Blogger troubleshootings, and tips and tricks.

Yesterday (night) I struggled to put some bits of code into my site and crank it up a bit. It was a real struggle, which took 4hrs! Well the blame is shared by both and the very slooooowwww net. So, here u may find some workarounds to get over the nasty bugs in; particularly when the help is not handy and the helpdesk is deserted. (I am still awaiting replies from the helpdesk. They r taking eternity). So, below r the problems I faced.

Prob1: In the template edit window when I click preview, all I get is a pile of codes and no webpage.
Cause: Look closely. Scroll to the bottom of the field showing the code in the template edit window. The code u see is incomplete.
Sol: I found that reloading that page always works. Now u should be able to see the full code. Hit preview and it is alright.

Prob2: Previously the Google ads window was single lined box. Now, as u see, it is multi-lined. U can change this from template edit section’s Adsnse page. But I had a problem. Blogger didn’t save the changes. It just gave me an error 113. This was the problem.
Cause: I don’t know. Ask blogger helpdesk and wait for eternity as me.
Sol: U need to edit the code manually. Frightened? Oh no, be brave. I did it all by myself, and the only thing I know about CSS and html things is that they r used to make web pages. I figured out what I need to do from the pattern in the code. For u the task is even easier, just follow me…

First locate the code for adsense. It should be near the top. Search for the word ‘adsense’ in the code. The code may look-like.

<div class=’adsense’ style=’text-align:center; padding: 0px 3px 0.5em 3px;’> <script type=”text/javascript”><!– google_ad_client=”ca-pub-3649938949418707″; google_ad_width=300; google_ad_height=250; google_ad_format=”300x250_as”; google_ad_type=”text_image”; google_color_border=”FFFFFF”; google_color_bg=”CCDDBB”; google_color_link=”333333″; google_color_url=”333333″; google_color_text=”FFFFFF”; //–></script> <script type=”text/javascript” src=” “> </script> </div>

Note the code

This is the place where u mention the ad format. As u can notice that the syntax of ad format is dimension_as. When I had the 234×60 format then the code was

U can know the ad dimension from the dimensions mentioned in parenthesis in the Adsense tab in Template Edit section. And don’t forget to set the heights and width of the ad window accordig to this dimesion. See codes
google_ad_width=300; google_ad_height=250;

Note the lack of quotes around the numbers 300 and 250. Also note the code

If u set the type to text then only text ads will appear. For the current setting, as u can see above; text or picture will appear. Other codes r self explanatory. They r to set colours of different things. If u don’t find any colour which u like, then this is the place to change them. First u should find out the RGB values of that colour. If u have that colour in some pictures on ur computer then use Paint (pre-installed in WindowsXP) or Photoshop or GIMP to find the RGB values, using their dropper or color pick tools. Then u must find the corresponding HEX (hexadecimal) code for them. U can do that at this site: . Now paste these characters replacing the original ones. Mind the quotes around them.

Prob3: Look at the side bar in the right. See the Google Search there? Well its background was blue before, now it has my theme’s colour. I used the method described just above. The problem here was that it used to show a long text like ”” instead of the present “This blog”. Adsense doesn’t have anyway of coustomising the text to be shown. U need to do it manually. My motivation for doing this was to contain the search box within the side-bar. Previously due to the long text my search box used to stick its belly out of the side-bar. Now this trick slimmed it down. BTW, when I used to previwe my blog then even with the long text my search box remained within the side-bar, but when published, the search-box used to bully its way out of the side-bar.
Cause: I don’t know.
Sol: Have a look at the code below. U will be given a similar code from Adsense. <!– SiteSearch Google –> <form method=”get” action=”” target=”google_window”> <table border=”0″ bgcolor=”#CCDDBB”> <tr><td nowrap=”nowrap” valign=”top” align=”left” height=”32″> <br/> <input type=”hidden” name=”domains” value=”“></input> <input type=”text” name=”q” size=”31″ maxlength=”255″ value=””></input> </td></tr> <tr> <td nowrap=”nowrap”> <table> <tr> <td> <input type=”radio” name=”sitesearch” value=”” checked=”checked”></input> <font size=”-1″ color=”black”>Web</font> </td> <td> <input type=”radio” name=”sitesearch” value=”“></input> <font size=”-1″ color=”black”></font> </td> </tr> </table> <input type=”submit” name=”sa” value=”Google Search”></input> <input type=”hidden” name=”client” value=”pub-3649938949418707″></input> <input type=”hidden” name=”forid” value=”1″></input> <input type=”hidden” name=”channel” value=”8766575449″></input> <input type=”hidden” name=”ie” value=”ISO-8859-1″></input> <input type=”hidden” name=”oe” value=”ISO-8859-1″></input> <input type=”hidden” name=”safe” value=”active”></input> <input type=”hidden” name=”flav” value=”0000″></input> <input type=”hidden” name=”sig” value=”AqHpMLRK75FykyuG”></input> <input type=”hidden” name=”cof” value=”GALT:#008000;GL:1;DIV:#336699;VLC:663399;AH:center;
<input type=”hidden” name=”hl” value=”en”></input> </td></tr></table> </form> <!– SiteSearch Google –>

Here the thing of interest is the code portion
<td> <input type=”radio” name=”sitesearch” value=” “></input>
<font size=”-1″ color=”black”></font>

U will just need to edit the portion
<font size=”-1″ color=”black”></font>

Change to whatever text u may will. In my case I changed it to This blog. And yes obviously for ur blog u will have ur blog’s address written instead of .

Prob4: This isn’t really a problem, but just a tip. As u can see in the side-bar I have my custom headings like ‘hit map’, ‘sponsors’, ‘site stats’, etc. This is relatively simple to do. Edit the code.
Sol: Just at the place where u want the heading to appear just insert the following code.
<h2 class=”sidebar-title”>Heading Here</h2>

But within the
<!– Begin #sidebar –> <div id=”sidebar”><div id=”sidebar2″> . . . </div></div> <!– End wraps –>

Change Heading Here to ur custom heading. Note as I am not a html coder or a CSS stylist, I am dont know if this will work for other templates (mine is 565 by Douglas Bowman); though I see no reason that it shouldn’t work for others.

Precaution: Always copy, paste and save the code of ur template before making changes. U never know when u may mess things up. Also I am never the person to be blamed ever for anything wrong happens to ur blog because of following the above guidelines.

‘Euro English’ is coming…

Today I received a letter from my friend. Read it below.

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English
will be the official language of the European Union rather than German,
which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that
English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year
phase-in plan that would become known as “Euro-English”.

In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will
make the sivil servants jump with joy.
The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k”. This should klear up
konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the
troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like
fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted
to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben
a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag
is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th”
with “z” and “w” with “v”.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining
“ou” and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.
Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu
understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in
ze forst plas.

I juess I will have to start learning German to get a hang of this ‘English’.

Is Gmail safe?

Recently I came to know about a Gmail ‘feature’. See here. If u have an email ID as then it is same as or Point is that Gmail simply ignores the dots. Hence for all the metioned cases, Gmail sees them as only Now if I create an account then I can get all the mails receives. A big threat to his privacy. But there is catch. While creating Gmail accounts, it ignores the dots then also. Hence I can’t create when already exists, and the threat is taken care of.
But I got a jolt, when I was contacted by a person using Gmail to stop sending mail to him, but he was not in my contact list! Further investigation revealed that his ID is the same as that of my friend’s, but, different only by the lack and presence of a dot in their IDs. This should not have happned. I tried creating such a ‘sibling’ ID of my ID, but I failed. I don’t know what caused this faux pas, but I hope Google fixes this up soon.

If u figure out what caused the creation of such ‘sibling’ IDs then do post a comment here.

Update: Google help desk has assured after investigation that the dotted ID is not my friend’s as I claimed, but it too belongs to the stranger. I have been advised to contact my friend for comfirmation. I will ask him.

Free Gmail Invitation.

Veeery old post. Irrelevant now.

What to get free Gmail invitation? Then use this link here. Note: I think it can be used only once, after that it will become invalid. I have just posted this link for checking an idea of mine. The concept is simple. I invite myself. I copy the link given there and I just post that link. Now anyone can use that link to create his/her GMail account. If anyone does this successfully then post a comment.

If u r generous enough then use this method to post ur invitations in the comments section.

Update:The invitation link (above) has been used up. Please any generous person donate invitations here. Here is another invite from me.

Update(21-07-06): Another Invite from me.

Intro to Blender. The OpenSource Animation Software

Below is a summary, which I prepared few days back, on the world’s 1st open source movie and Blender (the open source 3d modelling software used to create it).

World’s first open source movie! It is named Elephants Dreams. It is a 11 mins short created by some volunteers in 9 months using only open source softwares. It created quite a stir when it was released. Half million of this has been downloaded! The 3d modelling & animation has been done entirely using the open source 3d modelling software Blender. It is open source since all its production files have been realeased! This movie has been released under Creative Common license .

Shots from the movie

Some notable features of blender (ref: wikipedia, official site):-

  1. Has animation tools like fluid dynamics and soft body.
  2. Has in-built ray tracer plus has native support for external ray tracer — yafray.
  3. Has in-built game engine. This game engine can be “programmed” by just connecting some boxes (logic bricks).
  4. Has in-built sculpting tool like SharpConstruct. This year blender has been granted 3 projects for Google Summer of Code 2006; one of them will enhance blender‘s sculpting tool to even greater height than SharpConstruct.
  5. Basic non-linear video editing and compositing capabilities.
  6. Has very small footprint (Windows installer is 6.5MB) and is available for many platforms, viz. Windows, Mac, Linux, Solarix and FreeBSD.
  7. Has integrated Python interpreter. Hence you can code in the popular Python language for which many documentations are already available and is very easy to learn.
(Version 2.42 is out with lots of goodies see here)

Blender is slightly hard to learn (like Maya). But you have many active communities where you can post your problem and you will get a helpful reply within an hour. The most active English forum is Blender forum). You have even lots of video tutorials. The most notable progress in this direction is the Blender Summer of Documentation 2006. For the first time Blender Foundation this summer will be granting 10 people 500 EUR for substantial contribution to documenting blender.

Quick links to important Blender related sites:-

More links at this and this.

Setup LAN with LAN card in only one computer!

Some days back I setup a LAN at my home between two PCs and one of them DOESN’T have a LAN card! PC1 has Ethernet card but PC2 doesn’t. I used BSNL’s broadband modem (router) to connect them. (Those not in India maynot know about BSNL). My router is Huawei SmartAX MT882. It has ports for both USB and ethernet. Basically when using USB u r required to install the router’s drivers and this installs a software dslagent. Now the router will appear as a LAN card to the computer.

Steps to setup this:-
1) router’s ethernet port was connected to PC1’s ethernet card, and the USB port was connected to USB of PC2.

Follow these steps for both PC1 and PC2.

2) Goto ControlPanel->NetworkSetUp Wizard (note for SP1 this option is available only in Network Connections as Set Up home or small office network).
3)Click Next 2 or 3 times and AT a page Choose ‘This computer connects to the internet through a residential gateway or through another computer on my network.’
4)Enter comp description and comp names (Note the names of both the pcs should be different).
5)Let the workgroup name be MSHOME
6)Turn on File and Printer Sharing.
7)Now click next and finish.

8)Right click on drives or folders u want to share in both the comps and choose Sharing and security. Click the threatning looking link there. U may need to click on one or two threatning links and the u maybe be shown a dialog; Click Just turn on file sharing. Now u have two check boxes-> Share this folder on network AND ->Allow network users to change my files. Turn the 1st one on. Turn the 2nd one on only if u want that files from that folder to be changed from the other pc. NOTE: any file deleted on say PC1 from within PC2 wil delete that permanently, so beware!
When the folder has been successfully shared then a hand will appear superimposed on the folder icon.

Now u can start accessing them from My Network Places>View Workgroup Computers. Wait for some time. Now both the comps should appear there and u should be able access the shared folder by double clicking and getting inside them.

If u have installed 3rd party firewall like ZoneAlarm, then, when u click View Workgroup Computers, if u r greeted by an error message like Path not found. Access Denied or somthing like that then its maybe ur overprotective firewall’s deed.
Solution for ZoneAlarm: U should be using the LAN connection for internet hence it will be in Internet Zone.
1)First note down the IP address and subnet mask of this LAN connection. (for this goto Network Connection>Single click on that LAN connection’s entry. See the Details section there).
2)Goto ZA’s control centre>Firewall>Zones>Click on ‘Add>>’>Subnet
3)Choose Trusted for Zone. Enter the just noted IP address and subnet mask there. Enter anything for Description.


Note: When ur router will connect to the BSNL’s server then the IP of ur card may change and hence all the above troubleshooting u did may fall flat on its face. In that case just TURN OFF ur FIREWALL.

The comps in the View Workgroup Computers sections shows fine but when u try to double click on the other PC’s icon then u get error.
Solution: Try typing the url to the shared folder in the addressbar of the folder. Like this:-
\\the PC name\the shared folder or drive’s namee.g. if the pc’s name is homePC and u have shared d drive and its share name is D. then type

A useful tip:-
U can make the shared folders or drives show up as drives on ur comp. Open My computer>Tools>Map Network Drive>in Folder field type url to your folder as shown above.
Now a new drive of type Network Drive will appear in MyComputer of Drive letter starting form Z:

U can follow it up at the forum where I have posted it.

Any harm done to ur comp due to following this tip is not my reposibility. Please don’t try to burden my conscience with ur accusitions later for screwing up ur network settings.