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Showing posts from March, 2009

New Custom Domains "In Transition" And Following / Friend Connect

We've known about the gestation period of new custom domains, aka " This blog is In Transition ", for some time. When you load a blog recently republished to a custom domain, using its existing BlogSpot URL, you get an updated blog - the new domain URL in the internal links, such as the feed URLs in the header - but you get the blog at the BlogSpot URL. The "301 Moved Permanently" redirect from the BlogSpot URL doesn't come about until after the transition period ends. This helps avoid the well known Server Not Found Error 404 when using the BlogSpot URL to address a blog, just published to a new domain, which hasn't propagated through the DNS infrastructure . Recently, folks using Following started observing an oddity We're sorry... This gadget is configured incorrectly. Webmaster hint: Please ensure that "Friend Connect Settings - Home URL" matches the URL of this site. Apparently this is a condition in Following now, as the blog at th

eNom Hosted Custom Domains Suddenly Redirecting To A Parked Server

In possibly yet another episode of the mysteriously broken custom domains that were purchased through Blogger, we have today reports of custom domains which are mysteriously redirected to advertisements for real estate and apartment rentals. When we look at the DNS addresses, we see parked domains. 1800 IN A 1800 IN A - eNom, Incorporated In one case, the domain apparently expired yesterday, and the owner didn't get a renewal notice. I thought they would charge me automatically for annual renewal ... so perhaps my domain name is in limbo because it didn't get renewed?? >> Top

Please Blogger, Restore My Deleted Team Blog!

Last week, I wrote about some exciting news - you now can recover a blog that you deleted , on your own, without any help from Blogger Support! Bloggers all over the world breathe a sigh of relief! So in an online discussion, someone idly asked ...can any admin use the undelete button..and do all admins get the undelete button when the blog is gone? and my immediate thought was Of course not! A deleted blog is locked to the deleting account. But, I decided to test that idea. And, I'm glad that I decided that. I took my test blog, and made it a team blog. Bonnie was kind enough to accept membership, and do the test. And, did I get a surprise. Look, she deleted the blog, and I see it in my dashboard. And she saw it in her dashboard. And, I undeleted it. And now, it's working again. So, not only can you recover a deleted blog, but any member of a team can recover a deleted team blog. Kudos, Blogger, you thought this one out correctly. >> Top

FeedBurner Feeds Not Updating Promptly

In the midst of the reports about the Atom / RSS feeds in the FTP published blogs having no content, we see a second problem with feeds. Blogs published to BlogSpot / Google, with feeds redirected to FeedBurner, are seeing serious delays in the FeedBurner feed updates. The problem with the FTP published feeds started last Friday and was resolved yesterday ; the problem with the FeedBurner feeds started late last week, and is being reported today. We can compare the native blog feed ("", which redirects to a FeedBurner feed URL) with the native blog feed, non redirected (""), and note the differences in published posts. Here's an example, taken from 3/28 . Here we see the most recent post visible in the feed. " " (not redirected) It Is What It Is Keir Hardie's 'blog' Money For Chips Saturday, March 28, 2009 14:58 and &qu

Diagnosing Problems With Your Blog

In Information Technology ("computer" / "Internet") organisations with any size or complexity, one of the fastest growing groups in the organisation will be Change Management. The job of Change Management is to coordinate all changes in the product that involve more than one component of the product. This is because any change that involves multiple components generally involves changes made by more than one person or group in the organisation. Your blog is a complex structure, and frequently can be as complex as any moderate sized IT product (yes, really). You have an edge over many IT organisations, though - you own and control your blog (though you don't control the changes made by Blogger, which can contribute to your observed problems). You, personally, don't (probably don't) need a Change Management staff, but you could do well to use Change Management principles, when making changes to your blog. Having well documented changes can help you tri

Atom / RSS Feeds Are Empty - Again

Once again, we have several reports from bloggers who publish blogs to external servers, using FTP. Tha file at is ok. But the files in my FTP ( and atom.xml) are at 0. and I noticed on my server that although Blogger is writing the postings to the correct path and archives on my server, and although the progress screen says it is writing to the files atom.xml and rss.xml on that server, in fact these files are remaining at 0 bytes. This problem, first seen a couple weeks ago , and fixed shortly after it was seen, has returned. (Update 13:00): Blogger has declared this issue fixed . Update: This has been fixed. As with the previous occasion , I suggest that you republish your blog. >> Top

Please Blogger, Restore My Deleted Blog!

Recently, we've seen a lot of bloggers admitting to their mistakes. I deleted the wrong blog! I had two, one was a duplicate of the other, but I wanted to keep the one that I deleted! Help!! or I had my two year old on my lap. She grabbed the mouse, and deleted my blog while I was talking on the phone. What do I do now? And the answer, long ago, was Post the URL of the blog, and we will see if a Blogger / Google employee will read here, and take pity on you.

Sometimes, You May Need A Lawyer

As blogging becomes more and more a way of life, there will be culture and personality clashes between individuals, using blogs. Content, and legal ownership of blogs, will become relevant in court proceedings. Recently, we've been seeing various complaints and queries, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue . You need to remove "xxxxxxx" blog, they are publishing details about me and about my family. and The contents of blog "xxxxxxx" is taken from my blog "yyyyyyy". I need this to stop, but I can't find contact information for the owner. Can Blogger contact the owner and have this stopped? and My brother / sister / mother / father died recently. I need access to his / her blogs. Who do I contact at Blogger, to get this resolved?

Why We Should All Moderate Comments

I moderate my comments to my blogs, avidly. I was, therefore, flattered to get this first bit of praise, months ago sheela has left a new comment on your post "Publishing Your Blog Externally": I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often. Kaylee http://www.(spamurlremoved).info This looked a bit light on detail - but it was positive in general, so I Accepted it as a comment. A few hours later, another comment, worded the same, hit another post. And the following day, a third comment, with a third post targeted. By then, it was looking pretty obvious. I went back and deleted the other two published comments, and I figured that would be the end of it. Not. I recently went back through my Comments Inbox, and checked for "Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.". I h

The Blogger Login Problem And The Maximum MTU Setting

Recently, we've been seeing a small but steady trend of complaints about logging in to Blogger. I can see my blogs, but if I try to Log on: "no can do" - it's like does not exist. After waiting for ages, the browser finally lets me know that the page cannot be viewed; suggesting that I may, perchance, have misspelled the address, or that the site may be "down". or I have tried different browsers, I have installed updates, I have changed and tried out every single setting, I have reset and uninstalled updates and changes on my computer, I have tried everything, and the browser refuses to go to or I can`t log in to my blog. It was no problem yesterday morning,but in the evening and today I can`get in. Just get an error on the page. I can see my blog, but not login to it. and later, a brief bit of crucial diagnostic detail Here's what I see Opera could not connect to the server. Maybe the server doesn`t use the supported SSL-pr

The Blogger Dashboard

The Blogger dashboard is at the center of your Blogger world. From the dashboard, you access all portions of your blogs, as permitted by your role in each blog . Besides the blog based links, you also have the language selection pulldown menu , the Following Reading List, and a collection of useful Blogger links. You can access your dashboard from the navbar, on any blog. At the far left of each navbar, the Blogger "B" links to your dashboard . For any blog that you are not an administrator (and thus don't have a "Customize" link), you'll have a "Dashboard" link instead. Or you can start from " ", in the address window of your browser. If you're not logged in to a Blogger (Google) account, that's what you do first. If you're logged in, you go straight to the dashboard. How you log in to Blogger affects what you see on your dashboard. I have administrative access to this blog, "The Real Blogge

403 Forbidden - March 2009

This week, we're seeing more reports of the return of an old friend (not) We're sorry... ... but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now. When asked about this in the forums in the past, Blogger has described it as a problem with "fuzzy detection". Like many chronic Blogger problems, it doesn't have a simple solution . Google, like every large Internet presence on the face of the earth, is constantly under attack. If the bad guys use a large and varied army of botted computers , the Google attack detection servers have to look for a pattern in the attack. In some cases, they will see an attack coming from a block of Internet addresses. You may be unlucky enough to have your connectivity using an address similar to the block detected in the attack, and the fuzzy logic will see your address as part of the attack. If you seem to be affected by th

Allow Comment Posting Through Email

If you're like me, you moderate comments that are being posted to your blog. How many times have you needed to reply to a comment, after you moderated and published it, but just didn't feel like making the effort. Open the post in question. Scroll to the bottom of the post and the comments (or open the commenting screen / window). Enter a reply in that little tiny box. Hit "Post Comment". Wait to see if the comment posts, or do you again see Your reply could not be processed. You're in your email program, why can't you post a reply, to a comment just published, through email? Hit "Reply". Compose your reply. Hit "Send". Get on with life. Tell Blogger to allow us to post replies to comments through email , as we moderate through email. >> Top

Custom Domains and Case Significance

As I've said repeatedly, Google Custom Domains depend heavily upon DNS . In the DNS server world, there are two dominant players - Windows (which is provided by Microsoft), and Unix (which is provided by many different players). Just like USA politics (the Democratic party vs the Republican party), USA leading soft drinks (Coco-Cola vs Pepsi-Cola), and other dichotomies, the differences between the players are sometimes subtle (in appearance) but major (in effect). The Windows vs Unix dichotomy has a major effect on the success of your custom domain. The BlogSpot alias for this blog is "". That's a mouthful, isn't it?

Manage Your Followers, Carefully

Blogger Following, like Google Friend Connect, is a great way to let you the blog publisher have some idea what your readers are like. Following is an excellent example of what the web is good for - connecting people. Unfortunately, some people doing the connecting don't have honourable intent. Blogger Following, like everything else on the web, can be subverted by the hackers, porn merchants, and spammers . But not if we don't let them do so. Fortunately, Following is going to require more effort by the spammers, and it will take longer to produce results that they will appreciate. And we can prevent their effort from producing their desired results. All that we have to do is examine our Followers list, and Block any undesirables .

New Owners Of Custom Domains, Purchased Through Google, Lack Google Apps Or DNS Manager Access

Setting up a Google Custom Domain, and publishing your blog to a non-BlogSpot URL, is an exciting prospect for many bloggers. Part of the excitement, after using the " Buy A Domain For Your Blog " wizard, or from Google Apps , includes receipt of an email from Google Apps, giving instructions on logging in to Google Apps, and giving us access to the DNS Manager wizard for the domain registrar (eNom or GoDaddy). And providing positive proof that he / she is now the owner of the domain. Recently, we've been seeing reports from unhappy bloggers who report I have only received the mail of confirmation of the purchase and of spending the $10 USD, but nothing else. This discovery is made generally when the blogger reports a problem with the domain, and when advised to correct it using the Domain DNS wizard, replies that he has no access to the DNS wizard, and in some cases, no access to Google Apps either. In other cases, the blogger may have access to Google Apps, and an ac

Your Blog, Custom Domains, And Top Level Domains #2

This blog, "", is a domain under the generic Top Level Domain ".net". There are many Top Level Domains on the Internet, some generic , others country related . When we setup a new domain, we purchase the domain through a registrar. Registrars maintain the necessary relationships with the operators of the various TLDs. Not all registrars maintain a relationship with every TLD in the Internet. Some country code TLDs, such as ".me" and ".to", have a lingual value which makes them of interest to people outside the country which is associated with the TLD itself. The ".me" (Montenegro) and ".to" (Tonga) TLDs are ones which use two letter abbreviations which are meaningful in the English speaking world; similarily, there have been other TLDs popular in French and Spanish. Registering a domain in such ccTLDs may command a premium price because of their popularity, just as some generic TLD domain names have

Feed Gadgets Not Displaying Content

Last week, we (some of us) suffered through a feed problem, with blogs published externally using FTP . Over the weekend, we started seeing a new problem with feeds. Look at the sidebar in this blog, and at "Blogger Status" and "Known Issues for Blogger". Both of those sections are feed gadgets. 1/2 hour ago, the latter section "Known Issues for Blogger" looked as the former "Blogger Status". In an effort to diagnose the problem, I removed and re added the feed gadget for "Known Issues for Blogger", and now have what you see. If you are seeing either symptom in a feed gadget, whether the gadget is blank, or shows "Loading...", or shows a subject index which contains no detail and no clickable links, please help us (and yourself) out, with details. What's the blog URL? What's the title on the feed gadget, as seen in the blog? What's the feed URL? Is this a redirected feed (FeedBurner et al), if so, what's th

Make New Posts Publish Below Old Posts

Every week, some hopeful blogger asks How do I make my newer posts post below the old posts? or I want my oldest post to show up when the blog opens. How can I do that? and the answer given, unfortunately, is simply Change the dates on the posts . That is a rather lame answer, if you think about it. Why couldn't the Blogger code just use ASC in the ORDER BY clause for the dates ? This would even provide a solution for one of my favourite private wishes. Give us the ability to have a permanent Home page for a blog. If the oldest post became the displayed post when the blog is opened, there's your Home page. Badda bing. The Welcome post is good for small messages, constantly visible. But the Welcome post isn't universally useful - it doesn't use labels, large Welcome posts take up too much screen space, and sometimes, you only want the welcome to show up once. That's what the Home page is for. This is yet another item for the Blogger Wishlist . Tell them, plea

"Blogs may not be hosted at naked domains" - Fixed

We are seeing reports from relieved bloggers that their custom domain published blogs are now accessible, from both the domain root ("naked domain") and from the "www" alias. The earlier error, " Blogs may not be hosted at naked domains ", appears to be resolved, for at least properly configured DNS addresses . Now, other matters, such as FTP Publishing with inoperative feeds , await the attention of Blogger Support. >> Top

Your Browser and Upstream Caches

Many problems which are reported by bloggers have simple resolution procedures. Clear cache in the browser, and restart the browser. Some problems are slightly more complex. Clear both cache and cookies, and restart the browser. and, at the center of each procedure, we see Clear cache. Cache, or local storage of Internet content , is at the center of many problems with blogs and web sites. If a copy of your blog is in a cache somewhere, the computers that access the cached copy will continue to display that copy, until told to get a fresh copy. If you just updated your blog, folks accessing the cached copy won't see your changes. One way to ensure that you see fresh copies of everything is to clear cache, which forces fresh retrieval of everything. For all of its simplicity, clearing cache isn't a universal solution, and neither is it consistently productive - even for problems which are generally known to respond to clearing of cache.

Atom / RSS Feeds Are Empty

This week, we have a few complaints about Atom / RSS feeds, in various blogs. When I republish my blogs to my FTP server, the atom.xml and rss.xml files are empty. or I published a new post, and feed file size is 0. Tried republishing template/settings and deleting the rss.xml file, but it still publishes with a 0 file size. or I recently selected "Publish Entire Blog" from the dashboard settings and now both the rss.xml and atom.xml files are zero bytes. I have tried republishing selected entries and the entire blog again but to no avail, the feeds are still blank. We also had one very insightful and interesting post . I see the file here: but it is at 0 in my FTP here: and here This observation is very useful. It points out that the problem isn't the feed, it's the involvement of FTP Publishing. I verified the o

A Browser For Virginia USA

This month, we see a few interesting complaints My blog does not open in Internet Explorer but it is working fine in Firefox. And while opening in Internet Explorer, I get the error message "Internet Explorer can not open the webpage" and How do I stop from being aborted everytime I view my blog. I assume it's doing this for anyone whom is trying to view it as well. The details behind these symptoms vary, intriguingly, though they have a common issue. " Operation Aborted " comes from a bad script in an HTML / JavaScript gadget in the blog. A blank, or black, screen may come from the blog being subject to the " Content Warning " or " Redirect Warning " interstitial advice. Many of these reports are from folks using Internet Explorer V6. Blogger Support sympathises with the folks suffering , but offers some firm advice We're looking into the underlying cause of this and hope to have a fix out shortly. However, I would strongly encourage tho

The Google Search Engine Is Not The Only Star In The Sky

Your blog, as it's indexed by the search engines, is like a dandelion. Once you blow on it (and get it indexed by one search engine), it's going to spread all over the yard (the Internet). Picking up the pieces, as in removing your blog from the search engines, is almost an impossible task . And even private blogs may be indexed , by some search engines.

Verifying Ownership Of Your Site To Yahoo Site Explorer

As a web master (blog master), besides adding posts and enhancing the template, you have a third activity which is almost as time consuming. You will be constantly connecting your web site (blog) to other web sites and blogs. In many cases, you'll simply send the owners of the other web site (blog) a request to link to your blog. For links to some web sites, you'll not use email, you'll use an online wizard. To prove ownership of your web site, instead of sending email, you'll add a file of specific name, or maybe specific content, into the web site. You can't add a file to your blog, though, with blogs you have no control over files and folders - all that you do is publish posts.

Yahoo Site Explorer

Similar to Google Webmaster Tools , we have a tool which helps us develop and maintain our relationship between our blogs and the Yahoo search engine spiders. Yahoo Site Explorer helps us develop a sitemap to initially make our blogs more visible to the Yahoo search engines, it provides us with tools to measure our visibility, and it provides us with helpful hints on how to improve our visibility. You can use Yahoo Site Explorer for any active URL that you administer. If your blog is published to BlogSpot, you use the "" URL; if the blog is published to a custom domain or externally using FTP, you use the primary URL for the domain. Using Yahoo Site Explorer for any web site requires that you are the administrator of the web site. Like Google, Yahoo doesn't want anybody who's not the administrator, of any web site, accessing search engine diagnostics for that web site. The meta tag provided in the verification process is a token, and it must mat

Improved Porn / Spam Blog Reporting For Blogger Blogs

In January 2008, Blogger improved its blog examination process , and started scanning for hacking / porn / spam blogs more intensely. This resulted in a cleaner (though never 100% clean) "Next Blog" surfing environment. Recently, they also improved our ability to actively participate in the cleanup process. Knowing the possibilities presented, one should also be aware of the limitations .

"Another blog is already hosted at this address" - March 2009

For over a year, many (too many) bloggers report seeing the well known monolithic error Another blog is already hosted at this address. when trying to publish their blogs to a Google Custom Domain. In the past, this condition could generally (with a bit of effort, sometimes) be reset by recycling domain settings using various Google Apps wizards . Recently, though, the Google Apps solution has become less effective. I tried doing all the trouble shooting things and it's still not working. or I started to recycle Google Apps, and after several rounds, my www domain started to work, but the naked domain still shows me 404 error. And in "Advanced Settings", I get that naked domain error. About half the times when Google Apps is not effective, we discover the blog previously published to a URL with mixed case letters . But the mixed case URLs don't seem to be the entire cause of the unrepairable situation. The naked domain error seems to be common in many domains th

Schizophrenia And Custom Domain URLs - March 2009

When you setup a Blog*Spot blog, and publish to "", Blogger automatically defines "" and redirects it for you, to "". This is a traditional convenience for your readers, and lets them address the blog as either "" or "". It's not a built in privilege for all web sites, and neither is the ability to address a non BlogSpot blog as either "" or "". A few bloggers don't understand the necessity for the schizophrenic URLs . My readers only need to use "". or I don't care about "", I only need "" to work. It's possible that, in a differently designed database, "" and "" would be two separate, and distinctly unique addresses, capable of working on

Following - How To Not Be Seen

Ever since Blogger launched its Following product, in September 2008, enthusiasm has been ever increasing. Last month, when Blogger Following and Google Friend Connect were integrated, a lot of confusion was generated. It used to be really easy to become a Follower, I would just click on the "Follow publicly" selection, and that was all there was to it. But lately when I try to Follow, it doesn't end up listing the site I'm Following in my "Blogs I Follow" section on my site, and it doesn't list my blog on my Follower page. Back in August, when Following was first launched, some of us were concerned about several privacy issues . Maybe the choice to selectively display some (or all) blogs as Followed, to our other Followed and Followers, or even to the Blogosphere in general, would be good. We appear to have choices now, in visibility. We can choose To Not Be Seen , in various options. This will mitigate some previously anticipated issues . If we wan

Disappearing Posts - The Mystery Still Continues

This morning, thanks to the latest reported problem with FTP Publishing , I felt the need to write a new post. And having written my new post, I saw yet again another current (and too long well known) problem with Blogger. This is not good! How do I advise bloggers who want to publish using FTP, if they can't see the blog? But, I calmed down and realised that this, in itself, wasn't a major problem. This is a new post, so republish the new post. But, neither republishing the post itself, nor publishing a new Draft post (the recommended workaround from Blogger Support), made any difference. The blog remained blank. Fortunately, I did think to check the individual post, and that was visible with no problem. So, I waited another 5 minutes or so, and eventually the blog main page became visible, without any further action by me. But wait - - there's more! Later that morning, I wrote this post, published it, and saw the same thing! This is getting monotonous! OK, that No route to host

A number of bloggers are reporting a new error message, seen when attempting to publish their blog to an external server No route to host This error is sometimes seen in networking issues in general, and is generally caused by problems like host name or address being incorrect, or maybe a bad DNS server or a bad router. Those are all conditions that lie within Google. Keeping an open mind, it's possible that the problem may start with something simple, like the Blog URL / FTP Server settings . Based on the number and variety of reports being published, the problem will probably be resolved by Blogger Support, but getting the problem recognised by them will likely start with help from the bloggers affected identifying the symptom. If you are experiencing this problem, some basic diagnostic information (whatever you know and can provide) might be useful, to help Blogger Support identify an affinity. You'll find a number of open threads in Blogge

Disappearing Posts - The Mystery Continues

The problem with disappearing posts - blog posts that display with no content (except the post title - examine the photo below, please) visible, was first reported several weeks ago. Today, I felt the need to update my post about this issue . Having updated the post, I refreshed to test, and poetic justice here, saw a surprise. OK, enough! How can I help people, if the content which I use to help isn't visible? And as random as the problem seems to be, you never know if any one of your posts is currently white screened. With any blog of any size, you could have one or more posts white screened at any time, and never know about it. And with caching latency , some of your readers at any time, might have a fresh copy of your post, provided by Blogger immediately before the problem hit your post. Only those with no copy of the post, or a stale copy of the post, will have to retrieve the problem post. So not all of your readers will see the problem. And this problem continues, sti

Be Careful With The "Edit Posts" PullDown "Label Actions" Menu

I use labels in this blog, a lot. I have a lot of related, overlapping topics in the many posts here, and labels are perfect for mapping the different topics. And I use the "Label Actions" pulldown menu, in " Edit Posts ", to add, change, and delete labels on multiple posts. Many other bloggers do too, and some run into interesting problems . There's an option to "remove" a label, but I couldn't get it to click. My cursor skipped over it. Right below that, there were two choices: Publish and Delete. Since the menu I was in is titled "Label Actions," it seemed logical that "delete' in this case referred to labels. So I hit delete, thinking it would then ask me which labels I wanted to delete. And poof, a message that all my POSTS are gone. The blogger reporting the problem has subsequently examined the "Label Actions" menu for a second blog, and discovered the same option currently available on that blog too. In