Blog Anchor Point

Image Links

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

Sometimes, a mouse-click on images will enlarge them

Friday, 31 October 2008

Left to Right Vs. Right to Left

You might think I am nuts, well, maybe so, and you are not the first! I have been called nuts by the best!

One thing I noticed, and it's probably been noticed by many, but until I noticed it, as far as I am concerned, it hadn't been noticed, is that if you want to highlight some text, written in a Right to Left Language, such as Arabic, you can't do it Left to Right with the cursor! You have to do it Right to Left!

Maybe, I'm wrong, and that's just how MY computer does it, but I found that interesting. I use the Google Translator quite frequently, to translate question threads on Blogger Help Group, and found that out, today.

Well, there's your piece of useless trivia for today!


Monday, 27 October 2008

Request Took Too Long?

After blogging for nigh-on three years, suddenly High Network Traffic is a problem? Suddenly, Google has a pop-up notice for it? Suddenly, I am getting these?

Suddenly, I am also seeing delays in nearly everything I do, from Logging-on to Logging-off - even in sending emails! I wonder why?

I also wonder how many other bloggers are experiencing either this phenomenon, or other weird problems? Is it our Browsers? Is it the Servers? Is it Blogger, itself, working on something? Is it Google? Are those two different?

Hmmm! I mentioned this to Nitecruzr, this morning, and he reminded me of the old Pink Screen notice!


Sunday, 26 October 2008

Following. To click, or not to click?

Every day, without fail, there is a thread on the Blogger Help Group, asking for ways to promote a blog.

Sure, there are ways which will do this, and do that, get your blog seen here, and there, but, without a doubt, the most important feature of blogging, and gaining readership, is to have interesting content - and to visit other blogs, comment, and show YOUR interest in THEIR blogs!

A two-way street is a better way to communicate, and, afterall, that's basically what we're doing, isn't it? Communicating!

That's where Follower is a major tool. It allows you to simply click, or be clicked! How much of a boost to your confidence would it be to see more, and more people - fellow bloggers - linked to your blog through the Followers gadget - each day, or week?

I have been fortunate. I have a large range of blogs on different topics, and although I don't have 50, or 100 'Followers' - yet, it's starting to grow. I have some followers who have very interesting blogs, and I have some followers who don't have blogs - they're just readers - but, as important as any. Where possible, and of interest to me, I follow their blogs, in return. I also look at the blogs they follow, too. That's how it goes.

With the Follower gadget on my blogs, I open my blogs up. Yes, people could go to the trouble of adding a site-feed to get updates of my articles, no worries there, but it also takes up space on their sidebar, or they could to use a reader, like Sage, or Google Reader. But, now, they have more choice! I like that!

Be warned, though, as my friend Nitecruzr says; " ...You are judged by what blogs you Follow."

Do you have any choice in who Follows your blog?

  • Yes, you do. It's called Blocking.
  • However, you can't Block an anonymous Follower.

  • Other bloggers have the same choices as you do.

What if you like a blog, but don't want to be 'shown' as a Follower?
  • Then, Follow it Privately, or Anonymously! Easy.
Do you have to Follow a blog which is Following you?
  • No! You don't. It's your choice.
What I am saying here, folks, is that Following gives you the choice to increase your readership, increase your knowledge on blogging, increase your circle of friends, and maintain a high-peak of interest. Yes, interest. After three years of blogging, I have often asked myself; "What's it all about, Alfie? Is this all worthwhile? Why haven't I got as many readers as that blog - mine is just as good?" Then, someone, or something, changes my direction, and the interest is re-generated. Such a catalyst, for me, is Following. Click, or be clicked. It's YOUR choice! It's also your choice to use this feature intelligently, and properly!


Saturday, 18 October 2008

Invitation - Can't Accept?

Many bloggers are currently experiencing trouble accepting Invitations to join Private blogs. They also, sometimes, get an error code.

Blogger Known Issues is a good place to look for known problems. An example from 2008, the last time something went wrong, and Blogger released a workaround ...

Thursday, October 16, 2008
"Some users may not be able to accept invitations to private blogs unless they are already signed into Blogger. The problem is frequently accompanied by a bX-b0uqh3 error message.

We hope to have this issue resolved shortly, but in the meantime here's a workaround:

  • Copy the sign-in link from the invitation email.
  • Navigate to and sign in.
  • Paste the original sign-in link into your browser's address bar, where you should then be given access to the private blog.

Easy enough?


Friday, 17 October 2008

Importing/Exporting - an Overview

With the advent Importing and Exporting via Blogger (Settings - Basic), it is now possible to copy a blog, or posts and comments, from one blog, to another blog - essentially backing-up your blog. This feature is now, thank goodness, available on Production Blogger - see your Settings - Basic screen.

Of course, it would be ideal to create a new blog to receive the Imported XML file. Unfortunately, you can't use the same name (URL), as Importing and Exporting is only done Blogger blog to Blogger blog, at the moment. Remember, it is not just Blogger who does this Import / Export of blogs - the other companies also have to make preparations for it! Wordpress, for one, is moving quickly for it's customers.

*Before any attempt at Importing/Exporting your treasured blog, I would recommend creating a Testing Blog, like I have, like Nitecruzr has, like most experienced Bloggers would have. They cost nothing and you can practice on them - not on your 'one and only'... and they're FREE!

The steps required are few, and the task is relatively easy. Set-up a New Blog (if required) to receive the Imported file. Next, make a copy (back-up) of the Template of the Blog you wish to Export.

The Export XML file generated, is Atom-formatted, and is designed for easy uploading as a back-up file.
  • The first step would be to create a Folder on your computer - say, in My Documents.
  • Then select Settings for the Blog you wish to copy from.
  • At the top of the screen, is the first Option, Blog Tools - Import Blog - Export Blog - Delete Blog. *Don't click 'Delete Blog'.
  • Select Export Blog.

You have now stored an XML file of your Blog. This can be used as a storage copy, or for adding certain posts to another Blog, or for creating a New Blog.

I found NO problems in the exercises I did with the Export function, although I had no comments attached to those Testing Blogs. The Export function works very well, although, until you get used to it, be watchful. I wouldn't practice on a valuable Blog, either. Create some 'Testers'.

How easy is that? Extremely so. And, what you do next has several possibilities.

The Import feature is a little more complicated if you only want to import some posts, not the whole blog.

Importing a whole blog is simply uploading the XML file you just created. Lets call your blogs, Blog A and Blog B. You have already exported the XML file from Blog A, and it's awaiting you in the folder you created.

Next, go to the Settings - Basic screen of Blog B, and click on Import Blog.

The next screen allows you to select the XML file you just made.

To Import ALL posts from the XML file, in other words, the whole blog, 'check' the Automatically Publish box... otherwise, you'll have to do them all individually, like when Importing only a certain Post.

Notice the dates of the Imported Posts, will remain as they were in the original Blog, Blog A, and are automatically sorted/integrated into your 'new' blog - Blog B.

My Testing Blog, had two posts on it, when I Imported a copy of another blog. All the posts, including Images, were added from the XML file I created, and integrated in date order... exactly as they had been in the original blog.

Importing a Blog, or creating a Back-up copy of a blog with Blogger Import / Export, pertains ONLY to the Posts, and Comments on that blog... not the Template!

To make a FULL (Mirror) copy of your Blog, and Template, try HTTrack - it's the one I use. Then copy to a disc.

This does not excuse you from not making a back-up copy of your Template html, which you should - at every opportunity.

So, in summary, Importing /Exporting of a Blogger blog to another Blogger blog is a very easy, and workable process - provided you follow the steps.


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Links - Why won't they work?

If my house address is:

25 Roberto Street,
Robertotown. XP2008.

... I would not get any mail, if someone addressed letters incorrectly.

It's the same with LINKS. Links require the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) to be correct. In other words, it's your cyberspace address, and it HAS to be correct, for 'mail' (people etc) to arrive at, or view your site. There are also many kinds of URLs in use, too.

If there's an error - anywhere in that URL - the pony express will NOT arrive! There's NO postman with 'local' knowledge, hidden inside your computer, who says; "Oh, yeah, I know who he/she means. This has to go to ..."

So, you have to get it right - or, try again. It can be a 'pain', but there could be many reasons:

  • The URL is not working because the site is closed - no longer working.
  • The URL is not working because you typed it incorrectly
  • The URL is not working because it's just wrong
  • Maybe, there's a problem with your computer server
  • Maybe there's a problem with cookies - check your Browser
  • Blah, blah, blah - who knows them all?

Some simple things to do will ensure you get to where you want to go:

  • Make sure, when typing a URL, that it does not have duplicate Protocol Identifier (HyperText Transfer Protocol) - the http:// ... eg: http:// - and that's an easy error to make!
  • Make sure of the structure of the other part of a URL, namely the Resource Name, is correct - this is the IP address, or Domain name, and that the TLD, or Top-level Domain is correct... check that is a .com, or a .net, or a .org, etc.
  • The best way to make sure you have it correct, is to highlight, right-click and COPY it.
  • Another thing to check, is the pop-up wizard which is used to input a link. It will often already have the Protocol Identifier there, so don't duplicate it!
  • And, another 'new' way to input URLs, is with Blogger in Draft Post Editor. It allows you to check the URL is working properly, before you publish the link. See more information ... < HERE >


Saturday, 11 October 2008

Horizontal Links Tables

Reading my mate's post on creating a Horizontal Index, gave me a hint to do something special.

Using the Tables cells, with frames, or without frames, can be a useful addition to your blog. Like Nitecruzr did in his post, you could achieve the same for a set of posts, like Nitecruzr alludes to, or a LinkList of Blogs, or whatever you wanted.

the ReportBalladryRecipes

The tables are easy to build and can be positioned where you like.

But, what if you have a narrow Template, like a Minima, instead of a Minima stretch Template, or one like a Sand Dollar? A seven, or eight-cell table will be too wide. However, once upon a time, if a table row was too wide for the main post space, it would break and some cells would go onto another line. That doesn't happen anymore. It will, most probably, cut-off halfway through a cell, ruining the table, and maybe, force the sidebar to drop.

So, to give you confidence, you should know the script well, so you can modify it and change how many cells are in the table. For instance, the above table looks like... (with gratuitous line breaks)... also, ignore the target="_blank" (separate window script).

<table align="center"><tbody><tr><td><table align="center" border="1" cellpadding="7"><tbody><tr><td><a href="" target="_blank">the Report</a>&lt/td><td><a href="" target="_blank">Balladry</a></td><td><a href="" target="_blank">Recipes</a></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table>

These links could be to anything, anywhere.

As long as you keep the form of the table in check, you can make the table row as wide, or as narrow, as you want it. Here is a wider table for comparison ...

the ReportBalladryRecipesReflections

... which looks like this (once again, with gratuitous line breaks)

<table align="center"><tbody><tr><td><table align="center" border="1" cellpadding="7"><tbody><tr>

<td><a href="" target="_blank">the Report</a></td>
<td><a href="" target="_blank">Balladry</a></td>
<td><a href="" target="_blank">Recipes</a></td>
<td><a href="" target="_blank">Reflections</a></td>

Have a play with them. You'l find a use that suits you, and be more confident. Maybe, you might add the code to an HTML/Javascript gadget? Thanks, Nitecruzr!


Thursday, 9 October 2008

Viewing Access for a Private Blog

I innocently answered a question thread on Blogger Help Group, this morning, about viewing a Private blog. The blogger was in turmoil as to why people, other than those he intended, could view - and were viewing - his blog...

"This is my second attempt to be helped. I'll be much shorter now. If you want to know "the whole think", just read the 1st msg below. Question: If my blog is configured to be viewed only by authorized people, how come anyone can see it, by clicking the link:

http://xxxxxxxxxxx.Blog* - no!

Anyone can help me with that? Thanks so much"

The blogger-in-question actually posted his correct URL, too, which I have changed for his security.

Now, it started me thinking - so, I called Nitecruzr. We did some testing of his ideas, and, sure enough, a problem does exist - not only in the Permissions setting - Only People I Choose, but in WHO you choose!

Let me explain.

If you opt for a semi-private blog, by selecting Only People I Choose, and send an "Invitation" by email to certain people, it's up to those people as to whether they accept that Invitation with the Email address you sent it to, or another address. Correct? Yes, it is.

Now, what's to stop those people from accepting the Invitation, and then forwarding it to someone else? Nothing. As Chuck and I proved, this morning, when I sent him an Invitation to a Private Blog of mine. When Chuck accepted the Invitation in his Email, he saw this screen - with his Email address etc ...

OR - he could have changed the Email address for another one. It gives him that option ...

Then, when he has accepted, with whichever address/username, he gets this notice ...

As Blog Owner, I see my Settings Permissions screen, like this. Low and behold, Chuck has not only accepted the original "Invitation", but has sent it to another of his accounts - and to one of MY more obscure email accounts, too (it could have been to anyone!)

So, instead of just having one Invited Reader, I have three (3)! Maybe, too, they could have been people I did NOT want, too - like SPAMMERS!

Now, what's to prevent Chuck from sending more email invitations from MY original "Invitation"? - Nothing!

Without removing Chuck, himself, he can send out as many as the blog will allow - (100 Members - total).

You can remove the unwanted 'members', but Chuck can re-invite them, because he has the Invitation token!

Blogger needs to be made aware of this potential security breach.

BUT - I can track who is doing the additional, or NON-APPROVED inviting. If Chuck, as he has done here, sends out copies of my invitation, to other people, it's recorded in the Blog Readers section.

Do you see? Just above Chuck's first photo, there is a line which showed Chuck's Email address, to which I sent the original invitation. Next to that is the number of Members that address has 'invited'. Now, I know who has been flooding my blog with unwanted Readers!

Of course, this is just a test, and I trust Chuck - implicitly. But, it could happen to YOU. What can you do to prevent this?

  • You could change the blog to a 100% Private Blog - Authors Only ...

  • OR, you can change it back and allow the Readers Group, Chuck 'invited'. You have the choice!

REMEMBER: - There's only one (1) way to have a totally Private blog - Authors Only - and make yourself the only one of those!


Sunday, 5 October 2008

Follower - needs a Feed URL

I tried to Follow a blog, just after the release of the feature, Follower. It wouldn't let me and gave me this message;

"http:// .......... / Could not detect a 'feed' for this URL".

  • Some blogs' URLs are able to be input directly into Add on your Reading List, because that URL is the Feed URL.
  • Some blog owners turn-off their Feeds.
  • Some blogs' feeds are Re-Directed - for example, to Feedburner.

So, in order to obtain a feed for your Follower gadget, you need to obtain that Feed URL. It's easy.
  • Add atom.xml to the end of the blog's URL... eg: http:// ......./atom.xml
  • That will show you the Live Bookmark pop-up. Add the Bookmark.
  • Then, use that Feed URL as the URL you input into the Add on your Reading List for Follower.
My mate Chuck has often said to me; "When you get a 'quirky' feed, trust your Browser. Remember, Browsers are predictable and can handle any feed. Newsreaders always have something interesting for you to worry about".

You will also get value from his posts on Newsfeeds.

A blog also has to have Site Feeds enabled - even in Basic Mode. See Settings - Site Feed.

For further info on Site Feeds, see : Feed URLs - What is mine?


Label-specific Site Feed


Saturday, 4 October 2008

Embedding a YouTube video in a Post

Location: Newcastle, NSW. Australia. Newcastle NSW, Australia

Embedding a YouTube video, or for that matter, one of your own videos, is a relatively easy task.

Even if you do, or don't, have a YouTube account, but you know the YouTube video URL, or find one you like, simply open the Embed box, and copy the script from it to your Edit HTML Post Editor. Publish. Done!

You find the script here, in the Embed section:

Copy the script and add it to the HTML Post Editor, ( using the Compose Mode Editor might require you to change certain character entities), like this...

For all the information you'll need, Blogger Help is best...

The finished Product...