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Showing posts from October, 2009

FTP Publishing - October 2009

This month, we have several reports from bloggers who, for one reason or another, have changed the FTP username and / or password on the domain host server, and then updated the username / password in their Blogger FTP settings . Much to their dismay, when attempting to publish their blog, they find the old username / password being sent to the remote server . I have verified it's saving my new username in the publishing settings and yes, I'm seeing the error based on the posting status. I get the following ... FTP login failed (server:, username: myoldusername, reason: 530 User myoldusername cannot log in. ) Are you seeing this behaviour, when trying to publish your blog? What is the blog URL? What is the FTP server setting? When did you make the setting change? Did you verify the problem, by examining the host server activity logs? >> Top

A Private Blog May Not Be Completely Private

We've known for a while that private blogs have limitations, such as latency. If you originally publish your blog as public, and later make it private, cached copies of the blog will be all over the Internet, for anybody to read, after it's supposedly private . This week, we see another, possibly more serious limitation . Why was my coworker able to read my very private, personal, password protected blog yesterday? I had it set to "Blog Author Only" and yet she found it and was able to read the whole thing. It has never, ever been public. I started it last September and set the permissions to "blog author only" at the start for all posts. I have never invited anyone else to read it...and have never, ever logged into it at work.

What's In The Boxes?

Every day, we see one or two queries from confused bloggers, about these boxes. I type the URL in my browser, and get No blog found. or Why doesn't it show more than what's in my blog? or I know the URL. I can see it on my dashboard even. But the search says that it's not there. All of these observations are evidence of people who don't know what all the boxes in the browser are intended to provide.

Accepting Membership In Another Blog May Change Post Editor Settings

Recently, we've seen an occasional question about mysteriously changed post editor selections. Where did my options toolbar go? or Why do I now see the new post editor? Right now, as part of the deployment of the new post editor , there are 3 selections, in Settings - Basic - Global Settings - Select post editor . Updated editor Old editor Hide compose mode If you make this change under one blog, you'll find it true for all of your blogs. I've also noted, under some circumstances, that when you accept membership in someone else's blog, and the other person was using a different post editor selection, the other person's selection will now be yours, globally. The next time that you accept membership in a blog, check your post editor setting. If the owner of the blog was using a different setting, your setting may have changed. >> Top

Blogs Showing The WMX Verification File, Instead Of Main Page

This week, we have various Blogger blogs reported as displaying a mysterious WMX Verification File, when main page view would be expected. This is the WMX verification file. If you are having problems with the WMX verification for your blog please visit This symptom was first observed Thursday, October 22, and Blogger Support is aware of the problem. Supposedly, the problem was fixed, though some blog owners are still reporting it. We note that the Google Webmaster Central Blog: Verifying a Blogger blog in Webmaster Tools now instructs us to use the meta tag verification procedure . The "Webmaster Tools" auto-verification link from the Blogger dashboard is no longer working and will soon be removed. Is your blog showing this, in place of main page view? If you can provide some diagnostic details, you might help Blogger to help you and others. Precision here is good - and date, time, and timezone will be appreciated. What

Keep Malicious Content Out Of Your Blog

Every day or so, we see reported from concerned bloggers, about unknown content in their blogs. Where did those ads come from? I didn't add them! or How do I keep this other blogger from posting porn links in my blog? As we add content to our blogs, and make them fun, interesting, and shiny, to attract readers, we risk adding undesirable content. This is a constant problem.

Waiting For The Tap On The Shoulder

I'll be honest here. I was a nerd in college (and I am one even now ). So this story is one that I've only seen in movies - neither I, nor my friends, got even this far. College Secret Societies Some of them have no name even. There are no published entrance rules - membership is by invitation only, and rules are communicated by word of mouth. And the initiation process starts like this: The prospective members are blindfolded, and led to a dark room. The prospective members are put into a circle, in silence. The prospective members wait, for what will happen, they are told nothing. Periodically, one prospect will feel a slight tap on the shoulder. In silence, he / she will be taken by the hand, and led into another room where they will join the elite. And eventually, those who don't get elected will open their eyes, remove the blindfold, and find herself / himself in a pitiful group of rejects, all waiting (hopelessly) for that tap. The tap that never comes.

The New Navbar

By now, I'm sure that you've all seen the new navbar on our blogs. Besides having new links, and some links being renamed, there's a significant improvement - transparency. For those of you wondering where "Search Blog" went, the "Search Blog" window is still there - the "Search Blog" caption was simply removed, to make space. And "Flag Blog" (which was, some time ago, greatly enhanced ) is now accurately captioned "Report Abuse". And we have "Follow" (previously "Follow Blog"), matching the new "Share" link. And, for everybody who has always hated the navbar because it was ugly, and its background colour never matched the blog, you can now select a transparent option - and let the background colour / images in the blog show. You can select "Transparent Dark", with light navbar characters and graphics - or "Transparent Light", with dark navbar characters and graphics. You

Identifying And Blocking Malicious Comments

Almost daily, we see complaints from bloggers who are disturbed or offended by comments that they get, in their blogs. How do I stop nasty comments about my posts? or How do I block a person who posts nasty comments? My answers always start with You have to moderate comments, either before or after they are published .

Availability Of Any BlogSpot URL That's Not In Use

I've been arguing the plain facts about URL non availability for years - if the BlogSpot URL of your choice is in use, you can't have it . That's not an easy answer for many bloggers, and some don't accept it without a lot of arguing. The other side of the coin is that any available URL is there for the taking, by anybody. Relevance of the name in question, to any physical existence outside the Internet world , has no validity.

Ambiguity In URL Availability #2

A couple months ago, we had various bloggers report that they are initially informed that a given URL is available, but the "Create a blog" wizard later shows that the same URL is not available . This month, we seem to have more of the same, plus a new, disturbing detail . I am unable to see my blog on the web or sign in to it on Blogger Dashboard. I initially thought my blog had been given a false positive as a spam blog and blocked. A Blogger Help forum post said that often happens and I should send a "review request." I sent a review request from my Blogger Dashboard. It took me to a page that says: Blog is not locked. Your blog is not locked and does not need a review. If you are having problems accessing your blog or if you received an email saying that it was locked, please leave a message in the Help Group and we will investigate the issue. Further conversation returns additional details. On my Dashboard, next to the name of my blog "This Day in Famous

Getting Traffic To Your Blog - How Not To Do It

There are many ways of getting traffic to your blog - some are good , while others are not so good . If you truly respect your readers, you 'll write content that's interesting and relevant to the needs of your readers , and you'll use the search engines to advertise your blog . Other people might join a forum, where everybody promises to read each other's blogs. A third way would be to use the magic of RSS, and join your blog to a common feed . TRAFFIC via RSS by ananth77 with 2,473 members Tagged: blog, blog building, blogging, feed, Marketing, promote, rss, traffic Build your traffic via RSS. Simple Rules : 1. Subcribe to 2. Update your RSS feed address in the reply. 3. Your feed will be merged with all the other blogs and web sites. What a deal. All that you do is make your blog part of the Feed Traffic feed, and you get a piece of all of the traffic, from / to all of the other blogs in the feed. This used to be

You Have To Read The Local Language

As Blogger / Google continue to make their services more available to the bloggers and blog readers of the world, they are separating the language affinities of the various portions of the Blogger displays, into two categories. Components most referenced by the bloggers. Components most referenced by the blog readers. Components referenced by the bloggers can be controlled by the Blogger profile language setting , so you, as you publish your blog, see many Blogger wizards in your stated language. Readers of a Blogger blog, on the other hand, won't always have a Blogger profile, as they surf the Internet and land upon your blog. To support your readers, Blogger uses Geo Location, and determines the prevalent local language where the computer is located. Blog displays that are most referenced by the blog readers will be presented in the local language. If you write your blog for your readers, this benefits you. The more portions of your blog that are available to the blog readers o

Missing Icons For Commenters In Inline Comments

Does your blog use Inline (Embedded Below Post) Comments? Do you have any posts with more than 5 comments? I have a few. New Blogger Limits 2009 - Labels, Again Missing Followers - September 2009 - The Good News, And The Bad News Missing Followers - September 2009 The New Post Editor And Spell Checking The New Post Editor Is Here Notice anything odd there? The first 4 or 5 comments, which were made by commenters who have pictures, show the pictures. After that, no pictures. I wonder what other surprises are in store for us this week? >> Top

Custom Domain Problems - October 2009

During the past week (7 to 10 days), we have seen several reports / day, in Blogger Help Forum , from bloggers who state My domain name (purchased through Google Apps) is still not available, over two days after purchasing. It's not just a DNS propagation issue, the message in the Blogger Settings | Publishing tab reads The DNS record for your domain is not set up correctly yet. If you have just purchased this domain the setup process may take up to a day. Now, we've seen these reports before; generally 1 or 2 / week is normal. Not 2 or 3 / day. And when we Dig the domain , we see evidence of a new problem. ; <<>> DiG 9.3.2 <<>> @localhost A ; (2 servers found) ;; global options: printcmd ;; Got answer: ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NXDOMAIN, id: 523 ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL: 0 ;; QUESTION SECTION: ; IN A ;; AUTHORITY SECTION: com. 900 IN SOA a.gtld-

Blogger Accounts, And Non Existent Email Addresses, Redux

Every now and then, I become motivated to repeat a previous experiment . Blogger has been known to change their code, occasionally, so in some cases, that would seem to be a good idea. In one case, one very anxious blogger asked We are a school system and federal law requires us to archive all email. Therefore all external accounts are blocked. Staff and students can not use gmail, yahoo, AOL or any outside email. Only email provided by the school. The delimma is that you require one of these email addresses in order to post. We do not want an anonymous post option and do want to have valid discussions on curriculum, reporting etc. As usual, I jumped right in, with You can use any email address, for a Blogger account. then I had second thoughts.

Private Blogs And Commenting Policy

Besides the currently known problems with commenting , which involve the post template and various local computer settings, there are some odd details that not everybody is aware of. If you have a private blog, you'll face a lesser known challenge with comments.

LinkWithin - A Graphic Equivalent To Labels

As I've written before, labels (which are, as noted, best used with blogs using a layouts template), in my opinion, are one of the best ways to organise your blog , and make it user friendly. But labels are text based. Many of you have blogs, and readers, that like pictures. For those of you that build blogs with pictures, there's LinkWithin. LinkWithin uses thumbnail copies of the pictures in your posts to make a "related posts" index at the end of each post. This is a pictorial equivalent of the labels list, that you see after each post. Note that LinkWithin installs automatically for you, with you logged in to Blogger. This is a process which, as I have written separately, should be considered with care . >> Top

Lighten Up, Francis

Blogger / Google is becoming a common fixture in the lives of people around the world. Google tries to create forums of relevant subject, and language, to support its customers. Unfortunately, there will always be those issues, and languages, which are not uniquely addressed in a special forum. In some cases, the people needing help gather in the main forum for help with Blogger issues, Blogger Help Forum . In Blogger Help Forum, we try to be tolerant of those whose primary language may not equal the native language of the forum. Even so, when you ask technical questions, and expect coherent and helpful answers, it helps us greatly when you attempt to write answers in grammatically correct English . That way, we don't have to guess at what you are trying to say . If we don't seem to be properly respectful of you, or of your questions, this may be because we are trying to understand your problem, which may not be the same as what you are trying to say about your problem. I

FTP Publishing and Yahoo Hosting - October 2009

Occasionally, a blogger reports a problem with FTP Publishing, and it turns out to be caused by changes made at the host server . Rarely, the host server staff admits to the problem promptly, and we can move on. Today, we got an answer back, and positive results , in the same day. I called Yahoo again. I pestered them and found out that there WAS a change on their side of things. I was able to resolve the issue. then later The change they made was that they now require the entire email address as the user name (username ) whenever you're going FTP something. In Blogger, I made this change under: Settings - Publishing - FTP username . If you have a blog published to a Yahoo server, using FTP, and your publishing has stopped working this week, maybe this is why you're here. Check the settings for your blog , and contact the Yahoo support team . Verify the change, then update your settings. >> Top

Embedded Comments and Post Pages

Apparently one (of several) recent problems , with Inline (Embedded Below Post) Comments, is related to Post Pages. In Settings - Archiving - "Enable Post Pages?", we observe the notice Warning: If you disable Post Pages the embedded comment form will not work. Click here to change your comment settings first. If you can't enable or disable Post Pages, you should check your (Settings - Comments -) Comment Form Placement, and ensure that you have not selected "Embedded below post". There, we see The embedded comment form can not be used if you have Post Pages disabled. Apparently, the Comments setting overrides the Archiving setting. >> Top

The CAPTCHA, IFrames, And Embedded Comments

There's an odd problem, with embedded comments, and CAPTCHA verification. The problem of post template corruption affects all commenters (owners, members, and readers alike) of a blog with Embedded comments. Besides that, there's an odd problem, which affects some blogs with inline comments, which use CAPTCHA (word puzzle) verification. This may be either the (optional) CAPTCHA which verifies authenticated readers, or the (non optional) CAPTCHA which verifies non authenticated readers. This problem will affect just the readers - the owners and members will not be subject to CAPTCHA verification, and won't have this problem. This is in addition to the well known problem with CAPTCHA verification and third party cookies . Occasionally, you may get a perplexed email from a blog reader I can't comment on your blog - the CAPTCHA form isn't fully displayed!

Blogger Limits: Blog Ownership Count

Possibly as a way of emphasising Blogger as a personal, simple blogging platform, Blogger recently imposed a 100 blog limit on new blogs. This is a limit that has not yet been documented . Number of Blogs: You can have as many blogs as you like on one account. Apparently, the limit is against starting new blogs, not owning blogs. If you're like me, you'll note the limit when you try to Create a Blog. D'ohh! But this limit, like many others, can be bypassed. You can setup more than one Blogger account, create more blogs under multiple accounts, and make team memberships of the blogs created. Setting up and teaming multiple blogs, of course, will be a tedious activity if you are going to setup 100+ blogs at one time, so plan the process and allow lots of time. Using multiple browsers or computers is highly recommended. Just creating 100+ blogs, if you publish to "", won't be easy - remember each blog will require an available a

Your Blog, Custom Domains, And Virtual Hosts

I've written about publishing your blog as a virtual host in your domain , already. 3600 IN CNAME 3600 IN CNAME This is generally done when "" and / or "www/" is in use for hosting a web site. This is a great way to combine your blog and your web site . Yet there are other reasons to avoid publishing your blog to the domain root . 3600 IN A 3600 IN A 3600 IN A 3600 IN A 3600 IN CNAME If your domain comes with content hosting (not just DNS hosting), the domain may be in use for hosting email, an FTP server, or miscellaneous content such as photos, on the domain server. Now, you can host your domain email with Google Apps , but FTP (hosted on "") and miscellaneous services will probably alway

Remove Gratuitous / Offensive Comments, Completely

If you publish a blog, and allow comments, you're going to occasionally get comments that you don't appreciate, on your blog. Some comments will be blatantly offensive, and contain links to hacking activity, porn, and / or spam. I won't provide an example here - but some, that I've seen recently, have been pretty nasty. If you're going to keep your blog suitable to the general public, you're going to have to moderate comments, either before or after publishing .

New Blogger Limits 2009 - Labels, Again

Almost one year ago, I wrote about a newly discovered limit in Blogger blogs . Labels could have, at most, 200 characters of labels (including spaces and commas). Today, we see reports of newly discovered limits, again in labels.

A Small Change - October 2009

Occasionally, Blogger makes small changes to their code, which we may not see immediately. This, as in a previous example , I will call a snake. If it was a snake, it would have bitten you. This is a very small snake, but one that we've been asking for, for a while. I just published my previous post, Manage The Blogs That You Follow, Carefully , and I was casually looking at the display Your blog post published successfully! . What is that odd symbol next to the caption View Post ? For that matter, what is View Post ? OMG, that's now " View Post ", instead of " View Blog "! Surprise! No reloading the entire main page, after publishing a new post. And no reloading the main page, then having to search, for an edited post. Just click on "View Post". Bravo, Blogger. Another change made in silence. And, a significant improvement enabling my Progressive Publishing strategy. A second change was noted today, but it's one that won't be nearl

Manage The Blogs That You Follow, Carefully

Blogger Following and Google Friend Connect are great ways to connect with others - and to let them connect with us. But people change, and so do our interests. Like our need to manage who Follow us , we need to occasionally manage what blogs we Follow. This, normally, isn't difficult. In the Classic GUI, go to the bottom of your dashboard, click on Manage, and you have a menu of the blogs that you Follow. From here, you can Add blogs to Follow, you can remove any that you currently Follow, or you can change your Following settings.

Problems With Posting Comments To Blogs, With Popup Comments Form Used

Many problems with Blogger Commenting are related to the comment entry form. Besides the well known post template corruption problem, that is known to affect blogs using inline comments ("Embedded below post"), there are problems (not as well known) with blogs using a popup comment window. Web sites which spawn popup (miniature) windows have been around for years. Besides some web sites which use popup windows for authentication ("Enter your name and password"), and error alerts ("Sorry, you can't do that - but here are some other possibilities"), there's one well known - and thoroughly disliked - use for popup windows. Popup windows are very popular for displaying advertisements. Long ago, some spammers discovered that they can be used to display spam contents. Many browsers, by default, block popup windows. If your blog uses the popup comments form, and some readers complain that they can't leave comments, this is one possible reason wh