Welcome to The Real Blogger Status - Beta. Please note the warnings (as of 6/13: 0 active), and the alerts (as of 1/10/2007: 5 active).

Please be aware of the naming variances in this blog. You will find various references to "Classic" / "Old Template 2006" Blogger, and to "Beta" / "New Template 2006" Blogger.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Migration To Blogger Beta - The Final Chapter?

In my previous series Migration To Blogger Beta - Evaluation, and previously, I've discussed the practical issues surrounding the migration.

Today, in Blogger Help Group: Publishing Trouble When will all Blogger accounts be switched to Blogger beta?, we see the third statement by Jordan, aka Blogger Employee

Yes, a few months, max.

One week ago, in Google Blogger Help: An Open Question to "Blogger Employee"
We're looking forward to migrating all users to beta in the next few months, so, as there's limited time left with regular Blogger,

I just hope that there's some window of opportunity provided to all blog owners, so nobody goes from
Sorry, we can't allow you to migrate.

You have to migrate this week.

in the same week.

Common courtesy would require that those with larger, and maybe more complex, blogs, be given an appropriate amount of time to decide when to migrate. I would hate to interfere with some blogger employees coffee break time, but maybe it would be right to think of the unpaid employees slightly, and cut the breaks just a bit shorter.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Authentication - And Changing The Account On Your Blog

(Edit 6/13): Changing the owner account is still not a casual process. But it can now be done.

Neither Classic or New Blogger have a simple setting to change the administrator account on your blog. There's nothing in Settings that says

Manage this blog from this account.

As I note in The Real Blogger Status (Classic): Changing The Account Name On Your Blog, though, this is not a great problem. Simply add a new administrator, then delete the old one.

Under Classic Blogger, this could be done in one step, and this was a problem. It was possible to make a new member an administrator, and end up with no administrator. This would require another ticket to Blogger Support. DOHH.
Please restore my administrator status. My blog has no administrator.

In New Blogger, this is a problem, possibly intentionally so because of the latter scenario.
  • Add a new blog member.
  • The new blog member accepts the addition.
  • Make the new member an administrator.
  • The new blog administrator cannot, unfortunately, remove the old administrator.

And there's the problem. You have one account that can't be deleted from administrator status. And, in Blogger Help Group: How Do I? Switching Blog to anothe rgmail account?, we see this problem. And note the warning: do not delete the owner account, in an attempt to force ownership upon a second account. You'll end up with no blog.

This is just one of the many details that needs to be fixed, in New Blogger. Let's tell Blogger that this is a major concern.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Spacing Changes In Blogger Beta - 2

(Note 11/25): The below content is informational only. The problem in question is not demonstrated, because of the workaround currently in place.

A new post starts out with wide vertical spacing. Look at what we have here, from line to line. Nice and wide vertical spacing. Clean and easy to read. The perfect look for a blog, right?

But don't get used to it - what does this look like in Internet Explorer? In my previous post, Spacing Changes In Blogger Beta, I showed the problem. Maybe the advice given by Paul R will help here.

Now, let's throw in a quote.

And now, look at the vertical spacing. It's fine now, until after the unsorted list below. Nice one, Paul.

So, how did this work? Well, in the above example in my previous post, I have

<blockquote>Now, let's throw in a quote.</blockquote>

and in this post I have

<span style="line-height: 1.2;"><blockquote>Now, let's throw in a quote.</blockquote></span>

Look at my other posts, for instance. Enough! I Want To Go Back! and Beta Blogs: My 3 Week Evaluation both exhibit this behaviour.

Other folks who have observed this.

(Edit 11/18): And today, we see the new comment (#2, below)
The fix worked for me on Firefox, but not in Internet Explorer.
DOHH! Why should this not surprise me?

(Edit 11/24):See Spacing Changes In Blogger Beta - 3 for an update, making this workaround unnecessary.

(Edit 10/17): From Problem with the line space of the posts., we find possible hope:
As a temporary fix for current posts, I (accidentally) found that if
you add <span style="line-height: 1.4;"> before each blockquote, and </span> after the blockquote, then the line spacing goes back to normal after the quote, as it is supposed to.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Migration To Blogger Beta - Evaluation - 3

In this series about the migration to the Blogger Beta product, I've described (briefly) the technique of a migration project, the overall status of the migration, and where (I suspect) that Blogger thinks this project is right now.

As the Google Blogger Help community reacts to last weeks announcement (carefully hidden in the forums)

We're looking forward to migrating all users to beta in the next few months, so, as there's limited time left with regular Blogger

I see an interesting mixture of reactions.
I just migrated my blog, and I'm having no problems. You should migrate now, and enjoy yourself.

Don't migrate now, wait until all of the bugs are worked out.

My own personal opinion varies from day to day, according to what problems we are seeing (Classic or Beta), and / or what responses we are getting (or not getting) from Blogger Support. Several times in the past week, I have experienced moments of euphoria (from various causes), where I have contemplated pulling the pin, and migrating PChuck's Kitchen.

Being able to use MultiStyle Topics, to cross reference my recipes, would rock. PChuck's Kitchen is not large, and could be rebuilt if necessary, so it's a perfect candidate (to me) for migration.

Unfortunately, none of this matters, as Blogger says to me, and many other folks
We're not ready to allow you to migrate just yet. But setup a new Beta blog - and try out the neat features!
So, of the folks using Beta blogs right now, how many are using new blogs vs how many have actually been migrated? My guess - and I am being liberal - is maybe 1 Beta blog out of 3 was migrated - 2 out of 3 are new Beta blogs.

There are a lot of Classic blogs waiting to be migrated. Almost certainly, the blogs that haven't been migrated are the ones with interesting features. And that means that those features, and other features used by more complex blogs that can't be migrated, haven't been tested under Beta just yet.

Features that haven't been (won't be) tested under Beta are problems waiting to happen. Blogger is simply saying
Migrate anyway, and we'll deal with the problems after you migrate.

And after they migrate, they'll be saying
We can't respond to your problem personally - we're too busy dealing with all of the problems. Please describe your problem in Google Blogger Help - Troubleshooting, and wait for answers from your peers.

If there are features in Beta that you can't, or don't want to, wait for, then it's in your own best interest to migrate. Those of us who don't want to migrate our blogs immediately will benefit from waiting, and watching the problems that occur without us, occur without us. If you migrate, and you experience problems, then I can learn from your experience, as I watch you struggle.

Those of us that do eventually migrate will benefit from many having migrated before us, and already dealt with the problems. But the choice to migrate is not given freely to everybody. You can only migrate when you're allowed.

We're not ready to allow you to migrate just yet.

So here, again, is the suspicion that Blogger is ignoring the idea that many blogs are owned and cared for by real people.
  • People who have hopes and dreams.
  • People that won't enjoy migrating with the fear of having problems, and knowing that once you go forward, there's no coming back.
  • People who know that possibly they will wait, but one day, possibly in the process of making an urgent post (new or updated), they will get the notice
    You must migrate now.

    Where now might be any future time convenient to Blogger Support, though not to the blog owner.
  • People who know that one day, possibly in the process of making an urgent post (new or updated), they will get the notice
    You must migrate now.
    even though now, they see
    We're not ready to allow you to migrate just yet.

And that's the real downside of not migrating immediately. You have no idea when that shoe will drop. And there is another problem with The Silence.

(Edit 10/19): One week later, we see the third statement by Blogger Employee, and this story continues.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Authentication - And Confusion

One of the long awaited features in Blogger Beta was the ability to restrict access to your blog. Designating your blog as private, to be read by authorised parties only, was a much requested feature.

Blogger Beta uses your Google account to identify you, and verify that you are authorised to view any blog (including yours). And that causes occasional concern, fortunately unnecessary in this case. Seeing your Google account, which coincidentally may be the same as your email address, as you peruse your blog, is a bit scary.

Rest assured, though, as you see your email address in your Navbar, every visitor to your blog is seeing their own email address in their Navbar. Nobody else sees your email address.

And if you're seeing an increase in spam recently, rest assured that it's not related to your Blogger Beta account, or your Google account, being visible to spammers.

  • Improved spam filtering requires increased spam volume, in order to allow the spammers to maintain a constant income level.
  • Increased availability of bots makes the increased spam volume possible.
None of this, unless your computer has become part of a botnet, is related to anything that you have or haven't done.

Relax just a bit. Concentrate on other, more urgent, issues - like the coming Beta migration. But accept the inevitable - you will need a Google account to use Blogger.

Your (Blogger) Google account, and your (GMail) Google account don't have to be the same, though. Google accounts are free, and you can set up another, if you like.

(Note 2/13): As noted by Pete in his separate comment, your email address is kept private, by carefully designed code:
The iframe separation keeps arbitrary Blog*Spot blogs from reading (for example) your Google Account e-mail address when you're logged in.

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Migration To Blogger Beta - Evaluation - 2

So where are we in the rollout of Blogger Beta? The rollout, for me, began on August 16. Let's be casual, and call it 2 months.

And Blogger Employee, in Google Blogger Help: An Open Question to "Blogger Employee". says

We're looking forward to migrating all users to beta in the next few months.

Although my personal preference would be a year, I'll suspect we'll be lucky to see that stretch into 4 - 6 months. Let's equate "a few" to 4, which makes the total migration project 6 months. I'm using my Migration To Blogger Beta series and the (straw man, and yes, I realise the limitations here) 10% - 80% - 10% triage, as a reference.

When Blogger makes a reference like "a few months", it looks like they think that the pilot is over, and they're going to migrate everybody homogenously. Given a 6 months (24 weeks) overall project, and we are 8 weeks (1/3) into the project, with a 10% - 80% - 10% weighting, that puts us well into the main part of the project. Even at a 20% - 60% - 20% weighting, we are well into the main part.

Unfortunately, they're still telling a lot of folks
We're not ready to allow you to migrate just yet. Just setup a new Beta blog, and test Beta out.

Now, my suspicion is that they have no idea what problems might arise as the Classic blogs are migrated. They can't really. They have no ideas what features are used on any blogs, because they don't support the blogs. They only support the blogging infrastructure. All user support is provided by the users, in the forums.

The unfortunate thing (for us) is that many blogs haven't been migrated, because Blogger says
We're not ready to allow you to migrate just yet.

Now the reason why they aren't allowed certain blogs to be migrated is that they are still trying to work out the issues. Some issues they know about, and have delayed migration for those blogs. But without those blogs being migrated, they don't have any idea what other issues may be awaiting us.

And the reactions in the forums is interesting. I see a few Bloggers saying
I just migrated my blog, and I'm having no problems. You should migrate now, and enjoy yourself.

Other Bloggers advise
Don't migrate now, wait until all of the bugs are worked out.

I suspect that the answer lies in the middle. So, next I will discuss the variety of Bloggers and their opinions about the migration.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Migration To Blogger Beta - Evaluation

In my Classic blog series Migration To Blogger Beta, I wrote 4 posts to give an overview of the principles of project management, as it applies to migration projects. In those posts, I talked about principals (computers, software, users). What I was really talking about, once you get the principles down, is blogs.

You migrate blogs, just as you migrate computers. Even though you can't see blogs, as you can computers or users, they are still very real. And they are are owned, and cared for, by very real people.

I mention that fact first, in the hope that Blogger may realise this eventually. Because I don't think that they realise this, right now. At least, after reading that specific post in Google Blogger Help.

So next I will evaluate the progress in the Blogger Beta Rollout. I'll start by describing where (I suspect) Blogger Support thinks that we are. Then I'll continue with where other Bloggers like Roberto thinks that we are, other Bloggers in the Blogger community think that we are, and where I think that we are.