Thursday, March 1, 2012

Google survival tips

Yeah, I'm cruising for a bruising here, but I thought I'd mention a few things that bloggers and their followers might like to know. I'm in education mode, as we've switched computer systems at work this week as well, and though it's going all right, except for the occasional moment that makes me berzerk, it's definitely one of those times where you are sharing what you've gleaned with each other. So all this peer on peer stuff seems to be leaking over to the blog world as well.

Half the Eyestrain

First of all, I thought I'd mention that when you're dealing with the word verification system, you really only have to decipher the first word. My recent post mentions the one that was obscured by a big black ball of something, but it holds true now that you don't actually have to type both words. Go ahead, try it--though not here, because I've done away with it on my blog altogether. I get a little more spam, but most of it seems to end up in the spam filter. It may be a bit annoying to those who are following by email, but I think on balance it's the way to go.

Out with the New, in with the Old--or, Only Embed

Which leads me to my next point. I realize that there are probably as many reasons people blog as there are bloggers--some people write and don't care about the comments, some people like the comments but want to moderate them to a degree, and some people, like me, really want all the comments that are legit, and are happiest in forums where the commenters tend to interact with each other. In other words, I like forums where the comments take on a life of their own. The new updated blogger doesn't really allow for that now, because it doesn't let you know when new comments have been posted. Maybe most of the blogosphere doesn't mind, but it takes some of the fun out of the whole thing for me.

To that end, and only as a piece of information and not even a suggestion about what other bloggers "should" do, I did ask about it in the google help forum, and discovered that if you switch back to the old blogger interface, you can still offer a notification service by making sure that your comments option is the one that is "embedded". I wasn't actually off the old blogger myself, because using the new blogger only gave me a lot of error messages. Changing my own blog format doesn't particularly help me, because I was already seeing notifications for my own blog, but I think going retro is an appropriate reaction to new interface irritations. Here is the link to the discussion I had, in case, as is highly likely, I have been something less than clear.

The Disappeared
Another thing that's been happening a lot lately is that people's blogs suddenly disappear, and those interested in reading it are given a very disturbing message about the blog being taken down due to suspicious activity. I've hit a couple of blogs this way, and I know from a friend that this happened to mine as well. Not that they ever notified me that it had happened, but once I found out I went in and did a verification process. I guess they do apologize if you enquire. Uh, thanks, I guess. In any event, it doesn't seem to last long, so don't freak out. Or maybe you should. I really don't know.

Stop looking at me with those Googly-Oogly Eyes--privacy 

Finally, new policy goes into effect about privacy starting today, which means that your name is going to be linked more explicitly to your information. Again, a lot of people aren't all that concerned about these issues, and in fact, I am not sure that privacy actually exists anymore, but you do have an option to not give Google quite as much of your history as you may be now.  Here's where you can learn more.

The downside, of course, is that you will no longer get their marvelous help with shopping.


  1. yeah...i mean good sure the philosophy behind it all is relatively benign (in the capitalist hegemony kinda way), but in the wrong hands (whose hands are right?) you never know...
    i have stuck with the old blogger...
    i can see why people get a bit miffed at this...thats why i log off any accounts i have before doing any personal, private searches lest google know my anarcho-syndicalist leanings..ooops...
    but seriously, good announcement ;)

    1. Dan, you are probably doomed by having even mentioned those leanings here.

      I only even know about the new blogger because every once in awhile I've looked at stats there, and was in a big panic once when I thought I couldn't get back.

    2. Eek...i was wondering why that van with 'Bob's TV repair' was parked over the street for so just seemed out of place with the huge satellite dish on its roof..

    3. Dan, thanks to my new interest in spy stories, I'll tell you what you need to do. Pretend like you're not on to them and start working on a nice conformist cover. It will take time, but it will be worth it in the long run.

  2. Thanks for the tips.

    Also, I find it incredibly annoying when I can't subscribe to comments via email. There's always the option of subscribing through the RSS feed, but, like you, I like to just get notified of followup comments.

  3. Nate, I don't have the sense that it's going to change back, which makes me kind of sad.

  4. Thank you for sharing such cutting edge information, Seana.

    I've just added some thoughts to a piece about James Joyce that you might find useful.

    We can now plaster the Google walls with his naysayings, if the spirit so moves, now that he is sprung from the bonds of copyright.

  5. Thanks Seana. Still trying to figure out the ins and outs. This helps!

  6. As Photographe a Dublin mentions on her blog The Widgeting Hour,we may be responsible for the comments others make on our blogs, so more sensible souls than I may want to take advantage of comment moderation. Personally, no one has ventured here has ever caused a problem yet, except for the spammers and they are mostly caught in the spam filter.

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