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Showing posts from November, 2007

Commenting - Locked Down, Ever So Slightly

If you're accustomed to leaving anonymous comments on other folks blogs, selecting "Other" for Identity, and entering your Name and URL, you'll have to change your procedure - that option is now gone. In its place, you may find (at the option of the blog owner) a selection to use OpenID comment authentication . If you have an account for LiveJournal, WordPress, or many other blogging platforms, you'll be able to comment transparently. Without an OpenID account, you'll only be able to use "Anonymous" (again, at the option of the blog owner). And leaving a BackLink, in the URL field, is now a thing of the past. This may make comments a bit more secure, but a lot more unfriendly. Not everybody who reads your blog will have an OpenID account. Those who don't will be unable to leave anything better than an anonymous comment, and that if you enable anonymous accounts. Try it out - you may as well get used to it. Click on Google - Blogger In Draft

Custom Domain Publishing, And The 404 Error

When you work with a custom domain, and endure / work around the frustration of DNS setup , and later the monolithic error "Another blog ..." , you occasionally may see another error. After you finally manage to redirect your blog "" to "", and possibly after you add Google Apps to your custom domain, you or your readers will try to load the blog, and see Not Found Error 404 or its equivalent in another browser Live Search Were you looking for: My Custom Domain? When that happens, there's just one way to recover, and that involves repeating the previous setup. If you haven't done so already, and if you're able to do so, check and correct your DNS setup . If you just removed or edited a DNS entry, examine the TTL value of the entry that you removed or edited. To improve your chances of getting through this without seeing "Another blog ...", do nothing during the TTL period, while you wait, to

Making A 3 Column Stretch Template

Ever since I followed the pack, and experimented with making myself a 3 column template (and discovered how deceptively easy that was), I've been considering making a 3 column stretch template. I have enjoyed my 2 column stretch template so much, that I sort of suspected that a 3 column stretch template wouldn't be a great stretch (pun intended) of effort.

Can't Delete A Page Element?

In a Layouts template, the ability to add and delete page elements (gadgets) is one of the neatest tasks in maintaining your blog. Sometimes, a page element added can't be deleted later. You can edit a page element either from the blog itself (if you have enabled Quick Edit), or from the Page Elements wizard . When you edit an element, it should have a button to "Remove Page Element". The button isn't always there - and this generally happens when the gadget is locked.

The Vagaries Of Publishing Your Blog To A Custom Domain

Since the Google Custom Domain product was made available to eager bloggers, there has been a well known limitation - the inability to get both "" and "" to redirect to the same Blog*Spot blog. I've been writing about this limitation since March 2007, a couple months after Custom Domains was launched. That limitation was resolved in October, 2007 . But the ability to make "" == "" brought more uncertainty. Not all DNS Hosts support "CNAME" referral, of both the primary domain ("") and a subdomain (""). Yet that referral is essential to the success of custom domain use. When you setup your domain, the domain setup wizard (provided by your DNS host) should provide you with two lists - "A" and "CNAME". All direct references ("Hosts") go into the "A" list, and all others ("Aliases&quo

Custom Domain Publishing - Another Symptom Of The Confusion

One of the challenges in setting up a blog, successfully published using a Google Custom Domain, involves getting DNS Hosting. You have to have a DNS server pointing your domain to "", and so many bloggers don't get this detail. I have written already about the confusion in Blogger documentation Remember: you only need to get the domain name; you don't have to pay extra for hosting service. Today, as I explored the possibility of publishing The Real Blogger Status to a Custom Domain, I found more misleading documentation. Domains are registered through a Google partner and cost $10 (USD) for one year. I went to Settings - Publishing, and selected "Switch to: • Custom Domain ". We are immediately offered registration through "a Google partner". No mention here of DNS hosting, or of any additional fees . Selecting "Switch to advanced settings", we get the familiar setup. Here's the well known advice "... you don

You Can Go Back - But Be Sure That You Know The Consequences

New Blogger and the Layouts template, while a great improvement over the Classic template, is just a little rough around the edges. We've all learned that over the past year, though some have had a worse time than others. Some folks have had enough . Maybe they can't take the problems or suspense . Maybe the promised features just aren't there. Maybe there are incompatibilities with some essential tweaks. Maybe the selections of third party templates, for New (Layouts) Blogger, aren't inspiring enough. Maybe they want to setup a blog that publishes by FTP . Whatever. Well, if you can't work with the Layouts template, you can use a Classic template. Select Template. Select Edit HTML. Select Revert to Classic Template. This will give you an old template, with the unfortunate limitations. You'll lose any tweaks that you made to the New template. You won't have new features like GUI template editing, or page elements. You'll still use your Google account f

Publishing Externally? Going Back To Blog*Spot Isn't Difficult

If you're currently publishing your blog externally , because you wanted to use a non-Blog*Spot address, maybe you tire of the limitations of the Classic template, and want to use some of the shiny Layouts template features . Or maybe you have simply grown tired of the many problems with FTP Publishing, a circumstance shared by many bloggers recently. With that motivation, it's not too hard to go back to publishing on Blog*Spot. Maybe you'll even want to move to publishing to a Google Custom Domain , later. Not too hard to go back - just select Switch to: • Of course, going back will be a bit easier to do if you have a Blog*Spot address available , to return to. And any time you change the URL of a blog, and especially if the blog has any maturity or reputation, you will do yourself a favour to think about the change , first. >> Top

Please Don't Spread EMail Viruses

Last week, I got an extremely distressing bit of email, in my Inbox. I get spam all of the time (I'm sure that you do too), and the content of spam you all know what I'm talking about. Disgusting. This was worse. This wasn't spam, from an anonymous sender. A friend, who I respect highly, sent this bit of email to me. I won't repeat the content of the email, but if you wish, you can read about The Budweiser Story , as analysed by Snopes. This story has been going around the Internet since September 2001. I find it particularly distressing, since The story is a lie , and it has been proven to be a lie . Read about The Budweiser Story , as analysed by Snopes. I've seen this lie , in my Inbox, several times. This lie stays alive because American citizens seem to want to believe that it's true. I've seen this lie several times, and not once has it been prefaced with Here's a nice bit of fiction. or even with Here's a nasty bit of fiction. No, it&#

Make An IFrame To Contain Another Blog On Your Blog

One obvious way to merge two websites (either or both being a blog), is to use the same template on each, and link between the two in a consistent fashion. The reader of either blog never has to know when he's viewing the other, unless he habitually observes the content of the browser Address window. But how about if you would like to display one blog, in its entirety, in the middle of the other blog page? That's a feature called an IFrame.

Identifying A DNS Problem

DNS, which lets you translate a host name or URL into an IP address, is a key process in Internet use . Sometimes, though, it doesn't work. You try to browse to, and you get a cryptic Firefox can't find the server at or We can't find "" or worse, sometimes the classical 404 Not Found Or even, the white screen of death - no error - no response. Now the above example symptoms could have been caused by any of several scenarios. Host doesn't exist. Host isn't operational today. Your DNS (that translates into an IP address) isn't working. Your MTU setting is causing a problem with accessing (This is not fiction, folks) - Your ISP, or a government agency, is intentionally blocking your access to You don't have Internet connectivity. What to do now? Well, if your Internet connectivity is down, you've got differe

One Lamentable Mail-To-Blogger Weakness

Some bloggers, frustrated over the painfully limited design of the Post Editor and un helpful features like AutoSave, have skipped using the Post Editor entirely. They are simply composing their posts in a text editor, and emailing the content. An interesting workaround, and like many workarounds, it has its good and its bad points. The Good. No AutoSave to slow you down. No more tiny Post Editor window to deal with. Composure of posts in the full featured text editor of your choice. The Bad. No way to include labels. To add labels, you still have to use the Post Editor, or the Edit Posts menu . Mail-To-Blogger is a known security risk , if not used carefully. If you're going to create a number of posts, the Edit Posts menu will let you apply labels, to existing posts, without using the Post Editor. If multiple posts have the same label applicable, you can add a label to multiple posts simultaneously. You'll only have to type each label once. That should save a small amoun

Use Detective Work To Find A Blog Owner

Many times, you'll see an interesting blog, and want to contact the owner. In other cases, you'll be unable to even see the blog, because it's private. Or maybe a popular blog, that you're used to seeing, has been deleted, or is now private. Or maybe you want to use a given URL, but that URL is already in use. How do you contact the owner then? In other cases, maybe somebody has left comments on your blog, you want to read his blog, but he's not providing any link. And, his profile doesn't show any published blogs. Can you figure out if he's actually published any?

Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates #3

A new post starts out with wide vertical spacing. Look at what we have here, from line to line. Nice and wide vertical spacing. Clean and easy to read. The perfect look for a blog, right? Now, let's throw in a quote. In the past, and looking at my example shown in Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates , you'd start seeing the problem here. My immediately previous article Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates #2 suggested an obnoxiously tedious workaround to this problem, which involved surrounding each indent element, such as <blockquote> ... </blockquote> with an extra span set to give <span style="line-height: 1.2;"><blockquote> ... </blockquote></span> This was fine - it made my blog posts look neat and tidy again - but it had its drawback. It was a major pain in the ass to use - any of my blog posts, of any length, would include 2, 3, or more formatting elements, which I would have to surround each one. So today, whilst bro

Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates #2

(Note 11/25): The below content is informational only. The problem in question is not demonstrated, because of the workaround currently in place . A new post starts out with wide vertical spacing. Look at what we have here, from line to line. Nice and wide vertical spacing. Clean and easy to read. The perfect look for a blog, right? But don't get used to it - what does this look like in Internet Explorer ? In my previous post, Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates , I showed the problem. Maybe the advice given by Paul R will help here. Now, let's throw in a quote. And now, look at the vertical spacing. It's fine now, until after the unsorted list below. Nice one, Paul. So, how did this work? Well, in the above example in my previous post , I have <blockquote>Now, let's throw in a quote.</blockquote> and in this post I have <span style="line-height: 1.2;"><blockquote>Now, let's throw in a quote.</blockquote></spa

Spacing Changes In Layouts Templates

(Note 11/25): The below content is informational only. The problem in question is not demonstrated, because of the workaround currently in place . A new post starts out with wide vertical spacing. Look at what we have here, from line to line. Nice and wide vertical spacing. Clean and easy to read. The perfect look for a blog, right? Now, let's throw in a quote. And now, look at the vertical spacing. With enough lines in here, you can see a change in post layout. The vertical spacing becomes much tighter. This looks sloppy. I've also seen this happen when you include <ol> and <ul> post elements. It appears to happen with any indentation element. But let's try a test, per advice outlined below . Testing. Look at my other posts, for instance. Enough! I Want To Go Back! and Beta Blogs: My 3 Week Evaluation both exhibit this behaviour. Other folks who have observed this. Problem with the line space of the posts. Observed 10/17. problem with block quot

Make A Popup Text Window

Occasionally in your posts, you might want to add a quick popup window, explaining some concept in slightly more detail. The normal technique to add detail to an article, beside simply writing more text (D'ohh), would be to write a separate post, and link to that post . But there's a quicker, more elegant way to do this. And you don't end up with another window, as the link above for "link to that post". Check it out. Hover your cursor over the words "a quicker, more elegant way" above. It's not hard to code. But there's <a title="This is quick, and easy to do!">a quicker, more elegant way</a> to do this. We can add a popup in text, or we can attach it to a picture .

Arranging Text And Pictures Within Your Blog Posts

When you use post editor to create a blog post, and you use the convenient picture upload wizard in the post editor, you notice one annoying behaviour. No matter where the cursor is when you upload a picture, the picture always gets uploaded at the top of the post. Multiple pictures get uploaded at the top, each one placed above the next. If you like your pictures interleaved with the text, you then have 2 choices. Upload the pictures in the post before you write the text. Plan the order and arrangement of the pictures, then add text, before and after each picture. Relocate each picture, one at a time. If you upload in Compose mode, learn how to grab, drag, and drop each picture, into the desired location. If you upload in "Edit HTML" mode, learn how to cut and paste the exact components of code, into the desired location. If you relocate the pictures after uploading, do so carefully. There are known problems with certain browsers, using drag and drop under Compose mode .

Completing The Migration - Converting To A Layouts Template

New Blogger - what I will call here "New Blogger 2006" - has been with us now for one year , give or take a few months. This time last year, I had just previously written about the impending migration to Blogger Beta (aka "New Blogger 2006"). Now, we are completing the migration. I say "completing the migration" because there are, currently, folks seeking guidance on how to complete the migration of their blogs. All blogs are now under New Blogger - that's not the issue - Old Blogger was laid to rest some months ago. Not all blogs are using Layouts templates, however. Some blogs, which are published using FTP to external servers, will always be using Classic templates. Yet there are some blogs which can be migrated to Layouts, that haven't. Anybody who has been posting, or helping, in any of the Blogger Help Group forums has seen this query. I just finished entering a post into my blog. I previewed it - and it looked fine. Then I publishe

Blog*Spot Connectivity In South Korea

A few bloggers in South Korea are complaining of inability to access any Blog*Spot blogs. When reporting the problem, please include a PathPing lo g (if you can) or a TraceRoute log , targeting . For right now, please use a proxy server to access all Blog*Spot blogs. >> According to one blogger , the South Korean presidential elections are prompting this action by the South Korean government . >> Forum thread links: bX-*00072 >> Copy this tag: bX-*00072 >> Top