the question, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, too often.Can I just get read access to the content, so I can take it and go elsewhere?And the answer is firm and simple.No.You can't have deleted content back, without review.

Add Accessories Using "Layout" - Avoid "Template"!

We've dealing with owner installed malware, for over 5 years, when reported in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.

In early 2010, we diagnosed the first mass malware installation. Owner installed malware can be quite deceptively marketed, by the hackers who produce it.

With proper blog setup, and accessory installation policy, though, identifying and removing misbehaving accessories can be made easier.