Links



The images above, are actual Image Links, and are click-able. Use them to navigate to the sites indicated!

Friday, 11 May 2007

Greener Pastures? - Pt. 1.



Well, like the hair shampoo advert suggests; - 'it won't happen over night, but it will happen'! It (Migration) did - eventually' - or something like that!

A quote from the Blogger Buzz...

-
"Old Blogger is dead! Long live Blogger! Today at Blogger HQ we accomplished one of our most significant milestones ever: we changed old Blogger’s monitoring from "page us when it goes down" to "page us if it comes back to life in a horrifying, zombie state."

-
Most of you probably haven’t noticed, since you’ve been happily (we hope) using new Blogger for several weeks, or months, now. But we’re excited to be done with it, since now we can focus 100% on the new Blogger and all we want to add to it.

-
While old Blogger totters off to realize its dream of getting to level 70 in the Burning Crusade, let’s take some time to remember what it took to replace the old Blogger with the new..."



It really sounds like a Dick Tracy bulletin, to me. 'Calling Dick Tracy! At Blogger HQ today...', but then again, they are young people! Ha Ha Ha. (Green with envy!)

(I also, wonder, how many days were spent playing 'Burning Crusade', instead of trying to fix the associated Blogger problems?)BTW (By the way) - In Thailand, you won't be able to see the YouTube video, listed above as horrifying, zombie state, because YouTube is banned - (maybe you could through a Proxy Server? Mmmn).


In what now seems like a lifetime ago, I alluded to, albeit irreverently, the migration of 'Old' to 'New' Blogger, as a Cattle drive - we bloggers being the cattle, the ranch-owner being Mr. B. Logger (starring John Wayne), in partnership with the Giggle Cattle Corporation, and the cowboys, and cowgirls, were played by the Blogger Technical Staff.

There were, initially, two different scenarios, which gave you a chance to see how it was going to pan-out. It didn't really matter which one you chose, because Migration had to be either:

1) Homogenous, or
2) Heterogenous.


The phased Pilot approach, or Heterogenous Migration, was most probably the way Mr. B. Logger actually ended up doing it - of course, we will never know. It is by far the most sensible way to get millions of cattle from one pasture to another - with limited resources, or with limited loss. You have to remember that Mr. B. Logger's fortune, and reputation, were wrapped up in his herd. He had copious quantities of calves, yards of weaners and yearlings, heaps and heaps of heifers, and bags and bags of bullocks. But his real dollars, his real worry, was his Stud Stock. He had to migrate this part of his herd with all due diligence, and care. So, naturally, he would test the migration with the 'cannon fodder' first.

So, any idea of an Homogenous Migration would be a waste of time. It would be Heterogenous all the way! So, that's why it has taken so long. The last 10% of the Pilot was very entailed. It had to be. This percentage contained all of the prized stock.

Well, it's all finished, now. Once again, Blogger Buzz says; ..."4 May 2007: Old Blogger physically dismantled - And that’s how it happened. Enjoy the Blogger! (Exciting times are ahead.)"

There's no going back to the old, comfortable mountain pastures any more. The great bulk of the cattle have been brought 'in'. This new ranch is finally finished. The old barn has been torn down. The new one is ready. The new pastures are lush and verdant. The new pens are all constructed, but still have some teething problems. There will be additional features introduced, as time goes by, such as new dipping-trenchs, and new cattle-crushers. The problems seem to be changing focus, or is it my impression? They do, don't they?

Any stray cattle, and, according to a friend of mine, there are many, will have to find their own way to the new ranch. Are there still some signs to show the way, other than Claim your old Blogger Account notice on the sign-on screen?

It'll be interesting to read other bloggers' interpretations of the success, or failure, of the Migration. It'll also be very interesting to see if the level of problem bX codes reduces in Google Groups.


TOP

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Neo Counter



I have *Statcounter and Sitemeter counters on my blog. I don't know why I have them, exactly, as I am not interested in the amount of people who read my Blogs. I am interested in whether they enjoyed my blogs, and whether they got information from them, and that's what the 'Comments' department is about.

I am not earning money from ads, nor do I wish to. That may change in the future. So, for me, the amount of traffic is really, not an issue. Some people are concerned about it because they like to have volumes of people hitting their sites, to increase their Page Ranking etc. I have no problem with that. Go for it!

What I also like about the counters is, they tell you WHERE someone comes from. For instance, which country, or which city. That, I find interesting. I have a blog which I visit regularly, for peace of mind. I get lost in a wonderland of Nature, and really relax. That Blog is called The Garden at Crocker Croft.


The owner of the blog, Barbee, has a Neo Counter on her Main page. I think it's great - except, sometimes, like most times, it records me as visiting from HONG KONG - not THAILAND!


As Prof. Julius Sumner Miller was famous, inter alia, for always asking: "Why is it so?" I don't think it is a fault of Neo counter, so don't take me that way. I'd just like to know; 'WHY'. Maybe, Thailand Internet Traffic get's routed through Hong Kong? I think so. I know it goes through Korea, too, as we were off the 'air' for a long time during that bad earthquake.

(* = Preferred)

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Friday, 2 February 2007

How to 'Flag' a Blog with no NavBar ?




I know many of the reasons, some Bloggers come up with, for not having a NavBar on their blogs. I don't necessarily agree with Next Blog, and I don't particularly like the Flag Blog button, but many people do, and there are purposes for each of them.

I believe that one of the reasons for NOT having a NavBar on your Blog, is so that your readers can't Flag Blog for objectionable content, therefore, giving a blogger a certain sense of security to post articles and content of any nature - albeit, a false sense.

But, there is a way to report Spam, or a Breach of the T.O.S. for Blogspot.com, sect. 4, Member Conduct. I saw a question in Google Groups - Blogger Help Group - 'How Do I?' forum today, which basically asks: How to report a spam blog which doesn't have a NavBar?

The current answer is right in front of your nose, most of the time. Utilise the Search in Blogger Help. Since New Blogger, there is a How do I report Abuse directive.


Bloggers really are going to have to start utilising the Blogger Help - and helping themselves. Blogger Help Forum can be found at:- How to report a problem - which suggests ways to find out your answer, too.

There is also a Webmaster's site on Google for reporting Google Indexing Spammers:-

<https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport?hl=en>


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Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Tiny URLs - Fantastic !



Wow! Wow! Wow! Talk about a fast reply - This is what communication, and co-operation, should be like! After all, we are not in a competition - at least, not that I am aware of.

Did you know that, in the New Format of Google Groups, when you add a URL, hopefully, to have a blogger look at a reference for his/her problem, that many times it won't work? That is because the URL is being broken. Google/Blogger's new format is too narrow, and the Google URLs are, notoriously, far too long! If people click on the URL, they won't be transported to your Link!

This afternoon, I wrote a post/complaint on Google Groups Guide re: The Broken URLs - Google Groups.

If you have ever seen Google Groups' URLs, they are possibly the longest around. The URL for this thread, was 126 characters long ... <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/Google-Groups-Basics/browse_frm/thread/a576296e3a8e4874/404b009a17168078?tvc=1#404b009a17168078"> ...

If you clicked on a link that was only 25 characters long, and would take you to the same place, that would be Great, eh?


Well, the smaller URL from TinyURLs, might look like this: <http://tinyurl.com/5tvtgg>


Within twenty minutes, I had a reply from an obviously very knowledgeable person, named Tomi Häsä. I immediately went to the site he indicated, http://tinyurl.com/ , and now have their link on this Blog ...and my Bookmarks tab.

Fantastic. Now, it doesn't matter what screen I am on - anywhere on the 'net, I can just click the button on my search Bookmarks Tab, and a TinyURL is created for that page - for me!

Thank you, again, Tomi. Your Website is also fantastic. The information there will be an encyclopaedia for me.


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Broken URLs - Google Groups



As anyone who acts as a Helper in Google/Blogger Groups would be aware, there is often a need to insert a URL into your reply, to direct some Blogger to a pertinent Post concerning information they require. At least, for some of us, there is. I don't do it all that often, but some Helpers do.

Since the New Format for Google Groups was launched - last weekend, there's been a problem. Long URLs have been broken into two lines and therefore, won't work!

You can click on a broken URL all day, and go nowhere. I'm not the only person to report this, either. (My next project will be to start using TinyURL.

My infant technical knowledge may hinder me here, but I know a stuff-up when I see one. Google has not given any consideration to this matter in their design. Is this typical? I think so. In fact, stuff-ups like this, for Google/Blogger seem to be the norm. It's when they get things right that scares me most. Thank goodness it's not too often!

p.s. 31/01/07 - They've fixed it.


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Sunday, 28 January 2007

Who is the Blog Owner ?



The person who opens the Google Account, in His/Her name, and then Creates the Blog with that Account, is the OWNER of the Blog - forever - ad infinitum - kaput - end of sentence! Or, at least, that's how it was until recently (2008) when Blogger changed the rules, and allowed Transfer of a Blog Ownership.

Don't be confused with the 'Old Blogger' help instructions, either. It is different in New Blogger. Very different!

The 'old' (stupid) rule had to be changed - we told Blogger , by sending in our suggestion on a Wishlist, - and they have obviously heard us!


Team Blogs, which this post has been written for, are the only ones where the question of ownership really arises, naturally. Because, once you add another Blog 'Admin', 'Author', or an 'Invited Reader', you have a 'Team Blog'!

  • What is an 'Admin'? An 'Admin', or 'Administrator', is a blog member who has total control over the blog.
  • What is an 'Author'? An 'Author' is an 'invited' member who can create and edit his/her own posts - only. The status of membership can be seen, and changed by an 'Admin', on the 'Settings - Permissions' screen.b
  • What is an 'Invited Reader'? Members of a PRIVATE BLOG! Invited Readers come under the section on 'Who can view my Blog'. They are 'non-creating' visitors to your blog, and can only view/read your blog. However, there are certain restraints. By Default, your blog is Public. If you select 'Only readers I choose', you essentially make your blog, Private.


(Click on the image to enlarge it).





You will notice on the above image, that there are four (4) administrators (Admin) for this Blog.

Once upon a time, there was no limit to the amount of members, or Administrators, on a team blog... only 'Invited Readers' (100). But, now, Blogger says there is a general limit of 100 'Members' of a Blog.



Once upon a time, the 'Original Owner/Admin', could NOT be removed from the list. He/She can, now. This can be done by any other 'Admin' - so be very careful who you have as co-admins on a Blog. One day, you may wake to find you have NO blog(s). This makes it a lot easier, too, to rid yourself of a Blog, if you lose interest. Just remove yourself!


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Warning! Warning! Will Robinson!



Lost in Space? Remember Will Robinson and Doctor Smith? Remember the Robot? Well, the Robot was always shouting out; "Warning! Warning! Will Robinson!"

I was reminded of that, so much, by this latest Blogger Help Group communique from the wonderful, Jordan - Blogger Employee... This is so important, that I've copied it, and also made some images of it !


Bloggers,

We've been giving you warnings. The signs have been there. Preparations have been made. Now, it's time!


That's right, it's time to embrace the new version of Blogger! Starting today, a small percentage of users who log in to an old Blogger account will be required to move to the new version. This involves moving your current Blogger account to a new or existing Google Account. After the move, you will need to log in to Blogger with your Google Account username, which is always the email address associated with your account.

If you're one of the lucky folks who is prompted to move your account over to the new version of Blogger, you'll be able to postpone this process once (and only once) if you *really* need to get a post out of your head or want to say goodbye to the old Blogger. After that, it's time to befriend the new Blogger!

In an effort to make this move go as smoothly as possible, here's a list of things to keep in mind:


- You will need a Google Account to which you can move your old Blogger account. If you don't already have an account, you can create one. (You'll also be able to create a Google Account when you start to move your Blogger account.)


- After moving your account to the new version of Blogger, you'll use your Google Account to access your blogs. That means, you'll select the "New Blogger" sign in option on the Blogger homepage, and then log in with your Google Account username, which is always the email address (i.e.: Blogge...@email.com) associated with your account.


- If you log in to your account and your blog doesn't show up in your dashboard, don't panic. First, try logging in to your old Blogger account (Remember to try ALL old Blogger accounts). Next, are you sure which Google Account you used? Give them all a try.


- If you still run into difficulties with your move, don't fear, we've got plenty of other resources to help you out! If you don't find an answer here in the Help Group Forum, or on the Help site, go ahead and send your question in to The Blogger Team.


Lastly, if you find yourself continuing to experience difficulties accessing your blogs (AFTER looking for help on your own), I encourage you to write in to The Blogger Team. Since login-related issues often involve divulging personal account information, it's best for everyone involved to handle such cases on an individual basis with The Blogger Team.

Thanks to everyone for using Blogger!


Your friendly Blogger employee,
Jordan



'You have been warned!'


Old Blogger is getting the heave-ho! You are not going to get any more warnings, so pull your fingers out and migrate yourselves, and your Blogs - mentally and physically - right bloody NOW!

This is what I was alluding to in Stampede at the 'NOT' OK corral. There are stragglers. Now, the Blogger Cowboys have been told by Rancher, Mr. B. Logger, to round-up those stragglers, and bring them down to the ranch - even though it's not completely ready. And, these stragglers better do it, or else? Or, else - WHAT?






I don't have any 'old Blogger' accounts, so I have no need to worry about anything to do with Migration. Many people still do, however, and apart from one lousy address, which is probably temporary at best, Blogger Help Team page - how do people contact Blogger for assistance? How many people will be lost in blogger space? Warning! Warning!


What about an address - a permanent one - which will actually be answered by a human being, who will be able and willing to assist?

No more Robots, please, Dr Smith (Blogger)!

That would be nice. Good luck, Will!


Most of this post has been ruined because of the changes to Blogger Help and the deprecation of sites given by Blogger Employee, Jordan.


TOP

Friday, 26 January 2007

Stampede at the 'NOT' OK corral !



It seems that the urgency to migrate the last 10% of blogs, turned into a stampede.



By definition, a stampede is a chaotic mess of some group of individuals, whether it be people, or cattle, (as I depicted in earlier episodes), or, in this case, bloggers, not knowing where they're going, when they're supposed to get there, and what to expect when they get 'there'. Of course, no communication was given other than - here is your invitation - go!


If you didn't accept the invitation immediately, you were sidelined for later retrieval, or salvage, when, and if, they - (Blogger (Cowboys), from Mr. B. Logger's ranch) decide to send out some herders to do a partial round-up of stragglers. The cowboys aren't too worried, as things aren't too good at the 'NOT OK' corral and they have plenty of work to do.

The push came. I had hoped it wouldn't, because the corrals were not ready - especially at Christmas-time. The infra-structure of the Ranch was not in place, and many pens still had no gates, or no rails, and the feed lots weren't there. Some of the staff-members, who were relied on, went on holidays. One to distant, sunny shores, to get away from the pressures of the snow-belt, and really let the team down. Replacement staff were brought in, but weren't up to snuff, and were conspicuous by their absences.

Oh, yeah, sure, some of the cattle which had been moved during the initial, trial round-up, were there, but they were happy, contented cows, out in the pasture and were experiencing life as it should be. Only a few of them were prepared to call in to the chuck-wagon to assist the cowboys with the bulk of the scared and frightened cattle, which had just been driven from the hills, in a rushed, and disorderly, fashion. They were even given special names as a sign of gratitude, and recognition, from Mr. B. Logger.

There were a few stray dog-bitches, as well, always snapping at each other, and a few wise-arsed, know-it-all mongrels, generally, making things worse. You'd think they had been through it all before.

They were concerned about so many things, but, mainly, that the cowboys couldn't cope by themselves. It seemed that every time the Cowboys fixed a fence, a gate would fall over. Then they'd fix the gate and a railing would collapse. They'd never tell the cattle which pens were good ones, and which weren't, either. Some cattle were spooked and jumped the fences, wanting to take-off for the hills - again.

Of course, many cattle weren't happy with the new corrals, as they were, and immediately went on a 'change the corral' spree. They wanted fancy steel railings instead of timber, sliding gates instead of post and rail swingers. Nothing will ever make those cattle happy.

Overall, it looks like the final rush to get all the cattle in, before Christmas, was a pie-in-the-sky dream for the Cowboys, and they nearly, actually, did it. The trouble is, that there are still so many strays to pick up and bring in. So many scared and aimless cattle just waiting for guidance, and assurances, that they'll be very busy for quite some time, yet. So many problems for the management of the ranch.


The main water troughs, (and there are thousands of them), which are relied on so heavily, are inadequate. At last count, there were 502 wouldn't work - some for 3 hours! Other times, there were 404. Then, to sectionalise them, Mr. B. Logger decided to give them all special names (he's good at doing that). Names like 'bX-numbers'. Really confusing for the cattle, too. But, of course, they will never find out what the numbers mean, so it's not a concern of the Cowboys.

Then, in an effort to pacify some of the cattle, Mr. B. Logger's partners, Giggle Cattle Corporation, chipped in with some new paint-work for an already rotten chuck-wagon, nick-named the Groups. This is where most of the cattle vent their spleens and, also, ask for advice. This is also where the experienced cattle come for a quiet cuppa and some good cud-chewing.

Today might well be Australia Day, in OZ, but it sure ain't Blogger Day anywhere else.

I'll keep an eye on the proceedings from here on, because it's too funny to dismiss as a joke - completely!


TOP

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Just how bad is this Google/Blogger Combo ?



Not so long ago, I worked for a short few years, with the Australian Telecom Giant, named, Telstra. During my tenure, I was a Systems Trainer. Telstra launched a new Flexible Customer Account Billing System. It was said to have cost somewhere in the vicinity of A$650 Millions, and it was the job of Trainers to teach the staff - all over Australia, how to use it.

The fine-tuning and general implementation of the Main-Frame System and construction of the Software needed specifically by Telstra, was contracted out. I believe Telstra dumped them, unceremoniously, although, I am not sure of the exact details. I have heard that it had something to do with constant problems / reliability.

Now, that situation has been refreshed in my memory, many times, since I have been a blogger. How many problems have there been with Blogger's System since, say, June 2006 ? Answer? Heaps !

Tonight, I tried to View Blog after posting an article on one of my blogs, and got a 404 message - not in English - but FRENCH!

Blogger seems to fix one thing, only to have another go wrong - and generally, it was something they had fixed before - like Comments, or Photo-uploading, or whatever. Take your pick!


Is it Google's responsibility? Is it the Blogger Company's responsibility? Are these engineers, et al, contracted? Is there anyone else, available in the market, who could fix this System?


TOP

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Photos used as Links



Some bloggers would like to use a Photo as a hyperlink, so that their viewers can click on that photo, and, instead of getting a separate screen, with an enlargement of that photo, be whisked away to another site, via the ethernet. No problems.

It is the same technique as for hyper-linking a word, or phrase.

After uploading the photo, or image ... AND WHILE STILL IN COMPOSE MODE EDITOR -

Step 1 - Highlight the photo, or Image
Step 2 - Click the Hyperlink Icon on the Toolbar, and
Step 3 - Insert the URL of the site you want to go to, and click 'OK'.


(This Image is NOT hyperlinked, but will open larger in a separate window, when clicked upon).




Let's see a photo-link at work.... (This is basically a photo Button, with hidden URLs.)





I hope you enjoyed the trip to Barbee's Wonderful Garden Blog, in Kentucky, USA? I do - every week!

I know of one way to do it - without fancy code/script changes, and fingers-crossed, hopes and wishes. There are many ways to Link something, to something else.

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Saturday, 20 January 2007

Feedburner and Script



Feedburner set-up is as easy as 1,2,3. The site URL brings you to the sign-on screen, where you use your normal blog Username and Password ...

You enter the URL of your blog in the available position.


If Feedburner detects another feed, such as Atom, it will ask you to choose as your source...


Complete all the relevant details...


You will need to Verify details, then activate the feed...


Your Feed will be made live... You can Claim your feed now, or skip to the feed manager and get all the script.


On this screen, you can Manage some details about your account Feed...


I always activate Smart Feed...


Then, I click on Publicise, which shows me the CHIKLET CHOOSER. (This is the little icon)


I choose the Chiklet I want, then go to the bottom of the page, to copy the Script for my Blog...


Top of Publicise screen...


Bottom of the Publicise screen ...


I copy the Script [Alt C] and then open an HTML Page Element in my Blog Design screen, where I paste the script. Then Save and View Blog.

Then, I check the status of My Feeds in Feedburner, and close up/log-out. Finished.


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Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Cumulus Blogs Hidden Topics / Labels code



With the introduction of Cumulus Blogs, way back in 2006, Chuck and I, modified code from Ramani, of Hackosphere blog, and came up with our version of his Labels widget.

We called it Hidden Topics, which shows, or hides, all your Labels.

Before attempting to add this code to your blog template, it is essential to read the instructions, written by Chuck, on the Cumulus blog, to know where to add this code. After that, copy the following code ...


Note: - Always make a back-up copy of your blog template - before and after - adding any codes.


The code for Cumulus Hidden Topics / Labels gadget, is all that between, not including, these horizontal lines:



<b:widget id='Label1' locked='false' title='HIDDEN TOPICS/LABELS' type='Label'>
<b:includable id='main'>
<b:if cond='data:title'>
<h2><data:title/></h2>
</b:if>
(Select a Display Style)<br/>
<a href='javascript:void' onclick='javascript:nullStyle();' title='HIDE'>
<img src='http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger2/5761/839511333942044/320/Label%20Hide%20Style.jpg'/></a>
<a href='javascript:void' onclick='javascript:linkStyle();' title='SHOW - LIST STYLE'>
<img src='http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger2/5761/839511333942044/320/Label%20List%20Style.jpg'/></a>
<a href='javascript:void' onclick='javascript:menuStyle();' title='SHOW - MENU STYLE'>
<img src='http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger2/5761/839511333942044/320/Label%20Menu%20Style.jpg'/></a>
<a href='javascript:void' onclick='javascript:zoomStyle();' title='SHOW - ZOOM STYLE'>
<img src='http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger2/5761/839511333942044/320/Label%20Zoom%20Style.jpg'/></a>
<br/><b><a href="http://www.blogging.robertosblogs.net/2010/05/cumulus-blogs-hidden-topics-labels-code.html">HIDDEN TOPICS by Cumulus Blogs</a></b><br/>

<div class='widget-content'>
<div id='LabelDisplay'>
</div>
</div>

<script language='javascript' type='text/javascript'>
function zoomStyle() {
var max = 0;
var min = 10000;
<b:loop values='data:labels' var='label'>
if (<data:label.count/> > max)
max = <data:label.count/>;
if (<data:label.count/> < min)
min = <data:label.count/>;
</b:loop>
var display = "";
<b:loop values='data:labels' var='label'>
var delta = <data:label.count/> - min;
var size = 100 + (delta * 100) / (max - min);
display = display + "<span style='font-size:" + size + "%'><a expr:href='data:label.url + "?max-results=100"' style='text-decoration:none;'><data:label.name/></a></span><br/><br/>";
</b:loop>

obj = document.getElementById('LabelDisplay');
obj.innerHTML = display;
}

function menuStyle() {
var display = "<select onchange='location = this.options[this.selectedIndex].value;'><option>'CHOOSE A TOPIC'</option>";
<b:loop values='data:labels' var='label'>
display = display + "<option expr:value='data:label.url + "?max-results=100"'><data:label.name/> (<data:label.count/>)</option>";
</b:loop>
display = display + "</select>";

obj = document.getElementById('LabelDisplay');
obj.innerHTML = display;
}

function linkStyle() {
var display = "<ul>";
<b:loop values='data:labels' var='label'>
display = display + "<li><a expr:href='data:label.url + "?max-results=100"'><data:label.name/></a> (<data:label.count/>)</li>";
</b:loop>
display = display + "</ul>";

obj = document.getElementById('LabelDisplay');
obj.innerHTML = display;
}
function nullStyle() {
var display = "";

obj = document.getElementById('LabelDisplay');
obj.innerHTML = display;
}
// set default to null style
nullStyle();
</script>

<b:include name='quickedit'/>
</b:includable>
</b:widget>



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Saturday, 13 January 2007

Spam! Spit ! Spim !



Just when you think it can't get any worse, you learn of another way of being invaded - by SPAMMER BASTARDS!

There's NO other way to describe this type of vermin-ridden, low-life, human detritus - they're CRIMINALS!

  • SPAM - Unsolicited, Undesired E-mail - electronic junk mail.
  • SPIT - Spam over Internet Telephony
  • SPIM - Spam over Instant Messaging


I'd never heard of 'SPIT', before today, at least as it is used in this sense.

(Of course, living in Asia, I am used to seeing people, of both sexes, spit anywhere, everywhere, and, at anytime. It is a common, and disgusting, practice. Is it little wonder how influenza spreads? Diseases transmit?)

The term SPAM, is said to have originated from the comedy show, Monty Python, which had a skit about a Restaurant which served only the Pork-Based meat product, Spam. I am sure you all know it! The term SPAM was used most indiscriminately, repetitively, and incessantly, hence it's similarity to this type of Electronic, criminal invasion of Privacy!

Do yourselves a favour, and have a good read of this Webopedia article on the three modern pains!

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Another Question of Privacy !



I've written about this before, and I probably will again.

Many questions about aspects of Privacy still pervade the Google Groups forum. Most are easily answered by referring the Bloggers to the relevant pages of Blogger Help Resources - which, for some unknown reason, they are unable to find themselves - or maybe, their computers can't.


The most sensitive areas seem to be about the EMAIL address, and the NAME of the Blog Owner.


On your Identity Profile.

Your Email Address:
  • Blogger Help - Suggested Question:"I don't want to show my email address!"
  • Blogger Answer: "That's cool. Un-tick the "Show My Email Address" box."


Your Name:
  • Blogger Help - Suggested Question: "Do I have to show my real name?"
  • Blogger Answer: "Not if you don't want to. Again, un-tick that box."


There are only two (2) "REQUIRED FIELDS" in your Profile.


Required does NOT mean Publicised, either!

  • Your Username
  • Your Display Name


Please do NOT get your Personal Name mixed up with your USERNAME, or your DISPLAY NAME.

- AND, remember this - unless you want viewers of your Blog to see things, they can't! So, if you check the relevant boxes on your Profile, preventing display of those personal items, they won't be displayed! Which begs the question, "Why fill in those questions on your Profile, with answers?" I don't.


Your Email address WILL appear on YOUR main page - because YOU are logged-in!

No-One else can see it!


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What is the function of a URL?



The URL is the location on the World Wide Web, of a specific file. It is the identifier of a network-retrievable document. It stands for Uniform Resource Locator.

You find your URL listed in the address bar at the top of your screen, when your Blog Main Page is displayed.

You also find it listed in the Settings - Publishing Menu of your Blog.


A typical URL is made up of various parts, such as the Protocol Indicator, the second part would be the IP Address or Domain name, a specific file, or web-page name.

For example, http (stands for hyper text transfer protocol). ftp (stands for file transfer protocol).

In Blogger, the URL you selected when you created your Blog, will be the address through which your friends, or visitors, will access your Blog, or find your Blog, on the Web. They insert your URL in their computer address bar, and search. The computer does the rest. Bingo - they arrive, hopefully, at your site!


Now, it is important to understand the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web. They are NOT the same thing, as many believe. Because the Internet is based on IP Addresses, and not Domain Names, all Web Servers have to have names transcribed into IP Addresses. This is done through a DNS Server. The DNS stands for Domain Name System. To learn more, hang around PChuck's Network Blog. He's got all the 'guff' and presents it very well, too.

Wikipedia describes the www. as:

'The World Wide Web, or W3, is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet'.
OK so far?

Good. That's as far as I am going to take you, so relax. Suffice to say, there's a lot goes on after you start choosing and using your URL.

One more thing I feel should be mentioned here, is the use of Cookies. A Cookie is basically a message given to a Web Browser, by a Web Server. It is normally in the form of a HTTP header, and consists of text-only information, of approx: 255 characters. There really are many uses for these characters.

I am also sure that when they coined the word Acronym, there was a definition of favourite verbal instrument used by computer people, offered by the scholars.


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Friday, 12 January 2007

Backing-up your Template



Backing-up your Blog Template has NEVER been more crucial, than in these days of New Blogger. Now the New GUI is here, with its associated challenges, I wouldn't let one chance slip by.

If I am touching/tweaking the Template of any of my blogs, I make a back-up BEFORE and AFTER.

Nor, will it be less important from now on.

It's now just been made SO easy.

How do I back-up my Blogs?

It took me a total of fifteen minutes, to back-up the Templates from my blogs, to back-up files, on my laptop! Here's how...

Step 1. Go to the Design screen, from the Main Page ...





Step 2. Click on Backup / Restore and then click on Download Full Template.




Step 3. A Pop-Up wizard will appear, displaying your Template ID. Then Save to Disk or Save to a Folder, as I do.


ALWAYS DO BACK-UPs OF THE TEMPLATE - WHEN WORKING ON IT ! - BEFORE AND AFTER -


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Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Photo Preparation for Uploading.



I am NOT saying this is the ONLY way, I am saying this is what I do...

I use a LOT of photos, and SOME clipart images, when designing, or compiling posts for my blogs. The process for preparing them is the same - every time.

If I am using a screen print, which I call a dump, as displayed below, then I follow these basic steps - every time.

  • Make the screen Print.
  • Copy it to 'MS Paint'.
  • Trim off all the excess unwanted stuff. I use MS Picture Manager, too.
  • Save it to a 'My Photos' file on 'My Documents' folder - with a name.
  • Double-Click on that photo/dump/image, or whatever, to display it in Picture Manager. Here, once again, I can trim/crop the photo - if needed. Then I can 're-size' it to the size I want, (less than 500Kbs) and then 'compress' it, or, as I sometimes use Irfanview, where I can 'Decrease the Colour Depth'.
  • Save (and keep it for future use, maybe).


The result is a photo image which is, generally, around half the pixels, and easily uploaded to my post. The original 'screen dump' was 803 x 496 and 1.14 Mb in size. This following image is 803 x 496 - but only 390 Kbs. Loading is easier and I really haven't lost any quality, per se.




Oh, I forgot to tell you, I don't have Photo Uploading problems, anymore. The only challenge I still have occasionally, is keeping them. Blogger/Picasa still has this infernal ability to lose photos from a Blog.


I haven't had side-bar drop, since reducing the size of images, either. If I do, I know what to do. Re-size my photos!!!!

I suppose it all gets back to a matter of size. Many people have NO problems uploading photos of any size. That's great for them and I do not challenge their integrity, or sincerity, when they publicise the fact. What I am saying is, I don't have uploading problems - ever (touch wood!).


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Tuesday, 9 January 2007

I don't want these!




I don't want the NavBar. (You are kidding).

I just got New Blogger and I don't want the Grommets, or the Dragonflies, or the Widgets, or whatever you want to call the Quick Editing buttons.

Why would anyone want to disable the functionality of a system? I have absolutely NO idea. In my opinion, they are working from a bungled plan!

With all the information available for Blogger, people still ask about the Screwdriver and Wrench quick editing tools for your Page Elements. They are there for a purpose! They are part of the functionality of your Blog! Use them - don't abuse them! Don't delete them, even if you can.
YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON WHO SEES THEM!


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Monday, 8 January 2007

Hacked Labels and Linklists



I've thoroughly tested Cumulus Topics, a.k.a. (Multistyle Labels) and Cumulus Linklists to find that the addition of any inverted commas, either as a single unit " or a set "...", will cause the syntax to mal-function. The Linklist, or Labels will NOT open.

For example, if I was to put a Label on a post, with inverted commas around it, say, for instance; "Blogging Techniques", or, "Blogging", the Cumulus Topics Labels will not function.

It's the same for the Cumulus Linklists. The blogroll will not function if one of the Links Titles has inverted commas. eg; A link to the Report Blog, listed as "the Report".

Apostrophes, and every other punctuation symbol I tested, seem to be OK. It's just the Inverted Commas, or as some call them, Quotation Marks.

This glitch does not happen with Blogger Labels, or Link Lists Page Elements, but then again, they do not HIDE your lists, either. It does , however, happen with another Multistyle Labels system I have tested.

So, no need to worry about your Blog functionality - just don't use "Inverted" Commas in your LinkLists Titles, or Labels, if using certain Hacked variations.

More to come when we find out why!


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Thursday, 4 January 2007

Unlisted - White-Listing!



I have two PRIVATE Blogs, which I use as a 'repository' for copies of all other posts - virtually a copy of other Blogs. These are NOT listed through web-logs and viewing is restricted to me. Therefore, I was a little incredulous when, after making fifty (50) copied-posts, I noticed the Word Verification Captcha appear on one of those Blogs yesterday morning.

I clicked everything there was , in sight, to try and fix it, by-pass it, and erase it, but, to no avail. The question mark character took me to the Help screen to tell me what I should have been able to do, and couldn't.

I persevered with contacting Blogger Support, and, as usual, heard nothing. I opened up this morning, and, after one more plea, by email, to BS, I had success. Overall, it took less than 24 hrs to have my Blog 'unlisted' from the dreaded 'Black-Listing', as a possible Spamming Blog.

Thank you, Blogger. I am now, hopefully, on the 'White-Listing'.

According to the Blogger Help pages article, Why do I have word verification on my posting form ?, because the anti-spam Robot has assessed my Blog as a potential baddie. I quote:

- Word verification on the posting form is meant to be a spam reduction mechanism for BlogSpot in general, and is applied to certain potential spam blogs by an automated system. Because this is automated there will necessarily be some false positives, though we're continually working on improving our algorithms to avoid these. If your blog is one of the false positives, we apologize. Having the word verification on your posting form does not prevent you from publishing and does not mean that your blog will be deleted, or otherwise punished, if it is not actually in violation of our policies... To avoid further inconveniences when publishing, click the "?" (question mark) icon next to the word verification on your posting form: That will take you to a page where you can request a review for your blog. We'll have someone look at it, verify that it isn't spam, and then whitelist your blog so it no longer has the word verification requirement. 05/01/2007: Email from Blogger -


"...In order to prevent our servers from getting overloaded, Blogger moderates the number of posts a blog can publish in a 24 hour period with the use of captchas. It seems that your blog has had an excessive amount of posts in a short period of time, so you were prompted to complete word verification. Unfortunately, reducing the number of posts you publish in one day is the only way to stop receiving the word verifications."

Oh, well, that's it, folks. There's no way around it. But, the exact number is still a puzzle. Maybe, it's between 49 and 51?

See also: ... my latest run-in with the Robot - Watch the Robot!


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Wednesday, 3 January 2007

The SPAM Robot !



I started a new blog, with a new Google account, to use as a Mirror/Back-up Blog, to all my other blog posts. I don't know why, specifically, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. So, did joining Google/Blogger - (and having children)!

I made the mistake of copying and pasting posts from one of my other blogs, to this New Blog, then wondered why, all of a sudden, there was a Word Verification required before I could Publish! I immediately thought that this must be a new feature of Blogger Blogs. Then I started to have problems. The penny dropped after a few minutes, and I realised that my New Blog had attracted the attention of the Blog Security Robot. It labelled my New Blog as a possible SPAM site!

I had copied fifty (50) Posts (no, the example link is not about me) from the original site, to this Back-Up Blog, when the Word Verification appeared. This must be a significant number, but I have no verification for that presumption. Then I started to think, what if this happens to a lot of bloggers, who are making back-ups prior to Migration? A very big possibility? Maybe.

One of the problems with this above image is - there is NO option to defend your blog! There's no Fail-safe! There's NO , "My Blog Is Not Spam!" button!

If you complete the Captcha and Publish, it takes you to a sign-on screen. You sign on, and it takes you to the same sign-on screen - ad nauseam! No way out, folks!

I would have thought that, if you completed the captcha, that meant you had proved you were a 'human', and NOT a spammer machine, and that the Blogger would Publish your Post. Nah. BS. When have you ever seen a system from Blogger work as it should? As common-sense would dictate?

The people at Blogger, have you at their mercy. If they want to keep you on a string for a while, as they have with some other bloggers, they will! No problems for them. Ignore you until you are as old as me! One blogger out of 8 million is of NO concern to them! By the way, you can't even find a contact point for them, now. A month ago, you could use the Contact Form, but it runs you around and around, now.

I feel completely fed-up with Google and Blogger. If I wasn't so entrenched and manacled to them because of my Blogs, I would NEVER touch them again.


I am still having problems which I complained about six-months ago. I still haven't got a serviceable NavBar. I still get differing sizes of type-pitch when I post with any sort of indentation. I still get the half-hour to log-on routine with Time-outs, Hang-ups, Can't find Server, 404s, 505s, and any other sort of number-set you can think of. Photos disappearing.

Type disappearing. That's a new one. Have you seen that one, yet? Everything looks good on the WYSIWYG editor, you Publish, and wonder where the type has gone - for three, or four sentences ????? You edit again, and it's THERE! Then you Publish - again - and it's NOT there! Incredible!

See also: Watch the Robot!


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Monday, 1 January 2007

Another Cookie, anyone?



I started to look for some information about cookies, as a result of reading an article on The Blogger Status for Real Blog, by Chuck, entitled;Third Party Cookies Used To Migrate From Beta Blogger To New Blogger? where he suggests that some of the present problems associated with Blogger Migration may stem from the creation of cookies by one server (beta.blogger.com) and recognised by another server (www2.blogger.com), as third party cookies, which could necessitate clearing of your Browser's cookies and cache, as a suggested work-around for log-in problems.

How many other functions do cookies perform? But, firstly, exactly what are Internet Cookies?

Cookies are pieces of information generated by a Web server for future access.

Internet Cookies are often the stuff nightmares are made of. David Whalen has lots of answers in his articles on FAQ, at the cookiecentral.com site.


Do they transmit my personal information? Do they infect my Hard Drive with Viruses? Why do I need them, at all? In fairness to the Cookie, the answer to the preceding questions seems to be, a resounding, YES, and NO!

The U.S. Department of Energy, CIAC, in their bulletin, I-034, suggests that:

DAMAGE: (There is) "No damage to files or systems. Cookies are only used to identify a web browser though they may be used to track a user's browsing habits."

and...

VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT: "The Vulnerability of systems to damage or snooping by using web browser cookies is essentially non-existent."


In an article published on the website, cookiecentral.com, entitled, The Cookie Concept, by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, he suggests, inter alia, that:

- Essentially, cookies make use of user-specific information transmitted by the Web server onto the user's computer so that the information might be available for later access by itself or other servers. In most cases, not only does the storage of personal information into a cookie go unnoticed, so does access to it. Web servers automatically gain access to relevant cookies whenever the user establishes a connection to them, usually in the form of Web requests."


One of his main points of interest, for a web-user, should be the lack of communication about these cookie placements. Also, how often have you looked at your cookie list and seen one, or a hundred, from sites you have NEVER accessed? How is this done, and why is it done without your knowledge and/or permission? I recommend a visit to cookiecentral, for a look at The Dark Side. Well-worth your time to read it.


Wikipedia suggests that;

Cookies are also subject to a number of misconceptions, mostly based on the erroneous notion that they are computer programs. In fact, cookies are simple pieces of data unable to perform any operation by themselves. In particular, they are neither spyware, nor viruses, despite the detection of cookies from certain sites by many anti-spyware products".


Having read so many articles on Cookies and, I suppose most writers haven't come across a Migration of Blogs situation before, I could find no specific information to answer Chuck's query about 3rd Party Cookies. However, I have to agree that common sense would suggest that Chuck is right, because he has a deep knowledge of exactly how cookies work. Browsers maybe responsible for login problems, as Joel, a.k.a. 'Outliers' suggested.


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