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

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Tracking down problem sources

When I get a problem on one of my blogs, and it is only on extremely rare occasions, I get into my sleuth mode.

Sleuth mode? Do I hear you ask? Yes! Sleuth mode. As Sherlock Holmes said, in Ch.6 of The Sign of Four, 1890; ...

"You will not apply my precept," he said, shaking his head. "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth". - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

OK. Enough of the romance, and fantasy, let's look at problem solving on blogs.

Nearly everyday, I visit my friend's main blogs, The Real Blogger Status, and PChuck's Network, to see what he's been up to while I've been sleeping - he's in America and I am in Australia - which puts us hours ahead of him - in the future!(hahaha). Chuck never ceases to amaze me with his knowledge of IT, Computers and, of course, blogging. That's been his job, for all his adult life, so it's natural he would be good at it. The point I am making is, you have to have a source from which you gain knowledge, if like me, you have none other than what you've gleaned in a short five years.

Chuck, for me, is that source of accumulated knowledge. He's my computer problem/blogging problem, fix-it-all knowledge bank, so to speak, but, unfortunately, he doesn't have all the answers, all the time - at the time I want them. He's only human, so, he sends me on a mission to 'suss-out' the possible reasons, to eliminate the impossible, so I can present to him, a scenario of not necessarily improbable possibilities. (Don't worry, I don't get it, either).

Here is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Some people have been reporting problems with their Followers gadget, and are Missing Followers. Of course, people with problems think that simply by writing in to the Blogger Forum, that the Helpers, or Blog*Stars/TCs, are all Google Employees/Engineers, and when they read the problem threads, automatically know the Blog URL, can see front pages, know what the blogger was doing when a problem occurred, what Browser he/she uses, and how many teeth he/she still have! Not so!

Chuck has written several posts on "How to ....", specifically about network problems, but problems none the less, and I'm sure many bloggers have read them. However, for those who haven't, there is still salvation out there - somewhere.

Chuck has also written this post, on Asking For Help - and lists the things required by most people who try to solve problems. Even Blogger Employee has requested it!

So, give it some thought, if a problem occurs. Eliminate the impossible, nominate the improbable, and list the possible. Then, think about it.

For instance;

  • Have you changed Browsers?
  • Have you edited the html on the Template?
  • Can you remember 'tweaking' anything in particular?
  • Have you added a new gadget to your blog?
  • Has the problem happened since then?
  • Have you noticed other problems?

... and if you figure it out by yourself, after you've asked for help, PLEASE report your success, and the manner in which you achieved it. That may help others with the same problem!


Sunday, 19 July 2009

The Cache

Just imagine, if you will, a beautiful scene from your last holiday. Like a camera photo in your brain. We'll call that your brain's 'cached copy'. The 'original' being the actual landscape, which is too big, or too wondrous, to bring home, any other way.

Every time you close your eyes, you see that exact scene, time and time again - until you physically go back to the holiday locale, and see the trees cut down, or a monstrous multi-storied building in place of the log cabin and forest. All of a sudden, the new scene takes the place of your brain's 'cached copy'.

Basically, that's how the Server cache works, when it visits your blog. It refreshes it's cache with a 'new look' at your blog - and if you've changed anything, like added a new post, or photo, the Server retains the updated information, and presents that to your Readers, as a realistic, updated version of your blog!

That's how the cache of your computer's Browser works, too. Basically the same way.

Browsers get an item of information, a page, or a website, from the source, and make a copy of it. This is a cached copy. The cache also has a back-up, or backing-store copy. It saves the computer having to re-visit the source of the information, all the time - going to the mountains to see its holiday haven! (Ever notice how much slower your computer is when you visit a website for the first time, as opposed to re-visiting?)

This, of course, is an over-simplified version, a poor analogy, of what cache is all about, but it's a time-saver, a cost-saver and it's a life-saver - sometimes. But, it needs attention and servicing, just like nearly everything else. It needs clearing - sometimes! Sometimes, the 'photo' is getting old, and not representative of the true state of the subject. Sometimes, you've also added another million photos to your brain's cache, and you have to sort through them all to find the one you want!

There is a myriad of reasons for why you need to clear the cache, or, to maintain this theme, or, clear the junk out of your brain's memory!

When the cache operates properly, in Utopian conditions, the cache is accessed by the processing unit (CPU) and the stored site information is presented for viewing. This is a cache hit.

But, what if it doesn't find the right copy? A cache miss is the result. In this situation, the Browser can't find a copy of the page in the cache, so the processor consults the backing-store and produces a copy of the desired site. BUT - where will it store this copy? That is the big question. Maybe, there's got to be some serious zarking done here!

If your cache isn't able to find a page, it replaces the missing copy, (the cache copy), with the backing-store copy, and in some cases the CPU will create space by ejecting some other entry, to make room. So, when you try to find some piece of information, it may well be the piece that was ejected - the process repeats.

This is one reason for clearing the Browser Cache and probably a significant cause of so-called missing pages, or pages which do not get presented for viewing, or pages which haven't updated.

You might also Refresh the page - ie: force a fresh of the page, to be stored/ displayed. To do that, hit the < F5 key >, or hold down the Shift key and hit the Refresh button in the browser toolbar...

"This will delete just this web page, and all files associated with it, and reload each again into cache"...see the Nitecruzr's post linked further down.

How do you clear your Browser cache?

There have been more posts written on this subject, than I could count, with a bank of calculators. The Nitecruzr has written it up. Blogger Help has written it up.

Your choice.

Your problem might also be connected with a Cookie. That's a different post, another time.


Thursday, 16 July 2009

Anchor Links within a post

My friend, the Nitecruzr, once told me; "Anchors are simple - make an anchor - and link to it!"

Of course, then he told me about the W3 School and gave me the link to find out, myself! He was correct, though! They are simple - just tricky, but once you 'get' them, you'll have some fun!

It is important to know how to link from one specific point in your post, or a specific theme/word in your post, to something in another part of your blog post. It's called an Internal Anchor Link! Anchors and Triggers.

With me so far?

Internal Anchor Links work especially well, when there is a lot of information on a page, or sections of a page, and you wish to refer the reader back to a previous point. I have made an example of this at the end of the post. Indeed, every post on this blog, displays an Anchor Link in some fashion.

Unlike URL Hyperlinks, to make Anchor Links, you have to use the HTML Editor, as opposed to the COMPOSE MODE, or WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Post Editor, to 'set' the 'anchor target tag'...

<a name="anchor">
anchor</a> (target word).

The Triggers, or HyperLinks, to the Anchor target tags. They look like this:

<a href="
Target Anchor word">Target</a>.

One interesting part of Anchor Links - INTERNAL, or EXTERNAL, is the use of the Hash key #. With anchor links, it can be used 'Sans URL' (without URL), as seen in the following examples...

Let's say I want to link back to the first part of this post, to the word - anchor - at the top. The first thing I do, is to set the 'Target', if you will, - the Anchor point. That looks like this:

<a name="anchor">

(This is the same for an External Anchor Link to this post). I then place it, by typing it into the HTML Editor.

Then, I link to it by selecting a word to use as a hyperlink - say, for example, from:

<a href="#anchor">
Back to the start</a>


N.B. Links are case-sensitive, as with Feed URLs.

In addition to the above, you can also use basically the same 'target' anchor, except by making it numerical, as well. eg:

Linkhere1, Linkhere2, Linkhere3, etc. As an example, I have set an anchor at the word 'Triggers' above. Click this trigger Here, to go to it!

The anchor looks like this:

<a name="Linkhere1">

The trigger looks like this:

<a href="#Linkhere1">

N.B. - As the owner of the blog, you should know where your Anchors are. If so, then you can also access them from 'outside'. In other words, you can link to the salient 'tags' from another blog, or post, with the correct Hyperlink URL - as above. For example, I know where a 'tag' is in my Photos Blog, for Hong Kong Harbour. Click <Here>

Another example of the Internal Anchor (from above) is - I have placed an anchor on the anagram WYSIWYG above, and called it editor. The target anchor looks like this:

<a name="editor">

Here is the trigger to that target:

<a href="#editor">


There you have it. Internal Anchor Links - a vital weapon in the armoury of a busy blogger. External Anchor Links are basically the same process, but you have to have access to the site you want to link to.

If I were to set an External link, which I haven't, to the target word, WYSIWYG above, it would look like this (remember that I have set the anchor as 'editor'):

<a href="">

Try it. Open a new Browser window, copy this URL, and see:

Not much different, at all.