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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Strange Characters Appearing in Labels



One blogger reports:

"It says there is one post attached to this label but when I click on it, nothing comes up. I don't know how to delete this. Can anyone help? Thanks!!"

What he/she is reporting is that there are strange characters, of even stranger origin, in the Labels applied to a post. I mentioned these characters last week in my post, 24 Hours of Nothing!

They are some sort of Font-style character, which I have seen before, somewhere, but can't remember.

There is NO need to worry about them, either. It is all a by-product of Google's work on restoring the system after their monumental stuff-up, last week. I suspect that they have stuffed-up the restoration of the stuff-up, as well.

The characters in question, look exactly the same as these, which appear on one of Bloggers own sites

Please do NOT panic, change things, or reset any Passwords! This should return to 'normal', sooner than later.


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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Crazy Happenings!



I know there are challenges with Blogger, at present, but, golly-gosh, this is crazy!

I am writing this post, when I am NOT officially, logged-on! How's that possible?

I logged-on earlier, with one Gmail account, and went to my Dashboard for that account - to see the Dashboard for an account I was NOT logged-on to! How's that possible?

I logged-off from one Gmail account - and couldn't! How's that possible?

I sent an Invitation from one blog, to another Gmail account that I have. I opened the email, accepted the Invitation, and it opened up the Dashboard of an account I wasn't even logged-in to! How's that possible?


I wonder if it works with Bank Accounts? I'll try Bill what-his-name's, or Warren thinga-me-bob's. hahaha


Crazy happenings, to be sure!


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Logging-on, Logging-off, and Can't Post Comments



A friend contacted me yesterday, asking if I had heard of any problems with logging-in, and leaving Comments on blogs...

"It keeps asking me to log in, but doesn't tell me my password is incorrect, then just flips back to the same screen again. I also tried to comment on someone's blog, and it asks me to log in again, but won't let me."

I did notice a marked slowness with Blogger, but that was about it. At the time, there were no real reports in the Forum, concerning this problem. Guesswork isn't my favourite pastime, either, so I set about trying to find out. Later, last night, my friend once again contacted me to say logging-on happened without a Password being entered! Weird, or what?

I thought it may be connectivity problems. It's difficult to test a computer which is 1000 miles away.
I suggested to clear the cache and Google/Blogger (Only) Cookies. Reboot the Browser, try another Browser, try another computer, try another account email.

I suggested that it might have something to do with Google/Blogger's restoration of missing posts from the May 13th debacle, and that forgetting about blogging for a few hours might be the best. That's all I could do. I went to bed.

This morning, I see that Blogger has acknowledged there is a problem, and they are investigating.

My friend, Nitecruzr, wrote up a problem report on a similar theme.

Reading some of the questions in the Forums, also made we aware of the drastic steps some bloggers take, when something out of their control, happens...

"I cant access my account. I have reset my password doesn't let me in went to the help forum and that keeps saying my URL isn't valid can do anything and have NO access to my account Called the help phone number from the internet and lady on the phone said go to Google help that's all I can tell you."

I have to ask; "Why would you reset a Password?" Your Password was working OK at five o'clock, it will still be OK at six o'clock - even if Google crashes! System problems like these, are NOT a Password problem! When something like this happens, don't go crazy and change things - there's generally nothing you can do. Pack it in and watch TV. Certainly do NOT change your password. People have to start to learn what is, and what isn't, a system/Google problem.

This article by Google Employee, Mr.Evan, should be read, too. "Keeping your Gmail account safe"


As Billy Joel suggested; "Don't go changin...."


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Monday, 23 May 2011

Do You Have a lot of Email Contacts?



I don't get to read as many associated Google and Blogger blogs, as I'd like to, but I should make a bigger effort.

Catching-up with what's what in this world of words, is essential, in my eyes. Today, was one of those rare days, when I did some looking.




I didn't realise just how powerful, and versatile, Google Mail (Gmail) really was. Now, for those Email Users who are very popular, or think they are, it is possible to store up to 25,000 Email Contacts, on their Gmail Contacts! 25,000! That's Twenty-five thousand!

Wow! In 20 years, I might send 2,500 emails, but never, would I get to even send one to each of those - if I had 25,000 contacts, that is! I should get out of my hole, more often. I can only think of one sort of person (perhaps, A SPAMMER?), who would have 25,000 contacts, though, and I could be wrong! If you are a legitimate emailer, and are insulted by that, I'm sorry, and I beg your pardon, I just didn't believe it possible for you to exist.

Of what possible benefit would it be? You can only send 500 Emails per day!

The Top Contributor, from the Gmail Forum, suggests:
"The sending limit is 500 per 24 hours. This means 500 in any combination -- 1 email to 500 people, 5 emails to 100 each etc.

If you use Gmail via Outlook or any other POP connection, the limit is 100."

see also: This Google Apps forum question and reply


Also, I suspect, some people receive many, many emails, because Google Mail provides us with a lot of storage capacity, for emails. I save, probably, 6 out of every 10 emails I receive, for one reason, or another, and my blog management account reflects that I am currently using 265 MB (3%) of my 7585 MB. (that's in 4 years!)

p.s: I just found this section of Gmail Help - Sending Limits. It is interesting...

"In an effort to fight spam and prevent abuse, Google will temporarily disable your account if you send messages to more than 500 recipients or if you send a large number of undeliverable messages. If you use a POP or IMAP client (Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail, e.g.), you may only send a message to 100 people at a time. Your account should be re-enabled within 24 hours."


The above link also suggests you to look at Google Groups. I wrote this post on Mailing Lists, some time ago. You may also find it useful.


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Saturday, 21 May 2011

Enlarging your Screen



How many times do you get a Word Captcha, which is virtually, unreadable? Impossible to solve? If you're like me, it's often, because your eyesight is rapidly diminishing!

Look at this one I found a while ago ...


What I should have done, but forgot at the time, was to enlarge the screen <Ctrl + > (Control Plus), and ended up with something like this:



Of course, when you finish, it's the reverse ... <Ctrl - > (Control minus)

A neat trick to remember!

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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Microsoft Does NOT



One particularly nasty scam being perpetrated by Call Centres, in India, is the "Windows Malicious Software Update".

Remember: MICROSOFT DOES NOT CALL YOU!

Please view the following link story, and view the video link!

A prominent Australian TV program, A Current Affair, broadcast a story tonight, concerning Call Centre scammers, and their attacks on unsuspecting folk...

"A Current Affair investigates the latest phone and computer scam emptying the bank accounts of Australians. Find out how to stop criminals accessing your computers and exploiting your personal information"

These scams are widely ranging and have been written about in many, many forums, all over the Internet. Google for them, just to see the sheer volume of the problem!

Apparently, the scammers call, by phone, pretending to represent Microsoft. They trick the receiver into taking part in an innocent-sounding survey. They solicit information from the victim, and then, days later, call back to say that there are problems on your computer, which only they can 'fix'. Having said that they represent Microsoft, or similar large companies, some victims are being duped into allowing these criminals access to their computers - and the scammers are quick to seize your computer - right under your nose!

Some victims (see video), can actually see the cursor moving on their screen, as the scammers delete programmes, and or, access account information, and personal ID information.

Remember: Don't give any information to any caller!
Remember: Microsoft does not send Updates by EMAIL!
Remember: There is NO refund on stupidity - although some banks will credit your account under certain conditions.

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Sunday, 15 May 2011

Following Vs. Subscribing to Vs. Bookmarking



If you are like me, you may have a blog which is rarely, if ever, updated. Such is the case with my homepage blog. It just sits there with information on it - hopefully, that people will use to link to my other sites.


When I see readers Following that blog, I wonder why. It won't be updated, and there will be no feed from it, so Subscribing to the blog will also prove fruitless.

This started me thinking that perhaps those readers should have used the Bookmark feature on their Browser. If they just wanted to 'tag' that page/blog for future reference, or access, then Bookmarking would have been best. I use Firefox Browser, in preference to any other available. Most Browsers have this facility, I'm sure. Internet Explorer has its Favorites, Chrome, does too, I think.

With Firefox, I can set up Folders on a Tabs bar, and add sites to those folders, by clicking and dragging from the address bar - or, I can just Bookmark them - ad hoc. For reference later, I find this a lot easier than logging-on to Blogger Dashboard, and searching the Reading List, or searching through Google Reader for that blog/site.


You can see from the above image, that I have a number of folders - under each folder may be sub-folders, too. But, if I wanted a particular site, and I had bookmarked it, I know where it would be, and I can quickly click to find it!

Subscribing to a blog's Feed, or Site Feed, is a great way to get updates from a blog - if that blog updates regularly. Following a blog almost fits the same scenario exactly, as it relies on Feed traffic, inter alia. I am still trying to fully understand why some readers use Follower instead of a Subscription! Apart from the obvious Social platform benefits, and the quick-sites-surfing, the Follower gadget just takes up space in sidebars, to display, and provides much the same information, as subscribing. I have the gadget on my blogs because readers tend to look for it, now. They expect it to be there, I presume.

At least, with Bookmarking, or Subscription via Google Reader, I don't have to remember which Profile ID I used, if I wish to 'Stop'. I just ditch the site! Done!

Of course it is your choice, and I am not suggesting one way is better than another, I am simply providing options.


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Saturday, 14 May 2011

24 Hours of Nothing!



The wonderful Gene Pitney sang about being 24 hours from Tulsa (Oklahoma), but I guess he wasn't a blogger.

We've been 24 hours from our blogs - 24 hours of nothing! I wonder how many bloggers woke this morning to blogs with 'things', or 'bits' missing, or that were 'looking strange', or were actually 'missing' - gone - in their entirety! I've noticed 'strange' things on my blogs, 'evil' things, things which send me to my 'place in the sun' to think about! Weird things.


It all started with, what Blogger described as a Routine Maintenance on May 9th ...


Then, the tenor of the message changed, ever so slightly...


Then, as Forrest Gump said; 'It happens'...



What the heck does 'Read Only Mode' mean to the average Joe Blogger? Mmmm.


Another 'update' ...



...and, to back-up what the Helpers on the Forum, were telling everyone - the engineers did work late ...



I gave up, at midnight, Aussie time, and hit the sack. This morning, I logged-on to a pleasant surprise - Blogger was back ...


And, they even had a notice in Blogger Buzz ...



Communication from Blogger to its customers, while not perfect, is getting a little better. After all, a commitment to improve communication was made by Jinwoo Lee, Blogger Software Engineer, back in March - after the last crash ...




We should be grateful for small mercies, by the way, as I for one, can imagine what mayhem and level of concern was being wagered in the Blogger Headquarters, last night, and, I suppose, all hands were on deck trying to 'fix' the problem, let alone trying to keep 'us' informed. Still, they did manage to do it, albeit, somewhat retarded.

One of the weird things I have noticed on one of my blogs (a private blog), is the character situated in my Label section! Where the heck did this come from?





Pretty serious 24 hours, I'd say. I can't begin to know, or understand the role of an Engineer at Blogger, but I guess I have to thank them for the job they did. I am, after all, back on the air, and blogging again.

What else can I say other than - How can I complain? It's FREE!


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Thursday, 12 May 2011

Word Captchas



With the amount of Word Captchas we have to solve, when using Google, or Blogger, sometimes it's almost impossible to solve. I feel like a robot is required to help me prove I am human...



If anyone can tell me why they can be as hard as that one, please do!


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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Spinning Wheel in New Editor - again!



Last night, on the Blogger Help Forum, many bloggers reported their inability to post, or edit posts, or basically, do anything, because of an ever-spinning wheel (of death).

This is a recurrence of the same problem which happened in January of this year, and was supposed to have been fixed. Obviously, it may be a recurring problem. Of course, Known Issues reported nothing except the result of the January problem, as engineers, on a Sunday nights, State-side, I would imagine, are thin-on-the-ground.

I had the problem, too, like all the rest, but I remembered that last time, I switched from the New Editor, back to the Old Editor. This seemed to be a plausible, and successful, work-around, although once used to the New Editor, going back is somewhat uncomfortable for many of the 'newbies'.


The Spinning Wheel...




Go to your Settings - Basic screen, scroll down to Global Settings, and click on Old Editor under the option Select Post Editor. Then, click Save Settings.




Don't forget to always have a quick look at Known Issues, to see if a problem has been reported...




Don't forget to keep checking that the problem has been rectified, or not, so you can revert to New Editor.



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Friday, 6 May 2011

Transferring Ownership of a Blog - 2

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


Transferring Ownership of a blog, as I discussed before, really is a simple task - BUT - you have to be careful. It is easy to make a mistake, if you don't pay attention. Removing the 'old' account should be a last resort - and only done when you are sure the 'new' account has working 'Admin' privileges.

Don't forget - if you do remove the original account from the blog, and you have images on that blog, the images are stored on Picasa and the Picasa account stays with the original account! If you delete that account - so goes your photos!


So, you are ready to perform the task of Transferring Ownership. In this scenario, we'll pretend that 'Bob' wishes to add another of his own accounts, and remove himself from the blog.

It's best to use two Browsers for this task. Also, if you use a non-Google email account for membership, you should read this post.


As you can see in this next image, there are currently 4 'Administrators' for this blog. That is, 4 people who 'own', can post, change, delete, or whatever, on this blog.
'Bob' is the first listed. He wants to remove himself, but leave 4 'Admins' on the blog - so, in effect, he is replacing himself, and transferring his ownership 'share' ...



Step 1. - An Invitation must be sent to the 'other' account. In this case, we are presuming the 'invitee' already has a Google Account, perhaps blogs, too. If not, he will be asked to create an account when he accepts the Invitation.




Step 2. - The Invitation must be accepted. So, the 'invitee' opens his email account, and accepts the Invitation ...





Step 3. - If nothing else is done, the blog now has 4 'Admins' and 1 'Author' - a 'Team Blog'. The 'invitee' can post on the blog. However, we need to make him into an 'Admin', so that 'Bob' can transfer his ownership share of the blog. That's easy. Just click on 'Grant Admin Privileges' ...




Step 4. - Now, we have 5 'Admins' on the blog (you could have 100 if you liked). At this stage, before any 'removing' is done, I always test myself to see if I have full Admin. privileges, by accessing various screens - like Settings - Permissions!

Now, 'Bob' has to remove himself from the blog membership, or, as another test of his new privileges, the new Admin. could remove 'Bob'.





'Bob' is now history, on that blog (- although his memory lingers on! Ha ha.)




That's how easy it is to Transfer ownership. It's the same for a one-owner blog, too. Just go through the steps, as outlined - slowly! Do it right!

Once again, it's time to clear the Browser Cache, and Cookies!


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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Asking for Help in Blogger Help Forum



It really is getting difficult to help bloggers in the Help Forum.

This is what I found today, among others ... (give me a break!)


Honestly, how would this person expect someone to help? Not only does she commit a cardinal sin, by advertising her email address instead of her blog URL, she seems to think we (helpers) are mind readers!

  • Is it so difficult to provide some helpful information?
  • Do people think we are going to steal their ID, or blogs, if they do?
  • Is it a secret?

Asking for help requires bloggers to at least give helpers basic information. Asking for help is primarily a self-help situation - help us to help YOU.

I don't think I can stand it much longer.

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