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Showing posts from March, 2013

The LightBox Image Display Option Stopped Working, Recently

Last week, the popular display option, Lightbox, used for showing full size images in Blogger blogs, stopped working. Anxious blog owners reported that full size images are now being displayed in a normal browser window, with the browser back arrow required to return to the blog display - instead of the elegant black background overlay with the mysterious "X" which closes the overlay. The problem appears to affect all images in the blogs affected.

When You Setup A Custom Domain, Please Know And Observe Your Limits Of Expertise

Too many blog owners, when they setup a custom domain for their blog, do not consider the details. We see signs of the problem, too often, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken . Can someone give me step by step instructions for setting up a custom domain with xxxxxxx registrar? I contacted xxxxxxx customer service - and they told me a lot of things I didn't understand! Would it be easier just to transfer the domain to GoDaddy? The short answer here would be Yes, it would be easier just to transfer the domain to GoDaddy. Unfortunately, that answer is not completely correct - and the correction may leave you with a broken domain.

If You Comment On Blogs Extensively, You Should Consider Using Google 2-Step Verification

One recently identified cause of deleted Blogger blogs appears to involve brute force hacking against our Blogger / Google accounts. We've known, for some time, about blog owners receiving alerts about "suspicious" / "unusual" account activity. The alerts frequently involve locked or deleted Blogger / Google accounts - and generally include the owner having to change their password, solve a CAPTCHA, and / or provide their phone number (mobile or home phone) to login. Later, people started reporting that their blogs were being deleted - possibly as a result of having to change their password, solve a CAPTCHA, and / or provide their phone number.

If You Use CAPTCHA Screening On Your Blog, Try Publishing A Comment, As A Guest

Not all Blogger blog owners, using CAPTCHA screening to reduce abusive comments on their blogs, know first hand what the typical CAPTCHA puzzle can be like. We're seeing a few concerned blog owners, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken , asking why they're seeing fewer comments on their blogs . I'm hearing from people that they can't post comments on my blog. I tested, and comments are working just fine. What is the problem, here? Not all blog owners bother to test the CAPTCHA, on their blogs - or even know why they don't see one, when commenting.

Renaming Your Blog Requires Choosing An Available Blog Name

Like creating a blog , the task of renaming your blog involves one very important step - choosing an available blog name. When you rename your blog - as in change the blog address - you have to pick a name (address) that's not in use . Both creating a blog, and renaming a blog, suffer from one key detail - you can't identify an available address before you get started.

Recovering A Deleted Page Or Post, Chapter 2

Blog owners have been deleting their pages and posts, then changing their minds later, since Blogger started providing the ability to delete pages and posts. We've been advising anxious blog owners, for some time, how to recover deleted pages and posts. The easiest solution, in the long run, is to recover the PageID / PostID , and re publish the deleted page / post. When the deleted page or post cannot be re published, the next option is to re build the page / post, possibly using feed cache. Using this technique, you'll have to reformat the post content, as feed content is formatted relatively simply. When you publish the post, it will publish as a new post, with a new URL - so any external references to the missing post URL will still be broken. Thanks to the recently offered Custom Redirects option, though, we can make this latter choice slightly less undesirable.

Confusion About Advice "If you bought your domain name from Blogger, you won't need to create a CNAME record."

To Blogger blog owners who want their new non BlogSpot URLs to display their blogs, this conflicting bit of advice provides only confusion and doubt. If you bought your domain name from Blogger, you won't need to create a CNAME record. That advice was written to advise the use of the Blogger " Buy a domain " wizard, which provides non BlogSpot URLs for Blogger blogs, through a simple 15 minute purchase process . In September 2012, that simple process changed, slightly.

Accounts Locked For Unusual Account Activity

One of the more intriguing tales of Blogger blogs, currently being explored, involves blogs mysteriously deleted by Blogger. My blog just disappeared from my dashboard - and no, it's not listed under "Deleted blogs"! In some cases, the owner knows more than is implied, from the obvious wording of that problem report. As Blogger / Google continues to improve the hacking / malware detection and removal process, they are making the recovery of accounts locked for "suspicious" / "unusual" activity easier - and more transparent. The increased transparency may, in some cases, cause mystery.

Comment Moderation Provides Limited Correction Options

Not every blog owner understands the limited ability to moderate comments - and to correct a moderation decision, previously made in mistake. We see occasional evidence of confusion in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken . I deleted a comment by mistake. How do I get the deleted comment back? and I marked a comment as "Not Spam" - but now it's not in "Awaiting moderation"! The ability to move comments, in the moderation queues, is limited - and it's not symmetrical.

What Are The Mysterious Turning Gears?

This is a question, occasionally seen in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken . I cannot view some blogs - all that I see are gears, turning endlessly. What is going on, here? The gears are animation, displayed by Blogger, while a dynamic template and blog content loads on the computer being used. Generally, the gears will play for a few seconds, then the blog will be seen. For an example, check out my Musings blog . Sometimes, all that you will see are the gears, endlessly turning - waiting for the templates and blog content to download.

Blog Owners, Unable To Request Restore Of A Blog

One of the more intriguing issues, seen in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken , involves people unable to recover control of their blogs . I recently changed ISPs, and now I can't login to update my blog. Occasionally, this issue becomes more complicated, because the blog is deleted - and the owner can't request that it be restored, using the automated review request wizard. Sometimes, the would be blog owner may to try to bypass the current blog recovery policy , by claiming special circumstances. The blog has been deleted. I received no suspicious activity or password change notification emails, or emails of any kind related to my blog. What is the story here? Can blogs just disappear from the Blogosphere, without the involvement of the blog owners - and be unrecoverable?

Confusion About The Post Feed Redirect Feature

The world of Blogger blogs contains a lot of confusing terminology. Some Blogger features don't even have names. Some names, which I use, are terms which I made up on my own, years ago - simply because Blogger did not provide a name, at that time. One term, which Blogger did give us, still causes confusion. The term " Post Feed Redirect " seems to describe an option, in Blogger, to redirect the post feed to a different URL.

Clear, Or Set, The Post Feed Redirect

One of the most mysterious settings, in our blogs, is the ability to redirect references to the blog feed . Some people use the "Post Feed Redirect" setting improperly. When this is done, the problems created can be easily solved, by clearing the setting. Go to the dashboard menu Settings - Other - Site feed. Look at the entry for "Post Feed Redirect URL". If that option is incorrectly set, click on "Remove". Click on "Save settings". You're done.

Google+ Circles Is Replacing Following / GFC

Those of you who have been Following this blog, in the past, may have recently noted a new gadget in the sidebar. Just below the "Follow Me" gadget, you'll see "+Follow Me". The latter gadget looks similar to the former - but has some subtle differences. Some differences are visible, others not so visible. And some differences are not visible to the eye - but will still affect your access to this blog.

If You Are Not Planning To Renew Domain Registration, Give Your Readers Advance Notice

One of the saddest answers given in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken starts with the naive query My domain registration expired last month, and my blog is now offline. How do I redirect the domain back to the blog? The answer here is simple, and does not provide a lot of promise , to the blog owner. If possible, you may be able to publish the blog back to BlogSpot - but the blog will have to be re indexed from the beginning. Once the domain registration expires, you cannot use the domain address for reputation or traffic source. Any search engine hit entries, to the domain URL, will be 404 - and there is nothing that you can do, if you no longer own the domain .

Some Blogger Blogs Being Locked As Malware Hosts

For a long time, we've been dealing with various malware / spam mitigation issues, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken . Recently, malware detections, long simply identified as "Malicious JavaScript" in the well known Spam Appeal Guidelines , was given its own identity, and a separate classification / appeal process . We're now seeing several common types of JavaScript, included in blogs which are typically mentioned in forum reports. It may be helpful to describe some examples of JavaScript code being seen, so blog owners can avoid making the same mistakes, by not including these scripts in their blogs.

Blogger And Mobile Computers

Using the term "mobile computer" is an example of the challenges involved, in using this variety of computer. Even identifying this device, which is present in so many different manifestations, is confusing. Mobile Computer. Mobile WiFi device. Personal Digital Assistant. Pocket phone. Smart Phone. Tablet. As the use of mobile computers becomes more common, we're seeing more and more problem reports and questions, from people unable to use Blogger. Some folks would like to maintain and publish their own blog. Others would like to post comments to their friends blogs. And still others don't understand why all of the various gadgets on their blog don't work for their friends, who are also using their own mobile computers. One of the challenges of mobile computers involves the use of smaller displays, and the need to simplify the content displayed. This requires the use of special browsers and templates, which are designed to accommodate the limitations. The n

Blogger Blogs Redirecting To "scmplayer . net"

This week, we're seeing a new stream of problem reports, from blog owners whose blogs are, once again, mysteriously redirecting their readers to unknown destinations . When I open my blog, it automatically directs to another website, which is SCM Music Player. This appears to be yet one more gadget, willingly installed by many Blogger blog owners, which is now redirecting uninterested viewers. The target of the redirection, in this case, is a website which is simply a commercial advertisement - for the product which was apparently installed, willingly , by the blog owners.

eNom Hosted Custom Domains Again Showing Intermittent Connectivity Issues

This week, we have a few reports in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken , about active and mature domains, suddenly stopped working. I have used my domain with no problems, since last year. Today, it suddenly stopped working, and the browser reports Oops! Google Chrome could not find I asked my friends about my domain - and they tell me that my blog is inaccessible to them, also. I didn't change any settings - and it was fine, until last night.