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

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Deleting, and Restoring, a blog - under 90 days!



Blogger gives you the opportunity to delete a blog from your Google Account, without deleting the actual Account. Blogger Accounts, at this time, cannot be deleted - unless you delete the actual Google Account!

To 'Permanently' delete a blog, there are several things you should do, first:

  • Make a copy of your blog, and store that file on your computer
  • Export the XML.file of the blog - in case you want to start again
  • Remove ALL personal information in the blog Profile
  • Delete ALL posts from the blog (see: Edit Posts)

Then, if you are 100% sure, proceed to the blog Settings - Basic screen. Next to Blog Tools, the 3rd Option is Delete Blog. Click it.




The next step is to 'Make Sure'. Blogger gives you a reminder about exporting the blog. To complete the deletion, click 'Delete Blog'. It's all done.



Now, so many people realise their errors, or mistakes, in deleting a blog. I recommend NEVER deleting a blog. So, Blogger now gives you an opportunity to Restore the deleted blog, if you do it before the expiration of 90 Days!

After that, Blogger may be able to help you, but I wouldn't hold my breath.


Proceed to logging in to your Blogger Account, to bring up the Dashboard. At the bottom of the Dashboard, just before the Reading List, you should see 'Show All'. This lists ALL blogs - current, or deleted (within 90 days).



Click on Show All to reveal any blogs which have been deleted within the past 90 Days. To restore that blog, click on 'Undelete this blog'



Behold, the Restored Blog -



See also:

Deleting a Blogger Account

Delete in Haste? No Way!


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Saturday, 15 August 2009

Email Address - which characters can I use?



This question; "Which characters can I use to construct an email address?", is not often asked, and is a very simple one, however, the overall subject of email addressing, is very complex.

I won't dare to encroach upon it. I will, however, try to give a basic idea of the construction of an email address, and which characters you can use, the limits of such, and also, some interesting facts.

An excellent article exists in Wikipedia on this subject and is a source of information for this article.


The email address is made up of two parts:

  • The part before the 'at' sign ( @ ) - is the the Local part.
  • The part after the 'at' sign ( @ ) - is the Domain part.


An email address can be made-up of up to 64 ASCII characters in the Local part, and a maximum of 255 Characters in the Domain part.


The Domain part of the email address is pretty much restricted to the hostname of the email supplier - eg: Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. It can vary if you have your own domain name, eg: robertosblogs.net.

The Local part of the email address can have these ASCII characters ...

  • Uppercase and lowercase English letters a-z, A-Z
  • Digits 0 through 9
  • Characters ! # $ % & ' * + - / = ? ^ _ ` { | } ~
  • Character . (dot, period, full stop) provided that it is not the first or last character, and provided also that it does not appear two or more times consecutively.


This also varies somewhat, with the domain host. Some hosts allow certain characters, and not others. The addition of Quoted Strings, eg: ("JS"@example.com) is also permitted, thus allowing normally prohibited characters, but it is suggested that a host expecting to have mail delivered, refrain from using these strings in the 'Local' part.


This is where it gets messy and individual. The Hosts can vary what they want, or will allow, and will send mail to! For example, you might have a host which allows certain characters to be present in the Local part of the address, but will NOT allow you to send mail to an address which has certain characters in it!

eg:
Hotmail will NOT allow you to re-direct email from your Hotmail account to an address with, say, dot net (.net) in the domain part. Hotmail also, as per the Wikipedia article, for example, ... only allows creation of e-mail addresses using alphanumerics, dot (.), underscore (_) and hyphen (-), and will not allow sending mail to any e-mail address containing ! # $ % * / ? | ^ { } ` ~



Google accounts mail (Gmail) will normally indicate to you, if a character is NOT allowable, when you are creating your account. From memory, there are certain characters that they do NOT allow - such as; + and /


As per this Google article, <HERE>, they don't worry about the period (.) in email addresses.

"...When you sign in to your account, you can use any configuration of dots in the 'Username' field. So, if you originally signed up for an email, such as: yourusername@gmail.com, you can sign in with your.user.name@gmail.com."

That is great, because Google only recognises variations of your original account name! Read the article! That's one good reason (among many) for using Google mail (Gmail), too.


Keep a close eye on what you can, and can't, use. If you wish to be creative, this is a must.


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Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Blogger Profile Links



Currently, there's a problem with the function of Blogger Profile Links, though I believe it has been 'fixed'.

Normally, Profile links, those links which appear when you click on View Profile, look like these:-




They are a great way to find people with similar interests. I was very disappointed to find this next image, when I tried to find a specific link ...




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Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Making an Image Collage



Last week, I had a lot of photos from a walk through my sister's garden - snapping here and snapping there. I wanted to add them to a post on my Reflections blog, so I decided, instead of having a post, or series of posts to display all the images, to make them into a series of collages. Thus reducing the size on my post. Easy, really, but time consuming. Bear in mind, this is a 'basic' way of doing it. I'm sure some talented bloggers could do a more professional job!


I used MS Paint and MS Picture Manager (available on your Programs) and can never do without Irfanview to help me.


Plate 1. - Upload images to a folder on My Documents/My Pictures. Then, perhaps, you'll have to reduce them in size. I use MS Picture Manager. Then, I always then reduce the colour depth to around 160 pxls with Irfanview (sort of like compressing). This makes the overall collage less sizeable.


Plate 2. - I open MS Paint, and then open the storage folder - <Ctrl O> - and select the images stored. Choose the image I wish to start with, and click it. The image is then presented in the 'Paint' window, and I can drag it to where I want it.


Plate 3. - Position the image by clicking and dragging.


Plate 4. - You can always trim and cut from each image as you work in Paint.


Plate 5. - You can even rotate images to fit in.


Plate 6. - When your images are positioned, you are ready to apply a background colour, should you wish.



Plate 7. - Once the background colour is affixed, you can also add Text, colour it, add boxes, or whatever suits you.



Plate 8. - The 'finished' collage




The benefits? The collage will not greatly reduce the overall intent of adding the images to a post, but, over time, by reducing the size taken up with Images on your blog, you'll gain - not only from not having a post which takes forever to scroll through with 20+ images, but remember, Picasa is the Blogger Photo Host and there's a 1Gb limit for storage!

The above images are around 5Mbs in total size. The four collage Images on my photo blog, total 770Kbs. So, over time, it counts.


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NeoCounter - 2



Some of my readers may have noticed I now have a rolling counter from NeoCounter.

It's shiny and new, and gives a tally of not only the number of visitors to my site, but, more importantly for me, where they came from. It's important to me because I like to know. Numbers are just that. Unless, as I have stated before, you are interested in the volume of readers (ie: Page Rank), then where visitors come from is just as important.




NeoCounter gives me that opportunity, and presents it in a nice package. They have lotsa packages, too! I know I can find out where a reader comes from, from any number of other counters, but I like the little gadget with the scrolling flags etc. I have only had it for a couple of weeks, and the end of my trial period is fast approaching. What do I do then? Nothing really, because I am NOT going to upgrade the gadget, as I am NOT going to spend €19.90 per year (A$40) for a gadget! Are they that good? I doubt it.

I also use *Statcounter - FREE - and probably the best!
...and, Sitemeter - FREE - hard to pick the difference!
Oh, I also have - Google Analytics - FREE - I don't even know it's there!

* = Preferred

That's enough.


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Block a Follower (2) - an Update.



Some time ago, when the Follower gadget was all new and exciting, I tried to cover a few aspects of using it - one of which was  Blocking a Follower.

Things get changed, or updated, to make them better, or more streamlined. Thus was the case with Blocking a Follower. The result is the same, but the method slightly different.


To Block a Follower (for whatever reason) is as simple as:-
  • Go to your Dashboard
  • Click on Followers
  • Click on the Image of the offending Follower
  • Click the option to Block
  • Block
  • It's Done

... see the following images - (No, Bonnie, I didn't)







Simple as!

Blocking a Follower - Updated April 2010


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Monday, 10 August 2009

Your Profile(s)



On the Blogger Help Forum, a blogger noticed that her 'real name' was associated with her 'Follower' Profile tag, on a blog she was Following. She was concerned and wanted to know how this could be, and how to 'fix' it. She also did not know which Profile it was. She wanted to know if she changed the name, would it affect anything else.

Let's look at the situation.

Many bloggers have two, or more, Profiles : The Blogger User Profile, and the Google Account Profile, are the main ones. Other Profiles may include ... Twitter, Facebook, etc

There is NO Profile which says; "You have to show your 'Real Name' on this Profile."


The Blogger User Profile is attached to your blog and is associated with the blog Username (Login ID). It is also the Profile used by your Follower's gadget, by default.

This can be edited, and changed, within the blog, and from account to account. The only thing you cannot change on your Blogger User Profile is the actual Username / Account name, as this is the Google Account you created the blog with. Of course, you can transfer ownership of the blog, or have several (up to 100) different 'Admin' email accounts and, therefore, Profiles, associated with the blog.

Your Google Account Profile is attached to your Google Account and is, generally, associated with your email (or Gmail) account/address. This profile is now the one which is used for Blogger Help Forum (the old Google Groups Blogger Help Group). This can be edited, but the edit will apply to ALL of your Google products! The changes to your Profile will NOT change your email address(es).

Blogger User Profile: -

The Blogger User Profile is the one you set up from your Blogger Dashboard. All your Readers can click on it and read 'About You'. It is also the Profile used when you Follow another Blog. That, can be changed (see below).

There are only two REQUIRED fields on this Blogger User Profile:

Username - Not Publicised, unless you say so. Not Changeable.
Display Name - Publicised - Changeable


Now, if you have two, or more, Usernames / Profiles, which are associated with the one blog, you can change the Profile which Follows another person's blog, to one of the other Blogger User Profiles - OR - you can change the Blogger User Profile to one of your 'other' Profiles. How?

Well, if you are Following a blog, it will be listed in your Reading List at the bottom of your Dashboard. Simply click on the blog in question, then select Settings.

There's lots of things you can change, via Site Settings, in Follower. Your 'Follower Profile' is just one. You have to be logged-in, though!


Google Account Profile

see -

Information about Google Profiles

Managing your Google Account page, says;

- You can access your profile through the My Account page

as well as this direct link:
http://www.google.com/profiles/me.


Your profile is also visible when you create content in certain products such as Google Maps, Reader, Book Search, and Knol."


A Google Profile is created from your Google Account page...

Editing:

If you use Gmail with your Google Account, it is NOT currently possible to change your Gmail Username, after you have registered. You can, however, create another account with a different name.

If you don't use Gmail with your Google Account, you can change your account username to another email address at any time. Your username is the full email address you used to create your account.

The only information which will appear on your Google Profile is what you place there!

see also:

Managing Your Google Account page also says;

Does changing my information in my profile affect my use of other Google products?

Changing your name in your profile changes it in your Google Account. This change will then be reflected in all products you sign in with your account. For example, you'd see this change in Gmail, if you send emails with your default Google Account name.

If you use Gmail, you can change your settings to send emails using a name that is different to your Google profile name.

A Google Profile is just one of many Profiles which a Blogger, or Google Account holder can have - eg: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It also 'links' all your Google Products together. It can also link to Blogger for use on Follower!


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Saturday, 8 August 2009

403 Forbidden / DDoS



OK - lets look at this, seriously. Why do you get these messages? Why are you being prevented from accessing a site, which, for all intents and purposes, was OK, is OK? Why are you getting this 403 Forbidden message?

For those of us who blog, or Tweet, or Facebook, there was a massive attack on the 'system' by the world of computer's equivalent of whale excreta. That's right - detritus - of the very worst variety!

For eg: I copied this little snippet from the article on a DSL Reports forum by Sharon Gaudin, called "DDoS outrage shows addiction to social sites" - Twitter outage spotlights 'addiction to social media crack' Attack that hit Twitter, Facebook and Google left users adrift .... "When Twitter went offline yesterday, 45 Million users -- including a growing number of older users -- were affected. And they were vocal about their feelings about it. One Facebook user noted, "Suffering tweet withdrawal." Another posted, "Wanting Twitter - NOW."


I want you to remember that number, 45 Millions!


Still with me? Good. I was blissfully unaware of this 'outrage', as late as this morning, Saturday, in Australia, until Nitecruzr drew it to my attention to it. The reason it came up in our chat, I don't remember, but suffice to say, it surfaced...

"Did you see the Twitter/Facebook DDoS attack?"
"No"
"It hit Twitter/Facebook and Google, too! Have a look at this <Link >"
"Wow! So, I should get on-line more, and keep up to date?"
"Yup. Stop cooking for a while, and save some pigs!" - (he knows I love bacon)!


OK - have I sparked your interest, yet? If I haven't, then nothing will, I suppose.


What's a DDoS? It's a Distributed Denial of Service. Oh, yeah, and what does that mean?

Well, it means, that some detritus, (mentioned earlier), has prompted users to 'flood' their sites with requests for information and to ask "what's happening". See here - from the previous source ...

"A distributed denial of service attack occurs when computers flood a Web site with requests for information -- effectively shutting it off from other legitimate traffic."

and ...

"It's a bit like 15 fat men trying to get through a revolving door at the same time -- nothing can move," said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant for Sophos, in a blog post. "Don't underestimate the impact an attack like this can have, by the way..."


...and then the fix goes into the fight ...


"Like Twitter and Facebook and other services this last week, Blogger is currently under a significant DDoS attack, and the 403 messages are a temporary prevention put in place to try to squash the attack. We'll keep you posted. Thanks for understanding!"


There you go. But, how does it affect bloggers?


This sort of attack prevents our Readers from seeing our blogs. Then they write in wondering why, adding to the chaos already in place.


What does Google do?

Well, my mate's analogy was; "Imagine if everyone around the world was asked to cough at the same time, and did! How would you know who was the first to cough?"

Have a look at this article by Juan Carlos Perez, in DSL Reports ... < HERE >.

Then there's this ... "The blogger, who told the newspaper that his first name is Georgy and that he is a 34-year-old economics lecturer, said that the hackers sent hundreds of thousands of e-mail messages, falsely saying they came from him and asking recipients to visit his pages on Twitter, LiveJournal and Facebook."


Network Specialists are pretty clever people, generally. The 'victims', like Twitter, and to a lesser extent, Google, have Network Specialists who know 'roughly' where these attacks come from, so what they do is 'block' the neighbourhood of the attack. This will effectively 'kill' maybe, 5 - 10% of the traffic, which accounts for, maybe, 1% of the DDoS itself, and 4% victims. Of course, this leaves 95%.

It's the 4% who don't know why they have been affected, who write in to complain and ask 'Why?'.

So, imagine that the 45 Million users, (the number I asked you to remember), represents just 4% of the people who could 'complain'?


Ever heard of an 'Email Flood'?


In words short enough for me to understand, the 403 Forbidden, stops you, and another (the number of users I asked you to remember (above)), from clogging-up an already clogged-up site. It stays in place until things return to normalcy (if there is such a place).

So, don't be part of it. Now you know what it's used for, just do something else for a few hours, or a day. Don't give everyone more heart-ache by writing in!

see also: The 403 Block


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Friday, 7 August 2009

Don't Delete - anything, first!



Oh, goodness above, I saw a thread today, from a frustrated blogger, who started a blog with one email address, realised it was the wrong one, and deleted both the blog and the email account! He/she now wants to know what he/she can do. Why now? After the horse has bolted? Can you believe it?

Why, when faced with that situation, doesn't he/she just add the correct email account , via the Permissions screen, and transfer the blog to the correct email account? Or, ask what to do, via the Help Forum?

I'll tell you why ...


THEY PANIC!


They don't go looking for answers! They have NEVER heard of Blogger Help! They don't 'know' their blogs, either. They do not know there is always help - before they delete! They think that they have to delete before thinking, if they actually do think.

Why the rush to delete? Beats me. If they painted their house and the paint didn't look right, would they burn that house and get another one? No.

If you have a problem with something, look for an answer. Search for the remedy. It may be in:



Never, Never, Never, delete anything, first, and ask questions later!


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Thursday, 6 August 2009

Differing pitch sizes in post



It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes, a blogger gets two differing pitch sizes in a published post - and goes nuts trying to figure it out!

Exactly why it happens is, most likely, switching from the HTML Editor, to the WYSIWYG, or COMPOSE Editor, and back again, frequently, during editing.

Fixing it is easy as opening the HTML Editor and correcting all the text pitch size indicators.

Remember, the editor is programmed to use 100% pitch-size as default. So, if you enlarge the pitch, you need to check that ONLY the section of text you want enlarged, is. (I always type all my posts in Compose Mode, then briefly check the HTML to add anything I want, such as anchor links, then select Font, and Pitch sizes last thing before Publishing). This switching back and forth with Editors, is a number one contributor to problems in the form of your post, too!

So, in editing the HTML, just change these pitch variations back to 100%, 'Save' / 'Publish', and the problem will disappear!


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Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Profile Links - still not working.



Reported in Known Issues ...

"Profile interests, favorites, etc. are not currently displayed as links to browse through other profiles."

Update: - this has been fixed. Monday, August 20, 2007.


Obviously, the problem has recurred -

This image taken by Screen Print of my blog profile, August 5th, 2009.





Reported in Known Issues ...

"The Profile Browsing feature is currently not returning results when clicking through to certain items on a Blogger profile page. We're investigating and will report back with an update from our end shortly".

Thanks for your patience. Thursday, July 09, 2009.


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