Thursday, January 12, 2006

Blogger Issues

This blog uses Blogger, a service provided for free by Google. You log in to their site and type your stuff there. They store it in a database, and you can "publish" it on their site -- called "BlogSpot" -- or you can send it to your own web site, which is what we do.

Blogger is a really nice service, it means anyone can make their own web site. You can customize the look and feel of it, it's basically limited by your knowledge of HTML and cascading style-sheets. You can express yourself, start an online community -- some of the biggest blogs on the Internet use Blogger.

On the other hand, you get what you pay for. If Blogger screws up, who you gonna call?


Lately, say for the past month, we have been having lots of trouble with it. I wrote Blogger support about it. First, you get this automatically-generated email back, telling you to check the stuff that you've already checked. At the end it says, tell us if this didn't solve your problem. So, I told them.

About two weeks after that, I got back this letter:
Hi there,

Thanks for your note. This is an automated update from Blogger Support. Due to the tremendous amount of help requests from users, we're currently unable to offer timely, personal assistance to everyone.

If you are still having trouble with your issue, please search or browse Blogger Help to find answers to many common questions:

Note that widespread operational problems, if they occur, will be addressed on our Status page to keep you updated:

Thanks for your understanding and continued patience.

Blogger Support

So, they're too busy to help anybody. Interesting modern dilemma, kind of what you expect from your HMO, your cell-phone company, the bank ... Just a sign of the times, I guess.

Sometimes the blog just ... goes ... away, and there's nothing. Sometimes the posts or comments get cut off in the middle. This gives our paranoid Anons a chance to imply that we're censoring the discussion, trying to make ourselves look better, whatever, it's cheaper than taking their meds, I suppose.

We'll try to keep an eye on the blog in the meantime -- usually, we can fix it if we know it's crashed. I have noticed other bloggers complaining recently about Blogger weirdness, and see that even the support site acknowledges one of the kinds of errors we were getting (disk full). If the service doesn't stabilize pretty soon, I'm afraid I'm going to hack together a different system.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This gives our paranoid Anons a chance to imply that we're censoring the discussion, trying to make ourselves look better, whatever"

Don't let those mean anons get to you. We're behind you, man. Just ignore 'em. Read the paper, have a cup of java, surf the web, goldbrick, whatever...

January 12, 2006 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you consider switching to something you managed yourself? Something like WordPress?

It would solve all the issues you get, and it would also help commenting because it allows using <blockquote%gt; to format quotes.

January 13, 2006 11:01 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

I have thought of it, and a couple of weeks ago went and installed Wordpress on our server, just to check it out and play with it a little bit. It will take some work to get the CSS the way I want, and to integrate the output with our web site, and frankly I just don't have the time right now. Plus, I'd want to port all the Blogger archives and comments over -- I know it can be done, but I'd want a couple of days to devote to it, and a day or two to test, before we went live with it. This is conference-paper season, and I've got some looming deadlines for both submissions and reviews, and a couple of trips to give talks in Europe and the Southwestern US, so ... it won't be anytime in the next few weeks.

But if Blogger keeps misbehaving, that's probably the way we'll have to do.


January 13, 2006 11:07 AM  

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