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Showing posts from September, 2009

Custom Domain Publishing, And Google Apps - September, 2009

Back in December 2008, Google was finishing the process of deploying the new Google Apps DNS servers - a set of 4, to replace the old set of 3 . Around that time, Blogger Support had (unofficially) stated that they would inform us when the old 3 servers had been officially retired, so bloggers everywhere who used the Custom Domain Asymmetrical DNS Configuration would know, definitively, when it was essential to update their DNS setup. It's now 9 months later, and we have still gotten no official word. In the mean time, almost weekly, we see problem reports with attempted use of the old 3 servers (all long offline) being the center of the problem. Enough. In my opinion, all bloggers using the old 3 servers, for their domain DNS, need to update their DNS setups. You need to have your domain using the 4 new Google Apps DNS servers . For the record, I will now state this. Anybody with a custom domain using a DNS setup of 3600 IN A 3600

Your Custom Domain, Outside Blogger

Some bloggers have a custom domain, and think that the domain is only good inside Blogger. How do I use a non Google web site in my custom domain? or Can I use a domain name registered via Blogger in another webhosting, if I quit Blogger? as if custom domains are something mysterious, and only work on a Google server. But, this is far from reality . One of the advantages of having a domain, that uses DNS hosted on any registrar on the Internet, is that you can include any blog or web site, in your domain, that you wish. You can have any combination of Blogger blogs, WordPress blogs, Yahoo blogs, and any web sites that use DNS to direct traffic to them, in your domain. You will have to know how to access the eNom or GoDaddy DNS Management wizard (for a custom domain setup by Blogger), or your third party DNS manager wizard (for any custom domain originally setup by you). And, you will need specifications from any third party content host , as to what DNS settings are required for th

The Video Upload Wizard Needs Work

We've seen a few reports of problems uploading a video, since that option was added to Post Editor. Please contact Support, and include the following information: Blog Id:bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb Video Id:vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv or possibly even Please contact Support, and include the following information: Blog Id:bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb Video Id:FAILED Upon further investigation, sometimes by the blogger and other times by a helper in Blogger Help Forum , we may find that the video is too long (100M is the maximum length), the video is of the wrong format (only AVI, MPEG, QuickTime, Real and Windows Media are accepted), and in one case, the video was detected as copyrighted material and refused. Apparently, the video upload process doesn't provide a lot of diagnostic information. Maybe that's one reason why the new Post Editor didn't include video upload , for a long time. >> Top

Protect Your Blog - Install Third Party Code, Safely

Have any of you seen this sort of offer, when looking at third party accessories, and contemplating installation? You don't do a thing! For Blogger blogs, we offer "EZ Install"! Just give us the blog URL, and an account name and password, sit back, and let us do the work! and maybe later, you're posting in BHF: Something Is Broken Somebody is posting spam posts on my blog! or Where did these ads come from? I didn't put them there! or worse yet Why is my blog deleted? I don't post malicious script! All of these concerns have been noted, in real problem reports, and were caused by real mistakes.

Image Upload Is Now Subject To Terms Of Service

Recently, Blogger added acknowledgment of Terms Of Service to the image upload wizard in the post editor. Unfortunately, this addition is not immediately obvious to everybody - and to some, seeing it comes as a revelation . This is how I fixed it: When you get one of the upload dialog boxes, there may be a check box next to the UPLOAD IMAGE option at the bottom. It is one of those "I agree to something xxx" that you have to check. Once I checked it, the UPLOAD IMAGE button became activated. My mother would call that a "snake", as in If it was a snake, it would have bitten you already. In this case, it would simply bite you once, then quickly crawl away. This is what you will usually see. Except for one time. Look carefully, to the right of the "Upload Image" button! Do you see it? Take a good look right now - after you check the box and upload, you'll not see it again. Probably most folks see it once, check the box, upload, and they never see it ag

Blogger Magic - The Interstitial Warning Display

Magic shows have been around for centuries - the world is full of magic, when we don't understand what's going on. URL redirection is a Blogger magic trick , similar to the disappearing quarter - a common sleight of hand trick in stage magic performances. Another Blogger magic trick, and one which not all bloggers or blog viewers appreciate, is the interstitial warning display. Interstitial warnings pop up like magic, where you (or your prospective viewer) would least expect them. In front of a "private" blog, where you have to identify yourself to continue. In front of a blog that contains (or is reputed to contain) objectionable material (naughty pictures or such). In front of a blog that is (or appears to be) published off site. In front of a blog that has been blocked, for TOS violation, or maybe for hosting hacking content.

Blogging Requires Learning

It's so simple to setup a Blogger blog, and publish posts . A "stock" Blogger blog takes maybe 5 minutes to setup, and half of that involves choosing an available blog name , and writing your first post. Generally, after you have published a few posts, you should start to think about the fun stuff - such as making the blog more attractive, or about getting more readers. And now, you have a chance to learn, about blogging in general, and about Blogger blogging specifically. And if you want to learn, Blogger Help Forum: How Do I? is a great place to start. Just keep an open mind. Learn how to ask for advice, accept advice, and ask intelligent questions about advice provided . Please, when you ask for advice, don't start with I need more traffic to my blog. Please make simple instructions, as I don't want to learn anything - I just want a checklist. or I want my blog published to a working custom domain. I bought my domain from Domains-R-Cheap, and it d

Missing Followers - September 2009 - The Good News, And The Bad News

Just recently, we see in Blogger Help Forum many anguished queries Where are my Followers? or conversely, Where are the blogs that I'm Following? / Why is my Reading List empty? We had this problem earlier this month , and that problem was later fixed. Now, it's back again. Looking at the posts in Blogger Help Forum - and the comments made to my earlier post Missing Followers - September 2009 , and taking each blog URL provided, I have looked at each blog. To a blog, I see the Followers gadget, and contents, with no problem. And Blogger Support, having done the same, sees the Followers too. In other words, there is good news, and there is bad news here. If you are not seeing Followers on your blog, nor on my blog, do not be despondent. Chances are, many of your readers - and Followers - see your Followers just fine. That's the good news . If you are seeing the Followers on your blog, and think that you aren't involved, don't be complacent. Chances are, someb

Twitter Gadget Causing Distress

A few bloggers are noting offensive content in their Twitter feed gadgets . On my Twitter updates, it is showing all other peoples, and some are pretty rude, ie bad language. I have removed that gadget from my page. Apparently, a gadget update made by a developer contained buggy code, and picked up a feed from a tweeter who is not very polite in his tweeting language. I won't name the offensive feed, and hopefully nobody who wants to be a responsible tweeter will, either. >> Top

Blogger Magic - Custom Domains and Redirected Feeds

Ever watch a magician do "sleight of hand", say the old disappearing quarter? Here's an ordinary quarter (in my hand). Nope - not in my hand! Where did it go? What's that, behind your ear? There it is (behind your ear)! How did he do that? Blogger / FeedBurner / Google has a magic trick for you, and it's just as mysterious to many bloggers.

Blogs Locked For Malware Distribution Are Removed

Recently, we've seen that Google, StopBadware.Org, and various other services, are stepping up the fight against malware distributed by Blogger blogs. Not only blogs actively distributing malware, and blogs linking directly to web sites that distribute malware, are affected. In one identified case, a blog that linked to a "clean" web site, that linked to another web site where malware was distributed , was locked. In other cases, blogs that use dodgy accessories are being targeted. It seems now that many of the reported URLs have a '' code snippet in them- *please* stay away from this widget in the future; it is completely nefarious.

Missing Followers - September 2009

We see this periodically, and under many circumstances. Just recently, we see in Blogger Help Forum the confused query Where are my Followers? or conversely, Where are the blogs that I'm Following? / Why is my Reading List empty? Remember that you login to Followers, separately . Your having logged in is not essential - but it may be relevant to this problem. And, make sure that you are logged in to your normal Blogger account , if you're concerned about the blogs that you are Following. We don't yet have a lot of details about this issue, just yet. Help us out here, if you are experiencing this. Blogger Support provided a form, from a couple months ago , which may help them. These details may also be relevant to the problem. What is missing - the Followers gadget, or the pictures? How about the Reading List at the bottom of your dashboard - are your Followed blogs listed there, or are those missing, too? If just the Followers pictures are missing, look at the wizard

Diagnosing Problems With Custom Domains - Case Study #10

Recently, we've had a few custom domain problem reports in Blogger Help Forum which start with the usual generic problem report I'm getting "404 Not Found". or OK, here's another case of "Another blog is already hosted at this address." and when we look at an excerpted Dig log , we see an odd setup. 3600 IN A 3600 IN A 3600 IN A 3600 IN A 3600 IN A 3600 IN A or 3600 IN A 3600 IN A 3600 IN A 3600 IN A 3600 IN A 3600 IN CNAME ( - Internet Services, Inc. Looking at the server "", chances are that it

Diagnosing Problems With Custom Domains: The Dig Tool, Run Against The Domain Authority Server

Sometimes when we work on a custom domain problem, we'll recommend specific DNS changes, and we'll make plans to deal with the unavoidable DNS latency issues . Make the above changes, and wait for one full day, before continuing. The above caveat will be highly advisable, because of gross latency required by the DNS host (1 day TTL is pretty nasty). 86400 IN A As always, we'll be using a Dig utility to examine the DNS settings in question . The DNS settings, as noted, may not be visible immediately. If the existing DNS address record for "" includes a TTL of 86,400 seconds (1 day), then we should wait for one day, before assuming that any changes that we are making will take effect. Maybe we don't want to wait one full day, just to see if the blogger working on the problem (or worse, the DNS host support tech paid by the blogger for service) makes the right settings. Fortunately, we don't have to wait until TTL ex

A Second Chance In Life

Not all bloggers can handle the truth, and when I have told some that With anonymous ownership comes responsibility. You have to maintain access to your blog , without requiring additional assistance from Blogger. not everybody responds positively. I won't publish the email that I have received recently, thanks to the Google Forums anonymous email delivery service. But given further chance to reflect, there may be a way around the quandary. If you can't prove ownership of the blog, you can't have control of that blog. Sorry, that part can't be avoided. But you can start a second Blogger account, and a new blog, and you can link the new blog to the old one . You won't be able to go the other way, unfortunately. But there it is, for you - a second chance. You don't have to pay a thing for the privilege - like all Blogger blogs, this one too is free. And, you get a new account, and a new password. And maybe, with the new account, you can remember the passwor

Arranging Pictures In Your Posts, Side By Side

Having published Arranging Pictures In Your Posts , which hopefully explains several frequently asked questions How do I get my pictures into the middle of the posts? Why aren't my pictures clickable, to show the full size content? Why do I always have to move the pictures from the top, into the text? I find that there's a fourth question that gets asked. How do I display pictures next to each other, not on separate lines?

Posting At High Rates Results In Restrictions

For a long time, blog owners who would frequently publish many posts in one day would report the anguish of having to solve a CAPTCHA . Blogger Help Why do I have word verification on my posting form? explains the necessity, and the limitation. This restriction is in place as much to control the load on our servers as to prevent explicit spam. Therefore, there is not a whitelisting review process to exempt individual blogs.

The Search Engines, And Web Sites With Dual Addresses

I've written separately about a problem that the search engines might have with possibly duplicated content. If you're not careful, and Blogger wasn't looking out for your interests, your blog (web site) could get a duplicated content penalty from the search engines, for your possible use of label searches to index your blog . Yet, there may be another way for your blog to get a duplicated content penalty from the search engines. Your blog, as published by Blogger, comes with 2 aliases - "" and "", or maybe "" and "". If not managed properly, these aliases may cause the search engines to see duplicated content. To properly manage this dual personality, you use the Google Webmaster Tools "Preferred domain" wizard. For a properly verified website , go to "Site configuration", then to "Settings". Under "Preferred domain&qu

Post Editor Problems, In The Singapore Region, Continue

Now into its second month, we are getting reports of improperly loading post editor sessions , from bloggers in Singapore. My edit/newpost page is screwed up, with buttons everywhere, and the button for posting pictures and videos's missing too ... I'm a Singapore user using SingNet. This problem, apparently being related to your Internet service, can't be seen by Blogger, or by anybody but you (and your neighbours). If you don't report your problem, don't expect for it to go away. And possibly, you should be reporting the problem to your ISP too. And please, when reporting the problem at this end (either in Blogger Help Forum , or comments here), state explicitly whether you are in Singapore or the vicinity , and whether your ISP is SingNet (and neither implies the other, so answer both please). Be part of The Solution , not of The Problem ! First, check to ensure that you have selected the correct version of the post editor . Then, proceed to my private forum

Identifying Your Local DNS Server

DNS, which lets you translate a host name or URL into an IP address, is a key process in Internet use . One of the first questions that you need to ask yourself, when you have an Internet problem that may involve DNS, is What DNS servers are you using? and many times, this question can be answered by direct observation of the IP configuration of your computer . If your computer runs Windows XP, or one of its direct peers (Windows 2000, Windows Vista, Windows 7), open a command window , and type ipconfig /all Here's an example of what I would see, from my computer. Windows IP Configuration Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : PChuck1 Primary Dns Suffix . . . . . . . : Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Broadcast IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No DNS Suffix Search List. . . . . . : Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection: Connection-specific DNS Suffix . : Descripti

You Own Your Blog Anonymously

When you open a demand deposit account at the local financial institution of your choice, you are subject to formalities. You have to provide proof of identity, using a legally recognised identification document, such as a drivers license or passport. And, you have to fill out a form, which is sent to the treasury agency of your national government. This provides your government access to your funds, hopefully under closely regulated circumstances. When you open an account with Google, to allow you to own and operate a Blogger blog, you are subject to no such formalities. You provide simply the name of a current Google account, or you setup a new Google account. The only thing required here is that you provide a unique and valid account name . No verification of your personal identity is ever required. Since no verification of your identity is involved, you can own and operate your Blogger blog, anonymously. You can say what you want, on your Blogger blog (within restrictions im

The New Post Editor And Spell Checking

Now that the new post editor is available in Production (Orange) Blogger, a few bloggers have already noticed a significant deficiency Where is my spellchecker? as if use of a spellchecker is essential to their blogging activities. It's possible that including a spell checker in post editor isn't a good strategic move for Blogger, in the long term. Blogger / Google is international, and multi-lingual. Every different culture, and language, has its own unique spelling and grammar. Even with single languages, blogging subjects require an almost infinite combination of individually permitted (designated "good" spelling), and individually prohibited (designated "bad" spelling) phrases and words. Every different blogger is unique, and likely has unique requirements. Many browsers, and other third party products, include spell checking, that's configurable to the needs of the individual users (of which blogging would be a small part only). So, instead of co

The New Post Editor Is Here

Apparently as part of its 10 year anniversary celebration , Blogger has quietly released the (previously) Draft Post Editor into Production (Orange) Blogger. If you look at Global Settings under Settings - Basic, you'll see the (former) setting for "Compose Mode" now replaced by "Select post editor". Here, you can select "Updated editor", or view an overview . Or, you can leave "Old editor" (Compose mode enabled), or "Hide compose mode", selected - depending upon your current setting. Selecting "Updated editor" gives you the former Draft Blogger equivalent of Post Editor, now available for all Blogger blogs in Production Blogger. There are interesting changes in "Post Options". No "Backlinks" options. Real scheduled post settings ("Post date and time"). Edit HTML ("Convert line breaks" per post) settings. Display HTML settings. And two major omissions. Spell Checking is not inclu

Know The People Who View Your Blog - Followers, Readers, Subscribers

If you publish a blog, and you don't just publish for your own viewing, you publish for other people to view it. If your blog has a limited audience, we call it a private blog. You know who enjoys your private blog - and reading your private blog, through the browser, is the only way that people may view it. If your blog is public, some folks may Follow , while others may subscribe to , your blog, besides those who actually read your blog. "Following", "reading", and "subscribing" are not the same . Each relationship may involve a different medium used when viewing, a different traffic pattern, different rewards for you, and may be measured in a different way. If you're at all curious about who your visitors are, you need to know this.