Welcome to The Blog Report

I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find this blog an interesting read. I've been blogging since April of 2006, currently the author of six public and two private blogs. In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. Over the years through trial and error, frustration and elation, and a few tears I've learned a lot. However, the learning process when it comes to blogging continues to evolve. Here you will find a hodge podge of my blogging experiences, useful codes and how-tos, sprinkled liberally with my opinions. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Bit of a Blogging Lull

Here it is the last day of February 2012 and it just dawned on me how far behind I am in blogging.  Three of my blogs that saw daily posting have been demoted to blogging as often as I can while the other three are just keeping their heads afloat.  It's not that I don't have blog fodder, it is more of having less time to blog.  I'm volunteering at a couple of local schools each morning to help with the breakfast club which ends up taking a hour or so out of my day.  Then I decided to spend the evenings with my husband rather than sitting in front of the computer which takes four or five hours away for computer time.  Tackling painting all the rooms in the house hasn't helped the situation.  I also sprained my ankle badly so have taken time to keep my leg elevated.  And so it goes.  Every little bit adds up to result in less blogging time.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blog Censorship

Blog censorship is a huge topic.  There are four types of censorship, the first being the blogger themselves censoring what comments will or will not be posted on their blogs.  This is officially known as comment moderation.  The second type of censorship is a blog not being allowed to be viewed by those under the age of majority (usually 18) due to adult content.  This type of censorship is usually put in place to protect minors from viewing the adult content but in reality it is hard to enforce as a minor can always type in a birthdate that meets the age requirement.  The third type of censorship occurs when schools, libraries or organizations systematically block their users from accessing a certain domain.  If you are a blogger this would be a concern if your blog fell within the domain blocked whether or not your blog has any objectionable content.  The thing is, you really can't do anything about this.  For example, if an organization blocked the domain blogspot.com and your blog is on Blogger (blogspot.com) then regardless of what you do, your blog will not be shown to members of that organization on the organization's computers.  The forth type of censorship is a particular country blocking a domain due to content.  This is precisely what Blogger is trying to avoid with their new country specific redirects (ccTLD) that will correspond to the reader's current location. 

Countrywide censorship of a particular domain can result in a considerably lower readership for a blogger.  While I understand a country may try to circumvent some types of content coming into their country, I find it hard to understand why they would penalize an entire blogging domain when the majority of those bloggers put out good content.  Why should my garden or cooking blog be banned from being shown in a country because Joe Blogger blogged something objectionable?  To me, it seems like some countries in their censorship are throwing out the baby with the bath water. 

I like what Blogger and apparently Twitter are trying to do but in the end if these countries are so against objectionable content whether real or perceived on blogs, well they will simply find another way to censor it out.  Hopefully, if they decide to do this type of censorship it will be on a case by case basis rather than just a blanket ban on a domain.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blogger's New Country Specific Redirect

The other day I was checking my sats when I saw for one of my blogs referrer: http://MyBlog.blogspot.com.au.  I immediately went to the blogspot.com.au address for my blog and there it was.  Me stomach sank figuring I had been hacked.  I went through the source code for the blogspot.au address but could find nothing fishy.  I posted a notice on my blog that the correct url was MyBlog.blogspot.com not blogspot.com.au.  Then I set out to find out what the problem was.  In the meantime Anji, author of Anji Patchwork who visits my blog via ExposeYourBlog left a comment that this redirect was a new thing Blogger was doing.  I did a bit of research and sure enough Blogger is doing the redirect as a way of circumventing censorship.  Prior to January of 2012, some Blogger blogs were not being seen in certain countries due to their content.  By adding the country specific code to the Blogger blog (eg. .au for Australia) the blogs are now being seen. 

You know while I do appreciate my blogs will be seen in more countries and not that there is anything on any of them that should ever flag censorship, it would have been nice of Blogger to notify their members.  All it would have taken was a notation at the top of the members' dashboard like they do for other information they want you to know.  It would have saved me about a week's worth of worry!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Bit of Bad Luck

For the second year in a row, I am on crutches in February.  This gives me extra time to blog but not the incentive or blog fodder I need right now.  I'm blogging but nowhere putting out a blog post per day across all six blogs.  So, once again I need to find my blogging mojo...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The High Pressure Sales Pitch Turn-off

I am a foodie which translates into me blogging about different food products I like.  I do not get compensated in any way for doing this but rather am sharing with my readers.  So when I bought my Keurig coffee maker last year I shared about one source for inexpensive K-cups.  A representative emailed me and that's when all he-double hockey sticks broke out!  Apparently they liked my review AND because I had mentioned their company where you can buy K-cups as low as 35¢ each in comparison to the normal sale price of 70¢ AND because I already gave them a free plug after I ordered from them, I was fair game for a high pressure sales pitch.  Now they did not compensate me in any way nor did they give a backlink to my blog and yet for a good week I got daily emails from them telling me how I should pimp their product.  As it dragged on into the second week of their suggestions, my sense of humour went out the door.  I marked their emails as spam then swore I would not buy from them again.  So ultimately their high pressure tactics for me to continuously blog about them had the exact opposite effect.  They did lose a customer over it as well...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Share Button Problem

Problems come and go when blogging.  Most are easily solved but some take a lot more effort to solve.  So it is with one of my blogs.  I put the share buttons on all six of my blogs.  A couple of months ago I noticed a red font over the share buttons on one of my blogs.  We were on vacation, tired from moving and somewhat anxious to get back home in time for the holiday season so I put the problem on the back burner.  Then I got rather busy in January so didn't investigate further.  The other day, I sat down to figure out the problem after seeing a Google link in my stats to my blog.  When I clicked the link I got to the search results and there was one of my posts backlinked to my blog but with something I didn't recall writing added.  I immediately suspected being hacked so changed my Google password even though the problem was related to only one blog of the six and just happened to be the blog with the share buttons problem.  Checking the archives, I found I had indeed written that so was back to square one troubleshooting for the share button problem.

Over the share buttons was what appeared to be a link but it wasn't.  It was the words "Thisis!tenok" in red font over the share buttons.  I immediately disabled the share buttons, removed the code, saved the template and started fresh.  I added back the code only to find the words reappear so I removed the code again.  I did a copy and paste from another of my blogs then added the code back in.  The words reappeared even though there was no problem on the blog I did the copy and paste.  I removed the code again and replaced it with a different code that didn't show the red over write but it also didn't show the buttons and the alignment was wrong.  I compared the code for the suspected problem code to that from the cut and paste but they were identical.    My next troubleshooting was looking through all the HTML of all added elements especially any added javascript but found nothing.  Next I pulled up all published comments and removed any with links in the comment.  Then I pulled up the HTML for the template, expanded the widget and went through line by line since 'find in page' found nothing for the over written words.  I found absolutely nothing! Talk about a headache...