Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blogger Browser Support, And Layered Security

The official Blogger browser compatibility reference, Compatible browser and operating systems states Blogger requirements, very succinctly.
To use Blogger, your browser must allow cookies and have JavaScript turned on.
This is a very brief hint of Blogger browser support policy.

Use of Blogger includes various activities.
  • Moderate Blogger hosted comments.
  • Post comments, as a blog reader.
  • Edit, preview, and publish posts.
  • View Stats.
  • Use the Template Designer.
Each of these activities, and more, require cookies and scripts - and each are vulnerable to improperly setup filters.

As Blogger implies, both cookies and scripts are vulnerable to being disabled (turned off) - although the term "turned on" suggests that there is one single setting, possibly affecting each individual cookie or script. Considering the effects of layered security, we know this won't always be true.

The Followers Gadget, And The Vibrating Sidebar

We get occasional odd problem reports in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken about mysterious display oddities.
Why is my sidebar vibrating?
Here I'll note that the word "vibrating" has been stated, using various synonyms.
  • Dancing.
  • Jiggling.
  • Jumping.
  • Leaping.
  • Moving.
  • Shaking.
  • Shimmering.
  • Vibrating.
  • Waving.
  • Wiggling.
The problem appears to involve the Followers gadget (possibly, specific versions of Followers), being positioned at the top of the sidebar, above other accessories.

One can only wonder what terms are used, in non English speaking countries.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Third Party Email Collection / Login Gadgets Being Detected As Malware / Phishing

Recently, we've had several reports from naive blog owners, with blogs locked for malware or phishing, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.

Some owners have found accessories, such as email address collection or even a convenient login gadget, offered by helpful third parties. Installing the new gadgets, they have later received the well known (automated detection) notice, from Blogger Support.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Comments And Layered Security

One of the most common complaints, seen regularly in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, involves publication and visibility of comments.
Why can't I publish comments, on some blogs?
or
Why can't I see my comments, after I publish them?
or even
Why do my blog posts show no comments?
These are questions asked by blog readers and owners, alike. The answers all start with security filters and settings.

Comment Form Style
The majority of the problems, with commenting and filters, involve blogs which use the Post Page ("Embedded") comment form. Use of the embedded form requires third party cookies, on the reader computers.

The Full Page form is least vulnerable (though not totally so), of the 3 form styles. Embedded, Full Page, and Pop Up comment forms are all vulnerable, to differing extents, because of the different blogs, that attract different reader populations, each with differing abilities and needs to maintain security on their own computers.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

FaceBook Is Aggregating BlogSpot Country Code Aliases - To "blogspot.nl"

We're seeing a few questions recently, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about FaceBook, and their treatment of Blogger URLs that are subject to country code aliasing.
When I share a post on FaceBook, the URL used for my blog ends with "blogspot.nl" instead of "blogspot.com".

We've been observing, for many months, that FaceBook and other Internet services should start using the canonical tag, and aggregate BlogSpot URLs, that are subject to country code aliasing. With this done properly, all BlogSpot URLs would be listed as "blogspot.com" - and all Likes, and similar references to a given Blogger blog, would be later counted under the proper "blogspot.com" URL - regardless where a given blog reader gets Internet access.

Apparently, FaceBook is now aggregating BlogSpot URLs - but they are not using the canonical tag in the blog header. For some reason, FaceBook now uses "blogspot.nl" as the canonical URL for Blogger blogs.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Blogger Magic - Accessing And Using "Configure Page List"

The "Configure Page List" wizard is an extremely useful - yet subtly visible - feature in the Layouts dashboard menu.

Not every blog owner sees the "Pages" gadget, in the "Layout" menu entry, and knows to click on "Edit", to access "Configure Page List". Nor do all owners know how many assorted functions, previously part of the "Pages" dashboard wizard, are now found, exclusively, under "Configure Page List".

In February 2014, Blogger reorganised the various pages maintenance utilities, and moved a wide assortment of functions into "Configure Page List". This change caused some confusion, with many blog owners.

"Configure Page List" is an essential component in the pages management suite, in the Blogger dashboard.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blogger Magic - The Mobile Template Redirect, Used On A Desktop Computer

Occasionally, we see the query in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?
How do I view my blog, in the mobile template format, using my desktop computer?

This is an astonishingly easy task to accomplish. Just add the mobile template redirect suffix
?m=1
to the URL being viewed.

Problems With "Create a new blog", Caused By Abuse Prevention Limits

We've recently been seeing a number of reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from blog owners having problems with the "Create a new blog" wizard.
When some of my students try to create a new blog, they get an error message
The page you requested is invalid.
These blog owners appear to be running up against new blog creation limits, possibly caused by Blogger prevention of abusive blog creation.

Blogger has apparently added new ways of preventing abusive blog creation, by use of new activity limits.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Reading Posts In Main Page View, As Opposed To Individual Post Pages, Affects Stats Display Accuracy

Some blog owners don't understand why Stats displays show that no one is reading their latest post.
I know that my most recent post is being read - but Stats shows pageviews, for that post, as 0!
This owner does not understand the difference between main page, and post page, access.

If you read this blog, without being interested in any particular post, you can access the main page. On the main page, and other index pages, you'll see anywhere from 10 to 15 carefully summarised, recently published, individual posts.

Clicking on "Read more »", at the end of any of the summaries, you can read any complete article. This complete article, and others in this blog, is published as an individual post page - and summarised on index pages, using Jump Break.

Not every blog owner uses Jump Break, to display the posts. Some blog owners publish complete blog articles, in each index page post. Depending upon how any blog is designed, some readers may click on a link, to read any individual post - and others may read some posts from the main page.

Stats enumerates pageviews for individual post pages, in the "Pages" / "Posts" displays. Since the main page is an "index" page, main page activity is not tracked, in the "Pages" / "Posts" displays - and that causes some confusion.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Stolen Blogs Can Not, Generally, Be Returned By Blogger

Whether you give up your blog willingly, have your blog stolen from you, or accidentally enable your blog to be stolen - once your blog is in someone else's control, Blogger cannot, legally, help you.

We see the naivete, periodically, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
I made my friend an administrator of my blog, and he changed me to an author. Can Blogger restore my ownership?
And the short answer, too frequently given, is denial.
No, Blogger cannot help you.

Blogs stolen, supposedly from their rightful owner, can generally not be returned by Blogger.