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.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Third Party Cookies Used To Migrate From Beta Blogger To New Blogger?

Complaints in the Blogger help forums about "Blogger won't remember me" are becoming pretty common. My general advice is to clear cache and cookies, and start over.

Maybe we're seeing a way out of the fog.

Joel, aka Far Outliers in Clicking "Remember Me" is Useless, may have found a clue.

At work, I was getting redirected successfully, but at home I wasn't--that is, until right now, when I unchecked the box in Firefox that allows 3rd-party cookies.

It makes sense that third party cookies would be part of a migration.

Cookies created by one server ("beta.blogger.com"), and read by another ("www2.blogger.com") might look like a third party relationship, to the browser.

Now, it's up for someone to verify this. If you're blocking third party cookies, and you haven't yet successfully gotten Blogger to recognise your login state from browser session to browser session, check your third party cookies filtering in your browser.

And if you find a setting that, when corrected lets you login properly, let us know.

For more insight into the cookie issue, see Roberto's Report: Another Cookie, anyone?.

(Edit 1/3): Besides the third party cookies problem, there's an interesting possibility to explain first party cookies, and how they could present a problem in both Firefox and Internet Explorer.

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Still Waiting?

You can only migrate your Blogger account, and Old Template blogs, to a Google account and New Template (Layout) blogs, when you receive the invitation. And even if you see the invitation today, that's not to guarantee that you will see it tomorrow.

From discussions in the forums, it appears that the secret ceremonies continue.

And, even if you do get the tap on the shoulder, and it lasts during a convenient time for you, your blog(s) might take more than a few minutes to migrate.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00031

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00031

Friday, December 29, 2006

Reduce The Stress - Don't Migrate All Of Your Blogs At Once

Here are a couple interesting (hypothetical) pleas for help in the forums.

I need the features of New Blogger 2006 in my first blog, but I don't want to migrate my second blog. What do I do now?

I need to migrate my blogs, but I don't want them to end up under the same account after migration. I don't want folks seeing my first blog from my second blog or from my third blog. Help!

I went to migrate my blogs, and it said "The following blogs are owned by someone else". How can i migrate now??

Well, I can sympathise. I started my migration by looking at my collection of blogs, and found at least a dozen which I value a great deal. Knowing that, once a blog is migrated, it will be owned by the account that it's migrated into, for eternity, I decided that I would have to migrate some blogs to one Google account, and others to a second Google account.

Then I noted that some blogs are owned by other people too. And in a couple cases, neither of us was sure who was the original owner.

I decided that I would be better off migrating a few blogs at a time, than migrating all of them at once.

But the migration process doesn't let you do that, does it? You migrate an account, and all blogs attached to the account. No choice to do some now (to this account), and others later (to another account).

There is, thankfully, a way around that. You can move selected Old Template blogs from one Blogger account to another, then migrate either account at your convenience. As long as the first account retains no ownership of the blog moved, the second account becomes the new owner of the blog. Even in a team blog relationship, if all but one account is removed from a blog, the remaining account assumes full ownership of the blog.

  1. Setup a new Google email account for migration.
  2. From the original Blogger account, send an invitation to the new Google email account, offering blog(s) membership.
  3. From the new Google email account, accept the Blogger invitation, and create a new Blogger account, for blog(s) membership.
  4. From the original Blogger account, grant administrative authority over the blog(s) to the new Blogger account. The new Blogger account (please don't confuse this with a "New Blogger" account!) is now a joint owner of the blog(s).
  5. From the new Blogger account, remove the other Blogger account(s) from blog(s) membership. The new Blogger account is now the sole owner of the blog(s).
  6. From the new Blogger account, execute the migration. Create a new Google account, or use an existing one, remembering that the account targeted becomes the owner of the blog, for eternity.
  7. Remember, as soon as the account, and the blog, is migrated to Google authentication, the current team members will lose access. They'll have to setup Google accounts, and you'll have to invite those accounts again. If they have any remaining blogs owned by their current Blogger account, they can migrate that account and blogs to their new Google account, when they are able.

If you have multiple blogs, and want some blogs to be owned by one Google account, and others by another, repeat the above procedures.

I will tell you from experience, there's no way in heck that I would be migrating all 12+ of my blogs at once. Not until the last week possible, and even then I would not do it willingly.

Just do 2 or 3 at a time. Way less stressful, and easier to separate the team relationships.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Team Blog Migration? Take Precautions!

Quite a few complaints about badly migrated blogs appear to involve team blog relationships. My guess is that trying to migrate a blog, while somebody is working on it, is a good way to cause problems. In IT terminology, it's called contention. Two processes (in this case, the migration plus one attempted administrative task or maybe posting) running against a blog, simultaneously, is a possible way to cause corruption somewhere.

I've been told that most migrations should run in 3 to 6 hours. And then there's Jordan's famous statement

....spread the word that account migrations sometimes takes longer than a few minutes :)

My earlier recommendation was for a migration monitoring tool, so we could see where each migration was, periodically. Any software install includes some sort of progress meter, and for a process that can take 3 to 6 hours, this doesn't seem unreasonable.

That request was denied.
...thanks for your suggestion/request for a "progress indicator" but I don't think that's a scalable option for us to include right now.

So, if we can't have a tool to watch what's going on, let's see if we can think of ways to maybe make it go quicker and smoother. A good way to start is with careful planning.

When I migrate my blogs, I remove all team memberships before starting. Once a team blog is migrated, all members will need New Template 2006 (Google) accounts anyway, so getting rid of all extraneous account relationships before starting migration makes sense. Let's migrate the blogs themselves, with no extraneous relationships. Add the team relationships back, later.

  1. Conduct a careful audit of each blog, and document all team relationships. Identify all team members, by name and current email address.
  2. Designate the master computer, from which to conduct the migration.
  3. Designate one source (Blogger) account, to start the migration. Make sure that account has administrative authority over the blog(s) being migrated.
  4. Designate the target (Google) account, to receive the migration. Remember, that account will have ownership of the blog(s) being migrated, for eternity. If you want some blogs to be owned by one account, and other blogs by another, split the migration.
  5. Make sure that both source and target accounts have up to date email addresses and passwords. Don't complicate things by having to resolve a forgotten password, or non current email address, after the migration starts and the blog is out of action.
  6. Log off all Old Template 2006 (Blogger) accounts that have administrative access to the blog(s) being migrated, excepting the master computer.
  7. Close the browsers on all computers which host administrative activity for the blog(s) being migrated, excepting one browser, on the master computer.
  8. Remove administrative relationships, for all Old Template 2006 (Blogger) accounts, for the blog(s) being migrated, using that one browser on the master computer.
  9. Open a GMail session and / or a GTalk client, for the target account, on any accessible and convenient computer. This will show the completion notification, when the migration completes.
  10. From the designated source account on the master computer, start the migration.
  11. After the migration completes, and the blog is carefully tested, invite all previous team members to the newly migrated New Template 2006 blogs. The team members will have to create new, or identify existing, Google accounts anyway. Do that after the migration, and I'll bet you'll have a more relaxing migration (and maybe it will go quicker too).

Complicated? Maybe. Extraneous and / or redundant steps? Probably. Make your own decision which steps you will take.

The above plan follows established IT principles. Maybe it will save you stress in the long run. I don't see this as excessive thinking anyway.

Migration Log


Martinez United Methodist Church


Chuck's Kitchen


Martinez Music Forum Gift to the Community

CACroll Small LANs

Charlotte's Brazilian Stories

Charlotte's Russian Stories

MySpace and More

Mom's Trip To Russia


Martinez CA Park Walk

Miscellaneous Musings

Nitecruzr As A Hacker

Crooked Spire

The Sounds Of Words

Cal First Mortgage


Nitecruzr Alpha Beta Test

Baseline Test

Nitecruzr Demo

Nitecruzr Demo 2

Stub Blog


PChuck's Network

PChuck's Network News

Today's migration complete maybe 10 minutes before the latest 502 downtime started.


The Real Blogger Status

The Real Blogger Status SpamBlock

And we're done.

Publishing Externally? Here's What You Get

Every day now, you see the question

I just upgraded my account and blog to New Blogger. Where is my Layouts template / my Label list / my link to Upgrade my template?

and you look at the blog URL (when it's included), and it's not yourblog.blogspot.com.

And the answer is always that, when you publish externally (aka FTP publishing), you don't get any of those features. New Blogger 2006 requires publishing to blogspot.com, for maximum benefit.

The New Blogger 2006 Blog*Spot servers publish the blog as the reader retrieves each page. They don't publish static HTML, they publish dynamic XML. When you publish by FTP, Blogger is copying old static HTML code to your FTP server. HTML won't get you
  • Improved Archives, with multiple selectable views, and individual titles.
  • New Layouts template, with GUI configured page elements.
    • Feeds.
    • Labels.
    • Linklists.
  • Improved Main Page view, multi-paged, with each page limited in size by the "Show days / posts" setting.
  • Improved Template editor, with scripted save and restore of template code.
  • The ability to require authentication, and to designate readers, to view the blog. Any blog published by FTP is open to view by all.
What it will get you is
  • Authentication by Google account.
  • Labels for the posts. You can use the labels in various ways, without the Layouts template based Label page elements.
    • Make your own Label lists, from the labels shortcuts after each post.
    • Select a label shortcut after a post, and view all posts with that label, in a single page Main Page view.
  • Improved Edit Posts menu, again with labels.
  • The new, more stable Blogger.
  • The shiny new Navbar (that you can continue to turn off).
  • The continued spinner of death, when you publish (sorry, but static publishing will continue to have this).
  • Your own, externally published website, that you can control (though not protect) as you see fit.
  • A domain name that you can choose. This may not be exclusive to external publishing.

Nor can you have private blogs. See Settings - Publishing.
Hint: If you want to publish to an external FTP server, you will need to Set 'Blog Readers' to 'Anybody' and use a Classic Template.

Now, if the above issues are a problem for you, but you don't want your blog hosted on Blog*Spot, check out Google Custom Domains. Read my case study, and read about the possible complications, too.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Logging In To Blogger

With the coming of New Blogger, logging in to the right account (Old / New) should be more straightforward.

  1. Clear cache and cookies, and restart your browser.
  2. Login using the new, improved Blogger Login screen.

You'll have separate, well defined choices.
  1. Old Blogger, using your Blogger account.
  2. New Blogger, using your Google account.
Make the choice wisely. Blogs using the old template may or may not be visible and accessible from New Blogger, and vice versa. If you login, and your blog isn't listed, or if listed isn't accessible, then logout, and login again carefully.

But the first time that you use the new login procedures, be sure to clear cache and cookies, first. Blogger appears to be reusing addresses, cookies, and scripts, even though they are providing a new set of servers ("www2.blogger.com", instead of "beta.blogger.com", for instance). If one of your cookies continues to point your browser to "beta.blogger.com", guess what will happen?

No, I can't say for sure. But I'll bet that you're not as likely to see your dashboard, when it does.

Start cleanly, and clear cache and cookies, before you login to The New Blogger for the first time.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Migration Testing #4

Started from current test set.

  1. Upgraded template on old template blog Migration Test 1.

Migration Testing Test Set

Current test set as of 12/24 19:00.

Migration Testing #3

Started from my test set.

  1. Created new gmail account, nitecruzr66.
  2. Created 2 old blogs, Migration Test 3 and Nitecruzr66.
  3. From account Nitecruzr, made nitecruzr66 a member of Migration Test 3 and Nitecruzr66.
  4. Accepted blog Migration Test 3 with nitecruzr66@gmail.com, creating new Blogger account Nitecruzr66.
  5. Accepted blog Nitecruzr66 from Nitecruzr66.
  6. From account Nitecruzr, made account Nitecruzr66 administrator of blogs Migration Test 3 and Nitecruzr66.
  7. From account Nitecruzr66, removed account Nitecruzr from membership of blogs Migration Test 3 and Nitecruzr66.
  8. Setup new Old blog, Migration Test 4, owned by account Nitecruzr66.
  9. Updated blogroll.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Online Support By Blogger Not Available 12/22 - 12/26

Blogger is on Christmas holiday, 12/22 - 12/26. Jordan, in Happy Holidays!

Blogger Buzzer and I will be off enjoying the holidays for the next 5 days and won't be making any posts during that time.

This is not a time when I would, personally, recommend any exciting activities like migrating your important blogs. Roberto, in Roberto's Report: Blogger ! You are joking!, has a less objective viewpoint.

(Edit 12/30): Though no announcement to the effect was seen this time, it appears that New Years weekend is being treated the same way. I would expect no support 12/29/2006 - 1/2/2007.

When Should I NOT Migrate #2

My last thoughts, about when I would want to migrate MY blogs, was that I would give it a go mid week.

  • The previous weekends activities should be wound down.
  • The problems from the previous weekend should be resolved.
  • Starting Tuesday or Wednesday of the week should allow a day for the migration to go (or not).
  • If not were the operative word, 2 days for me to attract the attention of Jordan or Buzzie, and hopefully they could fix my problem as they have fixed others.

But, it is Christmas, and Blogger is on a Christmas break. Possibly following that, one would bet, comes New Years, and a similar break.

And right now, my migration is OFF. So my bet is some folks will try migrating in the next week or so, possibly following my previous advice. But it's the holidays, folks, so unless you need a New Blogger blog for the holidays, and you are willing to chance losing it for a few days, give it a rest. I will anyway.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blogging And Your Gmail Account

With New Blogger, Google lets you use your Google account to access your blog, and your friends blogs. They do this for your convenience.

Not everybody wants convenience. Some folks see using their email account for Blogging as an invasion of privacy. Others are afraid of losing their email account, and losing Blogger access at the same time.

The good news is that Google accounts are free, and you can set up another, or as many as you like.

  • Go to your GMail main window.
  • In the lower left of the window, find "Invite a friend".
  • Enter your email address (yes, the address displayed).
  • When you get the invitation from yourself, open and accept it.
  • Choose any new Google address that pleases you (and that's available).
  • Log out of your current GMail account, and into your new account.
  • Transfer your blogs to your new Google account.

Remember, though, you can move your blogs to any Google account that you wish, but the first Google account will always be the owner of the blog. Treat that account with extreme care.

Until the world is 100% migrated to New Blogger, though, don't forget about Old Blogger. If you're invited to contribute to an Old Blogger (pre-Layouts Template) blog, remember that you will need a Blogger account for that activity. You may be able to use a Blogger account name (subject to availability), but when you look on the dashboard of your newly created / resurrected Blogger account, don't get panicky about not seeing your New Blogger blogs there.
Help, my blogs have gone missing!
And don't get confused when you find that you have to login periodically, to either your Blogger, your New Blogger, your Google Email, or your Google Groups, sessions. Many Bloggers (myself included) have found that the various Google cookies used tend to be confused by the various activities.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

How Long Should Migrating A Blog Take?

My baseline test set, Nitecruzr68, which is basically a stub blog, took close to 2 hours. Other Bloggers are reporting longer times, some days.

I'll bet that size of blog will make a big difference. So if it takes 2 hours to migrate a stub blog with 1 post, how long will it take to migrate PChuck's Network?

Jordan, you're going to need a migration estimation tool of some sort, and some sort of progress indicator. Try importing a blog (any blog) from Blogger to WordPress, and see what I'm talking about.


The need for a migration time estimation, and / or a migration progress indicator, is now added to my wishlist. Let Blogger know that a Migration Support tool is needed.

Migration Support Tool: Provide an estimate of time required for any blog to be migrated (before migration starts), AND a migration progess indicator (while migration is in progress).


Here's a 10 minute thread sample from Blogger Help Group: Something Is Broken - several very unhappy Bloggers.

(Edit 12/20 15:00): My bud just asked me, in email
Well, I can't recall that Blogger has given out any numbers, so how does one know???

And my answer was
That's so easy. Go "Next Blog" surfing.

Just hit "Next Blog" a couple dozen times. I did, and counted about 10 Old, and 10 New, blogs. And 2 with NO Navbar (assholes).

Now of those 10 New Blogger blogs, how many were migrated, and how many were started as Beta / New blogs? I'll bet as many were started as Beta, as were migrated. And of those migrated, how many are large and complex blogs? See my migration discussions, and see Roberto's migration discussions.

I don't think we've even seen the tip of the iceberg yet. And Jordan says
...spread the word that account migrations sometimes takes longer than a few minutes :)

Well no shit Sherlock!

Migration Testing #2

Started from my test set.

Migrated account Nitecruzr68, almost instantaneously. Migrated one blog, Nitecruzr68, a stub blog, which took close to 2 hours.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Name Has Changed

but the game remains the same. I just wish that I knew what the rules are.

Pete, in Blogger Buzz: The New Version of Blogger, writes

The new version of Blogger in beta is dead!
Long live the new version of Blogger!

So this is now "New Blogger", not "Beta Blogger". Well, I will call it "New Blogger 2006", as I know that, in 2007, 2008, or sometime in the future, there will be a second New Blogger. And New Blogger 2006 replaces "Classic" or "Old Template 2006" Blogger.

Even though this is now "New Blogger 2006", and it replaces "Old Template Blogger 2006", you will find numerous references to "Classic" and "Beta" Blogger here and there. This blog will always be titled and addressed as The Real Blogger Status - Beta.

(Edit 12/20): And in commemoration of the new name, we now have Real Blogger Status - New. (p.s.) Does anybody remember New Coke?

Another Complication In Migration - Team Blogs #3

In Another Complication In Migration - Team Blogs #2, we noted a thread by Buzzer, where a problem with team blogs was, supposedly, solved.

We modified our migration algorithm to handle this case correctly so other users don't fall to the same trap.

Today, in Will I ever be able to access my Blog?, we see a report of a team migration attempted on 12/12, a day after the forum post, quoted above, was made.

I don't think that we're out of the woods yet, folks. Looks like the extra effort, as described in my systematic migration procedure, may be worthwhile after all.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Last Spinner

I just watched the last Spinner Of Death, or at least for Martinez CA UMC, anyway.

Emboldened by the success of my bud, AMR, I separated my Martinez CA UMC blog from all of the others, by moving it to my church email account. With the church email account now the only administrator, and the church blog the only blog owned by that account, migration was simple.

  • I migrated the account.
  • I migrated the blog.

Migrating the account was practically instantaneous. Migrating the blog took a few minutes, and included an animation that reminded me of the above mentioned spinner. I watched it with a few minutes of dread, anticipating filing a Blogger Help: Something Is Broken trouble report.

Having gone back to my other computer to get some work done, a few minutes later I was relieved to see
Welcome to the new Blogger beta.
Congratulations! Your move to the new Blogger is complete.

pop up in my GMail.

Since my Martinez CA UMC blog is (currently) not my most active blog, I was not too anxious to setup and test the template before the migration. I simply migrated, picked the Beta equivalent of the Classic template, and patched in a few custom objects.

I made a couple small improvements in the page layout, which should balance out a few small glitches which I found. The new page layout is cleaner in some places, and clunkier in others. I doubt that the current readership will notice anything, as this blog gets much less traffic than my tech blogs. Having gotten the migration out of the way, I am ready now to work on its contents, in preparation for the Christmas season. And later, I will plan the migration of the other blogs.

I won't so casually migrate my larger blogs; they have steady readers (several hundred daily). Having one of those blogs out of action for an hour or two (based upon their proportional sizes, against the results from my baseline test) would inconvenience more than a couple readers. Those blogs, and the account that owns them, I will migrate very deliberately. This blog, I migrated simply to test team blog migration, and to get an idea how long I might want to allow for one migration.

Note: The account used to execute the migration, as defined in this process, will become, under Beta, the permanent owner of the blog(s) migrated. Choose this account, if a choice is necessary, carefully. Consider the strategy below. Plan a team blog migration, carefully.
  • Log all secondary administrator accounts out of Blogger.
  • On your computer, close all browser windows except your single Blogger session.
  • Migrate the account.
  • Migrate one or more test blogs, if available.
  • Migrate the blog.
  • Pick the new template, or upload a tested template, if available.
  • Patch in all custom features, and test.
The above procedure may seem anal, and some steps may be excessive, but I think it will go a long way toward reducing migration failures. Of course, YMMV.

Another Complication In Migration - Team Blogs #2

During a very interesting online conversation with a bud, AMR, she pointed out that the team blog problem was resolved a week or so ago, according to a post by Blogger Buzzer in Blog 'in migration' for 5 days. Is that normal?

We modified our migration algorithm to handle this case correctly so other users don't fall to the same trap.

So, I guess we will see if the currently reported problems are related to migrations started before 12/11.

I haven't seen anything in Blogger Buzz, or Known Beta Issues, about this. Kudos to AMR for spotting the forum thread!

Ahyway, AMR asked me for my opinion about the good news from Buzzer, as her church blog was in the same jeopardy. Having read the article, I suggested that maybe it would be safe for me to attempt my migration (subject to my invitation reasserting itself). And a couple minutes later, she reported that hers was done. As you can now see, she is a happy Beta Blogger, and of a rocking good blog, too.

So now I shall see if my church blog can be migrated as successfully, being as the original owner account, of mine, was separated from the blog just recently.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

When Should I Migrate (When Should I Not Migrate)

The handwriting on the wall suggests that Blogger is trying to get everybody (every account anyway) onto Blogger Beta before the end of the year. This doesn't give us much time, though.

The last week of the year, which starts one week from tomorrow (on Christmas Day, yet), will probably be a 4 day work week. Some companies may even observe 3 days of work, and maybe less work will actually get done. Your access to Blogger won't be subject simply to Bloggers stability.

I wouldn't try migrating then. Particularly if the bulk of the unmigrated accounts get migrated the last week, the load on the Blogger infrastructure could be interesting. I wouldn't want my migration job depending upon servers that are overworked right now (supposedly, one of the original reasons for migrating).

And another complication. If last years observations repeat, you'll see Internet stability drop during the last week of the year. Think of all those lucky folks who see their first computer under the Christmas tree, next Monday. Think of what happens as all of those computers get connected for the first time, and all of the new bots get added to the bot population.

If Jordan et al are expecting to get this project finished before the end of the year, they better have coffee, by the gallon, ready for the final week. They are going to be stuck in the office for some grueling long hours.

That leaves this week. Period. And unfortunately, that is subject to the invitation being available.

This is the 2006 Holiday Season. I am surely not the only webmaster who seriously wants his / her website up and running, 7 x 24, during this season. See Roberto's Report: Yo! Ho! What's the Go?, for more thoughts on this issue.

Jordan et al:

If you think some of the bitching in the forum this weekend was annoying, wait til next week, and the final week, if you keep hinting that we will be forced to migrate before 2007.

Please stop The FUD.


(Note 12/22): I would probably not migrate this weekend, period. And with this issue in mind, I would limit my migration window next week to 12/26 - 27, no more.

I'm Nervous About Migration

Aside from the Now You See It, Now You Don't migration invitation, I am nervous.

I just spent a couple hours doing my weekly update of my church website. It's not a large website, but it is important to my church. My church is not large either, but it is important to me.

So I do not want to mess up.

While updating the blog, I realised that I had used another account to make the original key posts in the blog. An account that I removed, last week, when contemplating the team blog situation in general. It's quite likely that I removed the original owner of the blog.

Now, under my advice of

Do not migrate when you need your blog
I would have to decline migrating my account for the next 2 weeks. Why?
  • My church blog is / was a team blog.
  • Look at the calendar.

This week, I await my pastor sending me his monthly message for the blog, a monthly message that is about one of the two most important days in the Christian year. And, there will possibly be other changes made to accomodate holiday events.

In short, this is not a week when I should be contemplating migration, if any chance exists that I might lose the ability to update the church blog, until after the New Year has passed.

And the team blog problems, documented or not, are sufficiently threatening to me.

(Edit 12/18): I am now cautiously optimistic about migration, pending use of some discretion and planning.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Beta Evaluation #2

OK, this should be #4, if I was anal and did one each month. So my bad.

But today is December 15. I started this blog on August 16, so this is my four month evaluation. And I guess that it's time to look at the handwriting on the wall (crayon scribblings, some might say). Pete, in Blogger Buzz Switching with team blogs and getting out of beta warns us

At this point, the pieces are in place:
  • The new Blogger is feature complete
  • All new accounts are created on the new version
  • Known issues on the new Blogger are few and getting fewer
  • (Almost*) all users are able to move their blogs to the new Blogger

This all means that we’ll be removing the “beta” from the new Blogger very soon! At that time, we’ll begin the process of requiring that users of old Blogger move to new Blogger.

So, if you have gotten the tap on the shoulder, you should at least do a dry run migration. Decide when it would be most convenient for your blog to be out of action for a few hours, or a day or so (hopefully not at all, but you cannot tell).

Planning now beats scratching your head later.

But how about a bit of cold water reality for Pete and the gang. I'lll bet that you've read my series of posts about Migration and Project Management. Maybe you could also read advice from AMR: beta blogger: not for everyone, and from Roberto: What Does Migrating Involve?.

These are real people, guys. Real people who work for you (though unpaid in cash). And real people, with real concerns. Maybe (Almost*) all users are able to move their blogs, by your standards. Does that mean at any time, or just occasionally?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Blogger Alert 12/14: Blog In Limbo

Here's a commonly seen scenario in the Blogger Help Group forums. You just migrated your Blogger account to Google authentication (Blogger Beta). You own a portion of a team blog, and you're hoping to migrate it too.

  • You have access to the blog, but it's annotated with
    This blog is still on the old version of Blogger.
  • You go to post to the blog, and now you get
    The blog you were looking for has moved to the new Blogger.
  • And not all of the other team members can access the blog, to post or make comments.

From Pete Kennedy: beta switch - can't post - yes me too...HELP, a subsequent reply by Jordan aka Blogger Employee: Can't access team blog from any account, and Blogger Help: What happens when team blogs switch to Blogger in beta?, we learn the current rules of the game:
  1. Beta blogs can be accessed only from Beta accounts. Beta blogs will acknowledge only members with Beta accounts (migrated, or native).
  2. After the owner of a blog migrates it to Beta, all team members will see the blog in their dashboard but be unable to access it, until they too migrate to Beta.
  3. If a team member migrates their account to Beta before the owner of a team blog does so, that person will see a Beta dashboard. Clicking on the team blog will lead to a Classic posts, settings, and template editor.
  4. If you delete or remove the original owner account of a blog, the blog will be owned equally by all remaining administrators.
  5. All owners will have to migrate their accounts, before the blog can be migrated.
  6. Once the original owner account has been removed, that account has lost ownership. Re adding / reactivating that account leaves it in equal status with the other owners.

In other words, if possible:
  1. Migrate all member accounts to Beta before migrating any team blogs.
  2. If any team members can't migrate their account to Beta (because of other team membership relationships), they can setup a Beta account for accessing Beta blogs, while continuing to use their current Classic account to access Classic blogs.
  3. Before migrating your Blogger account to Blogger Beta, make sure that your account is eligible to migrate any key blogs.
  4. If you have any team blogs where the original owner account is not available for migration first, pick one account and make it the new owner.
    • Remove all other accounts from the blog.
    • Migrate the new owner account.
    • Migrate the blog in question.
    • Re add all secondary administrator accounts.
If you're going to migrate a team blog, organise the migration. It's far better for you, in the long run.

Another Complication In Migration - Team Blogs

As I describe below, migration is a two step process - first you migrate the account, then you migrate the blogs in the account. First the account, then the blogs. That's simple.

Or is it? If you're the only administrator, maybe. But what if you have multiple administrators?

It appears that the primary owner (generally the person who started the blog) of a blog determines its eligibility to be migrated. When the primary owner migrates his / her account to Beta, the blogs of which she / he is the original owner are eligible for migration. Only people with Beta accounts will be able to access a Beta blog; those who haven't migrated will see it in their dashboard but won't be able to access it.

What happens if the person who started a blog no longer has an active account? When he / she transferred the blog to a new owner, did primary ownership transfer too? In Blogger Alert 12/14: Blog In Limbo, we see that this may not be possible. If you delete or remove the original owner of the blog, all administrators may become joint owners. And all administrators must then be migrated, before the team blog can be migrated.

Having active accounts with up to date email addresses, for authentication in case of migration problems, is essential.

If you have team blog(s) pending migration, plan the migration. Any blog that is important enough to have multiple owners is important enough for careful planning. Make sure that the accounts, and email addresses are all active and current. If your account is the primary one used for blog administration, make sure that it's the actual blog owner, before you start migration.

All I know is, when I migrate my account and blogs, I'll make sure that each blog has one and only one owner.

>> Top

Leaving Comments On Other Peoples Blogs #2

The issue of folks using Classic Blogger accounts, or Beta Blogger Google accounts, to identify themselves when making comments on Beta, or Classic blogs, respectively, was supposedly fixed in September 2006.

Both scenarios seem to be active again. We do have one Blogger acknowlegment of the problem, though I don't see it as equalling the scope of what's been reported.

Now You See It - Now You Don't

I got the tap on my shoulder last Friday, 12/8. I took a picture of my dashboard the following morning.

It's a rule of thumb, in IT, to avoid making major system changes on the weekend, when you depend upon other organisations for support. Unless you can get some performance guarantee from them, anyway.

So I spent the weekend thinking about my migration. And I studied the Blogger Help forums, and observed the many duplicated experiences therein. And I asked myself several questions.

  1. What was the change in FTP path? Why all of a sudden are folks being told to change "/" to "."? Enough folks do it, and it works, so we know that's a fix. But they add "I've had this account for over a year - why am I changing it now?".
  2. What was the "Clear cache and cookies" bit to revive the post editor and photo upload scripts? It's good that clearing cache and cookies is a working solution, but remember that people do access other websites besides Blogger / Google. Clearing cache and cookies affects access to all websites (short of clearing just Blogger / Google cookies under Firefox - and we won't even start the FF / IE debate just now).
  3. What's with the repeated "I just migrated my account, and now my blogs aren't in my dashboard", followed by the online procedure:
    • What is your account and your blogs?
    • OK, the problem's fixed - you're good to go.
    What was fixed there? Is this another episode of The Silence?
  4. What's with the team blogs, where the order of account migration seems to affect blog accessibility? Does it relate to the original owner account being migrated first or last? How does the original owner of a Classic blog affect migration overall?

Too many questions. I'll migrate during the week - when the problems surfacing during the past weekend have been identified and laid to rest.

And that's where my fun started. Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday - I did my regular work, and updated my blogs. Repeatedly. And each time I published a change, I would see the normal
Your blog published successfully.
with a twist.
Now, you can do even more with your blog!.

In other words, I got the tap on the shoulder. I was being initiated into the secret invitation only Beta migration.


From my schedule, I concluded that Wednesday would be the best day of the week to migrate.

Tuesday, I prepared for the migration.And I got up Wednesday morning, and looked at my dashboard. And it was as it had been a week ago. No Beta notice.

The tap had disappeared. No migration this week.

(Edit 12/13 23:00): It's back.
(Edit 12/15 17:00): It's gone, again.
(Edit 12/16 12:00): Still gone. Added the pinned Migration Status indicator at the top.
(Edit 12/17 12:00): Still gone. And, noting a Comment below, I don't appear to be the only one being played.
(Edit 12/17 18:00): Still Off. And apart from this game, I am nervous about migrating with Christmas coming.
(Edit 12/18 13:00): It's ON! Had a very interesting chat with AMR, and she clued me in on this post from Buzzie a week ago, too.
(Edit 12/20 23:00): It's OFF!
(Edit 12/21 08:00): Still OFF.
(Edit 12/23 14:00): It's back - ON again!
(Edit 12/25 08:00): OFF again.
(Edit 12/26 10:00): ON again!
(Edit 12/30 08:00): Still ON for me, though discussion in the forums suggests that it's not on for everybody.
(Edit 1/17 08:00): OFF again.
(Edit 1/17 10:30): ON again!
(Edit 1/25 18:00): Now, It's Gone For Good and the stampede has started.

Waiting For The Tap On The Shoulder

I'll be honest here. I was a nerd in college (and I am one even now). So this story is one that I've only seen in movies - neither I, nor my friends ever got this far.

College Secret Societies
Some of them have no name even. There are no published entrance rules - membership is by invitation only, and rules are communicated by word of mouth. And the initiation process starts like this:

  • The prospective members are blindfolded, and led to a dark room.
  • The prospective members are put into a circle, in silence.
  • The prospective members wait, for what will happen, they are told nothing.
  • Periodically, one prospect will feel a slight tap on the shoulder. In silence, he / she will be taken by the hand, and led into another room where they will join the elite.
  • And eventually, those who don't get elected will open their eyes, remove the blindfold, and find herself / himself in a small group of rejects, all waiting (hopelessly) for that tap. The tap that never comes.

And that's what we are waiting for, to migrate to Beta (New Blogger). The tap on the shoulder. For some of us it comes. For me, it comes and goes. And finally came back, and now I am done. My sympathies to all of you still waiting.

Monday, December 11, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different - Hidden BlogRolls

To complement the MultiStyle Topics, we now have Hidden BlogRolls, aka a Hidden LinkList. This is just a start towards reclaiming the sidebar, or letting the reader decide how he wants to view our blogs.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Note Migration Is A Two Step Process

I've been seeing these odd questions recently.

I just converted my blog to Beta. Where is this Labels feature?
I just migrated my blog. Where is the Page Layouts editor?
How do I migrate - I don't see a link!!??

As I pointed out earlier, Blogger appears to have put a little thought into the migration process, and separated it into two steps. With any simplified procedure, though, there is confusion. Be alert when you migrate, and remember that migration is by invitation only! Plan the migration!
  1. You migrate the Blogger account, to use Google authentication. Any blogs, previously accessed from the dashboard of the Blogger account, will be accessible from the Google account. You have to be signed in to the Google account, not to the Blogger account.
  2. You migrate each blog, one at a time, to use a New Blogger 2006 template.

(Note): Before you start this process, you may want to do a small amount of planning.

Step 1 - Migrate The Account

Account migration is by invitation only.

When you're invited, accept the invitation by clicking on the link. When this is complete, your blog will have a New Blogger Navbar and improved Dashboard, but it will still have a Classic template, and lack the shiny New Blogger features like the Page Layout editor, and drag and drop template redesign.

Step 2 - Upgrade The Template

Template upgrade is at your convenience.

After a blog is migrated to use the New Blogger, if it's published on Blog*Spot, you can change it to use a New Template. Go to Template - Customize Design for the blog, and select UPGRADE YOUR TEMPLATE. When this is complete, you'll be able to use the shiny new features.

For blogs published externally (using FTP / SFTP), you're stuck with the Classic template. If you can make it work for you, look at publishing your blog to a Google Custom Domain.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Blogger Alert 12/6: Publishing By FTP Requires Firewall Checked On Your Server

As pointed out by Paul in Blogger Help Group: Something Is Broken Blogger Beta Publishing / Connectivity Issue Solved, if you're publishing to an external server (FTP / SFTP), and your firewall is filtering by IP address (as you well should be), you'll need to check your filter. Apparently the Blogger servers publishing can use any IP address in (subnet mask

One would hope that when they change IP addresses, they would post a big note somewhere, but if they did, I don't think a lot of folks noted it.

Of course, issues like restrictive firewalls are something that we should know about anyway. Layer 5 of a layered defense strategy involves periodic checking of logs, even when no problems are being experienced. If your FTP publishing fails, you have to check logs as part of the diagnosis. This is a routine Responsible Practice.

Don't paint yourself into a corner - stay aware of what's happening, at all times.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Blogger Alert 12/2: Missing Toolbar Buttons

We are advised by Blogger Buzzer in Blogger Help Group: Something Is Broken I can't post pictures to my blog, that we should clear our browser cache, if any toolbar buttons are missing from the Post Editor screens. Note that there are 3 different techniques for clearing cache, and each has advantages and disadvantages.

According to Pal at Blogger Status, this also affected photo uploads.

This leaves us with open questions.

  • What changed in the Post Editor (and Photo Uploads), that we are refreshing?
  • Why was no announcement made about what problem was fixed?
So what else is new?